St. Jude’s Montecito Connection

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, founded by Danny Thomas in 1962, has a Santa Barbara Committee that is starting a local chapter. Senior Philanthropic Advisor for St. Jude Doré Charbonneau has been meeting with members Kathy Rezzonico, Geonine Moriarty, Angie Ferraro, Evon de Meistre (her 16-year-old daughter Angelia writes for the Montecito Journal), Jayne Flynn Howe, Janet McCann, Irene Robles, Gwinneth Clarkson and Erinn Lynch. They invited friends to a reception at Montecito Country Club in honor of Dr. Michael Kastan, Director of the Cancer Center at St. Jude who came all the way from Memphis, Tennessee, where the Center is located.

Guests met and mingled with Danny’s son Tony (who has had a second home in Montecito for 30 years) and Gold Medal ice skater Scott Hamilton who is in charge of a foundation for St. Jude. Other daughter Terre was ill and couldn’t come. Tony’s wife, Annie (Scott’s wife introduced Tony to Annie and they introduced Scott to his wife…whew!), was there along with Barbaranne Wylde. She and her husband, guitar icon Zakk, just donated $1 million for a laboratory.

Janet McCann’s husband, John McCann revealed that, “The Thomas kids and I all went to the same Catholic School in Beverly Hills.”

Tony then shared the following story of how it all began:

Danny Thomas was a supermarket manager at the time, and just barely getting by. He prayed to St. Jude, patron saint of those in need, and promised that if the saint helped him earn more money, he would build a shrine in his honor. “His prayers were answered,” Tony related, “when he did a commercial and earned enough money for his wife and daughter.” Danny eventually installed a large statue of St. Jude in his backyard, and his founding of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital certainly qualifies as a shrine.

Tony said when his dad heard that daughter Marlo was marrying TV host Phil Donohue, he received the news with the same kind of optimism he found in most everything and joked that, “I’m not losing a daughter. I’m gaining a fundraiser!”

Dr. Kastan informed the audience that at St. Jude’s – the single largest center in the United States for the research and treatment of pediatric cancer and other catastrophic childhood diseases – “No child is turned away for lack of funds.” Children from all 50 states and more than 70 countries have come through the doors for treatment. Target Corporation has built 100 suites to make it easier for parents of long-term patients to be near their children.

For information call Doré at (626)-794-9313.

The EBB/FLOW of Santa Barbara Surfdom

Surfboards and surf photos took over East/West Gallery (714 Bond Avenue) at the recent opening reception for the EBB/FLOW exhibit. Surfing has been part of the California lifestyle for at least 50 years. Remember bikini clad Sandra Dee as Gidget learning how to surf to impress the boys in the old movies? Surfing has come a long way since those early filmic embarrassments however, and has developed into an art form.

The EBB is represented by vintage to modern surf culture photographs featuring works by legendary surf photographers Don James, Ron Church, Jeff Divine, Leroy Granis, C.R. Stecyk and Jeff Hornbaker. Don James is a pioneer in the first generation of surfing in Southern California. Ron Church shot those big-wave surf contests in the 1960s and ‘70s. Stecyk and Hornbaker are regularly featured in surf magazines.

FLOW is an acronym for Fine Lines On Water. Raymond Pettibon, Wayne DeSelle, Ron Reihel, Salomon Emquies, Alison Saar, Dianna Cohen (FLOW Curator), Alex Couwenberg, Jack Reilly, Renny Yater and Robbie Conal were asked to produce original but functional surfboards decorated with their art work. The boards became their canvases. Surfboard maker Hobie worked in conjunction with the artists.

Gallery owner Henri Bristol was the ever-charming host with EBB curator Alexis Adler helping out. The group Sam and Denny played everything from hillbilly music to flamenco guitar. Sam Adams had studied the guitar in Cadiz, Spain just across the bay from my Spanish home back in the ‘70s. Bret Vanderhyden was on percussion and longboard legend Denny (Dennis) Aaberg completed the trio. Denny was the screenwriter for the surf movie, Big Wednesday. Their CD debuts this summer.

Decorating the cocktail tables were bars of Sex Wax. It smells so good one wonders if it’s really used to wax a surfboard. The longtime popular product maker is Mr. Zogs from Carpinteria. I wondered why it also said, “Quick humps.” I was informed the humps of wax help your feet stick to the board. The wax isn’t to make it go faster. Sorry, surfers. I need a Surfer 101 course.

A portion of the proceeds will benefit Santa Barbara Surfrider Foundation. Call 963-4041 for information or

MAW Women’s Auxiliary Welcomes New Members

The Music Academy of the West Women’s Auxiliary had their annual luncheon at the Four Seasons Biltmore to welcome new members and salute the slate of officers for the upcoming year.

The new Board is Chairman Nan Holt, Vice Chairman Judy Mack, Recording Secretary Ann Brady, Corresponding Secretary Joann Rodrigue, Treasurer Linda Chapman, Assistant Treasurer Carol Schleck, Ways and Means Co-chairs Pat Andersons and Pat Tenney. New members are Rebecca Alberts, Maggie Bradley, Gwinneth Clarkson, Meg DiNapoli, Lylie Francis, Marie-Paule Hajdu, Julie Morrow, Linda Ring and Joan Rocco.

These ladies work hard all year manning two campus shops – The Treasure House and The Rack – but the monumental fundraiser is the May Madness Sale. Chairman Nan told me, “About 30 years ago when I lived in Los Angeles I read an article about the Music Academy’s summer program for students from all over the world. I never forgot about it and when I moved to Santa Barbara a few years ago, I immediately became part of the Auxiliary.”

Our afternoon ended with a surprise desert – a “make your own” sundae station. Decadently delicious!