Remembering Paul

By Richard Mineards   |   September 19, 2023

It has been almost 10 years since Santa Barbara’s Paul Walker died in a tragic car accident, but the pain of his passing still impacts his younger actor brother Cody just days before what would have been his 50th birthday.

The Fast & Furious star died in 2013 aged 40 after a Porsche he was traveling in crashed into a concrete lamp post and blew up in Santa Clarita, California.

“I miss him every day,” says Cody, 35, in an interview. “It’s hard to believe actually. Ten years. Wow!

“He played such a big role in my life. He was 15 years older than I was… A huge influence on my life. You know, I got to travel a lot with him. He’d take me away.”

Fond memories…

The History of Headwear

It’s going to be hats off to opera singer Ganna Walska, founder of the botanical paradise Lotusland, when Kaye Spilker, curator emerita of costume and textiles at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, speaks about the long history of magnificent millinery.

The academic event, scheduled for October 21, will journey through several centuries of history’s headwear, including the ancestral legacy of Walska’s spectacular collection of tony tête toppers.

Interestingly enough, one of the most popular exhibitions ever staged at London’s Kensington Palace was a show of the late Queen Elizabeth’s handbags and hats!

Local Influence

The world’s only gay polo league started in Santa Barbara, I learn.

Chip McKenney, an avid show jumper and horse lover, was living in Los Angeles in 2006 and feeling “a bit socially adrift.”

On a whim he drove up to our Eden by the Beach to take a polo lesson at the Santa Barbara Polo Club and, as he describes it, “thwack!” and had a brainstorm.

He enlisted a number of friends of the same persuasion to play and eventually his little idea would turn into the official Gay Polo League.

“I started to organize events at the club,” says McKenney. “People would play, come to watch, and then there would be brunch. It was always a very social, informal, and rag-tag thing.”

Today, the league, which is based in the elite equestrian community of Wellington, Florida, counts members in 15 countries, has traveled to Saint-Tropez and Argentina for competitions, and boasts players aged between 23 and 75.

This month they wing to London, with the possibility of Cape Town, South Africa, in the near future.

“We’re not a gay pride event,” McKinney, 66, tells Palm Beach’s Palmer magazine. “We are a high-end sporting event within the LGBTQIA+ community, and we challenge to be the best athletes we can be. We don’t sexualize over sport or team. No one is running around with their shirts off!

“A gay polo player raises awareness. Awareness hopefully leads to discussion. Discussion leads to understanding. Understanding leads to inclusion.”

Admirable thoughts…

Lawyers’ Fees Continue

Kevin Costner’s estranged wife, Christine Baumgartner, who has had her child support payments slashed to $63,000 a month by a Santa Barbara court, is now battling over legal fees, with a combined legal bill for the tony twosome of $1.5 million.

Baumgartner, 49, and the Oscar winner, 68, are due in court again to hear who will foot the hefty bill for attorneys’ fees with the mother of three asking Costner to fork out $575,000 to pay her lawyers and another $280,000 to cover the costs of experts.

The Yellowstone actor meanwhile racked up a $664,000 tab through the end of July, according to figures aired in court, but says he intends to pay his own fees.

Stay tuned…

On the Auction Block

Only two weeks to go before the highly anticipated sold-out One805Live! at actor Kevin Costner’s oceanside Carpinteria estate.

The online auction accompanying the boffo bash, which will feature rockers Maroon 5, has quite an Aladdin’s cave of goodies, ideal for early Yuletide shopping, including a luxury 10-day Caribbean cruise, and a guitar signed by the Oscar winner himself.

Add into the mix one of local artist Russell Young’s sought after Marilyn Monroe paintings, whose works are in the collections of actor Brad Pitt and former president Barack Obama, and VIP tickets to a Depeche Mode concert.

“There are great deals to be had,” founder Richard Weston-Smith assures me.

To see what bargains you can pick up, access

Privy to the Sole

Local warbler Katy Perry is obviously feeling flushed!

To promote her eponymous footwear collection, the former Dos Pueblos High student, 38, has shared a decidedly provocative snap of herself taking a selfie while sitting on the lavatory in a public restroom.

The saucy snap earned nearly 200,0000 likes from her 205 million followers.

Katy founded the brand in 2017 and the range offers sneakers, flats, sandals, and high heels.

Her successful multi-million Las Vegas residency PLAY, which I covered with my trusty shutterbug Priscilla when it opened at Resorts World, wraps in November after a two-year stint.

The Root of It All

Gwyneth Paltrow is getting back to her roots!

The Oscar winner, 50, has told fans she has let her blonde looks go their natural silver and has asked if she should keep the look personally.

The Goop founder told British Vogue in July that maturing is about “embracing aging.”

Do or dye…


Barbie actor Ryan Gosling at Pacific Health Foods in Carpinteria… Prince Harry, Meghan Markle, and Katy Perry watching the Beyoncé concert in L.A… Oscar winner Kevin Costner breakfasting with his son Hayes, 14, at the Montecito Coffee Shop.

Pip! Pip!  


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