Father’s Day Gift Guide

By Leslie Dinaberg

Dads are notoriously hard to buy presents for, so here are a few Father’s Day gift suggestions that are sure to make him smile.

Daditude by Chris Erskine.

Daditude by Chris Erskine.

Daditude

Beloved Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune Columnist Chris Erskine‘s collection of essays about the joys and absurdities of modern fatherhood are sure to make any dad smile. As the promo says, “This handsome book is the perfect gift for the father who would have everything—if he hadn’t given it all to his kids.” Click here for more information.

Jackalope Beer Soap, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Jackalope Beer Soap, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Jackalope Beer Soap

An intoxicating way for dad to start his day, these Jackalope Beer Soap bars from Little Seed Farm are an all-natural way to give his morning shower a little extra kick! The Bourbon BarBearwalker Beer BarRompo Beer Bar and Thunder Ann Beer Bar are hand-crafted from fresh, raw goat’s milk produced on Little Seed Farm’s own dairy herd, in collaboration with a local distillery and brewery located in Nashville, Tennessee. Spent grains from the brewing process are added to each bar of soap, giving it a nice solid texture he’s sure to enjoy. www.littleseedfarm.com

Broo Shampoo, courtesy @Brooshampoo Instagram.

Broo Shampoo, courtesy @Brooshampoo Instagram.

BRÖÖ Craft Beer Shampoo

Continuing with the beer theme, BRÖÖ Craft Beer harnesses the power of all-malt, freshly-hopped craft beer in the form of a shampoo that dad is sure to enjoy. People have rinsed their hair with beer for ages, and this home-brewed remedy is brimming with B vitamins, proteins, and minerals to make his hair shiny, healthy and strong. broo.com

ZEROWater filter pitcher, courtesy photo.

ZEROWater filter pitcher, courtesy photo.

ZeroWater Filtration Pitcher

Perfect for the environmentally conscious and economically minded dad, eco-friendly ZeroWater filtration devices turn tap water into the equivalent of purified bottled water without the expense or waste of plastic bottles. Available in 8-cup, 10-cup and 20-cup dispensers. www.zerowater.com

DAZI Socks, courtesy photo.

DAZI Socks, courtesy photo.

DAZI Socks

Colorful, fun socks are a great way for even the most conservative dad to jazz up his look—and his mood. Whether he’s relaxing on the weekend, going to work, or dressed up for a night out, help him put his best foot forward with DAZI’s fashionable and comfortable men’s socks. This line features unique designs that are fun, but not over-the-top, to wear with almost any look. www.daziusa.com

Bindle Bottle, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Bindle Bottle, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Bindle Bottle

A clever gift for the dad who likes to travel light. The Bindle Bottle holds 24 ounces of his favorite beverage—keeping drinks hot or cold for hours—along with small necessities such as chapstick, keys and headphones in the bottom stash area. Plus the name is cool: “Bindles” were once used by train hoppers to carry their essentials on their shoulders as they went off on their next adventure—your dad is sure to love this gift as he goes off on his. bindlebottle.com

Happy Father’s Day!

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

Local Dish: Finch & Fork Welcomes New Chef

Finch & Fork Executive Sous Chef Peter Cham, courtesy photo.

Finch & Fork Executive Sous Chef Peter Cham, courtesy photo.

Santa Barbara native Peter Cham recently took over the kitchen at Finch & Fork, when longtime Executive Chef James Siao left to expand his culinary horizons overseas at one of Kimpton’s international properties. Lucky for us, Cham has served as Siao’s right-hand-man for more than two years, and is eagerly up to the challenge of taking over the culinary helm at the Canary Hotel’s signature restaurant.

Finch & Fork's Salmon, with preparation, which included beluga lentils, asparagus, pancetta, green peppercorn hollandaise, capers and baby turnip, courtesy photo.

Finch & Fork’s Salmon, with preparation, which included beluga lentils, asparagus, pancetta, green peppercorn hollandaise, capers and baby turnip, courtesy photo.

If our recent meal is any indication, Cham is more than up to the task. We put ourselves in his capable hands and sampled an excellent array of flavors, including delicious Blistered Shishito Peppers with charred lime aioli, crispy quinoa; Cauliflower with romesco, hazelnut dukkah and lemon (even my “vegetable adverse” husband liked these flavors); and a mouthwatering preparation of Burrata & Spring Peas with preserved lemon, pickled shallots, mint, tangerine, sunflower seeds and grilled artisan bread that I’m still dreaming about. Not only was this dish perfectly balanced, a portion of its proceeds are even donated to No Kid Hungry, a nonprofit movement of teachers, chefs, community leaders, parents, lawmakers and CEOs with a shared belief: no kid in America should go hungry.

Finch & Fork's Burrata & Spring Peas with preserved lemon, pickled shallots, mint, tangerine, sunflower seeds and grilled artisan bread, courtesy photo.

Finch & Fork’s Burrata & Spring Peas with preserved lemon, pickled shallots, mint, tangerine, sunflower seeds and grilled artisan bread, courtesy photo.

Also on the No Kid Hungry donation menu is a melt-in-your-mouth Short Rib with parsnip purée, radish, gremolata and dandelion greens. We also really enjoyed the unusual Salmon preparation, which included beluga lentils, asparagus, pancetta, green peppercorn hollandaise, capers and baby turnip.

Finch & Fork's Short Rib with parsnip purée, radish, gremolata and dandelion greens, courtesy photo.

Finch & Fork’s Short Rib with parsnip purée, radish, gremolata and dandelion greens, courtesy photo.

Other highlights on Cham’s most recent dinner menu include Fresh Ricotta Cavatelli with house made sausage ragout, braised Tuscan kale, crème fraiche, fennel pollen and parmigiana; Kanpachi Crudo with avocado and cilantro crema, pickled pearl onions, jicama, yuzu and jalapeño; and Sea Scallops with gold beet relish, grapefruit, chorizo vinaigrette and sliced avocado.

Finch & Fork's Cauliflower with romesco, hazelnut dukkah and lemon, courtesy photo.

Finch & Fork’s Cauliflower with romesco, hazelnut dukkah and lemon, courtesy photo.

A culinary grad from City College of San Francisco, Cham has worked and staged at some of San Francisco’s most notable restaurants, including Radius, Coi, Quince and Fifth Floor.

“There’s no better chef to take over the kitchen at Finch & Fork,” says James Siao. “Chef Cham is a natural leader who is extremely talented and passionate about what he does. He has always been invested in Finch & Fork and Santa Barbara’s community.”

Cham returned to Santa Barbara from the Bay Area in 2015, where he took post at the popular Hungry Cat before calling Finch & Fork his home. He says he plans to stay true to the high quality menus we’ve come to enjoy at Finch & Fork—”seasonally driven dishes served in simple, unfussy presentations with a touch of whimsy.”

Finch & Fork’s cocktail, The Drive Home, courtesy photo.

Finch & Fork’s cocktail, The Drive Home, courtesy photo.

Finch & Fork’s cocktail, Rattle and Hum, courtesy photo.

Finch & Fork’s cocktail, Rattle and Hum, courtesy photo.

Finch & Fork’s Fire Roasted Milk Shake is a great way to top off your meal, courtesy photo.

Finch & Fork’s Fire Roasted Milk Shake is a great way to top off your meal, courtesy photo.

Finch & Fork, Canary Hotel, 31 West Carrillo St., Santa Barbara, 805/879-9100. For more information, click here.

Leslie Dinaberg

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

Wine Dinner Series at Belmond El Encanto Continues

Belmond El Encanto. Courtesy photo.

Belmond El Encanto. Courtesy photo.

Belmond El Encanto‘s delicious wine dinner series continues this week, with an exclusive dining experience featuring Daou Vineyards and Winery of Paso Robles on Wednesday, June 6.

Regionally inspired cuisine from Executive Chef Johan Denizot is paired with a fantastic selection of wines. A welcome reception begins at 6:30 p.m., followed by a multi-course tasting menu with wine pairings. For a peek at the menu, click here.

The series continues on August 23, featuring Santa Barbara County’s own Au Bon Climat.

On September 20, it’s Venetian Night: Evolution of Amarone (In Italian, the name Amarone literally means “the Great Bitter,” and is a typically rich Italian dry red wine made from the partially dried grapes of the Corvina , Rondinella and other approved red grape varieties).

Finally, Ridge Vineyards, featuring wines from Sonoma County and the Santa Cruz Mountains, is spotlighted on November 1.

The Daou dinner on Wednesday, June 6 is $120 per person. For reservations, call 805/770-3530.

Belmond El Encanto is located at 800 Alvarado Pl., Santa Barbara. For more information about the resort, click here.

Leslie Dinaberg

Cocktail Corner: Santa Barbara Wine and Food Festival

Santa Barbara Wine + Food Festival 2018, courtesy photo.

Santa Barbara Wine + Food Festival 2018, courtesy photo.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg

One of the very best wine fests—the 31st Annual Santa Barbara Wine + Food Festival—returns to the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History on Saturday, June 30.

The Museum is a beautiful place to indulge in delicious wines paired with excellent bites along the shaded banks of Mission Creek. And you can feel good about going to this event because all net proceeds from the festival support the Museum’s nature and science education programs. I have fond memories of field trips to the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History  back when I was in elementary school, as well as many more recent trips with my son.

It’s definitely a festival with a LOCAL feeling. Perhaps because of that, the Santa Barbara Wine + Food Festival is also one of the few events that the winemakers themselves attend and pour their favorite vintages. “This is one of the very best tastings that we attend throughout the year,” says Richard Sanford of Alma Rosa.

“This is the most beautiful tasting, the most beautiful setting that I do anywhere in the country.” says Jim Clendenen of Au Bon Climat.

Jamie Slone at Santa Barbara Wine + Food Festival, courtesy photo.

Jamie Slone at Santa Barbara Wine + Food Festival, courtesy photo.

More than 50 Central Coast wineries will be at the festival, including:

Alexander & Wayne

Alma Rosa

Marni Margerum at Santa Barbara Wine + Food Festival, courtesy photo.

Marni Margerum at Santa Barbara Wine + Food Festival, courtesy photo.

Andrew Murray Vineyards 

Area 5.1

Arthur Earl Winery

Au Bon Climat

Babcock Winery

Beckmen Vineyards

Bedford Winery

Blair Fox

Brander Vineyard

Brewer-Clifton

Buttonwood

Cambria

Carr Vineyards and Winery

Casa Dumetz

Cebada

Consilience

CORE

Cutler’s Artisan

D’Alfonso-Curran

De Paola

Domaine de la Cote

Epiphany Cellars

Feliz Noche

Fess Parker Winery & Vineyard

Tim Snider and Brad Thomas at Santa Barbara Wine + Food Festival, courtesy photo.

Tim Snider and Brad Thomas at Santa Barbara Wine + Food Festival, courtesy photo.

Fiddlehead Cellars

Flying Goat Cellars

Foxen

Gainey Vineyards

Grassini Family Vineyards

Jaffurs Wine Cellars

Jamie Slone

Kalyra

Kaena Wine

Ken Brown Wines

Kenneth Volk Vineyards

Koehler Winery

LaFond Winery

Larner Wines

Fred Brander at Santa Barbara Wine + Food Festival, courtesy photo.

Fred Brander at Santa Barbara Wine + Food Festival, courtesy photo.

Longoria

Lumen

Mail Road Winery

Margerum Wine Company

Melville

Mosby Winery & Vineyard

Municipal Winemakers

Notary Public

Nielson

Oreana

Palmina

Potek

Santa Barbara Wine + Food Festival 2018, courtesy photo.

Santa Barbara Wine + Food Festival 2018, courtesy photo.

Qupé

Rancho Sisquoc Winery

Rideau

Sagebrush Annie’s

Sandhi Wines

Santa Barbara Winery

Savoy Wines

Silver Wines

Storm Wines

Sunstone Winery

Tablas Creek

Tatomer

Tercero Wines

Transcendence Wines

Whitcraft Winery

Zaca Mesa

Courtesy Santa Barbara Wine and Food Festival.

Courtesy Santa Barbara Wine and Food Festival.

Ian Cutler at Santa Barbara Wine + Food Festival, courtesy photo.

Ian Cutler at Santa Barbara Wine + Food Festival, courtesy photo.

Also available are sweet and savory delectable delights from more than 40 of Santa Barbara County’s finest eateries and caterers, including:

• Barbareño

• Benchmark

• Black Bow Sweets

• Blue Water Grill

• Bob’s Well Bread

Santa Barbara Wine + Food Festival 2018, courtesy photo.

Santa Barbara Wine + Food Festival 2018, courtesy photo.

• Bottlest Bistro

• Brophy Bros.

• Ca’ Dario

• Corazon Cocina

• Country Catering

Santa Barbara Wine + Food Festival 2018, courtesy photo.

Santa Barbara Wine + Food Festival 2018, courtesy photo.

Santa Barbara Wine + Food Festival 2018, courtesy photo.

Santa Barbara Wine + Food Festival 2018, courtesy photo.

• Deux Bakery

• Enterprise Fish Company

• Farmer Boy

• Finch and Fork Restaurant

• Gelson’s Market – Santa Barbara

• Helena Avenue Bakery

• Hitching Post

• il Fustino

• Industrial Eats

• Jessica Foster Confections

Les Marchands

Loquita

• Michael’s Catering

• Oat Bakery

• Outpost at Goodland

• Pacific Pickle Works

• Pico

Guests enjoy Santa Barbara Wine + Food Festival, courtesy photo.

Guests enjoy Santa Barbara Wine + Food Festival, courtesy photo.

• Renaud’s Patisserie & Bistro

• Santa Barbara Popcorn Co.

• Savoy Cafe and Deli

• Scarlett Begonia

• Solvang Bakery

• The Bear and Star

The Lark

• Tondi Gelato

• Via Maestra 42

Santa Barbara Wine + Food Festival tickets cost $75 for Museum members and $100 for non-members. VIP tickets, including access to the VIP Lounge, early entry at 1 p.m. (the regular festival runs from 2–5 p.m.), six exclusive tastings and food pairings with winemakers, chair massages, and more are $125 for Museum members and $150 for non-members.

Designated drivers are free to enter as long as they accompany a paid guest. Designated drivers can sign up by emailing Sarah at sclement@sbnature2.org and giving the names of their passenger(s).

The Museum is located at 2559 Puesta Del Sol, Santa Barbara. For more information, please visit www.sbnature.org/winefestival.

I hope to see some of you there. 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 believes variety is the spice of life. Send your suggestions to Leslie@sbseasons.com.

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on June 3, 2018.

Cocktail Corner: Belvedere Vodka’s New Ginger Zest Flavor

Ginger Zest Spritz, courtesy Belvedere.

Ginger Zest Spritz, courtesy Belvedere.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg

Belvedere Vodka‘s new Ginger Zest flavor recently hit the shelves and it’s perfect for the warmer days of late spring and summer. A delicious and refreshing blend of tangy ginger and juicy spring lemon with a touch of grapefruit, it works well in a wide variety of drinks.

Belvedere’s distinctive, time-intensive maceration process ensures its Dankowskie Gold rye vodka is imbued with real spices and fruit, reinforcing its 100% natural, no sugar added and non-GMO Polish Rye philosophy. Ginger Zest is created by extracting fragrant oils from pure ginger, spring lemons and grapefruit that have been immersed in Belvedere Vodka. The result is a delicious, smooth liquid of uncompromising quality and character, infused with notes of ginger spice and balanced with zesty citrus.

The vodka’s delicious with a simple splash of tonic and lime or grapefruit juice.

Belvedere Polish Mule, courtesy Belvedere.

Belvedere Polish Mule, courtesy Belvedere.

“For something even better, Chef and wellness expert Candice Kumai, embracing the roots inherited from her Polish father, partnered with Belvedere to create dishes that paired with the following Ginger Zest signature cocktails.”

Polish Mule 

Belvedere's new ginger zest vodka, courtesy photo.

Belvedere’s new ginger zest vodka, courtesy photo.

2 oz Belvedere Ginger Zest

.5 oz Lime Juice

.25 oz Simple Syrup

5 oz Ginger Beer

3-4 Dashes of Angostura Bitters

Whip, shake, dump and top with soda. Garnish with lime wheel.

 

Ginger Zest Spritz

1 oz Belvedere Ginger Zest 

.75 oz Lime Juice

.5 oz Honey Syrup

4 oz Soda Water

Build in spritz glass. Garnish with ginger and lime slices.

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 believes variety is the spice of life. Send your suggestions to Leslie@sbseasons.com.

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on June 1, 2018.

10 West Gallery: The Nature of Things

Ben Riddering "Whorl," reclaimed wood from the fires, 58 x 16 x 35 tall, on view at 10 West Gallery.

Ben Riddering “Whorl,” reclaimed wood from the fires, 58 x 16 x 35 tall, on view at 10 West Gallery.

The Nature of Things opens on Thursday, May 31, at 10 West Gallery in downtown Santa Barbara.

On view until June 25, with an artist’s reception on Thursday, June 7, from 5-8 p.m., this exhibit features work from guest artist Ben Riddering, who shows his large abstract sculptures, made from the unburned hearts of trees lost to wildfire. Also on view is work by guest artist Lynn Brown, who shows embellished/repurposed masks from around the world. Guest artist Jim McKinniss shows black and white photography of a surreal nature.

Lynn Cunningham Brown, "VaVaVaVoom," vintage Balinese hand-carved wood mask embellished with studs, Swarovski crystals, tacks, weasel fur, glitter, Chinese rooster and jungle cock feathers, 10x7x4 inches, on view at 10 West Gallery.

Lynn Cunningham Brown, “VaVaVaVoom,” vintage Balinese hand-carved wood mask embellished with studs, Swarovski crystals, tacks, weasel fur, glitter, Chinese rooster and jungle cock feathers, 10x7x4 inches, on view at 10 West Gallery.

In addition, the exhibition includes work by 10 West members Penny Arntz, Rick Doehring, Maria Miller, Lisa Pedersen and Iben G. Vestergaard.

10 West artwork can be seen at www.10westgallery.com and the gallery (including participating guest artists) is also represented on the international web site: www.artsy.net/10-west-gallery.

Brad Nuorala, "Urban Life," acrylic on canvas, 50" x 42" on view at 10 West Gallery.

Brad Nuorala, “Urban Life,” acrylic on canvas, 50″ x 42″ on view at 10 West Gallery.

Iben Vestergaard, "Cross Section," 48x36, silicate and mixed media on canvas, on view at 10 West Gallery.

Iben Vestergaard, “Cross Section,” 48×36, silicate and mixed media on canvas, on view at 10 West Gallery.

Penny Arntz, "Filament," acrylic on panel, 24 x 24, on view at 10 West Gallery.

Penny Arntz, “Filament,” acrylic on panel, 24 x 24, on view at 10 West Gallery.

Maria Miller, "Escaping the Present Moment," limited edition digital collage 1/5, archival pigment inks on fine art paper, 30x20 inches, on view at 10 West Gallery.

Maria Miller, “Escaping the Present Moment,” limited edition digital collage 1/5, archival pigment inks on fine art paper, 30×20 inches, on view at 10 West Gallery.

Closed Tuesdays, the gallery (10 W. Anapamu St., Santa Barbara, 805/770-7711) is open daily from 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m. and from noon-5 p.m. on Sundays.  

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on May 30, 2018.

Brian Culbertson

Brian Culbertson, courtesy photo.

Brian Culbertson, courtesy photo.

Brian Culbertson brings his Colors of Love Tour to the Lobero Theatre on Wednesday, May 30 at 7:30 p.m.

With love, romance and his recent 20th wedding anniversary serving as his inspiration, Jazz and R & B Pianist Culbertson crafted 13 new songs that were released as Colors of Love on Valentine’s Day. The seduction begins with the first single, the amorous title track, which is a sensual R&B groove illuminated by lyrical acoustic piano melodies typical of the collection’s contents.

A nearly three-month-long U.S. concert tour will bring “Colors of Love” to life in a vivid theatrical production, incorporating video elements in a major way.

The Lobero Theatre is located at 33 E. Canon Perdido St., Santa Barbara. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit lobero.org.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on May 27, 2018.

INSIDE: Photographs of Decommissioned Australian Prisons by Brett Leigh Dicks

Port Arthur, part of INSIDE: Photographs of Decommissioned Australian Prisons, by Brett Leigh Dicks.

Port Arthur, part of INSIDE: Photographs of Decommissioned Australian Prisons, by Brett Leigh Dicks.

“Empty prisons are eerie places where the walls do speak. Etched into the stone is the passing of successive generations of inmates all with their own stories. Each prison has its own history, character, and tales to tell and so too does every cell. But old prisons are not just a reminder of the past—they also help guide the future,” says Photographer Brett Leigh Dicks.

Opening on May 18, INSIDE: Photographs of Australian Decommissioned Prisons by Brett Leigh Dicks is an exhibition at the Architectural Foundation of Santa Barbara of compelling, black and white images documenting Australian prison facilities that have surpassed their use-by dates.

Parramatta, part of INSIDE: Photographs of Decommissioned Australian Prisons, by Brett Leigh Dicks.

Parramatta, part of INSIDE: Photographs of Decommissioned Australian Prisons, by Brett Leigh Dicks.

Dicks, a Santa Barbara-based writer/photographer has spent the past 30 years photographing various natural and urban landscapes etched with traces of human history.

His work has been exhibited in Australia, Europe and the United States and hung beside photographers as diverse as Ansel Adams, Jeff Bridges, Max Dupain, Lewis Morley, Yoko Ono and Hiroshi Sugimoto. Dicks’ prison photographs currently sees him as a finalist in the 2018 Sony World Photography Awards. He is also a prolific writer and his work has appeared in publications around the world, including in Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine.

Old Melbourne, part of INSIDE: Photographs of Decommissioned Australian Prisons, by Brett Leigh Dicks.

Old Melbourne, part of INSIDE: Photographs of Decommissioned Australian Prisons, by Brett Leigh Dicks.

For the past five years he has turned his photographic scrutiny upon closed-down jails, prisons and penitentiaries throughout Australia, Europe and United States. He returned last year to his Australian homeland, where he undertook the first comprehensive documentation of decommissioned prisons and jails.

“I have been photographing abandoned prisons across the United States for the past decade,” Dicks explains. “In 2016 that work was exhibited at Fremantle Prison where I asked about Australian prisons. Nobody had previously done a comprehensive study of old Australian prisons so last summer I set off with my camera and photographed closed –down facilities all across Australia.”

Maitland, part of INSIDE: Photographs of Decommissioned Australian Prisons, by Brett Leigh Dicks.

Maitland, part of INSIDE: Photographs of Decommissioned Australian Prisons, by Brett Leigh Dicks.

He continues, “I was given access Parramatta Correctional Center where operations were suspended only a few years ago, traipsed around the infamous Port Arthur Historic Site in the midst of a bitter Tasmanian winter and even managed to talk my way into an old jail that’s now an outback police station.”

The exhibition includes both historic and contemporary Australian sites including Adelaide Gaol, Fremantle Prison, J Ward Ararat, Maitland Gaol, Old Melbourne Gaol, Parramatta Correctional Center, Port Arthur Historic Site, Trial Bay Gaol and the Wilcannia Police Station. The subject matter ranges from the empty quietness of once bustling cellblocks and common areas to more abstract contemplations of the interaction between barred windows with the morning light and the poetic twisting of coils of barbed wire.

Fremantle, part of INSIDE: Photographs of Decommissioned Australian Prisons, by Brett Leigh Dicks.

Fremantle, part of INSIDE: Photographs of Decommissioned Australian Prisons, by Brett Leigh Dicks.

While Port Arthur closed in 1877, Parramatta Correctional Center housed prisoners until 2011. Dicks says photographing the two locations offered two very contrasting experiences. “There were still books and televisions and personal items in the cells at Parramatta—the ins and out of prison life remained very apparent whereas Port Arthur featured the haunting remnants of rustic metal and stone. The prisoner experience was obviously very different at each of those locations and so too were the resulting photographs.

Regarding the role photography can play in the afterlife of prisons, Dicks says that every society’s approach to punishment and incarceration should be something that is constantly being reassessed. “As society changes so too does its values. Prisons used to be a place of punishment and repentance, but in the lifespan of some of these prisons they were transformed into places of reform and rehabilitation. Justice and the form it takes should be an ongoing conversation in every community and I think there is a place for photography to illuminate that.

Ararat, part of INSIDE: Photographs of Decommissioned Australian Prisons, by Brett Leigh Dicks.

Ararat, part of INSIDE: Photographs of Decommissioned Australian Prisons, by Brett Leigh Dicks.

INSIDE: Photographs of Australian Decommissioned Prisons by Brett Leigh Dicks is on view at the Architectural Foundation of Santa Barbara, 229 E. Victoria St., Santa Barbara, from May 18 – July 12, with an opening reception on May 18 from 5-7 p.m.

Regular gallery hours are Saturdays from 1-4 p.m. and by appointment (please contact Rocio Iribe at 805/965-6307).

Adelaide, part of INSIDE: Photographs of Decommissioned Australian Prisons, by Brett Leigh Dicks.

Adelaide, part of INSIDE: Photographs of Decommissioned Australian Prisons, by Brett Leigh Dicks.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on May 15, 2018.

Mother’s Day Gift Guide

By Leslie Dinaberg

Still struggling with what to buy your mom for Mother’s Day (or her birthday, or just to say “I love you” any time of the year, for that matter? Stress no more, here are a few things she’s sure to appreciate.

Once Upon a Book Club, courtesy photo.

Once Upon a Book Club, courtesy photo.

Put a new twist on her summer reading with a monthly subscription to Once Upon A Book Club! I loved this gift so much I bought it for both my mom and my mother-in-law (don’t tell …).  The way it works is you sign up for a monthly box to arrive at her front door.  You can do it once, or multiple times, it’s up to you.

Once Upon a Book Club, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Once Upon a Book Club, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

She’ll open the adorable book-shaped box and find the selected book, along with 3-5 perfectly wrapped gifts with page numbers.  They even have shredded book pages for stuffing. It’s so cute! Want to know what is in the gift? They are carefully curated to enhance the book.  For example, one of the characters in the story pulls out a magical stone from a leather bag at a heightened moment in the book. As mom reads this, she is signaled to open one of the gifts: a replica of the described stone (that’s actually a bar of soap) inside a useful/trendy leather purse!  You get the idea. It’s really fun!

Yummy Cupcakes in a Jar, courtesy photo.

Yummy Cupcakes in a Jar, courtesy photo.

Yummy Cupcakes are another favorite recent find. These are not your ordinary cupcakes (which she also probably loves), these are delicious gourmet cupcakes that come stacked four in a jar. The packaging is adorable (almost too pretty to eat), with flavors ranging from brown sugar cinnamon to French toast, nutty red velvet, Snickerdoodle and more. They even have a vegan version. I tried the Vegan Chocolate/Vanilla which was very tasty. And they deliver everywhere! 

 

Dear Heart Designs Jewelry, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Dear Heart Designs Jewelry, photo by Leslie Dinaberg.

Dear Heart Designs is a beautiful way to give your loved one with a necklace that will remind her how you feel about her every time she puts it on. The company is faith-inspired jewelry brand whose feminine yet minimalist pieces have garnered the attention of celebrity designer Joanna Gaines, among others. The You’re a Gem necklace (pictured) is one of my favorites, and they also have customized versions with the names of your children inscribed, or special messages with scripture verses just for mom.

The PediPocket Blanket, courtesy photo.

The PediPocket Blanket, courtesy photo.

For moms on the go, the PediPocket blanket is great for travel. These lightweight and easy to pack fleece blankets are nearly 6 feet long, so it covers her shoulders and her feet at the same time and a special 20” pocket keeps her feet extra warm and snuggly. With 10 different colors and patterns to choose from, these are actually great gifts for everyone in the family and are perfect for tailgate parties, beach barbecues, and outdoor concerts as well as on her next trip.

Happy Mother’s Day!

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

“Andy Coolquitt: …i need a hole in my head”

L-R: Andy Coolquitt, CAA CAA, 2017, Bathmat on canvas, 55 x 66 in., Courtesy the Artist, Photo: Adam Schreiber. Andy Coolquitt, Modern Hotel Abstraction #1, 2017, Fabric on canvas, 96 x 32 in., Courtesy the Artist, Photo: Adam Schreiber.

L-R: Andy Coolquitt, CAA CAA, 2017, Bathmat on canvas, 55 x 66 in., Courtesy the Artist, Photo: Adam Schreiber. Andy Coolquitt, Modern Hotel Abstraction #1, 2017, Fabric on canvas, 96 x 32 in., Courtesy the Artist, Photo: Adam Schreiber.

Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara, in partnership with Hotel Indigo Santa Barbara, presents Andy Coolquitt: …i need a hole in my head, an exhibition featuring a major commission of new works by Andy Coolquitt.

Based in Austin, TX, the artist has generated a body of work that includes paintings, sculptures and video, which he uses to form connections between some of the juxtapositional aspects of a place that is simultaneously private and public, homelike and commercial, an exhibition venue and a hotel.

According to the artist statement, Coolquitt uses the language of geometric abstraction to riff off of Hotel Indigo’s architectural and design elements, incorporating, for example, site-specific hard edge or gestural painting as a tactic to reimagine the lounge, stairwell, or skylight. Other works in the show consist of familiar domiciliary items such as bathmats, chairs, light bulbs, and nylon stockings. The artist elevates the significance of various undervalued ubiquitous objects that enhance our visceral response to interior environments, prompting viewers to consider the dimensions of our attraction to these basic yet undeniably essential things.

The public is invited to an Artist Talk on Wednesday, May 9, from 2:30 – 3:30 p.m. at Santa Barbara City College, Administration Building Room A211, 721 Cliff Dr., Santa Barbara.

Andy Coolquitt: …i need a hole in my head is on view at MCASB Satellite @ Hotel Indigo Santa Barbara from May 18 through March 7, 2021. The Hotel Indigo is located at 121 State St., Santa Barbara. For more information about the exhibition, visit mcasantabarbara.org.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on May 8, 2018.