Vasari Plaster at 121 Santa Barbara St, burned down this morning around 10am today (Monday). Owner Alex Conrad was said (by folks I talked to) to have escaped with minor burns. His dog, Spider also escaped with only light injuries. No one else was injured. The building, a 1930's WWII era quonset hut collapsed in under an hour. More photos and video to come soon.
Here is some video of firefighters working on a persistent hot spot.
Official Press Release from the SBFD
SANTA BARBARA, CA – 6/6/2011 – At approximately 10:33am Santa Barbara City Fire crews responded to a report of a working structure fire at 122 Santa Barbara Street. The first engine arrived on scene at approximately 10:36am and due to the amount of smoke and flame immediately requested a second and third alarm. The first in crew determined based on the type of construction of the approximately 3000 square foot commercial structure that fire personnel were going to need to attack the fire from a defensive mode. This means that they have determined the structure to be unsafe for entry by firefighters and the strategy will be to protect all surrounding structures and attempt to contain the fire to the building of origin. There was a partial collapse of the structure. Firefighters were successful in containing the fire to the building of origin and controlled the blaze at approximately 11:30am.
A civilian adult male sustained burn injuries and was taken to the hospital. None of the injuries are considered life threatening. Additionally, one Santa Barbara City Firefighter sustained a back injury and was taken to get medical attention. There was also a dog that was rescued from the blaze.
The total response to this incident included 6 Santa Barbara City engines, 1 Montecito engine, the Santa Barbara City Fire Ladder Truck, 4 Chief Officers, and the Santa Barbara City Fire Hazmat vehicle.
Tags: fire, santa barbara, funk zone, vasari fire, fire department, alex conrad, quonset hut, santa barbara street, plaster, family
This would have been a mobile post if I wasn't already downtown with my computer. I have never seen such a perfect and vivid sundog. Here are what few photos I could take with my iPhone. If you're reading this around 1:30pm today (Friday June 3) stop reading my stupid post and go outside. It's really something.
[more photos below]
For the curious, here's more on Sundogs:
"Sundogs are made commonly of plate-shaped hexagonal ice crystals in high and cold cirrus clouds or, during very cold weather, by ice crystals called diamond dust drifting in the air at low levels. These crystals act as prisms, bending the light rays passing through them with a minimum deflection of 22°. If the crystals are randomly oriented, a complete ring around the sun is seen — a halo. But often, as the crystals sink through the air they become vertically aligned, so sunlight is refracted horizontally — in this case, sundogs are seen.
As the sun rises higher, the rays passing through the crystals are increasingly skewed from the horizontal plane. Their angle of deviation increases and the sundogs move further from the sun. However, they always stay at the same elevation as the sun.
Sundogs are red-colored at the side nearest the sun. Farther out the colors grade through oranges to blue. However, the colors overlap considerably and so are muted, never pure or saturated. The colors of the sundog finally merge into the white of theparhelic circle (if the latter is visible)." - from Wikipedia
Here's a video:
And some more photos:
So THAT happened.
Tags: santa barbara, sundog, weather, sbweather, moisture, video
A good friend just sent me this TED Talk by Dave Meslin, who concisely and passionately describes how our political system seems to intentionally discourage engagement/participation - by making information unnecessarily complex. Not to mention poorly-designed.
This is one of the best TED talks I have seen in a while. And it's short too. Watch it.
Santa Barbara could use a heaping dose of this kind of thinking. Both in local government and in the non-profit world.
City2 was, by the way, designed to help the community in this department.
Tags: santa barbara, transparency, open government, city council, dave meslin, ted talk, civic engagement, best articles for new government models
On Tuesday night I went to the newly re-opened drive-in with some friends to see 'The Other Guys' (the new Will Ferrel/Marky Mark flick). Our friends in their car, my girlfriend and I in mine. While sitting there, over-dosing on Good 'n Pletny's, green tea, and Junior Mints (don't ask why), I realized that - aside from my self-inflicted sugar nausea - drive-in's are awesome.
First Reason: Almost complete control. You get to manipulate your own environment much more than you would in a regular theater. We determined our volume, temperature, food, company and distance from the screen. I am not sure if I've ever sounded this American, but it was pretty swell.
Second Reason: People are fun. When we pulled in the first movie, The Last Exorcism was still wrapping-up. After parking and turning off our lights, we noticed several dark shadows get out of a car and creep up on another vehicle nearby. We then heard a 'RAAARH!!' followed by a shriek and a 'I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU BRIAN! GODDAMNIT JACOB!!". As the shadows retreated giddily back to their Civic, everyone applauded.
Third Reason: Making out. Yes. That's right. I made out with my girlfriend during a chase scene. Shoot me. Oh wait, you can't. I'm in my car. With my girlfriend. Making out.
Fourth Reason: It's cheap. We paid $4.75 each (tuesday special). Most nights adults are $6.75.
Fifth Reason: Making Out. Still worthy of a being the fifth reason. Don't argue with me.
Fast forward to Thursday. I was at my desk, procrastinating and thinking about something I had heard, about the drive-in only staying open for this summer as 'an experiment' to see if it was viable venture here in Santa Barbara.
I figured I'd call the parent company that owns West-Wind.
I had a nice conversation with Tony Maniscalco (VP of Marketing) at Syufy Enterprises (the San Rafael Company that owns the place) this afternoon about the future of my new favorite spot.
Before answering, he gave me a quick rundown on the history of the drive-in. Here is my version:
1966: Theatre opens, my parents are teenagers, showing some knee was scandalous. People made-out in their cars and watched movies like the Endless Summer.
1967-1991: Lots of happy drive-in customers. Psycho, Easy Rider, Blade Runner, Lobster Man from Mars, Buckaroo Bonzai and the 8th Dimension.
1991: Metropolitan Theaters, who ran the place for Syufy decided it was no longer worth their while (lot's of cool stuff died in the early nineties) and the place went dark but continued to be used as a venue for the local Swap Meet.
1992-2009: Lot's of locals like me were deprived of their all-american coming-of-age snogg at a drive-in movie.
2010: SMHS (go Royals!) senior Niqui O'Ne
ill pitched a screening of Ferris Bueller's Day Off as a benefit for Haiti Earthquake relief. Syufi agreed, and after a bit of fixing and fiddling with the projector room and equipment, and a new coat of paint on the screen (thanks to Niqui and friends), the drive-in was once again operational.
After an overwhelmingly positive response from the community (and raising almost 4k for Haitian earthquake victims), she started the "Re-Open the Santa Barbara Drive-In" Facebook group, which after swiftly swelling to thousands of members, prompted Syufy Enterprises to re-visit the logic that persuaded them to let it close in 1991.
Santa Barbara Drive-In re-opened in the late spring/early summer of 2010 and has been showing first-run movies all season.
Tony also did his best to answer my question about whether or not the drive-in would remain open after this summer. He said that based on the positive response from the community, the theater will 'absolutely' be open next summer. As for the fall and winter, he said that they're "playing it by ear". " We're going to see how it goes" Suggesting hopefully that that though attitudes towards movies have changed since the 60's..people in other parts of the state attend drive-in's in the 'weather'. "We aren't yet sure if folks in Santa Barbara would go see a movie in the fog or the rain-" I interrupted him to say that I could think of a reason ( if you aren't clear on why, see #'s 3 and 5 above). He laughed, "I'm not going to comment on that."
Also: You may want to check out Santa Barbara Drive-In's (free/open to the public) Customer Appreciation Night on September 30th, which sounds pretty awesome. I'll update this post with the exact time later today :)
Tags: santa barbara, drive-in, snogging, making-out, lobster man from mars, syufy enterprises, santa barbara drive-in, goleta, kellogg street, old-school santa barbara, Niqui O'Neill, san marcos high school, smhs
Here are a few photos I took of the building formerly known as BeBop Burger.
It was strange seeing the interior through the window (not looking so good). What was once cheesy and bright 50's nostalgia, juke-boxes, checkered floors, milkshakes and exciting eye-contact with other tweens (yes, I was about 12 the last time I was there) now looks like a burnt-out molester barn (it was pretty dark in there, so the picture below has been brightened). Especially when compared with the (below) scans of BeBop at it's liveliest.
I've also included a few images from the 100 block of State, which is similarly devoid of life these days. The giant weed-filled hole where Paddle Sports used to be and the peeling Californian Hotel are particularly interesting as they sit there, empty.
BeBop interior in 2010 (it's crazy how fast things decay!)
The good o'l Days.
More good o'l days.
Back of BeBop 2010
Back of the Californian.
A (mysterious) open door on the top floor of the Californian (2010).
The Green Fence
Tags: BeBop Burger, State St., santa barbara, funk zone, decay, urban decay, meh
Unexpected awesomeness last night (video at bottom of post).
Around 11:30pm on Sat (last) night, as my wife and I were walking home after an art show and a movie at Paseo Nuevo, we heard music coming from De La Guerra Plaza. We'd missed most of Fiesta this year for various reasons, so we walked over towards the noise hoping we might catch a few minutes of live tunes and a churro.
Though the vendors were starting to pack up, there was a sweet latin band playing in the old Casa (De La Guerra) courtyard behind the beer garden fence. To our surprise, only a few people were dancing in the center of the crowd. After standing there for only a few minutes we noticed that the small crowd doing the dancing was growing, and, before we knew it (zombie attack?) there was a full-blown (impromptu) group dance of at least 50-60 people going off on in the middle of the street outside the beer garden wall. It was like stars - and a dude with a whistle - aligned perfectly.
Easily the best fiesta moment I've had in years.
Here's a video (it gets good towards the 1/3 point) I took with my iPhone of the last song. It only partially captures the collective upwelling of happiness and spontaneity from the crowd.
Anyway. Watch it. And try not to smile.
Tags: santa barbara, fiesta, old spanish days, group dancing, salsa, de la guerra, cumbia, bailando, baile
Curious about the possibility of earning myself a fresh Darwin award, I went down to the Santa Barbara harbor in hopes of seeing whatever mild tsunami side effects I could. I wasn't too worried about being swept away because there was only a gentle 'tsunami advisory' warning, which means (apparently) that it's best to stay clear of beaches and oceanfront zones, but that no major event was expected (Stearns Wharf remained open all day).
After arriving at the Wharf, I waited around for a while. First I noticed that the tide was especially low - which I wasn't really ready to attribute it to the tsunami (though a common precursor to giant waves is of course, water levels dropping rapidly). But the more I looked at the very familiar harbor waters, the more it was clear to me that whatever was happening wasn't normal.
When I got to the top of the wharf, the muddy brown water was gently moving out to sea. Nothing shocking.. but it was definitely moving south, out the mouth of the harbor. I've seen this kind of thing happen in other tidal zones, and even here in SB to a small extent (Carp salt marsh), but this was more pronounced and a little nerve-wracking considering the context. Still, I was willing to give credit to the bizarre weather.
After a cup of chowder, I walked again to face (west) the jetty. This time it was obvious something was up - that was not due to the stormy conditions.
The water inside the channel for the harbor was suddenly turbulent, choppy and swirling - in a pattern that I've never seen before. The dredge was almost totally exposed, and the tide had dropped (even) further. The 'Conception', which was headed into the harbor, had to stop in it's tracks half-way in, and do a full-reverse for several hundred feet to get back into the open ocean. Several other boats also aborted their plans to enter, as the harbor channel rapidly turned into a shallow muddy river.
The (native) couple I was standing with (who have lived here for 50 years, and were self-described 'thrill seekers') had never seen anything like it. My instinct (from every random tsunami film or article I've ever seen) was to head for the hills. So I did (after grabbing a piece of chocolate from the Wharf candy store). As I left, I noticed that the water level was starting to gently rise again, which was reassuring. Though I have to admit that I kept a paranoid eye towards the horizon for a while.
I am now sitting a few blocks away from the beach and monitoring Twitter for tsunami news (seems that it failed to become a wave and only hit Hawaii and California in the form of a small tidal surge..).
On twitter '@ihuntmidgets' summed it up it best: " I am totally disappointed that there have been zero Patrick Swayze sightings during this Tsunami"
On a serious note, I am glad to see that no one has been hurt this far north. And of course, our thoughts are with the people Chile during such a horrible time. At magnitude 8.8.. the tectonic plates aren't messing around. And we know all too well that here in coastal california, we're not immune to much nastier days.
This doesn't really do it justice. My poor camera-phone can't zoom.
Boats (that had been waiting off the end of the wharf) finally to re-entering the harbor.
Tags: tsunami, santa barbara, california, patrick swayze, sbnews, sbopinion, sbweather
Well, El Nino's personality has gone from relatively boring (sun, clouds, sun), to crazy-as-an-astronaut-diaper this week. One minute, it'll be sunny, and the next; dumping rain. Then sunny again, then windy, then drizzly...and then... a freaking waterspout.
A mysterious wind event took some trees down on Haley, and some tiles from a few rooftops downtown. We've also had a weird indecisive cold spell, rivers for creeks, and giant hepatitis filled chocolate waves (see some of my fellow amazingly intelligent surfer brethren below).
Here are a few photos I took during the last day or two, complete with big waves and Mission Creek nastiness letting out into the Pacific. If the storm continues, maybe I'll grow some cojones and get a pic of a waterspout and some lighting. Or maybe I'll just run the other direction.
Mission Creek Letting out into the Pacific.
Snow in the Mountains over Santa Barbara.
There are about 2 or 3 boats washed ashore in the distance. I was amazed how much sports equipment was floating in the shallows.
This one really gets at the color of the stuff coming out of Mission Creek.
And of course Sandspit was cranking. The surfers are getting their stoke on before realizing they have Hepatitis AND sinus staph infections.
Keep in mind those little specks at the base of the wave are surfers..
Pretty. Wait. Did I just see a syringe?
More Sandspit Backwash.
Looking past the Santa Barbara Zoo to the mountains above Montecito and Carp.
Tags: santa barbara storm photos 2010, el nino, santa barbara, sbnews, mission creek, debris, pollution, chocolate water, sandspit going off, backwash, surfers, surfing, hepatitis, staph, rain, storm, waterspout, tornado, goleta, photos, pics, images
While driving up Chapala, I noticed a crew of totally drenched Santa Barbara Stagehands braving the El Nino wind and rain. There's a good article here (at the Indy's site) with a decent explanation.
I wonder if there will be any significant progress made before SBIFF? From the few words we exchanged before I ran for cover in my car, it sounds like nobody's talking with them yet. But they seem cheerful (and resolute).
Tags: santa barbara stagehands strike, metropolitan theaters, arlington, chapala, el nino, rain, downpour, drenched strikers, demonstrators, santa barbara, state street, sbnews, santa barbara independent, indy