Art opening – University Art Museum had two exhibits opening on Wednesday, including one that ties in with a semester-long course culminating in a concert in April. “Sounds of the Silk Road” features 21 types of rare musical instruments drawn from the countries associated with the trade routes which connected China to the Mediterranean in the 15th century. The exhibition is presented in collaboration with UCSB’s campus-wide programming on the topic, which concludes with Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Project residency and concert in March. Opening reception is tomorrow 5 pm to 8 pm. “Crafting a Modern World: The Architecture and Design of Antonin and Noémi Raymond” features works created by the husband-and-wife design collaborators in Japan and the U.S. from 1921-73. The couple developed humane modern environments – including landscapes, furnishings, rugs and textiles – inspired by their personal connections with Japan’s art and craft traditions. WHEN: noon to 5 pm Wed-Sun, today through April 8, WHERE: UCSB campus (park in lot 23), COST: free, INFO: 893-7564 or

Thursday, January 18

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. All five will be present at tonight’s artist’s reception, which features free refreshments. WHEN: 6:30 pm (exhibit continues 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.

Tribute to a giant – The great jazz bassist Ray Brown played one of his final concert prior to his death at the Lobero Theatre just two years ago. Now Christian McBride, one of the legion of bassist influenced by Brown, pays tribute to his mentor in a trio setting accompanied by longtime Brown sidemen pianist Benny Green and drummer Greg Hutchinson. The show comes to town straight from a weeklong engagement at the Blue Note in New York. WHEN: 8 pm WHERE: Lobero Theatre, 33 W. Canon Perdido St., COST: $38 & $48 ($100 patrons), INFO: 963-0761.

Dance concert – Santa Barbara Dance Theatre, the resident professional dance company at UCSB, celebrates its 16th season with two new works by artistic director Jerry Pearson and three revivals of past repertory. The premieres include “Romeo and Juliet,” an exploration with blatant romanticism of Shakespeare’s story of the star-crossed lovers set to romantic strains of the first movement of Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No. 1; and “Dumb Stories,” which delves into the limits of selfishness and narcissism via the trance music of Paul Oakenfold. “Strange Boat” (1999), “What Goes Up from Artifice” (2001), and “Parlor Dances” (2004) round out the program. WHEN: 8 pm tonight through Saturday, 2 pm Sunday, WHERE: UCSB’s Hatlen Theatre, COST: $17, students $13, INFO: 893-3535.

Friday, January 19

Dynamic duo – Four Shillings Short is actually a duo that plays Celtic and American folk inspired, as its participants note, by Indian ragas and ethnic idioms. If that sounds quirky, it should, because between them multi-instrumentalists Aodh Ag O’Tuama and Christy Martin play everything from tin whistles, doumbek, spoons and gemshorn to hammered dulcimer, mandolin, mandola and bouzouki, banjo, North Indian Sitar, guitar and bodhran. The duo won the hearts of the audience at the Song Tree concert series last November, and now it comes a little closer to town with a gig at the Mercury in Goleta. WHEN: 9 pm, WHERE: 5871 Hollister Ave., COST: call, INFO: 967-0907.

Saturday, January 20

Jonesing for Tao – Tai Ji master, calligrapher, philosopher and musician Chungliang Al Huang returns for his 10th annual January visit to Santa Barbara, which has now grown into a full week of events. “East/West Synthesis: The Tao of Multi-Dimensional Consciousness” is a free two-day workshop encompassing Tai Ji movement and meditation to enhance musical, visual, linguistic and poetic expressiveness in our daily self-cultivation and practice. On Monday, Huang is joined by cellist Michael Fitzpatrick at the Marjorie Luke Theatre for a free Mind & Supermind lecture/concert entitled “The Tao of Compassion: Joyfully Participating in the Ecstacies and Sorrows of the Universe.” Finally, Huang, who runs the Living Tao Foundation, will also conduct an extended five-day Tai Ji seminar at La Casa de Maria’s El Bosque campus in Montecito beginning Jan. 22. WHEN: 10 am to 5 pm today, 10 am to 4 pm tomorrow; 7:30 pm Monday, WHERE: SBCC Adult Ed’s Wake Center, 300 N. Turnpike today and tomorrow; 721 E. Cota St. Monday, INFO: 687-0812 or

Music Club Matinee – Beauty and lightness are the themes for this afternoon concert, a varied program of chamber music that kicks off with de Boismortier’s “Concerto in B minor for Five Flute” played by local flutist Suzanne Duffy and four of her students. Violinist Nicole McKenzie and pianist Eric Valinsky tackle Wieniawski’s “Polonaise Brillante, Op. 21”; pianists Alexandra Leslie and John Sonquist play Fantasies in F minor, by Mozart and Schubert, respectively; and the Cieneguitas String Quartet play Mendelssohn’s “Quartet in E-flat major, Op. 12” to round out the program. WHEN: 3 pm, WHERE: Faulkner Gallery, SB Public Library, 40 E. Anapamu St., COST: free, INFO: 683-0811 or

Returning to Hell – Ana Egge was one of the young discoveries of the Sings Like Hell series, an earnest, plaintive singer-songwriter who performs her quiet songs on a self-made acoustic guitar burnished by her softly smoky voice. Although she hasn’t cashed in commercially on that early promise, Egge – newly a New York City resident – returns for a third installment and first headlining gig (she opened for both Shawn Colvin and Richard Thompson) with a new album due any day. Co-headliner Elliott Brood is a young Canadian trio that calls its music “death country” – meaning it focuses on the darker themes of life turned even grittier by lead singer Mark Sasso’s whiskey-soaked vocals. Think hardcore Kentucky or bluesy banjo, a spare sound that is somehow denser than the sum of its parts. The two acts have toured together before, so look for a possible joint appearance at concert’s end. (The show is officially sold out, but tickets are likely to be available at the door; subscribers are reminded to turn in un-needed tickets.) WHEN: 8 pm, WHERE: Lobero Theatre, 33 W. Canon Perdido St., COST: $39.50 advance, $42.50 at the door, INFO: 963-0761.

New faces, old instrument – Grant Llewellyn serves as the first guest conductor for a regularly scheduled concert in the season of the new maestro Nir Kabaretti. Llewellyn – music director of the North Carolina Symphony and the Handel and Haydn Society of Boston – makes his Santa Barbara debut on a program that also features guest soloist Daniel Mueller-Schott performing Schumann’s Cello Concerto on his Matteo Goffriller cello, which was made in Venice in 1700. Also on the program: Haydn’s “Symphony No. 103 (Drum Roll)” and Robin Holloway’s “Scenes from Schumann, Op. 13.” WHEN: 8 pm tonight, 3 pm tomorrow, WHERE: Arlington Theatre, 1317 State St., COST: $25-$59, tickets for seniors and students start at $18, INFO: 963-4408.

Sunday, January 21

Valley boys – Santa Barbara’s erstwhile Cache Valley Drifters regroup to celebrate their 35th anniversary of putting a modern touch on bluegrass and country music. You’re likely to hear everything from standards and old chestnuts to the trio’s inimitable acoustic versions of Cream’s “White Room” and Etta James’s “Damn Your Eyes.” Given their time and distance constraints – its members are now scattered from Carpinteria to Hawaii – the band gets together just for the fun of it, so this is a gig that’s sure to be a blast. WHEN: 7:30 pm, WHERE: 1221 State St., upstairs in Victoria Court, COST: $12 ($2 discount with dinner), INFO: 962-7776.

Monday, January 22

Just for laughs – Speaking of Stories kicks off its 2007 season with its annual salute to funny short pieces of writing. Tonight’s installment of “Speaking of Humor” features an all Speaking of Stories veteran cast, including Joe Spano, Rudy Wilrich, Robert Lesser and George Backman reading stories by Woody Allen, Roger Rosenblatt, Chet Williamson and Ron Carlson. WHEN: 7:30 pm, WHERE: Lobero Theatre, 33 W. Canon Perdido St., COST: $13-$30 (subscriptions available), INFO: 963-0761.

Christening Christensen – Ojai-based singer-songwriter Julie Christensen returns to SOhO at an interesting juncture in her career, nestled between the recent release of her “Something Familiar” album of jazz standards and the upcoming “Where the Fireworks Are” CD that showcases her harder rock edge. It’s this duality – and her crystalline voice – that has appealed to artists as diverse as Leonard Cohen (with whom she frequently tours) and Lou Reed (who had her perform a Cohen song at his recent UCSB concert) and pop star Todd Rundgren (who produced her first solo album in 1990). WHEN: 8 pm, WHERE: 1221 State St., upstairs in Victoria Court, COST: $10, INFO: 962-7776.

Tuesday, January 23

Solely Ludwig – Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra continues its exploration of Beethoven’s orchestral works by pairing his second symphony with his second piano concerto. The latter features guest soloist Akira Eguchi, who has performed in every major concert hall in New York city and around much of the world and who has been praised as a pianist of “fluency and rectitude” by The New York Times. Beethoven’s “Cariolan Overture” rounds out the program. WHEN: 7:30 pm, WHERE: Lobero Theatre, 33 W. Canon Perdido St., COST: $42.50 & $37.50, INFO: 963-0761.

Siblings play SOhO – Eliza and Tony Gilkyson, offspring of the ’60s singer-songwriter Terry Gilkyson, share the stage in Santa Barbara for the first time. Following in her father’s footsteps, Eliza has branched from her folk-driven roots into more accessible acoustic pop while maintaining a strong sense of home and acutely artful approach. Her records on Red House have gotten progressively more political even while she injects even more of her personality into her songs, all of which has earned her Grammy nominations and a place in Austin’s Music Hall of Fame, alongside such luminaries as Willie Nelson and Townes Van Zandt. Meanwhile, Tony is a well-traveled guitarist/songwriter who followed a 10-year gig in X with sideman stints with Lone Justice, Sam Phillips and Dave Alvin, and recently released his own album, “Goodbye Guitar.” WHEN: 8 pm, WHERE: 1221 State St., upstairs in Victoria Court, COST: $23 ($5 discount with dinner), INFO: 962-7776.

Santa Barbara Prairie – Expect no surprises when author and radio-show host Garrison Keillor returns to town tonight, but that’s exactly why he’s so darn popular. Keillor has been regaling his audiences with barely fictional stories, straight-ahead songs, made-up tongue-in-cheek commercials and news from the imaginary town of Lake Wobegon – all delivered with his sly wit and measured Midwestern voice – for decades, and by now it’s all as comfortable as a well-worn pair of slippers adorning your feet as you sit by a cozy fireplace. WHEN: 8 pm, WHERE: Arlington Theatre, 1317 State St., COST: $45, INFO: 963-4408 or 893-3535.

Wednesday, January 24

CD preview – Long-time locals remember Gina Villalobos as the leader in the all female folk-rock trio Liquid Sunshine back in the early ’90s and as a fine singer-songwriter in her later solo years. But her debut CD from two years ago, which came out after she experienced some harrowing medical problems, never even got released domestically, despite selling well in the UK and Europe. Tonight’s concert will preview her upcoming solo U.S. debut, “Miles Away,” set for release in early April on Nashville’s boutique label Face West Records, and give local audiences a long look at her country-rock oriented band. Wil Ridge and I See Hawks in LA open. WHEN: 8 pm, WHERE: 1221 State St., upstairs in Victoria Court, COST: $6, INFO: 962-7776.

Daring dance – Choreographer Stephen Petronio brings his powerful nine-member company back to Santa Barbara for another evening of audacious, provocative modern dance that encompasses new music, visual art, poetry and fashion. Tonight’s program features two new works just premiered last April: “Bud Suite,” with music by Rufus Wainwright, and “BLOOM,” set to an original score. Described as sensuous, sinewy and decidedly sexual, Petronio’s works both challenge and amaze. Stay after the performance for a Meet-the-Artists discussion. WHEN: 8 pm, WHERE: UCSB’s Campbell Hall, COST: $35, INFO: 893-3535.

Thursday, January 25

SBIFF starts – Hollywood moves 100 miles up the 101 to visit Santa Barbara along with more than 100 assorted feature independent, documentaries, foreign films, local entries, shorts and more as the Santa Barbara International Film Festival takes over the town for the next 11 days. Sienna Miller and Guy Pearce help kick off the extravaganza appearing in person for their new film, the opening night entry, “Factory Girl.” See our cover story in-depth coverage beginning on page 30, and log on to for the complete line-up.