Last night (Saturday) my Improv Class put on a recital. It was great show and pretty well attended. I’ve got a much more extensive post in the Santa Barbara Improv Workshop Blog along with a bunch of pictures.
This was the class recital, and so I just served as MC. Between putting on the show, making sure the student/players are ready, and being MC, I didn’t miss performing. I’ll get my chance to play on stage at the next Caught in the Act show.
Saturday, Harriet and I got a chance to stop by the Santa Barbara Book & Author Festival. We’ve gone to this for several years now, and it just gets better and better. Eric Kelly from the Book Den is heavily involved, and this year it was across the street from his store, in the courtyard of the Santa Babara Public Library Main Branch.
The festival is a place for local authors, publishers, and associated service organizations to meet the public and each other. There are a lot of booths, and you can talk directly with Santa Babara’s literati. We have quite a few local publishers and I enjoy seeing what’s being produced by these small presses.
Two booths were particularly memorable. One was run by John Roshell, who is a principal at Active Images, which is the publishing arm of Comicraft, a lettering and design studio. They make COMICS! I had no idea they were in town, although their mailing address is in LA. They produce the Elephantmen graphic novels. I was recently introduced to them at the San Diego ComicCon this year, and they are woderful. Both the artwork and the stories are great, and it was pretty cool to know that there is a local connection.
The other fun thing I learned is that this publisher is married to Starshine Roshell. Harriet and I have become big fans and she’s one our favorite, local journalist/editorialists. She writes beautifully and just make us both laugh. Unfortunately, she’s lost her local editorial column as a side effect of a huge fiasco happening with our local newspaper, the News Press (not affectionately known as the News Suppress). That miserable fiasco is fodder for another post.
The other booth that impressed me was for McSweeney’s. They’re a small publisher out of San Francisco, and they produce the most amazing books and magazines. This is a publishing house where the book production is as much the art as the content of the books. Really wonderful graphics and packaging of some really quirky and delightfully written bits of fiction and non-fiction. They have a magazine for short fiction and art (McSweeney’s), a magazine for non-fiction (The Believer), and a Video Periodical (Wholphin) that delivers a DVD quarterly with short films. We bought a sample of each as well as a wonderful book called Your Disgusting Head, which is sort of a spoof on illustrated science books. We were assured that there are no true facts in that book.
These are really beautiful pieces that you need to see when you are next here, visiting.
Friday night, Harriet and I ate at the Itsuki Restaurant on Calle Real, between Highways 101 and 154.
4020 Calle Real # 3
Santa Barbara, CA 93110
It’s a really good Japanese restaurant that’s pretty small and informal. They have a wide variety of sushi and combo plates, but my preference there is the Oyaku Donburi bowl. This has egg, chicken, and a variety of vegetables on a bowl of rice. Way outside my low-carb target, but still plenty tasty and nutritious.
Harriet got a teriyaki salmon combo plate, which she said was pretty good but did not have enough salmon.
I’ve been involved with the Santa Barbara Rape Crisis Center since 1985, serving on the Board of Directors, President of the Board, volunteer at fundraising events, computer nerd, and donor. Over those years, the agency has been at several locations, but for most of my active years it was at 111 North Milpas Street. It’s a lovely house, but it’s also old with rats and plumbing problems, and the landlords were a pain-in-the-ass to deal with. I know that it was becoming more and more uncomfortable over the years, and quite a bit of board time was spent trying to find a new, better location.
Thursday evening they had an open house at their new location. It’s a big space, consisting of the lower floor of a two story building on Canon Perdido Street. It looks great inside. They really spent a lot of time brightening up the interior. It doesn’t have a lot of windows or views outside, but they have the interior set up with lots of lights and light colors. And the two rooms with windows are the reception area and the training space, so your typically entry into the center is very welcoming and uplifting. Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of it, yet. I may add one, later.
A lot of people attended the opening, including the local gaggle of politicos. The agency is doing quite well, and it serves as a testiment to the hard work and smart decisions made by the board, staff, and volunteers. Great job!
I haven’t yet talked about the Day Fire that’s burning in the area. As of Tuesday, the fire was up to 85,000 acres, and was only 30% contained. Until this weekend, it was just another brush fire in the SoCal area. But then, the offshore winds picked up, the size of the fire jumped up, and the smoke poured into Santa Barbara. The satellite picture of Southern California, above, shows the location of the fire in the blue circle. We are in the yellow circle. This picture is from Tuesday, since the since the smoke from the picture on Monday (the worst day) completely obscured the coastline and all the other geographic features.
First off, the fire is burning over 30 miles away and is threatening the town of Ojai. We are in no danger, here. Over the weekend and into this week, we have been covered by the smoke and living with a snowstorm of ash. I ran stadiums on Sunday with no repercussions, but a health warning went up later on Sunday and all outdoor activities were curtailed.
As of today (Thursday), the fire size is over 100,000 acres. The winds have changed and we are clear of new smoke. However, the prediction is for the offshore winds to return this weekend, so we may experience similar conditions. Again, it’s bothersome for us, but the real concern is for the folks in Ojai. They are under the threat of evacuations.