Stories take many forms this weekend in Santa Barbara in songs, plays, film and spoken aloud.

Up close, personal

Speaking of Stories received so many submissions from local writers for “Personal Stories III,” that they now have two different rosters of authors performing -- a total of 20 first-person, true stories. Some of the writers are well-established; others are beginners. But all the stories give a compelling glimpse into life, from love and marriage, to loss and death, with adventures and escapes. There’s also cookies and milk with the performers after each show.

Full disclosure: I read a light-hearted story about changing my last name as a surprise to my husband on our 20th anniversary, and the implications of this “Name Game” in Bill One, which is performed Sunday at 2 p.m. and Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. Bill Two is Monday and Wednesday, both at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $28 general admission; discounts are available for tickets to additional shows. (963-0408,

Texas innovator

Alejandro Escovedo, now 65, is considered one of the nation’s great Chicano rockers. Though lesser known than Los Lobos, Santana or Los Lonely Boys, he’s a trailblazing guitarist and singer-songwriter who started out in the punk scene of San Francisco, was a member of the seminal Austin-based country-punk band Rank & File, and has headed his own hard-rocking bands including True Believers and the Sensitive Boys.

His most recent solo release is “Burn Something Beautiful,” which is dedicated to his parents and other “immigrants who have made this country so great,” as he said in a recent Rolling Stone interview. He’s passionate yet thoughtful, and as mesmerizing when playing acoustic as with a full band -- Escovedo is the real deal. He plays the Lobero Theatre on Saturday at 8 p.m. Tickets are $40. (963-0761,

Rare screening

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Akira Kurosawa’s epic Japanese historical drama, “Seven Samurai,” released in 1954, is considered one of the greatest films of all time. This tale of poor villagers who hire seven unemployed samurai to help them defend themselves against bandits has been referenced and re-envisioned by filmmakers ever since -- from “The Magnificent Seven” in both 1960 and 2016, when the heroes are gunslingers, to Pixtar’s “A Bug’s Life” with insects, to the upcoming Zack Snyder “Justice League” film, based on the DC Comics superheroes.

This original blank-and-white masterpiece will be screened Saturday at 2 p.m. in UCSB’s Pollock Theatre. It is subtitled, uncut at 3 hours and 27 minutes and will be shown in 30 mm. The film is free, but parking is $4 in the Mesa parking structure, Lot 18. (

Walk with us

A Russian negotiator and his American counterpart negotiate a Cold War nuclear treaty in Lee Blessing’s Broadway hit “A Walk in the Woods,” presented by DIJO Productions at the Plaza Playhouse Theatre in Carpinteria. Humorous, touching and thought-provoking, this is a walk that is still relevant today. Performances are through March 5. (684-6380,

Julia McHugh can be reached at