What has four legs, two microphones and one TV screen and is covered with pulsating lights and colors?
Call it art.
"Participation TV" by Korean artist Nam June Paik is one of about 90 works by 60 artists in Santa Barbara's communitywide exhibit, PULSE II.
Paik's work, on display at the Channing Peake Gallery, consists of two microphones attached to an old television set. When someone talks, sings or whistles into the mikes, lights dance on the screen in response to the sounds.
PULSE is an acronym for People Using Light, Sound, Energy. As does "Participation TV," many works rely on technology instead of canvas and paints, and on viewer interaction.
Receptions for the show will be held Friday from 5 to 8 p.m. at the UC Santa Barbara art gallery, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, 1130 State St., and the Channing Peake Gallery, 105 E. Anapamu St. Call 961-2951 for information. The PULSE II exhibit (the original PULSE was held in New York's SoHo district a few years ago) was coordinated through the university, but the entire community is involved, and individual works can be found at the city airport, at the Courthouse and even at a neighborhood health clinic.
Principal funding for PULSE II comes from Santa Barbara resident David Bermant, who loaned much of his personal collection to the show.
Bermant, 71, who develops shopping centers on the East Coast, did not take an interest in art until he was in his 50s.
"I hated art when I got out of college because it was all abstract, and I've always considered that stuff third-rate," he said.
On discovering technological art, Bermant became an ardent collector. Many of his past hobbies, such as being a Yankees fan, took a back seat to his new love.
Bermant described his preference for this type of art as an attraction to a particular woman: "If eight ladies were lined up against the wall, maybe I'd go for two of them, but the other six just wouldn't do anything for me."
He owns several hundred works and spreads them throughout his two homes, lends them for exhibitions and houses many in the shopping centers he builds.
"This technological art is the most vital form of art in our time," he said. "It comes out of the science and technology of our day, and it reflects the underlying realities of life that science exposes.
"And like Einstein's theory of relativity, this art reflects the added ingredient of time, of movement and change. Although some people may not read or understand scientific findings, they can be exposed to them and intuitively understand these principles by viewing this art."
While PULSE II art is reflecting the realities of modern day, the Shanghai Acrobats and Imperial Warriors of the Peking Opera reflect the splendor and pageantry of Chinese history.
The Peking Opera, which combines elements of ballet, acrobatic display and history, is adding new features to this year's tour, such as the Pagoda of Bowls, the Tower of Chairs and a jar-juggling act. The Imperial Warriors will recreate four of their most popular martial arts sequences, including two scenes from the famous opera "Money King Creates Havoc in Heaven."
The group, which was established in 1951 and has long been one of Asia's premier tourist attractions, will perform Sunday at the Lobero Theatre, 33 E. Canon Perdido St. in Santa Barbara. Tickets for the 2 p.m. show are $16 and $19, and they are $19 and $24 for the 8 p.m. show. Call 963-0761.
Creating havoc here on Earth, David Lynch is once again provoking controversy with his newest movie, "Wild at Heart."
It isn't so wild compared to his earlier films. Five of them will be shown in a tribute to Lynch starting Friday and ending next Thursday at the Victoria Street Theater, 33 W. Victoria St. in Santa Barbara.
"Eraserhead" and "The Grandmother" will be shown Friday and Saturday. "Elephant Man," which was nominated for three Academy Awards including best picture and best director, will be presented Sunday and Monday. "Dune" and a surprise feature will play Tuesday through Thursday. Call 963-7868 for times and prices.
Also up the coast this weekend: On Saturday the Santa Barbara Zoological Society will host the fifth annual Zoofari Ball to benefit the city zoo. Participants dress in safari outfits and take the Zimbabwe Express through the zoo, stopping off at various "watering holes" for refreshments. The train will then take them to the top of the hill for dinner and dancing. Tickets are $150 per person. Call 965-0110.
On Sunday, the Mosby Winery at Vega Vineyard, 9496 Santa Rosa Road, Buellton, will hold a boccie ball tournament starting at noon. Contestants can sign up at the door for the free event, and they are encouraged to bring a picnic lunch. Wine will be sold on the premises. Call 688-2415 for information.