Courthouse Jazz – Elements restaurant and the event-planning organization Premiere Events have combined to present a new series of free concerts just as Concerts in the Park winds up its season. Each Thursday through Oct. 4, local and regional jazz, blues or R&B acts will perform in the County Courthouse Sunken Gardens, with a different non-profit organization having both the opportunity to offer information at a booth and receive the proceeds from sponsorships and food sales. Los Angeles guitarist Nils – a session guitarist for acts such as The Temptations and George Benson before his solo career hit the mark with the 2005 smooth jazz smash "Pacific Coast Highway," provides the music, with proceeds earmarked this week for the Page Youth Center. While blankets and chairs are encouraged for the lawn, Elements will also host a VIP terrace – complete with cocktail service and sumptuous hors d’oeuvres buffet – at the raised grassy area directly across from the stage. The eatery will also sell gourmet picnic baskets for the free admission areas. WHEN: 5-8 pm WHERE: 100 E. Anapamu St. COST: free ($50 VIP seating) INFO:

Get ‘Real’ – Tom Stoppard’s “The Real Thing” examines the nature of trust and the twists and tortured turns when a respected playwright and a beautiful actress dissolve their current marriages to consummate their affair, only to find that wedded bliss is replaced by suspicions, accusations and recriminations anew as history perhaps repeats itself. “The Real Thing” twice won Tony Awards, as best play in 1984, and best revival in 2000. Indie Award-winner Patricia Troxel directs, while PCPA regular Andrew Philpot and newcomer Beverly Sotelo play the leads. WHEN: Plays at 8pm Wednesdays-Sundays in repertory with “Urinetown, the Musical” through Sept. 14 (call or visit for dates) WHERE: 420 Second St., Solvang COST: $19.50-$27.50 general; students/children: $15.00-$18.75 INFO: 922–8313

Don’t spoil the good – Rubicon Theatre Company presents “Bad Apples,” the third world premiere production of the company’s 2006-07 season and one that features a cast of three “lovable lawbreakers” (and their nosy neighbor). Written by Mark Stein –author of Drama-Logue award-winner “At Long Last Leo,” and screenplay for the Steve Martin/Goldie Hawn film “Housesitter” – “Apples” is a comedy about One-time high school sweethearts Peg and Brook and their friend Eddie who are digging a hole in the couple’s living room. Stein said his inspiration into investigating our individual moral compass was to see what happens when the audience is seduced into rooting for the bad guys. RTC newcomers Patrick Hallahan and Clarinda Ross join company veterans Precious Chong and Eric Lange in the cast while multiple Los Angeles Ovation Award-winner Nick DeGruccio directs. WHEN: Wednesdays at 2 & 7pm, Thursdays and Fridays at 8pm, Saturdays at 2 & 8pm, and Sundays at 2pm through Sept. 9 WHERE: Laurel Theater, 1106 E. Main St., Ventura COST: $26–$49, discounts available

‘Pump Boys’ at the Bar – Circle Bar B Dinner Theatre continues its 2007 season with the fun-loving upbeat country musical “Pump Boys and Dinettes.” A hit both on and off Broadway, the musical fashions an evening of country-western songs out of the loose stories of gas station pump boys and the waitresses of the Double Cupp diner on the fictional Hwy. 57 somewhere in the South. WHEN: Friday & Saturday evenings at 6pm, Sunday matinees at 2pm through Sept. 9 WHERE: Refugio Rd. COST: $40, seniors $32 on Sundays INFO: 967-1962 or

Thursday, August 30

Indie Music Show – The new independent music series – sponsored, naturally, by the Santa Barbara Independent – takes veterans from the fledgling Santa Barbara Songwriters Showcase on a road trip for tonight’s presentation at Rocks. Locals Susan Marie Reeves, Stephen Styles and Pat Milliken join Showcase founder Christina Grimm – who have all played the Showcase at Jensen’s Mainstage – hit downtown this evening. The Indie Music Show series then moves to Muddy Waters (508 E. Haley; 966-9328) at the same time on Saturday, with a lineup featuring Gates & Goodell, Fingersmith, James Hurley, Steve Key, Karen Thurber and Carrie Wade. WHEN: 8pm WHERE: Rocks: 801 State St.; COST: $7 INFO: 884-1190 or

Dobro master – Got Grammy? Dobro-player Jerry Douglas sure does. Twelve, in fact. The master of the slide steel guitar is not only the finest Dobro man in the world but perhaps one of Nashville’s finest musicians, period. The two-time Country Music Association’s Musician of the Year has lent his tasty licks to everyone from Eric Clapton to Ray Charles to Garth Brooks to Paul Simon – 1,500 records in all, including “O Brother, Where Art Thou?,” the soundtrack that made the world safe for mountain music again. Douglas gets a bit of a chance to shine as featured player with Alison Krauss’s Union Station, but it’s with his own band – which returns tonight to the Lobero – that he really stretches out and lets it fly. Opening is the bluegrass band The Whites, featuring Buck White’s daughters Sharon and Cheryl; Douglas has been playing with them on and off for 30 years. WHEN: 8 pm WHERE: Lobero Theatre, 33 W. Canon Perdido St. COST: $30 & $40 (or $50 & $70 as part of the two-show Acoustic Guitar series that also include David Lindley on Nov. 3) INFO: 963-0761

Art opening – Landscape painter Laurel Mines new solo exhibition, “The Golden State,” opens today at the Palm Loft Gallery in Carpinteria. A reception with the artist, who moved to Santa Barbara as a young child and began painting at age 8, will be held on Saturday, Sept. 1, from 5-8pm. WHEN: Today-Sept. 29 WHERE: 410 Palm Ave. Loft A-1 Carpinteria COST: free INFO: 684-9700

Friday, August 31

Area musical premiere – The Tony Award-winning musical “Urinetown” gets its local debut as PCPA Theaterfest presents the show about a revolution over public toilets during a 20-year drought. The musical comedy parodies theater classics of the last century as it weaves a morality tale. (See “On Stage” for a feature on “Urinetown.”) WHEN: Opens tonight, plays in repertory with “The Real Thing” at 8 pm Wed.-Sun. through Sept. 23 WHERE: 420 Second St., Solvang COST: $19.50-$30; discounts available for students, seniors, children and subscribers INFO: 922–8313

Latin salsa – Cubop is not only a record label, it’s also a fairly apt description of Francisco Aguabella's music. The Cuban percussionist, who immigrated to New York City 50 years ago, fuses traditional African/Latin rhythms with smooth jazz and soul in the tradition of such predecessors as Mongo Santamaria. Aguabella, a founding member of the influential ensemble Malo (“Suavecito”), boasts session/touring credits that include Dizzy Gillespie, Peggy Lee, Tito Puente, Weather Report, Cal Tjader, Frank Sinatra, Nancy Wilson and Carlos Santana. The current lineup of his band includes a full horn section. WHEN: 9:30 pm WHERE: SOhO, 1221 State St., upstairs in Victoria Court COST: $25 ($5 discount with dinner, which offers a special Cuban menu) INFO: 962-7776

Calendar girls – Remember those hot young go-go dancers who writhed and gyrated for hours during the post-event parties at this year’s Santa Barbara International Film Festival? Want to take one of them home with you? Well, we can’t promise you anything three-dimensional but the ladies, including Ballet Santa Barbara’s Alyson Mattoon and Leila Drake, are among those who posed for a new calendar produced and distributed by Premiere Events, the company behind the new Courthouse Jazz series. Meet the models and get your copy of the calendar signed tonight at a special release party tonight at EOS. WHEN: 10 pm WHERE: 500 Anacapa St. COST: free INFO: 564-2410

Sunday, September 2

CD-release party – Singer-songwriter David Courtenay – a Santa Barbara native and graduate of UCSB now based in Burbank – performs selections from his brand-new CD, “Eloquent Cool.” Courtenay produced and engineered the album, which was recorded with his four-piece band over a 10-month period. Half the proceeds from ticket sales will be given to the Santa Barbara Surfrider Foundation. WHEN: 8 pm WHERE: 1221 State St., upstairs in Victoria Court COST: $12 ($2 discount for students or dinner reservations) INFO: 962-7776 or

Tuesday, September 4

Proud as a… - Chicago-based singer-songwriter Alice Peacock has been wowing South Coast audiences even before her debut CD was released on a major label. Now, three albums down the road, her picture-painting music is known to millions via a hit song, “Bliss,” recorded with John Mayer, and the inclusion of many of her compositions on the film and TV shows “Because of Winn Dixie,” “Men In Trees,” “Dawson’s Creek” and “Smallville.” Also on the bill, Garrison Starr, a Southern-raised singer-songwriter who blends the twang of Nashville with a harder rock edge, and a sultry voice with an aggressive musical attack. She was most prominent more than 10 years ago, when her EP “Stupid Girl” made waves on college radio before “18 Over Me” gave her wider appeal that unfortunately faded. But her latest effort, “The Sound of You and Me,” is a direct, passionate disc that’s well worth hearing. WHEN: 8 pm WHERE: 1221 State St., upstairs in Victoria Court COST: $8 ($2 discount with dinner) INFO: 962-7776

Chumash celebration – Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History hosts a reception and book signing for Jan Timbrook, its curator of ethnography, who has just released “Chumash Ethnobotany: Plant Knowledge Among the Chumash People of Southern California.” Timbrook, one of the leading experts in Chumash studies and ethnobiology, drew on nearly 30 years of research in compiling the material for the book, which is illustrated with botanical watercolors by Oak Group artist Chris Chapman. Both Timbrook and Chapman will be on hand for tonight’s event. WHEN: 5- 7 pm WHERE: Sukinanik’oy Garden along Mission Creek at the museum, 2559 Puesta del Sol Rd. COST: free with advanced reservations INFO: 682-4711 ext. 110

Thursday, September 6

First Thursday – While summertime cultural activities such as Concerts in the Park have folded up their tents for the season, the monthly informal art walk sponsored by the Downtown Organization is a year-round endeavor. So while the weather holds, why not take in the eclectic range of painting and photography exhibits plus music and special events that helped the monthly event grow in popularity. September’s specials include a giant sandbox at the corner of State & Anapamu (by the Museum of Art) featuring tons of the grainy stuff hauled in to preview the Sandcastle Festival slated for East Beach on Sept. 15. Then step inside to visit the ongoing Made in Santa Barbara exhibit where featured artists will be on hand in the galleries to sign autographs and discuss their work. Meanwhile, at Casa de la Guerra, Beleza Pura, this month’s Independent pick of top emerging local artists, offers Brazilian style hip-hip, reggae and funk. There are more than 30 stops in all in the First Thursday itinerary. WHEN: 5-8 pm COST: free INFO: