Surf, Serious Art, Shoes, and the Susnar Property

TALENT TRILOGY: Montecitans are a talented bunch, so when they get together, it’s hard to find a stand out in the crowd. However, last Sunday, the multitalented Peter Clark had absolutely no competition for the title of Montecito’s Renaissance Man. In front of an invitation-only crowd of S.B. Maritime Museum patrons, and with wife Dallas leading the cheering fan club, Peter demonstrated a trilogy of considerable talents—that of musician, artist, and writer. (But don’t take my word for it: check out this slideshow!)

The attending mariners sailed away to the ’60 as Peter’s awesome guitar ode to Ricky Nelson brought former S.B. City Councilman Rusty Fairly to his feet for some animated impromptu be-bopping! Joining in the finger snappin’, foot-movin’ fun were actresses Elaine Calhoun, who played Nelson’s girlfriend in the classic Ozzie and Harriet TV series, and Sally Todd. They were on hand to celebrate Peter’s completion of a screenplay entitled Checkmate: The Saga of Santa Barbara, in which they, along with other Santa Barbara thespians, will have a role.

The Maritime Museum’s surf’s-up-themed event was the kick-off for upcoming surfing exhibit. The show will be installed in 2007 and the announcement that Peter’s art will be on display brought widespread audience approval. But it was the Clark’s new Butterfly Beach home and Peter’s diverse talent that drew the loudest “Cowabunga!”

You might recall the Clarks had the good fortune to live next door to Ty Warner, who bought their old house and tore it down to build a lake. Peter and Dallas, however, were not left high and dry. Warner, a copious collector of Channel Drive parcels, traded the Clarks one of his ocean-view Ty-tracks, along with some change for decorating. (According to museum insiders, Ty RSVP’d for the event but did not actually show.)


Dallas (pictured here with Peter and Laura Schneider) lost no time transforming the worn “Old Miller Place,” as it was known, into a dazzling beachfront haven. The home’s perched horizontal design allows for ocean views from almost every room and her choice of terra cotta colors naturally harmonize with nature’s azure vistas and the emerald garden created by Pat Brodie, Montecito’s talented landscape maestro. Simply put, the gazing is utterly grand!

Adding to this delightful visual cornucopia are wall after wall of Peter’s original art, ranging from detailed architectural line-work to colorful canvas creations, including a hard-to-miss abstract of a luscious reclining red-headed nude. As a young man, Peter worked as professional commercial artist and his first book illustration assignment was awarded “Children’s Book of the Year” in Australia. With maturity, his art has gained ease and depth and the caliber of mastery is notable, while his musical achievements have carried him to performances in some of the finest concert halls in Europe and Asia.

Singing his praises were Jean and Barry Schuyler along with Lynda Fairly (who retired recently as SBCC’s VP of Adult Ed only to join the Girl Scouts as CEO!). Along with nibbles from the Italian antipasto buffet, Montecito’s favorite dish, Martha Smilgis, was accepting accolades for taking Caltrans to task for obliterating the oleander on the 101. Perfectly attired in an aloha shirt, the S.B. Chamber of Commerce‘s leader Steve Cushman led a spirited auction for one of Peter’s maritime paintings. With sunset casting the golden departure beacon, but with Peter still strumming his guitar in garden, it was definitely a slow guest-go from this Montecito magical Sunday.

MONTECITO MEANDERINGS: It was hard to tell if you were in NYC’s SOhO district or downtown Santa Barbara when you entered Montecito resident Frank Goss’ new gallery. His new facility has finally provided Santa Barbara with a class-one, main street gallery venue.

The opening event honored steel sculptor Ken Bortolazzo, who has a number of installations at Westmont College, along with Jack Smith and political portrait artist John Nava. It’s the display of Mr. Nava’s floor to ceiling tapestries that cements the notion that a lofty gallery has been missing from the S.B. art scene and this one towers above the imagination. Looking more Manhattan than Montecito were art connoisseurs Derek Westen, Linda Hatch, and Jane and Dick Ellison. The show continues until January 10 at 11 East Anapamu Street.

SPEAKING OF MANHATTAN…: alerted us to a recent goss%20001.jpggoss%20003.jpggoss%20002.jpgNew York Times article criticizing Santa Barbara’s shoe choices, describing our casual elegance as “pretentiously unpretentious.” The article was entitled “Slobs at the Top” so, curious, we took some photos at the Goss opening (see photos below) and think Santa Barbara definitely put the right foot forward. We’d hate to take on big dogs, but honestly NYT, we think you put your foot in your mouth and for that we give you the Montage boot!

AND OF KICKING: There’s lots of kick, we understand, in first round of bidding for the historic Susnar property, which closes Wednesday. Interest is high in the East Valley/San Ysidro corner parcel that houses well-loved Tom’s Pharmacy, says long time Montecito resident and hotel broker Jan Atkins. (See While not the listing broker, she is watching the transaction with interest and says she’s hoping for a buyer who honors the architectural character so long identified with that landmark Montecito corner. It could sell for as high as $15 million!

CLINTON FOR ALL: In the response to some Montage comments that the Clinton appearance should have been more widely accessible, we are please dto report that, thanks to a UCSB video crew and the Santa Barbara Channels, Channel 21 will be airing the entire conversation on October 26, 27, 28, and 29. Go to for times.

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