Honoring Andy, Dolly… Larry, Marcy… Richard, Maryan…

Upon taking a seat at his table in advance of a triple-header tribute to honor Andy & Dolly Granatelli, Larry & Marcy Crandell, and Richard & Maryan Schall, by awarding them with a Pierre Claeyssens’ Award for Distinguished Service on Thursday evening October 4 at the Montecito Country Club, I asked Andy Granatelli about Rudy Giuliani’s reference to him as his “vice-presidential running mate” the week before at the Biltmore. “I accept,” the 80-something-year-old racing legend says gruffly, adding, “He could do worse.” Andy speaks with a mirthful smile that signals two things: he may be joking, or he may be serious, probably both.

Beginning the evening, emceed by Debby Davison, each honoree was serenaded by a carefully selected song: for Crandell, it was “Everybody Wants To Be A Cat” from “The Aristocats”; for the Schalls, “Wind Beneath My Wings,” and for Granatelli, he of Indy 500 and STP fame, it was “Ease On Down The Road” from “The Wiz.”

Former Santa Barbara County Planning Commissioner Parker Montgomery offered a succinct and touching three-minute salute to Granatelli. “[Andy] may be best known in the U.S. and the world as ‘Mister Indy Five Hundred,’ or for STP,” Parker intoned, “but what he accomplished in automotive engineering in a few short years early in his life has never been equaled by any other inventor. He got more horses out of the internal combustion engine than was thought theoretically possible. He comes from the same school as Thomas Edison and Henry Ford…”

Those were high words of praise, but warranted. Andy, it seems, is up for another acknowledgement: a listing in the Guinness Book of World Records, as a member of more Halls of Fame (22) than any other human.

The Pierre Claeyssens honor is particularly appropriate for Granatelli for another reason: The event was a fundraiser for Emmaus of Santa Barbara, a non-profit whose mission statement is “helping young people to break the cycle of addictive, self-destructive, and abusive behaviors.” Ahead of the pack both on a race track and off, Andy’s TuneUp Masters, Inc. initiated an innovative “Youth At Risk” program decades ago that offered on-the-job training, technical skills, mentoring, support, and other opportunities for kids whose futures were questionable at best. Andy did much of the interviewing and selecting of gang members, drop-outs, and other societal discards to work at TuneUp Masters, helping turn many of these “unemployable” youths into self-reliant, successful, and productive citizens.

Debby Davison introduced Larry Crandell’s sons, Steven, Michael, and Larry, who joined in with grandson David, a Cate School sophomore, to sing “Raisin’ Money,” to the tune of “Makin’ Whoopee.” The cleverly altered lyrics were written and sung by “the Crandell Boys” in praise of Larry Crandell’s money-raising expertise. The song went something like this:

Another dinner, Another dance

Another high-brow Black-tie romance

Another season

Another reason

For raisin’ money…

The auction’s ready, The luncheon’s nice

But Larry’s tricky, He sells things twice

Don’t raise your hand there

You’ll own a time-share

He’s raisin’ money

…It’s really killing

That he’s so willing

To take your money…

…Another spotlight

Another hot night

He’s raisin’ money

Maryan Schall gave a short heartfelt speech thanking her family and eight other entities before handing the microphone to husband, Richard, former CEO of Dayton Hudson (forerunner of today’s Target), who gave an equally short and poignant reminiscence of the couple’s life voyage together. He then related an anecdote about his first experience in “giving” that garnered the night’s loudest laugh. One Christmas, when he was “probably seven or eight,” he’d earned 35 cents shoveling his neighbor’s walk. His mother suggested he use the money to buy a gift for his grandmother. He chose a small green bottle “in a nice case” and had it gift-wrapped. “I still remember,” Schall says, “the excitement I felt when she opened my gift – the gift that I was giving to her. Only later did I find out that what was in this bottle was something that would take the smell of alcohol off your breath.”

Dolly, for her part, thanked Emmaus and for everyone in attendance; “We’re very touched and very grateful,” she said, before adding, “I miss Pierre [Claeyssens}; I wish he were here to join us.” Andy gave an uncharacteristically short thank-you speech, emphasizing his own memories of Pierre Claeyssens, calling him “a very special man.”

Larry was his usual amusing self, singing his own song… about himself. “I love me, I came out grand, When I go [on a date] I hold my hand; With my arm around my waist, When I get fresh, I slap my face…”

He joked that he somehow has gained a reputation for an over-abundance of self-confidence. “I don’t know how that happened,” he smirked, “I really don’t think I’m half as good as I truly am.”

He also mused that if one took his, Andy’s, and Richard’s cumulative ages, they’d be older than the United States. Larry closed with a trademark accolade to himself: “I’m just wild about Larry,” he sang, “and Larry’s wild about me; The heavenly blisses, of his kisses, fill me with ecstasy…”

It was an unusually delightful evening as these things go, spiced up by the self-deprecating humor of the various songs and honorees, and the father/daughter singing team, whose mellow refrains of the various numbers they sang, including the national anthem, reverberated nicely in what is usually an acoustical nightmare of a space.

Pancakes By Dads

We attended the annual MUS Dad's Pancake Breakfast held Saturday, October 6 in the school parking lot on San Ysidro Road and received the following report from event chairman Mark Ashton Hunt.

“The event is sponsored by the MUS PTA, and serves as a chance for new and returning dads to meet and greet, and to serve up hundreds of pancakes to hungry kids and moms. Over twenty-five dads joined together to transform the asphalt parking lot into a full-scale restaurant, and the $7-per-plate pancake breakfast included not only pancakes, but also eggs, sausage, milk, juice, and fruit. There was even an espresso and hot chocolate cart that served steamy beverages to young and old alike, all for only $7. Where in Montecito (okay, other than the fireman's breakfast on July 4th), can you get all that for $7? Besides, the firemen don't have an espresso cart!

“My daughter, MUS fifth-grader Sareena Hunt manned the cash register, happily doling out change and stacking twenty-dollar-bills in the money box.

Some 250 breakfasts were sold, raising $1,750 for MUS PTA, but it’s not just about the money. It’s more about… tradition!”

Mark Hunt was ably assisted by Ted Urschel. The other dads included Dan Kass, Mark Mitchell, Patrick Stranahan, Ted Simmons, Bob Kupiec, Michael Schaeman, Winton Berci, Patrick Hartman, Glen Sutherland, John Murphy, Tad Buchanan, Dave Adler, Adam Rhodes, Bruce Willard, Hughes Morton, Gary Schlegel, Harri Lintukorpi, Karl Kras, Sky Conway, Steve O’Leary, Peter Brownell, Jon Gura, Jon Makeever, Stuart Fuss, Brent Bushong, Richard Scibird, Kevin Contreras, John Kinsella, and David Luttrell.

Special thanks goes to Scottie Morrison, Principal Kris Bergstrom, PTA VP Carrie Haffner (PTA President Michele Cuttler and PTA member-in-good-standing, and Mark’s wife, Sheela Hunt.

Sandy’s Devices

Attendance for Sandy Armstrong’s one-night-only one-man show of his mechanical creations at the Julia Morgan-designed Carrillo Gym in downtown Santa Barbara was way larger than he could have expected.

Armstrong, who has a background in engineering, mechanical work and as a builder, calls his ten-month output of 40 sculptures “machine constructions.” During a short conversation at the show, he reveals that he likes “to assemble things,” and “kind of got attracted to old pieces and thought it would be a good idea to assemble them.”

His machine constructions, bearing names such as “Cleaver,” “Rig # 2,” “Butchmaster,” “Pumphouse,” “R2D2,” “Samurai,” “Bubble,” and “Waterworld,” were on exhibit and on sale, at prices ranging from $400 to $3,000.

Sandy, who says he always appreciated looking at art, especially kinetic art, makes his creations in a studio under his house in Montecito, “down by the Biltmore.” To find the raw material, he visits salvage yards in L.A., Oxnard, and locally.

For a close-up look at Armstrong’s inventive creations, you are invited to call 805-705-0890 or e-mail: sandyarmstrongart@gmail.com for an appointment.

SEE What You Can See

Surgical Eye Expeditions (SEE International) has launched an “Adopt-a-Village” campaign wherein a local company or individual can sponsor an expedition to a foreign country to restore sight. On a recent expedition in late August to a clinic in Moquegua, Peru, over 500 people lined up every day to receive the proffered help from the SEE doctors, nurses, and volunteers. “Many had walked miles from their small villages,” says Dr. Kendra Kenyon, one of those volunteers. “One man's sight was restored after twenty-five years of being blind,” she recounts, “and when he saw his children for the first time in all those years, he threw his cane up in the air... and we all started dancing!”

Dr. Kenyon says she and the rest of the group followed up the clinic with a five-day trek through the Andes into Machu Picchu because “we wanted to challenge ourselves both physically and emotionally, and we did,” she continues. “The first night, we slept at the base of a glacier at sub-zero temperatures. The first and second days we hiked nine hours a day and peaked out at close to 16,000 feet at the top of Salkantay Pass, transiting through a cloud forest and climbing out through a creek bed.”

The Gang’s All Here

Matt Sanchez knows a little about gangs; behind the barber’s chair at Montecito Barbers, with scissors in hand, he looks every bit the former high-school football lineman and former U.S. Marine that he is. The tattoos covering his arms reveal something else: that he spent time in prison. “Drug addiction and alcohol addiction led to a prison sentence,” he says matter-of-factly. Matt spent three and a half years behind bars, he admits, “in a half-dozen different facilities, one of which was a maximum security prison.” Even so, he seems to have turned out okay. Matt has been cutting hair alongside his dad, Bob Sanchez, for the past sixteen years, and now counsels others about the dangers of gang life.

That Matt is among those the Santa Barbara City Council consults about what many in the public perceive as Santa Barbara’s “gang problem” does not come as a surprise. And, since gang activity has been in the news lately, it made sense to check in with Matt to get his impression and opinion of what’s going on.

The judge having his hair cut as Matt and I conducted a taped conversation was a model of patience, even though his haircut took at least twice as long as it normally would. Matt promised he could “cut and talk,” but did way more talking than cutting as he opined on the gang problem.

“First of all,” Matt begins, “I’d like to call it ‘youth violence,’ rather than a ‘gang problem,’ and it’s across the board. The kids I work with, in particular, are probably a little bit more organized,” he says. Matt heads up a group called All For One; Youth and Mentoring. “Our goal,” he continues, “is not to get them out of gangs, just to give them options. Let them see the end of the road before they hit the end of the road. Help them make it through a time in their life where their body, their mentality, everything is changing, so they don’t end up dead or locked up for the rest of their lives, or addicted to drugs or alcohol for the things that they did do.”

Matt says one of the ways to do that is to “show them things they’d never seen, for starters,” like snowboarding trips to Tahoe, for example. “Most of the kids had never even seen snow; most of the kids had never been to Tahoe,” he notes.

Some of the things Matt and his group teach kids under their auspices are slightly unorthodox: in addition to explaining how to treat broken bones, sunburn, twisted ankles, and other common ski mountain mishaps, “We add in overdoses, stab wounds, gunshots, things they might see.” Sanchez also bring kids to San Quentin. The All For One Program, Matt stresses, “is totally voluntary.”

Matt’s approach has an additional element, and it is one that has special appeal to someone whose loyalty extends to a gang: ‘I’m not gonna lie for you,’ he says to his young charges, ‘but if you do what I ask you, I will come back to court and tell them that you did everything I asked you to do.’ As a former gang member, his word carries weight; he is respected, he says. He likens his approach as one that appeals to the positive instincts of the youths he sees, rather than the negative, like probation. “Missing school, being out past curfew, things like that, will get them into trouble,” he observes. “I’ll say [to the court], ‘You know what? He’s done the homework; he’s participated in community activities that we have; he’s cleaned the streets and he’s shown up for every meeting.’ “I just try to show them other options,” Matt continues. “If a person grows up in a family where everybody goes to college and they push for education, guess what they’re going to teach this young kid? We just try to show them different things. “Getting the parents involved? Cool. Teaching how to raise kids in this culture when they’ve been taught another way? Cool. I’m all for it. Older guys have to get involved.” Matt then wonders aloud whether the “upsurge” in violence is really an upsurge at all.

“Two kids have died,” he says. “How did they die? Stab wounds, right? So, there have been stab wounds before. These kids are not trained in how to use that weapon. Does that thirteen-year-old know how to kill somebody? You’ve got to look at everything that goes with it.

“The papers, the media, they’re creating fear,” he says. “That’s what they do… I’m not saying you do too, because I haven’t read your article yet, but I know you’ll be fair. Every kid has a chance and you have to give him every opportunity to do that. I don’t think we need more programs.”

Beverly Grant, now on the Carpinteria School Board, is Matt’s former parole officer.

All for One held a "friendraiser" at Julie and Jamie Kelner's Montecito home Saturday afternoon, September 29; during the 3 pm to 6 pm event, some of the “graduates” of the Youth and Mentoring Program spoke and explained both the program and what they were getting out of it. If you’d like to learn more about All For One – which is a 501(c) (3) – drop by Montecito Barbers behind Vons on any Tuesday through Saturday and ask to speak with Matt, or call 805-896-2171.

Race Day In Oxnard

It’s billed as an “Afternoon With Andy,” and it is scheduled to take place at the Murphy Auto Museum, 2230 Statham Boulevard, Oxnard. If you are a regular reader of Montecito Journal, you will know that “Mr. Indy 500” Andy Granatelli is a 20-year resident of Montecito. You may also know that Dana Newquist, another Montecito resident most familiar to residents as the guy dressed as Uncle Sam who drives his vintage fire truck in the Fourth of July Parade every year. Well, Dana, an antique car aficionado who tends an early Indy 500 pace car, is curator at the Murphy Auto Museum and has recently been elected president of the local chapter of AACA (Antique Automobile Club of America).

The event, called “Race Day,” will feature Granatelli who is scheduled to begin speaking at 1:30 pm followed by questions and answers on Saturday, October 13. In addition, Jim Naylor of Ventura Raceway will present Granatelli with the 5th Annual Murphy Auto Museum “Automotive Personality of the Year Award.”

“This will be a unique opportunity to be with a racing legend in an intimate setting where individuals can learn all about Andy’s past: race car driver, engine builder, Studebaker Days, STP, Indianapolis, Daytona, and so much more,” notes Dan Murphy, owner of the Murphy Auto Museum.

The Murphy Auto Museum in Oxnard, California, a 501c(3) Charitable organization, is housed in a 40,000-square-foot space and has 80 vehicles of all types ranging from a 1903 Oldsmobile to a 1991 Bentley. Museum docents will be on hand to guide individuals and groups through the collection of vehicles.

Tickets are $20 and will be on sale at the door. Advanced reservations are recommended, and for those, you should call the Murphy Museum at 805-487-4333.

Santa Barbara Ballet

In addition to his work as music director of Ballet Santa Barbara, Eric Valisky runs Plainwrap Solutions, a Santa Barbara-based Internet consulting firm. His wife, Carrie Diamond, is the ballet company’s artistic director, in addition to her role as one of its main choreographers.

Carrie and Eric had lived on Manhattan’s upper West Side for 23 years, having moved there in 1979 from Los Angeles “as an aspiring young dancer,” Carrie says during a short conversation at a reception at Contemporary Arts Forum space in Paseo Nuevo.

In Manhattan, Carrie went from “a college student in dance, to a professional dancer, a teacher, a choreographer, a director and founder of another company.” She founded the New American Ballet Ensemble, of which Eric was also the music director.

After the trauma of 9/11/2001, however, the couple decided to return to California and arrived in Santa Barbara in 2002. Carrie’s mom, Jean Sturgeon, lived in Montecito at the time, so “We were able to make that happen,” she says. Carrie felt she needed to continue doing professional level work. She taught intermediate-to-professional level dance, offering a morning class, and became a “ballet mistress” at State Street Ballet “for a very short stint,” she stresses.

When things didn’t work out at State Street Ballet, she reassessed her position and her goals. “I wanted to align myself with an existing organization – that was my goal – but it just didn’t happen, so I said, ‘Okay, I’m just going to start my own.’ So, in came this one girl, named Colleen Bialas, and I thought if I could get a couple more like her, I could do this.”

Shortly thereafter, Ellen O’Connell transferred to UCSB from Irvine and was looking for something to do; she came aboard. Next, Christina Sanchez, a former Alvin Ailey dancer who was “just kind of slumming, not thinking she would ever get to dance again,” joined the troupe. “Then we found this guy from Hamburg Ballet,” Connie continues, “and he probably thought he’d never dance again, named Eduardo Cueto. Little by little we found these people who loved [Santa Barbara] but had nothing to do here,” she explains.

“We’re struggling to keep it going, of course,” Carrie admits. For her part, Ellen O’Connell says she had been in a piece choreographed by Carrie Diamond while still in high school. “When I heard Carrie was going to start this company, I called her immediately and wanted to get involved. It was contemporary; it was different from what I had done; it was exciting,” Ellen recalls.

Flautist Norma LaTuchie says she met Eric through soprano Stephanie Sivers, and other mutual colleagues. She began rehearsing and when she saw the professional level of the dancers, she was “ecstatic.” She too lived in New York and played professionally there, but moved here after 9/11. The company kicked off its season premiere Friday evening, September 28, featuring four newly commissioned ballets, one with an original violin and piano score by José Luis Greco, son of legendary flamenco dancer, José Greco. If you’d like to learn more about Ballet Santa Barbara and/or are interested in getting involved with the company, Eric says you should call Carrie at 805-450-7535, visit their website at www.balletsantabarbara.org; or e-mail: info@balletsantabarbara.org.