A CAMA Quintet
CAMA – Community Arts Music Association of Santa Barbara – hosted the first concert of its Masterseries at the Lobero with international Grammy winning string player Jordi Savall and Le Concert des Nations. For Spaniard Savall it was his fourth appearance in our Eden by the Beach having performed in 2008, 2010, and 2016.
Playing a 1697 Barak Norman English seven-string bass violin, Savall – who has made more than 230 records covering the Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, and Classical periods – led the extraordinarily talented quintet, including violinist Manfredo Kraemer, flutist Charles Zebley, Philippe Pierlot on bass violin, Lucas Harris on theorbo and guitar, and Marco Vitale on harpsichord. The rapturous, 75-minute seven-piece baroque gem, Tous les Matins du Monde, featured 17th century works by Jean-Baptiste Lully, Marin Marais, and Francois Couperin. In a word, it was magnificent…
A Farewell to Homes
Actor Michael Douglas was spotted at his late father Kirk Douglas’s Montecito home in what may have been a poignant last visit to the property. The estate, where I was at dinner a number of times with Kirk and his wife Anne, was sold for $6.8 million in January, nearly two years after the Hollywood legend’s death at 103.
Built in 1957, the four-bed, three-bath, 3,487 square foot home on one acre, a tiara’s toss from Pierre Lafond in the Upper Village, was used as a weekend retreat from their Beverly Hills estate by the tony twosome. It features a Fiddler on the Roof figure on top of the shingled roof. The Oscar winner, who used to have a home on Hot Springs Road with his wife Diandra, was spotted at Pierre’s coffee shop picking up a takeout dinner.
Meanwhile… In the Courts
Former actress Meghan Markle is being sued for defamation by her half-sister, Samantha Markle, over the incendiary interview she and Prince Harry gave Oprah Winfrey nearly a year ago. Samantha, 57, claims in court documents the Duchess of Sussex, 40, made “false and malicious statements” during the sit-down. She accused the former Suits star of falsely claiming to be “an only child” and claims Meghan lied about the time frame when they last saw each other, according to the New York Post.
“The defamatory implication is that plaintiff had no relationship with her sister Meghan, they were virtual strangers, and that plaintiff has created a lucrative career selling false stories to tabloids and television programs when she knows nothing about defendant’s childhood,” according to court papers.
Samantha accuses Meghan of bashing their father, Thomas Markle, in an attempt to sell the world a false “rags-to-royalty” narrative of her life. She is asking for $75,000 in damages and the cost of court and attorney’s fees. Meghan’s legal eagle, Michael Kump, thundered, “This baseless and absurd lawsuit is just a continuation of a pattern of disturbing behavior. We will give it the minimum attention necessary, which is all it deserves.” Stay tuned…
Delay Your Enthusiasm
Larry David’s HBO documentary has been pulled at the last minute. The network was expected to premiere The Larry David Story, about our rarefied enclave’s newest resident, in a sit-down interview with his friend and collaborator Larry Charles, who has directed several episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm. But in a tweet posted by the HBO Documentaries account, the network announced that David, 74, wanted another crack at the interview, doing it in front of a live audience.
Montecito actor Rob Lowe, 57, is certainly making his hit Fox TV series 9-1-1: Lone Star a family affair. His brother, Chad Lowe, 54, has been behind the camera directing episodes, while Rob’s son, John Owen, 27, has been writing scripts for the Austin-based series on first responders.
A Surreal Past
My story on the magnificent Hôtel Lambert in Paris, situated just behind Notre-Dame Cathedral on the Ile St-Louis, being sold for $227 million, reminded me that its former owner Baron Guy de Rothschild, who died aged 98 in 2007, was a good friend of the late Montecito society doyenne Beverley Jackson and would regularly send her “care packages” of his family’s legendary Château Lafite wine.
Like his good friend Baron Alexis de Rede, whose opulent apartment was on the ground floor of the Hôtel Lambert, he and his wife Marie-Hélène, were known for their extraordinary entertaining, including the legendary Surrealist Ball they hosted in 1972 at their 7,413-acre, 80-bedroom country estate outside Paris, Château de Ferrières, which was donated to the University of Paris on his death.
Many costumes were designed by artist Salvador Dali, with actress Audrey Hepburn in a birdcage hat, and an interactive maze filled with butlers pretending to be cats. Invitations, which had been printed backwards, had to be read in a mirror – inspired by the artist René Magritte. Dinner plates were covered in fur, with tables decorated with taxidermy tortoises, and food served on mannequin corpses on beds of roses.
De Rede wore an astonishing quadruple-decker four masks in one with scarab beetles, an Egyptian twist of Titian’s Allegory of Prudence, designed by Dali. Perfumer Hélène Rochas wore a gramophone on her head, and Baroness Rothschild donned a giant stag’s head studded with tears of real diamonds, which certainly impressed other guests like Marisa Berenson and Brigitte Bardot. Those were the days…
In Loo of Keaton
No wonder Montecito actor Michael Keaton was feeling flushed when he was presented with his SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a TV movie. He was relieving himself in the bathroom at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica! Keaton, 70, who won for his role as the opioid-addicted Dr. Samuel Finnix in the Hulu series Dopesick ran to the stage where Selma Hayek was waiting patiently with his statuette. “Sorry, quick trip to the men’s room and it’s packed by the way,” quipped Keaton before launching into his acceptance speech.
Cruising Through Goop
Gwyneth Paltrow is all at sea! The Montecito-based Oscar winner has just partnered with Celebrity Cruises for her lifestyle brand Goop’s first at-sea venue. The new experience will take place on Celebrity Apex departing from Barcelona, Spain, on August 26 and sailing around the Mediterranean until September 6. The cruise is inspired by the company’s “In Goop Health” wellness summits. “We’ve had massive success with In Goop Health, our wellness summit that translates Goop content into a tangible, in-touch experience,” says Paltrow, 49. “This partnership allows us to bring Goop to a new audience and to meet readers where they are.”
Banker Henry Walker and his wife, Erin, part of earthchange.org, partnered with the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club to plant trees at the tony facility. The first one – a redwood – will be planted next month in memory of Nancy Walker, Henry’s mother. In 1976, Nancy’s contribution to the Carpinteria club was to plant and water most of the trees around the tennis facility, next to the polo fields. She spent four months watering them personally to make sure the roots took hold.
It is difficult to believe it is nearly a year since Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth’s loyal consort for more than 70 years, left us for more heavenly pastures – just two months before his 100th birthday. I was woken in the early hours by a producer from CBS TV informing me of the news and asking me to be on an early morning broadcast by Zoom. I was then bombarded with requests for TV appearances and print interviews, and then finally contracted with Fox News, to cover the muted funeral ceremony at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor, with Patrick Jephson, Princess Diana’s former private secretary. A most memorable moment…
Actor Jordan Peele noshing at Olio e Limone… Grammy winning singer Steve Tyrell at the Rosewood Miramar’s Manor Bar… Back to the Future’s Christopher Lloyd picking up his New York Times at Pierre Lafond.
Pip! Pip! Be safe, wear a mask when required, and get vaccinated.