The S.B. Questionnaire: Karen Killingsworth

An Interview with the Arlington Theatre Manager

Karen Killingsworth
Paul Wellman

Most days during my lunch break, I walk from my office near Micheltorena Street and through Santa Barbara’s gorgeous downtown. I’m always struck by how lively our city is, and I have this habit of stopping and chatting with so many characters who make our Santa Barbara as vibrant as it is. Personalities abound.

A few months ago, I started thinking that it would be great to have Santa Barbarians answer a variation on the Proust questionnaire. The format is rooted in the end of the 19th century, when English families started a trend of answering questions that supposedly revealed one’s personality. The writer Marcel Proust popularized it, and the questionnaire has been since named after him. They’re short questions that are meant to reveal the tastes and aspirations of the person who responds them.

“You know, I’m not that interesting,” replied Karen Killingsworth, the long-time manager at the Arlington Theatre, when I told her that she would be my first interviewee. But if you’ve ever been to the theater’s box office and interacted with her, you probably know differently. She doesn’t suffer fools. She’s all business. But she’s passionate about her work, about safe-keeping the Arlington and running it smoothly. And gruffness aside, she’s a very caring person. The Arlington is in good hands.

What do you appreciate the most about your job?

The opportunity to experience the rich cultural diversity of our communuity through the interaction with people attending the varied events at the Arlington.

Your favorite qualities about Santa Barbarians?

They tend to be laid back and friendly.

Your present state of mind?

Always curious and hungry for knowledge.

Your idea of happiness in this city?

Our weather, especially the days the Chamber of Commerce loves to use in brochures.

Your idea of misery?

Being caught in a bad traffic jam and seeing people hurt.

What neighborhood do you live in?

I live in the vicinity of Hidden Valley.

Which neighborhood do you want to live in?

If I had my choice, I would live on the Mesa with both ocean and mountain views.

The natural talent you’d like to be gifted with?

Being a math wizard.

What’s your most memorable moment at the Arlington?

Being summoned by Tom Cruise to get him popcorn.

What is your personal motto?

Learn something new every day and travel more!


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