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.

Making a Claim to Reclaim
By Richard Mineards   |   February 7, 2023

It’s a marriage made on Earth! Michael Smith, entrepreneurial son of Montecito philanthropist Anne Towbes, has partnered with Oscar superstar Leonardo DiCaprio in Regeneration.VC, an early-stage venture capital fund supercharging consumer-powered climate innovation driven by circular and regenerative principles, which he co-founded. The fund’s vision, according to its literature, is “to empower all consumers in […]

A Trio of Stellar Shows
By Richard Mineards   |   February 7, 2023

UCSB’s popular Arts & Lectures series has been working overtime with three major shows in the last week, two at the Granada and a third at the more intimate Lobero. Mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato’s EDEN, a call to action to build a paradise for today fertilizing, nourishing, and protecting the pure bliss that is Earth, with […]

An Evening with the Choral Society 
By Richard Mineards   |   February 7, 2023

President Todd Aldrich and his wife, Allyson, opened the doors of their Montecito aerie for Santa Barbara Choral Society’s annual Canto Society bash for more than 30 top donors. The fun fête was catered by Italian eatery Via Maestra 42 with music from the dynamic duo of Kim Collins on double bass and Debbie Denke […]

CAMA Kicks Off
By Richard Mineards   |   February 7, 2023

CAMA’s first concert of the New Year and its 104th season at the Granada was an absolute cracker! Chicago’s 132-year-old symphony under renowned Italian maestro Ricardo Muti, which first visited our Eden by the Beach at the Arlington 58 years ago, was in rare form with not a single seat available in the 1,553-capacity auditorium. […]

A Saint Remy Courtyard
By Richard Mineards   |   February 7, 2023

Social gridlock reigned when the ubiquitous Andrew Firestone and his partner Jess Parker threw an opening bash at their new 122-room State Street hostelry, Courtyard by Marriott, formerly a La Quinta Inn. After imbibing wine, beer, and specialty cocktails on the roof, guests headed downstairs to Saint Remy, the Cearnal Collective-designed hotel’s new poolside eatery […]

Shining a Light on Photography
By Richard Mineards   |   February 7, 2023

Santa Barbara Maritime Museum has just opened its latest illuminating exhibit, The Lure of Lighthouses & Dancing Waves, an impressive collection of more than 35 large-scale images and panoramic photographs of waves and lighthouses around the world taken by renowned Emmy Award-winning surfing photographer and videographer Dan Merkel. “I first met Dan when he joined […]

New Principal Flutist for the SBS
By Richard Mineards   |   February 7, 2023

Amy Tatum has been chosen out of 150 applicants to be the new principal flutist for the Santa Barbara Symphony. Tatum, who was one of 70 musicians traveling to our Eden by the Beach for the final auditions, made her debut at the Granada with the “Plains, Trains & Violins” concert last month (Jan). As […]

Dunbar Ranch Rental
By Richard Mineards   |   February 7, 2023

Carpinteria actor Kevin Costner, 68, is renting out his 160-acre Aspen, Colorado, home for a hefty $36,000 a night. The Oscar and recent Golden Globe winner’s property has 12 bedrooms and eight bathrooms, with it spread over nearly 6,000 square feet and accommodating up to 27 people. Known as the Dunbar Ranch, it is described […]

Playing with Planes and Trains
By Richard Mineards   |   January 31, 2023

Santa Barbara Symphony was clearly on the right track with its first 70th anniversary concert of the New Year! Plains, Trains, & Violins at the Granada under maestro Nir Kabaretti was a celebration of the influence of music of the Americas with local ties to our Eden by the Beach. The entertaining performance included Uruguayan-born […]

A Birthday Surprise
By Richard Mineards   |   January 31, 2023

It wasn’t quite James Bond, but certainly top secret when Montecito animal activist Gretchen Lieff celebrated her birthday at the La Lieff wine tasting room in the Funk Zone. Nearly 20 people gathered for the hush-hush fête with Gretchen taken totally off guard by the bash. “I had absolutely no idea!” she gushed. “What a […]

Brems on Board
By Richard Mineards   |   January 31, 2023

Psychologist and yoga therapist Christiane Brems has joined the board of the Breast Cancer Resource Center. A breast cancer survivor herself, Brems brings a wealth of professional and personal expertise to her role. “I’m very impressed with the wholistic and integrated mission of the BCRC and I’m honored to be able to contribute to such […]

Reflecting on King Constantine
By Richard Mineards   |   January 31, 2023

I remember King Constantine II, the last King of Greece. Monarch for nine years until the abolition of the country’s royal family in 1973, we met at the legendary three-day 70th birthday party thrown by New York publisher Malcolm Forbes at his Palais Mendoub in Tangier, Morocco, in 1989 for 800 celebrity guests, including Elizabeth […]

Gina Lollobrigida Remembered 
By Richard Mineards   |   January 31, 2023

On a personal note, I remember Italian screen legend Gina Lollobrigida, who has died in Rome at the age of 95. I had a delightful dinner with the actress at a boffo bash in Punta del Este, Uruguay, when I flew there from New York to attend a champagne-soaked party for 550 guests hosted by […]

Local Film in the Fest
By Richard Mineards   |   January 31, 2023

Santa Barbara-based filmmaker Brent Winebrenner and local duo Suzanne Requejo and Montecito Journal scribe Leslie Westbrook are excited to have their 15-minute documentary, Voces de Old Town Carpinteria, have its premiere at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival next month. It features five older Carpinteria residents, including 103-year-old Josephine Villegas and narrator historian Dr. Jim […]

Care for Wildlife Care Crew
By Richard Mineards   |   January 24, 2023

It was all too beastly for words when Gretchen Lieff, vice president of the board for the popular Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network, hosted a boffo bash at her La Lieff tasting room in the Funk Zone for 200 volunteers. “It’s the least we could do to show our gratitude for the many hours they […]

More to Say
By Richard Mineards   |   January 24, 2023

As if one memoir Spare isn’t enough, Riven Rock resident Prince Harry has revealed he has enough material to publish a second autobiography having cut almost half the material that had been written in a first draft. The Duke of Sussex, 38, says he chose to leave out several “bombshells” because he was concerned his […]

An Evening Apéritif 
By Richard Mineards   |   January 24, 2023

Santa Barbara Symphony hosted the third of its seven-part Concert Apéritifs series at the charming Montecito home of Mikki Andina as part of its 70th anniversary season-long fundraiser. The event The Arts of the String Quartet featured a Fab Four of musical talent including violinists Ji Young An, a graduate from the Conservatoire National Supérieur […]

A Rug That Really Ties the Room Together
By Richard Mineards   |   January 24, 2023

Former Montecito fashion magnate Terry Pillow is fit to be tied! Terry, a former head honcho with Ralph Lauren, Giorgio Armani, Coach, and Tommy Bahama, who opened his new bijou bridle leather boutique on Coast Village Road, a tiara’s toss from Tre Lune last month, has a most unusual rug at the entrance to his […]

Dunbar Joins SBEF
By Richard Mineards   |   January 24, 2023

After three years as Opera Santa Barbara’s Director of Development, Nina Dunbar is leaving to become Donor Advisement Officer at the Santa Barbara Education Foundation. In her new role, Dunbar will be overseeing the organization’s relationship with major donors involving supporting programs that enrich the academic, artistic, and personal development of Santa Barbara Unified School […]

New Members on SB Beautiful Board
By Richard Mineards   |   January 24, 2023

Santa Barbara Beautiful, which focuses on the built, green, and cultural environment, has elected a new slate of officers for 2023 led by president Kerry Methner, editor and publisher of VOICE magazine for the last 20 years, and a gifted sculptor. She has been on the board since the early 2000s and was president in […]

Tatjana Patitz Remembered 
By Richard Mineards   |   January 24, 2023

On a personal note, I mark the passing of former supermodel Tatjana Patitz, who moved to Carpinteria from Malibu in 2018, and died at her home aged 56 from breast cancer. She starred in an historic video for the late George Michael’s hit “Freedom!” alongside fellow supermodels Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington, Linda Evangelista, and Naomi […]

Restoration Hardware Happening
By Richard Mineards   |   January 17, 2023

Restoration Hardware, the upscale home furnishing emporium, is coming to town! The chain, founded in Eureka in 1979 with 100 stores in 31 states and 6,500 employees, now rebranded RH, is taking over the old Lucca Antiques space in the Old Fire House building on East Valley Road. Its former longtime store on State Street, […]

Local Air Support
By Richard Mineards   |   January 17, 2023

Larry Feinberg, president of Santa Barbara Museum of Art, must be thanking his lucky stars he lives in our Eden by the Beach. Late last year, his wife Starr Siegele fell off a ladder at their Manhattan apartment breaking her pelvis in two places, shattering her left elbow, and breaking two arm bones. “She lay […]

Post-Interview Review
By Richard Mineards   |   January 17, 2023

On Sunday night, a group of my Montecito neighbors gathered with animal activist Gretchen Lieff at her La Lieff tasting room in the Funk Zone with a three-man crew from U.K.’s ITV, led by Washington, D.C. news editor Alex Chandler, to watch the Duke of Sussex’s controversial half-hour interview with Cooper and give our thoughts […]

Paying (and Singing) Respect
By Richard Mineards   |   January 17, 2023

The late Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin was a larger-than-life character with vocal talents to match. The singer, songwriter, and pianist, the daughter of a Detroit Baptist church preacher who died in 2018 aged 76, was admirably brought to life again in the American Theatre Guild’s electrifying Broadway production R.E.S.P.E.C.T. at the Granada with four […]

Interim President for Scholarship Foundation
By Richard Mineards   |   January 17, 2023

Former college professor and administrator Dr. Mary Dwyer has been appointed interim president and CEO of the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara. Dwyer, who led the renowned Institute for the International Education of Students through a period of extraordinary growth, succeeds Barbara Robertson, who recently announced her retirement after 22 of service to the organization. […]

New Board Member for Dream Foundation
By Richard Mineards   |   January 17, 2023

Marissa Freeman, chief marketing officer of Union Square Hospitality Group, has joined the Dream Foundation’s board of directors. She will work closely with the marketing and communications team on strategy and creative direction as well as identify and establish relationships to broaden awareness about the 29-year-old organization and its mission across the country. A globally-recognized […]

New Owner Takes Over the Wine Bistro Property
By Richard Mineards   |   January 10, 2023

Montecito hedge fund titan Graham Duncan is the new owner of the late Pierre Lafond’s Wine Bistro in the Upper Village. Duncan, co-founder of East Rock Capital, a multi-family investment office, bought the former Montecito home of Lisa Hearst Hagerman, granddaughter of legendary publisher William Randolph Hearst, for $19.4 million in March 2021. The property, […]

The Symphony Pops
By Richard Mineards   |   January 10, 2023

Santa Barbara Symphony, under bubbly guest maestro Bob Bernhardt, conductor of the Louisville Orchestra for 41 years, played its annual fun-filled New Year’s Eve Pop concert at the Granada with the music of James Bond, the Beatles, John Williams, Sondheim, and Andrew Lloyd-Webber while guests donned party hats and quaffed Champagne. Bernhardt, who missed last […]

A 2023 Kick Off Luncheon in the Garden
By Richard Mineards   |   January 10, 2023

As usual, tout le monde was at the New Year’s Day lunch thrown by affable gardening guru George Schoellkopf and international artist Gerald Incandela at their magnificent Summerland aerie. The tony twosome, who fly between their estates here and Washington, Connecticut, kicked off 2023 in splendiferous style with free-flowing vintage Bordeaux and Moët champagne, beef […]

Yuletide Angels
By Richard Mineards   |   January 10, 2023

Uber realtor Adam McKaig hosted his 10th annual Adam’s Angels Yuletide Lunch at the Veterans Building for 500 homeless while corralling a host of rockers, including Kenny Loggins, Maitland Ward, Jackson Gillies, The Traveling Hurtados, and Jan and Henry Ingram to entertain. Guests noshed on 400 pounds of ham, and gargantuan amounts of potatoes and […]

A Bountiful Feast at the Rescue Mission
By Richard Mineards   |   January 10, 2023

David Fletcher, the head of food service at the Rescue Mission, certainly had his hands full for the Christmas Feast, which attracted 600 guests. More than 52 turkeys, 29 hams, 120 pounds of potatoes, 20 pounds of broccoli, 40 pounds of collard greens, and 70 pounds of green beans went into the bounteous banquet, not […]

Opening the Castle Doors
By Richard Mineards   |   January 10, 2023

Milt and Arlene Larsen opened the doors of their former club, the Magic Castle, to let the public know that the space by the Bird Refuge is now available for rental. Sarah Anticouni’s Groovy Vintage Clothing is already leasing space in the property, the former Cafe del Sol, so guests, including Alan and Lisa Parsons, […]

Local Lotus Star
By Richard Mineards   |   December 27, 2022

Yes, that was Montecito interior designer Penny Bianchi in the HBO Emmy-winning satirical comedy hit series The White Lotus that just wrapped its second successful season at the 111-room historic Four Seasons’ San Domenico Hotel in Taormina, Sicily, perched over the glittering Ionian Sea and below the fiery Mt. Etna volcano. Penny, a near neighbor […]

Ending on a High-land Note
By Richard Mineards   |   December 27, 2022

Tartan ruled supreme at the Lobero when Santa Barbara Revels founder and artistic director Susan Keller staged her 13th Yuletide production, a Scottish celebration of the Winter Solstice. Set in an imposing baronial hall in the 18th century, the entertaining show opened with a Scottish overture played by the Ben Nevis Brass Ensemble and the […]

A Cracking Good Show
By Richard Mineards   |   December 27, 2022

Everybody was clearly going nuts about State Street Ballet’s colorful production of The Nutcracker at the Granada with hardly a seat to be had to watch Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece. Accompanied by the Opera San Luis Obispo Grand Orchestra under substitute conductor Lee Mills, as well as State Street Ballet Academy students and professional track trainees, the […]

The Summer Solstice Six
By Richard Mineards   |   December 27, 2022

Six new board members were announced when the Summer Solstice hosted its winter solstice fundraiser at the Anchor Rose restaurant on the harbor. The new additions are Geoffrey Barber, Lesley Bronson, Justin Gunn, Ron Burd, David Machacek, and Amisha Zuber. “We’re excited to have so much talent and expertise on our team!” gushed Stacie Bouffard, […]

A Present Under Turner’s Tree
By Richard Mineards   |   December 27, 2022

Christmas came early for Montecito’s Turner Foundation when president Dean Wilson was presented with a check for $175,000 by polo playing Farmers & Merchants Bank president Dan Walker at the financial institution’s annual Yuletide fête at its East Carrillo Street branch. The 100-guest bash, which featured Dickensian-costumed carol singers and comestibles from Rincon Catering, attracted […]

A Ray of Holiday Cheer
By Richard Mineards   |   December 27, 2022

Scientist, inventor, and real estate investor Ray Winn, 88, and his partner of 34 years Peter Kavoian, 66, pulled out all the stops when they hosted their first Christmas bash for 100 guests in five years at their magnificent Birnam Wood home. Peter used his gleaming red Bentley convertible as Santa’s sleigh with six reindeer […]

A Christmas Choral
By Richard Mineards   |   December 27, 2022

Santa Barbara Choral Society, under veteran conductor Jo Anne Wasserman, was in fine form with its eighth annual Hallelujah Project at the Lobero, which also included Sing! program choral students from the Music Academy and pajama-clad president Scott Reed in a rocking chair reciting ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. Accompanied by an orchestra, the enthusiastic […]