The Pin Curl Queen Calls It Quits

After more than half a century of hairdressing, 36 years in Montecito, Annie Bradley is hanging up her pin curls. Annie, who was born in Denmark and is trained in four languages – German, English, French and Danish – spent her last day last month at the Montecito Beauty Salon. She also worked many years at Antoine’s, the erstwhile hair salon whose space is now occupied by the liquor and wine section at the Coast Village Vons.

Annie was persuaded to go into hairstyling by her mother, who at 96, currently lives with Annie and her husband in Montecito. Annie has served many Montecito notables over the years, including Julia Child, Paul Ridley-Tree and Margaret Mallory, to name a few.

Although she has enjoyed her 55 years in hairdressing, Annie recalls a few cowlicks in the beginning of her career.

“In my second year of apprenticeship in Denmark, I was told to wash a customer’s hair who didn’t tell her hairdresser she had bleached her hair before getting it colored again,” she says. “The mixing of the chemicals made the hair fall right off in the sink I was washing her hair in. I was terrified.”

Annie’s customers nicknamed her Pin Curl Queen and Mrs. Denmark, monikers she says went well with her gregarious nature.

“I am a very social person, so working in a hair salon was a wonderful experience for me,” says Annie. “The customers would spend the time telling me secrets and stories that I knew I had better not share.”

Although she enjoyed the social aspects of working in a hair salon, Annie says she’s looking forward to life in retirement.

“I play tennis, garden and do work around the house,” she says. “It is great!”

– Celeste Scheinberg

Gala Sprouts Solar Surprise

Last Saturday night, Crane Country Day School’s “Sprouting Green” gala event was proceeding just like most school auctions, with cocktails, dinner and the usual live auction items. That’s when Head of School Joel Weiss stepped up to the microphone at the end of the live auction with a surprise announcement.

“A Crane dad came to me yesterday and told me that he was really excited about all this green stuff and that he wanted to help Crane get off the grid and become self-sustaining,” Weiss told the audience. “He’s willing to give twenty-five thousand dollars to install solar panels. But he wants it to be embraced by the whole school, so he’ll give another twenty-five thousand dollars if others step up.”

And step up they did. When Weiss challenged audience members to pledge $1,000 for solar panels, approximately 28 people stood up with their bid numbers in the air.

Within a matter of minutes, $78,000 was raised to buy the solar panels, which will be installed this summer on the roof of the science building. As a result, Crane’s power bill will be reduced by 60% forever, say school officials.

“We’re not just talking about a symbolic thing – these solar panels will produce a lot of power,” says Weiss.

Calling it “a wildly successful night,” Weiss estimated that roughly $250,000 was raised overall at the event.

This year’s mission at Crane has been to pollute less, recycle more and reduce energy consumption. New earth-friendly initiatives started this year include serving organic and locally produced hot lunches; collecting food scraps for a composting bin and then using the compost material around campus; and replacing light bulbs with energy-efficient ones, saving the school hundreds of dollars on its electricity bill.

The gala co-chairs, Elisabeth Fowler and Brook Harvey-Taylor, chose the “Sprouting Green” theme to celebrate the eco-conscious movement.

“School is the perfect place for us all to participate as a community,” says Fowler. “Our kids can take home the lesson and help us change our lives.”

In addition to the surprise gift of solar panels, the Sprouting Green gala was different from most school auctions in other ways. Guests ate appetizers with biodegradable utensils made with corn; one of the raffle prizes was a one-year lease for a hybrid car, a Toyota Prius. And one of the most popular auction items, a reserved parking spot for the entire school year, came with 12,000 miles of carbon offset credits, enough for a year of driving.

For Weiss, the most important part of the evening is that Crane students will now experience a school working towards self-sustainability instead of just talking about it theoretically.

“Nothing could be a more powerful learning experience,” he says.

In addition to the co-chairs, major sponsors of the event included: Kevin and Nancy O'Connor; Tiffany and Frank Foster; Tony and Gay Browne; Kristen Klingbeil-Weis and Karl Weis; Beth and Dodd Geiger; Robert and Meghan Stoll; John and Elizabeth McGovern; and Mary and John Blair.

Committee members included: Cyndi Richman, Beth Green, Carolyn Chandler, Elizabeth Raith, Annetta Patrick, Dave Quenzer, Jodi Miller, Trish Soriano, Molly Green, Shawn Stussy, Jennifer Markham, Suzanne Deardorff and Ann Pieramici.

– Julia Rodgers

The Method to the Madness

It takes a full eight days, hundreds of hours and a coterie of 30 determined women to put together the Boutique at the May Madness estate sale. Each year, the volunteers of the Music Academy of the West receive bags upon bags and boxes upon boxes of random treasures that must be separated, sorted and, in many cases, cleaned for the upcoming extravaganza – whether it’s polishing blackened silver dining sets or dusting off boxes of Christmas ornaments that arrive still swathed in the original packaging.

In the echelons of the estate sale, the Boutique is without question one of the biggest draws. This isn’t just for the eager shoppers who file outside the door in giddy anticipation, but also for May Madness volunteers who often wait years before they get to work among the sale’s most precious objects.

“I’ve paid my dues,” quips Sydney Tredick, who worked the Boutique for the first time at last Saturday’s celebration after five years volunteering in other departments.

Tredick, a self-professed “lifelong shopper” who used to do special events for Nordstrom’s, says one of the Boutique’s biggest responsibilities is appraising all the items, a task that will often compel volunteers to spend hours on Google.

“For many things, we know what they’re worth, but the rest we have to look up,” says Tredick.

This included the inventory of Bryers Choice limited Specialty Carolers, intricately molded Holiday figurines that were donated in mint condition. A carefree observer might give one of these collectibles a dismissive price of $20, though they’d be remiss to learn the carolers often fetch up to $350, apiece. May Madness offered them for a cool $50.

Amidst the frenzy of snooze-you-lose shopping, such items tend to disappear quickly. If they don’t, volunteers make sure they do. At 1:30 pm, the 50% off bell goes off and, later, another ding for more discounts. By the end, it’s everyone out for themselves filling bags and boxes for the just price of $10.

“Customers don’t even care what it is. They’ll just throw it in,” says Sally Clyne, a Boutique co-chair.

Even with the clearance, the making of money is taken seriously, as May Madness, a Montecito mainstay for 32 years, usually brings in about $200,000 per year to benefit the Music Academy’s summer program. Next year, volunteers will have to look elsewhere for funding as May Madness won’t return until 2009, or at least until the Music Academy campus finishes its renovation.

“But don’t worry,” says Clyne with a comforting smile. “We’ll be back.”

– Guillaume Doane