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Summerland California

   Summerland is a small community just south of Santa Barbara. It’s a great little spot, sheltered,  with a beautiful little beach. In fact…. it’s (generally) my favorite beach… but that varies depending on weather and such.

   Here’s some photos I took of Summerland beach this last summer.



   This is from Summerland Beach looking north (actually West) to Santa Barbara. If you walk along this strand for a few miles you pass many resort areas all the way to SB.


summerland_071309_9   summerland_071309_8   summerland_071309_10

   Here are a few random photos of the water…. dogs are allowed on this beach, and it is a great joy to see people and their dogs all enjoying this beach together.
   The photo on the far right shows one of the many oil seeps that occur here.
   A nearby beach is named ‘Carpenteria’ which means ‘The Carpenter Shop’ in Spanish.
   It was named that due to the many Chumash canoes the Spanish saw beached there and being caulked with the heavy oil that seeps from local rock strata.
   These oil seeps are the only thing bad about this beach… and they only occur sporadically when the tide uncovers oil-bearing sand deposits or unplug a seep.  They smell bad, like kerosene… and the normally clean water gets a dirty foamy and rainbow appearance.


    summerland_071309_7   summerland_071309_2   summerland_071309_5

   The photo on the left shows a plaque built into a rock commemorating the first oil wells in this area… among the first in the nation.  The photo in the middle is another plaque showing various oceanic occurrences off the coast  in the last few hundred years.

summerland_071309_4   summerland_071309_3   summerland_071309_1

   Here’s a couple of close-ups of the compass, so that you can click-to-embiggen the photos and read the cool things that happened around here.  The photo on the right shows the picnic area.  There is a little grassy area, a ground-padded playground for the kids… easy access to the beach via a paved ramp, and a shower at the top to rinse off before you get back into the car.


   Summerland is more than a pretty beach, it is also a nice little community with a very low crime rate, a cute little shop area right off the highway and some nice architecture much of which was built early in the last century.  It’s close enough to Santa Barbara to stay at as a base-of-operations for your Santa Barbara/Ojai/Ventura vacation.

Santa Barbara State Street and Victoria Avenue

State Street in Santa Barbara

State Street in Santa Barbara


   This is State Street in Santa Barbara, it is the main drag of town.
   This is the street you must take a few hours to walk up and down from one end of town to the other. It is full of interesting shops and things to see (even for me). There are many shops full of diverse items, there’s even a fossil shop with fossils from all over the world.  Now believe me, I am not a ‘window browser’ or someone who enjoys shopping…. I go to a store when something breaks and I need new baling wire and duct-tape.. or if I’m hungry and need some food. I get what I need and I leave… so when I say this is a fine street to stroll and look at things…. it really is something… I compare it to San Antonio’s ‘Riverwalk’ or Santa Monica’s ‘Promenade’ in some respects….. but really, you just can’t beat the ‘Riverwalk’.



Victoria Street in Santa Barbara

Victoria Street in Santa Barbara

   Vickie’s name is actually Victoria, and this is her street, Victoria Avenue in Santa Barbara

   Any trip to Southern California MUST include the requisite visit to Santa Barbara. SB has kept much of it’s Spanish Mission Days past alive with zoning laws that require the Spanish architecture, as a result it is a very pretty city, comparable to any world city I have seen.


A church in Santa Barbara

A church in Santa Barbara


   A church in Santa Barbara


Santa Barbara has a lot of really nice stone work.
There were a lot of stone masons who came from Italy in the early 20th century,
and settled in the Santa Barbara area.
They did a lot of really fine stone work that exists to this day.



Old Yeller House

An old article I wrote a couple of years ago…
the yellow house is still sitting vacant
as far as I can tell

April 14, 2007
The Big Yellow House

An Empty House Remembers
~Russell Collier~

The empty house around me ticks and creaks,
A moody end to evening’s gentle rains,
A brooding quiet as the daylight wanes,
The secret language empty houses speak.

What stories might this house preserve entire
In rhythmic code composed of click and groan?
Does House recall a sadness with each moan?
Is laughter stored in every plank and wire?

And how might I, a fleeting visitor,
Acquire an ear for stories trapped in time,
And wrap a tale or two in words and rhyme?
How can I tap the House’s secret lore?

In silence soft the house slips off to sleep.
Alone I sit, in darkness vast and deep.


Old Yeller House in Santa Barbara

Old Yeller House in Santa Barbara


   ‘The Big Yellow House‘ is an easily noticed big yeller house on the side of the highway 101 just south of Santa Barbara. It was a fine dining establishment. I’ve never eaten there, but always seemed to notice it when I passed, I suppose it’d be hard not to notice a big yeller house on the side of the road.
   The Big Yellow House has now closed it’s doors, this huge bastion of family style dining is no more, and many people are saddened to see this old friend locked up. But the foundation and structure are still there, the old beams support the floors without complaint, and the interior plaster and paint sit quietly, waiting for the pitter-patter of tiny feet, the delighted shrieks of laughter and the clatter of silverware and the clanking of celebratory glasses being raised. Yes, this old house knows that someone will come along and fill it with warmth and family, and it will again host monumental parties and celebrations.
   The house is ever patient, it sits, gazing with it’s hollow eyes out over the azure pacific, the Riviera of California as it patiently awaits new people to shelter,   and a new business with caring considerate owners to build up.

Announcing the return of California’s most revolutionary Acting Class

   The folks at Magic Casting  sent me the mail below…
I’ve never met John the acting coach, nor audited his classes, but it sounds interesting…

  One thing to keep in mind about acting classes, you should always be permitted to audit (watch in on) one or two classes to see if you and the teacher understand and agree with each other.  Most acting classes like you to pay upfront for several weeks of training at once… this is fine and acceptable, but before committing all that money, you should be permitted to ensure you like the way of the teacher and will gain something from the training.


        *Announcing the return of California’s most revolutionary Acting Class…….*
 Taught by acclaimed Director, John Randle
 A gentle but provocative approach to deepening your character’s
 Vulnerability by pitting the Hope, Desire and Delusion of his WISHFUL
 THINKING against the Pain, Loss and Fear of his CATASTROPHIC THINKING.  Two
 poles, two minds, two points-of-view in the same character.  Both devoted to
 the character’s survival but pulling in opposite directions like two hands
 on a wishbone until something leaks or bends or goes snap.  Make sense?
 Well it should.  It’s how the natural Human Mind works.  It’s how YOUR pair
 of minds work.  So why not treat your characters to the same complexity?

 *”Fascinating”  *Jay Brazeau, costar INSOMNIA, BEST IN SHOW & DOUBLE JEOPARDY….

 *”Impressive, innovative and fresh.”**  *Joseph Fuqua, Stage Actor &
 Rubicon Theatre Faculty….

 *”So correct.”*  Tom Wood, Costar of THE FUGITIVE, U.S. MARSHALS, ULEE’S

 *”Dangerous.”  *Diane Dorsey, “ROAD TO PERDITION” & Steppenwolf’s Pulitzer
 & Tony-Winning AUGUST, OSAGE COUNTY….

 And yet safe enough for 13-year-old Alexis Cohen who, *”had a great time
 and I learned so much.  Outstanding!”*.


 Acclaimed Stage Director who’s garnered *Ten Best Plays Of The Year *nods
 from The LA Times, Variety & Entertainment Today, *an LA Drama Critics
 Circle Best Actor Award *(for Jeff Doucette),* *and a *Nomination for Best
 New Play Of The Year from the Association of American Theater Critics.  *Acclaimed
 TV Director for Paramount, Warner Brothers and Chicago’s famed Second City.
 Acclaimed Editor on dramas like Francis Ford Coppola’s *THE OUTSIDERS*,
 the hit comedy *CHEERS* and feature films praised by *The LA Times, The
 New York Times, Variety *and a host of festivals including *SUNDANCE.  *Emerging Playwright whose
 DEMONS IN PARADISE has been declared, “Fluid and theatrically engaging” by
 the Pulitzer & Tony Winning *Steppenwolf Theatre*….And now as a
 nurturing and innovative Coach…..*”John brings the same fierce focus he
 brings to every aspect of his creative life.”* Deb Barylski, Emmy Award
 Winning Casting Director – Arrested Development.


 *”John brings a staggering wealth of experience to his classes including
 techniques to liberate the resistance every actor struggles against. In
 fact, you can’t get out of there with your fear and resistance still
 intact.”*  Vickie Patik, lead on Broadway’s MY FAIR LADY & Emmy Award
 Winning Screenwriter for DO YOU REMEMBER LOVE.
 *”John is incisive, gentle and wise.” *Christopher Neame, Film Actor, TV
 Actor, Master Class Student & “the most endearing and enduring Romeo to ever
 grace the British stage”. Common Knowledge.

 *”John dares you to go beyond the easy choice to find the brilliant
 choice.”** *Betsy Randle, star of ABC’s BOY MEETS WORLD, HOME IMPROVEMENT,
 a host of musicals & Master Class Student.

 *”John says the job of the actor is to make the other actors look good.  I
 think the “Bipolar Approach” ® makes the actor look good! *Angelica
 Lawrence, Actress, Equity Producer and “Bipolar Approach” ® student.

 *”From start to finish each moment of class was exciting and held the
 potential for a limitless unfolding of the actor’s mind.”* Laura Wells,
 Stage Actress & “Bipolar Approach” ® student.

 *”John is inspired.”** *Laurie Prange, acclaimed Stage, Film, TV Actress &
 Master Class student.

 *”John has a deep love for the actor and challenges them to become more
 than even they could comprehend.”* Jimmy Lucia, Film Actor and “Bipolar
 Approach” ® student.

 *”John’s work brings constant discovery.”* Deborah Bertling, Stage
 Actress, Singer, “Raising The Stakes” & “Bipolar Approach” ® student.

 *”John should have been a psychologist but I’m glad he teaches acting”.**
 *Stan Peternel, Day Player – Commercials, “Raising The Stakes” & “Bipolar
 Approach” ® student.

 *”In John’s class, I’ve learned how to make bolder choices.”* Kathy
 Marden, Stage Actor and “Raising The Stakes” student.

 *”John teaches the importance of listening with the heart.  His feedback
 is extremely positive and always given with great love and sensitivity.
 *Frank Malle, Stage Actor, Director & Master Class student.

 *”If you give John 100 percent you’ll get 200 back.  He wants to see his
 students take it to the next level as much as they want to be taken there.”
 * Carissa Stein, Master Class Student.

 *”John works on the details that bring our characterizations to a deeper
 level.”* Joyce McWilliams, Stage Actress & Master Class student.

 *”John has an amazing ability to bring you out of your shell and make you
 shine.”* Sophia Nagel, 17-yr-old newcomer & “Raising The Stakes” &
 ”Bipolar Approach” ® student.

 *”John is the best!  He really wants to see you to succeed.  I look
 forward to every class.” *Kaylie Browne, 14 yr. old “Raising The
 Stakes,” Master Class & “Bipolar Approach” ® student & star of the short


 8 Saturdays, Sept. 26 – Nov. 14, 10:00 am to 1:00 p.m. at a central Santa
 Barbara location…..$ 320.   And coming soon to a venue in North Hollywood,
 start date TBA.

 John Randle
 Directors Guild Of America
 Motion Picture Editors Guild
 President Shiprock Entertainment
 Member, Film Independent (FIND)
 International Screenwriter’s Association
 Faculty, Santa Barbara Actors Bootcamp
 Faculty, Malibu Institute of Media Arts at Pepperdine
 Creator, “The Bipolar Approach To Character Development ®”

 Email:    storyline@dishmail.net

New Photo Gallery

  We just put up a new photo album. It is arranged into twelve albums and has over 1,300 photos.


The photos cover some of  the beaches, hills, deserts and cities of California.



Woodie in Montecito

Classic… timeless


A real Classic

A real Classic

Architectural Foundation of Santa Barbara photography show

The Architectural Foundation of Santa Barbara is pleased to issue a Call for Entries for our October photography show, entitled:


“Your Point of View: IMAGES of our CITY-A Photo Party!!”


The opening reception will take place on Friday, October 3 from 5-8 pm, and the exhibit will be on view from October 3-31, 2008. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday from 9 am – 2 pm.


Press contact: Nancy Clare Caponi


Architectural Foundation of Santa Barbara
229 East Victoria Street
Gallery Entrance on Garden Street
Santa Barbara, CA  93101


Photographic images expressing an aspect of Santa Barbara’s built urban environment will be simultaneously received and installed on the walls as part of the opening event.


Friday, October 3, 2008
5:00-8:00 pm


All who are interested of any age are invited to participate.


Additional Information & Requirements General Information:


· All photographs that meet the requirements will be accepted and displayed as part of the exhibit.


· All photographs will be displayed at the opening, mounted with metal push pins (one in each corner of the photo)


· AFSB organizers will hang the photographs as they are received.


· The exhibit will be on display for the month of October, ending on Friday, October 31.


·All photographs will be for sale for $20.00 each; the proceeds becoming a donation to benefit the Architectural Foundation of Santa Barbara.


· Purchased photographs are to be picked up from AFSB on October 31 between the hours of 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM, unless special arrangements are made for a later time.


· Purchased photographs may not be taken before the end of the exhibit.


· Unsold photos become the property of the Architectural Foundation of Santa Barbara.




· Photographic theme is any aspect of Santa Barbara’s built urban environment from your unique point of view. (Please note that the organizing committee will make final determinations regarding the display of submitted artwork)


· Paper size is 8.5 x 11 inches, exactly


·Photographs must have a minimum border of 1/4″ (no maximum within the 8.5 X 11 inch format)


·Photographs may be horizontal or vertical


· Photographs are to be unframed


· Photographs may be matte or glossy


· Photographs are to have a minimum border of 1/4 inch (no maximum)


· Photographs may be black & white or color


· Photographs are to be signed, dated, and titled (if applicable) by the artist on the front or back of the photograph.


· There are no age limits


· The number of submittals will be limited to three photographs maximum per person with a donation to the afsb for each photograph as follows:$5 for one, $15 for two, $25 for three


· Each photograph will also be accompanied by a digital copy of the photo at the highest resolution on a CD.· Participants must sign the following agreements:


-That photographs will be for sale for $20 each, and that the proceeds will be donated to support the Architectural Foundation of Santa Barbara.


-That AFSB will have reproduction rights to the photographs for future publications, with all appropriate credits given to the photographer.


For any additional questions, please call AFSB @ 805 965 6307 (Tuesday – Friday) or email info@afsb.org



Santa Barbara Visual Arts Alliance
Web Site: http://www.sbva.org



Holiday Marketplace Artisans Needed! (In Santa Barbara)

   The Santa Barbara Botanical Garden is one of my favorite places to visit. Although I only visit the garden every year or two, I tend to go there on Tuesdays if possible because it is free admission on Tuesdays.


For Immediate Release
August 21, 2008
Media Contact:
Amanda De Lucia
Public Relations & Marketing Manager
(805) 682-4726, ext. 139




Holiday Marketplace Artisans Needed!






Santa Barbara Botanic Garden’s
15th Annual Holiday Marketplace
November 22-23 2008




Juried Artisans gather at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden for our 15th
Annual Holiday Marketplace, where we showcase local artisans in a
beautiful outdoor environment. Each year we welcome previous exhibitors
as well as new talent, who offer nature inspired, one of a kind, fine &
functional arts and crafts for sale.




For an application: call 805-682-4726 x113 or apply online at
Deadline for application: October 15, 2008




Please forward this email to any interested parties.



For more information, contact (805) 682-4726, or online at




The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, 1212 Mission Canyon Road,
Santa Barbara, CA 93105



Santa Barbara Visual Arts Alliance
Web Site: http://www.sbva.org


Achtung! Klapperschlange Tal!
‘Warning, Rattlesnake Canyon!’

  The Botanical Garden is really a nice piece of art. I had a cousin and her husband visiting from Germany one time a few years ago… although he’s only seen them on TV, he is deathly afraid of rattlesnakes. I assured him there were few rattlesnakes in the botanical garden, and we’d likely not be in danger as long as we stayed on the marked trails.  I think we were near the 200 year-old dam in the canyon alongside the pretty creek with its picturesque boulders when we looked at a map encased along the trail. We were in ‘Rattlesnake Canyon’. Yeah, he kinda blanched, but we made it through.

   Actually, being afraid of rattlesnakes is the wisest course of action.  I used to handle rattlesnakes a quite a bit some years ago. Now I haven’t picked up a live rattlesnake for some years.  As long as you stay on trails, you are unlikely to fall into real danger from a rattlesnake. If one is on the trail you should be able to see it well enough. It is when you are in grass and brush and might step too close (or on) to a snake and cause it to bite you in response that you are in danger.

   In time you can learn to recognize the places snakes will tend to go on particular days.  Sometimes they’ll be in the open sunning themselves to get warmed up, other times they might try to stay in the shade to avoid overheating. 

   All-in-all, I’d recommend staying away from snakes in general, you don’t want to hurt a beneficial snake… and rattlers in particular, you don’t want to get a rattlesnake scared when you’re too close.

Here’s a couple photos of rattlesnakes I’ve taken this last year.




   This guy was curled up right next to this weed which I was about to pull (this was in our cactus orchard on the hillside). Luckily I noticed the little guy before I pulled the weed. Even a small snake like this (perhaps a foot long,it’s hard to measure a live snake), can put out a lot of poison. There are some who say the younger ones are more poisonous because they have little ‘flow control’ on their poison. They might dump all their poison in a bite, when a mature snake knows to apply just the amount needed and not waste poison which will take time to grow back in sufficient amounts to use. This might also explain why some people will get bitten and not seem to get much poison put into them.

   I’ve known a number of people who got bitten by rattlers. One fellow was airlifted out from a ranch to the hospital. He said there was pain, but he got lightheaded and woozy as if he’d been drinking, or perhaps like some depressent drugs might give. He laid down to keep the poison from racing and awaited the copter. 

  One other fellow I knew some decades ago had been bitten some five or six times. The last couple times he didn’t even go to the doctor. He said that he seemed to have grown a certain immunity, so he only got a bit swollen and sore for a week or two. He was on old-time rancher from an earlier age, the thirties through the sixties when cowboys were a bit extra tough. In fact, he won several national awards for ‘quick draw’ competition in the seventies.


Rattlesnake in Montana de Oro

This little rattlesnake was in some rocks at Montana de Oro park in California’s Central Coast.

Some folks might think that snakes in public access areas like this should be removed, but I disagree. The snakes are part of the environment, and if people don’t get into the brush or rocks you are pretty safe.  Myself, that’s the places I like to walk in.


Montecito Real Estate

Montecito, a REALLY nice place

  Yep, Montecito is a really nice place. I drive along through there on occasion. Actually, it’s odd, but you go past hedgerow after hedgerow, and never see into the grande estates within the greenery which is designed to keep the world out. Ellen DeGeneres, Oprah and lots of other folks that make some ‘real’ money have homes there.  It truly is a special place, and there’s a few places I see in this posting of Montecito Real Estate I’d like to buy.

Montecito Real Estate 

Now, if only Oprah would have me on her show telling folks about how great cactus is to eat, I bet in no time I could pay the eleven million for the place in this photo, and I’d be neighbors with Oprah! Heck, I’d even put in a nice little cactus garden for her, and plant a great vegetable garden that would be hard to beat! (hint-hint).

This home is just what I’d build if I could build anything I wanted. Adobe, nice and cool in the summer, warm in the winter, cactus all over (got that already, but not in Montecito), and up on a hillside overlooking the ocean, with the beautiful tranquil (usually) Pacific Ocean below… yeah, it’d be pretty cool.

Montecito means ‘Little Mountain’. The hills behind Santa Barbara/Montecito area are really nice, and I’ve done a fair amount of hiking in them-thar hills ‘back in the day’.  And to this day, whenever I drive through Montecito, I smile, because I know even though I’m just driving through (I have  a business contact I see on occasion in Montecito), I know that I am truly in a special place. It isn’t ‘just’ the multi-million dollar homes and real-estate, there is a feeling in the air, such as you get in a few other places in the world; Sedona, Taos, Barcelona, and our canyon all have this positive energy… you know that things are going to be OK when you ‘center’ yourself into these places…. yeah, that’s all kinda meta-physical and ‘spooky-talk’, I know, but I’ve been in California now since 1967, and I’m turning ‘native’. Forgive me my indulgences! ;-)