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Apr 20th
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School Of Rock

School Of Rock

Arindam Krishna Das on the making of another smashing rock opera featuring local youth

Arindam Krishna Das is not afraid of taking risks when it comes to his theatrical productions. Since directing his first play at Little People’s Repertory Theater nearly 15 years ago, Das has developed a reputation around Santa Cruz County for his unique artistic vision, go-big-or-go-home mentality, and ability to breathe new life into classic musicals, from “Annie” to “The Rocky Horror Show.” Das plans to continue that tradition this month at San Lorenzo Valley High School, where he will unveil The Who’s “Tommy” on Feb. 15.

Thirty-two SLVHS students will help tell the story of Tommy Walker, a “deaf, dumb and blind boy” who becomes the leader of a messianic movement after discovering his inexplicable mastery of the pinball machine. The rock opera, based on Pete Townshend’s 1969 eponymous double-album which sold more than 20 million copies worldwide, features a number of chart-toppers, including “We’re Not Gonna Take It,” “See Me, Feel Me” and “Pinball Wizard,” and implores the audience to reflect on the social norms of the 1950s and today.

In the days leading up to opening night, we sat down with Das to discuss the art of the rock opera, what it takes to put on a production of this magnitude, and what he hopes the audience will take away from “Tommy.”

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The Ticker

Helping Pets 
In Need

Helping Pets 
In Need

BirchBark Foundation announces its launch this spring

When pets and their owners grow together over the years, they become more than just human and animal—they become companions and friends. And like all good friends that stick around, pets can become an indispensable part of the family. So what happens if an unexpected illness or injury threatens a pet’s life, but the treatment they need to survive is beyond the owner’s means?


When faced with circumstances like these, pet owners of Santa Cruz and Monterey counties had few options other than payment plans, adoption, or euthanasia—until now.


The recently launched nonprofit the BirchBark Foundation was formed for “people that have the heart, the house, and all the resources to care for their pet, but suddenly face a catastrophic medical problem they can’t afford to pay for,” says Dr. Merrianne Burtch, founder and president of the BirchBark Foundation.

Throughout her 14 years of treating animals at Pacific Veterinary Specialists and Emergency Service, which she founded in 1999 and co-owns, Burtch says she ran into these sorts of financial crises all too often. In March of last year, she decided to do something about it. 


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The Ticker

Preserving Living Landscapes

Preserving Living Landscapes

Land Trust of Santa Cruz County raises $13.5 million to protect local land

The Land Trust of Santa Cruz County (LTSCC) recently announced the completion of its 18-month campaign to raise $13.5 million from community members to help protect vital habitats within the county, from the subtle sentience of the Cemex Redwood Forest, to the ancient seafloor of the Sandhills habitat, to the rolling Pajaro Hills east of Watsonville. In total, they have helped to preserve 9,900 acres of land because of the campaign.

In 2011, LTSCC partnered with The Nature Conservancy, Peninsula Open Space Trust, Save the Redwoods League, and Sempervirens Fund, to form the Living Landscape Initiative (LLI), which assisted in protecting the recently acquired CEMEX Redwood forest.

The 8,500-acre CEMEX Redwood Forest north of Davenport was one of the largest unprotected habitats in Santa Cruz County until the LLI acquired the property from CEMEX, a concrete supply company. The forest is a key watershed for four creeks, one of which provides drinking water to Davenport, while another supplements the City of Santa Cruz with 20 percent of its potable water, according to LTSCC’s Outreach Manager Calah Pasley.

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CultureBeat

The Hunt For Bill Murray

The Hunt For Bill Murray

Director and UCSC alumnus Christopher Guerrero seeks out the elusive Bill Murray to star in thesis film

Christopher Guerrero, a UC Santa Cruz alumnus and current graduate student of the USC School of Cinematic Arts, has an ambitious vision for his thesis film: to cast one of the most famous men in Hollywood, Bill Murray, in a lead role. It may sound like a pipe dream, but Guerrero and his crew are beyond determined to convince the iconic actor—by any means possible—to join them in Santa Cruz, where they intend to start filming in May of this year. In an effort to gain Murray’s attention, the group of students have established Bill Murray Appreciation Day (BMAD), set to take place on Saturday, Feb. 2, also known as Groundhog Day (a reference to Murray’s 1993 comedy of the same name). The inaugural event will be held on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles, where fans dressed up as Bill Murray in his various film roles will embark on a BMAD Bar Crawl. Guerrero hopes that the celebration will extend beyond Los Angeles, however, and that fans will honor the day around the world each year. In preparation for this weekend’s event, we caught up with Guerrero to discuss his film, the new holiday, and the progress of his quest.

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The Ticker

The Pinnacle Of Parks

The Pinnacle Of Parks

Pinnacles National Monument becomes a national park, bringing good news to the area's economy and its resident condors 

As of this month, the United States has welcomed a new addition to the National Parks Program, and it happens to be in Santa Cruz County’s backyard. President Barack Obama signed a bill on Thursday, Jan. 10 officially recognizing Pinnacles National Monument, located near Soledad, Calif., as a national park.

The bill, which has been in the works since mid-2012, was drafted by Santa Cruz’s congressional representative, Rep. Sam Farr (D-Carmel). According to a statement released by Farr, the upgrade of the park’s status could boost the area’s economy through increased tourism.

"By elevating Pinnacles National Monument to national park status we also elevate the region’s appeal to potential visitors," Farr said in the statement. "These new tourists will spend their dollars at local businesses and ultimately be the driving force that helps this region ... grow and eventually prosper."

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CultureBeat

Redefining Possible

Redefining Possible

Big wave surfer, Chris Bertish, the subject of new locally produced film 

When Aurelia Productions, a Santa Cruz film production company, first heard about Chris Bertish—winner of the 2010 Mavericks Invitational big wave surf competition and one of South Africa’s highest-profile watermen—they saw an opportunity to create change and inspire the world. After all, Bertish is more than just a surfer. When he’s not in the ocean, Bertish shares his positive and energetic spirit with others by inspiring and encouraging them to do what they love and to never give up. His unique story is the subject of a forthcoming feature-length film produced by Aurelia, entitled Ocean Driven: The Chris Bertish Story. In an effort to help make the film a reality, the company is hosting a fundraising dinner at Conscious Creations on Saturday, Jan. 26. We sat down with director Nadia Tarlow and Bertish himself to talk about the making and the purpose of the film.

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CultureBeat

Dance Through Time

Dance Through Time

Local movers and shakers bring the evolution of Santa Cruz dance to life on stage

Santa Cruz County is notorious for its lively dance community. From classic ballroom dance to contemporary hip-hop, conventional ballet to daring burlesque, we’ve got it all. But that hasn’t always been the case.

Prior to 1959, there wasn’t a formal dance class to be found in town.

All that changed when Roberta Bristol organized the first dance class at Cabrillo College, which served as a catalyst for the local movement.

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CultureBeat

Maverick Memories

Maverick Memories














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Cardinal Grand Cross in the Sky

Following Holy Week (passion, death and burial of the Pisces World Teacher) and Easter Sunday (Resurrection Festival), from April 19 to the 23, the long-awaited and discussed Cardinal Cross of Change appears in the sky, composed of Cardinal signs Aries, Libra, Cancer, and Capricorn, with planets (13-14 degrees) Uranus (in Aries), Jupiter (in Cancer), Mars (in Libra) and Pluto (in Capricorn), an actual geometrical square or cross configuration. Cardinal signs mark the seasons of change, initiating new realities.

 

Sugar: The New Tobacco?

Proposed bill would require warning labels on sugary drinks Will soda and other saccharine libations soon come with a health warning? They will if it’s up to our state senator, Bill Monning (D-Carmel). On Feb. 27, Monning proposed first-of-its-kind legislation that would require a consumer warning label be placed on sugar-sweetened beverages sold in California. SB 1000, also known as the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Safety Warning Act, was proposed to provide vital information to consumers about the harmful effects of consuming sugary drinks, such as sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks, and sweetened teas.

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of April 17

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >

 

Growing Hope

Campos Seguros combats sexual assault in the Watsonville farmworker community Farm work was a way of life for Rocio Camargo, who grew up in Watsonville as the daughter of Mexican immigrants. Her parents met while working the fields 30 years ago, and her father went on to run Fuentes Berry Farms.
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