Stand Up Film

By Richard Mineards   |   January 23, 2019
Amy Wendel and her husband Dan Meisel, director Lydia Dean Pilcher, and actor Sarah Megan Thomas (photo by Priscilla)

As the Santa Barbara International Film Festival celebrated its 35th anniversary, the Anti-Defamation League marked the occasion with a reception in the courtyard of the Lobero Theatre as a rainstorm raged outside.

The 120-guest fifth anniversary bash, chaired by Marina Stephens, raised nearly $50,000 towards funds and, as is tradition, honored the film Liberté: A Call to Spy, directed by Lydia Dean Pilcher, and starring Sarah Megan Thomas, with its ADL Stand Up Award, a dramatic portrayal of the true stories of the first women recruited and sent by the British military to occupied France with the mission to disrupt the Nazi war machine.

Among the guests were Barbara Ben-Horin, George and Sharon Bifano, Tom and Julianna Dain, David Edelman, Robert and Andre Gaines, Jerry and Patricia Hauptman, Steve and Cindy Lyons, Dan Meisel, Richard Rolls, and Bob and Leah Temkin.

Anti-Defamation League reception guest, Tom and Julia Dane, and Stanton Howell at the Lobero Theatre courtyard (photo by Priscilla)

Nothing but Treble

Pianist Emanuel Ax, winner of seven Grammy Awards, mesmerized the audience at the Lobero with an all-Beethoven program, part of the CAMA – Community Arts Music Association – Masterseries.

Ax, who also teaches at Juilliard in New York and has regularly accompanied legendary cellist Yo-Yo Ma since 1973, was at the top of his game with the entertaining program, including Bagatelle No. 25 in A minor, piano sonatas in A major, C Major and F minor, and five variations of Rule Britannia.

He is also a former director of the Ojai Music Festival.

Whale Wisdom

Producer Katya Shirokow, a 50-year resident of Montecito, is having a whale of a time with her latest documentary at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival.

Together with her marine biologist husband, four-time Emmy Award winning filmmaker Rick Rosenthal, director, they have made Whale Wisdom, narrated by British naturalist Sir David Attenborough.

“We met him two years ago and made plans to work together,” says Katya, who attended Laguna Blanca School. “The documentary on whales and their amazing intelligence is the result!”

The film shows humpbacks and grey whales in action using boats, kayaks and drones to get quite spectacular footage.

Helping Australia

Montecito TV talk show host Ellen DeGeneres has launched a GoFundMe page to raise $5 million for bushfire relief in Australia.

Ellen, who has already made donations to the Australian Red Cross, the Rural Fire Service and WIRES Wildlife Reserve, recounted the wildfires had been ravaging Australia for four months with millions of acres burned and half a billion animals killed.

“It’s going to take years for Australia to rebuild. Be kind to one another,” concluded Ellen, whose wife actress Portia de Rossi is Australian.

High Life

Beanie Baby billionaire Ty Warner, owner of the Biltmore and San Ysidro Ranch, is featured prominently in a new list of the world’s top hotel suites by Elite Traveler, the private jet lifestyle magazine.

His 28,000 sq. ft. Ty Warner Mansion at his Las Ventanas al Paraiso, a Rosewood resort in Los Cabos, Mexico, where a one-night stay starts at $35,000, is ranked at number two on the list of biggest suites.

It boasts a 328-ft. infinity pool which wraps around the entire beachfront property.

His eponymous one-bedroom penthouse at the I.M. Pei-designed Four Seasons Hotel in New York also makes the list.

The magnificent 52nd floor suite, with sweeping views of Manhattan, boasts 26-ft. ceilings, hand lacquered walls, a zen room with a waterfall of South African-sourced semi precious granite, a Chinese onyx bathtub, and an in-suite spa.

The suite, which goes for $50,000 a night, also has four cantilevered glass balconies – the highest in the world.

Wedding Bells

Santa Barbara warbler Katy Perry and her English actor Orlando Bloom were among a hoard of celebrities, including Princess Beatrice, Queen Elizabeth’s granddaughter, CBS morning anchor Gayle King, and actress Kate Hudson, in the jet set Swiss ski resort of St. Moritz for the weekend wedding of Russian oligarch Roman Abramovitch‘s ex-wife, Dasha Zhukova, 38, to Greek shipping heir Stavros Niarchos, 34, nephew of an old New York friend Spyros Niarchos.

The tony twosome officially tied the knot in a registry office ceremony in Paris last year, but wanted to celebrate the coupling on a greater scale this time around.

They took over the five-star Kulm St. Mortiz Hotel, owned by the Niarchos family, where rooms cost more than $1,000 a night, with the weekend’s festivities expected to cost more than $7 million.


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