Mekayla Alter, Sarah Poyourow, and Emily Zienkiewicz
Shannon Kelley

It was about a week into the holiday season when, sitting at my desk, eyeing the following week in my calendar and realizing, with some-admittedly, not much-trepidation that I’d committed to not less than nine parties in a five-day stretch, when an invitation appeared in my inbox that somehow managed to catch my eye. It was from Marty Bebout, one half of the team behind the Santa Barbara dynasty that is Blue Bee, and the subject line read: “The Bears and the Bees Block Party.” Hmmm, I thought.

Now, the reason it caught my eye is a mystery, a riddle, on par with the eternal chicken-or-egg conundrum. Perhaps it was the use of the term “block party,” which took me back to my carefree kiddie days, and the annual Fourth of July fiesta that went down on my street and inevitably ended in some random kid’s sobs. Or maybe it was that all four of the Blue Bee shops on the 900 block of State Street were participating, or that, within their walls I’d find: (a) Peeps playing Rock Band II and poker, makeup applications by Walter Claudio and fake eyelashes courtesy of Honey’s; (b) Free food, provided by Los Arroyos at one store, Matador at another; (c) DJ Matty Matt spinning the tunes for a fashion show emceed by Kelly LeBrock; or (d) An open bar.

While each is compelling in its own right, the clincher was this: tix were $50 a pop, all to benefit the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation. And the kickoff time was right after my first party of the evening ended. Regardless, I replied yes before I could stop myself, or consider that my liver might well shrivel up and fall out, or that I might try to factor in some sleep, or that my annual yuletide cold had yet to materialize, and this fateful RSVP might leave me crawling into a ZiCam bottle, not to emerge until jolly old St. Nick himself arrived, via chimney, to pull me out. Maybe I am just an incorrigible party girl whose no-saying skills leave a little to be desired. Or maybe I’m a glutton for punishment.

Reader, I went for it. And it was every bit as fabulous as the invite suggested, and Marty and John Doucette (the other half of the Blue Bee brain trust) were even gracious enough to allow Eos, who’d contributed the bar, bartenders, and all of its contents, to pour red wine, and Los Arroyos to offer guacamole. In Blue Bee, with all those delicious, unattainable (for yours truly, anyway) duds glistening from their racks. If this does not smack of some truly charitable souls, I can’t think what does. Kelly LeBrock was hilarious as the models rocked the runway-ready pieces up for auction, and I made it through yet another party. And the next one, and the next, and the one after that.

The week was a delightful blur, and I’m content to have reached the other side : parked, as I am, on the couch, with a box of Kleenex, a cup of tea, a blanket, and a bottle of ZiCam. Dammit.


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