Remembering Chip

By Richard Mineards   |   February 20, 2020

On a personal note, I remember Santa Barbara realtor Chip Lawson, who has moved to more heavenly pastures at the all too early age of 62.

A jovial soul, we first met at Cafe Del Sol, the former popular local bar hangout by the Andree Clark Bird Refuge, now the Magic Castle.

Chip Lawson R.I.P.

Chip, a former successful equestrian, kept me up to date on home sales in our rarefied enclave, announcing himself as my “mole with the martini.”

He will be missed…

Keston MAX

Twelve outstanding Music Academy of the West musicians have been selected by auditions to wing their way to London in April for ten days of intensive training with the London Symphony Orchestra and its director, Sir Simon Rattle, as part of the second year of the Michael and Linda Keston exchange with the world-class 116-year-old orchestra.

The winners, all full-scholarship participants, are violinists Shenae Anderson and Njioma Chinyere Grevious, cellist Ha sun Song, double bassist Jonathan Yeoh, percussionists Christine Comer and Maddi Shake, flutist James Dion Blanchard, oboist Victoria Chung, clarinetist Sara Han, bassoonist Bianca Marian Chambul, horn player Gabrielle Pho, and trumpeter Alex Mayon.

Marilyn Horne Song Competition winners Sun-Ly Pierce and Chien-Lin Lu will also take part in the scheme, known as Keston MAX.

The fellows will perform with the LSO in two programs at the city’s Barbican and two performances at St. Luke’s, a converted 18th century Nicholas Hawksmoor church.

High Honors for Hotels

Beanie Baby billionaire Ty Warner must be beaming!

Both of his Santa Barbara hostelries, the 206 accommodations Four Season Biltmore and the San Ysidro Ranch, have garnered five stars in the new Forbes Travel Guide, the 93-year-old 22-acre Butterfly Beach hotel for the first time.

“When you get down to it, it’s all about the people running the hotel,” says British manager Karen Earp. “Instilling passion for service, for ‘wowing’ the guest ­– to me, that’s the core of being a great hotel.

“With every year, we aim to get better and this recognition is a celebration of our beautiful resort, iconic private club, and dedication to the highest level of service.”

Not on the List

Santa Barbara warbler Katy Perry won’t be inviting her American Idol co-workers, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan, to her much anticipated nuptials to her British actor fiancé Orlando Bloom.

The former Dos Pueblos High student, 35, awkwardly admitted her fellow judges on the popular ABC show aren’t on the guest list when the tony triumvirate appeared on the network’s Jimmy Kimmel Live!

Explaining the decision, Katy joked: “I can’t afford them!”

Stay tuned…

Statement Piece

Montecito actress Natalie Portman made quite a statement on the Oscars red carpet with her Christian Dior cape embroidered with the names of women who directed movies last year – and weren’t nominated for the 92nd Academy Awards.

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences received criticism for its failure to nominate any female directors this year.

In the history of the Oscars only five women have been nominated for best director, with only one – Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker – winning.

Just one of the best picture nominees was directed by a woman, Greta Gerwig‘s Little Women.

Visiting Kirk

While I was in Los Angeles on another matter, I took time out to pay my respects to my late Montecito neighbor, Hollywood acting icon Kirk Douglas, at his final resting place at Pierce Brothers Westwood Village Memorial Park.

The two-time Oscar nominee, who was 103, is buried with his standup comedian son, Eric, who died in 2004 at the age of 46. I knew him well when I lived in Manhattan, but his career was tragically overshadowed by numerous run-ins with the law and problems with alcohol and drugs.

Kirk is in good company, given the locale is the last resting place of TV and movie stars like Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau, Rodney Dangerfield, Karl Malden and TV talk show host Merry Griffin, creator of Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune, just a few feet away.

In due course, presumably, the gravestone will feature his names and dates. But, taking a cue from Tom Hanks at the Oscars, might I suggest “I Am Spartacus” as a fitting epitaph.


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