Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, photo by Zoran Jelen.

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, photo by Zoran Jelen.

Dancing the very fine line between high art and high camp, the internationally-beloved Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo bring their brilliant pointe work and vibrant drag costumes to the Granada Theatre (1214 State St., Santa Barbara) on Sunday, January 27 at 7 p.m.

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, photo by Zoran Jelen.

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, photo by Zoran Jelen.

Presented by UCSB Arts & LecturesLes Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo was founded in 1974 in New York City on the heels of the Stonewall riots, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo (also affectionately called “The Trocks”)  is a company of professional male dancers performing the full range of the ballet and modern dance repertoire, including classical and original works in faithful renditions of the manners and conceits of those dance styles. The comedy is achieved by incorporating and exaggerating the foibles, accidents and underlying incongruities of serious dance. The fact that men dance all the parts—heavy bodies delicately balancing on toes as swans, sylphs, water sprites, romantic princesses, or angst-ridden Victorian ladies—enhances, rather than mocks, the spirit of dance as an art form, delighting and amusing the most knowledgeable, as well as novices, in the audiences.

“The funniest night you will ever have at the ballet,” writes The Sunday Times (U.K). 

The Trocks’ numerous tours have been both popular and critical successes—the company’s annual schedules have included six tours to Australia and New Zealand, 25 to Japan (where annual visits have created a nation-wide cult following and a fan club), 10 to South America, three to South Africa and 55 tours of Europe. In the United States, the company has become a regular part of the college and university circuit, in addition to frequent presentations in all of the 50 states. The company has appeared in more than 35 countries and more than 500 cities worldwide since its founding.

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, photo by Zoran Jelen.

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, photo by Zoran Jelen.

For tickets or more information, call UCSB Arts & Lectures at 805/893-3535 or purchase online at www.ArtsAndLectures.UCSB.eduTickets are also available through The Granada Theatre at 805/899-2222 or granadasb.org.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on January 24, 2019.

Santa Ynez Valley Restaurant Weeks Jan. 27-Feb. 10

Root 246's Creekstone Ranch Burger is one of the specials on the menu at Santa Ynez Valley Restaurant Weeks, taking place Jan 27 to Feb 10. Courtesy photo.

Root 246’s Creekstone Ranch Burger is one of the specials on the menu at Santa Ynez Valley Restaurant Weeks, taking place Jan 27 to Feb 10. Courtesy photo.

The Santa Ynez Valley has so many great restaurants, and the upcoming annual foodie celebration is the perfect time to check out a new one or revisit and old favorite.

Part of Visit California’s California Restaurant Month, this year’s Santa Ynez Valley Restaurant Weeks feature three-course meal deals—all $20.19—at a record 32 restaurants in the six Santa Ynez Valley towns of Ballard, Buellton, Los Alamos, Los Olivos, Santa Ynez, and Solvang.

Why is it two weeks long?

“We continually heard from local restaurants and from diners that the only way to improve Santa Ynez Valley Restaurant Weeks is to offer more of it,” says Shelby Sim, President/CEO of Visit the Santa Ynez Valley. “The event has been successful from year one, expanding well beyond what can be fit into just one week. It is exciting to continue to see it grow.”

Representing each of the Santa Ynez Valley’s six distinct communities, 32 restaurants will participate in Restaurant Weeks in 2019. In addition to the offerings of the Valley’s restaurants, many Santa Ynez Valley wineries will offer wine and small bite pairings in their tasting rooms for $20.19. And special lodging deals are available at hotels throughout the Valley.

“Santa Ynez Valley’s food scene is rapidly evolving in terms of both quality and quantity; it’s even challenging the region’s reputation for world-class wines. Our restaurants these days—rule,” says Sim. 

The Courtyard at S.Y. Kitchen | Photo Credit Rob Stark

The Courtyard at S.Y. Kitchen | Photo Credit Rob Stark

Santa Ynez Valley Restaurant Weeks menus shine with farm-fresh examples of wine country’s seasonal bounty, with tasting menus crafted by celebrated chefs. Exemplary, and locavore, Santa Ynez Valley Restaurant Weeks dishes include S.Y. Kitchen executive chef Luca Crestanelli’s “Bird’s Nest Lasagna” (with fontina cheese, roasted butternut squash, chanterelle mushrooms), his “Fried Sous Vide Organic Egg” (with cheese fondue and chicory), and his “Saffron Gnocchetti (with butter and sage, optional bone marrow, raspadura cheese). At The Bear and Star in Los Olivos, chef/partner John Cox’s Santa Ynez Valley Restaurant Weeks menus include the likes of his “Wagyu Empanada” (with black beans and Cotija cheese), utilizing proteins pulled from nearby Fess Parker Ranch.

In Solvang, new chef de cuisine at Root 246, Crystal “Chef Pink” DeLongpré, puts her locally- and sustainably-sourced, TV chef touches on an “American Lamb Burger” (Bellwether Farms Jersey ricotta, house-pickled mustard seed, smoky tomato jam, served with fries or Chef Pink’s famous Brussels sprouts), which is destined for the eatery and lounge’s Santa Ynez Valley Restaurant Weeks menu.

Norman, courtesy Skyview Los Alamos.

Norman, courtesy Skyview Los Alamos.

The food-centric hotspot of Los Alamos will boast chef and restaurant participants like the town’s culinary founders, chef Jesper Johansson of Plenty on Bell and chef Clark Staub at his Full of Life Flatbread enterprise; chef Drew Terp of PICO fame; chef Conrad Gonzales’ Valle Fresh; and Norman restaurant and bar, the dining and drinking component at mid-century motor lodge marvel, Skyview Los Alamos.

At Buellton’s pioneering Santa Ynez Valley food-scape player, Industrial Eats, chef/owners Jeff and Janet Olsson will celebrate the foods of—with 100% of proceeds benefitting—the People of Yemen. Yemeni dishes will comprise the bistro’s Restaurant Weeks menu, with specialties like Shourba Bilsen (lamb broth lentil soup with coriander), Hor’ee (braised beef shank with basmati rice), and Bint Al-Sahn (dough cake with honey).

Dates of participation vary by establishment, but the list of participating restaurants, wineries, and lodging properties includes:

Ballard

The Ballard Inn & Gathering Table, 2436 Baseline Ave., 800/638-2466

Buellton

Campfire Café at Flying Flags RV Resort & Campground, 180 Avenue of Flags, Buellton, 805/688-3716

Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co.,45 Industrial Way, 805/694-2252

Firestone Walker Brewing Co., 620 McMurray Rd., 805/697-4777

Hitching Post II, 406 E Hwy 246, 805/688-0676

Industrial Eats, 181 Industrial Way, 805/688-8807

La Tequila Mexican Restaurant, 35 W. Highway 26, 805/697-7776

Santa Ynez Valley Marriott, 555 McMurray Road, 805/688-1000

Santa Ynez Valley Restaurant Weeks is taking place Jan 27 to Feb 10. Courtesy photo.

Santa Ynez Valley Restaurant Weeks is taking place Jan 27 to Feb 10. Courtesy photo.

Los Alamos

Full of Life Flatbread, 225 Bell St., 805/344-4400

Norman, 9150 US Highway 101, 805/344-0080

Pico at The Los Alamos General Store, 458 Bell St., 805/344-1122

Plenty on Bell, 508 Bell St., 805/344-3020

Valle Fresh, 380 Bell St., 805/865-2282

Los Olivos

The Bear & Star, 2860 Grand Ave, 805/686-1359

Los Olivos Wine Merchant & Café, 2879 Grand Ave., 805/688-7265

Santa Ynez

The Lucky Hen Larder, 1095 Meadowvale Rd., 805/691-9448

S.Y. Kitchen, 1110 Faraday St., 805/691-9794

Trattoria Grappolo, 3687 Sagunto St., 805/688-6899

Willows Restaurant & Bar, 3400 E. Highway 246, 805/686-0855

Santa Ynez Valley Restaurant Weeks is taking place Jan 27 to Feb 10. Courtesy photo.

Santa Ynez Valley Restaurant Weeks is taking place Jan 27 to Feb 10. Courtesy photo.

Solvang

Cecco Ristorante, 475 1st St., 805/688-8880

First & Oak, 409 1st St., 805/688-1703

Fresco Valley Café, 442 Atterdag Rd., 805/688-8857

Hill Haven Provisions, 448 Atterdag Rd., 805/691-9025

Hummingbird Restaurant, 453 Atterdag Rd., 805/403-7100

Leonardo’s Ristorante, 632 Alamo Pintado Rd., 805/686-0846

Los Arroyos Mexican Restaurant & Take Out, 1992 Old Mission Dr., 805/693-2994

Mad & Vin at The Landsby, 1576 Mission Dr., 805/688-3121

River Grill at The Alisal, 150 Alisal Rd., 805/688-7784

Root 246, 420 Alisal Rd., 805/686-8681

Solvang Brewing Co., 1547 Mission Dr., 805/688-2337

Succulent Café Wine Charcuterie, 1555 Mission Dr., 805/691-9444

Toscana Pizzeria, 485 Alisal Road #163, 805/697-7445

Alma Rosa’s eco-chic tasting room in Buellton, built by Allen Construction, incorporates a 15-foot olive tree, local river stone and recycled Douglas Fir. Photo by Patrick Price.

Alma Rosa’s eco-chic tasting room in Buellton, built by Allen Construction, incorporates a 15-foot olive tree, local river stone and recycled Douglas Fir. Photo by Patrick Price.

Wineries

Alma Rosa Winery, 181-C Industrial Way, Buellton, 805/691-9395

Hitching Post Wines, 420 E. Highway 246, Buellton, 805/688-0676

Kalyra Winery, 343 N Refugio Rd., Santa Ynez, 805/693-8864

Loring Wine Company, 201-B Industrial Way, Buellton, 805/691-1300

Pence Vineyards & Winery, 1909 W. Highway 246, Buellton, 805/735-7000

Roblar Winery & Vineyards, 3010 Roblar Ave., Santa Ynez, 805/686-2603

Sunstone Winery, 125 N. Refugio Rd., Santa Ynez, 805/688-9463

 

Lodging

Flying Flags RV Resort & Campground, 180 Avenue of Flags, Buellton, 805/688-3716

Hampton Inn & Suites Buellton/Santa Ynez Valley, 600 McMurray Rd., Buellton, 805/686-1555

King Frederik Inn, 1617 Copenhagen Dr., Solvang, 805/688-5515

The Landsby, 1576 Mission Dr., 805/688-3121

New Haven Inn, 271 Alisal Rd., Solvang, 805/618-8541

Pea Soup Andersen’s Inn, 51 E. Highway 246, Buellton, 800/732-7687

Santa Ynez Inn, 3627 Sagunto St., Santa Ynez, 805/688-5588

Sideways Inn, 114 E. Highway 246, Buellton, 805/688-8448

Santa Ynez Valley Restaurant Week menus do not include tax, tip, or beverages, and reservations are strongly encouraged. For the latest updates, including menus and dining hours, visit www.DineSYV.com.

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on January 24, 2019.

Cocktail Corner: Constellation Pop-Up at Hotel Californian

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg

Looking for something fun to do to chase those winter blues away. Why not check out the first-ever foodie, wine, mixology & indie music weekend at Hotel Californian (36 State St., Santa Barbara) from January 25-27.

“This is the first of a new quarterly weekend series that will bring inspiring culinary, musical and cultural experiences to Santa Barbara’s hip Funk Zone neighborhood,” says Niki Jenson, who represents Hotel Californian.  

Featuring chefs, indie musicians, vibey DJ beats and community vintners, this sounds like something that shouldn’t be missed. Highlights include Friday night’s “meet the makers” opening night reception with a vibey beats from Boom Forest, along with Bittercube Cocktails, Potek Wine and light bites.

There will be a Bittercube mixology class—the Seven Pillars of Classic Cocktails—on Saturday in Hotel Californian’s sexy new Djinn lobby bar. Bittercube is a Wisconsin-based line of densely flavored cocktail bitters that are created by hand with real botanicals, taking as long as 25 days to complete the process. 

As part of Hotel Californian's Constellation Pop Up Weekend, Bittercube co-founder Ira Koplowitz will host a mixology class, complete with cocktail tasting and curated snacks. Courtesy photo.

As part of Hotel Californian’s Constellation Pop Up Weekend, Bittercube co-founder Ira Koplowitz will host a mixology class, complete with cocktail tasting and curated snacks. Courtesy photo.

Saturday evening features a chef & winemaker reception and six-course dinner from Guest Chefs Justin Carlisle & Chris Mangless, featuring wines by Russel From of Herman Story (Paso Robles), Vailia Esh of Desparada (Paso Robles), and Dave Potter (who we just featured in the winter issue of Santa Barbara Seasons) of Municipal Winemakers (22 Anacapa St., Santa Barbara).

 

Later that night (Jan. 26) is an indie pop-up concert with Langhorne Slim, Stelth Ulvang of The Lumineers and Chris Porterfield of Field Report.

Stelth Ulvang – Clocktower (live at Scandinavia) from The Sights Of Sounds on Vimeo.

And if that’s not enough excitement, Sunday features a winemaker brunch featuring wines from Dave Potter of Municipal Winemakers.

Tickets are still available, click here to access them (choose among individual event tickets or two VIP Packages). This should be a really fun weekend. 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 January 21, 2019.

 

 

Cocktail Corner: Sipping for Good

BELMOND EL ENCANTO & SUNSTONE WINERY CRAFT CUSTOM BLENDS TO BENEFIT YOUTH INTERACTIVE

Belmond El Encanto has partnered with Sunstone Winery to craft two custom blends in support of the local youth organization Youth Interactive. Photo courtesy Belmond El Encanto.

Belmond El Encanto has partnered with Sunstone Winery to craft two custom blends in support of the local youth organization Youth Interactive. Photo courtesy Belmond El Encanto.

A spirited toast to all things alcoholic! by Leslie Dinaberg

I’m always excited to hear about partnerships between local wineries, local businesses and local nonprofits. After all, when good wine benefits a good cause … well, it’s all good!

Most recently, Belmond El Encanto  collaborated with the beautiful, family-owned Santa Ynez Valley winery Sunstone Winery to craft two custom blends in partnership with GO Campaign to support Youth Interactive, one of my favorite local organizations that works to create youth-led businesses to help participants explore their creative and entrepreneurial talents. 

Belmond El Encanto worked directly with winemaker Bion Rice and the Sunstone team to craft each wine.

The first custom blend, released in December, is Enchanted Riviera (pictured above). It is a 2017 cuvée consisting of 50% Cabernet Franc, 20% Merlot, 20% Syrah and 10% Mourvèdre. Each of the four lots used to compile this blend originated from the 28-year-old Sunstone Estate Vineyard.

The white blend, Charming Vista, will be available in early 2019. A select panel from Belmond El Encanto and Youth Interactive’s Board developed secret blends for a blind tasting at Sunstone Winery, and a Level 2 Sommelier from the winery chose the winning blend.

Youth Interactive Artist Jack Miles with his artwork that is featured on the "Enchanted Riviera" bottle. Courtesy photo.

Youth Interactive Artist Jack Miles with his artwork that is featured on the “Enchanted Riviera” bottle. Courtesy photo.

The bottle label artwork was created by Youth Interactive participant, 18-year-old La Cuesta Continuation High School student, Jack Miles. A fan of abstract art, Miles was mentored by celebrated local artist James-Paul Brown on the design.

“Youth Interactive means a lot to me. It is a safe place where I know that I can always come to and feel free to be myself and express myself. I am able to meet important people in the community and expand on my skills to become a better person,” says Miles, who hopes to find a job that allows him to utilize his talents and give back to the community.

Founded in 2012, Youth Interactive Santa Barbara  is a grassroots after school Entrepreneurial Arts Academy that bridges opportunity and social divisions by providing creative young adults from all walks of life with the keys to self-sufficiency. Sold exclusively at the hotel, Belmond El Encanto will donate five dollars from each bottle sold to the organization. 

You can also check out some of Youth Interactive’s other products at their new gallery space, the State Gallery @ YI Shop, located at 1219 State St. across from the Granada Theatre in Downtown Santa Barbara.

Sunstone Winery, courtesy photo.

Sunstone Winery, courtesy photo.

“Collaborating with both Sunstone Winery and Youth Interactive is the perfect match for Belmond El Encanto,” says Colleen Huther, General Manager of Belmond El Encanto. “Being a strong advocate for sustainability, we appreciate the environmental preservation and organic growing that is inherent with Sunstone Winery. A majority of our local community outreach efforts focus on youth, the future stewards of our planet. We can’t think of a better youth organization to support than Youth Interactive.”

Cheers to good wine and good causes! 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 January 18, 2019.

Local Lowdown: Montecito’s Upper Village Embodies the Spirit of Community

Montecito's Upper Village, photo by Jordan Duggan.

Montecito’s Upper Village, photo by Jordan Duggan.

By Leslie Dinaberg

Photos by Jordan Duggan

Despite the global sophistication of its residents, the spirit of small town American is alive and well in Montecito’s low key, charming upper village. While last year’s twin disasters wrecked heartbreaking havoc both personally and professionally, they also helped create an appreciative climate of reflection and gratitude for the simple joys of greeting neighbors and supporting local businesses. What better time to pay them a visit than during the holiday season.

East Valley Road carves a graceful path through the heart of the village, where several clusters of retail businesses and service providers make their homes on both the mountain and ocean sides of the street. The porch of the Montecito Coffee Shop/San Ysidro Pharmacy and the fountain patio of Pierre Lafond Montecito Market are both great spots to catch up on the latest scuttlebutt or watch the world go by. Other fine eateries include Pane e Vino, Via Vai Trattoria Pizzeria and Montecito Wine Bistro, as well as food purveyors like Montecito Village Grocery and Village Cheese & Wine (which reportedly kept the doors open and locals who didn’t evacuate fed throughout the nearly three weeks that Montecito was clamped down in a post-flood mandatory evacuation).

Montecito's Upper Village, photo by Jordan Duggan.

Montecito’s Upper Village, photo by Jordan Duggan.

Shopping for unique items is a pleasure at Imagine Artful Things, a beautiful gem of a store that defies categorization. Trust us, you’re sure to find distinctive gifts for the home as well as everyone on your list (including yourself). Other notable art, gifts and home good dealers in the area include Upstairs at Pierre Lafond (with everything from home dècor, to tabletop pieces and gorgeous local artwork), The Stationery Collection, Tecolote Book Shop (complete with a lovely grassy outdoor area to pull up a seat if you just can’t wait to dig into the latest bestseller), Village Frame & Gallery, Clare Swan Clothing & Travel and Jenni Kayne Home & Apparel.

An impressive number of antique stores are in the area, including Josephine’s Antiques, Davis & Taft Antiques, Country House Antiques, Carty & Carty Antiques, Brostrom Antiques, William Lahman Furniture (a charming mix of antiques, accessories and garden objects) and Haskell Antiques.

Montecito's Upper Village, photo by Jordan Duggan.

Montecito’s Upper Village, photo by Jordan Duggan.

Stylish women’s fashions can be found at Juniper Women’s Boutique (the handmade belts are one-of-a-kind), Glamour House Intimate Apparel (which has beautiful nighties and PJs for holiday gifting), Giuliana Haute Couture, Julianne Boutique and two stores—Wendy Foster Clothing and Wendy Foster Sportswear—from Santa Barbara’s long-time doyenne of style.

Health and wellness salons include Skin Essentials, Dadiana, Beauty & Hair Salon and Mareva International. Jewelers in the village include Bryant & Sons Jewelers, Tresor Fine Jewelry & Collectibles, George Meta Jewelry and Oliver & Espig Gallery of Fine Arts.

Montecito's Upper Village, photo by Jordan Duggan.

Montecito’s Upper Village, photo by Jordan Duggan.

In addition, there’s a wealth of services available in the upper village, including Automotive & Repair, Montecito Village Hardware, Sotheby’s International Realty (Sandy Stahl and an additional office), Wells Fargo Bank & Trust, ACI Jet, Blake Ashley Design, Montecito Executive Services, Montecito Library, Montecito Associates, Union Bank, Santa Barbara Travel Bureau, Elder Studio, Northern Trust (two offices), Coldwell Banker, Hogue & Co. Florists, House of Honey, American Riviera Bank and Gazebo Gardens.

In keeping with the small town retail vibe, many of these retailers are entirely owner run and operated, ensuring a
personal touch. Please call individual stores for hours of operation, as they can vary.

Originally published in the Winter 2019 issue of Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine.

Legacies: Santa Barbara International Film Festival Will Dazzle Once Again

Actresses Allison Janney, Margot Robbie and moderator Scott Feinberg speak onstage at the Outstanding Performers Honoring Margot Robbie and Allison Janney Presented By Belvedere Vodka during The 33rd Santa Barbara International Film Festival at Arlington Theatre on February 8, 2018 in Santa Barbara. Photo by Rebecca Sapp, Getty Images for SBIFF.

Actresses Allison Janney, Margot Robbie and moderator Scott Feinberg speak onstage at the Outstanding Performers Honoring Margot Robbie and Allison Janney Presented By Belvedere Vodka during The 33rd Santa Barbara International Film Festival at Arlington Theatre on February 8, 2018 in Santa Barbara. Photo by Rebecca Sapp, Getty Images for SBIFF.

By Leslie Dinaberg

A joyous celebration of the art of cinema, the Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) is one of the leading film festivals in the U.S., offering its 90,000 attendees (comprised of an eclectic mix of locals and visitors from around the world) an 11-day experience jam-packed with 200+ films, tributes and panels.

Among the highlights of the 2019 festival, taking place Jan. 30 – Feb. 9, are the celebrity tributes at the historic Arlington Theatre. First up (at press time) is the American Riviera Award honoring Viggo Mortensen on the afternoon of Feb. 2. Mortensen will be recognized for his many attributes to the art of film over the years, and most recently, his work in Green Book.

Viggo Mortensen, courtesy SBIFF.

Viggo Mortensen, courtesy SBIFF.

“Viggo is one of the steadiest acting forces in cinema and one of its greatest chameleons,” says SBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling. “As Tony Lip in Green Book, he delivers the capstone to his remarkable career. He encapsulates the American Riviera Award. We greatly admire and love him.”

Glenn Close, courtesy SBIFF.

Glenn Close, courtesy SBIFF.

That same evening, Glenn Close is set to receive the prestigious Maltin Modern Master Award. Close will be honored for her longstanding contributions to the film industry, most recently gracing the silver screen in The Wife. Leonard Maltin will return for his 28th year to moderate the evening.

“Glenn Close is one of the great actresses of our time. Versatility is her hallmark, and there is clearly nothing she can’t do. She became a star with her first feature film, The World According to Garp, and has gone on to play everyone from Cruella de Vil to aging silent-film star Norma Desmond in the stage musical of Sunset Blvd. I can’t wait to spend an evening with her onstage at the Arlington Theatre,” states Maltin.

Melissa McCarty, courtesy SBIFF.

Melissa McCarty, courtesy SBIFF.

Melissa McCarthy will receive the prestigious Montecito Award, for her starring role in Can You Ever Forgive Me? Given to a person in the entertainment industry who has made a great contribution to film, the award will be presented to her on Feb. 3.

“Melissa McCarthy—always a compelling talent—triumphs as Lee Israel in Can You Ever Forgive Me?” says Durling. “She’s funny, dark, caustic and oh so vulnerable. SBIFF is so pleased to be able to award this performance and her career so far.”

SBIFF Virtuosos Award presented by UGG honoring Yalitza Aparicio (Roma), Sam Elliott (A Star is Born), Elsie Fisher (Eighth Grade), Claire Foy (First Man), Richard E. Grant (Can You Ever Forgive Me?), Thomasin McKenzie (Leave No Trace), John David Washington (BlacKkKlansman),and Steven Yeun (Burning). Photos courtesy SBIFF.

SBIFF Virtuosos Award presented by UGG honoring Yalitza Aparicio (Roma), Sam Elliott (A Star is Born), Elsie Fisher (Eighth Grade), Claire Foy (First Man), Richard E. Grant (Can You Ever Forgive Me?), Thomasin McKenzie (Leave No Trace), John David Washington (BlacKkKlansman),and Steven Yeun (Burning). Photos courtesy SBIFF.

Always a fun and lively presentation, the Virtuosos Award is an honor created to recognize a select group of talent whose noteworthy performances in film have elevated them into the national cinematic dialogue. Yalitza Aparicio (Roma), Sam Elliott (A Star is Born), Elsie Fisher (Eighth Grade), Claire Foy (First Man), Richard E. Grant (Can You Ever Forgive Me?), Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie (Leave No Trace), John David Washington (BlacKkKlansman), and Steven Yeun (Burning) will receive the award on Feb. 5.

“From talented teenagers starring in their first feature films to veteran actors shining in career-best performances, this year’s
Virtuosos prove that you can have a breakout moment at any point in your career,” says Turner Classic Movies host Dave Karger, who will preside over the evening for the eighth consecutive year.

Michael B. Jordan, courtesy SBIFF.

Michael B. Jordan, courtesy SBIFF.

Michael B. Jordan is set to receive the Cinema Vanguard Award on Feb. 7 for his work in two of the year’s critically acclaimed,
culturally significant and record-breaking box office hits, Black Panther and Creed II.

“It’s thrilling to honor Michael B. Jordan this year for the emboldened way he’s shown us what it means to be a movie star for the 21st century—mixing sensitivity with swagger, choosing important material that remains full of integrity yet become world phenomenon, and forging a cinematic partnership with visionary director Ryan Coogler,” says Durling.

SBIFF educational offerings include a Film Studies Program for undergraduate students from around the U.S., and the 10-10-10 (Ten Writers – Ten Directors – Ten Films) Screenwriting and Filmmaking Mentorship and Competition. There are also numerous other educational opportunities for local students and community members. For more information and the complete schedule, visit sbiff.org.

Actor Sam Rockwell speaks onstage at The American Riviera Award Honoring Sam Rockwell during The 33rd Santa Barbara International Film Festival at Arlington Theatre on February 7, 2018 in Santa Barbara. Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer, Getty Images for SBIFF.

Actor Sam Rockwell speaks onstage at The American Riviera Award Honoring Sam Rockwell during The 33rd Santa Barbara International Film Festival at Arlington Theatre on February 7, 2018 in Santa Barbara. Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer, Getty Images for SBIFF.

Originally published in the Winter 2019 issue of Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine.

Retro-Chic Revival at the Skyview Los Alamos 

The Skyview Courtyard was a former asphalt car park before being remodeled into a gathering spot featuring fire pits and native gardens. Photo courtesy Skyview Los Alamos.

The Skyview Courtyard was a former asphalt car park before being
remodeled into a gathering spot featuring fire pits and native gardens. Photo courtesy Skyview Los Alamos.

By Leslie Dinaberg

On the hilltop overlooking the quaint western town of Los Alamos sits a midcentury modern gem of a new hotel—the Skyview Los Alamos. This boutique, 33-room property—including two spacious suites and 16 deluxe rooms with private decks with outdoor showers and fire pits—opened last spring, somehow managing to maintain the historic 1950’s motel vibe, while infusing it with equal helpings of modern conveniences and hipster coolness.

“We were inspired by the western roots of Los Alamos, the midcentury architecture of the motel, and our love of travel,” explains Kimberly Walker, managing partner and co-owner of Skyview Los Alamos.

“Skyview was built in 1959 and changed hands quite a few times over the years,” says Walker. “At one point, locals used to be able to swim in the pool for 25 cents! We’ve heard many people say the Beatles stayed in room 33 at some point.”

The Midcentury golden starbust door welcomes visitors to Norman, the excellent onsite restaurant. Photo courtesy Skyview Los Alamos.

The Midcentury golden starbust door welcomes visitors to Norman, the excellent onsite restaurant. Photo courtesy Skyview Los Alamos.

Like many others (myself included), Walker had driven past the motel for years and wondered what it was. “We always saw the motel sign going, ‘oh, what is that on the hill?’ But we fell in love with Los Alamos, the food, the wine and the people. When the motel went up for sale, we moved on it quickly. We purchased the property in 2016 and spent two years renovating the motel, sprucing up the grounds, updating the design and restoring its midcentury architecture. We also turned the former asphalt car park into communal native gardens with fire pits to create space for guests to relax and gather,” she explains.

The attention to detail is incredible. Guests are greeted with a cup of locally sourced Dart Coffee or a glass of local wine (and soon the 2.5-acre onsite Skyview Vineyards will yield their own Pinot Noir, overseen by winemaker Mikey Guigni of Scar of the Sea Wines).

Each room’s carefully crafted decor reflects both the location’s western heritage and modern luxury elements. Photo courtesy Skyview Los Alamos.

Each room’s carefully crafted decor reflects both the location’s western heritage and modern luxury elements. Photo courtesy Skyview Los Alamos.

Each room is its own bespoke design, with thoughtfully sourced and unique décor, including flat panel televisions, down duvets, leather club chairs and marble-clad bathrooms with hand-painted tiles and farm sinks, as well as luxury amenities such as locally made Fable Soap products in the bathroom and Abba-Zabba candy, Good Zebra munchies and Casamigos Tequila in the mini-bar.

“We completely designed the property ourselves,” says Walker. “My partner, Mike Kyle, oversaw the architectural design and I oversaw the interior design. This is our second project together as a design team—the first was Granada Hotel & Bistro in San Luis Obispo. As with the property in SLO, we let the building’s location and heritage guide the process. We’re proud and excited to have brought it back to its 1950’s glory.”

Another peek at the room's interior, with elements of both the location’s western heritage and modern luxuries. Photo courtesy Skyview Los Alamos.

Another peek at the room’s interior, with elements of both the location’s western heritage and modern luxuries. Photo courtesy Skyview Los Alamos.

A large part of that glory is the restoration of the original 1950’s era pool, with the iconic neon “Motel” sign casting its glow over water that changes color from green to silver to purple and two shades of blue, with the help of an app. The ownership group, known as Nomada Hotel Group, took care to retain many of the motel’s original elements, like the quirky cactus columns in the porte-cochere, and the actual room keys instead of key cards. A fleet of Linus bikes offers a nostalgic way to explore the downtown area of Los Alamos—which is rapidly becoming a haven for foodies—as well as the surrounding wineries
and vineyards.

A restored vision of the iconic 1950s era pool and neon sign. Photo courtesy Skyview Los Alamos.

A restored vision of the iconic 1950s era pool and neon sign. Photo courtesy Skyview Los Alamos.

Forest green doors with a midcentury golden starburst beckon guests to pay a visit to Norman—the excellent full-service bar and restaurant named with a wink to Psycho’s Norman Bates. Norman is well worth the drive on its own, and serves local wines, herb-infused cocktails and farm-fresh fare (think shareable plates and lots of salads, fish and house-smoked meats) both poolside and in the retro-chic reinvented dining room.

The dog-friendly property is a great spot for a romantic getaway but would also be a fun place to gather with a group of friends for a special occasion or just a weekend hangout.

SKYVIEW LOS ALAMOS, 9150 US-101, LOS ALAMOS,

805/344-0104, SKYVIEWLOSALAMOS.COM.

Originally published in the Winter 2019 issue of Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine.

Jon Batiste

Jon Batiste, photo by Ambo Elliot.

Jon Batiste, photo by Ambo Elliot.

Jazz musician Jon Batiste, bandleader on The Late Show with Steven Colbert, makes his Santa Barbara debut on Friday, January 11 at 8 p.m. at UCSB Campbell Hall, in a UCSB Arts & Lectures presentation.

Wynton Marsalis describes him as “an elegant and electric performer with an unbelievably rich palette of techniques and styles rooted in New Orleans soul.”

Batiste is seen by millions on television five nights a week on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. “The energy and the excitement, the love of the audience, the humanism that he brings to his music is everything that I want,” says Colbert.

With his soulful brand of high-energy pop mixed with New Orleans funk and American jazz standards, his 2013 album Social Music with his band Stay Human topped the charts as the No. 1 jazz album in the world. His new album was recorded in a church in native city of New Orleans and produced by T Bone Burnett. Batiste’s major label debut, Hollywood Africans, is a stunning showcase of the brilliant pianist and vocalist. Primarily just Batiste and his piano, it includes standards, unexpected covers and original songs. This release displays Batiste’s dynamic talents and highlights his musicality and virtuosity on his instrument.

The Forbes 30 under 30 honoree balances a demanding performance schedule—which often includes his signature, impromptu ‘love riot’ street parades—with his role as bandleader on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Artistic Director At Large of the National Jazz Museum in Harlem, public speaking engagements, master classes and occasional acting gigs. He played himself on the HBO series Treme and most recently appeared in director Spike Lee‘s Red Hook Summer.

Batiste is also a coveted artist brand ambassador– currently featured in ad campaigns for Chase Bank, the Apple Watch, Lincoln Continental and numerous fashion brands including Polo Ralph Lauren Black Label, Frye, Kate Spade, Jack Spade Barneys, Nordstrom and H&M.

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

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on January 9, 2019.

YI Shop | Youth Interactive Holiday Market

Photo courtesy YI Shop.

Photo courtesy YI Shop.

Buy local and help support the nonprofit Youth Interactive this weekend at their Makers Market on Saturday, December 22. This unique nonprofit creates youth led businesses to mentor students’ creativity, help ignite their imaginations and provide them with new opportunities to develop the life skills needed to succeed beyond school. 

YI Shop (located at 1219 State St. across from the Granada Theatre) is filled to the brim with local artists and craftsman working alongside students to celebrate the holiday season and create beautiful items for lucky holiday shoppers.

For the perfect gift, unique, LOCAL, handmade and crafted with love, stop in the YI Shop for everything you will need to make the holiday season shine bright for everyone on your list.

Photo courtesy YI Shop.

Photo courtesy YI Shop.

YI Shop is  partnering with some of the Central Coast’s most creative artisans to support our youth.  Among the gift items, you’ll find:

Turquoise Succulents by Ashley Rifkin 

Barry Tryon Ceramics

Photo courtesy YI Shop.

Photo courtesy YI Shop.

Kathy Burba Ceramics

Jess Conti Leather Goods

Dancing Flame Glass by Lindsey Cossman

Pedaling Paper by Barbara Booth

Karen Hazarian Fine Jewelry

Table Salt Screen Prints by Earl Arnold

Avi Hyman’s Green Eyed Art

Wolf Hietzke – Ceramics

Felicia Artisan Jewelry

Unite to Light

Elephant Project

Founded in 2012, Youth Interactive Santa Barbara (YI) is a grassroots after school Entrepreneurial Arts Academy that bridges opportunity & social divisions by providing creative young adults from all walks of life with the keys to self-sufficiency.

Past participants say, the YI approach has changed the pathway of their lives from a place of darkness & failure to success! Click here for more information. 

Youth Interactive Holiday Market is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, December 22 at 1219 State St. in Downtown Santa Barbara. www.youthinteractive.us

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on December 20, 2018.

Kids Helping Kids Benefit Concerts

San Marcos High School Kids Helping Kids program has to be one of the most interesting and unique. During the course of 16 years, students have raised more than 3.1 million dollars for charitable purposes—to improve the lives of disadvantaged children both globally and locally. This year’s student-run gala benefit concerts feature Ben Rector on Friday, Jan. 11, and JOHNNYSWIM on Saturday, Jan. 12.

Singer and songwriter, Ben Rector is most notably recognized for his smash hits such as “Drive” and “Brand New,” and he just released his sixth album, titled Magic, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Americana/Folk Charts and No. 44 on the Billboard 200 chart. The Oklahoma born and Nashville based singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist uncovers that feeling of “magic” within 13 anthems equally rooted in whimsical nostalgia and excitement for the future. His ceaseless touring and prolific output paid off in a big way on the 2015 breakout Brand New. Clocking 41 million-plus streams on Spotify, the single organically landed over 40 film and television placements, including a trailer for The Edge of Seventeen, a TV spot for Disney’s Moana, and MLB World Series and Olympics primetime spots.

Kids Helping Kids is thrilled to bring back JOHNNYSWIM as the headliner for this year’s Saturday show on Jan. 12. Previously an opener for KHK, JOHNNYSWIM became a KHK fan favorite when they won over the crowd with hits like “Home” and “Diamonds.” Abner Ramirez and Amanda Sudano Ramirez make up JOHNNYSWIM. The pair met in Nashville in 2005. They clicked together musically and personally, beginning a romantic relationship along with their creative connection. JOHNNYSWIM can be easily recognized by their popular songs “Diamonds,” “Take the World,” and “Home.”

Both shows take place at The Granada Theatre (1214 State St., Santa Barbara). For more information, visit kidshelpingkidssb.org.

 

Leslie Dinaberg

Originally published in Santa Barbara Seasons on December 17, 2018.