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GOINGS ON SANTA BARBARA : Coming to Life : The time-honored 'Nutcracker' ballet will be presented this weekend in Santa Barbara.


The Santa Barbara Festival Ballet and the Santa Barbara Symphony will once again join forces in a production of "The Nutcracker" ballet, with two shows Saturday and one Sunday at the Arlington Theater.

This traditional Christmas ballet will star Pamela Jones as Clara, the girl whose toys come to life, and David Beisinger as the Nutcracker. Nancy Theusen of the Louisville Ballet, Joji Montelibano of the San Francisco Ballet and James Dunne, formerly of the Joffrey Ballet, will be the guest dancers. Theusen will play the role of the Sugarplum Fairy.

Saturday's performances will be at 2:30 and 8 p.m., and Sunday's show will begin at 2:30 p.m. Tickets range from $8.50 to $20, with matinee discounts for children and a Saturday matinee discount for senior citizens. Call 963-4408.

At midnight tonight--yes, midnight--the Museum of Natural History will show a preview of "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country" at the Arlington Theater. General admission is $12.50, with a portion of the proceeds going toward the construction of the museum's new astronomy exhibits. These exhibits will include a gravity well cone to show planetary motion and a space travel simulator. Tickets are available through the museum store, the Arlington Box Office or Ticketmaster. The theater is at 1317 State St., Santa Barbara. For information, call 682-4711.

For the fifth year, the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation is putting on the "Shepherd's Play (Una Pastorela)," featuring local actors and other community members. The play opened Wednesday. This traditional holiday production of good versus evil tells the story of shepherds who make their way to Bethlehem to see baby Jesus. En route, they encounter various nasty obstructions. The play combines drama and humor. Performances will be at the Presidio Chapel, 129 E. Canon Perdido St. Shows will begin at 8 p.m. today through Sunday, Dec. 12 to 15, and Dec. 17 to 21. Matinee performances, beginning at 5 p.m., will be held Saturday and Sunday, and Dec. 14, 15, and 21. Tickets are $6 (adults) and $4 (children). Call 965-0093.

About 10,000 people are expected to watch the State Street Holiday Parade make its way through downtown Santa Barbara on Saturday. High school and junior high school bands, Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, drill teams, dancers and the Classic Oldies Car Club of Ventura County will be among the 1,500 or so participants moving along State Street from Micheltorena to Haley streets. Of course, the highlights of the parade will be the 20-foot-tall inflatable Frosty the Snowman and Santa Claus riding a reindeer-guided sleigh. Note: In reality, Santa will be aboard a horse-drawn carriage, so use the old imagination.

Here's a bright idea. The Hospice of Santa Barbara will hold its eighth annual tree-lighting ceremony Sunday on the center balcony of the Paseo Nuevo Mall. The 35-foot tree will be covered with about 6,000 lights. For $10 each, people can purchase a light in memory of someone dead or in honor of someone living. Entertainment will be provided by the Methodist Chapel Bell Ringers and the Cate School (of Carpinteria) Chorale. Festivities are set to begin at 6 p.m., with the actual lighting about 6:20. To purchase a light, call 963-8608.

Just in time to provide some holiday spirit, the Grammy-nominated Irish group the Chieftains will perform at the Lobero Theatre at 8 p.m. Monday. The sextet, which sold out its 1989 show at the theater, will present the gamut of Celtic music. Tickets are $24 and $19. Call 963-0761. The Lobero Theatre is at 33 E. Canon Perdido St.

"Don't touch"--it's a phrase that children are used to hearing in museums. But that won't be the case at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, when its "Storybook Enchantment" exhibit opens Tuesday. In fact, touching the exhibit, even sitting on some of it, is a must.

Museum staff members have designed a three-dimensional display paying tribute to "The Wizard of Oz," "Mary Poppins," "Winnie the Pooh," "Peter Pan," "Alice in Wonderland" and "Goodnight Moon."

The entrance to the exhibit will resemble the green room from "Goodnight Moon." From there, guests can visit structures set up to resemble books, with illustrations of memorable scenes from these popular stories. In the center of the exhibit, Mary Poppins will be flying over a carousel that children can ride.

The "Storybook Enchantment" exhibit will run through Jan. 26, and children's programs will be featured throughout December and January. The museum is at 1130 State St. For information, call 963-4364.

Pianist David Golub will join the Santa Barbara Chamber Orchestra in an all-Mozart concert Tuesday night at the Lobero Theatre. The program will include "Overture to the Abduction" from the "Seraglio Overture," Piano Concerto No. 20 in D and Symphony No. 39 in E flat. Show time is 8 p.m. Tickets are $13, $15, $18 and $20. Call 963-0761.

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