Fine Design in Theater

By Richard Mineards   |   August 1, 2023

My item last week on the historic Lobero Theatre being chosen as one of the world’s 11 most beautiful by society glossy Town & Country prompted a call from Montecito philanthropist Anne Towbes saying that another of the theaters on the list, Steinmetz Hall in Orlando, Florida, was designed by Montecito architect
Barton Myers, 88.

The 1,741-seat theater, part of the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, opened last year and is the latest in a lengthy list of commissions including performing arts centers in Newark, New Jersey; Portland, Oregon; and Cerritos, California.

Myers, president of Barton Myers Associates, studied architecture at the University of Pennsylvania and practiced in Toronto, Canada, before moving his company’s HQ to Southern California.

A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis and a jet fighter pilot in the U.S. Air Force for five years, he attended architecture classes at both Oxford and Cambridge universities. He has won major architecture awards in the U.S. and Canada, and lectures worldwide.

House Available in the Hills

Orlando Bloom, singer Katy Perry’s English actor fiancé, is selling his Beverly Hills home for $7.6 million.

The 4,011-square-foot 1959 contemporary boasts four bedrooms and four bathrooms.

The Lord of the Rings and Pirates of the Caribbean star previously listed the property in 2019 at just under $9 million.

He bought the house in 2017 for $7 million and spent $5 million on improvements.

Orlando and Katy were last seen jet skiing in St. Tropez.

Lawyers’ Fees May End Soon

Kevin Costner’s estranged wife Christine Baumgartner is barred from removing any property apart from clothing, toiletries, handbags, and jewelry from his $145 million Carpinteria beach compound.

As she prepares to leave the estate by Monday (July 31), the 49-year-old handbag designer will be barred from taking art, furniture, furnishings, or appliances with her without the Oscar winner’s consent.

The update amid their acrimonious divorce comes after the Yellowstone actor accused her of ransacking the home they previously shared.

Stay tuned…

A Breezy Budget

King Charles III is getting a pay cut!

The cash the British monarch receives from the U.K. taxpayer will be $31 million lower than it could have been next year.

The Sovereign Grant used to fund the king’s official duties will be 12 percent of the Crown Estate’s net profits next year, down from 25 percent, London’s Treasury has announced.

The Royal Household’s budget will be $31 million lower in 2024 and $167 million lower in both 2025 and 2026 than if the rate remained at 25 percent.

The change comes after a significant boost in the Crown Estate’s profits from offshore wind deals.

Charles asked in January for wind farm profits to be used for the wider public good instead.

A Saintly Offering

Established in 1956, St. Francis Foundation of Santa Barbara annually awards grants to local agencies focused on helping to relieve human suffering.

By stewarding resources entrusted to them, coupled with stellar endowment management, the foundation is privileged and positioned to support many worthy and vital community causes.

The organization recently completed the 2023 giving cycle, awarding almost a million dollars to 25 local organizations.

Some of the local recipients include Friendship Center, Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics, Santa Barbara Scholarship Foundation, Doctors Without Walls, Serenity House, Hillside House, PATH, Hospice of Santa Barbara, SEE International, and the Alzheimer’s Association.

Remembering Tony Bennett

On a personal note. I remember crooner Tony Bennett, who has died at his longtime Manhattan home at the age of 96.

I used to see him and his wife, Susan, at the Park Avenue jet set nightclub Regines with late actor Anthony Quinn, when I lived nearby on East 66th Street and Madison Avenue.

Bennett’s career spanned more than 70 years with 150 recordings, gaining a whole new audience in recent decades when he teamed with the likes of U2 singer Bono and Lady Gaga.

I last saw him perform at what was the Montecito Country Club at an intimate concert in 2013 organized by UCSB Arts & Lectures when I sat at dinner with Law & Order uber producer Dick Wolf and animal activist Gretchen Lieff, with Bennett singing his signature song “I Left My Heart in San Francisco.”

Bennett, also a successful artist later in life, personified sophistication and was the most genial of individuals despite his worldwide fame.


Bill Nye, the Science Guy, at the Music Academy’s Hahn Hall… Meghan Markle, security guard in tow, picking up blooms at the Farmers Market on CVR… Ellen DeGeneres and her brother Vance at Pierre Lafond.

Pip! Pip!


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