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 outdoor ice as the Earl Warren Showgrounds turns into a West Coast version of Rockefeller Center. The Winter Wonderland village that surrounds the temporary, 2,400-square-foot rink includes several booths and areas that will host visits from Santa, live entertainment, shopping for retail gift and hand-crafted holiday items and more. While the rink is reserved for private parties, lessons and corporate events during mornings, skaters are welcome daily in the afternoon. WHEN: 3 pm to 10 pm, Dec. 14-15, and noon to 10 pm, Dec. 16-24, WHERE: Las Positas and Calle Real, COST: $10 (includes skate rental), free parking, INFO: 879-8337.

Kids draw architecture – Check out youngsters’ renditions of the historic Santa Barbara County Courthouse and the Santa Barbara Presidio, this year’s assignment in the annual program where children work with area architects and design professionals in outdoor drawing sessions to complete their works. The kids also took on the Santiago Calatrava exhibit at UCSB Art Gallery. Samples have also been collected into a 2007 calendar, now on sale. WHEN: Through Dec. 28, WHERE: Architectural Foundation of Santa Barbara Gallery, 229 E. Victoria St., COST: free, INFO: 965-6307.

Going ‘Green’ – Only a few days left to see Broadway veteran Ben Hammer and his partner Aaron Serotsky, who are reprising their award-winning roles in “Visiting Mr. Green,” the 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. WHEN: 8 pm nightly, and 2 pm & 7 pm Sunday through Dec. 17, WHERE: Ensemble Theatre, 914 State St., COST: $25-$37 (discounts for students, seniors and groups), INFO: 962-8606 or

Moto-photo – It’s a new show of work by veteran motorsports photographer Jesse Alexander – who also takes the shots for the Lucky’s ads that adorn our back cover. The pieces are drawn from his book, “Porsche Moments – Photographs from Europe and Mexico, 1953-1962.” WHEN: through Dec. 30, WHERE: Samy’s Camera., 218 Chapala St., COST: free, INFO: 963-7269.

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” – both of which turn ordinary situations into outrageously surprising directions – 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

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

Friday, December 15

Holiday hi-jinx – The newly remodeled Timbers Supper Club launches a new cabaret program with the Silver Follies Holiday Revue, featuring the Razzle Dazzle dancers, barbershop quartets and big band singers in a truly ’40s-style dinner show. (See “South Coasting” column on page 33 for a feature story.) WHEN: 8 pm tonight and Dec. 22-23, WHERE: 10 Winchester Canyon, Goleta, COST: $45 general, $35 seniors, $25 children, INFO: 968-2222.

Saturday, December 16

Winter FUNderland – Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! OK, here in Santa Barbara it’s more like “Make it snow.” There will be tons of the white stuff for the kids to enjoy as Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History creates a snow mound and hosts guests Santa, Frosty the Snowman and more. Also enjoy winter crafts, stories, a magical planetarium show called “Santa’s Starry Ride,” plus “Zoo To You,” where you can meet gentle reindeer and other winter animals. Coffee, hot chocolate and cookies served throughout the day. WHEN: 10 am to 5 pm, WHERE: 2559 Puesta del Sol Rd., COST: free with admission ($8 general, $7 teens/seniors, $5 children under 12) except Zoo To You $3 ($1 members), INFO: 682-4711.

Tuba Christmas – Want your Christmas carols bold and brassy? Don’t miss this 40-plus member brass ensemble that spans generations and styles performing traditional holiday songs and carols for a noontime shopping break. WHEN: noon, WHERE: Storke Placita, 700 block of State St. (connects to De la Guerra Plaza), COST: free, INFO: 962-2098 ext. 22.

Hindustani classical music concert – Pandit Vikash Maharaj, who plays the sarod, and his son, Prabhash Maharaj, a tabla player, hail from a family of musicians dating back 15 generations. On a tour that includes stops at Esalen in Big Sur, the pair is performing in concert right here in Santa Barbara in the very intimate space of the Golden Tree Yoga Center. WHEN: 2 pm, WHERE: 608 Anacapa St., COST: $15, INFO: 569-5964.

Yuletide re-creation – Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation presents the 16th annual celebration of Una Noche de Las Posadas, a time-honored reenactment of Joseph and Mary’s search for lodging in Bethlehem. Father Virgil Cordano of the Mission opens the evening with traditional Spanish songs, followed by a procession across State Street through Paseo Nuevo mall and into De la Guerra Plaza, ending at Casa de la Guerra, where there will be more singing, traditional refreshments and a piñata for the children. The event was a staple of early California and is still observed in Mexico. WHEN: 6 pm to 9 pm, WHERE: El Presidio Chapel, 123 E. Canon Perdido St., COST: free, INFO:

Quire of Voyces – This all-volunteer but highly-professional group, comprised of singers from the Central Coast and conducted by Santa Barbara City College’s director of choral and vocal activities, Nathan J. Kreitzer, performs its annual holiday concerts. “The Mysteries of Christmas,” consisting of sacred choral music from the Renaissance through the 20th century, brings musical spirituality to the season. WHEN: 7 pm tonight, 3 pm tomorrow, WHERE: St. Anthony’s Seminar, 2300 Garden St., COST: $15, students $10, INFO: 965-5935.

Candlelight concert – Santa Barbara Children’s Chorus presents “Holiday Lights,” featuring an array of season music sung in various languages. The concert will also feature the debut of the chorus’s new high school Chamber Choir plus Cantabile, the advanced treble choir, and the younger children’s choir. WHEN: 7 pm, WHERE: First Presbyterian Church, State & Constance streets, COST: $15 general, children 16 and under free, INFO: 563-7464 or

Heart of Christmas – Local singer-songwriter Shawn Thies is the headliner at this third annual concert of featuring original music drawn from her CD, “New Beginnings at Christmas,” and an array of Christmas carols and songs from around the world. Thies is ably aided by a bevy of local musicians, including Randy Tico, John O’Connor, Lorenzo Martinez, Tom Lackner, Brendan Statom, Patrick Milliken, plus guest artists Himalayan flutist Manose and violinist Benedikt Brydern. WHEN: 7:30 pm, WHERE: Unitarian Society, 1535 Santa Barbara St., COST: $25, students and Unitarian Society members $20, children 12 and under $15, INFO: 966-3113 or

Tinsel-Town toys – State Street Ballet presents its now annual twist on an old chestnut, setting Tchaikovsky “Nutcracker” in Hollywood during the 1930s golden era. The ballet preserves the traditional tale of love, fantasy and family while adding movieland glamour, Art Deco sets and exciting masks to the show. Terez Dean, in her second season with the ballet company, dances the role of Clara this time around, former Houston Ballet member Ryan Camou portrays Drosselmeyer, company newcomer Raydel Caceres plays the Nutcracker Prince, and five-year company veteran Alyson Mattoon dances the Sugar Plum Fairy. And don’t forget the Sugar Plum Party, which takes place after the Sunday matinee, when young guests can meet the dancers in costume, and enjoy magician performances and holiday refreshments. WHEN: 8 pm tonight, 2 pm tomorrow, WHERE: Lobero Theatre, 33 W. Canon Perdido St., COST: $24-$44 general, $20-$38 seniors and students, $12 children under 12, INFO: 963-0761 or

Sunday, December 17

Advent organ series – Local pianist Emma Lou Diemer showcases her own compositions in the regular concert series at Trinity Episcopal Church. WHEN: 3:30 pm, WHERE: 1500 State St. (at Micheltorena), COST: free, INFO: 965-7419 or 687-0189 or

Master Chorale – Phillip McLendon conducts the choral ensemble in its annual holiday concert, carol sing-a-long and Christmas party. WHEN: 7 pm, WHERE: Unitarian Society, 1535 Santa Barbara St., COST: $15 INFO: 967-8287 or

Jazzy Woody – Woody Allen, one of filmdom’s last surviving great auteurs, makes a rare appearance outside of Manhattan. But don’t expect the writer-director to perform stand-up or chat with the audience about the making of “Annie Hall.” He’s here to play with his New Orleans Jazz Band, the same group he’s performed with in New York virtually every Monday night for 30 years. Still, the Wood-man is a pretty mean clarinetist, and this is the band’s first North American tour ever, only visiting 13 cities in California and Florida. WHEN: 8 pm, WHERE: Lobero Theatre, 33 W. Canon Perdido St., COST: $125 (patrons $250, includes pre-show dinner at the Palace Grill), INFO: 963-0761.

Christmas in Venice – Make that Venice in Santa Barbara. The vocal pop group, led by the younger brothers and cousins of the Andrews Sisters, continues its annual holiday tradition with a concert full of season songs and light favorites, all sprinkled with sweet harmonies. WHEN: 8 pm, WHERE: 1221 State St., upstairs in Victoria Court, COST: $20, INFO: 962-7776.

Monday, December 18

Rickie’s number – Was it really 27 years ago that Rickie Lee Jones slinked her way onto the singer-songwriter scene with such sinewy, sensuous songs as “Chuck E.’s in Love,” “Last Chance Texaco” and “Coolesville?” Once touted as the new Joni Mitchell, over the years Jones has created a similarly idiosyncratic career filled with occasional bursts of commercial viability tempered by more frequent creative forays that defy classification. Now 52, Jones still caters to her cult via the club circuit, wrapping her smoky, ’40s-era vocals around piano-based songs that demand attention, including tonight’s repeat appearance at SOhO. WHEN: 8 pm, WHERE: 1221 State St., upstairs in Victoria Court, COST: $45 ($10 discount with dinner), INFO: 962-7776.

Thursday, December 21

Solstice celebration – No, not the city’s zany parade and park party – it’s the other solstice, the winter one, getting feted here by Santa Barbara’s mystical ensemble Dreamtime Continuum and friends. Singing, dancing and trancing are the order of the evening, as leader Sudama (aka Mark Kennedy) takes listeners to the place between mind and body. WHEN: 7 pm (dinner music), 8:30 pm show, WHERE: 1221 State St., upstairs in Victoria Court, COST: $10, INFO: 962-7776.

Blind ambition – The Blind Boys of Alabama have been performing their winning brand of gospel singing for about 67 years now, ever since coming together when they really were boys at a school for the blind back in 1939. Hear the veterans belt it out at their third annual Christmas concert tonight, and see “On the Beat” on page 32 for an interview with Jimmy Carter, one of two founding members still with the group. WHEN: 8 pm, WHERE: Marjorie Luke Theatre at Santa Barbara Junior High, 721 E. Cota St., COST: $35, INFO: 969-8787.