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.

Girl Power!
By Richard Mineards   |   April 15, 2021

Luz Reyes-Martin, executive director of public affairs and communications at Santa Barbara City College, and Barbara Ben-Horin, former CEO of Girls Inc. of Greater Santa Barbara, are being honored by the local chapter of the Association for Women in Communications at the 13th annual awards presented by Women Connect4Good via Zoom later this month. Independent […]

A Wish Comes True
By Richard Mineards   |   April 15, 2021

Montecito Bank & Trust on Coast Village Road was the focal point when a parade including firefighters, law enforcement, and representatives of the community honored a Make-A-Wish Tri-Counties recipient, Carmelo Bisquera, 16, a student at Santa Barbara’s Olive Grove Charter School. Carmelo, whose hobbies are video games and reading, was born with an endocrine disorder […]

Take That, COVID
By Richard Mineards   |   April 15, 2021

Since its founding in 1948, the Santa Barbara Choral Society has never missed a performance. Despite wildfires and mudslides, the show always goes on. And even during the worldwide pandemic, veteran director JoAnne Wasserman, who has conducted the talented singers for 28 years, was determined to carry on the tradition with a virtual concert at […]

Smart Like a Fox
By Richard Mineards   |   April 15, 2021

Ensemble Theatre Company isn’t letting the pandemic interfere with its production schedule. The popular company, helmed by Jonathan Fox, is presenting five live-streamed performances of the critically acclaimed 90-minute, one-act play An Iliad, with each live performance being aired and viewable on computers, smart TVs, iPads, and iPhones. Translated by Robert Fagles from Homer’s 3,000-year-old […]

She’s Our Hero
By Richard Mineards   |   April 8, 2021

Annie Leonard, executive director of Greenpeace USA, is the recipient of the Santa Barbara’s Community Environmental Council’s 2021 Environmental Hero Award. “Her work exemplifies what it means to build the broad, boots-on-the-ground base of activism that we need to go all in together on the climate crisis,” says the CEC executive director Sigrid Wright, who […]

Poof! The Magic Castle Cabaret is Gone
By Richard Mineards   |   April 8, 2021

Two years after it opened, the owners of Montecito’s Magic Castle Cabaret Milt and Arlene Larsen are moving on, I can exclusively reveal. “The Cabaret has been closed for a long year and we are not getting any younger,” laments Arlene. “When we started, we seemed a lot younger. “After talking it over for many […]

Call it a Comeback
By Richard Mineards   |   April 1, 2021

Montecito artist Allison Armour, whose huge global figures have been collected by former Beatle Ringo Starr and even Russian President Vladimir Putin, is getting back to prominence in Goleta, and I’m delighted to hear it. Eight years ago, Goleta Valley Hospital held a competition for a new art installation outside the complex and Allison’s work […]

Music to our Ears
By Richard Mineards   |   April 1, 2021

Former Music Academy of the West fellow Jacopo Giacopuzzi is using his keyboard skills in his new profession as a realtor with Berkshire Hathaway in Montecito. Jacopo, who hails from Verona, Italy, moved to the Left Coast in 2013 to start his master’s degree at USC after being a fellow at the Miraflores campus. Since […]

It’s for the Birds
By Richard Mineards   |   April 1, 2021

Santa Barbara’s Wildlife Care Network has just broken ground on its new state-of-the-art $6 million, 5,400-square-foot hospital in the Goleta foothills. “It will allow us a greater capability to save and serve thousands of wild lives,” says Ariana Katovich, executive director. “Current conditions have staff working out of old, meager facilities. Diets are prepared in […]

Magic at Marymount
By Richard Mineards   |   March 25, 2021

One year to the day they had to close their doors due to the pandemic, Marymount of Santa Barbara celebrated the resilience of their community with their annual auction gala. The school opened back up for in-person learning in September and the auction’s theme “Magic of the Night” acknowledged how special this was. “We are […]

A Prescription for the Future
By Richard Mineards   |   March 18, 2021

Montecito’s historic San Ysidro Pharmacy is now under new ownership, I can exclusively reveal. The 67-year-old pharmacy, located on the corner of East Valley and San Ysidro roads, was founded by Louis Miratti, who had previously owned the El Camino Pharmacy on Coast Village Road, the first one in our rarefied enclave. Robert Goodell, who […]

From Riven Rock to Windsor
By Richard Mineards   |   March 18, 2021

Former TV talk show titan Oprah Winfrey hosted a two-hour, hotly anticipated interview with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle and it was worthy of a royal soap opera! It was certainly an astonishing and incendiary show, with Oprah’s Harpo Productions raking in between $7 and $9 million, according to the Wall Street Journal, and CBS […]

Plaza Granada Breaks Ground
By Richard Mineards   |   March 11, 2021

A new pathway to the historic arts district in downtown Santa Barbara, Plaza Granada, broke ground near the venerable theater. The project, costing nearly $2 million raised from donors and theater board members, will totally transform the parking lot behind the Granada and the pedestrian walkway into a safer, more accessible, and aesthetically pleasing space […]

Pushing the Envelope
By Richard Mineards   |   March 11, 2021

It’s all a matter of dimensions! Milt and Arlene Larsen, owners of Montecito’s Magic Castle, fell foul of the Post Office when they were informed the popular cabaret club’s return address on their snail mail was “too low,” with the machines reading the return address rather than the member’s address. “We are eliminating our return […]

What a Year
By Richard Mineards   |   March 11, 2021

It has been quite a hair-raising year for Montecito crimper Marcus Boyle, owner of the Halo & Horns salon on Coast Village Road with his wife, Clara, just a curling tongs’ throw from Ca’Dario. Marcus, 45, who trained at Vidal Sassoon in London, celebrates the first anniversary of his business this month having worked for […]

Highly Rated Hostelries
By Richard Mineards   |   March 4, 2021

Beanie Baby billionaire Ty Warner has good reason to smile during this pandemic. Both his tony Montecito hotels, the 500-acre San Ysidro Ranch, with 41 private cottages, and the Four Seasons Biltmore with 206 rooms on 22 lush acres next to Butterfly Beach, have received top five-star ratings in the latest 63rd annual Forbes Travel […]

A Good Start
By Richard Mineards   |   March 4, 2021

Now that Governor Gavin Newsom has lifted the total ban on eating out, I ventured to the historic Santa Barbara Yacht Club to dine with my trusty shutterbug Priscilla, the Montecito animal activist Gretchen Lieff and her longtime beau Miles Hartfeld. The dining room on the outside terrace overlooking the Pacific was socially gridlocked, with […]

SBCC Foundation Receives Generous Gift
By Richard Mineards   |   March 4, 2021

The Santa Barbara City College Foundation has received a major gift of $375,000 from anonymous donors to support the college’s music department’s jazz and symphony programs. The funds will provide the department’s faculty and staff with the necessary resources to initiate and fund special projects and intermittently critical needs of the programs. “This generous gift […]

Welcome to the Board
By Richard Mineards   |   February 25, 2021

Five new members have joined Santa Barbara Zoo’s board of directors. The menagerie’s quintet includes attorney Jessica L. Diaz, Tracy Krainer, Bob Myman, retired veterinarian Dan Segna, and the Zoo’s former education director Betsy Turner. Montecito Bank & Trust executive George Leis chairs the board. Wedding Bells CBS morning show anchor Gayle King’s daughter, Kirby […]

Rest in Peace
By Richard Mineards   |   February 11, 2021

On a personal note, I mark the passing of Kellam de Forest, who has died of COVID-19 at the age of 95. I was lucky enough to meet the noted historic preservationist, son of Santa Barbara landscape architect Lockwood and his horticulturalist wife Elizabeth de Forest. Kellam, who initially used a walker, but progressed to […]

Just in Time
By Richard Mineards   |   February 11, 2021

Santa Barbara City College’s Atkinson Gallery and the SBCC Foundation have been awarded a $100,000 grant from the Getty Foundation to prepare for the next edition of the region-wide arts initiative Pacific Standard Time, scheduled to open in 2024. Pacific Standard Time is an unprecedented series of collaborations among institutions across Southern California. In each, […]

Back on Sale
By Richard Mineards   |   February 11, 2021

Carpinteria-based actor Ashton Kutcher and actress wife, Mila Kunis, have put their Beverly Hills home back on the market – with a substantial price drop. When it was last listed for sale, the five-bedroom, five-and-a-half bath 7,351 sq. ft. three-story home in the gated community of Hidden Valley, was priced at $14 million. Now the […]

Another Touchdown for Bolton
By Richard Mineards   |   February 11, 2021

David Bolton, Santa Barbara-based director of the California Missions Foundation, also has a successful career as a sports broadcaster for the Spanish language version of the Fox network. And, despite the pandemic, he has been hired again to produce this weekend’s battle of the NFL titans, the Kansas City Chiefs and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers […]

Music to Their Ears!
By Richard Mineards   |   February 11, 2021

Three of the key leaders of the Santa Barbara Symphony, president and CEO Kathryn Martin, artistic director Nir Kabaretti, and board president Janet Garufis, have committed to advancing the organization over the next half decade. It will build upon the 67-year-old organization’s programming innovation, leveraging the symphony’s new momentum and growth to look toward the […]

Happy Zoom Birthday to You
By Richard Mineards   |   February 4, 2021

Normally the party animals are out in force when Gretchen Lieff hosts her birthday bash at her Arcady estate, but the pandemic restrictions put paid to that. So the annual fun fest became Zoom with a view when friends from far and wide “attended” the party on their computer screens, while the few real guests […]

Leading the Way in Specialty Coffee
By Richard Mineards   |   February 4, 2021

Agronomist and farmer Jay Ruskey, co-founder of Frinj Coffee, situated on 42 acres at his family-owned and operated Good Land Organics Farm in Goleta, is trying to make the humble bean into a premium brand worthy of adjectives more associated with wine. Carved out of a 120-acre property formerly owned by Alfred and Betsy Bloomingdale […]

Young Artists Shine
By Richard Mineards   |   February 4, 2021

The Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara has named 22 student artists as winners of its art scholarship competition. Each will receive a colleague scholarship for the 2021-22 academic year. “Under normal circumstances we would hold the competition at the Ridley-Tree Education Center and host a reception for the winners at the Santa Barbara Museum of […]

Welcome to the Neighborhood
By Richard Mineards   |   February 4, 2021

Serial real estate flipper Ellen DeGeneres and her wife, actress Portia de Rossi, sold their 10,674 sq. ft. Balinese-style Montecito estate for $33.3 million, pocketing a handsome $6.3 million profit in November. But the buyer of the five-bedroom, five-and-a-half bath home on three parcels over 9.3 acres, remained a secret until now. Our rarefied enclave’s […]

Cocktails at Caruso’s
By Richard Mineards   |   January 28, 2021

Rick Caruso’s Rosewood Miramar beach bar is now open for walk-up service for locals and guests alike, given the pandemic. A full bar is available, in addition to a limited menu of the bar’s most popular cocktails, wines, and beers. The Miramar Food Truck, conveniently parked adjacent to the bar, will continue to serve existing […]

Chock Full of Chanel
By Richard Mineards   |   January 28, 2021

New York auction house Christie’s is selling more than 100 pieces of rare vintage Chanel jewelry estimated to be worth more than $163,000. The 106-piece hoard of designer necklaces, earrings, brooches, and more comes from the collection of Susan Gutfreund, an interior designer and Manhattan socialite, who was a good friend of the Kate fan […]

Paul Walker’s Shelby Cobra
By Richard Mineards   |   January 28, 2021

The late Santa Barbara actor Paul Walker was an avid car collector and one of his prized autos is coming up for auction. The Fast & Furious franchise star, who died in a car accident in 2013 in Santa Clarita aged 40, had a number of exotic cars in his collection, including the 1965 Shelby […]

Lending a Hand to Broadway
By Richard Mineards   |   January 28, 2021

Montecito mega director Dick Wolf, 74, is coming to the aid of Broadway, which has suffered major damage during the current pandemic. His long-running NBC TV show Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, which has been on the air for more than two decades, has been turning to actors more used to the stages on […]

Happy News
By Richard Mineards   |   January 28, 2021

Oscar winning Montecito actor Jeff Bridges, 71, who revealed he has lymphatic cancer in November, is making great progress in his medical battle, I’m delighted to report. The Big Lebowski star says in a statement on his website that a “new protocol” he’s under seems to be a success. “I go in for a CAT […]

A Friend in Need
By Richard Mineards   |   January 21, 2021

Montecito singer-songwriter Brad Paisley, who was generous with his music and contributions during the 2018 mudslides disaster, as well as being a major supporter of the Unity Shoppe along with fellow musician Kenny Loggins, brought major help to Nashville, Tennessee, after the Christmas bombing, I learn. Brad, 48, who has sold 11 million albums and […]

Compliments to the Chef
By Richard Mineards   |   January 21, 2021

On a personal note, I remember Albert Roux, the French-born chef whose London eatery, La Gavroche, was the first in Britain to earn three Michelin stars, who has died aged 85. Albert and his brother, Michel, who moved to more heavenly pastures last year, opened their restaurant, named after a character in Victor Hugo’s novel […]

Return of the Condor
By Richard Mineards   |   January 21, 2021

To the Ventura Harbor Boat Yard with my trusty shutterbug Priscilla, where the beloved Santa Barbara whale watching vessel, Condor Express, owned by Hiroko Benko, has been undergoing a major transformation. The 100-ton, 74-foot catamaran, which was rebuilt in 2011, still had the original engines from its 2002 launch, and had to meet new environmental […]

Valley Heart Ranch for Sale
By Richard Mineards   |   January 21, 2021

Montecito’s only coffee plantation, Valley Heart Ranch, spread over 9.5 acres on three parcels, is up for grabs for $14.9 million. The estate, which produced 2,500 pounds of coffee last year, has four bedrooms in the main house for a total of seven bedrooms, 12 bathrooms, and 4,469 square feet of living space. Other amenities […]

The Wall Street Bump
By Richard Mineards   |   January 21, 2021

Retired high tech executive Jan Wesemann is getting priceless publicity in the Wall Street Journal this week as she puts her 20-acre French country-style Montecito estate on the market for $12 million. Jan moved into the 7,600-square-foot, five-bedroom, seven-and-a-half-bathroom house, built in 2001, 10 years ago and brought up her four daughters on the Park […]

Holiday Roundup
By Richard Mineards   |   January 14, 2021

Given the lockdown, I spent Christmas Day virtually streaming a host of entertaining Santa Barbara events that I was unable to attend, as I have done annually for the past 13 years. Susan Keller’s Santa Barbara Revels Venetian Celebration, taped at the Marjorie Luke Theater, “was as close to a live performance as was possible […]

Here’s to Howard
By Richard Mineards   |   January 14, 2021

Santa Barbara stockbroker and former TV executive Howard Jay Smith is facing the music again! Howard, a member of the board of the Santa Barbara Symphony, wrote his third book, Beethoven in Love; Opus 139: Concerto Quasi Una Fantasia, five years ago, and has now penned a suitable follow-up, Meeting Mozart: From the Secret Diaries […]