“As everyone knows before I started making movies I was working in a video store. I made my first movie is ’92…well, ’91. And somebody asked me the question, ‘In 1988, if someone had told you [that] you were going to be getting the Kirk Douglas Excellence in Filmmaking Award, given to you by Kirk Douglas… would you have believed it? And it actually stopped me completely in my tracks on the red carpet. ‘No,’ I said. ‘That would have been unfathomable.”

Diane Kruger, Kirk Douglas, Quentin Tarantino at last night’s Santa Barbara Film Festival presentation of the Kirk Douglas Excellence in Filmmaking Award ceremony.

This was Quentin Tarantino‘s opening remark last night on the occasion of his receiving the KDEIF award in Santa Barbara. He then told a good story about watching a fragment of The Vikings when he was six years old (i.e., the part when Tony Curtis kills Douglas with a broken sword) and then watching Spartacus a few months later and figuring it was the same film, etc. (Watch it on the YouTube clip below.)

Tarantino was gracious and amusing and very much the debonair gentleman. Douglas (who will be 93 in December) looked happy. Inglourious Basterds costar Diane Kruger was there. Producer Lawrence Bender was there. Dennis Miller, who charmed the world with his Sonia Sotomayor “La Cucharacha” joke on Bill O’Reilly‘s show a while back, was there.

Ditto Santa Barbara Film Festival director Roger Durling (wearing a Brad Pitt/Inglorious Basterds haircut), SBFF publicist Carol Marshall and numerous well-heeled ladies and gents representing the creme de la creme of Santa Barbara society.

It was a black-tie event, and I had flown to California under-prepared. I had my black pants, socks and shoes and a nice tuxedo shirt…but no black suit jacket. So I asked L.A. Times/Envelope columnist Pete Hammond, who was also planning to attend, if I could borrow a black evening jacket, and he obliged. Except Pete’s arms are shorter than mine and my white shirt cuffs were sticking out like crazy. It looked absurd. So I started telling people that short jacket sleeves was a new avant-garde fashion thing.

Another problem was that I was still on my New York clock, plus I made the mistake of accepting two Metropolitans early on. By the time the dinner had been served and eaten and the program began (a span of roughly two hours) I was feeling a little groggy. I had my pen and note pad at the ready but the energy wasn’t there. I felt it best to slip out before the end of the show.

My infinite wisdom led me to decide it would be best to not drive back to Los Angeles with vodka in my bloodstream. I stayed at a Motel 6 in Carpinteria, which has been spiffed up in recent years.

10.22.09, 6:10 pm.

10.22.09, 6:55 pm.

10.22.09, 10:35 pm.