Puns & Funs & Tourism Offices

I’m not exactly incapable of making a pun, but I definitely can’t craft one. A, the other half of our household, though, can hardly help himself.  He’s irrepressibly witty and words are his tools, so puns will come out.

When our local tourism office announced a pun contest (with pretty elaborate criteria), it was like crack for him. The contest coincides with our International Film Festival (ooh! it starts tomorrow!) – so the idea was to make a film title pun that was based on something to do with our city.  Film title puns – easy. Including Santa Barbara – not so much.

He was the opposite of undeterred.

(Actually, one of his entries made it into the finals.  He doesn’t do social media, so I got to submit them all and get dubious credit.  Don’t you worry. I’ll give you allll the necessary information if you want to wander over to Facebook and help us win.* I asked my friends on Facebook to do the same. One of them went right over. And picked a rival entry. hahaha. That’s a rallying cry gone very wrong. :))


I’d rather learn to like real life than have anyone clean it up for me.

Anyway. The puns poured out of him. For hours.  Once, I checked my phone to find 30 texts.  One right after the other.

Because we get marine layer for a month, called June gloom: Fog Day After June
Because Jeff Bridges lives here & the Lobero Theater (one of the 100 best jazz venues on the planet) is a favorite: The Big Loberowski.
Because Oprah lives here: Winfrey Willy
Because this is Santa Barbara: Botoxalips Now.
Because Ty Warner lives here: Ty Story
The Money Pit: doesn’t need a pun
Because this place is the opposite of cheap: $1984 – the story of a studio apartment

Oh please. There were so many.

They chose his least interesting entry (in my opinion). In fact, he had to make me submit it, I thought it was so dull.  Here it is:

Because we have a neighborhood that slopes up the foothills and is right beside the ocean, providing breathtaking views of just about everything and is referred to as the American Riviera: A Riviera Runs Through It.

When they announced finalists the day before yesterday and started voting,   I guess anyone who submitted anything checked in (as you would.) One woman was nothing but PISSED OFF.  She couldn’t believe the choices. Even if you don’t vote I encourage you to scroll around until you find her outburst. (It’s way funnier if you see it in context.)

I have to agree that their choices were less than stellar, but they’d apparently assembled judges who were having none of fun and mischief.  And that’s the curious thing. This is not the only tourism office I’ve experienced or worked with and when I did a little reflection, it occurred to me – they all shine the spotlight on the normal stuff.  They like to promote things that are normal, clean to the point of sanitized. I know. This makes sense. I’m not arguing it.

But I personally like a lot of edgy (not -ness, but plain old edgy). Things slightly theatrical, clock-work mechanical, back in the shelves of an old bookstore. Things with some, well, wit to them. Things not so clean.  It’s pretty apparent in my favorite cities and WHY they’re my favorite cities.

Maybe I’m the only one.  This, I can’t believe, but … maybe I am.

* If you want to vote (and why wouldn’t you? ha), here’s what you do. You have to be on Facebook – and you can only do it today, 29 January 2014:

When you’re on Facebook, click to  Visit Santa Barbara, find the entry about the Film Titles contest (it was only posted 2 days ago, so it’s near the top), vote for A Riviera Runs Through It (of course!) by writing it in the comments section.  And then resume whatever you were doing. 

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