The Lobero Theatre: A Historical Shelter & Architectural Inspiration

In 1925, Santa Barbara experienced a devastating 6.3 magnitude earthquake that resulted in 13 casualties and  eighty-five percent of the commercial buildings in Downtown Santa Barbara were destroyed or badly damaged. One of the only buildings left untouched was the Lobero Theatre.

Inspired by the 90th anniversary of the Santa Barbara earthquake, and the wonderful exhibit now on display at the The Santa Barbara Historical Museum, Emily Solomon takes us on a trip back in time…

Residents of Santa Barbara flocked to the Lobero for shelter and safety during this time. After the earthquake, there was lots of rebuilding that had to take place. One of the most influential architects on the project was George Washington Smith, who at the time was noted one of the most popular architects in the United States. During a California trip during WWI, Smith was visiting friends in Montecito. He enjoyed Santa Barbara so much that he ended up buying property to build himself a home and studio. His architectural style for the home was inspired by farmhouses he saw on a trip to Spain in 1914.

The Spanish Colonial Revival architectural style carried into his rebuilding efforts in Downtown Santa Barbara. Before the earthquake, the city’s buildings were mainly designed in the Moorish Revival style. In the end, Santa Barbara got a complete facelift and if the earthquake didn’t happen, we wouldn’t have the beautiful Spanish style homes and businesses that line our streets today.

The Lobero Theatre’s Mediterranean look also was a major factor during the rebuilding project. Smith and the other architects wanted the buildings to have uniformity, and the fact that the Lobero already had that Spanish look, made their decision to rebuild in that specific style even easier.

It is a remarkable history, and oh what stories this stage could tell! Santa Barbara has changed dramatically in 142 years, and the Lobero has always been at the heart of it all.

June 29 marked the 90th anniversary of the Santa Barbara earthquake. The Santa Barbara Historical Museum currently has a spectacular exhibit, showcasing still photographs and videos of footage of the earthquake. To take a sneak peak before visiting the exhibit, click here. 

Whenever you step into the Lobero Theatre, you feel like you’re in a space that has seen so much history and musical talent over the past 142 years. The Lobero shed a light on this, “History of a Community Stage” in the recent BACKSTAGE at the Lobero, which you can read here. This is just one more piece of history to recognize its historical importance, not just as a haven for great music fanatics, musicians, dancers and theatre enthusiasts, but also as a landmark of architectural brilliance and change.

 

Emily Solomon, Go-Content

Author Bio: Emily Solomon is no stranger to the Lobero Theatre. She recalls dancing in the theater during her early teenage years. While she spends most of her time writing content for local Santa Barbara businesses and for online publications, she always manages to escape to her favorite music venue to hear her favorite tunes and discover new artists to love. Emily is a graduate of Emerson College with a degree in Writing and Publishing. She currently runs an online content business called, Go-Content. Contact her at emilyfaye@go-content.com

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.

 

BSF13-cover-240x300
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.”

The People Behind Encore: Lobero

If you’ve been down Canon Perdido Street in the past two weeks, you’ve seen that the theatre’s renovation is well under way. Here’s a quick introduction to some of the key players behind-the-scenes of the Encore: Lobero project:

Visit LovetheLobero.com for more details about the campaign, and keep coming back for more fun photos and videos of our Preservation in Progress!