Fiddlers On The Roof (of the Granada)

There were literally fiddlers on the roof along with 200 patrons and supporters of the Granada Theatre restoration. We were all directed to drive to the top floor of the Granada parking garage and then walk up the ramp to the roof where wine and Jewish deli food awaited. What a sight—the view is incredible and the roof is too with its decorative lampposts and tower.

The party was to celebrate the topping-off—final beams and stage-house roof installed—which begins the countdown to opening night March 6, 2008. As Executive Director Peter Frisch said, “The (tall) crane will be leaving the site soon. It’s leased!”

President of the Granada Board Harriet Miller called us to be seated so the fiddling could begin, announcing, “It’s going to be a great day (March 6)!” Our fiddlers were Anna Corcoran, Liam Collins, Camille Miller and Nick Coventry playing classical, Celtic, bluegrass and Gypsy violins. The finale was – what else? – Fiddler on the Roof.

Campaign Chair Michael Towbes spoke, “Enough of the fiddlin’ around. When we began this project we found there wasn’t much to restore, but a lot to replace. It will be something Santa Barbara can be proud of and will serve the community for the next one hundred years. When I’ve taken experts on tours they tell me, ‘You haven’t left anything out.’ The first reaction on the tours is, ‘Wow!”

The Granada Restoration Project was initiated in 1998 by the Santa Barbara Center for the Performing Arts with the mission to restore the 1,550-seat theatre and provide a dynamic community center for the arts. It will be able to accommodate music, theatre, dance, opera, musicals, films, lectures, conferences and community events.

There have been 810 donors to date, including individuals, foundations and corporations, raising over $47 million. The Project group hopes to qualify for a completion grant that would boost the funding to $50 million. If you would like to donate or simply take a tour, call the Director of Marketing Vince Coronado at 899-3000.

Casa Pacifica

Casa Pacifica recently held a reception at the Santa Barbara Club to introduce locals like myself to their unique programs that serve the entire county. Amid wine and treats we learned that since July 2003 Casa Pacifica has provided Therapeutic Behavioral Services (TBS), short-term intensive behavioral interventions, to over 400 children. In 2006 they launched “children’s crisis mobile response” which has received more than 120 calls a month involving suicide threats and attempts or aggression towards family members.

There is also a “wraparound service” for kids that are in jeopardy of out-of-home placement. The motto is “whatever it takes” to keep the children and their families together. Since 1996, 49 children and youth have been treated in the Residential Treatment Program on the Camarillo Campus.

Casa Pacifica is now the largest provider of children’s mental health services for the County. CEO Dr. Steven Elson told us, “Each day we help 100 kids in three programs. Superior Court Judge and Board member Frank Ochoa related how in court he not only has to deal with delinquents but all the abused children. That is why, he says, he serves on the board. Some of the Board members attending were Denice Cora, Donna Barranco Fisher, Janice Keller, Susan J. Pate and Hilda Zacarias

Casa Pacifica has recently had some national publicity (Los Angeles Times, The Today Show) because of the therapy dog they have at the residential treatment center for abused, neglected and emotionally disturbed children in Camarillo. Development Director Vicki Murphy calls this 165-pound, three-foot-tall Newfoundland dog that looks more like a bear, “the gentle giant.” “We researched which breed would be best for troubled kids and this was it,” she said. His name is Archibald Razz M Tazz, and is called Archie for short. He sleeps at Vicki’s but she brings him to work where he spends the day with the kids.

Vicki says, “Archie is a coping strategy for kids removed from their homes. One recently admitted little girl was very distraught. Archie was called in and quietly plopped down in front of her. She flung her small arms around his furry neck, sobbing for quite awhile. Archie stayed with her as long as she needed.

“Though Archie likes everyone, he didn’t like two employees in the year and a half that he’s been at Casa, barking whenever he saw them or heard them speak. After a thorough background check revealed something undesirable, they were fired.”

There’s a host of ways volunteers can help either with time or money. Call 805-445-7800 for more information.

Divine Inspiration

I was inspired to attend the Divine Inspiration Gallery Reception in Carpinteria because I own one of Claudia Cook’s watercolors of Casa del Herrero. The artists were all there to meet and greet including Claudia, Kenny Edwards, Chris Flannery, Gail McBride Kenny, Dorothy Nalls, Martha Shilliday and Jack Wilson.

There was a wine bar inside and a long table of food outside. Instead of tidbits it was a full lunch (to-die-for sausage) from the Chase Restaurant owned by Sonia Adams, aka Madam Sonia Rosinka of local fortune-telling fame, who is also a partner in the Gallery. The owner-partner Sherry Spear told me, “I have been friends with Sonia for 35 years. Five years ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer. She created the Gallery as an inspiration for me to live and gave it to me as a gift. She believes art is divinely inspired and so it is the name.” Everyone should have a friend like that!

The show runs until November 10 at 619 Linden Avenue, Carpinteria. Gallery hours are 11 am to 4 pm Wednesday through Saturday and the phone is 805-684-1174.