Landmark Peeping

New Granada Turns One

Steve Graves, Aliza Segal, Sarah Rathbone, Tucker Hirsch, and Andrew Berner
Shannon Kelley

In case you don’t remember, last Thursday was bloody cold. Frigid. Like, cold at a level that renders the typical Santa Barbara wardrobe totally inept. Sundown saw me attempting to bundle up-which is to say, in make-the-best-of-this-stinking-sucking-economy, “shop-your-closet” speak, it saw me digging through coats so old and unused I emerged sneezing from the dust. Sneezing, but ultimately doing so from the confines of a warm jacket I’d all but forgotten about, a jacket that happened to offer the added benefit of being cute.

All this bundling was employed to get me a mere five blocks, from my house to the Granada Theatre, where I’d not been since-well, since a film festival after-party a couple of years ago, where I’d hoped to find George Clooney, but instead discovered a couple of underpants-clad Peeps fanatics. (Love you girls, I swear! I’d so much rather have met you than Mr. Clooney. Really.) And that went down at the height of the remodel, and in the parking lot.

For years, it seemed, the construction dragged on, leaving the theater in S.B.’s tallest building in all of downtown out of commission, shrouded in rumor and scaffolding. But one day, the scaffolding came down, rumors merged with reality, and the venerable theater was once again open for biz. I walk past the landmark nearly every day, and maybe it’s this familiarity that has kept me from thinking about it-until, that is, I received an invitation to a combo 1st Thursday/1st Birthday celebration.

Has it really been a year? I thought to myself.

Funny, isn’t it, how familiarity breeds that certain brand of fuzziness, rendering things you see every day effectively invisible? Regardless, I realized it was high time I check it out. And so, last Thursday, I did.

And immediately, upon stepping inside the vast lobby, I realized/remembered, “Oh yeah, the Granada’s like a real theater!” (Ditching my outermost layers, I also gave thanks for the toasty inside temps.) I made my way up the rounded staircase to where the action was, finding a lovely scene featuring wine, peeps, music provided by an under-aged orchestra with legal-level talent, and a Crushcakes display that was cruelly cordoned off, awaiting an official “Happy Birthday” moment. Frosting-blocked, I wandered out to the second-floor balcony seats, taking in the amazingly rich, ornate, ogle-worthy sight.

Hot damn! I thought. Free wine and alleged cupcakes are cool and all, but I couldn’t wait to come back to really see the place in action. Bundled up for the quick walk home, I felt stoked, loving the fun of discovering-or rediscovering-a gem in my own backyard. Not to mention my closet.