Ongoing

Visitor from the Great White Way – “Visiting Mr. Green,” written by Jeff Baron, is a cross-generational comedy-drama about what develops when a hotshot finance executive is sentenced to visit an aging devout Jewish widower as penance for hitting him with his car. Broadway veteran Ben Hammer and Aaron Serotsky reprise their roles for the fourth time. 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 www.ensembletheatre.com.

Mad scientists – Santa Barbara City College’s Theater Arts Department presents a student showcase production of “The Physicists,” a darkly bizarre comedy written by Kriedrich Durrnmatt. 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, December 7

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: 8 pm Thursday-Saturday, Dec. 7-9, WHERE: Center Stage Theater, 751 Paseo Nuevo (upstairs at Chapala @ De la Guerra), COST: $20, students $15 (Closing night reception at Contemporary Arts Forum, $30, including show), INFO: 963-0408.

Friday, December 8

Winter Wonderland – Ice skating in Santa Barbara? Yes, indeed! For the first time in local history, celebrate the season by lacing up the skates and heading out onto the ice as the Earl Warren Showgrounds turns into a West Coast version of Rockefeller Center. Visits from Santa, live entertainment, shopping for retail gift and handcrafted holiday items and more welcome skaters starting today and running daily for two weeks. WHEN: 3 pm to 10 pm today, Noon to 10 pm tomorrow and Sunday, 3 pm to 10 pm, Dec. 11-15, and Noon to 10 pm, Dec. 16-24, WHERE: Las Positas and Calle Real, COST: $10 (includes skate rental), free parking, INFO: 879-8337.

High school holiday music – Santa Barbara High School’s Madrigal Singers have toured Europe several times in its nearly 40-year history, but the 27-voice choir, conducted by Phillip McLendon (who also leads the Santa Barbara Master Chorale), saves its best for the holiday season, teaming up with the A Cappella Choir for a series of Christmas concerts at St. Anthony’s Seminary. WHEN: 7 pm tonight through Sunday, WHERE: 2300 Garden St., COST: $10, INFO: 966-9101 ext. 251 or www.madz.org. Also, the award-winning Dos Pueblos High School Jazz Choir and Combo joins the school’s Concert Choir for the 2006 Holiday Festival of Voices concerts. It’s the first public performance for the jazz outfit since new director Brian Slotnick-Lastrico took over after the retirement of longtime director Ike Jenkins. WHEN: 7 pm tonight and Sunday, WHERE: First Presbyterian Church, State & Constance streets tonight; Marjorie Luke Theatre, 721 E. Cota St., Sunday, COST: $12, seniors and students $10, INFO: 683-6934 or www.dpjazz.org.

Moto-photo – Veteran motorsports photographer Jesse Alexander – who also takes the shots for the Lucky ads that adorn this paper’s back page – will be on hand for two days to celebrate his new book, “Porsche Moments – Photographs from Europe and Mexico, 1953-1962,” as part of a new exhibit of his works at Samy’s Camera. WHEN: Reception 4 pm to 7 pm today, book signing 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm tomorrow; exhibit through Dec. 30, WHERE: 218 Chapala St., COST: free, INFO: 963-7269.

Saturday, December 9

Make your own – Put a personal touch on your holiday gift giving by creating your own decorative holiday ornaments and gift boxes inspired by works of art in the Santa Barbara Museum of Art’s collection. Monika Molnar-Metzenthin conducts the two-hour class. WHEN: 11 am to 1 pm, WHERE: 1130 State St., COST: $20 ($5 discount members), INFO: 963-4364.

Traditional ‘Cracker’ – Santa Barbara Festival Ballet presents its 32nd annual performance of the classic holiday ballet, featuring the area’s only fully orchestrated live musical accompaniment and a cast of more than 100. (See “On Stage” on page 49 for an interview with artistic director Denise Rinaldi). WHEN: 2:30 pm & 7 pm tonight, 2:30 pm tomorrow, WHERE: Arlington Theatre, 1317 State St., COST: $13-$37, INFO: 963-4408 or www.sbnutcracker.com.

Back to basics – Tonight’s Sings Like Hell concert returns to its roots, offering two up-and-comers in an inspired booking pairing a headliner you’ve likely never heard with a semi-local opener you probably have. Acoustic folk-country singer-songwriter Zane Williams has torn up the college and coffeehouse circuit for years, but after garnering several important underground awards (including $20,000 for the John Lennon title) is ready for larger exposure. Which is what people have long been saying about Brett Dennen, the highly self-possessed, utterly unpretentious tall, red-haired singer-songwriter who has wowed ‘em several times at SOhO before. WHEN: 8 pm, WHERE: Lobero Theatre, 33 W. Canon Perdido St., COST: $39.50 advance, $42.50 at the door, INFO: 963-0761.

Westmont Christmas Festival – The Montecito college stages its second annual event both on campus (on Dec. 8) and downtown tonight, with the theme “My Soul Magnifies the Lord.” Performances combine music, visual arts, theater and dance and feature the Westmont Orchestra, several different ensembles, five choirs, the Westmont Windancers and oral interpretations by theater majors, all in service of telling the Christmas story in a different light. Nelson Huber, music director on site at First Presbyterian Church, serves as guest organist tonight. WHEN: 8 pm, WHERE: State & Constance streets, COST: free, reservations required, INFO: 565-7234.

Carp-WINTER-ia – Our neighbor city to the south hosts a holiday arts and crafts celebration featuring vendors, craft classes for both adults and children, music and much more. Proceeds benefit the Carpinteria Arts Center, a non-profit dedicated to promoting arts in the city. WHEN: 9 am to 4 pm, WHERE: 855 Linden Ave., INFO: 684-7789 or www.artscarp.org.

Sunday, December 10

‘Nutcracker’ alternative – While virtually every ballet school in town primps up its snowflakes and Chinese acrobats for annual productions of the “Nutcracker,” Montecito School of Ballet presents its 16th yearly holiday show – “The Night Before Christmas.” Guest artists from UCSB’s Santa Barbara Dance Theatre and dancers from the community join the school’s dancers to perform the work based on the famous poem, including live narration by Steve Sherrill. See toys come to life and even a visit from Santa and his reindeer. Also on the bill: “Les Patineurs (The Skaters),” inspired by the famous ballet choreographed by Frederick Ashton for the Royal Ballet of England. WHEN: 2:30 pm, WHERE: Lobero Theatre, 33 W. Canon Perdido St., COST: $22.50, students/seniors $18, children $16, INFO: 963-0761.

One-man show – Henry Brown plays Billy Lee, the slave who served as George Washington’s valet and perhaps closest companion, in this brand new play by local author Len Lamensdorf. Co-sponsored by CALM, the evening serves as the world premiere of the work-in-progress and both Brown and Lamensdorf will stay for audience feedback after the show. (See “On Stage” on page 49 for an interview with Lamensdorf.) WHEN: 2:30 pm, WHERE: Fess Parker DoubleTree Resort, 633 E. Cabrillo Blvd., COST: $15 advance, $20 at the door, INFO: (800) 929-2906.

Barbershop Christmas – Pacific Sound, the champion local singing group comprised of several harmony quartets and chorus, presents a holiday concert featuring both sacred and secular music. WHEN: 3 pm, WHERE: Unitarian Society, 1535 Santa Barbara St., COST: $15, seniors and children $12, INFO: (800) 353-1393.

Song Tree Xmas – Celtic harpist Patrick Ball is a captivating storyteller as well as a superb musician who delivers pure melodies on his wire-strung Celtic harp, which he often plays in the style of famed Irish composer Turlough O’Carolan. In a return visit to the Song Tree series, Ball performs “The Christmas Rose,” which incorporates spoken word – from Shakespeare and Yeats, to Hardy and folk tales – along with seasonal music. WHEN: 3:30 pm, WHERE: Live Oak Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 820 N. Fairview, Goleta, COST: $15, INFO: 403-2639.

Parade of Lights – “Coming of Age!” is this year’s celebration theme for the 21st annual Santa Barbara Parade of Lights on the waterfront. Up to 35 boats adorned in colorful lights and Christmas decorations parade from the Harbor out to East Beach and then along the beachfront back to the end of Stearns Wharf. Santa’s Village (3 pm to 5 pm) takes place before the parade at the harbor pier (near Brophy’s), with 12 tons of snow, holiday carolers and special treats from Santa Barbara Maritime Museum and Ty Warner Sea Center. Fireworks shot from West Beach light up the harbor and city at the end of the parade. WHEN: 5:30 pm to 7:15 pm, COST: free, INFO: 897-1962.

Ocean view – Get a different perspective on the Parade of Lights as Sunset Kidd offers a special three-hour sunset cruise tonight. Avoid the crowds and watch the sun set into the blue Pacific and then turn the other way for the beginning of the electrical parade followed by fireworks before returning to the harbor. WHEN: 4:30 pm to 7:30 pm, WHERE: The Harbor, COST: $50, INFO: 962-8222.

Christmas Cabaret – Center Stage Theater hosts its own benefit holiday celebration featuring traditional music, mulled wine, carolers and more unusual seasonal entertainment, including holiday storytelling by George Backman, Christina Allison and John Knox-Johnston, and the world premiere of "The Five Minute Nutcracker." The evening will also serve as a sentimental tribute to Center Stage Executive Director Mary MacRae, who is leaving after 10 years at the helm. WHEN: 6:30 pm, WHERE: 751 Paseo Nuevo (Chapala @ De la Guerra upstairs), COST: $50, INFO: 963-0408.

Monday, December 11

Funky Christmas – The Los Angeles-based collective known as Ozomatli intentionally defies categorization, as its members comes from Afro-Cuban, Latin, hip-hop, R&B, reggae, world music and other backgrounds. But put them all together and you have an infectious funky urban brew that has set Lobero audiences to dancing on several previous occasions. WHEN: 8 pm, WHERE: 33 W. Canon Perdido St., COST: $29, INFO: 963-0761.

Tuesday, December 12

In chambers – No special guests this concert as the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra spotlights itself with a melody-filled program featuring Grieg’s “Holberg Suite,” Op. 40; Beethoven’s Fugue: Allegro Molto from String Quartet in C Major, Op. 59, No. 3 (“Razumovsky”) and his Symphony No. 6, Op. 68 in F Major (“Pastoral”). The pre-concert Supper Club was a big successful in its debut on Halloween, so once again ticket holders can enjoy a buffet dinner including wine from Touring & Tasting magazine served on the patio behind the theater, this time catered by Fresco! WHEN: 7:30 pm, (dinner at 6 pm), WHERE: Lobero Theatre, 33 W. Canon Perdido St., COST: $37.50 & $42.50 (dinner $30), INFO: 963-0761.

Wednesday, December 13

Music in the morning – Santa Barbara Music Club pulls out the stops for this edition of the concert series, with Camerata Pacifica founder and director Adrian Spence wielding his flute and joining distinguished local organist Mahlon Balderston and pianist Rosa Logiudice in a program of Bach, Mozart and an original piece by Balderston. WHEN: 11 am, WHERE: Unitarian Society, 1535 Santa Barbara St., COST: free, INFO: 683-0811 or www.sbmusicclub.org.

Ho! Ho! Hoey Christmas – Surf music-meister Gary Hoey brings his popular holiday show to SOhO for the first time. Hoey will lend his take-no-prisoners guitar attack to his own original material as well as surf classics and, of course, Christmas songs, including “Mean One Mr. Grinch,” “Jingle Bell Rock” and “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.” WHEN: 9 pm, WHERE: 1221 State St., upstairs in Victoria Court, COST: $15 ($3 discount with dinner), INFO: 962-7776.

Thursday, December 14

Theatrical Treats – The lunchtime semi-staged play-reading series finishes up the 2006 season with “Power Plays,” featuring a pair of witty, inventive one-act comedies. If Alan Arkin’s surreal “Virtual Reality” and Elaine May’s personality-switching “The Way of All Fish” don’t raise your holiday spirits, you might want to check your pulse. WHEN: 1 pm (free buffet lunch at 12:15 pm), WHERE: Victoria Hall, 33 W. Victoria St., COST: $25, seniors $20, INFO: (800) 494-8497, or www.boxofficetickets.com.

Holiday gala – Kids Helping Kids, a non-profit run entirely by seniors at San Marcos High School, hosts a gala event to benefit the Unity Shoppe, which aids low-income families with needed staples throughout the year. Enjoy a three-course dinner, entertainment, a raffle and live and silent auctions. WHEN: 6 pm to 9 pm, WHERE: Fess Parker DoubleTree Resort, 633 E. Cabrillo Blvd., COST: $50, or only $5 without dinner, INFO: 455-0055 or 452-2157 or www.mvpstudents.com.