When Mom says, "Be home by one," she's saying, "I worry, I care"; however what you hear is the high-pitched squawk of a controlling bitchcarp. You're both right.
-E. Jean Carroll

First Person: Sullivan Goss Gallery’s Nathan Vonk

by lesliedinaberg on July 17, 2017

 New Sullivan Goss Gallery owner Nathan Vonk is flanked by his colleagues and fellow curators Jeremy Tessmer and Susan Bush.

New Sullivan Goss Gallery owner Nathan Vonk is flanked by his colleagues and fellow curators Jeremy Tessmer and Susan Bush. Courtesy photo.

Preserving the Legacy, Embracing the Future

By Leslie Dinaberg

The link between Burning Man’s annual bacchanal festivities and Sullivan Goss Gallery’s 30-plus-year legacy of celebrating important 19th-, 20th– and 21st-century American art may seem tenuous, but it was a visit to Burning Man that first sparked Nathan Vonk’s interest in art and the friends he made in the desert that first brought him to Santa Barbara.

Armed with a master’s degree in post-modern literature theory, Vonk taught night school at Ventura College and walked dogs during the day. He eventually bought out the owners of the dog business, ran it for a few years and then sold it for a profit, right before the market crashed in September of 2008.

Now fully enmeshed in the Santa Barbara scene, Vonk contemplated going back to school and getting a doctorate in art history or curatorial sciences and asked Sullivan Goss curator Jeremy Tessmer if he “could volunteer some hours at the gallery, so I could see if it was something that I wanted to do in graduate school.” Vonk laughs, “I came in and volunteered for the week, and on Friday, Frank [Goss] offered me a job. I never went back to school, and I’ve been there ever since.”

He continues, “I was the one guy in the whole country who got a new job in October of 2008. When everyone else was going on unemployment and Bear Stearns was crashing, I was one of the luckiest people in the country. I’ve been at Sullivan Goss ever since, and I couldn’t be happier.”

So happy, in fact, that when Goss told the team (which includes Tessmer and fellow curator Susan Bush) he planned to retire after 2016, Vonk bought the gallery because he wanted to make sure the legacy continued, with its staff intact.

If you think of arts in Santa Barbara as an ecosystem, the part that Sullivan Goss fulfills—if that goes away, the whole ecosystem suffers greatly and it’s not a part that someone is going to step in and fill that void. That was a large part of my motivation to take on the risk of running a commercial gallery,” says Vonk.

He and his wife, Erin Smith, have a son, Lowen, who, Vonk says, “has been to more art shows at age 2-1/2 than I think the average Santa Barbaran probably has.”

Part of what Vonk loves about Santa Barbara is its casual, egalitarian nature. “I think we all understand how lucky we are to work in a gallery like this, in a town like this. Shortly after working for Frank, I had the opportunity to go to New York and visit galleries…the whole vibe there is so different than it is in Santa Barbara. If you don’t look like you can afford it, they don’t give you the time of day.…It kind of left a bad taste in my mouth about the whole situation, and it made me all the more excited to come back and work for Frank, because we don’t operate that way. In part we can’t, because the man or woman who comes into our gallery in shorts and flip-flops could very easily be a billionaire, and I don’t know that. So I have to treat everyone like they are billionaires, and I like that.”

Vonk views part of his art-dealer role as acting like a sort of docent, saying, “What we sell are not just pretty pictures; they are pretty pictures that come with a history and a provenance and some other interesting part of them that, hopefully, people who are interested in buying them will understand that if they buy them, they are only going to be a small portion of that object’s history.”

He also clearly loves the work. “One of the great things about Sullivan Goss is that I was sort of an academic, and I loved studying and writing essays and we do all that.… We’ve written four or five books…all the things I wanted from going back to school I got. Plus I got to stay in Santa Barbara so it was even better.”

Originally published in the Summer 2017 issue of Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine.

Cocktail Corner: Local Restaurants Earn Wine Spectator’s Top Honors

by lesliedinaberg on July 14, 2017

The Stonehouse at San Ysidro Ranch, courtesy photo.

The Stonehouse at San Ysidro Ranch, courtesy photo.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic!  By Leslie Dinaberg

As if there were any doubt that Santa Barbara County is Wine Country, Wine Spectator recently honored 20 local restaurants with their highest honors for excellence.

“Wine Spectator‘s Restaurant Awards recognize restaurants whose wine lists offer interesting selections, are appropriate to their cuisine and appeal to a wide range of wine lovers,” according to the guidelines.

The Stonehouse at San Ysidro Ranch earned The Grand Award, which is Wine Spectator‘s highest honor, given to only 89 restaurants around the world. According to Wine Spectator, this honor is “given to restaurants that show an uncompromising, passionate devotion to the quality of their wine programs. These wine lists typically feature 1,000 or more selections, and deliver serious breadth of top producers, outstanding depth in mature vintages, a selection of large-format bottles, excellent harmony with the menu, and superior presentation. These restaurants offer the highest level of wine service.”

Angel Oak at the Bacara Resort & Spa, Los Olivos Wine Merchant & CafeOpal Restaurant & Bar and Wine Cask all earned The Best of Award of Excellence. “These wine lists display excellent breadth across multiple winegrowing regions and/or significant vertical depth of top producers, along with superior presentation. Typically offering 350 or more selections, these restaurants are destinations for serious wine lovers, showing a deep commitment to wine, both in the cellar and through their service team,” according to Wine Spectator.

“We are thrilled for the honor in our first year of opening,” says Anne Elcon, Director of Marketing & Communications at Bacara Resort & Spa.

Angel Oak Wine Cellar, LaFemme Photography, courtesy photo.

Angel Oak Wine Cellar, LaFemme Photography, courtesy photo.

Also receiving The Award of Excellence, for “wine lists, which typically offer at least 90 selections, feature a well-chosen assortment of quality producers, along with a thematic match to the menu in both price and style,” were several other local restaurants: BarbareñoBella Vista at Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara, Bouchon Santa Barbara, Chuck’s Steak House Of Hawaii, Les Marchands Wine Bar & Merchant, Olio Pizzeria, Olio e Limone Ristorante, S.Y. Kitchen, Sly’s, The Harbor Restaurant, The Hitching Post II, The Lark, Tre Lune and Willows at Chumash Casino Resort.

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 July 14, 2017.

Local Dish: Santa Barbara Author Pens “A Visitor’s Guide to Mexico City Street Food”

by lesliedinaberg on July 13, 2017

Courtesy photo.

Richard Lambert, the local chef behind the beloved (and now gone) Santa Barbara Tamales To Go, has turned his culinary talents toward Mexico City’s colorful street food scene with a new book, A Visitor’s Guide to Mexico City Street Food, that turns the spotlight on the world’s number one travel destination (New York Times).

Lambert lived in Mexico City for much of last year with his daughter Juliet, who owns a restaurant and catering business there, and says he “grabbed the opportunity to eat my way across the city, finding something new on every street. The options are endless when there are an estimated half million street food vendors in the city.”

Cleverly written, with tongue-in-cheek chapter titles like “Tacos are King of the Night” and “The Salsa Tells You Who is Cooking,” Lambert’s 37-page guide provides street food recommendations, descriptive photos, food and health safety tips, and on-the-street videoclips. The ebook also comes with a separate 40-page Spanish-English glossary of food terms, which is particularly useful, as Lambert describes Mexico’s pambazos, tlayudas, arrachera, costras and huitlacoche as “some of the best street foods you’ve probably never heard of, and will have fun discovering.”

Courtesy photo.

For the record, pambazos are a Torta (sandwich) that takes its name from the bread it is traditionally made with, pan basso. Lambert writes, “This peasant roll is chewy-tough and able to hold up well when it is split and fully dipped in guajillo chile sauce and briefly fried. The roll is then filled with potatoes, chorizo, refried beans, lettuce, crema, and garnished with queso fresco. This torta originated in Mexico City.”

He describes tlayudas as “large, thin crusted, fried or toasted tortilla covered with a variety of meats, cheeses, vegetables and salsas. It is often called a Mexican pizza because it looks similar. The tlayuda originated in the state of Oaxaca.”

Arrachera is “thin sliced, grilled hanger steak with spice and cilantro marinade. (A) popular taco filling.” Costras are a “popular late night Mexico City street food item that is like a taco, but the ‘tortilla’ is made of cheese that is melted on a grill and then wrapped around the filling of your choice.”

Courtesy photo.

Courtesy photo.

Huitlacoche, (pronounced “wheet-lah-KOH-cheh”) is “a fungus that invades growing corn kernels and changes them into soft blackish lumps,” writes Lambert. “In the United States, it is called corn smut or devil’s corn, and is treated as a disease. In México, however, it is prized as a culinary delicacy and is even referred to as a Mexican truffle by gourmet chefs. Huitlacoche is used to flavor quesadillas, tamales, burritos, soups, as well as other dishes.”

If those descriptions don’t make you hungry, flipping through the ebook’s colorful photos certainly will.  A Visitor’s Guide to Mexico City Street Food is $12.95, and may be ordered online here.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on July 12, 2017.

 

Happy Together Tour Returns to the Chumash Casino

by lesliedinaberg on July 13, 2017

Put on your dancing shoes and get ready to go back in time with the Happy Together Tour, featuring an impressive collection of top recording artists from the 1960s.

The Turtles’ Flo & Eddie, The Association, The Cowsills, Chuck Negron, The Box Tops and Ron Dante return together to the Chumash Casino Resort’s Samala Showroom at 8 p.m. on Friday, July 14. With 53 top Billboard hits among these six headliners, this should be fun trip down memory lane.

The Turtles scored their first Top 10 hit with the Bob Dylan cover “It Ain’t Me Babe” in 1965. They would reach the top of the charts in 1967 with “Happy Together,” which would become their best-known hit.

The Association had numerous top hits including “Windy,” “Cherish,” “Never My Love” and “Along Comes Mary.” They are noted for their intricate vocal harmonies by the band’s multiple singers.

Happy Together Tour, courtesy photo.

Happy Together Tour, courtesy photo.

The Cowsills, a family affair that inspired the TV series The Partridge Family, will sing hits “The Rain, the Park and the Other Things,” “Hair,” “Indian Lake” and “We Can Fly.”

Chuck Negron, a former member of American rock band Three Dog Night, is sure to perform a few of the band’s top hits including “One,” “Easy to Be Hard,” “Pieces of April,” “Just an Old Fashioned Love Song” and “The Show Must Go On.”

The Box Tops are best known for their hits “The Letter,” “Cry Like a Baby” and “Soul Deep.” Their unique sound combines elements of both soul music and light pop.

American singer, songwriter and producer Ron Dante is best known as the lead singer of the fictional cartoon band The Archies. The band delivered top hits “Sugar, Sugar,” “Jingle Jangle,” “Bang-Shang-A-Lang” and “Who’s Your Baby.”

This legendary collection of Pop greats from the ‘60s performs at the Chumash Casino Resort, 3400 Highway 246, Santa Ynez. Tickets for all events are available at the Chumash Casino Resort’s Club Indulge or online at www.chumashcasino.com.

—Leslie Dinaberg

 Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on July 11, 2017.

 

Local Lowdown: Carrying a Torch for Tiki Drinks

by lesliedinaberg on July 6, 2017

High Roller Tiki Lounge seating area, courtesy High Roller Tiki Lounge.

High Roller Tiki Lounge seating area, courtesy High Roller Tiki Lounge.

By Leslie Dinaberg

Entering Solvang’s High Roller Tiki Lounge is like taking a trip back to the mid-century era of kitsch culture—perhaps an episode of Mad Men on a tropical vacation crossed with a visit to Disneyland’s Tiki Room. This clever concept shouldn’t be a surprise, given that owner Michael Cobb had a 17-year career with Disneyland before relocating to Solvang in 2007 to found Sort This Out Cellars wine-tasting room, another kitschy charmer inspired by the Rat Pack era when men were men and real women had curves.

High Roller Tiki Lounge, located in the intimate back room of Sort This Out Cellars, is a dimly lit tropical oasis with immaculate attention to detail. The décor offers something to amuse on every available surface, including hula-dancer tchotchkes, a wood-carved “Witco” bar and a replica of P.T. Barnum’s “Feejee Mermaid.” Custom-made swizzle sticks and mermaid mugs also set the stage for a fun array of classic inspired Tiki “Winetails,” ranging from tweaks on the traditional “Mai Tai” and “Blue Hawaiian” to the more adventurous “Solvang Siren” and “This Drink Will Get you Lei’d,” in which, yes, a necklace of flowers does indeed appear when you order it!

This whimsical spin on Tiki bars is a great way to make your Solvang experience even more international—and more fun! 

High Roller Tiki Lounge, 1636 Copenhagen Dr., Solvang, highrollertiki.com.

Originally published in the Summer 2017 issue of Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine.

Concerts in the Park Kick Off July 6

by lesliedinaberg on July 6, 2017

Pettybreakers, courtesy photo.

Pettybreakers, courtesy photo.

The free Concerts in the Park series starts on Thursday, July 6 with the PettyBreakers—dubbed as “The Nation’s Premier Tribute to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers”—performing from 6-8:30 p.m. on the Chase Palm Park stage (323 E. Cabrillo Blvd.).

The Hollywood Stones, courtesy photo.

The Hollywood Stones, courtesy photo.

This is the kick off to a month of free outdoor Thursday night concert fun. Up next, on July 13, is The Hollywood Stones—A Tribute to the Music of the Rolling Stones—(are you sensing a theme here?).

Crooked Eye Tommy, courtesy photo.

Crooked Eye Tommy, courtesy photo.

Crooked Eye Tommy, an original Southern California blues band, performs on July 20.

Captain Cardiac and the Coronaries, courtesy photo.

Captain Cardiac and the Coronaries, courtesy photo.

They are followed by the 1950s and 1960s rock ‘n roll stylings of Captain Cardiac and the Coronaries on July 27.

Presented by Santa Barbara Parks and Recreation Department, this event welcomes dogs long as they are on leash. Alcoholic beverages are not permitted in the park and there is no blanket/chair setup or otherwise claiming spaces until noon on the day of each concert.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on July 5, 2017.

Count Basie Orchestra Benefit for Rona Barrett Foundation

by lesliedinaberg on July 3, 2017

The Count Basie Orchestra and Paula Cole, courtesy Rona Barrett Foundation.

The Count Basie Orchestra and Paula Cole, courtesy Rona Barrett Foundation.

The Rona Barrett Foundation hosts a special benefit concert on July 8 at the Lobero Theatre with the legendary Count Basie Orchestra directed by Scotty Barnhart and special guest, Paula Cole. Between them, Count Basie and Paula Cole are the embodiment of jazz and have 19 Grammys to prove it!

Headquartered locally, the Rona Barrett Foundation is a nonprofit dedicated to providing affordable housing, Alzheimer’s care, assisted living and wellness programs for underserved senior citizens in the Santa Barbara County area. Founded by former entertainment journalist, Rona Barrett, who was inspired to become a senior advocate after caregiving for her Dad, Harry, who was afflicted with Alzheimer’s and eventually succumbed to the disease.

In 2016, The Rona Barrett Foundation was the catalyst for the establishment of The Golden Inn & Village in Santa Ynez, an independent living community for in-need and vulnerable seniors and veterans who are financially challenged.

In 2018, The Foundation, along with its partners, will establish “Harry’s House at the Golden Inn & Village,”—a home for Alzheimer’s and assisted living.  This campus will be an innovative, scholarship-sponsored model.

For more information, please visit ronabarrettfoundation.org or call 805/688-8887.

The Lobero Theatre is located at 33 E. Canon Perdido St.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on July 2, 2017.

Cocktail Corner: Sweet Summer Sips

by lesliedinaberg on June 30, 2017

Eureka's new summer cocktails, courtesy photo.

Eureka’s new summer cocktails, courtesy photo.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic!  By Leslie Dinaberg

Santo Mezcal's Margarita Jamaica, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Santo Mezcal’s Margarita Jamaica, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Nothing says summer like sipping a Margarita on the rocks on 4th of July weekend, as far as I’m concerned, but if you want to mix it up a bit, there are lots of great cocktail options around town.

Switching out Tequila for Mezcal is one way to change things up, and Santo Mezcal (119 State St.) has some delicious options in that regard. Try the Margarita Jamaica with Mezcal (or Tequila) and spiced hibiscus syrup, lime and hibiscus flowers for a drink that’s as pretty as it is tasty.

Sama Sama Kitchen (1208 State St.)  is always coming up with interesting cocktail concoctions, and right now they’ve

Sama Sama Kitchen's Cherimoya Daquiri, courtesy facebook.com.

Sama Sama Kitchen’s Cherimoya Daquiri, courtesy facebook.com.

got a seasonal Cherimoya Daiquiri on the menu, made with white rum, spiced liqueur, cherimoya juice, orange blossom honey and lime. Yum!  

Alberto Battaglini, the talented Mixologist at  S.Y. Kitchen (1110 Faraday St., Santa Ynez), has a delicious Watermelon Cooler on the menu right

S.Y. Kitchen's Watermelon Cooler with gin, watermelon, lemon and gomme syrup, photo by Elisabetta Antonacci.

S.Y. Kitchen’s Watermelon Cooler with
gin, watermelon, lemon and gomme syrup, photo by Elisabetta Antonacci.

now, made with gin, watermelon, lemon, gomme syrup. This is summer in a glass! 

And what could be more summery than a cocktail called Tan Lines, new on the menu at Eureka! (601 Paseo Nuevo) and made with vodka, Chareau Aloe, lemon, mint, watermelon and sparkling wine. 

Bar 29 (1134 Chapala St.) is a fun, newish place to do some summer sipping. New to their menu this month is The Arlington, made with Bourbon, White Peach, Grapefruit, Lemon and Honey.

The Arlington at Bar 29, Courtesy photo.

The Arlington at Bar 29, Courtesy photo.

Sweet and summery!

Viva!  (1114 State St.) has an extensive Margarita menu, including  a delicious Blackberry Margarita made with fresh lime, agave, and Combier blackberry liqueur.

And of course, we can’t leave out the Blood Orange Margarita at the Boathouse at Hendry’s Beach (2981 Cliff Dr.), made with Mastero Dobel Blanco, blood orange, lime and  Triple Sec served with a salted rim. (Add fresh jalapeno for some heat!) Your cares will melt away as you watch the sunset over the water and sip this refreshing treat.

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 June 30, 2017. 

 

Val Kilmer Presents Cinema Twain LIVE

by lesliedinaberg on June 29, 2017

Val Kilmer as "Citizen Twain," courtesy photo.

Val Kilmer as “Citizen Twain,” courtesy photo.

Val Kilmer will be at the Lobero Theatre this Friday night (Jun. 30) at 8 p.m. to present a screening of his play about Mark Twain. The one-man show, Citizen Twain, played to sold-out houses at several performing arts venues in Los Angeles.

Kilmer transforms himself into Twain in a comedic and moving performance based on the life of the man, Samuel Clemens, and of course his writings as Mark Twain. From his thoughts on politics (including his famous disdain for the U.S. Congress), to his family and ultimately his faith and God, Twain spins a series of yarns with his timeless satire and incomparable wit.

Kilmer will conduct a question and answer period with the audience following the screening.

The Lobero Theatre is located at 33 E. Canon Perdido St.

Special meet and greet tickets are still on sale at the Lobero Box Office and here.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on June 28, 2017.

Style File: Pureology Hydrate Air Dry Cream

by lesliedinaberg on June 29, 2017

Photo courtesy Pureology.

Photo courtesy Pureology.

If you, like me, are part of the one in two women who put down their blow dryers in favor of air dried hairstyles (source: 2012 US Beauty Track Report Women), you’re going to be excited about Pureology’s new Hydrate Air Dry Cream.  This is a great post-shower product for easy, low maintenance styling, and is specially formulated to enhance body and natural texture by locking in moisture while simultaneously delivering a faster air-drying time, frizz control, and hair color protection.

Pureology's Hydrate Air Dry Cream, courtesy photo.

Pureology’s Hydrate Air Dry Cream, courtesy photo.

Plus, Hydrate Air Dry Cream can be applied to hair the night before or directly after shampooing to achieve an effortless yet pulled together look perfect for all occasions.

Hit snooze and now running late for work? Apply a quarter-sized amount of Hydrate Air Dry Cream to damp, freshly shampooed hair and twist strands back on each side of the face and secure. Once at the office, shake hair out for a naturally textured look.

Need a quick style that only looks like it took hours? Before bed, apply a quarter-sized amount of Hydrate Air Dry Cream to damp, freshly shampooed hair and separate hair into four large sections. Twist each section in a tight rope bun and secure with an elastic. In the morning, remove elastics and tousle hair for easy waves.

Love a braid but hate flyaways? Run a dime-sized amount of Hydrate Air Dry Cream through clean, dry hair before styling to keep wispy strands in place without the crunch.

Ready to ramp up second day hair? Apply a dime-sized amount of Hydrate Air Dry Cream to only the ends of dry hair to liven up limp or smooth frizzy ends.

Made with soy, oat and wheat proteins to strengthen, rebuild and repair, and with jojoba, green tea and sage to add condition, Hydrate’s signature aromatherapy blend includes ylang ylang, bergamot, patchouli and grapefruit scents. The company also has a whole line of Hydrate products specially formulated for dry, color-treated hair, including shampoos and conditioners and other styling products.

Visit Pureology.com for more information.

—Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on June 28, 2017.