Montecito Messenger

Merchant of Montecito: Julie Stematis

For the past 25 years, hairstylist and salon owner of Shear Pleasure, Julie Stamatis, has been a valued presence in Montecito. Growing up on the South Coast of England, at 17 years old she apprenticed with iconic international hair guru Vidal Sassoon,  known for his precision hair cutting techniques  at his New Bond Street salon. America called and Julie went to work as creative and technical director for a large national chain of salons. Her husband John, a former Westmont graduate, coaxed her to move to Montecito in 1983, and the rest is 93108 history. more

Village News: Laguna Blanca to launch Pre-K program; MUS tries to different Pre-K model

Montecito schools are making plans for children in the preschool range children in the upcoming school years. … Westmont College will celebrate the 150th Anniversary Cinco de Mayo and Mexico’s culture with a day of fun activities, crafts, music, dance, storytelling, food and more on Saturday, March 24, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art. “Días de México: A Family Festival” is free and open to the public. more

Ann About Town: Bidding High Five (by Five)

Be there and be square. There’re only a few hours left until Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art’s “5×5: An Invitational” online auction comes to a close, with pieces going home with the highest bidder. “The initial idea was to have a Christmas card show, which morphed into the idea of just having a show of work that all measured 5″x5″, letting the artists decide what the content of their work would be,” shared Chris Rupp, collections manager and curator of the exhibition. more

New fire station moves ahead

The new, long awaited Fire Station 3 is making progress, but still has a long way to go. The most recent design features three buildings totaling more than12,000 square feet on a 2.5 acre parcel. The main building, 7,377 square feet, includes office space, living quarters, and bays to store two fire engines. … The committee had previously suggested using turf block to soften the look of these driveways, but after the department did a test run on the turf block fire access lane on Westmont’s campus they rejected this option. They conducted the test after some mild rain and had to pull the fire engine from the lane. more

Take 2 / Susan Keller: Celebrating Community

What do philanthropy and activism look like in our town? Well, to Susan Keller, founder of Santa Barbara Revels, they look like Celebrations – replete with elaborate costumes, music, dance, mummers and wassailers (you can look those last two up – I had to). The Santa Barbara Revels (, which Keller introduced here five years ago, is a nonprofit participatory performing arts organization that is all about instilling a sense of community. … Moving up to Montecito in 1994, Keller decided to devote her time to both her family and her new community. She became firmly ensconced in local organizations such as the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the Lobero Theatre and the Montecito Association, eventually becoming the Chair of the Land Use Committee. Never one to shy away from controversy, she was vocal on some hot button issues during her tenure including the changes at the Biltmore under Ty Warner, the expansion of Westmont college and the still brewing mess of the Miramar. more

ANN ABOUT TOWN: The show will go on … and on

Co-presented by Westmont College Festival Theatre and Lit Moon Theatre Company, the production is a “hugely exciting challenge,” said John Blondell, director, who has been working on this show with about 30 artists (actors, designers, composers, musicians) for the last four months, six days a week. “Part of this is absolutely new to me … placing this marvelous, large epic play into two stand alone parts,” he explained of the format, in order to keep the “marathon” play almost intact, which is a rarity. more

Westmont shines in national ranking

U.S. News & World report has ranked Westmont College as one of the top liberal arts schools in the United States. Westmont ranks 90th on a list of 252 liberal arts colleges in the county, according to the publication’s America’s Best Colleges, 2012 edition. It’s the third straight year that Westmont has ranked in the top 100. more

Ann About Town: Letting in the Light, Dancing in the Street

You’re a good man, Miller James. In a time when serious drama is playing out across the world’s stage, James – the Artistic Director of Santa Barbara Children’s Theatre – is taking steps to ensure that a light-hearted, upbeat feeling of hope and entertainment fills the house at Santa Barbara’s Center Stage Theater, 751 Paseo Nuevo. … Based on Charles Schulz’s classic comic strip, “Peanuts,” the musical comedy will feature principal actors: Matthew Edwardson as Charlie Brown; La Colina Junior High School’s music teacher Shannon Saleh as Lucy; choreographer Lara Halloway as Sally; recent Westmont College graduate and Ratatat Theater Group leader Casey Caldwell as Linus; and Ivan Wohner as Snoopy.more

Craig Smith: The Coast Village Coffee wars

Long before there was a Starbucks or a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf or a Jeannine’s on Coast Village Road there was Xanadu Bakery. Located next to the Vons supermarket, it was more than just a bakery. It was a destination for people to gather, to linger and to practice the fine art of hanging out. As far as I can tell, it was one of the first places in this area that was home to a local café society. …  In years past I’ve seen Steve Martin and Rob Lowe standing in line waiting to order along with the Westmont College students who have made this Starbucks the school’s unofficial study hall. more

Woman of the House: New congressional district presents big challenge to Rep. Lois Capps

Lois Capps doesn’t tweet. “I have drawn the line at Twitter,” Santa Barbara’s congressional representative said with a smile. “Now I can tell you why.” In an interview with the Montecito Messenger, Capps said the scandal surrounding the “atrocious behavior” of New York congressman Anthony Weiner, and the now infamous and, um, narcissistic Twitter messages he sent to women not his wife, have badly hampered efforts by fellow Democrats in the House of Representatives to focus on more substantive issues. … “The other issues that are Montecito issues are not unique to Montecito,” she added. “I try to stay out of local school boards and other hot topics, Westmont and use permits and all that.” more