TWO TO TANGO: I asked Sara Miller McCune, who’s starting her own magazine, if she still wants to buy the Santa Barbara News-Press.

“Yes,” she replied, “but it takes two to tango.” Meaning that owner Wendy McCaw shows no sign of wanting to put the paper on the market, despite declining readership, revenue, and prestige.

On the Beat

I cornered Miller McCune at her who’s-who cocktail party announcing formation of the nonprofit Miller-McCune Center for Research, Media, and Public Policy. The ambitious project includes a national bi-monthly public policy magazine aimed at movers and shakers. Named Miller-McCune Magazine, it will be published in April.

The center also includes the Web site, now up and running, “devoted to breaking news stories about significant policy problems.” Internships will be offered to young journalists.

Ironically, the Miller-McCune Center is at Anacapa and De la Guerra streets, a Pro Bowl football throw from the News-Press-convenient if she should ever buy the paper. (Which seems unlikely, but who knows?) Several News-Press-ers who left the paper now work at the center, including Michael Todd and Tom Jacobs.

WHATTA GOOF: The McCune event included some on the Granada Theatre board, who were outraged at what they called a highly erroneous News-Press Page One banner headline. It goofed by suggesting that the revamped theater, due to open this spring, had struck out in trying to get a liquor license.

“Theater Comes Up Dry,” the streamer read. But if you’re going to make a goof, try not to do it in big, black type. While the NP claimed “a reliable source” said the theater tried but failed to acquire the liquor license from the nearby Tupelo Junction Cafe, the Granada people strenuously denied that they’d even approached the cafe. Granada has applied with the state and officials have no doubts that the permit will be in hand soon. (Wonder where that restaurant tip came from?)

Ironically, owner Wendy McCaw previously pledged $5 million to the Granada project, some of it paid, the rest of it due over several more years.

Will the Granada show movies when its regular clients, like the Santa Barbara Symphony and Community Arts Music Association, aren’t using the theater? The word is that while the Granada doesn’t plan to show first-run flicks, there could be festivals of classic films when there’s a period of a few weeks when nothing else is planned.

LOST THEIR PLACE: John Peale, “a longtime supporter” of Sen. Hillary Clinton, is angry about the chaos outside her UCSB appearance last week that resulted in Peale and his girlfriend (along with hundreds of others) being pushed out of line and not getting to see the candidate. “We both left work early to get in line by 4 p.m.” and were given numbers 658 and 659 to be admitted, Peale said. But, Peale, 55, said students started letting others in, and by the announced time of her appearance, “the line broke down completely” and they were shoved out. “It sounds like this entire campaign stop was ill-conceived and extremely poorly executed,” Peale told me. Also, the venue was too small, according to Peale and other critics.

SQUARE ONE: If you haven’t heard of the restaurant of that name at 14 East Cota Street, it may be because it doesn’t advertise. But come April 29, the TV world will discover it when terrible-tempered Gordon Ramsay airs one of his Hell’s Kitchen food segments. Square One owner/chef Jason Tuley (Caitlin Scholle is co-owner) beat out some other Santa Barbara eateries by wowing judges with the best hamburger. So Ramsay treated the winning team from one of his competitions by flying them to Square One last October and taping the fun. The winning burger was an exotic combination of Kobe beef, shredded short ribs, foie gras, and truffle-mushroom sauce, according to Caitlin’s dad, Greg Gonce.

SULLIVANS’ TRAVELS: On our way through Ventura the other night, Sue and I decided to stop at Tutti’s Off Main, where Susan and Winston Sullivan relocated after losing their lease on Coast Village Road a few years ago. This is fine dining in a beautiful room about a half-block from Main Street at 34 North Palm Street. Desserts are huge. They also own S.B.’s Tuttini Bakery & Cafe (10 E. Carrillo St.).

FEST PIX: There are the headliner movies at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, and then the serious gems that don’t always get the ink. We Played Marbles: Remembering a Stolen Childhood captures the heartbreaking stories of 11 Santa Barbara area residents who survived the Holocaust. The Debt is about Israelis who capture, then lose, then re-encounter a Nazi death camp doctor/fiend. In the documentary The Man of Two Havanas, a daughter, Vivien Lesnik Weisman, explores her Miami journalist father’s passion for his troubled homeland of Cuba. South Coast writer Ann Louise Bardach adds commentary.


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