Saturday, May 26, 2018     Volume: 19, Issue: 12

Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on May 1st, 2013, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 14, Issue 8 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 14, Issue 8

Hobnobbing With Helen


It was Amy Curti’s night to shine.

And shine she did.

This charming chairperson of the Orcutt Children’s Art Foundation (OCAF) was in charge of OCAF’s Annual Gala and major fundraiser, held Saturday evening, April 27, at the Santa Maria Country Club.

Amy and Alfonso Curti came to the OCAF Gala (of course). Amy, board president of OCAF, was chairperson of the event, while Chef Alfonso provided hors d’oeuvres and dessert.

Around 5:30 on the big night, Curti beamed as she went through the last-minute checking-everything protocol, making sure all was ready for the arrival of guests and for the performance of the new Orcutt Children’s Glee Club, which she directs.

Thanks to the dedication of a lot of Orcutt parents and teachers, the Gala was a delight.

One of the highlights of the evening was the hors d’oeuvres, prepared and donated by Chef Alfonso Curti of Orcutt’s Trattoria Uliveto. These included a delectable deli platter with prosciutto and Italian salami surrounding a mound of marinated yellow and red pepper strips.

Hannah Rubalcava (left) and Wayne (center) and Brenda Sullens (right) met up at the Santa Maria Country Club. Rubalcava is executive director of OCAF. Brenda has been involved with OCAF since its beginning.

There were also meatballs and deep-fried globes of hash brown potatoes. “Delizioso!

Before dinner, Linda and Joe Maloney checked out the silent auction tables, as did Mike and Linda Cordero (she’s newly elected to the Santa Maria Bonita school board).

Santa Maria City Councilman Jack Boysen and Kathy chatted with friends in the foyer, where we also spotted Victor Tognazzini, one of OCAF’s founding board members. Stockbroker Anna Wobrock worked at the checkout table.

Ben Oakley, environmental coordinator for ERG, happily represented the local energy company, which was a gold sponsor (as was Pacific Coast Energy Company).

Diners had their choice of filet, salmon, or eggplant parmesan from the country club kitchen. Everyone loved the salad, and there were those who pronounced the chocolate concoction (made and donated by Chef Curti) “a killer dessert.”

Auctioneering is an art form in itself—very theatrical and entertaining. Aided by bid spotter Lee Pitts, auctioneer Todd Ventura did his fast-talking, smooth-talking thing, bantering with bidders and bringing in the bucks.

There was a lot of competition for one new and different item: an afternoon of art—painting instruction in oil pastels by artist John Hood, at a Los Alamos gallery—with lunch and wine tasting.

John’s wife Debra Hood is an OCAF board member.

A tempting Robert Burridge acrylic was available at the silent auction, which reminded me that Mr. B. is heading up a trip for painters to Cuba this fall. Is it too late to sign up?

Dr. Joe and Chris Slaughter attended the OCAF annual Gala at the Santa Maria Country Club on Saturday evening, April 27. Chris is a former OCAF board president and founding member. She’s now one of two North County representatives on the Santa Barbara Foundation board.

While chatting with her BFF Gina Friedman, new OCAF board member Wendy Steller provided Hobnobbing with some shopping news. This vivacious entrepreneur (and co-owner of the Central City Market) has leased the iconic Loading Dock, where she will sell antiques. To be called “Déjà Vu Antiques,” the huge space on Broadway (in Old Orcutt) will also be home to dealers she’s currently lining up.

The OCAF Gala is a magnet for educators, so, of course, Orcutt Schools Superintendent Bob Bush and wife Debbi were on hand, as were Ken and Diane Parker. MC duties were performed by Alan Majewski.

I shared a table with Larry and Peggy Greer, new OCAF board member Liz Phillips and husband Gregg, and the ever-informative Orcutt school board president, Jan Zilli.

OCAF makes it possible for children in the Orcutt schools to enjoy a variety of art programs and field trips to PCPA performances, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Hearst Castle (to view the art and architecture), and elsewhere.

If you want to hobnob with Helen, you may contact her at

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Who do you want to see represent California's 24th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives?

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