Night TRAPs – Walk. Drink. Eat. Groove.

“On September 6th 1997, I was catching the last wave at the beach here in Carpinteria before getting ready for my gig.”

“The weather is great year round, the ocean is at our doorstep and the shopping, restaurants and vibe here is so perfect.”

Part One:  Quick Getaway to Santa Barbara

Part Two:  Santa Barbara’s Grand Tradition

Night out on the town.

Historic El Paseo in the Presidio Neighborhood is in a one block area bordered by State Street and Anacapa Street and by Canon Perdido Street and De La Guerra Street.

I guess Siri knew best, after all. No wait Emma did. But that’s another story.

There we found the three entertainment activities all in walking distance from each other and a short distance from the Hotel Santa Barbara on State Street.

Wine tasting at Jamie Slone Wines Tasting Room.

Dinner around the corner at Wine Cask Restaurant

And, a concert at the historic Lobero Theatre.

“The Presidio Neighborhood is a vibrant few blocks in the heart of Santa Barbara, centered around the historical site of the last of the Spanish fortresses, or presidios, to be built in California.”

And the neighborhood had been the location of Santa Barbara’s Japantown and Chinatown as well.

Today it is marketed as home to “discoveries of hidden walkways, courtyards, and amazing architectural details set against the backdrop of the American Riviera and the Santa Ynez mountains.”

Our Scorpio friends purchased tickets for a concert, starring Michael McDonald a longtime Santa Barbara resident, and as we later found out, a benefit for TRAP – The Rhythmic Arts Project an educational program.

When we rendezvoused with our friends we soon found out the concert venue was just a parking lot away from the restaurant at the corner of Anacapa and Canon Perdido streets.

But first things first.

Wines Tasting

A stop at Jamie Slone Wines Tasting Room.

“Located at the main entrance to the Historic El Paseo in the vibrant Presidio Neighborhood near State Street in the heart of downtown Santa Barbara!”

Jamie Slone Wines Tasting Room

We met Kym who told us she had been a stay at home mom in Arizona while Jamie, her husband, had been a race car driver.

When their twin daughters grew up and Jamie and Kym became empty nesters they felt it was time to explore something else.

Among other things, their website told us “Jamie and Kym Slone are an adventurous couple and after a 30 year journey of touring wine regions all over Europe and the United States their dream of producing wine was born.”

Along the way their interest in architecture and wine led them to visit and experience Santa Barbara, California, “The American Riviera.”

Like for countless others the Urban Wine Trail brought them to the Historic El Paseo in the “Presidio Neighborhood to enjoy some world class Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and some fabulous Rhone blends.”

They loved what they found, Spanish Colonial architecture, so much that they opened their own wine tasting room in 2012.

After a visit, who could argue with their conclusion?

“The weather is great year round, the ocean is at our doorstep and the shopping, restaurants and vibe here is so perfect.”

Dinner

Second things second

Our concierge at the Santa Barbara Hotel told us we’d find dining from casual eateries to world class restaurants and everything in between sharing The Presidio Neighborhood with Jamie Slone Wines.

So, our friends had heard about a great place.

“Santa Barbara’s culinary and wine landmark, the Wine Cask Restaurant.

Turns out they’re known for their farmer’s market ethos and “a touch of nostalgia.”

Important for the Santa Barbara upscale clientele.

We marveled at their giant fireplace, gold-leaf ceiling and what looked like elegant private rooms on our way to our table.

I’m not sure if I’d agree with their website’s description — “enriching, sensual experience of flavors, ingredients, and ambiance.”

After all, I’m a cheap skate.

But, I can agree with … “The restaurant is one of a handful in Santa Barbara that is operating at a truly fine-dining level, and that offers great wines by the glass (something oddly hard to find in Santa Barbara).”

Most importantly to me, I guess, was how much fun the four of us had together at dinner.  And with an eye on the time, we settled our bill and walked across the parking lot to the brightly lit Lobero Theatre.

Concert

Third things third.

Lobero Theatre.

The historic Lobero Theatre has been Santa Barbara’s home for great performances and memories since 1873.

Can that be true?  1873?

According to Wikipedia it was originally built as an opera house, in a refurbished adobe school building, by Italian immigrant José Lobero in 1873.

By the 1920s the building was falling apart.

“The Lobero Theater opened in August 1924, during a period in which civic groups in Santa Barbara were beginning to unify the town’s architectural look around a Spanish Colonial style.”

Since then it’s been a home to music, dance and theatre performances.

When we filed in and found our seats it was clear that this was a Baby Boomer crowd.

Up on the stage were kids and instruments and performers.

Turns out during the opening number it was the rhythm driving the fun they all had.

To be honest we didn’t understand what was going on.

We expected a concert by Michael McDonald solely.

What’s going on?

TRAP

What is this TRAP thing?

The Rhythmic Arts Project.

We were attending its annual concert and auction.

In the past Jeff Bridges donated a signed guitar. David Crosby signed a poster as part of a silent auction.

When the kids left and the rockers remained we wondered who they were and why were they there?

They swam in the same circles as many famous and supporting musicians over the years since the 60s and 70s.

And, they showed up to support Eddie Tuduri.

And his cause.

Tuduri’s professional drumming career, according to his bio,  has spanned over 40 years working with artists such as Delaney Bramlett, Bobby Whitlock, The Beach Boys, Dobie Gray, Del Shannon, Rick Nelson and the Stone Canyon Band, Dr. John, Ike Turner and many others.

“On September 6th 1997, I was catching the last wave at the beach here in Carpinteria before getting ready for my gig.”

The body boarding wave he caught slammed him to the ocean floor, paralyzing him.

“I saw the beautiful Carpinteria sky and in the blink of an eye, I was back. I was clearly disappointed, the first words I uttered were, “Oh Shit”.

I was placed gently on the shore, but I was totally paralyzed.”

As the core founding story goes, during his rehab, he asked a friend to bring a pair of drum sticks and a couple of percussion toys.

“Other patients in the ward joined in on the rhythm and the happiness it created.

By experiencing these simple moments of joy through music with people outside of his career of playing drums as a living, Eddie began to understand music at an entirely new level.

The basic rhythms of percussion and clapping were making trauma patients feel alive and hopeful.”

No wonder, then the concert seemed like a family reunion of celebrities and backup singers and studio musicians.

To be honest, I didn’t recognize anyone else except for Michael McDonald.

The band “Pockets” with Bill & Tamara Champlin, Táta Vega, Amy Holland, or Carl Graves until they played some of their own hits.

It took a little digging, but here’s what I discovered.

Pockets were a soul group from Baltimore who had three top 40 R&B hits in the late 1970s best known for their single “Come Go With Me“.

Carl Graves smooth single “Baby, Hang Up the Phone” was a Top 20 R&B hit in 1974.

Graves sang with the band Skylark (which also included David Foster and singer Donny Gerard) who had a 1973 number nine pop hit with “Wildflower.”

 

Tata Vega

“Táta Vega has had an active career as a lead backing vocalist, working with Russ Taff, Stevie Wonder, Andraé Crouch, Chaka Khan, Patti LaBelle, Michael Jackson, Ray Charles and Madonna, singing duets with Lou Rawls, Jermaine Jackson, Peter Rivera with Rare Earth and Michael Sembello. Vega is featured on the 2010 Elton John and Leon Russell CD The Union.”

Up next, Tamara Champlin.

She has performed with and written for singers such as Elton John, Leon Russell, Nicky Hopkins, Andreas Carlsson, husband Bill Champlin and son Will Champlin.

 

Amy Holland?

“Holland’s eponymous debut studio album, produced by the Doobie Brothers‘ former lead singer Michael McDonald, was released in 1980 and featured the hit “How Do I Survive“, which peaked at No. 22 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart.

Holland married Michael McDonald in 1983.

The couple lives in Santa Barbara, California and has two children, Dylan and Scarlett.

In 1995, Holland was diagnosed with cancer, and after many years of therapy, she is now in good health.

In 2016, she released her fourth studio album, Light On My Path.

The album features a duet, “Prove That by Me” with Michael McDonald, in addition to background vocals by David Pack (Ambrosia), Joseph Williams (Toto), and David Crosby.

And, finally, Michael McDonald who released “Wide Open” in September, his first studio album in years and ended a massive US tour in Los Angeles in November.

I’m sure it felt good for him to be home.

It felt good to contribute to such a great cause.

And, you could tell it felt good for everyone to play with each other on stage.

Kind of a historical ’70s jam.

Almost as good as the kids felt to open the show.

Part Four:

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