It’s a Hot Time at the Black & Blue Ball
Text & photos by Shannon Kelley Gould
Sunday evening, after a blazing hot weekend spent jockeying for position in front of our overworked fan, my husband and I peeled ourselves off the couch, poured ourselves into our party clothes, and prayed for cooler temps seaside, in preparation for the granddaddy of all Santa Barbara fundraisers: the Black & Blue Ball. The B&B, which benefits the Muscular Dystrophy Association, is an over-the-top affair, where pretty much anything goes, which is a good thing, as, if you ask me, this weather’s been making everyone a little bit crazy. I was banking on a lapse in sanity, too, when I told my husband I wanted him to come out of his self-imposed Snuffleupagus-style invisibility and let me get a shot of him kissing newsman-about-town John Palminteri, a k a The Palm, in a reprise of my date’s derring-do at last year’s event. Sadly, he determined I was the crazy one, and refused. Alas.
We arrived at the Doubletree, post-squall (squall!), to find the VIP hour in full swing, and immediately took advantage, meeting up with some pals to do a hands-on tour of food row, camping out in front of Chef Karim’s station for a spell, and taking seconds (okay, thirds) of Elements’s amazing spicy crab salad-adorned cucumber slices. Well-fed, I set out in search of the most peep-worthy partyers and found that pretty much everyone in attendance qualified. There were the men who were strictly black-tie above the belt, but sported shorts or jeans — but thankfully, no jean shorts — below; ladies in sequins, feathers, and denim; and then there were the bartenders. The poor, tuxedoed bartenders were troopers, mixing drinks at a dizzying pace, the sweat pouring out of them as copiously as the cocktails.
Returning to my crew, I was immediately instructed to turn around: Matt McAvene had taken the stage, and, true to form, was rocking out with the help of his band and several enormous, papier-mâché-looking creations. I charged up to the stage to get a shot of the action, rejoined my friends, who were busy accosting the chocolate fountain, and determined it was high time to do a lap upstairs, as the golden hour was quickly descending. Atop the rotunda, we found more beautiful people, looking even more smashing against the stunning backdrop of that incredible view, and, mercifully, a breeze. We wandered, mingled, sat, sipped, and peeped, and, before we knew it, Eddie Money, the evening’s headline performer, was about to hit the stage. We headed downstairs, weaseled our way to the front and, eventually, backstage, in time to catch a quick shot of Mr. Money and his adorable son Julian, who later joined his dad — who, by the way, rocked — onstage, treating the crowd to a taste of his skills on the drums.
Before leaving, we spotted The Palm; I ran up to tell him of my little plan, but when I turned to find my husband, he was gone.
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