Last weekend for ‘Ambition’ – The sweeping drama “Ambition Facing West” spans more than 70 years in the lives of a single family, tracing three generations of youngsters as their dreams of freedom and fulfillment send them away from family and home. The locale changes from Croatia to Wyoming to Japan in this play examining the immigrant experience with both humor and heart. SBCC is presenting the West Coast premiere of the 1997 play by Anthony Clarvoe. WHEN: 8 pm Thursday thru Saturday, 2 pm Sundays through March 24, WHERE: Garvin Theatre on SBCC’s West Campus, 800 Cliff Dr., COST: $19-$21 (discounts for students, seniors and groups; previews $14), INFO: 965-5935.

Tamayo at SBMOA – Santa Barbara Museum of Art is serving as lead organizer of a new international exhibition of the works of Mexican artist Rufino Tamayo. “Tamayo: A Modern Icon Reinterpreted” is the first major exhibit of Tamayo’s work in the United States in more than 27 years, and features more than 100 paintings and portable murals amassed from public and private collections around the world. Dubbed “The Fourth Great One” in his native Mexico, Tamayo’s works conjure familiar images of the country, including the colors, textures, culture – particularly in his numerous renditions of Mexico’s traditional marketplaces replete with flowers, tropical fruit and native folk art. The exhibit travels to museums in Florida and Mexico City after its inaugural run here. WHEN: 11 am to 5 pm Tuesdays-Sundays, through May 27, WHERE: 1130 State St., COST: $9 (discounts for seniors, students and children; free every Sunday), INFO: 963-4364.

Farce by the sea – It sounds like a caper by the Goleta slough, but “Dogsbreath Devereaux, The Dastardly Doctor or Nurses! Foiled Again!” is merely the whimsical title for Seaside Theatre's first production of 2007. The plot, such as it is, finds the evil M.D. planning to wed and do away with the wealthy widow Lotta Cash so he can inherit her fortune – and her late husband¹s clinic. Feel free to cheer and boo at will: with characters named Nurse Ivy Dripp and Dr. Phil Good, you know this ain’t a serious drama! WHEN: Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm, Sundays at 3 pm, through April 1 WHERE: Theatre Molly Barbey, at Girls Inc., 5315 Foothill Rd., Carpinteria, COST: $12, students/seniors $10, children under 12 $5 INFO: 684-6380 or

Brooks alums exhibit – Five recent alumni of Brooks Institute of Photography have been invited to display their fine art photography at the school’s Cota Street Campus & Gallery. More than 50 images from the recent graduates will be on display, each with a different style and vision unique to the artist’s craft, including Big Sur photographer Kodiak Greenwood’s shots of the West Coast scenery, and Chris Buckpitt’s photos that capture the essence of people. WHEN: 8 am to 9 pm weekdays, 10 am to 9 pm weekends, through March 31, WHERE: 27 E. Cota St., COST: free, INFO: 690-4913.

Updated ‘Anne’ – After two recent world premieres, Rubicon Theater Company’s current production returns to the traditional, albeit with a new twist. Based on the true story of a young Jewish girl’s writings while hiding in her father’s office during the Nazi occupation of Amsterdam, “The Diary of Anne Frank” chronicles just about every human emotion and has become a dramatic favorite. RTC will stage a recent adaptation by Wendy Kesselman, based on the 1955 Pulitzer Prize winning play by Goodrich and Hackett, and including new passages from Anne’s writings. WHEN: Wednesdays at 2 pm & 7 pm, Thursdays and Fridays at 8 pm, Saturdays at 2 pm & 8 pm, and Sundays at 2 pm; ends April 1, WHERE: Laurel Theater, 1106 E. Main St., Ventura, COST: $25-$45, discounts available, INFO: 667-2900.

Thursday, March 22

Politics from the pulpit – Reverend Dr. George F. Regas is at the center of a national debate on religion’s role in politics via a dispute between All Saints Episcopal in Pasadena and the Internal Revenue Service. Regas, rector emeritus of the church, was a guest speaker on Halloween in 2004, when he gave a sermon questioning the church’s role in blessing violence just two days before the presidential election. The IRS launched an investigation into whether the speech violated laws against political activities by the state, which the church has resisted. Regas will give the lecture “A Spiritual Progressive Encounters the War Machine in America” in a program sponsored by the Walter H. Capps Center for the Study of Ethics, Religion and Public Life. WHEN: 8 pm, WHERE: Victoria Hall, 33 W. Victoria St., COST: free, INFO: 893-2317.

Friday, March 23

Imaginative images – John Sexton, whose 30-year career as a photographer includes an early stint as assistant to famed California nature photographer Ansel Adams, gives a free public lecture sponsored by the Brooks Institute of Photography. Sexton, known for his elegant, finely crafted large format black and white photographs, will offer an audio-visual presentation of his images and insights, including excerpts from his new book, “Recollections: Three Decades of Photographs.” Examples and anecdotes drawn from his close relationship and six-year tenure with Ansel Adams will also be part of the show. Images by both Sexton and Adams will be transformed on the screen from the negative to the final print, progressing through the various creative steps in the evolution of a finely crafted print. WHEN: 6:30 pm, WHERE: Marjorie Luke Theatre at Santa Barbara Junior High, 721 E. Cota St., COST: $35, INFO: 888-304-3456, or e-mail

Staged reading – Unitarian Society’s Chautauqua Series presents a staged reading of Dylan Thomas’ “Under Milk Wood,” subtitled “A Play for Voices,” which the famed British poet wrote during his late move toward drama. Although the work obviously retains Thomas’s gift for poetic language, the piece serves as a fully realized portrait of a small Welsh fishing village, first through the dreams of the eccentric inhabitants and later as they interact. Ten Unitarian Society members are in the cast, and Brian Hansen directs. WHEN: Opens 7:30 pm tonight, plays Fridays-Sundays through April 1, WHERE: 1535 Santa Barbara St., COST: $10, INFO: 965-4583.

Family affair – French violin virtuoso Gilles Apap – a Santa Barbara resident before he relocated to Arroyo Grande nearly a decade ago – has played in town so frequently in so many non-classical (meaning gypsy, bluegrass and swing fiddling) guises it’s easy to forget just how accomplished he is as a true violinist. But tonight, Apap is joined by his two brothers who still live in France – horn player Hubert and bassoonist Francois – along with pianist Miwa Gofuku (who is also artistic director of the Santa Barbara Symphony and Apap’s manager) for an unusual quartet as part of the Dunn School’s Schoolhouse Music Series in Los Olivos. WHEN: 8 pm, WHERE: St. Mark's-in-the-Valley Episcopal Church, corner of Nojoqui and Alamo Pintado, COST: $35 & $55, INFO: 688-6471.

Fishbon Feminine Mystique – “Celebrating the Feminine,” collaborative effort of more than 30 artists based on the timeless Myth of Persephone will presented in a six-part interactive adventure at the Fishbon Pescadrome. WHEN: 9 pm to 2 am tonight and tomorrow, WHERE: 101 S. Quarantina St., COST: $20, INFO: 453-5246.

Saturday, March 24

Matinee music – Santa Barbara Music Club does its afternoon thing – the first of 2007’s Daylight Savings Time – with a rather varied offering. Baritone Nathan Rundlett sings songs by Barber accompanied by pianist Val Underwood; violinist Emil Torick, clarinetist Nancy Mathison and pianist Donna Massell-Chiacos take on Beethoven’s Trio in B-flat major (arranged by Torick); and flutist Barbara Logen, horn player Sherry Trujillo and pianist Steven Schneider play Ewazen’s “Ballade, Pastoral and Dance.” WHEN: 3 pm, WHERE: Faulkner Gallery, SB Public Library, 40 E. Anapamu St., COST: free, INFO: 683-0811 or

Brown act – Iowa-based singer-songwriter Greg Brown played Santa Barbara so often a few years back that he started to get taken for granted (or granite, considering his gravel-throated baritone). But now it’s been several years since the man who penned “Poet Game” has graced a stage in Santa Barbara proper. That’s far too long a time without witnessing Brown’s unique ability to tear at your heart, call upon your soul and make you laugh at his clever yet remarkably dead-on lyrics full of imagined dialogues. Brown is the kind of artist Sings Like Hell was created for, so welcome back! WHEN: 8 pm, WHERE: Lobero Theatre, 33 W. Canon Perdido St., COST: $39.50 advance, $42.50 at the door, INFO: 963-0761.

Sunday, March 25

Blue Stew – If there’s a better name for a band playing a blues brunch concert than Blue Stew, I sure don’t know what it is. Although the group called its debut record “Headed South,” after their recent climb to the finals of the self-produced CD competition at the Blues Foundation in Memphis, things are surely looking up for the Ventura-based band. This event is co-presented by SOhO and the Santa Barbara Blues Society, which just celebrated its 30th anniversary. WHEN: 12:30 pm to 3:30 pm, WHERE: 1221 State St., upstairs in Victoria Court, COST: $10 ($2 discount for Blues Society members), INFO: 962-7776 or 897-0060.

Storytelling in music – This new community outreach series from the Santa Barbara Symphony features the all-time family classic “Peter and the Wolf” by Prokofiev, plus a brand new work by local composer Peter Madlem based on the Newbery Medal-winning novel “Island of the Blue Dolphin,” by Scott O’Dell. Both pieces of music has a single instrument representing a character in the story so listeners can gain an understanding of the individual instruments and how they work together in an orchestra. “Dolphin” will also include a multimedia experience with digital images of the Channel Islands compiled by filmmaker Stephen Harrison. The symphony’s new maestro, Nir Kabaretti, conducts. The pre-concert festivities include free docent-led tours of the Museum of Natural History’s Chumash Gallery and a musical instrument “petting zoo” (with the Santa Barbara Symphony Music Van) in front of the theatre. WHEN: 3 pm, WHERE: Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, 2559 Puesta del Sol Rd., COST: $11.50 adults, $6.50 children 12 and under, INFO: 682-4711.

Horne recital – Music Academy of the West alumni Erica Strauss (soprano) and Jerome Tan (collaborative piano) perform in “On Wings of Song,” sponsored by the Marilyn Horne Foundation in a new program geared for museums. Today’s show is only the second in the series. Stay for a reception with the artists – who in January also appeared at Horne’s annual recital at Carnegie Hall – following the varied program featuring works by Cécile Chaminade, Jules Massenet, Ben Moore, Dmitri Shostakovich and Richard Strauss and dubbed. WHEN: 3:30 pm, WHERE: SB Museum of Art, 1130 State St., COST: $19 ($4 discounts for members), INFO: 884-6423.

Dancing with the Stars – Santa Barbara Mayor Marty Blum, McConnell’s Ice Cream CEO Jim McCoy, philanthropist Leni Fe Bland and the Journal’s own societies columnist Erin Graffy are among the local celebrities paired up with State Street Ballet’s professional dancers for this take-off on the hit reality TV series in a benefit for the ballet company. Members of the ballet choreograph the numbers as the action includes silent and live auctions, a complete dinner and your chance to join the performers on the dance floor. WHEN: 5:30 pm, WHERE: Fess Parker DoubleTree Inn, 633 E. Cabrillo Blvd., COST: $250, INFO: 965-6066.

Youth Symphony concert – Santa Barbara’s young person’s orchestra presents its spring concert, with Andy Radford conducting a program featuring works by Berlioz, Brahms, Kabalevsky, Mozart, Nardini and Vivaldi. Josh Hahn, Alex Kim, Camille Miller and Daniel Sommermann are the soloists chosen from within the orchestra’s ranks for this year’s coveted spotlight slots. WHEN: 7 pm, WHERE: Lobero Theatre, 33 W. Canon Perdido St., COST: $13, students $6, under 5 free, INFO: 963-0761.

Melts in your ear – I don’t know if anybody has referred to guitarist Pat Metheny and pianist Brad Mehldau as M&M, but the two masters of improvisation are surely more explosive and flavorful – not too mention colorful – than the candy-coated chocolate treat. Metheny, who has amassed 17 Grammy Awards in less than 30 years of recording, has found his risk-taking match in the daring Mehldau, who is still quite young by jazz standards. WHEN: 7 pm, WHERE: UCSB’s Campbell Hall, COST: $55, INFO: 893-3535 or

Monday, March 26

Play ball! – Just in time for Opening Day, Speaking of Stories gets into the national pastime with an installment dedicated to baseball. Actor and UCSB theater professor Irwin Appel joins local thespians Suzi Bodine, Leslie Howe, Tom Hinshaw and Tony Miratti in reading stories by the great W. P. Kinsella (author of “Shoeless Joe,” which was turned into the movie, “Field of Dreams”), John Updike, Merrill Markoe, Chet Williams and Oona Short. WHEN: 7:30 pm, WHERE: Lobero Theatre, 33 W. Canon Perdido St., COST: $13-$30, INFO: 963-0761.

Wednesday, March 28

PSO at CAMA – The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, one of the oldest in the United States, dates back to 1896 and boasts a history of presenting laudable conductors and musicians throughout its ranks. Sir Andrew Davis, currently artistic advisor to the orchestra and music director of the Chicago Lyric Opera, leads the orchestra on a program featuring Stravinsky’s “Pulcinella Suite,” Schumann’s Piano Concerto in A minor and Sibelius’s Symphony No. 5. The Schumann features 26-year-old Jonathan Biss, the young-but-impressive soloist who was the first and only American chosen to participate in the BBC's New Generation Artist program.