‘Dublin’ in SB – Ensemble Theatre Co., presents “Dublin Carol,” a bittersweet tale of retrospection and redemption by contemporary Irish playwright Conor McPherson. The time is Christmas Eve, and undertaker John Plunkett is taking stock of his life, revisiting lost opportunities and a disastrous past, with one last chance to make it right via his relationship with Mark, a 20-year-old office boy, and a surprise visit by Mary, a daughter he has not seen in years. Jenny Sullivan, artistic associate at the Rubicon Theater Company, directs, in her ETC debut. WHEN: 8 pm Tuesday through Saturday and 2 pm and 7 pm Sunday through May 7, WHERE: 914 State Street, COST: $25-$37, discounts for students, seniors and groups of 10, INFO: 962-8606 or

Seaside’s ‘Seek’ – Seaside Theatre presents “Hide and Seek,” by Lezley Havard, directed by Penny Luise. The suspenseful play takes place in an old abandoned farmhouse that seems to be resisting restoration by its new owners, a young couple expecting their first child. WHEN: 8 pm Friday and Saturday, 3 pm Sunday, closes April 19, WHERE: Theatre Mollie Barbie @ Girls, Inc., 5315 Foothill Road, Carpinteria, COST: call, INFO: 684-0380.

Orphans of song – Fall in love with Oliver and the Artful Dodger and hiss at Fagen all over again when PCPA Theaterfest takes on the classic Dickens-via-Bart family musical “Oliver!” The memorable score includes the songs “Food, Glorious Food,” “Where is Love?” “Consider Yourself” and “I’d Do Anything.” WHEN: Thru May 14, WHERE: Allan Hancock College, 800 South College Drive, Santa Maria, COST: $18.75-$27.25; discounts available for students, seniors and children and subscribers, INFO: 922-8313.

War photography – UCSB’s University Art Museum presents an exhibition of photographs by Dan Eldon, a photojournalist who was stoned to death at age 22 by an angry village mob reacting to a bombing raid. Special event this week: a screening of “Dying to Tell the Story,” a Turner Original documentary about journalists who risk their lives to cover war zones, hosted by filmmaker Amy Eldon, Dan’s sister (6 pm to 8:30 pm at Isla Vista Theatre, 960 Embarcadero del Norte, Isla Vista), WHEN: Through May 14, WHERE: UCSB Campus, COST: free, INFO: 893-7564 or

Thursday, April 20

Not guilty ‘Gang’ – The stories of men whose wrongful convictions and even death row sentences have been overturned has rocked the nation in recent years. Now actor and director Tim Robbins’s Los Angeles-based troupe, The Actors’ Gang, brings the true-life horrors to the dramatic stage in “The Exonerated,” which was a hit in a recent off-Broadway run. Stay after the show for a meet-the-artists discussion. (On May 11, UCSB presents a similar-themed documentary film, “After Innocence,” followed by a discussion with the film’s director and one of the exonerated men.) WHEN: 8 pm, WHERE: UCSB Campbell Hall, COST: $40, INFO: 893-3535.

SBT’s ‘String’ – Santa Barbara Theater Co., closes out its debut season with “String of Pearls,” a comedy-drama featuring four actresses portraying 27 women whose lives are changed by contact with a string of pearls. SBT co-artistic director Stephen Sachs directed this West Coast Premiere production of the Michele Lowe work to a recently concluded critically and commercially successful run in Los Angeles. WHEN: Previews 8 pm tonight, opens 8 pm tomorrow, plays 8 pm Thursday thru Saturday and 2 pm and 7 pm Sundays through May 7 (No 7 pm on April 23), WHERE: Center Stage Theater, upstairs in Paseo Nuevo Mall, Chapala Street and Canon Perdido Street, COST: $32.50-$39.50, discounts for students/seniors, INFO: 963-7282 or

Friday, April 21

Wine & Design – The Opportunity Shop partners with Cox Media’s “Cooking Local” for this unique and trendy benefit event. The TV show’s Jeanne Bergh hosts an evening boasting Santa Barbara interior designers showcasing their latest tricks of the trade, plus chefs and wineries from the show offering victuals and wine tasting from some of the area’s finest restaurants and vineyards, including the Bacara, Elements and Rodney’s. VIP reception includes exclusive access to the chefs and designers. Proceeds benefit the Work Training Program. WHEN: 6 pm to 8 pm (VIP 4:30 pm), WHERE: 127 West Canon Perdido Street, COST: $35 (VIP $50), INFO: 966-3310 ext. 11.

‘Spring’ dance – What better time than mid-April for Santa Barbara Dance Theater’s production of “Rite of Spring,” with the primitive sacrificial tale reinterpreted by director Jerry Pearson to reflect modern times. Also on the program: Pearson’s “Artifice” (2001), and San Francisco choreographer Ben Levy’s “Holding Pattern” (2004). WHEN: 8 pm, WHERE: Lobero Theatre, 33 East Canon Perdido Street, COST: $27, students/seniors $13, INFO: 963-0761.

Saturday, April 22

Wheels & Waves – The 8th annual classic car, hot rod and motorcycle show takes over State Street all day, complete with music on three stages, food booths, and, of course, all those way cool vehicles you can see up close. WHEN: 9 am to 4 pm, WHERE: State Street from Gutierrez to Micheltorena, COST: free, INFO: 683-3869 or 705-2421.

Founding Day – Living history demonstrations, traditional dances, Earth Day pottery-work and adobe brick-making, plus kids activities including the opportunity to make architectural drawings, are all part of the city’s annual celebration of its birth. WHEN: 11 am to 3 pm, WHERE: 123 East Canon Perdido Street, COST: free (BBQ lunch available for $5), INFO: 965-0093.

God as a woman – Local artist Pat Fulmer stages a one-woman show entitled “Images of the Divine Feminine.” The premise for the work is that the supreme deity was considered to be a woman for nearly 30,000 years before 3,000 BC, a fact that the artist claims “changed the course of her life and art.” WHEN: Artist reception 2 pm to 5 pm today; exhibit continues through June 30, WHERE: Karpeles Museum, 21 West Anapamu Street, COST: free, INFO: 965-4418.

Sunday, April 23

Dance day – The annual event sponsored by the Santa Barbara Dance Alliance allows you to sample multiple classes each hour from 10 am to 3 pm at a variety of dance studios and locations all over town. The best part: admission is only $1 per class. Get a full schedule at

Earth Day – This annual national day to celebrate our home planet was born right here in Santa Barbara in the wake of the oil spill of 1969. Nowadays, the local festivities sponsored by the Community Environmental Council include a bevy of entertainment from concerts (on a solar-powered stage) to a Green Car show, free bicycle check-ups and more than 100 exhibitors discussing everything from wind power to “Buying Green,” natural pet care, sustainable gardening and more. WHEN: 10 am to 5:30 pm, WHERE: Courthouse Sunken Gardens, 100 East Anapamu Street, COST: free, INFO: 963-0583 or

Bard’s birthday bash – Santa Barbara Museum of Art invites you to celebrate Shakespeare’s birthday and April as Poetry Month via an informal reading under the direction of Santa Barbara Poet Laureate Barry Spacks. Ten area poets will read from their work in response to paintings from the current exhibit “Renaissance to Rococo: Masterpieces from the Collection of the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art,” which dates from the same period as Shakespeare’s poetry. WHEN: 1 pm to 3 pm, WHERE: 1130 State Street, COST: free, INFO: 884-6432.

‘Deeper Vision’ – Fifteen local artists who are either blind or visually impaired come together for a one-day art show featuring more than 50 oils, ceramics, woven baskets, textiles and work in other media. The Santa Barbara Friends of Guide Dogs for the Blind, the show’s sponsor, will also include a guide dog trainer (with new pups), music from pianist Gil Rosas, and a silent auction of the work, with proceeds earmarked for the guide dog programs. WHEN: 3 pm to 6 pm, WHERE: University Club, 1332 Santa Barbara Street, COST: $60, INFO: 682-0244 or (800) 295-4050.

Voluptuous viola – UCSB professor Helen Callus inaugurates a new chamber music initiative with the program “Chiaroscuro: Music of the Heart” at the Lobero. Visiting pianist Robert Koenig and UCSB flutist Jill Felber accompany Callus in a program filled with a dizzying variety of dazzling settings, from Schumann’s “Adagio and Allegro” and Prokofiev’s “Romeo and Juliet Suite” to Rebecca Clarke’s “Lullaby” and Frank Bridge’s “Appassionata.” WHEN: 3 pm, WHERE: Lobero Theatre, 33 East Canon Perdido Street, COST: $15, students $10, INFO: 963-0761 or 893-7001.

Monday, April 24

Record-a-Thon – You can volunteer to read books alongside celebrities or colleagues during the Recording For the Blind & Dyslexic 11th annual Record-a-Thon. Individuals, groups and businesses are welcome to call ahead to schedule an appointment (as little as 30 minutes suffices) to contribute to “learning through listening” at the Santa Barbara chapter of RDBD, which is headed up by former NPR newsman Tim Owens. WHEN: Today through April 29, WHERE: 5638 Hollister Avenue, Suite 210, INFO: 681-0531 or

All in the family – Speaking of Stories hits close to home with its latest installment featuring stories about families – read by folks who are related, too. Irwin Appel, UCSB professor and an actor and director, reads “Chablis” by Donald Barthelme, followed by his sister, local actress Susan Appel, who takes on David Sedaris’s “Let It Snow.” Then they team up to tackle Katherine Mansfield’s “The Garden Party,” followed by Saral Burdette reading her own “But I Can’t Swim.” WHEN: 7:30 pm, WHERE: Lobero Theatre, 33 East Canon Perdido Street, COST: $13-$30, INFO: 963-0761.

Wednesday, April 26

SB Fair & Expo – “The Sky’s the Limit” is the theme as the 17th annual city fair takes over Earl Warren Showgrounds with a full schedule including adult and 4-H horticultural exhibitor displays, livestock competitions, local foot and beer contests, concerts and other entertainment, and educational exhibits galore. And, oh yeah, the carnival, which is being produced by industry giant Butler Amusements for the first time in years, and features more than 30 rides, including a 100-foot Ferris wheel, Fireball, Spin Out, Flying Bobs, Crazy Train, Wave Swinger and the computerized Pole Position Giant Spinning Coaster. WHEN: 4 pm to 9 pm today and tomorrow, 4 pm to 10 pm Friday, 11 am to 10 pm Saturday and 11 am to 9 pm Sunday (Carnival open to 10 pm weekdays, midnight on Friday through Saturday), WHERE: Earl Warren Showgrounds, 3400 Calle Real (at Las Positas Road), COST: $6, seniors $4, children (6-12) $3 INFO: 687-0766 or

PTDC at UCSB – Hard to believe, but it’s been more than 50 years since Paul Taylor first formed his own dance company and began a career that has thrilled audiences across more than 60 countries. The second half-century of one of the giants of modern dance (he belongs up there with Martha Taylor and Merce Cunningham) continues at UCSB with a series of classic and more recent work, including 1979s “Nightshade,” 2002’s “Promethean Fire” and “Spring Rounds,” which premiered less than a year ago. Stay afterwards for a meet-the-artist discussion. Also, members of the company teach a masterclass at the Santa Barbara Ballet Center on April 25 (7:30 pm, $15 or $5 to observe; 966-6950). WHEN: 8 pm, WHERE: UCSB Campbell Hall, COST: $40, INFO: 893-3535.

Whatever ‘Lola’ wants – Don’t confuse the title character of SBCC’s “Lola Goes to Roma” with the temptress in “Damn Yankees.” This one is the recently widowed mother of a brainy, Ph.D. post-doc who tags along with her daughter on a celebratory tour of Europe. What results is a series of hi-jinx adventures, non-academic learning experiences, and a revealing of family secrets and deepening of bonds that has been described as a flirty adult comedy with a distinctly Latin flair from the author of “Real Women Have Curves.” WHEN: Previews 8 pm tonight and tomorrow, opens 8 pm Friday and continues 8 pm Wednesday thru Saturday and 2 pm Saturday thru Sunday (no performance 2 pm April 29), plus 8 pm Tuesday May 9; ends May 13, WHERE: Jurkowitz Theatre, SBCC West Campus, 800 block of Cliff Drive, COST: $19-$21, discounts for seniors and students, INFO: 965-5935.

Thursday, April 27

‘Time’ and again – Montecito actor Ben Bottoms stars in “All in the Timing,” David Ives’s sophisticated and hilarious series of wacky vignettes examining the foibles of modern life. Five actors explore such subjects as the do’s and don’t’s of dating, missed connections, and the need for a universal language in this joint production of Rubicon and the Ensemble Theatre Companies, which hosted the production last year. WHEN: Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 pm, plus matinee on Saturday and Sunday at 2 pm; ends May 21, WHERE: Laurel Theatre, 1106 East Main Street, Ventura, COST: $25-$49, discounts for students/seniors, INFO: 667-2900.

Friday, April 28

Nobel laureate – Wangari Mathai, the 2004 Peace Prize winner and the first African woman to receive the honor, talks about “Sustainable Development, Democracy, and Peace.” Kenyan Mathai, who strives for human rights and environmental justice, established the Pan African Green Belt Network, which has led to the planting of more than 30 million trees in her native country. WHEN: 7 pm, WHERE: UCSB Campbell Hall, COST: $15, INFO: 893-3535.

Swing & Salsa Ball – Santa Barbara Dance Alliance (the folks who brought you BASSH) and the City of Santa Barbara’s Teen Program team up for this two-night dance party geared especially toward teens. Tonight’s workshop includes one-hour workshops for beginning, intermediate and advanced swing and salsa dancers followed by a one-hour practice session. Tomorrow’s dance features Latin band Songon with DJ Mike Loeza and special performances by professional swing and salsa dancers. WHEN: 7 pm to 11 pm tonight, 7:30 pm to midnight tomorrow, WHERE: Carrillo Recreation Center, 100 East Carrillo Street, COST: $15 tonight (teens free Fri only), $15 tomorrow ($25 for both nights), INFO: 897-2650.

Saturday, April 29

Sea Festival – The era of the tall ships comes back to life at the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum’s annual event celebrating the ocean. Performers in period costumes host visitors to the 18th century, 118-foot “Spirit of Dana Point,” while other activities include a remotely operated vehicle (ROV), storytelling, crafts, a touch tank, early California dancers and more. Sunset sails aboard the ship are available each night at 5 pm ($40, or $19 for children 5-12). WHEN: 10 am to 4 pm today and tomorrow, WHERE: Santa Barbara Maritime Museum, 113 Harbor Way, COST: $6, seniors/students/youth $5, ages 1-5 $1, INFO: 962-8404.

Ballet dons ‘Don’ – Santa Barbara Festival Ballet performs “Don Quixote,” choreographed by Petina and set to the music of Minkus with comedic dancing, costumes from the Bolshoi Ballet and Russian guest artists. WHEN: 2 pm and 7 pm, WHERE: Lobero Theatre, 33 East Canon Perdido Street, COST: $15-35, discounts for students/seniors/children, INFO: 963-0761.

Shooting victims benefit – Former Montecito resident Crosby Loggins and his band The Leadbirds headline tonight’s benefit concert for the victims of the Goleta postal shooting earlier this year. Seattle-based The Lonely Forest and local rocker Jade Redd will also perform, with the proceeds earmarked for the victim’s families and children. WHEN: 7:30 pm, WHERE: Marjorie Luke Theatre at Santa Barbara Junior High School, 721 East Cota Street, COST: $25 ($50 includes post-show reception at the Doubletree Resort), INFO: 963-0761.

Sunday, April 30

Classical jazz – The annual gala benefit for the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra known as “Starry, Starry Night” takes a downbeat turn this year, but it’s nothing to be depressed about. Longtime SBCO violinist Sally Barr, who also dabbles as a jazz singer, has put together a jazz combo including several colleagues from SBCO plus a few local jazz musicians for an evening of swing, standards, ballads and more from the Great American Songbook. As usual, the event features a sumptuous dinner before the concert. WHEN: 6 pm (concert at 8 pm), WHERE: Lobero Theatre, 33 East Canon Perdido Street, COST: $250 (concert only $30), INFO: 966-2441.

Monday, May 1

Inside Jane – Few Americans have enjoyed the rich variety of life experiences Jane Fonda can claim. From Academy Award-winning actress (“Klute”) daughter of an acting legend, to controversial activist (who can forget her trip to Hanoi during the Vietnam War?), to best-selling aerobics instructor (“Jane Fonda’s Workout”) to a self-imposed exile as the wife of media mogul Ted Turner – Fonda candidly chronicled her past in last year’s memoir, “My Life So Far.” Fonda will delve into those memories in intimate details live at UCSB just as the book is being released in paperback. WHEN: 8 pm, WHERE: UCSB Campbell Hall, COST: $10, INFO: 893-3535.

Wednesday, May 3

Steppin’ it up – The Capitol Steps musical comedy troupe has been regaling audiences across the U.S. for a quarter century, including nearly a decade of annual gigs at the Lobero. From Reagan to Bush II, they’ve skewered ‘em all, turning popular songs into political parodies replete with costumes and more, including such recent songs as “Bomb Iran” (“Barbara Ann”) and “Pakistani Bang Bang” (“Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”). The 25th anniversary tour alights in town for a two-night stay. WHEN: 8 pm tonight and tomorrow. (See separate story in “On Stage” on page 56) WHERE: Lobero Theatre, 33 East Canon Perdido Street, COST: $27.50-$37.50 (patrons $60), INFO: 963-0761.

Angelou at Arlington – Maya Angelou, former poet laureate of the U.S. under President Clinton, returns to town for an unusual speaking engagement sponsored by Unique Lives & Experiences, a North American women’s lecture series. Angelou – a poet, playwright, producer, actress, social activist and more – has also won three Grammys. WHEN: 7:30 pm, WHERE: Arlington Theatre, 1319 State Street, COST: $72.50, INFO: 963-4408.