I hit the ground running as a full-time Indy staffer in May of 2022, and it’s been pretty much non-stop ever since. Good thing I love it, because why else would I write more than 70 stories (and edit at least that many by other writers) during this time. Here are some of my favorites from this year.
Arts & Culture
I’ve been a journalist for decades, but until this year my arts reporting was primarily features and previews. Delving into reviews has been both challenging and fun. A few of my highlights were:
- Opera Santa Barbara Ends Season With a Wow was my first review, which starts with the line “Let me preface this by saying that I am not even remotely qualified to be an opera critic.”
- Love, Loss, and Lots to Like About Maren Morris that show that convinced me I was “a little bit country” at least for the night.
- Rod Stewart: Forever Young, Always Entertaining I had no idea what to expect with this one and had a blast.
- Siudy Garrido Flamenco Company Brings Exciting Drama interviewing Garrido before the show made this especially enjoyable. I had a similar experience with Jesse Cook, and The Head and the Heart.
- David O. Russell’s ‘Amsterdam’ at Santa Barbara International Film Festival’s Cinema Society getting to attend SBIFF director talks is one of my favorite “work perks.”
- Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio I loved the movie and admired it even more after hearing del Toro talk to Roger Durling about the painstaking process that goes into creating stop motion animation.
- Grobanized and Mesmerized at the Santa Barbara Bowl I went into this show with zero expectations and left with a deep appreciation for Josh Groban as a performer. Who knew?
Putting together our first annual roundup of reviews for the Emmy Nominees was a big undertaking, and our whole team of writers worked on A Gold Statue for the Golden Age of Television with me, including Ellie Bouwer, Callie Fausey, Koss Klobucher, Travis Weedon, and Josef Woodard. I’m looking forward to taking an even deeper dive into television in 2023 (and starting earlier!).
Talking to people about their passions has always been one of my favorite parts of being a writer, so spending time talking about all things music with Hale Milgrim and Richard Salzberg was certainly a treat (The Power of Music Comes to Downtown Santa Barbara). Chatting with D.J. Palladino and Joe Medjuck about their favorite reads (Santa Barbara Book Banter) was another really fun one that falls into this category.
This job has a lot of perks, if you’re willing to make the time for them. One of my favorite stories this year was an overnight at Hotel SLO and a visit to Paso Robles amazing Vina Robles Vineyard and Amphitheater (Summer Vibes in Paso Robles and San Luis Obispo). I’m looking forward to returning next summer.
I hadn’t been to the Rubicon in years, but excellent recent productions of In The Heights and Ain’t Misbehavin’ have made me a diehard fan. Trust me, it’s well worth the drive to Ventura for this kind of top quality entertainment. And in terms of points north, I’m also game for anything that PCPA produces at Solvang Festival Theater. Into the Woods was terrific this year.
Heading up our annual foray into the joys of the written word was pure pleasure for me. The summer reading special is definitely one I’m looking forward to writing again in 2023. So much so that I actually put out a local reading roundup this month. I hope you enjoy that one too.
For Our Home & Garden Special Issue 2022, I got to spotlight a few of my favorite things in this annual issue dedicated to design — both indoors and outside — including the always fabulous Lotusland, inspiration from our local public library, the important work of the Community Environmental Council, and local retailers like Indian Pink and Lone Tree.
Active Aging is a top of mind subject these days. For this special section,I particularly enjoyed my interviews with Marge Cafarelli and Jan Hill about their volunteer experience on the border of Ukraine and Poland (Full Hearts, Feeding Friends: Santa Barbara Women Share Their Experience Volunteering for World Central Kitchen). Sharing Sally Saenger’s lifelong passion for fitness was another really inspirational interview for me.I also really loved working on the Local Heroes special issue this year for the first time. It’s truly such a pleasure to be able to highlight so much of the GOOD going on in our community. I can’t wait to do even more of this kind of work next year!