Santa Cruz Good Times

Sep 18th
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Best Professionals

Can cute people actually make better cocktails? Well, why not? Still, we’re not saying it’s PJ’s dashing looks that gave him the top vote this year—although it didn’t hurt, and there’s nothing wrong with that—we’re just saying that it must have something to do with how well the guy can balance his smarts for drinks with efficiency. Especially on those Friday and Saturday evenings when Motiv in Downtown Santa Cruz is packed. (Wait till he flashes that smile the next time he makes a drink for you.) FUN FACT: Motiv’s very telling staff gave us the dirt on Patrick. 1.Tattooed a bottle of poison on himself. 2. He’s endearingly clumsy. 3. Eats one item at a time on a plate. | CP
Blaine at the Red Room, Lisa Moulton at El Palomar, Jeff Pappas at Clouds

Click Read More to see all the Best Professionals>


Artist of the Year
It’s no surprise that in such an artistically minded town that the Best Of issue would turn up two winners, Kate Daly and Sharon Medler. Both women are exquisite artists whose work is remarkable. Medler has established herself locally as an acrylic painter whose use of  vibrant colors and inspiring scenery-based work has brought her enormous success. She’s won numerous awards and her paintings are often favorites at various art and wine festivals. Those fond of her work  will find a local emphasis that they’re drawn to, with images like “Heart of Capitola,” “West Cliff,” and “Shadowbrook.” To learn more, visit Her co-winner, Daly,  says she “has spent the last year creating her Heart collection ... a tribute to the heart as an anatomical structure and an expression of all the meaning that has been bestowed upon it as a symbol.” For more information on Daly, visit FUN FACTS: Medler has an extensive history with watercolor;  Daly is a lifetime Santa Cruzan and known for her beautiful work with oils. | Christa Martin
Rachel Wolf, Janet Allinger, Victor Dubin

We’ll be in the sign of Taurus and waiting for Saturn to finish its retrograde by the time this publishes. What does this mean? Best to ask Risa. That, and a whole lot more, which, you already do each week by turning to her column in this publication.  What is there to say about your favorite astrologer, one that has mastered esoteric astrology? Well, like translating a foreign language, dear Risa has studied the movements of the stars and more for decades. Her astute observations and astrological musings got you jazzed. In the meantime, you may still be feeling the effects of the recent full moon—or are you anticipating the New Moon on May 14? Check it all out at Risa Says: Saturn will oppose Uranus for the fifth time in July. Time itself, the fabric of time, an event in space, is changing radically. Chiron entered Pisces—the ’60s re-emerges—and the May 27 full moon also ushers in a  solar festival of Gemini and Festival of Humanity. Uranus (later Jupiter) also enters Aries.The Aquarian Age truly begins then! | Charlie Price
Runners-up Rob Brezsny, Suan Heinz, Henry Seltzer

best3_prof_John FuchsBuilder/Carpenter
Why it works: Most likely because this long-running enterprise is overseen by a husband-wife team. That’s right—love conquers all, here. John and Robin Fuchs have enhanced local homes and overseen real estate for more than 25 years. Some things that definitely caught our attention: JFC is a Certified Green Builder (through Build It Green). Beyond that, the work and the style—not to mention the longevity—speaks for itself.  FUN FACT: It happens to have one of the most informative websites around for potential clients. Kudos to JFC for the extensive FAQ section, one that far surpasses the norm. See | CP
Rudy Medina, David Hanson, Boots McGhee

MARIE ROYERBestOof2010icon
Royer has built her business and philosophy upon the simple standard of listening to patients, blending natural intuition of the human body with practical medical techniques. Royer has also taught chiropractic board review at a number of schools all over the country, solidifying her reputation as an expert in channeling energy, practicing myofascial work, specific muscle stretching, exercise, craniosacral and reiki. FUN FACT: She’s being going strong here since  1996. | Zach Stoloff
Michael Quinn, Sylvia Skefich, Amy Rubio

Jackson Landscape aims to build the bridge between outdoors and indoors, creating gardens that feel like an extension of the house. Creating sustainable gardens perfect for relaxing and relieving stress is what the company’s philosophy is about, having been a part of the community for more than 15 years. Other options include plants to attract butterflies or birds. FUN FACT: “Stepping into your garden should feel as though you are entering another part of your home,” Jackson says. | ZS
TerraBella Landscaping, Lynn Jackson landscape, Lady Scapes

Massage Therapist
JANE FARRARBestOof2010icon
Multi-talented masseuse Jane Farrar is known across town for her bodywork. Clients rave about her successful healing touch, so it’s not particularly surprising that Farrar won in the Best Masseuse category. “It’s really amazing how much you can learn about somebody with bodywork,” Farrar says. “It feels really intimate but there’s also a lot of autonomy. Magic really happens, and it’s really exciting to see how much transformation can happen. I also really like working with people with chronic pain or injuries. It’s very gratifying to help them and see change happen.” Farrar has been doing this work locally for the last five years, and currently works part-time. She considers her massages to be “high energetic work, combined with gentle, deep, and specific tissue work as well.” She can use essential oils and hot stones, per a client’s preference. “For me, it’s a kind of spiritual practice,” Farrar says. “My intention is to really be with people as they are and allow the change that needs to happen. The technique I need is to get people into deep relaxation.” FUN FACT: Farrar is one-half of the up-and-coming duo of Blank Verse Jewelry at | CM
Flaura Coren, Miriam Janove, Jennifer Galvin

DR. STEPHEN GARNER BestOof2010icon
Garner is a certified by the ABPS and head surgeon where you can have your skin felicitatenqued and restituendamed with microdermabrasion, intense pulsed light, dermal  fillers, facial treatments, peels, products, and even botox, he’s got it all.  FUN FACT: Dr. Garner, age 50, has been practicing plastic surgery for half of his lifetime. | Elizabeth Limbach
Suzanne Kerley MD, UltraDerm, Heather Braga

This creative woman took a long path to a career in photography, one that culminated with the birth of her first child (now one of three). It proved to be the inspiration she needed to become Santa Cruz’s favorite photographer specializing in children, newborns, pregnancy and weddings. A mother herself, she has an eye for the art and a special ability to capture a family in its most beautiful moments. FUN FACT: Her first camera was a heavy Canon RT, a gift from her husband. | EL
Sasha Neese, Renee Whiting Photography, Sylvia Valentine

GARY YOUNGBestOof2010icon
Reading Young can impart in the reader a sense of simultaneous joy and pain. Gary Young’s poetry speaks to the beauteous landscape that surrounds us, the pleasures and challenges of parenthood, and the intricate moments of difficulty and delight that life inevitably brings. Well-appreciated by many in the Santa Cruz area, Young was dubbed first-ever Poet Laureate of the county in January, and now readers have voted him Best Poet. He has many plans in motion to increase awareness of the ancient art in Santa Cruz, including bringing poetry to the walls of busses, and poetry programs to local schools. FUN FACT: Perhaps allare such fans of Young’s work because it reminds us, like the title of one of his books, that we will know “No Other Life.” | April Short
Lauren Eggert-Crowe, Morton Marcus, Adrienne Rich

In 1984 Greg Bellows started a small business that would eventually become the go-to plumber for the Santa Cruz area. Integrating a number of cutting edge technologies—trenchless sewer line repair, for instance. The business builds its brand on customer service, fair pricing, and a passion for the industry; rarities among practitioners of skilled labor. FUN FACT: In recent years, the company has expanded to add heating and air conditioning services to its menu. | ZS
Runners-up Surf City Plumbing, Jimmy Smith Plumbing, MC Plumbing

Surfboard Shaper
Whether you want to land big airs on a shortboard or cruise peeling lines on a longboard (and everything in between), you can call on surfboard shaper Nick Palandrani. Hand carving the artful pieces that help you walk on water, the 33-year-old Eastsider is at the helm of Source Surfboards and GP Surfboards, and he’s been earning serious cred for more than a decade. An expert when it comes to designs, both retro and cutting edge, Palandrani’s small-scale operation helps every rider—pro or not—feel on top of the game along the face of the wave. FUN FACT: Before he decided on the name Source Surfboards, Palandrani was working on an ‘N’ logo to symbolize Nick. When the logo fell on the floor and flipped on its side, he saw it as an ‘S’ and decided to stick with it to eventually become the Source logo. | Linda Koffman
Runners-up Doug Haut, Ward Coffey, O’Neill


Stem cell treatment for your dog or cat? It may be somewhat controversial with humans, but the Westside Animal Hospital is thoroughly committed to emerging technologies (such as microchipping, too) and giving pets the best possible care. Led by David J. Shuman, a graduate of USC and UC Davis, his animal hospital has long been a part of the community, providing care to Santa Cruz’ very large animal population. In addition to regular preventative veterinary services, the clinic offers state-of-the-art emergency care during its regular business hours. Among other services, the clinic offers what essentially amounts to pet psychiatrists—determining such disorders as separation anxiety and prescribing medical regimens to treat such psychological issues. Dental care is another area covered by the hospital, providing such services as sound for cleanings. Other technologies taken advantage of at Shuman’s clinic include endoscopy. Not that you’ve ever necessarily wanted to see the inside of your pet’s colon, but if the unfortunate need should ever arise, you can rest assured knowing the Westside Animal Hospital can take care of your friend’s needs.
Fun fact: Some staff from the hospital also provide house calls if the pet cannot be brought to the clinic. It also offers hospice services to people who need to say good-bye to their animal. | ZS
Runners-up Dr. Evelyn Sharp, DVM Santa Cruz vet, Harbor Veterinary Clinic, VCA Animal Hospital

Writer (Local)BestOof2010icon
In April of 1969 the entertainment world saw history being made as Barbra Streisand and Katherine Hepburn received the same amount of votes from the Academy and tied for Best Actress. Katherine in her extraordinary role as the witty and strong willed Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine in The Lion in Winter and Babs in her film debut as the vaudeville comedienne queen Fanny Brice in Funny Girl. If aging queens and vaudevillian comedy at the Oscars aren’t the perfect segue to this year’s pick for Best Writer, what is? Here’s to another tie. Wallace has been a thoughtful and observant chronicler of our community for almost as long as there has been anything to write about. And of course his coverage of culture in the pages of the Sentinel and online at his Epicenter Blog keeps us all informed, entertained and always wanting more. Then there’s Greg and his musings here in GT, and the numerous articles that creep up nationally—from his Huffington Post blog to Oprah Magazine articles.  Both men are quite a gift to their readers, but how can there be such plurality in such a singular statement. The Best implies that there can only be one. This year, that rule has been rewritten. FUN FACTS: Wallace’s collection of essays, “Rhymes With Vain,” will be published in May. Visit; Greg’s fun, frothy yet informative health/wellness book with co-author Dr. Maria Rago, “Shut Up, Skinny Bitches!” is due out this fall. (Look for local booksignings!) | Chip
Runners-up Geoffrey Dunn, Laurie King, suki wessling

Best of 2010 Index:
Best of Santa Cruz Shops
Best Arts, Entertainment & Nightlife>
Best Food & Drink>
Best Health & Fitness>
Best of the Rest>
Critics’ Picks>

Comments (1)Add Comment
written by Cyndy FitzGerald, September 11, 2011
For anyone searching for an excellent vet who will come to your home any day of the week, there is a young vet team in the county with a mobile unit, and they are incredible. With tender patience and compassion, Marc Van Every ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) came to my home to provide care Saturday evening. He gently helped my beloved 16 year old English Cocker, Lucy, make the toughest transition in life so peacefully. After searching for help, I am so appreciative and highly recommend this wonderful vet team. Marc is a Santa Cruz native and totally gets dog love. For those who need canine help at home, consider calling this mobile unit vet team: 831/345-3093

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