Posted by ws1 on:
Posted by ws1 on:
According to employees at the Santa Barbara Independednt, the Indy's Editor in Cheif, Marianne Partridge just won her case against co-owner and Publisher Randy Campbell.
If you don't know the background on this story (drama), try the links below. I'll try to update this post later with more information.
Indy Publisher Must Sell to Editor-in-Chief - Santa Barbara Independent
Indy in Limbo - Santa Barbara Independent
Santa Barbara will no doubt be watching with interest to see what happens at the Indy now that the shadow of the court case has lifted.
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As a friend of mine on Facebook said only a few minutes ago, "This is the first thing I watched this morning! This should put a smile on your face...".
And while it doesn't appear to have happened locally, I am personally writing to testify to that truth. My day has improved.
It's almost as good as THIS from last year's fiesta.
I am also writing to provide links to the Fiesta Schedule pdfs:
2011 Santa Barbara Fiesta Schedule
Now get out there and Cumbia. Or something.
-- Update: Lemonjelly has added a few great Alternative Fiesta Tips on her latest few posts. Check 'em out if you're in the mood for something different, which I'm guessing you are (you're reading my blog, duh!).
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Today marks the beginning of a brand new category on 'Almost Native Son': Local Fails. This may or may not include gripes and observations about local architecture, signs, ARB decisions and whatever else is bugging me (yes, it's one of those days). Think 'Mr. Pottymouth', but not just focused on restaurant bathrooms + and slightly better grammar.
First up: Stupidly designed gas station shelters.
Can someone please explain this to me?
This photo (click to enlarge), taken on La Cumbre (opposite Sears) during last weekend's rain storm, is a perfect example of design fail. Usually, when I see a roof-like structure, I assume it's meant to keep what's under it from the elements. Most of the gas station shelters around Santa Barbara look just like the one pictured, and are oddly ill-equipped to provide..umm.. shelter. Even if the rain is coming down on a windless day, you still get rained on while filling up your tank.
Yes, I know it's not the end of the world - especially in Santa Barbara where rain isn't really the norm.. but still. If you're going to spend thousands of dollars on a gas station shelter - why not build one that actually makes the getting gas process slightly less aggrivating than it already is?
So, I am curious. Are these things poorly designed because:
a) gas station architects the bottom-of-the-barrel grads from architecture schools?
b) there is some sort of backwards city/ARB constraint that awkwardly limits how big these things can be?
c) someone just thinks it's funny.
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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.
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Normally I like a little wet dark drippy fog. My productivity level goes way up. I took a certain amount of pride in liking less than pristine weather. I even claimed not to miss the sunny hot summer days (of which we only had , oh, seven). NOW, I am faced with the reality that it has been one of the coolest and strangest Santa Barbara summers in memory. I'm not saying I want that heat-wave back, but I am saying that I wouldn't mind some dynamic thundershowers and warm humid afternoons. Then again, someone smack me, for I am another spoilt Santa Barbaran griping about the weather.
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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 :)
More on the Drive-In via the Indy.
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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
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I just snapped this picture of a partial rainbow over Santa Barbara. If you don't know why I'm typing in all caps about a rainbow..It's because you probably haven't seen the (below) video making the rounds on YouTube this week, where a guy, possibly high on a little more than life, has a meltdown when a rainbow appears in front of his house. It's gone viral enough to have been re-mixed into various songs - embedded below for your viewing pleasure.
Original Double Rainbow Video. I kind of envy how deeply he feels it. Though there may be a little more than a little medication involved.
Here's the Double Rainbow Song (awesome).
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Note: There is little in the next few paragraphs that isn't hinted at in the official trailer. BUT, I urge you to go see this one blind. Don't watch the trailer. Don't read my review (yet). Just go see it (it's good). It's playing Friday at the IV Theatre at 6pm.
If you live in Santa Barbara, then you've probably driven by Oak Park a t some point seen a small group of young and not-so-young adults running around in medieval costumes hitting each other with padded swords. Like me, you probably thought something snarky to yourself, like, "I knew a few kids in high school who were into that stuff..but..really?". To be honest, ever since my friend Dieter monologued for an hour in a futile attempt to to explain D&D (Dungeons & Dragons) to me back in middle school, I've been a little curious what role-playing games were all about.
So I was excited when I heard about The Wild Hunt. Having only briefly scanned the one sentence synopsis in the festival brochure, my motivation to go was based almost exclusively on a single sentence that I overheard while waiting in line to buy milk at Ralph's. The guy in front of me said, "yeah, I think I'm going to check out The Wild Hunt tonight - I guess it's like...a D&D Viking thriller or something".
Awesome. Because Vikings are almost as cool as Ninjas or Pirates (and maybe even Dinosaurs), I needed no more convincing. The films unusual elements sounded odd enough to be worthwhile.
Despite knowing that there was a D&D/LARP (live action role-playing) element in the film, the opening sequence (an 'epic battle' Vikings and Celts) still caught me off-guard. In diminishing believability, an almost authentic looking Viking battle scene morphed quickly into something very B-movie-ish, complete with less-than-convincing fight choreography, bad wigs, and uncomfortably clichéd dialogue (think 'The Seeker' but worse).
My friend Steve and I momentarily wondered if we had picked the wrong film, until a fight scene (between a cranky 'King Argyle' and a loud and feisty Viking berzerker) reached it's climax, and ended with a burp ( Argyle yelling 'Whoa whoa whoa! The fight's fuckin over OK? I hit you like ten times! Ref!?" ). There was an audible sigh of relief from the audience (who must have been as concerned as we were that we'd all stumbled into the worst film ever).
Happy, realizing we we'd been playfully duped, we scooched deeper into our seats knowing that the film we were watching was (a) not necessarily horrible, and (b) charming because it was off to a good start poking light fun at.. uh.. the type of people who take LARPing a little seriously - withou t making them seem like idiots.
TWH quietly lulls you into thinking you're watching an indie-romantic-comedy-drama-type- film (something like "Away We Go") as it sets up it's sympathetic and frustrated protagonist Erik (Ricky Maybe), who lives with (and takes care of) his mentally disabled father. His flaky older brother Bjorn (an emotionally arrested Norse-God-Obsessed 30 something, played by Mark Antony Krupa) has more-or-less abandoned Erik and his father to frolic indefinitely in a role-playing camp in the Canadian back-country. Unfortunately for Erik, his aloof and emotionally distant girlfriend ( Kaniehtiio Horn) has a sort-of simultaneous relationship with one of the LARPers ('Shaman Murtagh', played by Trevor Hayes) at said camp. By the time she tells Erik that she's leaving for some 'air' to go role-playing with some other dudes in the mountains, the little voice in the back of my mind telling me that the film is supposed to be a thriller had all but faded - and the bleakness and quiet dysfunction of their 'relationship' had taken center stage.
Director a nd Co-writer Alex Franchi's genius is in allowing us to invest ourselves emo tionally into Erik's character, and his charming and slightly pathetic 'love quest' to go talk some sense into his cheating girlfriend, which he can only do by (reluctantly) playing along with his brothers geeky friends who constantly insist on him staying in 'decorum' so as not to ruin the game. We trust the films smart and witty storytelling until we learn the hard way that it's not out to make us feel warm and fuzzy.
Of course, eventually, everything goes horribly, horribly wrong (it really goes terribly wrong). The film pivots instantly from an increasingly tense romantic tug-of-war, into very real-feeling panic and disorienting violence. Brilliantly, the quirky and harmless emotional momentum of the film (which by this point has flirted with danger and returned to safety many times) extends slightly past the point of no return - leaving the audience (or at least me) flinching.
It's hard to miss the director tipping his hat to William Golding. But unlike Lord of the Flies or Apocalypse Now, Franchi places mans capacity for acts of horror much closer to everyday life. He makes us watch as his carefully-crafted, charming and emotionally familiar narrative get's convincingly ( and unapologetically) torn limb from limb.
And just in case you were wondering, though I'll cry in a theater at the drop of a hat, (or more likely when a dog is hurt or dies) I'm the kind of guy who is almost never bothered by 'scary' movies. Of course I've jumped once or twice - but never too far. I thought the Saw was campy and a little stupid (duh). Silence of the Lambs was excellent, but more intriguing than scary. And the Blair Witch Project was what it was - but I never lost sleep.
The Wild Hunt terrified me.
During the last 15 minutes of the film, I felt my heart race uncontrollably. I squirmed, cringed & flinched until my whole torso and neck actually tingled with adrenaline (which is usually reserved for getting stalked by hungry bears in the dark on a camping trip in Yosemite).
In the brief calm that follows the films climax, it manages to blend together the banal and the mythological. It articulates a fascinating connection between role-playing games with the horrific realities they romanticize, and somehow erases the gap between typical contemporary real-life breakup drama and Shakespearian tragedy.
The film is a brilliant, emotionally complex and believable piece of storytelling, with compelling acting (especially by Ricky Maybe, Nicholas Write & Mark Anthony Krupa).
Driving by Oak Park will never be the same.
9 out of 10 stars (aka 'go see it').
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If you've been following (or even enjoying) my ramblings on the press-line ritual, and the spectacle that is the SBIFF red carpet, you'll be pleased to know that there was more of the same last night. James Cameron was there to receive the Lucky Brand Modern Masters Award. Here's the scoop from the Indy.
The crowd was a little thinner than some of us expected. And the Governator didn't do the red carpet stroll (which we assumed was the case upon arrival, after noticing that the security was minimal). Still, another interesting night of overhearing interviews and watching the paparazzi shuffle.
Here are some photos: