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The Word from Around Town

GORED, NOT BORED: Writer/artist/raconteur Barnaby Conrad is sending out holiday cards showing photos of matadors getting tossed and gored. The caption: “You See, Things Could Be Worse.”

As a young man, Conrad fought bulls before he got rich via his blockbuster book Matador, as I wrote in my book, Barney’s Santa Barbara. Conrad performed 48 times in Spain, billed as El Ni±o de California (The California Kid). Lured back into the bull ring at age 36, he was gored, almost fatally. After hearing the news, Eva Gabor ran into No»l Coward and said, “Dahling, did you hear about poor Barnaby Conrad? He was gored in Spain.”

On the Beat

“He was what?” asked Brit playwright Coward. “Gored,” Gabor repeated. “Thank heavens, Coward replied. “I thought you said bored.”

BIGFOOT: Global warming may give you the shivers but the young woman in a current New Yorker cartoon has a different slant. She tells a woman friend: “I hate to admit it, but a man with a big carbon footprint makes me hot.”

NO GLORY IN LOMPOC: Morninglory Music is closing its doors and turning off the tunes after 13 years in Lompoc. Why? Victim of competition from iPods and online music downloading. Kids are not buying CDs. But the downtown Santa Barbara store, where my wife Sue hangs out, will remain open, clerks tell me.

POOR TASTE: Bill Tomiki’s Entree travel newsletter filed this under its “What is the World Coming To Department”: “Friends of ours were denied a table at Trattoria Nostrani in Santa Fe because ‘Madame’ was wearing too much perfume. ‘We are a fragrance-free establishment,’ scolded the ma®tre d’. He then threatened to call the police when our pals refused to leave. It was a Saturday night and they had no place to go. We would be the first to complain if a fellow diner had overdone the Shalimar so we understand this a bit. But maybe it could have been handled better? Are guests advised of this policy when they make a reservation? Can smelly guests be seated outdoors? And at a new restaurant in Ventura (very ‘hip’ for Ventura), when the waiter was asked for salt and pepper he replied, ‘We don’t believe in adding salt.’ To which we replied, ‘And we don’t believe in tips.'”

NO STINKIN’ LICENSES: Driving drunk and/or without a license? You’re risking big trouble. Santa Barbara police held checkpoints last weekend in the 800 block of East Haley Street and 1400 block of Cliff Drive and nabbed 14 drivers with no licenses or driving on a suspended one. In addition to the citations, their vehicles were impounded. And over the weekend, nine other people were arrested for DUI, three of them without licenses. How many of them had no insurance, I shudder to contemplate.

LAST CURTAIN CALL: Santa Barbara actors and other theater folks turned out at Center Stage Theater Monday night to honor the late Robert Grande Weiss, who founded Santa Barbara’s Ensemble Theatre 27 years ago, and directed so many of its plays. Weiss, 71, died November 6 of cancer. Carole Ann Cole, wife of Bud Bottoms, recalled, “Way back when Ben [Bottoms] and Karlyn Burns were playing Romeo and Juliet, Otto Layman was playing Mercutio (I think). Anyhow, during a fight scene, Otto lost hold of his [wooden stage] saber, which flew into the audience and hit my oldest daughter in the chest. She stood up, returned the saber to Otto, who bowed down to her. At the end of the play, he stepped forward and handed her a rose. We’ve always thought that was her initiation into the theater because she is now a professional opera singer [Eudora Giamporcaro], and you can’t get more dramatic than that!”

Someone else recalled a scene in which an actor was supposed to draw back his arm to drive a stake into a vampire’s heart. When he moved to strike, the lights were supposed to go out, a sound effect was supposed to give a thunk of the stake being driven in, then a woman’s scream. Well, three times the actor raised his arm and moved down, and three times the lights didn’t go out. But true to stage tradition, the show went on. (Ensemble needs your support. Send tax-deductible donations to P.O. Box 2307, S.B. 93120.)

HER CONFESSION: Cracked a redhaired woman at the Weiss memorial to a friend: “I’m not a lapsed Catholic, I’m a collapsed Catholic.”

ADIOS, ANDALUCA: Santa Barbara’s downtown Hotel Andaluc-a, only a couple of years old, is being remodeled and will get a new name when it’s re-launched next month: Canary. It remains open, although the restaurant has been relocated to the bottom floor while the former 31 West main dining room is being revamped to become Coast.

ARLINGTON WEST: Tom Urban, part of the group that stages the Arlington West memorial on the beach next to Stearns Wharf on Sundays, said they could use more volunteers. Info at 965-5152.

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