Much like most everyone else in this city, my week has been filled to the brim with horror stories of friends and acquaintances who’ve lost their homes, belongings, and precious memories in last week’s Tea Fire. The lives of so many who called the Mountain Drive community home are driven and sustained by the arts. Sadly, numerous music makers and art creators who have contributed so much to the Santa Barbara area have seen the fruits of their creative labors reduced to little more than ash and soot. In our little Indy office alone, editorial designer, illustrator, and doodling maestro Ben Ciccati returned home last week to find his house and art studio all but burned to the ground.

In the world of music, Area 51 frontman Michael Andrews, composer, teacher, and recording artist Cameron Tummel, and the Moog-loving duo behind the Volt Per Octaves, Nick and Anna Montoya, all lost almost everything in last Thursday’s Tea Fire. (The laundry list of destroyed equipment Nick listed off in a recent email even brought a tear to my non-gear-savvy eye.) “But of course, that’s all just material goods,” he rationalized. “We are all safe, as well as our neighbors, which is all that really matters.”

And it is optimism much like Montoya’s that seems to be persevering in the wake of this tragedy. “After losing everything I own in this fire, what I want most of all is to play music and to give that gift to my community,” said Andrews in an announcement earlier this week. He and the rest of Area 51 will play a very special show this Saturday, November 22, at Stateside (1114 State St.) starting at 9:30 p.m. Earlier in the day, Tummel and his youth percussion ensemble, the Hot Shots will be performing in front of the downtown Borders Books (900 State St.) this Saturday, November 22 at 2 and 3 p.m.

Meanwhile, those of us simply searching for a way to help can rest assured that the S.B. music community is doing all they can to get people up, out, and giving to those who need it most. Tonight, Twiin Productions will present A Benefit Concert for the Tea Fire Burn Victims at Stateside at 8 p.m. The show will feature live music from Iration, Still Time, and Jeffa. Together with Brown & Brown Insurance, Deckers, Rabobank, Santa Barbara Bank & Trust, Ultimate Boarder,, the Bay Cafe, Playback Recording, and Locals Night, Twiin Productions has been able to score more than $7,500 in gifts that will be put up for auction tonight. Tickets, which are available online at, are $12 presale, $15 at the door, and all firefighters get in for free. A silent auction will take place throughout the night, and raffle tickets will also be available for purchase. To make donations, or for more information, visit

On Sunday, November 23, Statemynt (519 State St.) will play host to The Statemynt Tea Party: A Benefit for the Victims of the Santa Barbara/Montecito Fire. Presented by Katz Productions and the Santa Barbara Blues Society, the night of music will feature live tunes from S.B. bluesmen Orlando Napier and the Cats ‘n’ Dogs. DJ Matty Matt will take over song duty for the late night crowd. While a $5 donation is suggested, Statemynt will also be donating 10 percent of all bar sales and all tips to those displaced by the fire. A raffle will take place throughout the night as well. The party starts at 8 p.m. sharp. Call 448-8234 for details and info.


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