“It was almost exactly 20 years ago that David Asbell accepted the position of executive director at the Lobero Theatre… he not only brought the kind of savvy that only comes from working backstage, but he also brought a profound vision of what the Lobero Theatre could become: Santa Barbara’s beating creative heart. By establishing a welcoming atmosphere and by being open to a creative team that includes such area luminaries as Hale Milgrim, Dianne Vapnek, Peggie Jones, and Stephen Cloud, Asbell has turned the Lobero into what we need most, in good times and bad: a blessed community of like-minded people, alive to the arts and ready to listen and share the love of great music, ideas, dance, and theater.” (Read the full story)
For the past 20 years, David has worked hard to make the Lobero the bustling, vibrant performing arts venue that it is. He created the Lobero LIVE and Jazz at the Lobero series, bringing truly legendary artists to the stage. He has had a leading role in the completion of more than $10 million in major renovations behind the scenes and in the auditorium. Most important, David has championed the Lobero’s essential role as a community resource, a place that our local artists call home. From the Chamber Orchestra to the Film Festival to Sings Like Hell – they are all welcomed here by the man at the helm.
This Thanksgiving, the Lobero Board and Staff are thankful for David and all he’s created.
I am the Talent Director/coordinator. I work closely with all the families and dancers on scheduling and provide them with all the necessary information needed to perform in Teen Dance Star. I am also their main point person if they have any concerns. I am like their backstage mama!
Can you tell me a bit more about your background in dance and/or in presenting dance in Santa Barbara? I understand you’ve worn quite a few hats!
My training originally started out as a gymnast and I crossed over into dance later. I danced for several small boutique dance companies in Los Angeles and Miami. I was the former Dance Director of a cirque troupe based in Los Angeles called Zen Arts, and performed regularly with The Diamond Betties. I relocated to Santa Barbara upon taking the position as Entertainment Director of The Savoy where I created an in-house cirque show called “Gypzy Suite” that featured elements of eclectic cabaret. Over the past two years, I have been creating and working on an immersive theatrical show with elements of cabaret and acrobatics called “When The Lights Go Out” which originally debuted at The Carr Winery in 2014 and had a run at the beautiful Lobero Theatre last November. In recent years, I performed solo burlesque for local charities like Teddy Bear Foundation and even did a little gig for first Thursday at The Lobero in 2014.
I am also a board member for Arts Mentorship Program, an organization that provides creative guidance, mentorship, and financial support to young and emerging performing artists in the greater Santa Barbara Area. I am most inspired by the edgy underground burlesque scene out of Los Angeles and the new wave of immersive theatre that is taking the performance world by storm.
Can you elaborate a bit about the collaboration between the Arts Mentorship Program / Teen Dance Star / and the Lobero Theatre foundation?
Teen Dance Star has teamed up with the Arts Mentorship Program (AMP) to expand access to the performing arts in our community. The proceeds from the Showcase Final will create scholarship funds for low-income and at risk youth to train at local dance studios administered by AMP. Arts Mentorship Program has the existing infrastructure to administrate the scholarship request, while Teen Star has a successful model of producing quality events that showcase youth performing arts.
This partnership is important since the mission of Teen Star is to support youth in performing arts with the goal to nurture talent by inspiring passion, instilling drive for success and encouraging excellence and professionalism. Teen Dance Star is a year-long program where the finalists act as ambassadors in the community while leaving legacy to help educate a generation of dancers who would not otherwise have access.
What would you like to see for the future of Teen Dance Star?
Growth. I would love for all of the dancers in Santa Barbara County to realize that they can do this. I would love to see more of a variety of styles of dance come out and audition. This year we did not have many dancers representing hip-hop, ballroom, or flamenco come to audition; and I want to encourage them to participate.
Do you have any favorite moments performing at the Lobero Theatre?
Performing my show at The Lobero was a magical experience. Not only is the stage an absolute dancer’s dream–but the staff and crew are magnificent as well! They are incredibly supportive, and make you feel as though your show is equally as important to them as it is to you. When The Lights Go Out had a unique format in the fact that the audience was seated on the stage with the performers, which could have been a technical nightmare for the crew, but they handled it flawlessly. I also love the fact that it is one of California’s oldest working theaters; to me it has a David Lynch-esque vintage vibe.
It’s been one week since 12 lucky Lobero supporters (and two even luckier staffers) headed out on an epic roadtrip to see Adele at the Staples Center.
To say that Adele has been on a hot streak lately would be a major understatement. The husky-voiced British singer has captured the attention of the world with her classy throwback style; signature winged eyeliner, and emotionally charged songs that speak to anyone with feelings. With her third album 25 at the top of the charts, and a completely sold out worldwide tour underway, 2016 was the summer of Adele.
Adele burst onto the scene in 2008, winning two GRAMMY® awards for her debut album, 19. Her follow-up, 21, was also a huge success, and Adele continued to collect awards and break records. Her newest album 25 was released in 2015 and has already sold over 100 million copies, making Adele one of the best-selling recording artists in the world. Her 2016 world tour quickly sold out, making this opportunity even more exciting.
12 lucky Lobero supporters were able to enjoy Adele’s sold-out show at the Staples Center on August 10, as very special bonus for naming a seat at their favorite hometown venue. Those who dedicated a seat made a valuable contribution to the theatre and got to share the unforgettable experience of the Lobero’s first roadtrip. Guests kicked off the afternoon by getting to know each other and discussing their favorite shows at the Lobero to a soundtrack of past Lobero LIVE artists, and enjoying snacks from C’est Cheese and beverages in souvenir wine glasses. After battling Los Angeles traffic, the gang got to enjoy a catered buffet including prime rib, potato pancakes, and chocolate-covered strawberries. Once Adele took the stage, everyone was primed for a terrific performance. Between her inspiring songs, she posed for selfies, told hilarious personal stories, and proved that she is the most down-to-earth superstar imaginable.
A long time ago (2009), in a magical land (Santa Barbara), Lara Hollaway and Mathew Edwardsen were cast together in Opera Santa Barbara‘s performance of Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic operetta “The Pirates of Penzance” as Kate and Frederic.
In the musical, for those not familiar, Frederic falls for the character of Mabel — but in this performance, it was Mabel’s sister Kate, who stole this Frederic’s heart. (That’s Lara as Kate in purple, and Mathew as Frederic)
Two years later, Mathew proposed to Lara on the stage of the Lobero, and a few months later they were married in a short ceremony underneath the Lobero’s beautiful olive tree–officiated by “Pirates” director Miller James. Also attending the ceremony was Lara’s son Jordan Lemmond and the couple’s dear friend Shannon Saleh, who played Edith in “Pirates.”
“Needless to say, the Lobero means a GREAT DEAL to us. The theatre has played such a huge role in our story.” – Lara Hollaway
Since their wedding(s), the couple moved to New York City for a few years, and have now relocated to Austin, TX, where they are still performing–and we presume, making beautiful music together.
Lara was gracious enough to share a few photos from their days here at the Lobero, and their wedding reception held afterwards. We wish this talented twosome nothing but the best, and are thrilled to have played a role in their romance.
Do you have any Lobero stories you’d like to share? We’re so proud of being the community’s stage, and your stories bring it to life!
In order to earn this certification, the Lobero went through a thorough review and implemented solutions to improve efficiency in electricity, water use, as well as a sustainable transportation plan for staff members. All of these improvements were introduced in a way that was compatible with our historic aesthetic and corporate culture.
We’ve been working on reducing our carbon footprint for several years. In 2011 the Lobero became the first theatrical business to join the City of Santa Barbara’s Recycling and Composting Programs. Then, 2013’s Encore: Lobero renovations brought in eco-friendly updates including: low-flow toilets, drought tolerant landscaping and energy-efficient electrical systems throughout. Last year, thanks to House Manager Daniel Ramirez, we ramped up efforts to reduce electricity and water use–which included changing hundreds of light bulbs, updating any remaining antique plumbing fixtures, implementing an Employee Transportation Plan–we even changed to eco-friendly cleaning products!
“We view efforts to reduce our carbon footprint as not only our social responsibility, but also as a way to decrease long term operational costs and increase the viability and comfort of the building. It’s good for everyone.” – David Asbell, Executive Director
The Lobero is conscious of its lasting presence in the Santa Barbara community, and views adapting sustainable practices as a practical and advantageous way to ensure the vitality of the theatre long into the future.
Santa Barbara’s Historic Theatre District offers a bounty of great performing arts for fans on foot! Reaching from the Lobero to the Arlington, with the Granada and New Vic in between, there’s more than just theatres to experience; the District includes a wealth of restaurants, shops and galleries, making downtown Santa Barbara a perfect park-and-walk cultural destination almost any night of the year.
“This kind of collaboration is what Santa Barbara is all about, and the partnership established here will enhance the performing arts experience for artists, residents, and visitors throughout the year.” – Mayor Helene Schneider.
This comprehensive catalog lets you know what’s coming up at all these lovely venues, and monthly mini-brochures are on display at many of the restaurants and bars along the route, including:
Lobero Theatre Ghostlight Society honors jazz artist Charles Lloyd as Artistic Luminary
The Lobero Ghostlight Society is proud to present its first Artistic Luminary Award to Charles Lloyd in honor of his contributions to the genres of Jazz and American Roots Music on Friday, January 8, 2016 with guest artist and emcee, jazz guitarist John Pizzarelli. The Ghostlight Society is delighted to give this inaugural award to a Santa Barbara local and a true legend in the international jazz community. See more coverage from the Independent
Charles Lloyd was born in Memphis, Tennessee, on March 15, 1938. Like Memphis’ rich cultural and musical heritage, Charles Lloyd’s ancestry of African, Cherokee, Mongolian, and Irish cultures reflects a similarly rich inheritance. He was given his first saxophone at the age of 9, riveted by 1940’s radio broadcasts by Charlie Parker, Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, Billie Holiday and Duke Ellington. Classical music also exerted a pull on the young Lloyd. He left Memphis in 1956 and headed to Los Angeles to earn his Master’s in music at USC. While his days were spent in academia, Lloyd spent evenings in L.A.’s jazz clubs, playing with Ornette Coleman, Billy Higgins, Charlie Haden, Eric Dolphy, Bobby Hutcherson and other leading west coast jazz artists.
Lloyd left Los Angeles in 1961 to join Chico Hamilton where he became the group’s music director. Lloyd joined the Cannonball Adderley Sextet in 1964, and performed alongside Nat Adderley, Joe Zawinul, Sam Jones and Louis Hayes. Lloyd left Cannonball Adderley in 1965 to form his own quartet, a brilliant ensemble that introduced the jazz world to the talents of pianist Keith Jarrett, drummer Jack DeJohnette and bassist Cecil McBee. Their first release together was a studio recording, Dream Weaver, followed by Forest Flower: Live at Monterey, (1966). Forest Flower made history as one of the first jazz recordings to sell a million copies, and the album’s firsts continued as it became a stunning crossover success that appealed to popular mass market audiences and gained heavy airplay on FM radio.
“”Lloyd is one of the greats, rather like Joan Miro in modern art, he has no peer save himself. Music of total transport and delight.” – Jazzwise
In 1967 Charles Lloyd was voted “Jazz Artist of the Year” by DownBeat Magazine. And then, at the height of his career in the early 1970’s, Lloyd disbanded the quartet and dropped from sight, withdrawing to pursue an inner journey in Big Sur. June 1981 was when Lloyd broke a decade of silence in the jazz world, making his first of many performances on the Lobero stage, followed by extensive touring in the U.S., Europe and Japan. In the past decade, he has graced the Lobero stage on a nearly annual basis. Read Lloyd’s full biography here.
The Lobero Ghostlight Society is the Lobero Theatre’s premier giving circle. Their strong and steady support illuminates our behind-the-scenes efforts and, like the steadfast bulb at center stage, keeps our vibrant theatre from ever going dark. Carrying on the commitment originally made in 1924 by a core group of donors responsible for rebuilding the Lobero Theatre in order to provide a lasting home for live performance in Santa Barbara, these leaders in the community embrace their vital role in keeping the arts alive and accessible for the community at large.
The Luminaries of the Ghostlight Society are a spark of brilliance, not only for the Lobero stage but also for the entire performing arts community in Santa Barbara. We honor the individuals whose passion and commitment provide for the artistry that illuminates our stage. The Ghostlight Society has recognized the following individuals as Luminaries: Lillian & Jon* Lovelace, Anne & Michael Towbes, Lyn & David Anderson, and Baroness Leni Fe Bland*.
If you’d like to learn more about the Lobero Ghostlight Society, feel free to reach out to Jim Dougherty at 805.679.6005
Whether painting the Matilija Poppies, Goleta Slough, or the historic Lobero Theatre, she still challenges herself to see things differently.
To meet artist Meredith Brooks Abbott at her rural Carpinteria ranch, is to step into one of her soothing and harmonic canvases. Time slows and vision softens at the view of her meandering gardens blending seamlessly into the natural vegetation of the surrounding Carpinteria Valley. A hopelessly romantic white Victorian farmhouse dating to the 1870‘s, sits in the shade of a large oak tree.
With Freddie, her sweet Labradoodle (and tennis ball) in tow, we head into her charming studio where canvases are perched in varying stages of completion and the quiet afternoon light streams in through high windows that run the length of the space. A self-portrait of Richard Meryman, family friend and noted American Impressionist and portrait painter, shares counter space with old photographs, portraits of her own children and pets, bits of nostalgia and the paintbrushes of Lockwood de Forest, California plein air painter.
Meredith, or Ky, as friends and family know her, has been painting here for over 40 years. These days she still paints almost every day, preferring to paint outdoors in the same plein air style of her predecessors. She has also just completed her second solo show at Sullivan Goss Gallery.
“How can I do something that will turn me on, whether with the composition or light and shadow…I have to have something else to say about it.” – Meredith Brooks Abbott
Aside from her daily painting practice and weekly drawing classes, her life is full with her almost 50-year marriage to Duncan, four adult children, seven grandchildren, tennis games, and gardening. She cherishes the times she is able to paint along
side her daughter Whitney and granddaughter Gwen. Most importantly, she is still celebrating, documenting, and preserving the beauty and goodness of Santa Barbara through her landscape, architecture and still life art.
As we continue to appreciate our beloved Lobero Theatre and the music that is created and shared inside its historic walls, we also give a nod of appreciation and gratitude to Meredith Brooks Abbott, another Santa Barbara treasure, who has once again highlighted the beauty and history of this lovely theater in our special town. True harmony!
*Our thanks to Mary Blair for this wonderful profile.
If All The Sky Were Paper explores war through contemporary and historic letters
If All The Sky Were Paper was written by award winning author Andrew Carroll and is based upon his New York Times bestselling books WAR LETTERS and BEHIND THE LINES. The play is based on a vast collection of wartime letters by soldiers, Marines, Sailors and Airmen and their loved ones at home.
Tom Brokaw has commented, “These letters are intimate, deeply personal portraits of the courage, sacrifice, and sense of duty that made this country.” (on WAR LETTERS)
The actors go through the full spectrum of emotions and experiences contained in the letters. From the incredible drama and ferocity of battle to the pathos and humor of everyday life on the front lines, these letters and Carroll’s story will deeply move and inspire audiences.
In 1998 Carroll launched a national, all-volunteer initiative to honor American troops, veterans, and their families by preserving their wartime letters. Since that time Carroll has traveled to 40 countries, and has collected more than 100,000 previously unpublished letters (and now emails) from every conflict in U.S. history.
The Lobero Theatre Foundation would like to thank all of our brave military men and women for their service. This performance will also be a benefit for the local chapter of the Military Order of the Purple Heart which provides a variety of services. This performance is sponsored by the The Wood-Claeyssens Foundation.
Anyone with letters from a family or loved ones serving abroad is invited bring them to the performance to give to Mr. Carroll and add to this profoundly moving collection.