MAD HATTERS SAY HEY TO HOLLYWOOD

Glamour abounded at the Transition House Auxiliary ninth annual Mad Hatter Luncheon with a theme of “Hooray for Hollywood.” The Fess Parker Doubletree dining room was done in black, white and silver with life-sized movie star cutouts of Marilyn Monroe and Humphrey Bogart and a clapboard for emcee Debby Davison to use to get attention for all the different “scenes.” For Scene One, President Gayla Visalli surprised Davison by naming her this year’s honoree for all she’s done for Transition House.

Does anyone remember Dr. Seuss’s story “The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins” where every hat grows bigger and better? The day was like that. With the arrival of each guest, the hats grew grander and grander. Judges Steve Epstein, Mike Petlow and Santi Visalli had a tough job naming winners. Most Creative went to Arlene Larsen and her gaggle of lovelies. Larsen had made all their hats, which spelled out Hollywood when they stood in order. Runner up was Cate Baker-Hall. Most Elegant chapeau was Ellen Lilley in a black feather number with Jeanna Boyd dressed like Mae West as runner up. Winner of Most Colorful was Joan Jacobs with Dorothy Booth runner up.

The exclamation point of the day was Greg Schreiner’s “Hollywood Revisited” Show. He has collected more than 300 authentic one-of-a-kind costumes from the old classic movies. Those were the days when studios had costumers like Edith Head to design clothes for the stars. Today the wardrobes are mostly bought off the rack. One lady shouted out, joking, “We weren’t born then!” Schreiner responded, “I know you watch all the golden oldies on television.”

I want to come back in another life as a singer and clothes are my passion, so I was enthralled with Schreiner’s troupe of three singers and dancers who entertained us. One sang “New York, New York” while wearing a stunning red dress and black cape that Liza Minnelli had worn. Another was in a Julie Andrews outfit from “Star!”

“Mae West,” in a splashy black number covered with sparkles, said, “These are my summer diamonds. Some are. Some aren’t.” Ginger Rodgers “was there” in a gold lame gown that Fred Astaire hated because the bell sleeves kept slapping him in the face as they twirled. There was comedy as well with a Tarzan routine. Some of Schreiner’s collection is on display in the old art deco Max Factor building at Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue, which is now a Hollywood memorabilia museum.

Years ago, the Montecito Journal voted the Transition House debut “Hatter” luncheon the “Best Afternoon Event.” For keeping up the good work, kudos go to chair and President Elect Diane White, co-chair Janet Wilczak and all the committee members. Executive director Kathleen Baushke says the goal for Transition House is to “empower the homeless to progress to permanent housing and productive lives and the Auxiliary fundraisers contribute.” You can call 966-9668 for information.

League of Women Luncheon

The garden of Sue and Don Burrows’s historic home in Montecito’s Hedgerow was the setting for the League of Women Voters get-together to honor Joan Kerns and Linda Krop. The house was designed in 1920 by Joseph Plunkett and built by the William Spaulding family, who were from Boston and El Cedro and had made the home their winter residence for the family and friends who visited.

After a buffet that included croissant sandwiches and wine, the guests sat down for presentations.

Co-Presidents Irene Stone and Sheila Kamhi had to use their stage voices to welcome guests – the speaking system had gone out. They explained that the League of Women Voters had an educational arm and an advocacy arm, through which they study and take positions on various issues.

Sue Burrows introduced Joan Kerns telling us Joan broke ground, “by becoming the first woman to serve on the [Montecito] Water Board in 1973.” Kerns says she advocates for longer terms for congressmen and shorter campaign times. She’s a five-time president of Get Oil Out.

Connie Hannah enlisted the help of several public officials to move the podium nearer the audience. First District Supervisor Salud Carbajal joked, “At least we’re good for something!” Hannah told us Linda Krop’s mom was the one who got her interested in politics when she was a girl. “Get your grandchildren out there,” she proclaimed.

Krop is lead attorney and chief counsel for the Environmental Defense Center. Her firm is the only public service environmental law firm between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Public officials making presentations to the honorees were Carbajal, Mayor Marty Blum, Goleta Mayor Jonny Wallis, Assemblyman Pedro Nava and Congresswoman Lois Capps.

Collectors Series

Even though the Santa Barbara Historical Society Museum’s courtyard is under construction, the 22nd Collectors Series lecture went on inside. Executive director George Anderjack explained, “Since the corner was used as a gas manufacturing plant way back in 1875, the toxic soil is being cleared.” He thanked President of the Board Ed Sands and wife, Janet, for hosting the speakers.

This year, Lars and Ursula Sjoberg came all the way from Sweden with their illustrated program to tell us about “The Swedish Taste: Architecture and Interiors of the Eighteenth Century.” Lars has been senior curator for the Royal Castles Collections for the National Museum of Fine Arts in Stockholm since 1990. His wife, Ursula, has been working at The Royal Palace in Stockholm as curator for the department of furniture, textiles and applied art since 1996.

Sweden had its own style of architecture and interior design (simple and practical), but Swedish architects turned to France when they constructed the Royal Palace in Stockholm in the 1700s. It resulted in a new style with French interiors and furniture, but Swedish by geography and materials. For the long dark winters, they needed light colors and light from outside.

Lars confessed to being a collector of houses from the 1700s that he believes are fixer-uppers and should be saved. The audience gasped when they saw the “before” slide of one project – it was literally falling down. He told us, “I’ve just bought another.” Someone asked, “Does your wife know?”

Collectors Series honorary event chairman was Ingrid Goude Ingram with Stefani Taliaferro as chair and Jean Smith Goodrich co-chair.

The Historical Society has a trip in nostalgia – a show opening this month of illustrations by Michael Dolas, whose work mirrors Norman Rockwell, his contemporary. Does anyone remember waiting for the next issue of Saturday Evening Post? Dolas did covers for them, and also for Cosmopolitan, and he created illustrations for books by Ernest Hemingway, Pearl Buck and others. Dolas is 93 and lives in Santa Barbara – perhaps the last living illustrator of that 1930s and World War II era. The museum is free so check it out at 136 East De la Guerra Street.

Polo Party

To kick start the polo social season the Santa Barbara Polo and Racquet Club held a wine and cheese tasting for all its members. I lived at the condos there for 14 years but I had forgotten the stunning beauty of those green fields and all those flowers – quite the setting to sip wines from Summerland Winery, Wattle Creek, Buena Vista, Wild Horse and Geyser Peak and sample cheeses.

I met the new club general manager, Daniel Somogyi, with his charming Hungarian accent, in addition to polo clubhouse manager, vivacious Ariana Rothstein-Fisch. Many of my old polo friends and aficionados were there, including Ambassador Glen Holden and wife, Gloria.

There will be a tail gating competition on June 25 and another wine tasting on July 14. Anyone interested in being a social member can call 684-6683 for information. This also gets you in to all the polo games throughout the season, every Sunday at 1 pm and 3 pm. Otherwise, just come on out. The games are open to the public; there’s a snack bar or you can picnic.