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URBAN HIKE

The Funk Zone
updated: Jun 11, 2011, 9:45 AM

By Peter Hartmann & Stacey Wright

This week we continued our quest to walk all 256 miles of public streets within the city limits of Santa Barbara, and report back to you on our adventures in Santa Barbara's incredible Funk Zone. It turns out there's a whole lotta shakin' going on in those few blocks bounded by Cabrillo Boulevard & the freeway and State Street & Garden Street.

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This "hike" was actually comprised of a few hikes - not because it was strenuous, or the area vast. Rather, it was due to the fact that most everyone in the Funk Zone has a story to tell and they tell it with animation and vigor. And so we made several trips back into the Zone to collect additional stories, more photos, and enough memories to last a lifetime.

There are two ways to tell when you have entered the Funk Zone...for one of them you must look up. When you do, you will see the largest concentration of fish weathervanes in the universe. We were so impressed with the myriad of vanes that we took pictures of most all of them. We're not sure how this trend started, but we like it. There are sharks, barracuda, groupers, salmon, swordfish, gull, wine fish, sheeps head, and a few about which we had no clue. Pretty darn creative...

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Once we realized that all this looking up could cause a little neck strain, the obvious thing for us to do was to start looking down. And the Funk Zone is a perfect place to rest your neck muscles by looking down. It seems there are more examples of both sanctioned street art and guerilla street art in these few blocks of Santa Barbara than in the rest of the city. We took pictures of only a small percentage (and only a representative sample) of the very hip art that we saw. But if you want to experience the full flavor of this colorful neighborhood, you must strike out on your own and have a walk around.

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The framework for this truly unique neighborhood is its unique architecture and the people who inhabit the buildings by day and by night. This week, we share with you just a few of the unique spaces we discovered.

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We also appreciated some of the interesting signage we saw along our route...it ranged from wholesome to downright tawdry. Again, we can only bring you only a fraction of what we encountered along our urban hike, and encourage you to walk the Zone to get the full flavor of this zany neighborhood.

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One of the signs we were especially happy to see on a return trip to the Funk Zone was that of Vasari Plaster and Stucco...On June 6th, a fire tore through his space, destroying his business and family's home. But not only have Alex and his family managed to survive the ordeal, they remain optimistic about the future.

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And last but certainly not least, we share with you with a few more pics - a wonderful view of the waterfront from the top of a building; a silkscreened t-shirt drying in the sun at Table Salt Screen Printing; and a real live artist's studio, complete with his fine art, work and living space, and his trusty dog. It belongs to the artist known simply as Skye. Pretty neato.

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Thanks to our neighborhood hosts and experts, we have a lot more to share with you. So stay tuned next week for Part II of the Funk Zone, when we present some really fascinating Santa Barbara history, show you more amazing art, feature a bunch more cool buildings & architecture, AND reveal a surprise mystery celebrity! Thank you, Chris Kirkegaard, for showing us more of this fascinating ‘hood than we could have ever discovered on our own.

As always, we encourage you to go on an urban hike of your own to meet your neighbors and explore the diverse neighborhoods of our town. We also remind you to keep your eyes, ears and minds open to all that you encounter along the way.

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 182029P agree helpful negative off topic

2011-06-11 10:05 AM

Thank you for this! We were so lucky that it was not "redeveloped" into tourist stuff with a large aquarium there.

 

 COMMENT 182038 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-06-11 10:22 AM

I just so look forward to your Urban Hikes......this zone is truly fascinating. Last time we walked it, we encountered the Wienermobile and actually got to tour it, what a treat! Wonder if it is still being built in that area. Keep up the good work and thank you for introducing many of us to areas of our wonderful city we would never otherwise visit.

 

 EDONE agree helpful negative off topic

2011-06-11 11:38 AM

In 2005, Edhat did a photo montage of weather vanes in Santa Barbara. Many of the same ones are shown.

 

 CHERIDIANE agree helpful negative off topic

2011-06-11 12:42 PM

Oh, you have indeed inspired me to walk the Funk Zone. Some of those pictures are so fun and entertaining they make me want to some of the same pictures for myself. I can hardly wait for your historical perspective next week.

 

 ROGER DODGER agree helpful negative off topic

2011-06-11 01:53 PM

Love the bathroom want to paint mine like that.

 

 SHAKEY agree helpful negative off topic

2011-06-11 05:10 PM

I just bought a pack of Wrigleys Spearmint Rhino gum

 

 COMMENT 182197 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-06-12 06:39 AM

inspiring!! i have been collecting street art cubes around SB do you know if the artist in the studio is the same artist? i would love to buy a canvas to add to my collection if you know how to contact him?

 

 SEEDLADY agree helpful negative off topic

2011-06-12 08:10 AM

...now this is the Santa Barbara I have been wanting to discover! Let's hear it for the Funk!

thank you thank you

 

 COMMENT 182222P agree helpful negative off topic

2011-06-12 08:16 AM

What a relief, an area not plastered over by red tile roofs, arches, white paint, and other glossy magazine sets.

Thanks for showing us our city!

 

 LOLA agree helpful negative off topic

2011-06-12 10:58 AM

Art lives in the Funk Zone!
YAY!

 

 COMMENT 182333 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-06-12 12:33 PM

Thanks for sharing this inspiringly free art zone! How great SB gets real here. Wish I had a studio like the artist shown! The art rocks.

 

 COMMENT 184198 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-06-18 07:18 AM

More funk zone please!

 

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