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GOINGS ON : Surreal Images : A local photographer has selected 40 photos for a display depicting the Santa Barbara fire.


Chris Gardner was one of the many media photographers in the nation to capture on film the six days of the Santa Barbara fire last June.

"The fire was a tragedy to so many and obviously I wish it never occurred," Gardner said. "Yet it was very surreal, and terribly exciting, and it was beautiful in a way."

Gardner, who lives in Santa Barbara and works for the Independent, a weekly newspaper, said he wanted to put all the images of the fire in one room. So he selected 40 photos from magazines and newspapers that show the tragedy, the excitement and the beauty of the fire. The prints, from photographers with the city's local newspapers and the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Daily News, Newsweek magazine, Time magazine and National Geographic will be on display at the Contemporary Art Forum now through Dec. 29.

Some of Gardner's favorite photos include a man running down his driveway just as flames are about to engulf his house, and a couple embracing amid the rubble that was once their home.

"It was a war scene without the bodies," Gardner said. "I will never forget it. I feel honored to have been there. And at the same time I feel ashamed because I sort of enjoyed it."

The exhibit is free. The gallery in the Paseo Nuevo shopping center is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. A reception for "Fire on Film" is scheduled from 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday. Call 966-5373.

The fiery and soulful yet sweet sounds of the Mighty Diamonds will come to the Graduate nightclub in Isla Vista Saturday at 8 p.m.

The reggae trio is known as much for gentle harmonies as the ability to bring an audience to its feet and into dance.

The group formed in 1969 and has just released its 24th album, "Go Seek Your Rights." Past albums include "Ice On Fire" and "Changes," which featured the 1982 hit "Pass the Kutchie."

Tickets are $15, available at the Graduate, 685-3112, or charge by phone, 966-1466. Doors open at 7 p.m. Spencer the Gardener is guest artist.

The rise of the Black Panthers, the free-speech movement and the anti-war demonstrations of the late '60s and early '70s are some of the events that changed the course of American social and political life.

Six years in the making, the documentary "Berkeley in the '60s" was completed this year. The production is an archival assemblage of raw footage from the mass marches, demonstrations and confrontations of the 1960s. Interspersed are recent interviews with 16 activists from that decade, including Black Panther co-founder Bobby Seale and free-speech movement leader Jackie Goldberg, now president of the Los Angeles Board of Education.

The film will be shown at the University of California's Campbell Hall at 8 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $6. Director/producer Mark Kitchell will discuss the film after the screening. Call 893-3535.

Also at UCSB's Campbell Hall, Russian poet Andrei Voznesensky will read from his works at 8 p.m. Tuesday. An English translation will be provided. Tickets are $6. Call 893-3535.

Voznesensky, 57, is considered one of Russia's leading poets and many of his books have been published internationally. Among the titles published in the United States are "Nostalgia for the Present" (1979) and "An Arrow in the Wall" (1989). Voznesensky is also co-author of the rock opera "Yunon and Avos," which was a hit in Paris.

The works of Santa Barbara painter and sculptor Harold Hall Bass, better known as "Skye," will be shown at the Green Dragon Art Studio and Espresso Bar, 22 W. Mission St., Saturday through Nov. 30

Skye was diagnosed as having Parkinson's disease in 1979 when he was only 40, yet he continues to sculpt despite the often disabling effects of the disease. A free reception for the artist will be held Sunday at 5 p.m.

Art/Life magazine is celebrating its 10th anniversary with seven simultaneous exhibits on three continents, one of which runs now through Dec. 15 in the Reynolds Gallery at Westmont College, 955 La Paz Road. The exhibit and reception, scheduled from 4 to 6 p.m. Dec. 1, are both free. Call 565-6000.

Joseph Cardella, who began the magazine in his Santa Barbara kitchen, selects 200 works of art each month--submitted from around the world--for the magazine. Each issue, which costs $50 and includes silk-screens, prints, photographs, poetry, short stories and collages, is meant to reflect what's current in art.

Shakespearean actor Patrick Stewart, best known as captain of the USS Enterprise in the television series "Star Trek: The Next Generation," will perform a solo dramatization of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol."

Tickets for the 8 p.m. Saturday presentation at UCSB's Campbell Hall are $12, $14 and $16. Call 893-3535.

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