Goodbye Fortnight, Hello this week

In case you missed the announcement on our front cover, or didn’t notice that this issue came out a whole lot earlier than usual, the Montecito Journal is now weekly! The changes make quite a difference for me – and for those of you who regularly venture to the “back of the book” to read the entertainment coverage. Decreased lag times create the opportunity to include more reviews and shorter deadlines lead to more up-to-date coverage.

Plus, and I’m not joking here, I never have to write “fortnight” again! What a joy to discard the clumsy term in favor of the much more succinct “This week.”

We also have a new format for the entertainment section, one we think will be easier to read as well as more complete. Please don’t hesitate to let us know what you think. Let’s get right to it!

Classical Connection

Nearly every classical music outfit in the world dispensed with its Mozart 250th birthday tributes during last season, but if the stragglers include the Julliard String Quartet, maybe there’s something to the adage of saving the best for last. The Julliard – America’s best-known, best-loved and maybe just plain best string foursome – has been around for a full 60 years now, so they’ve had some experience imparting wisdom to the E-flat Major (K. 428), D minor (K. 421) and C Major “Dissonance” (K. 465) quartets, the program for the season opening concert from CAMA’s Masterseries on Friday at the Lobero Theatre. The pieces – drawn from the six quartets Mozart dedicated to Haydn – will be performed from first-edition manuscripts that were donated to the Juilliard School last season, which offer changes in tempo and modifications in dynamics. The quartet’s newest member, violinist Ronald Copes, who joined in 1997 after a stint as a music professor at UCSB, returns to the campus for a special masterclass on Saturday afternoon with the school’s students (noon to 2 pm, Geiringer Hall, free to the public for observation). Info and tickets at 963-0761 or camasb.org.

The Viennese composer is also the subject of another tribute, but this one goes on every year, or at least since Amadeus turned a spry 230. Cielo Foundation for the Arts’ annual Mozart by Candlelight concerts from maestro Christopher Story VI and the West Coast Chamber Orchestra hold sway at the intimate and historic Presidio Chapel every November, a Thanksgiving tradition. Now in its 20th year, the program features Wolfgang’s Symphonie Concertante in A Minor, Violin Concert No. 3 in G Major (KV63) and the Serenade in G, better known as Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, with Barber’s Adagio for Strings serving as the 20th century selection. Violinist Tamsen Beseke, violist Marda Todd and cellist Fang Fang Xu are the featured guest artists. Info and tickets at 962-6609 or westcoastsymphony.com.

Short notice

As the ad copy indicates, Edward Albee’s 2002 Tony Award-winning play isn’t for the faint of heart or for that matter hearing – there are more unrepeatable expletives per minute here than a Chris Rock standup routine. And I’m not sure how many local theatergoers can relate to the specifics of bestiality; while “Kinsey” sure opened eyes to the prevalence of kinky sexual behavior, liaisons with an actual goat are beyond the pale. But the themes and questions of responsibility, aging, hunger, love, attraction, force of will, honesty, friendship and retribution raised by Genesis West current production resonate well past the final curtain (or rather grim bows in this case.) For the most part, the acting – especially Leslie Gangl Howe as the horrified wife – is marvelous; the night we went the actress was so intently involved in a scene, she actually tripped over some upended furniture in a violent moment that went past the script. The play continues at the Center Stage Theater through Sunday afternoon.

Similarly, lead actress Meredith McMinn proves a flexible wonder in “Hannah and Martin,” which plays through the weekend at Victoria Hall. Her utterly unselfconscious turn as Heidegger’s tortured lover Hannah Arendt evinces her flexibility, as the actress regresses 20 years in a moment, evoking at turns both perky girlishness and disdainful scholar.