Visitor from the Great White Way – Ben Hammer made his Broadway debut in “The Great Sebastians,” which starred Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne. He alternated with Joseph Schildkraut as Anne’s dad in the original production of “The Diary of Anne Frank, and played opposite Anne Bancroft, twice, directed once each by Jerome Robbins and Arthur Penn. Add in a plethora of film and television roles and it’s clear that the star of Ensemble’s new production of “Visiting Mr. Green” is anything but green. Meanwhile, the play, written by Jeff Baron, is a cross-generational comedy-drama about what develops when a hot-shot finance executive is sentenced to visit an aging devout Jewish widower as penance for hitting him with his car. The show also marks the Santa Barbara directing debut of Jonathan Fox, the company’s new executive artistic director. WHEN: 8 pm Tuesdays thru Saturdays and 2 pm & 7 pm Sunday through Dec. 17, WHERE: 914 State St., COST: $25-$37 (discounts for students, seniors and groups), INFO: 962-8606 or

UCSB music – The school’s fall music season winds down with seven concerts in nine days. See “On the Beat” on page 33 column for details. Call 893-7001.

Mad scientists – SBCC’s Theater Arts Department presents a student showcase production of “The Physicists,” a darkly bizarre comedy written by Kriedrich Dürrenmatt. The action takes place in a sanatorium where three physicists who each imagine themselves as someone else (Einstein, Isaac Newton and King Solomon) engage in their wildest visions until a mysterious murder brings outside attention. WHEN: 8 pm, Wed-Sat, through Dec. 8, plus 2 pm Sun., Dec. 9, WHERE: Jurkowitz Theatre on SBCC’s West Campus, 800 Cliff Dr., COST: $10 general, $8 seniors, $5 students, INFO: 965-5935.

Thursday, November 30

Pictures of wrath – As one of the original LIFE magazine photographers, Horace Bristol documented some of the most important events of the mid-20th century, largely focusing on World War II and Asia after the war. His photographs of migrant farm workers in California’s Central Valley became the impetus for John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath;” the two were originally set to collaborate on a book-length project before the author withdrew to write the story as a novel. Bristol put photography behind him after his wife committed suicide, but the images resurfaced 30 years later when his son, Henri, from a second marriage was assigned to read “Grapes.” Now due in no small part to the fact that Henri lives in Santa Barbara, the brand new East West Gallery is hosting as its inaugural exhibition “Horace Bristol: Fortune, Life & Time,” featuring photographs from 1933-63. WHEN: Today through Jan. 15; reception Sat., Dec. 2, 6 pm to 9 pm, WHERE: 714 Bond St., INFO: 963-4041.

Tea ceremony – Santa Barbara Botanic Gardens presents one of its periodic authentic Japanese Tea Ceremonies held in Shinkan-an, the Tea House on the garden’s south slope. The ceremony will be performed by OKYO Kasai, a certified master of the Urasenke School of Tea in Kyoto, a veteran of 20 years, who will share her understanding of Cha-No-Yu, the Way of Tea. WHEN: 11 am to 1 pm, WHERE: 1212 Mission Canyon Rd., INFO: 682-4726 or

Nativity Scene celebration – The public is invited to share in a tradition that began back in the 17th century in Naples as The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints hosts both a display of more than 400 crèches from around the world and three evenings of musical programs. The Brigham Young University Singers are special guests on Saturday night’s program, which also adds an 8:30 pm show. WHEN: Display 1 pm to 9 pm today; music 7 pm to 8 pm tomorrow through Sunday, WHERE: 2107 State St., COST: free, INFO: 963-4488.

Christmas walk – Acapulco Restaurant may be gone, but La Arcada’s 12th annual event features strolling carolers, jazz with pianist Konrad Kono, free freshly popped popcorn, holiday goodies for all and, of course, photos with Santa. WHEN: 5 pm to 8 pm, WHERE: La Arcada Court, 1114 State St., COST: free.

Antler art – Second-generation Santa Barbara-based artist Brad Nack is back with his eighth annual “100% Reindeer Art” show, a one-man Christmas-time exhibit/sale of his whimsical paintings of the antlered, sleigh-pulling critters. As in previous years, Nack has explored new ways to paint reindeer, this time coming up with 60 abstract selections. Each painting is elegantly framed and priced to sell – all of last year’s collection was already spoken for 15 minutes after the doors opened at the Frame Gallery. WHEN: Reception 6 pm to 9 pm tonight; show runs through Dec. 20, WHERE: 901 De La Vina St., COST: free, INFO: 957-1997.

Friday, December 1

Folk & Tribal Arts Marketplace – The annual folk art show, now in its 21st year, is one of the largest of its kind on California’s Central Coast. More than 30 dealers sell crafts they’ve acquired from around the world – from the Americas to Africa, India, Southeast Asia and beyond – plus textiles, artwork and other trinkets perfect for holiday shopping. Rho Designs, East Meets West, Global Visions and Silk Road Market are among the vendors. WHEN: 10 am to 5 pm today through Sunday, WHERE: SB Museum of Natural History, 2559 Puesta del Sol Rd., COST: free, INFO: 682-4711 ext. 123.

Downtown Holiday Parade – Who needs snow when you’ve got Jim Ignatowsky, “Doc” Brown and Santa? Montecito resident Christopher Lloyd – who inimitably played both Iggy on TV’s “Taxi” and the zany Doc on the “Back to the Future” trilogy – serves as Grand Marshal for the annual parade down State Street ushering in the holiday season in tepid Santa Barbara. Santa Claus rides his festival sleigh, with a slew of marching bands, holiday floats, performing groups and others right behind, including the Holiday Prince & Fairy, who officially light the large Christmas tree at State & Victoria as well as the six smaller trees at each intersection along the parade route. This year’s theme, “The Magic of Toyland,” leaves plenty of room for imagination, which should delight the more than 40,000 spectators converging on downtown for the festivities. WHEN: 6:30 pm, WHERE: State Street from Sola to Cota, COST: free, INFO: 962-2098 ext. 22.

Visions – Yes, Virginia, there is a “Nutcracker” in Santa Barbara. Several, in fact, beginning tonight with Gustafson School of Dance’s version, which features ballet students ages 6 and up in the classic tale. The show runs in repertory this weekend with “Twas the Night Before Christmas,” featuring the school’s youngsters, ages 3-5, dancing as Sleeping Kids, Toy Dolls and more, while jazz and tap students perform lively holiday choreography. WHEN: “Nutcracker” 7 pm tonight and tomorrow; “Twas” 3 pm tomorrow and Sunday, WHERE: Lobero Theatre, 33 W. Canon Perdido St., COST: $18.50, students and children $12, INFO: 963-0761.

Snoopy on ice – Montecito resident Jill Transki brings the ice show starring characters created by her famous father, “Peanuts” comic strip author Charles Schulz. The Arlington is hosting an ice show for the first time in 25 years, a spectacular show featuring all your “Peanuts” favorites, plus professional skaters performing Olympic-style routines and, yes, snow falling from the rafters! WHEN: 8 pm tonight; 2 pm, 5 pm & 8 pm tomorrow, WHERE: Arlington Theatre, 1317 State St., COST: $25-$47 (VIP $75 includes post-show reception), INFO: 963-4408.

Naughty AND nice – IMPROVability, UCSB’s improvisational comedy troupe, is back with “Improvaganza!” featuring back-to-back shows at Embarcadero Hall. The family-friendly version is safe for children of all ages, but send them home for the adults-only show that follows. WHEN: 8 pm &10 pm, WHERE: 935 Embarcadero Del Norte, COST: $5 for one show, $7 for both ($3 & $5 students), INFO: 968-0761.

Unmasked – Theater UCSB students and faculty created the seven dances that make up the program “Unmasked,” covering a wide variety of themes and approaches. Titles range from “Concentric Incident” to “Industrial Strength” to “Left Open.” WHEN: 8 pm tonight and tomorrow, 2 pm Sunday, WHERE: UCSB’s Hatlen Theatre, COST: $17, students $13, INFO: 893-3535.

Saturday, December 2

Light up a life – Hospice of Santa Barbara sponsors three community events at which you can place a star in remembrance of a loved one on the memorial tree illuminated with hundreds of sparkling lights and stars. The Montecito Union Children’s Choir sings at the Goleta event. WHEN: 5:30 pm each night, WHERE: Dec. 2, at Camino Real Marketplace, Goleta; Dec. 3 at the Lobero Theatre; Dec. 9 at 789 Linden Ave., Carpinteria, COST: donation, INFO: 563-8820.

Zabella’s Circle – Arts for Humanity sponsors the Blue Moon Players – made up of actors with and without disabilities – in the original theater/dance production “Zabella’s Circle.” The show presents imaginative vignettes integrating art, music, dance and theater to illustrate the discovery of the creative magic that lies within all of us. Created and directed by Karsen Lee Gould. WHEN: Opens 8 pm tonight, plays 2:30 pm tomorrow, and 8 pm Thursday-Saturday, Dec. 7-9, WHERE: Center Stage Theater, 751 Paseo Nuevo (Chapala @ De la Guerra), COST: $20, students $15 (Closing night reception at Contemporary Arts Forum, $30, including show), INFO: 963-0408.

Monday, December 4

Sonic salad – Santa Barbara’s erstwhile self-described “hopelessly eclectic new music party band,” Headless Household, reconvenes yet again, just in time for its 23rd annual Xmas Concert at Center Stage Theater. The heart of the household consists now, as then, of Dick Dunlap (keys), Tom Lackner (drums), Josef Woodard (guitars) and Chris Symer (bass), the latter having to trek from his adopted home of Seattle for the annual gig. The usual assortment of special guests – from singer Julie Christensen (who wowed a Campbell Hall audience as a walk-on at the Lou Reed show) to trumpeter Jeff Kaiser – will be on hand to keep things spicy, with the repertoire drawn mainly from the band’s last two albums, “Blur Joan” and “post-Polka.” WHEN: 8 pm, WHERE: Center Stage Theater, 751 Paseo Nuevo (Chapala @ De la Guerra), COST: $10, students/seniors $7, INFO: 963-0408.

Tuesday, December 5

Physical labor – Harvard physicist Lisa Randall addresses the implications of such questions as whether we inhabit a three-dimensional universe floating in a four-dimensional space in the lecture “Warped Passages: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Universe's Hidden Dimensions.” Presented by UCSB’s Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics, the talk will consider how a new view of string theory might explain phenomena that we have difficulty understanding in our world today. WHEN: 7:30 pm, WHERE: Lobero Theatre, 33 W. Canon Perdido St., COST: $19, INFO: 963-0761.

SBYPC holiday party – The Santa Barbara Young Professionals Club holds its annual holiday gala featuring a speakeasy theme. Come dressed in your favorite 1920’s-‘30s Prohibition or Swing Era fashions for a night of dancing to the Jumpin’ Joz Band and DJ Gavin Roy (there’s a swing lesson with Derrick Curtis for those who are newbies) or casino-style gambling. Caricature artists, raffle prizes, “heavy” hors d’oeuvres and a no-host bar round out the fun at the seaside gathering, a benefit for Unity Shoppe. WHEN: 7:30 pm to 11:30 pm, WHERE: Rincon Beach Club, 3805 Santa Claus Lane (between Summerland and Carpinteria), COST: $60, $40 for SBYPC members (add $20 after Dec. 1), INFO: 898-9407.

Ballet Flamenco – In a season that has seen several Latin American dancers pass through town, UCSB has perhaps saved the best for last: Eva Yerbabuena Flamenco. Yerbabuena specializes in new flamenco choreography, which fuses the traditional style with modern dance; the choreographer – who has collaborated with dance legend Pina Bausch and film director Mike Figgis – has earned plaudits from a variety of critics worldwide. The 15-member ensemble is known for representing the dramatic footwork and elegant passion of flamenco at its best. WHEN: 8 pm, WHERE: Arlington Theatre, 1317 State St., COST: $35 & $45, INFO: 893-3535.

Wednesday, December 6

Diamond mine – Twenty-year veteran Canadian singer-songwriter and comedian Charlotte Diamond is one of the most popular children’s performers in the world, with more than a dozen albums and thousands of concerts to her name. She uses inventive props as well as music to entertain children ages 4-8, including singing in a variety of languages. Ojai’s Performances to Grow On brings Diamond to town for one morning show only. WHEN: 10 am, WHERE: Lobero Theatre, 33 W. Canon Perdido St., COST: $12, INFO: 963-0761 or 646-8907.