At Capacity: The Santa Barbarians Heat Up Last Night’s Stab In The Dark Premiere
A chorus of roughly 300 viewers singing “Happy Birthday” would later ensue at Topa Topa Brewing Co.
When the film ended, Stab in the Dark winning shaper, Britt Merrick of Channel Islands, joined the stage for what was supposed to be a short Q and A. The Q and A contained no questions and no answers. Instead, a crowd pushing 300, who did their best to keep Topa Topa Brewing Co very much at capacity, and hot enough to form a light layer of forehead sweat, erupted in “Happy Birthday to you!”
Britt smiled, as it was, in fact, his birthday (not something we planned when scheduling the Santa Barbara Premiere). When the song ended and the cheering subsided, I handed him the microphone. He broke into a thank you speech, thanking everyone from the Santa Barbarians to his shapers, to his wife and his father, Al (also in attendance), to everyone at Channel Islands who keep his divine shaping lineage alive. The Merrick’s are surfboard celebrities in their hometown; last night, it showed.
He finished his speech. Through the thick whiskers of his beard, he shouted, “I’m out!” Britt handed back the microphone (although he should’ve dropped it) and disappeared for the remainder of the evening.
Earlier in the night, people trickled in a traditional fashion. When the doors opened at six, the high school kids made there way through; black X’s on their hands. They were followed an hour behind by the UCSB crew, who (those without fake IDs or 21) also were gifted with the X of sobriety. The crowd was eclectic: old and young, grom and teen, 20s to 60s, face tattoos and buttoned up shirts all waiting patiently for the film to begin.
By 7:30, the brewery became sardine packed. The Channel Islands crew made their way into the bar. Zeke Lau, Sebastian Zeitz, newlyweds Lakey Peterson and Thomas Allan, Eithan Osborne, and more were in attendance. The bartenders at Topa Topa Brewing Co, ran about, filling their fresh brewed bubbles from the tap, sufficiently lubricating the crowd.
Big thanks to Awayco, Sustainable Surf, Rip Curl and Topa Topa Brewing Co. for making last night possible.
The next Stab in the Dark premiere is in New York City at The Flower Shop, Wednesday, March 6.
See you subway surfers there.
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