The movie theaters in downtown Santa Barbara are typically very quiet on Monday nights, unless of course it’s Santa Barbara International Film Festival season. However, on a recent Monday evening, it was a whole different story.
The 7:45 p.m. sold-out screening at The Metro was anything but quiet. Filling every available seat, a boisterous and enthusiastic crowd of motorcycle fans came out for a special screening of the documentary On Any Sunday: The Next Chapter, directed by Dana Brown.
It's not my usual choice of movie, you might be thinking from some of my previous column subjects, but after interviewing Carlin Dunne in his Ducati showroom last week for this column, he suggested that seeing the new movie to better understand the motorcycle world would answer all my questions. He was right.
The first On Any Sunday premiered in 1971 and was directed by Brown’s father, Bruce, who also was at the helm of the surfing classic The Endless Summer. The movie gave the viewer an insider look at motorcycle racing, reaching a wide audience with heartfelt stories of real-life riders and earning Bruce Brown an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary film.
Four decades later, his acclaimed filmmaker son, Dana, directs On Any Sunday: The Next Chapter, a modern take on the original, capturing what it means to ride in the United States and globally. Shot in 4K Ultra HD, the action and emotion literally take your breath away.
On Any Sunday: The Next Chapter journeys deeper into the humanity and excitement of the motorcycle culture — across disciplines, passion for the race, the love of family and friends, and the thrill of the ride. Like Formula One drivers, motorcycles have their own distinct culture that is brilliantly photographed in the documentary. Cycling has a strong family connection, which was shown onscreen. Most of the featured superstars and their parents started as young daredevils with a strong affinity for cycling on road and off.
One of the featured cast members is my subject for this column — hometown, award-winning motorcycle superstar (and easy on the eye) 31-year-old Carlin Dunne. With a long history locally and professionally, whenever Dunne appeared on screen he got a big reaction (hoots and hollers) from his fans — men and women, families and friends young and older, who all make up the motorcycle culture as depicted in the documentary.
Dunne and his dad, Trevor, also a world champion, own the Ducati and Vespa dealership on Montecito Street in downtown Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone. Becoming a part of community events, a beautiful large, sleek and shiny showroom features Vespas and Ducatis, which are known as the Ferrari of motorcycles made in Bologna, Italy.
Ducati come out with new models every few years, and are known for their sexy and edgy appeal. They come in all sizes, finishes and prices, ranging from $9,000 to $65,000. They carry the latest new Ducati The Multistrada. The dealership and service department on site also carry a generous selection of clothing and accessories. Even if you don’t ride and just enjoy the fashion culture of motorcycling, this is great place to shop or buy gifts.
Growing up in Ojai, Dunne started riding as a young boy, a story not dissimilar to most of the featured cast members, including Ashley Fiolek, Doug Henry, Robbie Maddison, Marc Marquez, Brad Oxley, Travis Pastrana, Dani Pedrosa, Kenny Roberts, Roland Sands and James Stewart.
With a tour of the showroom ending, Dunne and I discussed the obvious dangers inherit in motorcycling (I am a mother, after all). I mentioned the stress of driving on Highway 101 and the cyclists weaving in and out of traffic. He laughed and acknowledged that there are a lot reckless people who, with their need for speed, don’t make the best choices. The DMV does require a special license for on-road driving, which he agreed was "very important," especially when you can go up to 200 miles an hour on some Ducatis and your only protection from the road and other drivers is a helmet.
"Like other ‘in the moment’ sports like surfing and auto racing, skill, fearlessness and sometimes luck are a part of the culture," Dunne said, "but ask most moto devotees and their love of blowing off steam and the heightened senses and danger and love of adventure outweigh the risk vs. fun factor for most riders.”
Ducati of Santa Barbara is located at 17 W. Montecito St. and can be reached at 805.884.8443.