Friday, July 13, 2007

Cafe Society? Bean There Done That.

Now don't panic. I haven't taken Lisa Wilson's advice and stopped writing about the News-Press. This is the time of the week when I republish my weekly Santa Barbara Daily Sound column here. If you've already read it and want to go straight to the new stuff just start reading at the sixth paragraph from the bottom of the post.

I have a confession to make. I spend far too much frequenting places where coffee is the chief item of sale. I have a $10 a day cappuccino habit. Fortunately, there are plenty of places to get my fix as it seems like you can't walk two blocks in this town without coming across a place that dispenses the designer drink.

Despite the limitless choices, I do have my favorite hangouts in which to get juiced, or perhaps I should say caffeinated. In the mornings it' s either the Good Cup on the Mesa, where Philip is the owner, or the Daily Grind down at Mission and De la Vina, owned by my old cycling buddy Luis. If I' m downtown during the day and have a little time to kill, I like to duck into the Coffee Cat at Anacapa and Anapamu, where the proprietors are Krista and Jason. And when Krista gives birth to their first child in October it will literally be a mom and pop operation.

Every once in awhile I like to challenge myself and get out of my comfort zone. Last Friday I headed over to Montecito where the most often heard phrase in the a.m. is "Good morning and welcome to Starbucks, may I start an espresso drink for you?" And no, I'm not on a first-name basis with the proprietor but I assume his name is Mr. Star and that he has a lot of bucks. And about the only thing that pops up faster than Starbucks stores in this town are tattoo parlors. It wasn' t that long ago the Montecito location was the lone Starbucks in the area. By my count, there are now at least ten.

Half past nine in the morning is when I arrived and boy, was the place ever packed. The line was nearly out the door. Doesn' t anybody in one of California' s wealthiest zip codes ever work? Never mind. Silly me. Sorry I asked.

There are two kinds of coffee drinkers in the world. Those who get their coffee to go so they can juggle it along with their cell phone as they drive down the road and those who hang out and linger. I'm a lingerer so I had plenty of company on Coast Village Road.

Nowhere in the world has the fine art of hanging out been elevated to the status it has in Montecito, which is fine with me. I know what the epitaph on my gravestone is going to say. "Santa Barbara is where he lived, but any java joint was his home."

* * *

While idle time may be a good thing for the leisure class of Montecito, too much of it is probably not a good thing for the teenagers of Santa Barbara to have on their hands this summer. Through "The Graffiti Project," Laura Inks of ARTS ALIVE! is hoping to get youth involved in creative activities and get graffiti off the walls and onto the canvas.

Workshops are being held the first Monday of each month, 5-6pm, for teens who are interested in parleying their talent into a serious art career. The workshops will end with a gallery exhibit, Streets to Studio, in January 2008. For more info call Laura or Kim at ARTS ALIVE! 963-2278 or e-mail them at

* * *

Looking for something different to do on a Saturday night? You might check out the summer concert series at the Paradise Store. They have a new outdoor stage and they book a different musical act every week. The line-up features mostly classic rock style bands (no head banger's ball here). This Saturday "King Bee" will be playing. Concert starts at 8 pm and admission is $10. For an additional $10 there's a barbeque dinner starting at 6:30 pm featuring chicken and tri-tip. And it' s a family friendly atmosphere. I was there last Saturday and the weather in the evening was beautiful.

The Paradise Store is about a 20-minute drive from downtown Santa Barbara. It's located at One Paradise Road, just off Highway 154 (San Marcos Pass Road.)

* * *

Long before the first Starbucks came to town there was the Santa Barbara Roasting Company. One of the morning regulars there was Steve Hoegerman, founder and director of the Santa Barbara French Festival and the numero uno Francophile in town. This Saturday and Sunday at Oak Park the 20th annual French Festival will be held.

It' s my personal favorite of the Oak Park ethnic festivals (which now number only three). Steve promises great food, a huge Eiffel Tower, and over 40 acts on three stages, including the Poodle Parade, can-can, tributes to Edith Piaf and Maurice Chevalier, French-Moroccan belly dance, accordions galore and (Oo La La!) the Femmes Fatales Drag Revue.

Hopefully we' ll all be able to tell the poodle parade from the drag revue. And I just may have to break the cappuccino habit this weekend and order a café au lait.

* * *

Seven of the eight reporters who were fired from the Santa Barbara News-Press are featured in a documentary recounting, in chronological order, the events of the past 12 months. From the first press conference in late July – when the editorial staff of the paper stood in De La Guerra Plaza with duct tape over their mouths to the upcoming NLRB hearing next month — the documentary is an examination of the crisis at the paper under the ownership of Wendy McCaw.

The documentary will air on the SB Newsroom television show on Channel 17, 11 a.m. Saturday, July 14 and 8 p.m. Sunday, July 15. The video will also be posted on the Santa Barbara Newsroom Web site at

* * *

The current issue of Blue Edge magazine, a McCaw owned publication, is virtually ad free. Recently two of the magazine's key editors resigned. Word is they they will be joining the staff of a new surf culture publication that will be making its debut soon.

* * *

Last word today once again goes to Lisa Wilson (who is not to be confused with Cristina Wilson the Valley Voice sales rep who was recently let go.) Lisa e-mailed me in the wake of yesterday's post.

"Thanks for sharing the others' comments and I'm glad you aren't lonely in your sad world. You are funny, I'll give you that."

Isn't there a saying about a even a broken clock being right twice a day?

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