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Dec 20th
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Derby Girls Get it Done

Derby Girls Get it Done

Santa Cruz’s powerful parade of estrogen is ready to roll—again. A provocative look inside the new season of the Derby Girls, the league’s addictive charm and how these gals embody a fierce spirit of accomplishment.

Modern roller derby needs no introduction in Santa Cruz. We’re funny that way; ahead of the curve. Pun intended. Five seasons of derby at sold-out bouts Saturday after Saturday adds up to approximately 40 bouts in front of roughly 40,000 seats, all filled with screaming fans. If you are personally unfamiliar with this thing called flat track roller derby, if you don’t know a jammer from a shortstop, or if you think a CoraZone is a delightful Italian lunch …  simply turn to your neighbor and he or she will set you straight.

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The WOO Way

The WOO Way

How Santa Cruz native Nick Mucha helped launch the nonprofit Project WOO and why it is empowering surfers to give back to developing communities

It has happened many times throughout history. Travelers searching for destinations that have not yet been “ruined” by tourism arrive in small numbers at a little-known locale that often has few facilities, little access and limited local knowledge of their needs. Soon, awareness of the destination grows, as does the number of visitors, facilities and popularity. Eventually, the community reaches its capacity and finds it challenging to manage the social and environmental costs of mass tourism. As a result, the number of visitors declines until the destination fails.

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The 2013 Health Issue

The 2013 Health Issue

Have you thought about your lymphatic system lately, or taken a close look at how your body processes sugar? When was the last time you sweat your ‘bad ass’ off? Our annual Health Issue spotlights inspiring stories of nutrition, fitness and holistic wellness that get you thinking about these three things and more.

Inside:
Kicking Butt
Health News
The Lowdown On Lymph
Sweet Talk
Recipe: Gentle Green Goodness

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Divine M

Divine M

An inside look at her new book, ‘The Law of Divine Compensation’


Work, money and miracles are fodder for discussion when best-selling author Marianne Williamson hits Santa Cruz.


In late 2008, the economy began mood swinging worse than Lindsay Lohan.  Emotional buttons were pushed. Concerns over money mounted.  Values were questioned (more). Suddenly, in the midst of jobs lost, lives and livelihoods being turned completely upside down, and the fear of the unknown skyrocketing north, the stock market became even more of an ominous omnipresent figure. The micro-era also gave birth to new catchphrase: “In this economy …”  Translation: “Things are bad.” On the outside, perhaps. On the flipside, for the awareness-hungry and/or spiritually-minded, it may have proven to be both a test of faith and possibly a time to strengthen one’s resolve—an opportunity to somehow not only move forward, but also put out some more good juju into the world. Enter Marianne Williamson. During this time, the internationally acclaimed lecturer and spiritual author—six of her 10 books hit the New York Times bestseller list—certainly found herself on the receiving end of new insights.

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Girl Power

Girl Power

Jackie Partida of Dressed In Roses strikes a memorable chord in the local music scene and paves the way for other young women to follow their bliss and become empowered. (Could ‘The Voice’ be next?)

Most 4-year-olds get off on the likes of SpongeBob SquarePants or crooning “The Wheels On The Bus.” But when local gal Jackie Partida was a toddler, she was already strumming a different chord. 

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Friggin’ Joy

Friggin’ Joy

Meet the local author, Huna healer and wild dolphin swim guide who wants to help put you on the friggin’ path to happiness

If you should go exploring the New Age/self-help field, you’d best keep a sharp eye out for cowpies. For every writer, speaker or counselor with some legitimate wisdom to share, there’s a sham-man offering to remove the lint from your Third Navel, or there’s a Professor Marvel-style huckster with some transcendental floss he’d like to sell you. 

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What’s Blood Got To Do With It?

What’s Blood Got To Do With It?

How essential is blood in times of crisis—and beyond?

In June 2012, the American Red Cross blood supply hit a 15-year low with 50,000 fewer donations than expected. In the seven months to follow, Hurricane Isaac rocked the Caribbean and the northern Gulf Coast; Superstorm Sandy resulted in an estimated $65.6 billion in losses due to damage and business interruption; and eight mass shootings in the U.S. flipped the world as we know it upside down.

While the blood supply has since increased, largely because of a countrywide appeal for donations, “we’re not in great shape,” says Hanna Malak, a Red Cross donor recruitment associate. “There’s a constant need for blood.”

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Love In A Snap

Love In A Snap

Click to open 2013 Bridal Expo Guide.
Local photographer Rebecca Stark transcends the norm and delivers a collection of wedding day photos to savor

So, here’s the thing about Rebecca Stark: The local wedding photographer is something more than just a woman behind the lens taking photos. Think of her as an artist of sorts, somebody who not only has the eye for capturing the most unique shots on the “Big Day,” but also somebody who can truly interpret the vibe of the scenes playing out before her eyes. That’s a good skill to have, especially if you’re going to be getting up close and personal with the wedding couple—and their clan—on the wedding day.

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The Future Of Farming

The Future Of Farming

As American farmers age, the nationwide push to fill their shoes grows. Locally, the 33rd annual EcoFarm conference hopes to plant the seeds for the next crop of cultivators.

In the late ’70s, notwithstanding the passionate back-to-the-land movement, organic farming was a long way from being accepted in traditional agriculture communities or in the university sphere.            

“At that time, not only was the rest of the world not informed on the subject, but in many cases, for instance, at the UC system, there was even sort of an opposition to this idea,” says Ken Dickerson, executive director of the Ecological Farming Association (EFA), the Soquel-based nonprofit behind EcoFarm, an annual sustainable farming conference.

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Kundalini Rising

Kundalini Rising

A local devotional singer and her yogi parents are raising consciousness and making miracles happen. GT’s Damon Orion illuminates their spirited tale with exclusive interviews with Oprah Winfrey, Ram Dass and The Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir.

The spiritual teacher Ram Dass has a great line: “We’re all God in drag.” In other words, behind all the costumes—the individual body types, social roles, personalities, occupations, etc.—each of us is a manifestation of the same divine consciousness.

As Oprah Winfrey’s voice spills out of my phone, the truth of those words hits me not as a concept, but as a palpable sensation. There’s an unshakeable feeling that something vast, formless and unfathomable is expressing itself through the metaphor of this moment. In the grand earthly melodrama, I have been cast as a reporter charged with the noble and intimidating mission of interviewing a woman who has interviewed the Obamas, Bill Clinton, Paul McCartney and Bill Gates. And Oprah, the goodhearted, down-to-earth megastar, has phoned me to discuss her connection to a Santa Cruz-based singer named Snatam Kaur, whose spiritual chants she listens to each day before meditating. In particular, I’m interested in hearing Winfrey’s description of an unexpected encounter that she had with Kaur in 2012.  

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Is This a Dream?

A beginner’s guide to understanding and exploring the uncanny world of lucid dreams

 

Giving and Giving, Then Giving Some More

2014 is almost over. Wednesday, Dec. 17, the Jewish Festival of Light, Hanukkah, begins. We are in our last week of Sag and last two weeks of December. Sunday, Dec. 21 is winter Solstice, as the sun enters Capricorn (3:30 p.m. for the west coast). Soon after, the Capricorn new moon occurs (5:36 p.m. for the west coast)—the last new moon of 2014. Sunday morning Uranus in Aries (revolution, revelation) is stationary direct (retro since July 22). Uranus/Aries create things new and needed to anchor the new culture and civilization (Aquarius). We will see revolutionary change in 2015. Capricorn new moon, building-the-personality seed thought, is, “Let ambition rule and let the door to initiation and freedom stand wide (open).” Capricorn is a gate—where matter returns to spirit. But the gate is unseen until the Ajna Center (third eye), Diamond Light of Direction, opens. Winter solstice is the longest day of darkness of the year. The sun’s rays resting at the Tropic of Capricorn (southern hemisphere) symbolize the Christ (soul’s) light piercing the heart of the Earth, remaining there for three days, till Holy Night (midnight Thursday morning). Then the sun’s light begins to rise. It is the birth of the new light (holy child) for the world. A deep calm and stillness pervades the world.The entire planet is revivified, re-spiritualized. All hearts beating reflect this Light. And so throughout the Earth there’s a radiant “impress” (impressions, pictures) given to humanity of the World Mother and her Child. The star Sirius (love/direction) and the constellation Virgo the mother shines above. For gift giving, give to those in need. Give and give and then give some more. This creates the new template of giving and sharing for the new world.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Stocking Stuffers

The men behind the women of the Kinsey Sicks Dragapella Beautyshop Quartet explain their own special brand of ‘dragtivism,’ and their holiday show at the Rio
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Tramonti Pizza

Why there’s no such thing as too much Italian food in Seabright

 

Guitar or surfboard?

Guitar. The closest thing I ever came to surfing was sliding down a rock hill. Charlie Tweddle, Santa Cruz, Hats and Music

 

Fortino Winery’s Intriguing Charbono

At the opening celebration of the new Santa Clara Wine Trail in August, one of the wineries we visited was Fortino. This is where I first tasted their intriguing estate-grown Charbono—a varietal that is one of the rarest in California, with only 80 acres grown statewide.

 

Beyond the Jar

How Tabitha Stroup has built her rapidly expanding jam empire