Map of California

Dance of Ages: When Tamara Kinsell was dancing the lead in the ballet Giselle in Paris years ago, she did not know that she was pregnant. When the baby girl arrived, Tamara named her – what else? – Giselle. The girl grew up to become Giselle Usher, and for 13 years her Gisella’s Trattoria fed patrons of the nearby Arlington Theatre. But Giselle was always too busy to attend a performance. Tamara became founder of the original Santa Barbara Ballet Theater. The restaurant is gone, but tonight Giselle and her mother will attend the Arlington performance of Giselle. Nina Ananiashvilli will dance the part with the State Ballet of Georgia.

On the Beat

Southern Strategy: Arthur Sylvester and others take serious issue with my claim that we live in Southern California, not “Central California” or on the “Central Coast.” I even have one friend who insists that “Southern California” doesn’t even exist. After you leave L.A., it’s all Central California in his mind, and his family has lived here since Father Jun-pero Serra was playing volleyball at East Beach.

While I maintain that this “Central Coast” business is probably a figment of TV marketing, Sylvester claims that the “L.A. Times and the Southern California Automobile Club are the main culprits for promulgating ‘Southern California.’ Just as you point out, it is not a geographically defined or geographically formal area, therefore, according to the U.S. Board on Geographic Names, it should not be capitalized. Thus, it should be southern California. Have you ever seen Northern Washington used in the way we use Northern California? How about Southern South Dakota? Western Missouri? Oh sure, you’ll see Northern Illinois University, Southern Illinois University, but is there an Eastern Alabama? And contrary to some pundits, cardinal directions are not capitalized either, except perhaps on weather vanes. I think we just have to give up and let the Times and the Southern California Auto Club continue to perpetuate their misuse of southern California, unless or until either one – or both – defines just what is ‘Southern California,’ and get that name and location approved by the U.S. Board on Geographic Names.”

Sorry Arthur, but Southern California is not just a place, it’s a feeling. Turn the corner at Gaviota and it’s a different feeling. Let’s not quibble about capitalization. See you at the East-West game in SoCal.

Scam-a-Car: “YOU HAVE WON!” screamed the e-mail. Yes, three million pounds of sterling silver and a 2008 Toyota are yours.

“I don’t think so,” scoffs Emma Lou Deimer. “Have you gotten one of these?” No, but one is waiting in my inbox right now. I checked with

It said: “Lottery scams are one of the most common types of fraudulent e-mail currently hitting inboxes. The Toyota Car Promotions e-mail is an example of one of these scam e-mails. Be wary of unsolicited e-mail that informs you that you have won a large sum of money or other prizes in an international lottery. There is no lottery and no prizes. Those who initiate a dialogue with the scammers by replying to the lottery scam e-mails will eventually be asked for advanced fees to cover expenses associated with delivery of the supposed ‘winnings.’ They may also become the victims of identity theft. The e-mail is in no way promoted or endorsed by Toyota.”

Idiot’s Delight: No, not the next election, but Robert E. Sherwood‘s zany play, to be performed by Theater UCSB on Friday, February 29 through Saturday, March 1 and March 6-8. Idiot’s Delight won a Pulitzer in 1936 and was made into a movie in 1939. It’ll be staged at Hatlen Theatre. Call 893-7221 for info.

Barney Brantingham can be reached at or (805) 965-5205. He writes online columns on Tuesdays and Fridays and a print column on Thursdays.


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