Cover Girl

Santa Barbara rocker Katy Perry is certainly aiming high, even in death. The singer, who attended Dos Pueblos High School, says she wants her ashes shot out over the coast of our tony town in a firework when she finally falls off her perch.

“My career is like an artichoke,” Perry, who graces the cover of the June issue of Vanity Fair, tells writer Lisa Robinson.

“People might think the leaves are tasty and buttered up and delicious, and they even know there’s something magical at the base of it. There’s a whole other side of me that people didn’t know existed.”

One side Perry, who also took vocal lessons with a tutor at the Music Academy of the West – although she was not an enrolled student – has definitely left behind is her born-again upbringing with her evangelical minister parents, Keith and Mary Hudson.

She says she didn’t have a childhood and her mother never read her any books except the Bible. She wasn’t even allowed to say “deviled eggs” or “Dirt Devil.”

Perry, who relied on friends to sneak her CDs, says: “I think sometimes when children grow up, their parents grow up.

“Mine grew up with me. We co-exist. I don’t try to change them any more, and I don’t think they try to change me. We agree to disagree.”

At this point in her life Perry, 26, describes herself as “a drifter.”

“I’m open to possibility... My sponge is so big and wide and I’m soaking everything up and my mind has radically expanded. Just being around different cultures and people and their opinions and perspectives. Just looking into the sky.”

Being such a public global figure, Perry also craves her privacy with her husband, British comedian Russell Brand, 35, who she married eight months ago in a colorful six-day celebration in India.

“The press is just not your friend when it comes to marriage,” she explains.

“That’s why we didn’t sell the pictures of our wedding, and we got offered millions of dollars for them, millions.

“I’ve seen too much of it with other people; it’s the wrong kind of attention. It detracts from the reason why you exist. We wanted that moment to ourselves.”

The couple now plans to spend more time in New York and London, having just put their four-bedroom, 1922 Mediterranean-style home in Los Angeles on the market for nearly $3.5 million after living there for just two years.

In the garden is a 25-ft tall “love teepee,” bought by Brand for Perry, who is now in the middle of her “California Dreams” world tour in New Zealand, while he is filming a new movie, “Rock of Ages,” in Miami, Florida.

It is not included in the sale...

Desmond Tutu Visits

Nobel Peace Prize winner, South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, was in our rarefied enclave to support the 29-year-old Santa Barbara-based non-profit, the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.

The debonair diminutive dynamo was feted for his “courage, compassion and commitment” by foundation president David Krieger at a packed soiree at the beachside manse of Larry and Nancy Koppelman.

“This will probably be his last visit to the U.S., given he is gradually retiring from public life as he approaches his eightieth birthday,” Nancy explained, before hosting a dinner party for 40 at the exclusive compound’s club, catered by Montecito restaurateur Mollie Ahlstrand.

The peripatetic cleric, who also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009, rose to worldwide fame in the ‘80s as an opponent of apartheid, with President Nelson Mandela describing him as “the voice of the voiceless.”

I last met him at a 50th anniversary celebration for the United Nations in Grace Cathedral in San Francisco with then Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, in 1995.

Queen Elizabeth’s sister, the late Princess Margaret, was representing Britain, and memorably, when Bishop William Swing, exhorted all members of the congregation to hold hands as a sign of international unity, quickly pulled her impeccably gloved hand away from her neighbor, chiding: “I don’t really think so!”

Among the local glitterati attending were Congresswoman Lois Capps, Anne Towbes, Leslie Ridley-Tree, TV lawyer Gerry Spence and magazine editor Gina Tolleson.

It was all too too much for words...

Wedded Bliss

Beanie Baby billionaire Ty Warner’s San Ysidro Ranch is fast becoming celebrity wedding central.

Last year, singer-actress Hilary Duff plighted her troth to pro hockey player, Mike Comrie, there, and Oscar winner Gwyneth Paltrow tied the knot with Coldplay rocker, Chris Martin, on the lush 500-acre estate in 2003, while Gary Oldman celebrated his marriage to singer Alexandra Edenborough there after exchanging vows at the Presidio Chapel in 2008.

And last week, Victoria’s Secret model Lily Aldridge, 25, walked up the aisle with Kings of Leon rocker Caleb Followill, 29, at the tony hostelry, with the willowy bride decked out in a white strapless mermaid Vera Wang gown with layers of Chantilly lace, and the groom in a Gucci suit.

Among those watching at the intimate ceremony were Followill’s three bandmates, his brothers, Nathan and Jared, and cousin, Matthew Followill. Clearly, a secret no more...

Finale Approaches

As Oprah Winfrey draws the curtain on her TV talkfest on Wednesday after 25 years, Chicago has been pulling out all the stops to make sure she marks the momentous occasion in grand style.

Such is Oprah’s considerable clout that the Chicago Bulls-Miami Heat basketball game was rescheduled the other day because the original venue, the 23,500-seat United Center, was being used by her Harpo Productions to tape one of her final shows.

And what do you give the woman who has everything? Her own street, of course.

Oprah just got a road, directly in front of her studios, renamed Oprah Winfrey Way by Windy City mayor Richard Daley, describing the honor as “better than an Oscar or an Emmy.”

And, given the expected viewership, for her final week, commercials on the show are going to be at an all-time high, with around $1 million for a 30-second spot, a price rarely seen on even prime-time finales.

To put it in perspective, a 30-second spot on this year’s Super Bowl cost $3 million, and a similar time slot during the Oscars went for around $1.8 million...

Birthday Celebration

Dorothy Mitchum, widow of the late actor, Robert Mitchum, celebrated her 92nd birthday surrounded by her family at her Montecito manse.

The bash, organized by her daughter, Petrine, included budding politician Chris Mitchum, who attended with his daughter, Jenny, training to be a nurse. Her brother, Kian, is an international model and, while not in front of the camera, works at Cafe Luck.

Jim Mitchum’s son, Spence, and his wife, Els, helped dish out the birthday cake with their two sons, Jack and Wagner.

Dorothy’s sister, Bette Compton, also joined in the poolside fun with her daughter, Janeen, a nurse at the UCLA Children’s Hospital, and her husband, Jeff Gaul.

Non-family guests included Fred Gowland, author Di Dean, and video producer, Denver Collins.

As a special gift, Petrine produced a CD of Jesse Pappas, a Santa Ynez High School senior, singing “Tarry On, Lovely Stranger,” with words from a poem written by Bob Mitchum as a young man when he was dating Dorothy in Delaware. They were married for 57 years until his death in 1997.

Gift wrapped copies were given to all the guests...

Engagement

My congratulations to Ashley Woods who was recently engaged to Montecito’s Clinton Kyle Hollister, godson of Santa Barbara City Councilman Bendy White, who, with his wife, Kathy Snow, threw a 80-guest bash at their home.

The twosome met nearly a decade ago while attending the Cate School in Carpinteria.

“We instantly became best friends, but didn’t date until after I graduated from college,” says Ashley, executive director of the Morris Squire Foundation.

“Kyle proposed while we were on holiday in Mexico for the New Year. It was so romantic and private. I couldn’t have dreamt of a more perfect place.”

Kyle, a graduate from Brooks Institute, and Ashley, also a board member of Art from Scrap, will tie the knot at his family’s ranch in August, followed by a honeymoon in either South Africa or Fiji...

Taking a Dip

An unexpected visitor to the Coral Casino caused quite a flap in the swimming pool the other day.

A brazen pelican decided to take an unscheduled dip, despite efforts by lifeguards and other staffers to deter it.

After landing in the mega-size pool, a lifeguard tried to shoo the pesky pelican off with a net, but without any success as it hopped from lane to lane, bemusing swimmers doing laps.

“A lifeguard got in thinking it would fly away, which it didn’t,” explained Gena Downey, the exclusive club’s publicist. “It avoided all efforts to shift it.”

But after a few more minutes perusing the ritzy spot, the avian interloper took off, heading out for the Pacific.

Looking for a place to make an even bigger splash, without a doubt...

Cabana Home Celebrates

It was five years ago that Steve and Caroline Thompson founded Cabana Home, their enormous interior design and furnishing emporium in our Eden by the Beach.

Twenty-five years earlier the creative couple had worked together at the world famous Neiman Marcus department store in Dallas, Texas, known affectionately by customers as Needless Markup, given its pricey wares.

Soon after settling here, the couple debuted their store, which also has a branch in Mill Valley, and it has become a staple in the pages of glossy national and regional magazines.

“Our products symbolize the distinctive California lifestyle, where natural beauty and spectacular scenery meet relaxed luxurious living,” says Steve.

“We’re so glad we opened here.”

To celebrate their half-decade, the tony twosome threw a suitably bubbly bash, with Mari Saito from American Acrobats performing gymnastics in a giant inflated plastic bubble, and machines disgorging bounteous streams of liquid soap bubbles throughout the evening.

Among the 150 guests checking out the free flowing champagne, creative cocktails and copious canapés were Leslie Ridley-Tree, Arlene Larsen, Fred and Hiroko Benko, Jim and Jane Burkemper, Julian Nott and Anne Luther, Pat Hinds, Richard Yates, Mahri Kerley and my columnist colleague, Erin Graffy...

Symphony Season Ends

Santa Barbara Symphony celebrated the end of its current season on a high note with a most entertaining concert at the Granada.

Nir Kabaretti, in top form, directed his capable musical team through a three-part program, ending with Brahms’ “Symphony No. 4 in E minor,” an absolute gem of a piece.

The show, sponsored by Marilynn Sullivan for the 17th consecutive year, kicked off with Dvorak’s “Carnival Overture” and Avner Dorman’s “Lost Souls,” a contemporary concerto for piano and orchestra with Alon Goldstein on the keyboard.

Goldstein, who made his orchestral debut at the age of 18 with the Israel Philharmonic under the baton of Zubin Mehta, made a very theatrical entry, with the lights totally dimmed as the orchestra played and him suddenly appearing, almost out of nowhere, in front of the Steinway grand piano.

Four members of the orchestra, who have served an astonishing 197 years between them, were also honored on their retirements from the symphony.

Double bass player Nancy Chase, who joined the group in 1953, described her time with the orchestra as “a privilege,” while cellist Alita Rhodes, reminisced on 56 years of service.

Violinist Lois Helvey joined the symphony in 1968, along with her husband Roger, and most recently has commuted from her home in Oregon to play.

And last, but not least, Geoffrey Rutkowski, who has been principal cellist for 40 years, and will continue to play in the cello section.

An extraordinary contribution of talent to a flourishing cultural cause...

Housewarming

Tout le monde was at the Birnam Wood mega manse of Peter and Dallas Clark as they celebrated their house warming after two years of detailed work.

“It was not so much a lot of renovation, as getting it just right,” Dallas told me as we quaffed a cocktail on the patio overlooking the golf club’s impeccably manicured 14th green.

Peter, who used to accompany the late Jane Russell on piano when she sang around the world, including cruising on the Cunard liner, the Queen Mary 2, is still keeping busy with a packed diary of musical engagements.

Among the 150 guests at the colorful soiree were Stuart Whitman, Chris Mitchum, Peter and Mireille Noone, Arlyn Goldsby, Gene Sinser, and Beach Boy Bruce Johnston, currently working on plans for the group’s 50th anniversary celebrations.

God only knows, time flies...

UCSB A & L

UCSB Arts & Lectures wrapped up its season’s dance series with experimental New York choreographer Lucinda Childs’ seminal work “DANCE,” with music by Philip Glass and film by Sol LeWitt, at the Granada.

The hour-long show, split into three sections without an intermission, cleverly juxtaposed monochromatic film footage of the same work from 1979 with the impeccably synchronized real-time dancing of the current nine-strong troupe in a decidedly energized performance, with punctuated entrances and exits creating a visual counterpoint to Glass’s unchanging repetition of musical rhythms.

The effect was both mesmerizing and surreal.

It was a fitting end to a most entertaining season...

Bach by Candlelight

After 29 years, the West Coast Chamber Orchestra’s annual “Bach by Candlelight” concert at the Presidio Chapel has become a classical music staple.

With such favorites as “Air on the G string” and the “Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 in G Major,” the program, conducted by Christopher Story, couldn’t fail to please.

Throw in a guest appearance by Westmont College musical wunderkind Michael Shasberger conducting “Concerto for Three Violins in D,” with Tamsen Beseke, Jacqueline Suzuki and Julie Beavers, and Eugene Mechtovich on viola, with Sheridan Stokes and Jamie Pedrini on flutes, and it was the perfect mix.

Bravo...