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Trevor Noah

by lesliedinaberg on January 16, 2018

Trevor Noah, photo by Paul Mobley.

Trevor Noah, photo by Paul Mobley.

Trevor Noah, who was launched into the international spotlight in 2015 when he was selected to fill Jon Stewart’s shoes as host of The Daily Show, makes his Santa Barbara debut on January 19 when UCSB Arts & Lectures presents an evening of stand-up with Trevor Noah, at 8 p.m. at the Arlington Theatre  (1317 State St.).

Raised in post-apartheid South Africa by a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison, Noah brings a unique perspective to his stories and hit comedy specials, including Afraid of the Dark, Lost in Translation, African American and his award-winning memoir, Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood.

Newsweek called him, “A cultural chameleon who has learned to mine his surroundings as much for survival and human connection as for comedy.”  Noah’s incisive humor slips from jokes to earnest insights for a moving, thought-provoking and hilarious experience. 

Noah continues to tour all over the world and has performed in front of sold-out crowds at the Hammersmith Apollo in London and the Sydney Opera House in Australia as well as many U.S. cities.

 For tickets and more information, call UCSB Arts & Lectures at 805/893-3535 or visit ArtsAndLectures.UCSB.edu.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on January 13, 2018.

Cocktail Corner: Cocktails for a Cause

by lesliedinaberg on January 12, 2018

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic!  By Leslie Dinaberg

Community Cocktail for a Cause: Glitz, Glam & Get Down

Their New Year’s festivities may have been cancelled, but the show must go on, so The Kimpton Canary Hotel with Finch & Fork Restaurant are hosting a 2018 Community Cocktail for a Cause: Glitz, Glam & Get Down with DJ Darla Bea (winner of “Best Event DJ” for 2016 and 2017) getting everyone out on the dance floor.

“Let’s celebrate and welcome in 2018, and help provide support to those affected in the community by the Thomas Fire,” say the organizers.

The rooftop party will be on January 20, from  7-11 p.m., with a portion of proceeds benefiting United Way of Santa Barbara.

 2018 Community Cocktail for a Cause: Glitz, Glam & Get Down at the Canary, courtesy photo.

2018 Community Cocktail for a Cause: Glitz, Glam & Get Down at the Canary, courtesy photo.

There will also be a community cocktail competition featuring popular local cocktail bar competitors, with the winner giving raffle proceeds to the charity of their choice, benefitting Thomas Fire affected community members.

Tickets for the cocktail party are $120 amount with a portion of proceeds to United Way of Santa Barbara. That includes sweet treats from Finch & Fork Restaurant, an end of night champagne toast to the community, and a cash bar. 

Tickets: https://nightout.com/events/community-cocktail-thomas-fire/tickets

Cheers! Click here for more cocktail corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie considers herself a “goal-oriented drinker.”

 Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on January 12, 2018.

Westmont Museum Raises Big $ With Small Artworks

by lesliedinaberg on January 12, 2018

 Large crowds flocked to the 5×5 exhibition in 2014, photo courtesy Westmont College.Large crowds flocked to the 5×5 exhibition in 2014, photo courtesy Westmont College.

An update from Westmont College : Small works of art from several hundred artists from around the country will be auctioned during “5X5: Celebrating Westmont College’s 80th Anniversary” at the Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art. The online auction will begin Thursday, Jan. 11, at westmontmuseum.org and last until Jan. 26 at 5 p.m. However, due to the destruction in the local community from mudslides, an opening reception will be delayed until Thursday, Jan. 18, from 4-6 p.m. The opening reception, which includes coffee and cake, is free and open to the public. This is the largest fundraiser of the year for the museum.

Several hundred small works of art from artists from around the country will be auctioned during “5X5: Celebrating Westmont College’s 80th Anniversary” at the Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art from Jan. 11-26.

The online auction kicks off with an opening reception on Thursday, Jan. 11, from 4-6 p.m., and bidding will continue until  Jan. 26 at 5 p.m. The opening reception, which includes refreshments, is free and open to the public.  (Event delayed due to flooding) All proceeds from the event will go towards the museum.Artists were invited to create a unique work of art on a five-inch square piece of paper which they received and returned to the museum by mail.

The exhibition features renowned artists Christo, Charles Arnoldi and Chris Raschka along with local luminaries Tony Askew, Mary Heebner, Penelope Gottlieb, Dane Goodman, Richard Aber and author T.C. Boyle.

In the past, the auction has raised upwards of $20,000 for the museum.

“We have been looking forward to bringing the 5×5 exhibition back and Westmont’s 80th Anniversary is the perfect way to celebrate,” says Judy Larson, R. Anthony Askew professor of art history and museum director. “It’s a great opportunity to support the museum’s programs, meet new artists and connect with old friends.”

For more information, visit westmontmuseum.org or contact the museum at 805/565-6162. Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art is located at 955 La Paz Rd. It is free and is open to the public Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays. It is closed Sundays and college holidays.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on January 11, 2018.

The Books of 2017

by lesliedinaberg on January 11, 2018

So many books, so little time—part 11.

My son started keeping a reading list in third grade, so I did too. This is the 11th year we’ve done this.

My favorite books of 2017 were probably The Mothers, by Britt Bennett; Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie; Commonwealth by Ann Patchett; Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman; The Hypnotist’s Love Story by Liane Moriarty and Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri.

Anyway, I’d love to hear about other people’s favorite books this year.

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl Jesse Andrews
Home Again Kristin Hannah
The Bookseller Cynthia Swanson
Leave Me Gayle Forman
Suite 606 J.D. Robb, Mary Blayney, Ruth Ryan Langan, Mary Kay McComas
The Mothers Britt Bennett
Big Girl Panties Stephanie Evanovich
The Wangs Vs. the World Jade Chang
The Nest Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney
The Housewife Assassin’s Deadly Dossier Josie Brown
I Was Here Gayle Forman
Scrappy Little Nobody Anna Kendrick
There Goes the Bride Holly McQueen
Ship of Brides Jojo Moyes
The Underground Railroad Colson Whitehead
Swift as Desire Laura Esquivel
Confetti Confidential Holly McQueen
The Weekenders Mary Kay Andrews
When I’m Gone Emily Bleeker
First Comes Love Emily Giffin
Three Wishes Liane Moriarty
Truly Madly Guilty Liane Moriarty
Save the Date Jen Doll
The Year of Voting Dangerously Maureen Dowd
Everybody’s Fool Richard Russo
Where She Went Gayle Forman
Two by Two Nicolas Sparks
Talking as Fast as I Can Lauren Graham
Unrivaled Alyson Noel
Nothing That is Ours DJ Palladino
Fangirl Rainbow Rowell
We are all Completely Beside Ourselves Karen Joy Fowler
What Light Jay Asher
If Not For You Debbie Macomber
Americanah Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Who Asked You? Terry McMillan
Connect the Stars Marisa de Los santos & David Teague
The Knockoff Lucy Sykes & Jo Piazza
44 Cranberry Point Debbie Macomber
From Notting Hill to Love Actually Ali McNamara
The Postmistress Sarah Blake
You’ll Grow Out Of It Jesi Klein
The Awkward Age Francesca Segal
Queen Takes King Gigi Levangie Grazer
Into the Woods Tana French
Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine Gail Honeyman
Bright Precious Days Jay McInerney
Being Mortal Atul Gawande
The Hynotist’s Love Story Liane Moriarty
Boys in the Trees Carly Simon
The Sun is Also a Star Nicola Yoon
American Housewife Helen Ellis
Prejudice & Pride Rachel Anderson
The Bookshop on the Corner Rebecca Raisin
All the Bright Places Jennifer Niven
A Practical Handbook for the Boyfriend Felicity Huffman & Patricia Wolff
The Girlfriend Curse Valerie Frankel
The Divorce Papers Susan Rieger
The After Party Anton DiSclafani
The Worst Day of My Life So Far M.A. Harper
It’s Always the Husband Michele Campbell
The Girl in the Spider’s Web David Lagercrantz
Commonwealth Ann Patchett
Lincoln in the Bardo George Saunders
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before Jenny Han
The Jane Austen Project Kathleen A. Flynn
The Great Escape Susan Elizabeth Phillips
The Grown Up Gillian Flynn
The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen Syrie James
We’ll Always Have Summer Jenny Han
The Sunshine Sisters Jane Green
The Time of My Life: A Novel Cecilia Ahern
The View From the Cheap Seats Neil Gaiman
What Happened Hillary Rodham Clinton
My Brilliant Friend Elena Ferrante
Winter Storms Elin Hilderbrand
Interpreter of Maladies Jhumpa Lahiri
What She Knew Gilly MacMillan
Irish Eyes Mary Kay Andrews
Carry On Rainbow Rowell

Local Dish: The Bear and Star Chef’s Table

by lesliedinaberg on January 10, 2018

Guest Chef Vartan Abgaryan of critically acclaimed restaurant 71 Above in Los Angeles (left) joins the Bear and Star Chef John Cox on Tuesday, January 16 for a special Chef's Table dinner. Courtesy photos.

Guest Chef Vartan Abgaryan of critically acclaimed restaurant 71 Above in Los Angeles (left) joins the Bear and Star Chef John Cox on Tuesday, January 16 for a special Chef’s Table dinner. Courtesy photos.

The Bear and Star‘s next installment in their popular Chef’s Table Dinner series features Guest Chef Vartan Abgaryan of critically acclaimed restaurant 71 Above in downtown Los Angeles and takes place on Tuesday, January 16, with two seatings at 6:30 and 7:30 p.m.

Dinner begins with an Amuse – Oyster with Uni, Caviar, Tarragon, Champagne and Parsnip Crème Brûlée; followed by a First of Beet with Tofu, Huckleberry and Black Walnut; then a Second of Sturgeon with Soy Pearls, Black Garlic, Crispy Skin and Finger Lime; Third course of Lasagna with Porcini, Pistachio and White Truffle; Fourth of Turbo with Potato, Leek, Vin Jaune, Meyer Lemon and Smoked Clams; followed by a Fifth of Oxtail with Bone Marrow, Horseradish and Red Sorrel. To finish for a Sixth and final course, guests will enjoy Chocolate with Coffee, Caramel and Pecan. Wine pairings are available for the dinner by The Bear and Star’s General Manager Robert Williams.

The Bear and Star’s Chef Room, photo by Kodiak Greenwood.

The Bear and Star’s Chef Room, photo by Kodiak Greenwood.

Chef Abgaryan, a native Angeleno, was formally trained at Le Cordon Bleu, mentoring at the iconic André Soltner restaurant, Lutèce. He returned to Los Angeles to lead the kitchens of acclaimed restaurateur Tim Goodell’s Red Pearl Kitchen, ‘A’ Restaurant, and Public Kitchen. For the next three years, Abgaryan served as executive chef at Cliff’s Edge Restaurant to great critical acclaim. LA Weekly’s restaurant critic Besha Rodell wrote, “Abgaryan’s food is composed above all else—the chef focuses as much on visual beauty as on taste.”

In 2015, Chef Abgaryan joined forces with Emil Eyvazoff to debut a new, world-class dining destination on the 71st floor of the US Bank Tower. At 950 feet above ground level, 71Above is the highest restaurant west of the Mississippi. Offering elevated modern American cuisine, 71Above boasts breathtaking ocean views from Malibu to Laguna Hills, along with spectacular views of the Los Angeles basin and the surrounding mountain ranges. In addition to the magnificent views, 71Above was designed to provide a number of varying dining experiences. Guests may choose to dine within the buzz of the bar or in our adjacent lively main dining room. The Chef’s tables offer views of the open kitchen and transition into a semi-private dining area, offering a quieter and more intimate dining environment.

For reservations, call 805/686-1359 to prepay by credit card or visit Eventbrite for tickets.

Mark your calendars for upcoming guest chef collaborations:

February 25—Chef Neal Fraser, Redbird, Los Angeles

March 21—Chef Josiah Citrin, Melisse, Santa Monica

The Bear and Star is located at 2860 Grand Ave., Los Olivos.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on January 9, 2018.

UCSB Art Design & Architecture Museum Winter Exhibits Feature Keith Puccinelli, Jane Gottlieb & Chiura Obata

by lesliedinaberg on January 8, 2018

Image: Chiura Obata, Grand Canyon, May 15, 1940, Watercolor on silk, Amber and Richard Sakai Collection, courtesy UCSB ADA&A Museum.

Image: Chiura Obata, Grand Canyon, May 15, 1940, Watercolor on silk, Amber and Richard Sakai Collection, courtesy UCSB ADA&A Museum.

UCSB Art Design & Architecture Museum has three terrific winter exhibits opening this month. Chiura Obata: An American Modern is on view Jan. 13-April 29 and features the work of Chiura Obata, one of the most significant Japanese American artists of the last century. Also on view during that same time period is Jane Gottlieb Photographs France, featuring the vibrantly colored, energetic cibachrome vision of Jane Gottlieb, a local artist whose work has been exhibited widely and featured in Santa Barbara Seasons.

Also opening on Jan. 13 and on view through April 1 is art by the late Keith Puccinelli, whose renowned work has been featured in Santa Barbara Seasons and who recently passed away.

The opening reception for all shows takes place on Jan. 12, from 5:30–7:30 p.m. at UCSB Art Design & Architecture Museum, 552 University Rd., UCSB.

About Chiura Obata

Born in Okayama, Japan, and working primarily in California, Obata emigrated to the U.S. in 1903 and embarked on a seven-decade career that saw not only the growth of an international American art but also xenophobic laws and the mass incarceration of Americans of Japanese descent during World War II. Obata emerged as a leading figure in Northern California’s art scene, serving as an influential art professor at the University of California Berkeley for 22 years, and as a founding director of art schools at the Tanforan Assembly Center in California and the Topaz Relocation Center in Utah during the Japanese American Internment (1942–45).

Chiura Obata: An American Modern surveys Obata’s rich and varied oeuvre, featuring more than 150 superb works of art, many of which have never been on public display. Drawing from private and public collections, the retrospective showcases representative works from every decade of Obata’s career and presents them under thematic groupings in a loosely chronological order.

The many smaller, never-shown works in this retrospective illustrate Obata’s tireless pursuit of better techniques and devoted appreciation of the detail of everyday life.

“With a prodigious and expansive oeuvre, Obata’s seemingly effortless mastery of, and productive engagement with, diverse techniques, styles, and traditions defy the seemingly incompatible categorizations of what we have come to define as ‘American/European’ and ‘Japanese/Asian’ art,” says Professor ShiPu Wang, curator of the exhibition. “Obata’s faith in the power of art, his devotion to preserving the myriad grandeur of what he called ‘Great Nature,’ and his compelling personal story as an immigrant and an American all make Obata and his art as relevant to our contemporary moment as ever.”

Jane Gottlieb, Brancusi Head, 2017, photo-based art, archival dye sublimation print on aluminum, 40 x 60 in.

Jane Gottlieb, Brancusi Head, 2017, photo-based art, archival dye
sublimation print on aluminum, 40 x 60 in.

About Jane Gottlieb

Jane Gottlieb is a photographer living in Southern California, where she was born and raised. In her early 20s she made her first trip by herself as a young professional to Paris. The images she took then, and in many subsequent trips, have been a touchstone of her life’s work. She has returned to them again and again in the last decades, changing them progressively to meet her vision of France as the technology available to her has advanced.

Gottlieb’s vision of France is not like anyone else’s. It is riotous in color, hyper-vibrant in energy, and deeply Californian, shot through with a purely Mexican palette. When she discovered the possibility of hand painting cibachrome prints she had the tools to change the world to match her vision. Printing from her library of color slides, she could brighten them up and give them a new exciting life. The possibility of saturated, unrealistic color was released from Pandora’s box, not to cause trouble but to irritate the eye like a grain of sand in an oyster, producing pearls of perception.

The exhibition includes 20 works by Gottlieb, which survey both the development of her techniques and the specific motifs she has concentrated on in France. The photographs range in date from the late 1970s to the mid 1990s, and the prints from the early 1980s to the present. In addition, the exhibition includes, by way of contrast, late 19th-century photographs and postcards, which express the typical way photographers and visitors have viewed France, and highlight the originality of Gottlieb’s images.

With the cibachromes and then her digital prints, the power of Gottlieb’s vision has been widely recognized. Her work has been exhibited internationally and locally, from Basel, Lisbon, London, Paris, Rome, and Milan, to New York City and Denver, and in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara. Gottlieb’s work resonates across a broad range of viewers and interests.

Keith Puccinelli, Chesire Cat, 1998, ink on paper, 6 x 4 in.

Keith Puccinelli, Chesire Cat, 1998, ink on paper, 6 x 4 in.

About Keith Puccinelli

To announce the extraordinary gift of works and an archive by Keith Puccinelli as well as the recent establishment of The Frances Garvin and Keith Julius Puccinelli Endowed Fund, the AD&A Museum is mounting a celebratory exhibition. Featuring Keith Puccinelli’s work and selections from the couple’s personal collection, this exhibition is a modest installation in anticipation of a larger, forthcoming presentation of this incredible donation. Including a selection of Keith Puccinelli’s drawings, sculptures, sketchbooks, graphic designs and art by local and international folk artists, this installation underscores how this couple, recently deceased, lived an inspired, creative life.

Admission to UCSB Art, Design & Architecture is always free. The Museum is closed Mondays and Tuesdays and open to the public from noon-5 p.m. daily, except Thursdays, when it is open from noon to 8 p.m.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on January 7, 2018.

Celebrate Kids Helping Kids’ 10th Anniversary

by lesliedinaberg on January 8, 2018

NeedtoBreathe (l) and Andy Grammer return to perform at the 10th Annual Kids Helping Kids benefit concert. Courtesy photos.

NeedtoBreathe (l) and Andy Grammer return to perform at the 10th Annual Kids Helping Kids benefit concert. Courtesy photos.

Kids Helping Kids celebrates its 10th Anniversary at the beautiful Granada Theatre (1214 State St.) January 12-13 with performances by NeedtoBreathe and Andy Grammer.

Andy Grammer performs a benefit show for Kids Helping Kids on Friday, Jan. 12 at 7 p.m. at the Granada Theatre. Courtesy photo.

Andy Grammer performs a benefit show for Kids Helping Kids on Friday, Jan. 12 at 7 p.m. at the Granada Theatre. Courtesy photo.

Kids Helping Kids is an entirely student-run nonprofit organization lead by the students in the Advanced Placement Economics classes at San Marcos High School. The group works  to help children in need both locally and globally and has raised an amazing $2.5 million to date.

NeedtoBreathe performs a benefit show for Kids Helping Kids on Saturday, Jan. 13 at 7 p.m. at the Granada Theatre. Courtesy photo.

NeedtoBreathe performs a benefit show for Kids Helping Kids on Saturday, Jan. 13 at 7 p.m. at the Granada Theatre. Courtesy photo.

The annual benefit concert looks back on the legacy built by the students of San Marcos and the support of our community, bringing back two of the past favorite performers, Andy Grammer (Friday, Jan. 12 at 7 p.m.) and NeedtoBreathe (Saturday, Jan. 13 at 7 p.m.).

Past artists who have performed at Kids Helping Kids benefit concerts include:

  • Toad the Wet Sprocket and Tyrone Wells (2009),
  • Five for Fighting (2010),
  • Mat Kearney and Tyrone Wells (2011),
  • Sara Bareilles and Tyrone Wells (2012),
  • Switchfoot and Brad Corrigan from Dispatch (2013),
  • Andy Grammer and Tim Lopez from Plain White T’s (2014),
  • Ingrid Michaelson and Jon McLaughlin (2015),
  • NeedtoBreathe and Johnnyswim (2016),
  • and Gavin DeGraw and Parachute (2017).

In addition to the local chapter, the Kids Helping Kids model to is now in place at two other high schools in Sacramento and Dana Hills, California.

For more information click here, and to purchase tickets, visit the Granada website.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on January 6, 2018.

A Day Away: The Charms
 of Carmel

by lesliedinaberg on January 8, 2018

California Market

The glorious view from California Market at Pacific’s Edge at Hyatt Carmel Highlands. Courtesy photo.

The peaceful s
eas
ide charms
 of Carmel are an eas
y four-hour drive from Santa Barbara.

Where to Stay

Vendange Carmel Inn & Suites (24815 Carpenter St., Carmel, 831/624-6400, vendangecarmel.com) is
 a charming wine-themed inn with the homey vibe of a bed & breakfas
t. Jus
t minutes
 away from res
taurants
, s
hops
, galleries
 and tas
ting rooms
, this
 boutique inn’s
 intimate gardens
 offer a lovely s
etting to enjoy a glas
s
 of wine or a cozy cup of tea. We stayed in the delightful Twisted Roots room. Other partnered wineries
 and themed rooms
 include: Blair Estate Wines, Cima Collina WineryDawn’s Dream WineryGalante VineyardsHolman Ranch WinesJoullian Vineyards, J. Lohr Vineyards & WinesManzoni CellarsMcIntyre VineyardsTudor Wines and Ventana Vineyards.

Nes
tled upon a s
cenic clifftop overlooking the s
tunning Big Sur coas
t and celebrating its
 100th annivers
ary in 2017, Hyatt Carmel Highlands (120 Highlands
 Dr., Carmel, 831/620-1234) offers
 spectacular views
 in an amazing s
etting. The legendary inn’s
 impeccable s
ervice was
 evident from the moment we arrived and were greeted with flutes
 of Pros
ecco to the umbrellas
 that magically appeared when raindrops
 s
tarted to threaten our departure. The gorgeous
 s
liding glas
s
 door views
 and wood-burning fireplace in our room made it hard to leave this
 relaxing, romantic getaway.

Where to Eat

At Whaling Station (763 Wave St., Monterey, 831/373-3778) in nearby Monterey, an old-s
chool s
teakhous
e with on-s
ite dry-age room, diners
 choos
e their own prime cuts
 of beef. As
 you s
elect your USDA Prime cut of aged beef from a s
ilver tray, then watch them s
lice Prime Rib from an antique s
ilver carving trolley, it’s
 eas
y to s
ee why Whaling Station has
 been voted the county’s
 #1 s
teakhous
e for 40 years
 in a row.

California Market at Pacific’s Edge at Hyatt Carmel Highlands
 (120 Highlands
 Dr., Carmel, 831/622-5450) has
 a newly remodeled 1,200-square-foot deck, featuring louvered roof and glas
s
-panel walls
 with dramatic views
 of the Pacific Ocean and the Big Sur coas
t. The food is
 jus
t as
 impres
s
ive as
 the views
, and the extens
ive menu features
 the wares
 of local producers
 s
uch as
 Bellwether Farms
 Creamery in Sonoma, Swank Farms
 in Hollis
ter and Monterey Abalone Company in Monterey.

Twisted Roots Winery

Twisted Roots Winery in Carmel Valley offers a lovely tasting room in an art gallery setting.

Things to Do

Wine tasting in Carmel Valley is
 a great way to s
pend an afternoon, with 24 wineries
 and tas
ting rooms
 to choos
e from. Be s
ure to s
top and s
ay hello to Jos
h & Julie Ruiz of Twisted Roots Winery & Vineyard (located in Lyons
Head Art Gallery, 12 Del Fino Pl., Carmel Valley, 831/594-8282), whos
e warm hos
pitality at this
 family-owned tas
ting room is
 jus
t as
 delicious
 as
 their old-vine wines
. We als
o enjoyed s
ipping on the patio at Joyce Vineyards Tasting Room (1 E. Carmel Valley Rd., Carmel Valley, 831/659-2885). Golfers
 love Pebble Beach, and the famous
 17-Mile Drive is
 a s
cenic treat. Big Sur and Monterey Bay Aquarium are jus
t a s
hort drive away as
 well, offering more than enough entertainment for the entire family.

Leslie Dinaberg

This story was originally published in the Winter 2017-18 issue of Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine.

Cocktail Corner: Sipping on Sipp Cocktails

by lesliedinaberg on January 5, 2018

Pomegrante Mojo LemonDrop, photo and recipe courtesy Sipp Sparkling Organics.

Pomegrante Mojo LemonDrop, photo and recipe courtesy Sipp Sparkling Organics.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic!  By Leslie Dinaberg

We’re always looking for simple cocktail mixers around here, so when the sample box of Sipp Sparkling Organics arrived, I was eager to try them.

Company founder Beth Wilson-Parentice began experimenting with flavors after being laid off from her corporate job. “After many inspiring conversations with my friends, I knew there had to be something here…something relating to creating, mixing and entertaining,” she writes.  “After researching, I saw a growing niche.  A niche that I was already creating in my home entertaining with natural and organic cocktails!  Ah ha!  That’s it!  I will be the one who can help people entertain naturally, but with style too!  Eco-chic!”

She says, “My hope is to inspire you to live your passion and be prepared for your moment of opportunity. Sipp all started with a passion. A passion for superior taste, creating, entertaining and wanting to find MY passion. As they say, when you are handed lemons make lemonade (or cocktails, in my case)!”

After researching costs to create beverages, Wilson-Parentice decided to go in the direction of non-alcoholic brand.  “The costs were less and I liked the idea of creating a specialty beverage for people who don’t drink alcohol but also offer the versatility as a cocktail mixer,” she says.

It’s certainly been a hit. Entrepreneur just named Sipp one of the best entrepreneurial companies in America and Sipp is now widely available at Target and other selected retailers such as BevMo and Pacific Health Foods in Carpinteria (I also spotted it at Luna Grill in the Five Points center recently), and has six different flavors: Mojo Berry, Ginger Blossom, Zesty Orange, Lemon Flower, Ruby Rose and Summer Pear. 

Blackberry Mint Margarita, photo and recipe courtesy Sipp Sparkling Organics.

Blackberry Mint Margarita, photo and recipe courtesy Sipp Sparkling Organics.

We started the taste test out by mixing the Sipp sodas with Vodka. The Zesty Orange was my favorite, combining the flavors of blood orange, lime and jalapeno for a spicy yet lightly sweet cocktail. I also really liked the Mojo Berry (inspired by a berry Mojito), a layering of blackberry, mint and lime flavors. Lemon Flower (with lemon, Elderflower and tarragon) was another crowd favorite, but each flavor had its fans. Ginger Blossom (with ginger, vanilla and lime flavors) was my favorite without the vodka and Ruby Rose (with grapefruit, honey and rosemary) and Summer Pear (with pear, green tea and honey flavors) were also quite good.

The Ginger Blossom was also tasty with Rum and the Zesty Orange paired well with Tequila. We’ll do some more experimenting soon.

Meanwhile, Sipp has a some more complicated recipes to try on the website, including a Blackberry Mint Margarita, Zesty Orange Margarita, Pear Vanilla Cocktail, Lemon Flower Martini, Pomegranite Mojo Lemondrop, Winter Spritzer Punch, Lemon Flower Sparkler and more.

Lemon Flower Sparkler from Sipp Eco Beverage Co. on Vimeo.

I hope you check out Sipp and let us know what you think. Cheers! Click here for more cocktail corner columns.

Leslie Dinaberg

When she’s not busy working as the editor of Santa Barbara SEASONS, Cocktail Corner author Leslie Dinaberg writes magazine articles, newspaper columns and grocery lists. When it comes to cocktails, Leslie considers herself a “goal-oriented drinker.”

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on January 5, 2018.

“The Public” is Opening Night Film at SBIFF

by lesliedinaberg on January 5, 2018

The Public will open the 2018 Santa Barbara International Film Festival on January 31. Courtesy photos.

The Public will open the 2018 Santa Barbara International Film Festival on January 31. Courtesy photos.

Opening night of the 33rd Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF), presented by UGG, is the worldwide premiere of The Public at the Arlington Theatre on Wednesday, January 31.  Written and directed by Emilio Estevez, the film stars Estevez, Alec Baldwin, Jena Malone, Christian Slater, Taylor Schilling, Che “Rhymefest” Smith, Gabrielle Union, Jacob Vargas, Michael K. Williams and Jeffrey Wright.

“I’ve long admired Emilio Estevez as an artist-actor-director.  With The Public, I feel he has done his most personal and fully realized work. the public speaks wonderfully about our current divided country – but it also does not preach – it keeps us cinematically immersed.  I can honestly say this is the proudest choice for opening during my tenure at SBIFF.  I cherish the friendship with Emilio and admire his accomplishment with the public,” says Roger Durling, Executive Director of SBIFF.

The Public puts the spotlight on the issues of homelessness, mental illness and drug addiction as it follows a group of homeless library patrons, who, after learning that emergency shelters are at capacity during a brutal Midwestern cold front, refuse to leave Cincinnati’s downtown public library at closing time.

“I’m absolutely delighted, thrilled, and humbled to be chosen by Roger Durling for the great honor of kicking off SBIFF 2018 with The Public. Roger’s long standing commitment of supporting independent filmmakers makes the Santa Barbara International Film Festival a vital showcase for artists. Once again, the festival will screen a wide and wonderful variety of distinguished films and our picture has indeed, found itself in some lovely company,” says Emilio Estevez.

For more information or to purchase tickets, click here.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on January 4, 2018.