Sunday, May 29, 2011
This weekend I'm in another beautiful place: The Santa Ynez Valley. Here, the rolling hills that surround me seem to stretch into infinity, and as I scan the landscape, with its abundant oak trees, every frame appears like a plein air painting. This valley, where the movie Sideways was filmed, spawns a multitude of vineyards. It's also horse country and home to cattle ranches and even an ostrich farm or two.
In the valley, you'll find a number of charming little towns. The most colorful is Solvang. Solvang was founded by Danes, and its architecture is true to the Danish style. Seeing Solvang for the first time since my trip to Denmark in 2003, I'm taken by how much this town, with a commercial area of just one-mile square, captures the flavor of Denmark. Being half Danish myself (on my mother's side,) I enjoy claiming Solvang as my own.
On this holiday weekend, Solvang is crawling with tourists, and I find the traffic and numbers of people a bit unnerving. But it is a tourist town, and one thing I notice are the many couples, young and old, walking hand in hand; and something else: all of them are smiling.
Sunday, May 22, 2011
This is one of my favorite film clips from my past. Shot in 1971, this movie was originally titled, The Second Coming. Toward the end of the filming, investors pulled their money out, and the film was never finished. A Frenchman bought the unedited footage, edited it and released the movie under the title of Messiah of Evil. In 2003, in the horror film genre, The British Film Institute hailed Messiah of Evil as 'a rare work of cinematic genius.'
In the film Annie Hall, during the montage of LA and Beverly Hills, you can catch the title of this film on the marquee of the Pan Pacific drive-in theater.
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
These majestic flowers only bloom for a short while between May and June. Native to the area, they can be found in the wild beside creek beds and washes, where they often reach a height of 8 feet tall. You don't see that many around town, but when you do, they're usually growing beside fences and walls. Yesterday, I saw a huge cluster of matilija blooming wild beside the freeway off ramp in Montecito.
I've heard the poppies described as everything from Dr.Suess cartoons to fried eggs. But to me, they appear angelic, with their large, crepe paper petals, bright white and fluttering in the breeze.
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
After days of fog and wind, our sunny skies are back. And no one fails to mention each beautiful day.
"We are so fortunate," says a friend.
"It's a perfect day!" replies another.
And my neighbor, Ellen, who was born in Germany, and is 89 years old, looked up at the sky yesterday and said, "I call that color Mediterranean blue."
Right now, at the Rose Garden, across from the Santa Barbara Mission, the scent of roses drenches the air like liqueur.
Saturday, May 7, 2011
Friday, May 6, 2011
Sunday, May 1, 2011
Santa Barbara is bursting with springtime. Mockingbirds trill and doves coo, and the lizards are back sunning themselves on the rock wall. Yesterday, a gorgeous schooner showed up in the harbor; and even the cars on the street are reflecting the colors of spring.
Lower State Street stirs with cotton-clad locals; and music and laughter peals from inside restaurants and clubs. Today is alive with the promise of summer -- and harmony reigns in this city by the sea.