CASA By The Sea

Since CASA’s (Court Appointed Special Advocates) “Santa Barbara Style” Luau received most of its underwriting from an earlier event held at Chad and Ginni Dreier’s sports & music memorabilia-oriented Dreier Museum, many of the silent auction items were sports related: an Eli Manning football jersey signed by the entire winning Superbowl ’08 team; a Tom Brady jersey, signed by all the Patriots; a football signed by all the Patriots; a Masters replica green jacket signed by twenty Masters champions, including Tiger Woods, Fred Couples, Nick Faldo, Mark O’Meara, and Arnold Palmer; a 50th Grammy Awards guitar signed by a host of Grammy recipients, including Paul McCartney, Celine Dion, BB King, and Joe Walsh... a Brian Wilson guitar; another acoustic British-flag guitar signed by the two surviving Beatles, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr; a cowboy hat signed by a number of country singers, including Garth Brooks and Merle Haggard; an American flag guitar signed by Johnny Cash.

Songwriter Jeff Barry picked up a “Sticky Fingers” Rolling Stones-signed drumhead for $1200 during the silent auction, which allowed bidders to double the minimum bid and pre-empt any other bidding. Chad Dreier pre-empted bidding on a number of items, including a guitar signed by The Eagles.

Shaun Tomson donated a signed surfboard for the live auction. The event included entertainment by Papa Doo Run Run, an exceptional sushi bar, buffet dinner, frenetic dancing past midnight, and took place in the rotunda at Fess Parker’s DoubleTree. KEYT news anchor Paula Lopez emceed, while the auction was officiated by John Glines and his cohort of spotters. Event chairmen were Fred Benko and David Beard.

A Bird In Paradise

Helen Ann Thomas wrote a column about Santa Maria for Santa Barbara’s daily newspaper until the big shakeup a couple of years ago. She now writes a bi-weekly column for the Santa Maria Sun called “Hobnobbing With Helen.” Ms Thomas received a recent accolade (or at least acknowledgement) for her writing talent: she wrote “Chapter 13” in the recent “Birds Of Paradise” Los Angeles Times book-novel-writing contest called that required different writers to write different chapters of a “novel” that appeared in the paper.

Two Birds In Paradise

Christine Dahl and Michael Hutchings attended April’s CASA By The Sea as newlyweds, as they were married for real on April 6 at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. “She did the cake,” Michael boasts, “and my crew catered the reception.” As to why he and she worked on their wedding day, “We wanted to make sure we’d have great food,” Hutchings says with a nod and a grin.

Hutchings is one of the pioneers of high-quality food and service, having opened “Michael’s Waterside” (where Stella Mare’s is now, in Montecito), a favorite of Julia Child in the early ‘eighties, when Santa Barbara was still a mediocre food frontier.

The Hutchings’ wedding menu was highlighted with “Cultured Abalone, an elaborate antipasto table, prime beef loin, oysters, smoked fish, and baked Seabass with Fennel,” Michael boasts.

The bride and groom’s “Best Couples” were James and Ann Sly (James is the former chef at Lucky’s and will soon open his own place, called Sly's, in Carpinteria) and Jan and Dave Baxter. There were eighty attendees, many of them relatives of Michael’s and Christine’s, and all of whom came, Christine jokes, “because they knew there would be great food.” The couple honeymooned in Puerta Vallarta.

Christine, for her part, is also a much-in-demand pastry chef and cake master who owns and runs Christine Dahl Pastries. Her creations have been featured in In Style (three years running), Gourmet, and many other magazines; she is scheduled to be featured in Martha Stewart’s upcoming wedding issue (June ’08). Anyone looking for an exceptional special occasion cake, can reach Christine at 805-569-5889 or

On July 27, 2006, Michael reports, “I did a cooking class at the Museum of Natural History, and [Christine] showed an unnatural interest in my cooking.”

“He didn’t seem to have enough people to help dish up the food,” Christine interjects. “The class was overbooked, and I said ‘Would you like someone to help you dish up?’ I did, and sparks started to fly.”

Sparks ignited a conflagration weeks later on the beach at Santa Claus Lane: “I was invited to go skinny dipping with three women,” Michael says, “and she was one of them.”

“He’s not kidding,” Christine affirms.

“I felt like a grunion,” he jokes.

“And I said, kind of casually,” she adds, “‘Oh, maybe you want to try out the new Sevilla with me?’ That was our first date.”

Beauty And The Beast

This is the weekend to catch a very special Santa Barbara High School Theatre presentation of Disney’s “Beauty And The Beast.” Otto Layman directs this full-scale production; Jana McIntyre plays Belle and Christopher Canfield is the Beast. Show times are 7 pm on May 9, 10, 15, 16, 17, and there will be a special Mother’s Day Matinee on May 11 at 1 pm. To order tickets: Call Mr. Layman at 805-966l-9101 ext 220, or go online:

Saturday On The Green

Governor Schwarzenegger has proclaimed May 10 as “Lawn Bowls Day,” but that’s no reason to stay home. Eileen Morton, Chair of this event, reports that The Santa Barbara Lawn Bowls Club is holding an Open House on Saturday, from 10 am to 3 pm. During that time, lawn bowlers will be giving free lessons, so everyone attending will get a chance to try out this sport. Additionally, there will be free food and beverages. The event is taking place at 1216 De La Vina Street, where the club has been active since 1937, at the corner of Victoria Street in downtown Santa Barbara. For more information, call 965-1773.

Fearsome Foursome Fumbles

First there was Robert Crego (9-handicap), who trains locomotive engineers for Amtrak and has lived in Santa Barbara since 1975 (in Hope Ranch now, with his Santa Barbara-born-and-raised wife, Carol Raver Crego; her family has been here since the 1950s). Then there was Kerry Bartron (7-handicap) who has represented various vintners up and down the Central Coast as a Wine Warehouse rep for the past 26 years. Both Robert and Kerry belong to Montecito Country Club and play golf together “regularly,” so it was expected they would be a boon to any team, including ours, which consisted of Peter Chen (16), co-owner with Lisa Lee of China Pavilion, Ichiban Sushi, and Pavilion Garden, and Montecito Journal founder James Buckley. The farsighted foursome competed for honors at this year’s Condon Family & Friends Charity Golf Classic Benefiting Lymphoma Research Foundation, played Saturday, April 26 at Glen Annie Golf Club.

The fulsome foursome, however, failed to front a serious four-man-scramble offensive; the bogey-free 10-under-par final score was reasonably competitive, but the fumbling foursome failed to take advantage of the short par fours, most of which the fidgety foursome failed to birdie. When asked the reason for his poor play during this tournament, Bartron was quick to blame Crego: “The problem was playing with Robert; he threw me off all day,” Bartron said, moving off quickly before Crego could respond.

Despite the flippant foursome’s failure, over 110 other golfers helped raise nearly $80,000. Employees from the Paul Mitchell Salon provided hand massages free of charge and donated all tips to LRF, and tasty sandwiches were supplied at hole #7, donated by 805 Deli owners Anne and Todd Pazier. Happy Hour sponsors were Brad and Alisa Haley; brunch was sponsored by Clifford & Phyllis Ruddle and Peter & Laura Wisner.

Those responsible for the tournament and dinner afterwards were Golf Committee members Tom and Christy Condon, Andrew Day, Paul and Wendy DeFalla, Alisa Haley, Lisa Lee, Peter Chen, and Steve Meade.

Lymphoma Research Foundation ( is the nation's largest voluntary health organization devoted exclusively to funding lymphoma research; it provides programs and services for patients, survivors, and loved ones affected by lymphoma.

Jane Goodall at Marcy Carsey’s

"My mother never scolded me for taking earthworms to bed,” Dr. Jane Goodall confessed, lovingly recollecting her ever-tolerant mother’ attitude toward her daughter’s adventurous and unladylike childhood behavior. Young Jane’s mom did, however, suggest that her squirming companions “would be happier outside.” Goodall told of sneaking into a henhouse as a young girl to see where eggs really came from, demonstrated chimpanzee-style whooping, and recalled how difficult it was for a young unaccompanied woman to get into British colonial Tanganyika (now Tanzania) to work with her mentor, Louis Leakey, who had invited her to come and study chimpanzees.

She was speaking to a small crowd of perhaps 80 supporters in the Montecito home of television producer Marcy Carsey (“The Cosby Show” and “Roseanne” are just two of Carsey-Werner’s hugely successful TV hits). Dr. Goodall was in town to receive the inaugural Weidemann Prize for Sustainable Development, named for its sponsor, international micro-lending expert Jean Weidemann.

In addition to the award, the Weidemann Foundation ( pledged to raise $45,000 for a Santa Barbara-funded TACARE (Lake Tanganyika Catchment and Education Project) village in Tanzania, and to provide seed money to initiate micro-lending for water and sanitation there. Weidemann, who spoke after Dr. Goodall, noted that, “Not all of us need to be in the frontlines of Africa, but no one in Santa Barbara can sit in the sidelines.”

Bill Johnston, President of the Jane Goodall Institute-USA, upon speaking noted, “Dr. Goodall and Dr. Weidemann followed similar paths. Each knew in their childhood that they wanted to work in Africa and made those dreams a reality,” and urged Santa Barbarans to adopt their own TACARE village. For more information as to how to help or donate, go to