The S.B. Questionnaire: David Asbell

Leader of the Lobero on Bo Diddley, Fear of Failure, and Friends with Boats

Photo: Paul Wellman.

Monday, January 6, 2014
via Santa Barbara Independent

 

When I approached David Asbell to answer the Proust Questionnaire, the executive director of the Lobero Theatre Foundation replied, “Sure, but I’m pretty boring.”

David, who has successfully run one of Santa Barbara’s performing arts jewels for years before recently spearheading its renovation, is self-deprecating and low-key, but I would never call him boring. He’s passionate about the arts in our city, and many nonprofits in our culturally sophisticated town are indebted to his devotion and commitment. One of my personal highlights of running the Santa Barbara International Film Festival for the past decade has been to call this patron of the arts my friend.

Real the full questionnaire here… including these highlights: 

What is it you like most about your job?

It seems so central and important to our community. I have always worked in the arts and this particular job gives me a sense of accomplishment like no other job I have had.

What is the best thing about the new Lobero?

The best physical thing is our new entryway, the Esplanade. It is a much nicer space to meet and gather before and during a performance.

What’s your all-time favorite memory about the Lobero?

Having a drink after the concert with Bo Diddley in one of the upstairs dressing rooms. He was getting on in life, was really tired, and just opened up to me. We didn’t talk about anything all that important, but I felt I got a sense of him as a person and he had lived this incredible life. Very special.

What is your motto?

Never leave your wallet backstage.

Holiday Wishes

The Lobero Theatre Foundation would like to wish all of our friends and fans a wonderful holiday season.

We hope you’ll join us tomorrow night, December 17, for a Holiday Open house from 5-7 p.m. Enjoy self-guided tours, refreshments, music by Vocal Point, and holiday cheer galore. Free!

If you haven’t had a chance to come by and catch a show yet, this is a great opportunity to check out the refreshed space.  Click to read our invitation

Lob-Holiday-Card-2013_web1 Lob-Holiday-Card-2013_web2

Re-opening Week Wrap-up

Hot Guitars… a Chilly First Thursday… and a Cool Historic Theatre District.

It’s been one week since the Lobero re-opened its doors after completion of the Encore: Lobero preservation work — and it’s been a killer first week back. On Wednesday night, Dec. 4, Warren Miller Films kicked things off with Ticket to Ride, the newest installment of adreneline-fueled ski ventures across the globe to a packed house.

Then on Thursday night, the Lobero Theatre Foundation opened up the new Esplanade from 7:30-9:30 pm for 1st Thursday: After Hours. This the first of six events hosted by the newly formed Historic Theatre District. Below is a gallery of brave folks who ventured out on a chilly evening for this fun event which included magic by Mark Collier, noshes from Sojourner Cafe, and beer from Figueroa Mountain Brewing Co. Congratulations go out to 1st Thursday: After Hours raffle winners, Glenn & Lynda Van Patter, who can look forward to attending three stellar performances at all three theaters in the historic theatre district. (Look for more info from this partnership in the next few months.)

Then on Friday, Dec. 6, the Notes for Notes benefit concert with Jimmy Vivino & the Basic Cable Band with headliners including Slash and Alan Parsons brought down the house. It was a truly incredible evening of shredding for a most worthy cause. We’re already counting down to next year!

“We’re a working theater — We don’t take a lot of time to celebrate how cool we are, man. We just reopen and go back to work!” – Lobero Technical Director Todd Jared 

If you haven’t been by yet, grab a ticket to an upcoming show!

Tonight’s going to be an excellent performance by Los Angeles rockers Dawes, who were interviewed by the Independent last week. We’ve got great holiday entertainment from the Santa Barbara Choral Society this weekend and Santa Barbara Revels next weekend. Otherwise, you’re invited to come check out the new space during the Lobero’s Holiday Open House from 5-7 p.m. on December 17.

Read more from the news & interwebs, and check out a few photos below. Cheers!

 

 

 

 

Encore Lobero: November dispatch

November Behind-the Scenes construction photos

The show must go on!

With the Lobero’s first event on December 4, (aka, TONIGHT) November’s behind-the-scenes shots are showing that the end of the dust is mess is near. New seats have been installed, the remodeled bathrooms are taking shape, the lobby and promenade have been repainted, and new acoustical fabric has been hung on the auditorium back wall. Other important updates to the Lobero’s accessibility programs are in place, including braille signage, hearing loop technology, and new wheelchair ramps and lifts. You’ll see updated signs throughout the theatre. Plus, check out a closer look the Lobero’s new Olive Trees.

Watch the new seats being installed over the course of three days here, in less than 90 seconds.

and, as you may have seen in a previous post, the Lobero received two new, mature Olive trees. Watch the exciting process of these large trees being planted here.

Thanks to David Bazemore for the vids, and shots below — and thank you for keeping up to date with all the Encore: Lobero progress. Our Encore Season has officially begun!

 

Dawes works through writer’s block

Better call in a specialist.

In this new clip for Funny or Die, Los Angeles-based “American Folk Rock” band Dawes gets a “fixer” to help them find new musical inspiration. 

Catch Dawes live at the Lobero on December 11 with special guest Blake Mills, and see how much the Grouchy Ladybug has influenced their sound.

You can buy your tickets, here… and, looks like my work here is done.

*Warning, contains some NSFW language.

Lobero Theatre Welcomes New Olive Trees

Lobero Theatre Foundation plants mature, fungus-resistant Olive Trees to replace those lost during construction.

We heard you! The Lobero Theatre Foundation celebrates the arrival of two new olive trees, planted on Thursday, November 7 as replacements for those removed during Encore: Lobero construction due to their poor condition caused by a fungus in the soil. This posed a particular challenge to the Lobero–not only to find suitably sized replacements, but also to make sure that the new trees will be resistant to the Verticillium that infected their predecessors. Lobero Theatre Board member Tim Casey and his wife Louise stepped up to the task, traveling all the way to Visalia in order to find the perfect trees.

“We as the Board took this responsibility
very seriously; we knew the trees were very important.
To be able to honor the community’s wishes and
preserve this aspect of the Lobero’s history
was the best possible outcome.”
– Tim Casey, Lobero Theatre Foundation
board member

Bob Cunningham, of Arcadia Studio Landscape Architecture, reports that the newly planted olive trees are of the Ascolano variety, which is the oldest verticillium-resistant variety in terms of its presence in the United States. The larger tree trunk has the same knobbed characteristics of the previous tree, and enjoys a healthy height and span on the Lobero lawn. The ages of both trees are believed to be near 75 years old with the larger of the two closer to 100 years old.

All photos by David Bazemore.

Encore: Lobero Behind the Scenes

October Lowdown

Preservation work in October saw the tides turning, as items are now being installed instead of removed. There is beautiful tile work taking shape in the newly enlarged restrooms, and there’s a sneak peek of the extensive drainage and plumbing now in place below the Esplanada. The huge system of scaffolding was removed from the auditorium once ceiling preservation work was finished. Concrete was beginning to be poured outside, and, at time of this writing, the original bricks are being returned to the Esplanade in order to be re-installed in the new configuration.

Take a look at the Lobero’s iconic Spanish-revival chandelier as it’s lifted back to its rightful home. Now, that’s a good sign that things are returning to normal.


Enjoy October’s gallery, below.

Ghost Stories

“The Lobero Ghost Project”

The intrepid Matt “Muahaha” Mazza, of the Santa Barbara Sentinal spent a few chilling hours in the Lobero Theatre last week in his own “Blair Witch Project” to bring us a spooky Halloween story. Read all about Matt’s experience in the full story below and here

The Lobero  has stood on its current spot for 140 years, racking up thousands of live performances, hours of raw emotion in theatrical performances, energy spent in musical performance… seems like an ideal playground for spirits.

“Theaters are places filled with lots of intensity, places that are full of meaning.
I think some of that energy remains.” – Nancy Moore, former executive director

The Lobero Theatre staff and stage crew make allowances for our, how shall I say, ‘bodily-challenged’ guests, by leaving a light on all night, every night – the Ghostlight.

First, and most commonly encountered, is former stagehand and night watchmen, Harry Pideola. Harry passed away in the theatre, and continues to make his presence known to staff here alone after dark, stomping around or playing tricks. The other, Dr. Frank Fowler, a founding member of the Alcahema Theatre Group, has been known to turn up in the crowd or wings of the stage in his top hat and tails, eager to share in that curtain call.

We’ve embraced the philosophy behind the ghostlight and the “spirits” of the Lobero for a select group donors, who keep the lights on and the “muses” at home in this historic hall. (Learn more about this crucial group, and email Jim Dougherty if you have any questions.)

As we stand on the edge of the Lobero’s next 140 years, it’s fun to look back, and see what memories remain–some, more viscerally than others… I’m looking at you Harry. 

Happy Halloween!

*originally posted October 30, 2013

 

Special Edition: Editors’ notes

Go behind the scenes with this special edition of Backstage at the Lobero

With our newest issue of Backstage at the Lobero landing in mailboxes, and digital distribution now complete, I wanted to follow up with a few personal notes about this special edition, as the editor. Starting from the cover — a striking image of the Gail Towbes Auditorium without any seats in it — to the personal stories of contractors, donors, and passionate friends who have made all this possible.

I had been hesitant to show photos of the theatre during demolition, close-ups of cobwebs and the general grimy nature of construction… I didn’t want our friends to worry about what was happening behind closed doors, but I wanted to share some of the exciting bits of renovation. (Full disclosure: I’m an avid DIY-er in my own home, and fan of all the related television series.)

As with any issue of BACKSTAGE, it’s the stories that have the most heart, and remind us why the Lobero is Santa Barbara’s favorite theatre. For example, the Lobero’s newest board member, Steve Hayes, shares a personal story about meeting legendary jazz-man Wynton Marsalis with his son. Comedian Jonathan Winters‘ memorial was held at the Lobero Theatre earlier in 2013, and many stories and photos of him and his friends at the theatre came to light. This is also the first time the Lobero LIVE has listed some of the exciting Encore Season events, so remember, you’re the first to read about them. (Stay tuned, more to come!)

The issue can be downloaded here, if you have, or create, an account. Enjoy it on your digital device, anytime.

 

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BACKSTAGE AT THE LOBERO

Behind the scenes of 
Encore: Lobero Preservation work 

Download the Full Issue

  

Don’t forget, the Lobero will re-open in December with new seats, bigger restrooms, heating and air conditioning, and improved access for all patrons as a part of Encore: Lobero. Learn more at LovetheLobero.com.

32 Bar Blues

New catalogue features Lobero’s photogenic side

There’s a new clothing company based off Cota Street in downtown Santa Barbara company with an innovative catalogue, Meet 32 Bar Blues, who produces quality apparel with casual styling. They also feature music by noted artists and clever tech pieces that folks who appreciate a Marshall amp will dig.

Baby Ride With Me jacket seated in Row J

Just before closing to begin Encore: Lobero preservation work in June, 32 Bar Blues came in to shoot their products for the fall catalogue throughout the Lobero theatre.

There’s great shots of supple leather jackets slung over seats, shoes tapping on guitar pedals, and sweaters hung in the dressing rooms. Fans of the theatre will have fun pointing out all the Lobero locations used in the instagram-styled book, and jazz and blues fans will enjoy the spliced insights from John Scofield and more. Live music fans should check out  the Marshall ipod speaker and their selection of music available for sale by, wouldn’t you know it, a few Lobero LIVE alum. Best of all, proceeds on music and other arts pieces goes directly back to the artists.

The clothes and other pieces look comfortable and worn-in, unpretentious and full of deep knowledge and experience–kinda like the Lobero. The catalogue is available now by request, and we fully encourage you to learn more about 32 Bar Blues – a company committed to finding “the sweet spot where commerce and art meet.”