Author spotlight: Richard Mineards

Richard covered the Royal Family for Britain’s Daily Mirror and Daily Mail, and was an editor on New York Magazine. He was also a national anchor on CBS, a commentator on ABC Network News, gossip on The Joan Rivers Show and Geraldo Rivera, host on E! TV, a correspondent on the syndicated show Extra, a commentator on the KTLA Morning News and Entertainment Tonight. He moved to Montecito 13 years ago.

CAMA Comeback Kicks Off
By Richard Mineards   |   January 25, 2022

CAMA – Community Arts Music Association – kicked off its 103rd season with its first performance in 22 months at the Granada with one of the world’s leading orchestras, the 75-year-old Royal Philharmonic from London under the trusty baton of Russian music director Vasily Petrenko, who took charge less than a year ago. Our tony […]

‘Semele’ Stuns
By Richard Mineards   |   January 25, 2022

Opera Santa Barbara was again in fine form when it presented Handel’s Semele at the Lobero, which was first performed in 1744 at London’s Covent Garden. A fusion of elements of opera, drama, and oratorio, the popular work is taken from Ovid’s Metamorphoses with Semele, the mother of the god Bacchus, superbly played by soprano […]

A Nice Throwback
By Richard Mineards   |   January 18, 2022

The Sound of Silence pervaded the venerable 1,500 seat Granada Theatre when the Theatre Guild staged the highly entertaining Simon & Garfunkel Story. Creatively staged with videos and photographic backdrops from the 1950s to the 1980s, two talented doppelgängers, Taylor Bloom as Paul Simon and Ben Cooley as Garfunkel, played the dynamic musical duo, who […]

RIP, Desmond
By Richard Mineards   |   January 18, 2022

On a personal note, I remember Desmond Tutu, South Africa’s Nobel Peace Prize-winning activist for racial justice and LGBTQ rights, who died at his home in Cape Town aged 90. I met the Anglican Archbishop in 2011 at a reception at the beachfront Montecito home of the late Nancy Koppelman and found him unfailingly charming. […]

Welcome Home
By Richard Mineards   |   January 18, 2022

It was case of blinging in the New Year when top jeweler Erik Laykin, scion of the founder of the 90-year-old Los Angeles company Laykin et Cie, opened its new branch at the Rosewood Miramar. Many guests couldn’t get into the socially gridlocked soirée, but those that could gain entree into the opulent salon were […]

A ‘Dream’ Come True
By Richard Mineards   |   January 18, 2022

Montecito artist and general contractor William Dalziel has published his second children’s book, Charlie’s Dream. The latest work is the sequel to his first book Ulma, The Kidnapped Tree, which he launched two years ago. Bill describes his new book as “a story of courage, dreams, and freedom” taking us on a journey of magical […]

Ringing in the New Year!
By Richard Mineards   |   January 11, 2022

Santa Barbara Symphony returned to its popular New Year’s Eve tradition at the Granada to dazzle the audience with the music of Gershwin, movie classics, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Motown, Broadway, and other celebratory symphonic favorites while donning party hats and quaffing champagne. Regular Pops conductor Bob Bernhardt, celebrating his 40th anniversary with the Louisville Orchestra, […]

So Good, It’s Sinful
By Richard Mineards   |   January 11, 2022

Sin City has never seen anything like it! Santa Barbara warbler Katy Perry unleashed her considerable talents with the debut of her three-month residency at the Conrad, a 59-story red 1,496-room monolith, part of the new Resorts World $4.3 billion complex of three tony hostelries with a total of 3,506 rooms and a 117,000-square-foot casino […]

Honoring History
By Richard Mineards   |   December 28, 2021

A page from our Eden by the Beach’s own history comes to life when Yankee sailors meet Spanish Rancheros at Casa de la Guerra in the Christmas Revels at the Lobero Theatre. Based on actual events from the 1830s woven into a lavish theatrical experience, the Revels, now in its 14th season, featured a company […]

Healing Vibes
By Richard Mineards   |   December 28, 2021

Heal the Ocean, the popular Santa Barbara nonprofit, received a tidal wave of support when it threw its Christmas party at the Carpinteria art gallery, Lobster Town USA, which in the New Year will be turning into the town’s first cannabis dispensary, owners Patrick and Maire Radis tell me. More than 150 guests turned out […]

Some Magic in the Air
By Richard Mineards   |   December 28, 2021

Basketball legends Magic Johnson and Jerry West delighted sports fans galore at the Turner Foundation’s Legacy gala at the Rosewood Miramar benefitting the popular organization’s music and imagination program, and the Lisa Smith Wengler Foundation House for transitional youngsters between 18 to 24. More than $500,000 was raised from the 424 guests at the Yuletide […]

Light It Up!
By Richard Mineards   |   December 28, 2021

After a two year break the 35th Annual Parade of Lights was back with a bang — and 10 tons of snow! City Pier was turned into a Winter Wonderland complete with holiday elves as more than 30 colorfully illuminated sailing boats and dozens of stand-up paddlers and kayakers in festive attire embarked on a […]

Bash & Bluegrass
By Richard Mineards   |   December 28, 2021

UCSB’s popular Arts & Lectures program welcomed 90 guests to the courtyard at the Arlington Theatre for its holiday bash before the performance of My Bluegrass Heart with Béla Fleck, Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer, and Bryan Sutton. The fun fete also a featured a toy drive from United Way of Santa […]

A Beautiful Night
By Richard Mineards   |   December 21, 2021

Santa Barbara Beautiful celebrated Christmas with a boffo beano for 90 guests at the Mesa estate of new board member Santa Barbara County architect Robert Ooley. The 56-year-old organization gives out grants between $50,000 and $100,000 annually to help beautify our Eden by the Beach. “We are thrilled to be doing this,” gushed president Deborah […]

Getting in the Holiday Spirit
By Richard Mineards   |   December 21, 2021

Santa Claus hats reigned supreme at Santa Barbara’s Carriage and Western Art Museum when entrepreneur Rick Oshay threw a heaving Yuletide fete for 170, helped by presidents galore from Old Spanish Days acting as cooks and bartenders. “It’s one helluva bash!” declared Rick, who has lived in our tony town for less than a year. […]

Feeling Festive
By Richard Mineards   |   December 14, 2021

The 26th annual Christmas Walk at La Arcada Plaza, the charming thoroughfare just off State Street near the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, attracted more than a thousand spectators with strolling carolers in Dickensian garb, freshly popped popcorn, and even snowmaking machines turning the area into a winter wonderland with colorfully decorated Yuletide trees. Youngsters […]

Some ‘Salvation’
By Richard Mineards   |   December 14, 2021

The venerable Granada was socially gridlocked when Westmont College held its 17th annual Christmas Festival “Salvation For All” over two days given the demand for tickets. Michael Shasberger, Adams professor for music and worship, who is retiring in May after 16 years, created the hugely popular event and has directed it each year, normally at […]

Foodbank Feeling Full After Empty Bowls
By Richard Mineards   |   December 14, 2021

After making it an online event given the pandemic last year, the 23rd annual Empty Bowls fundraiser at the headquarters of the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County, just a tiara’s toss from its normal venue at the Ben Page Youth Center, was quite the gridlocked occasion at the weekend. The bustling event, founded by bubbly […]

Fabulous Flowerpots
By Richard Mineards   |   December 14, 2021

Arlene Larsen, co-owner of Montecito’s Magic Castle with her husband, Milt, is going to pot! During the downturn caused by the pandemic, Arlene has been busy making one-of-a-kind flowerpots from trim, fabric, and jewelry she has been collecting over the past six decades. “I’ve been making and selling costumes since I was 15 years old,” […]

Paying it Forward
By Richard Mineards   |   December 7, 2021

It was a very in-tents occasion when Montecito Bank & Trust erected a giant marquee in the rotunda at the Hilton for its 17th annual Community Dividends lunch when $1 million was given to 179 worthy organizations from the local community. The late Mike Towbes, founder of the bank, always described the event as his […]

An Angelic Evening
By Richard Mineards   |   December 7, 2021

Santa Barbara’s Veterans Memorial Building was socially gridlocked when 600 guests turned out for the first Thanksgiving dinner organized by Adam’s Angels, a 20-month-old nonprofit founded by Montecito realtor Adam McKaig and fellow resident Crystal Iverson. “I couldn’t do anything with real estate during the pandemic, so I asked if I could help during this […]

Throw Him into the Deep End
By Richard Mineards   |   December 7, 2021

It was quite the nerve-wracking occasion when the 56-year-old Rescue Mission’s new kitchen manager David Fletcher organized his first Thanksgiving Feast for 200 guests. With 50 roasted turkeys, 100 pounds of mashed potatoes, and 75 pounds of vegetables, not to mention huge trays of pumpkin and pecan pie, David, who has only been in the […]

Quite the Miracle
By Richard Mineards   |   November 30, 2021

Christmas would appear to have arrived early! Mega restaurateur Sherry Villanueva, who owns The Lark and La Paloma Cafe through her Acme Hospitality group, among many other eateries, has worked a Yuletide “miracle” at Pearl Social, which normally serves as a Funk Zone cocktail and music bar. Described as “a kitschy Christmas experience” that will […]

Pristine Pathway
By Richard Mineards   |   November 30, 2021

The venerable Granada Theatre has officially unveiled Plaza Granada, a new $2 million pathway to the historic arts district in downtown Santa Barbara. “It took more than 10 years to complete,” says Montecito’s Palmer Jackson, the Granada’s executive chairman. “It is a meticulously planned project. It was the dream of the late Michael Towbes and […]

Lauding Lutah
By Richard Mineards   |   November 30, 2021

After premiering at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival in 2014, the documentary Lutah – A Passion For Architecture: A Life In Design aired at the Lobero, fittingly a building she conceived, to raise funds for a George Washington Smith pavilion restoration project at Lotusland, the 37-acre Montecito botanical garden owned by opera star Ganna […]

Sunset Soirée
By Richard Mineards   |   November 30, 2021

Condor Express owner Hiroko Benko made sure everyone had a whale of a time when she hosted a sunset cruise for her good friend Dolores Johnson, organizer of the Montecito Motor Classic at the Santa Barbara Polo Club, which attracted more than 200 exotic and luxury cars.  “It was a truly wonderful event,” gushed Hiroko, […]

Back With a Bang
By Richard Mineards   |   November 23, 2021

Broadway is back with a bang at the Granada, courtesy of the American Theatre Guild. With the musical version of An Officer and a Gentleman, based on the 1982 multi-Oscar winning film with Richard Gere, Debra Winger, and Louis Gossett, Jr., the traveling version of the Great White Way hit our Eden by the Beach […]

Something Fishy Going On Here
By Richard Mineards   |   November 23, 2021

There were decidedly fishy goings on at the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum when it reopened its exhibit, “Mermaids: Visualizing the Myths and Legends – Photography by Ralph A. Clevenger & Friends,” part of an underwater photography course he taught at Brooks Institute for 33 years. The colorful show, which features 16 images on canvas, was […]

Well Done, Jackie
By Richard Mineards   |   November 23, 2021

Jackie Waddill, who has served Dream Foundation recipients, their families, and the organization’s family of supporters for the last 23 years, has announced her retirement. “In my career with the foundation I’ve seen the delight and pure joy a final dream can bring,” says Jackie. “I’ve felt the short distance between hello and goodbye. I […]

Getting Ghosted
By Richard Mineards   |   November 23, 2021

Competition is so fierce to get the new black badge Rolls-Royce Ghost that one owner in La Jolla paid more than $60,000 over the list price of $400,000, I’m reliably informed. My trusty shutterbug Priscilla and I were invited to O’Gara Coach in Westlake to test drive the new 591 horsepower auto with Swiss car […]

Fond Farewell
By Richard Mineards   |   November 16, 2021

On a personal note, I remember fellow gossip Liz Smith, who left us in New York at the age of 94. I first met the irrepressible Texan in 1978 when I became gossip columnist on Rupert Murdoch’s newly launched Star magazine, when she scribed at the Daily News, eventually becoming an on screen regular on […]

CALM Before the Fundraising Storm
By Richard Mineards   |   November 16, 2021

Santa Barbara nonprofit CALM, which is celebrating its half-century, hosted its 10th Annual Calm at Heart Lunch Transforming Communities at Los Suenos, the Montecito estate of corporate attorney Robert Lieff and his wife, Susan, which raised around $300,000 from 260 guests. Fortunately, the sea mist cleared for blue skies and sunshine for the boffo bash, […]

Happy Birthday, Ray
By Richard Mineards   |   November 16, 2021

Scientist, inventor, and real estate investor Ray Winn celebrated the 37th anniversary of his half-century with a cocktail bash at the opulent Birnam Wood home he shares with his longtime companion Peter Kavoian, who marked his 65th birthday last month. The tony twosome, who have developed and operate more than 1 million square feet of […]

Honoring True Heroes
By Richard Mineards   |   November 16, 2021

A cavalcade of uniforms from all branches of the Department of Defense descended on the cavernous Hilton ballroom for the 24th Annual Military Ball organized by the Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation. Some 300 guests attended the fun fete, co-chaired by John and Hazel Blankenship, which honored all service veterans. Singer David Gonzales, a retired sergeant […]

Taking Advantage of the Pandemic
By Richard Mineards   |   November 16, 2021

Veteran travel writer Mary Tonetti Dorra has just published her double memoir, Two Lives on Four Continents. Mary, whose work has appeared in The New York Times, Travel & Leisure, and Gourmet magazine, celebrated the occasion with a boffo bash at the Granada penthouse of Dan and Meg Burnham. “I’m a Texas girl who happened […]

A Social (Media) Genius
By Richard Mineards   |   November 9, 2021

Montecito professional skateboarder Sean Bolis, 37, has inadvertently found himself one of America’s top “influencers” garnering an amazing 86 million responses on TikTok, the video sharing social networking service, over the last 60 days. Sean, who attended San Marcos High School and studied business-marketing at Santa Barbara City College, attains similar multi-million figures on YouTube […]

Opera Santa Barbara is on a Roll!
By Richard Mineards   |   November 9, 2021

Just a couple of weeks after launching its new season with mariachi opera Cruzar la Cara de la Luna at the Granada, the singers, accompanied by talented dancers from the State Street Ballet and the Opera Santa Barbara Orchestra under artistic director Kostis Protopapas, were at the top of their game with a delightful double […]

Breaking Bread
By Richard Mineards   |   November 9, 2021

Gourmands and oenophiles were out in force when the Fund for Santa Barbara hosted its 28th Annual Bread and Roses event for 500 guests at Elings Park, a new venue after years at the QAD headquarters in Summerland. The bountiful bash, co-chaired by Gloria Soto and David Moore, raised $165,000 for the 41-year-old nonprofit that […]

Petite Goes Big
By Richard Mineards   |   November 2, 2021

Enterprising sisters, Malia Christensen and Makena McGinley, who lives in San Luis Obispo, used the enforced downtime cause by the pandemic to launch their own business, the charmingly named Petite Fleet, which consists of a converted horse trailer and two vintage mail cars. “We love events and everything they entail,” says Santa Barbara-based Malia. “Planning, […]

A Birthday Bash for the Ages
By Richard Mineards   |   November 2, 2021

Montecito über philanthropist Sara Miller McCune certainly knows how to celebrate! For her 80th birthday Sara, a longtime fan of New York’s Great White Way, underwrote the costs of Kismet, which opened on Broadway in 1953 and the following year won a Tony Award for best musical. “Over the years, the music and the words […]