Short List: January-February 2024

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WINTER WHALE WATCHING Through April | Oxnard and Ventura Photo by Bob Forbes

METEOR SHOWER
Jan. 26 – Feb. 18 | Ojai
Ojai Valley, 1993. Corky and Norm eagerly anticipate hosting Gerald and Laura at their charming home in a serene valley just outside Los Angeles. Their plan? To witness a meteor shower that promises to be a once-in-a-lifetime spectacle. However, as the night unfolds beneath the twinkling sky, a starlit dinner party transforms into a whirlwind of flirtation, lunacy and laughter. With his characteristic absurd humor, Steve Martin skillfully distorts the boundaries of time and reality, weaving together a play that is as surprising as it is hilariously unforgettable. Presented by Ojai ACT. $25. Ojai Art Center Theater, 113 South Montgomery Street, Ojai, 805.640.8797, ojaiact.org.

NEW WEST SYMPHONY: “RHAPSODY IN BLUE” AND “FASCINATING RHYTHM”
Jan. 27-28 |

NEW WEST SYMPHONY: “RHAPSODY IN BLUE” AND “FASCINATING RHYTHM”
Jan. 27-28 |
New West Symphony presents the first concert of its new 2024 Masterpiece Series on Jan. 27 in Thousand Oaks and Jan. 28 in Camarillo. This centennial celebration of classical music milestones honors George Gershwin’s iconic “Rhapsody in Blue” and “Fascinating Rhythm,” along with Ottorino Respsigh’s “Pines of Rome.” All premiered in 1924, a formidable year for music. Polish-Canadian pianist Daniel Vnukowski will be the guest pianist, having previously performed “Rhapsody in Blue” as a special guest at the National Philharmonic Hall in Poland which was broadcast live on television and made available as a DVD. Toes will tap and spirits will soar when jazz legend Roger Kellaway performs his suite from “Visions of America” featuring images by photo historian Joseph Sohm and songs by Grammy- and Academy Award-winning lyricists Alan and Marilyn Bergman. Performance on Saturday, Jan. 27, at 7 p.m. at the Bank of America Performing Arts Center, 2100 East Thousand Oaks Boulevard, Thousand Oaks; and on Sunday, Jan. 28, at 3 p.m. at the Rancho Campana Performing Arts Center, 4235 Mar Vista Drive, Camarillo. $30-120. newwestsymphony.org.

RIPCORD
Feb. 2 – March 3 | Santa Paula
A sunny room on an upper floor is prime real estate in the Bristol Place Senior Living Facility. When the cantankerous Abby is forced to share her quarters with new-arrival Marilyn, she has no choice but to get rid of the infuriatingly chipper woman by any means necessary. A seemingly harmless bet between the old women quickly escalates into a dangerous game of one-upmanship that reveals not just the tenacity of these worthy opponents, but also deeper truths that each would rather remain hidden. The New York Times acclaims “The author of comedy-dramas that toy with sitcom expectations but then veer elsewhere, [David Lindsay-Abaire] is obviously riffing…on television templates like ‘The Golden Girls’…[It’s a] play that flirts with surrealism…but because he writes such good scenes it’s nevertheless heartbreaking and hopeful, suggesting the possibility that, even in old age, people can make choices that may produce a gentler landing.” $22-$24. Santa Paula Theater Center, 125 South Seventh Street, Santa Paula, 805.525.4645, www.santapaulatheatercenter.org.

LUNAR NEW YEAR CELEBRATION
Feb. 3 | Camarillo

LUNAR NEW YEAR CELEBRATION
Feb. 3 | Camarillo
The Ventura County Chinese American Association invites one and all to this very special celebration in honor of 2024, the Year of the Dragon. Enjoy a variety of cultural entertainment, including an authentic Lion Dance, a magic show, and traditional Chinese song and dance. There will also be plenty of food trucks and food vendors on hand to satisfy hungry appetites. Fun for the whole family! Admission is free. Constitution Park, 601 Carmen Drive, Camarillo. For more information, visit vccaa.org.

J FOR J STAGED READING
Feb. 3-4 | Ventura
Jeff Kober, Eric Lange and Nancy Travis star in this staged reading and benefit for the Rubicon Theatre Company. In this semi-autobiographical drama, Jenny Sullivan discovers a journal that her father, Hollywood film, TV and stage actor Barry Sullivan (“The Great Gatsby,” “The Tall Man”) started when her brother Johnny was born. The entries continue after Jenny’s birth, ending with the words, “Remember Johnny, you must take care of your sister Jenny – it’s J for J.” But over time, it becomes clear that Brother Johnny is “slow,” incapable of taking care of himself or anyone else. In this literate and lovingly conceived story, Sullivan explores the ache and anger of “not being enough”; the awesome, sometimes awful responsibility of feeling solely responsible for another’s physical and emotional well-being; and the strange, sweet surprise of being loved at an unexpected moment. VIP tickets for Saturday, Feb. 3, include a post-show reception with the artists. $49.50-$75. Rubicon Theatre Company, 1006 East Main Street, Ventura, 805.667.2900, www.rubicontheatre.org.

MICHAEL FLATLEY’S LORD OF THE DANCE
Feb. 7 | Thousand Oaks

MICHAEL FLATLEY’S LORD OF THE DANCE
Feb. 7 | Thousand Oaks
Michael Flatley’s ground-breaking choreography for Riverdance was followed by massive global success with the hit show Lord of the Dance. Michael Flatley once said, “Everyone in the world will tell you, ‘No, it can’t be done.’ Every time I hear that, I know I’m close to success.” This philosophy was a main driving factor in the journey to Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance, which Flatley began developing in 1995 following his departure from Riverdance. For a quarter of a century, Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance has been dazzling audiences across the globe with its unique combination of high-energy Irish dancing, original music, storytelling and sensuality. Since its premiere 25 years ago, it has become one the most successful touring productions in entertainment history, having been seen by over 60 million people. The show will go to the next level in 2024 for its 25th-anniversary tour. Fans can expect new staging, new costumes, and choreography, plus cutting-edge technology, special effects and remarkable lighting. As the 25th anniversary of Lord of the Dance approaches, Flatley is hard at work preparing a celebration worthy of one of the world’s great entertainment experiences. Performance takes place on Wednesday, Feb. 7, at 7:30 p.m. $40.75-$100. Fred Kavli Theatre, Bank of America Performing Arts Center, 2100 East Thousand Oaks Boulevard, Thousand Oaks, 805.449.2787, bapacthousandoaks.com.

NICO HEYNING: WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHY OF THE CALIFORNIA COAST
Feb. 8 – May 6 | Oxnard Photo by Nico Heyning

NICO HEYNING: WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHY OF THE CALIFORNIA COAST
Feb. 8 – May 6 | Oxnard
Explore the California Coast through the lens of wildlife photographer Nico Heyning. Channel Islands Maritime Museum in beautiful Channel Islands Harbor will host a special exhibit of imagery featuring the birds, marine mammals and other creatures that call the Golden State’s seashore and ocean environments home. The exhibit’s opening on Thursday, Feb. 8, 5-7 p.m., will be celebrated with a special reception that will include time with the artist as well as light refreshments. Free and open to the public! Channel Islands Maritime Museum, 3900 Bluefin Circle, Oxnard, 805.984.6260, www.cimmvc.org.

THE JOHN PIZZARELLI TRIO
Feb. 10 | Ventura Photo by Jacob Blickenstaff

THE JOHN PIZZARELLI TRIO
Feb. 10 | Ventura
John Pizzarelli, the world-renowned jazz guitarist and singer, was called “hip with a wink” by Town and Country, “madly creative” by the Los Angeles Times and “the genial genius of the guitar” by the Toronto Star. After his recent smash success with the Boston Pops, he was hailed by the Boston Globe for “reinvigorating the Great American Songbook and re-popularizing jazz.” And the Seattle Times called him “a tour de force” and “a rare entertainer of the old school.” See this Grammy Award winner live and in concert with his trio at Ventura College. Presented by Ventura Music Festival. $25-$69. Ventura College Performing Arts Center, 4700 Loma Vista Road, Ventura, venturamusicfestival.org.

THE TRIAL OF MOTHER JONES
Through Feb. 18 | Oxnard
It’s 1914, and the Colorado Coalfield War, the bloodiest labor dispute in U.S. history, is raging. A 77-year-old Irish hellraiser named Mother Jones issues a call to arms, summoning 500,000 union miners to rise up and fight against a renegade National Guard unit run by Lt. Linderfelt. Her battle cry: “Pray for the dead… and fight like hell for the living!” A few nights later she’s ambushed in a union meeting hall by Clarence Darrow, John Mitchell (U.M.W. President), and John D. Rockefeller Jr., in a desperate attempt to stop her. During this participatory production, the audience assumes the role of the American workers called to this union hall to help decide the fate of Mother Jones, answering a question for the ages: At what point do you pick up a gun and go to war with your own countrymen? The Elite Theatre Company, 2781 South Victoria Avenue, Oxnard, 805.483.5118, www.theelite.org.

15TH ANNUAL ART ABOUT AGRICULTURE
Through March 3, 2024 | Santa Paula
“The 15th Annual Art About Agriculture Exhibition,” featuring 55 fresh works of art, is a group show presented annually by the Ag Art Alliance, a collective formed in 2007 by Santa Paula artists John Nichols and Gail Pidduck. The purpose of the exhibit is to promote awareness of agriculture by exploring its many facets through art — from workers to water, from machinery to fields, to the food that goes on our plates. All of the artworks in the exhibition will be available for purchase. “Art About Agriculture” will be on view through March 3, 2024. Through Feb. 11: A selection of works from renowned Santa Paula artist Jessie Arms Botke. Santa Paula Art Museum, 117 North 10th Street, Santa Paula, 805.525.5554, www.santapaulaartmuseum.org.

WINTER WHALE WATCHING
Through April | Oxnard and Ventura
Hop on board for an Island Packers’ Winter Whale Watch excursion, with trips departing from Ventura Harbor. These waters off the coast of Ventura and Channel Islands Harbor are known for their marine mammal diversity, and you may get to see other species of marine mammals along with the migrating gray whales. Seals, sea lions and several species of dolphins along with occasional orca whale pods may also be seen on your trip. Fun for all ages! Island Packers, 1691 Spinnaker Drive, #105B, Ventura, 805.642.1393, islandpackers.com.

ON THE HORIZON

MERMAID MONTH
March 1-31. | Ventura
Ventura Harbor Village is set to host the Ninth Annual “March Is Mermaid Month,” a month-long shell-abration of mermaids (and mermen) by the sea! Select restaurants will have special mermaid eats and treats, select stores will have special mermaid MERchandise, and there will be a free mermaid scavenger hunt daily, redeemable for prizes at our Mermaid Month headquarters – the Mermaid Gallery. Our main special events feature ocean-inspired activities and live mermaid meet and greets – happening on select weekends in March. You can expect interactive booths, mermaid craft stations for kids, chalk art, mermaid dance parties, and more. Various vendors will showcase their skills, offering services like face painting, glitter tattoos, and hair braiding on designated dates. Please stay tuned for the o-FISH-al schedule and more deTAILS for 2024 Mermaid events, coming soon! Ventura Harbor Village, 1583 Spinnaker Drive, Ventura, www.venturaharborvillage.com.