Online Opus

By Richard Mineards   |   May 14, 2020
Symphony maestro Nir Kabaretti

Santa Barbara Symphony’s Music Education Center is now offering virtual programming through the orchestra’s Youth Ensembles programming and the private lessons Scholarship Program.

The center continues to retain and employ a teaching staff of 12 local professional musicians and two conductors to lead classes and lessons.

Each year the center impacts more than 10,000 students throughout Santa Barbara County.

“Under the direction of Kristine Pacheco the symphony is leveraging the collective talents of the incredible teaching staff to sustain and strengthen the bonds with our students and families through an investment in and use of technology,” says symphony music director Nir Kabaretti.

Social Distance Drinking

Carpinteria twosome Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis have obviously got a hit with their new Quarantine Wine, which I wrote about in this illustrious organ last month.

“We thought, let’s play if safe and we bought 2,000 cases,” Kutcher, 42, told the Tonight Show At Home edition. “In eight hours, we sold all 2,000 cases. We were shocked.”

The dynamic duo only did one video on social media to promote the pinot noir from Nocking Point Wines in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, with all proceeds split evenly between five chosen charities – Flexport, Direct Relief, America’s Food Fund, Give Directly, and the Frontline Responders Fund.

“It blew our minds,” adds Kutcher, and the couple scrambled to procure more wine to meet demand.

They’ve raised $1 million so far and want people “to keep giving knowing it’s going to the right places.”

The wine sells for $50 for two bottles, which have a unique blank white label. If you care to join in the quaffing, go to

Stranger than Fiction

Former Montecito resident Paul Hogan helped put his native Australia on the map with his “shrimp on the barbie” TV adverts and co-wrote and starred in the 1986 box office hit film Crocodile Dundee.

But as the actor, who used to live on Parra Grande Lane, prepares to release his autobiography, The Tap Dancing Knife Thrower, in November, he has admitted to feeling he doesn’t deserve his fame or wealth.

The 80-year-old says he often expects people to say: “What are you doing here? You’re just a bloody rigger,” a reference to one of his early jobs on the Sydney Harbor Bridge.

Hogan says it’s about time he took a trip down memory lane.

“Now that I’ve moved firmly into the fourth quarter it’s about time I shared the stories behind the headlines and movie posters. Because, more often than not in my life, fact has been funnier and stranger than fiction.”

Not Loafing Around

Vogue supermodel Gigi Hadid has always made a lot of dough, but now the former Montecito Union School student is making it for real during the coronavirus lockdown.

Gigi, 25, who is expecting a daughter with British singer Zayn Malik, has proven to be quite the quarantine chef at her family’s farm in Pennsylvania with impressive examples of her homemade no-knead focaccia bread.

“A quarantine goal of mine was to start making bread,” she told her 53.7 million Instagram followers, before saying the process was “worth the wait.”

On a Roll

Santa Barbara warbler Katy Perry, 35, has been getting most creative with the new virtual episodes of ABC’s American Idol, where the judges and contestants have been participating by webcam.

On the first show, attempting to be “as safe as possible” during the broadcast, she appeared on screen as a giant bottle of hand sanitizer.

Then last week the former Dos Pueblos High student was filmed at home wearing a giant toilet roll.

“Just wanted to make sure everybody has enough toiler paper at their homes,” Katy told host Ryan Seacrest, 45, and fellow judges Lionel Richie, 70, and Luke Bryan, 43.

Seacrest asked: “What ply are you?” as she paraded in the in-demand commode commodity.

Ever the joker…

Au Naturel

Montecito actress Gwyneth Paltrow always puts on quite a glamorous show on Hollywood’s red carpet, but the Oscar winner, 47, says she actually prefers to go makeup free.

“I’ve never been a makeup person really,” she tells the Beautiful issue of People. “I always love not wearing makeup. For me, makeup has always meant I’m going to work.

“I went to an all-girls school and we didn’t wear makeup. We weren’t dressing up for anyone. All through junior high and high school makeup never became part of my routine. And I think part of that is because I was always a bit of a tomboy. I like the feeling of having clean skin.”

Pores for thought…

Being Blunt

My item on the wit of the late British playwright Noel Coward prompted a response from an old friend, former Fleet Street columnist turned successful celebrity book author Sean Smith.

He recounts the time Coward went to an unimpressive first night of a new play in London’s West End starring friend Gertrude Lawrence.

Afterwards he was asked what he thought of the production. “My dear Gertie, fantastic… isn’t the word,” he replied.


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