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May 22nd
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Cover Stories

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George Ow’s Chinatown

George Ow’s Chinatown

An excerpt from ‘Santa Cruz is in the Heart Vol. II’

In the spring when the willows and chickens grew fat again and the plum trees blossomed pink and white in the Chinatown yards near the river, the old man with the scruffy beard and tobacco breath sat back in the quiet splendor of the warm April sun and watched with great delight the group of young children playing at his feet.

Far off in the distance, he could hear the children’s grandmother, Gue Shee Lee, turning over the soil of her garden, and the San Lorenzo River tumbling gently through the town. He could smell the fish drying on the porches and the herbs from the kitchens and the faint, sweet wisps of Chinese tobacco in the air. The world had changed many times in his life he thought, as he watched the scene unfolding before him, and it would change many times more before he was gone.

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Courage Under Bombs

Courage Under Bombs

One family's mind-bending journey to survive war is captured in candid email exchanges between a Santa Cruzan and a Syrian woman. A GT exclusive.

The last time Santa Cruz’s June Magnaldi visited Syria in 2011, she sat comfortably with her friends sipping tea on the balcony of their second-floor apartment, overlooking a small city street of Homs, the third-largest city in the country. Nearby, a tall green cypress tree reached toward the sky above the neighborhood of Christians and Muslims. June exchanged stories with Suha, a university graduate of literary studies who had become a teacher and whose family ties to Syria go back 1,000 years. The two friends recalled the time they had met 10 years before at Mar Musa Monastery, deep in the silent Syrian desert. June had ventured there to visit, “this beautiful monastery above the desert, open to all faiths and nationalities.” Suha told GT that Mar Musa is “heaven on Earth” and she had gone there “to be away from the city’s moral and actual pollution. I spent three days there and most of the time was with June.”

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Let Them Eat Fashion

Let Them Eat Fashion

Fashion and art merge together in one of the most festive artistic events of the season.

Behold: FashionArt Santa Cruz 2013.

The definition of strut: “To display in order to impress others.”

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Blasphemy

Blasphemy

…And Other esoteric Musings Await in our Big, Luscious Fall Lit Preview, Featuring Award Winner Sherman Alexie

+ The Six Books (and authors) That Top Our Must-Read List This Season

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Gangaji

Gangaji

In GT’s Living Legends series, one of the most revered spiritual teachers on the planet opens up about self-inquiry and much more. PLUS: The impetus behind her return to Santa Cruz after 20 years.

Stop for a moment; notice what you’re thinking. Where do thoughts come from? What is present when there are no thoughts? This direct questioning is called self-inquiry. It’s an ancient and profound action that, according to many spiritual leaders, brings us in direct contact with what is rather than clinging to concepts that represent what is.

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Finding Freedom in Prison

Finding Freedom in Prison

From despair to hope. An inside look at the local men whose sea-changing efforts offer prisoners a voice and an opportunity to make significant personal transformations.

The facts are staggering. Between 1982 and 2000, California’s prison population grew by 500 percent, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). The CDCR spends almost $11 billion annually, funding 70,000 employees to oversee and supervise inmates at 33 state prisons at an average cost of $49,000 per prisoner. No other country incarcerates a higher percentage of its population than the United States. Equally disconcerting is that within the gray walls of these monolithic structures, the voices, stories and rights of prisoners are rarely heard or acknowledged.

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Santa Cruz Is in the Heart

Santa Cruz Is in the Heart

An inside look at the creative adventures of prolific local writer-filmmaker Geoffrey Dunn. Why his three new books and big MAH exhibit are poised to showcase Santa Cruz history in the most captivating light.

Nearly a quarter-century ago, Santa Cruz writer and filmmaker Geoffrey Dunn released a collection of his writings in a volume entitled “Santa Cruz Is in the Heart,” the first edition of which sold out in a few weeks and which has gone into a phenomenal six printings over the years. Dunn’s writings, with their unique mixture of personal reminiscences and observations, along with their revelatory accounts of regional history, capture the zeitgeist of our community as few others ever have.

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The Napolitano Complex

The Napolitano Complex

What does the arrival of the former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security at the helm of the UC mean for higher education in California?

In September, Janet Napolitano will leave her post as the United States' Secretary of Homeland Security in Washington D.C. and head west to Oakland, Calif., where she will assume duties as the 20th president of the University of California system.

As she prepares to take the reins of one of the nation's most prestigious institutions of higher learning, her background as the chief administrator of the world's most powerful surveillance and security organization promises to be her greatest strength—and quite possibly her greatest weakness.

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Wild About Willie

Wild About Willie

Man, myth, country music legend Willie Nelson descends upon Santa Cruz. The story you’ve been waiting for.

WARNING: This article contains mood swings, deep, sometimes haunting personal confessions and occasional marijuana usage. On the flipside: No animals were harmed during the creation of this story.

Willie Nelson is a bona fide music legend, yes. And that’s a very good thing. Willie Nelson also happens to be coming to Santa Cruz, which is, perhaps, even a better thing. Let’s face it: if there’s anybody Cruzans love to embrace with arms wide open, it’s a creative beast with liberal leanings who advocates the legalization of marijuana. The last time Nelson performed here, back in 2012, he attracted a huge crowd.

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Soul Man

Soul Man

In a warm, laughter-filled GT exclusive, the beloved spiritual teacher Ram Dass shines a light on attachment, psychedelic drugs, out-of-body experiences, the ’60s revolution and more.

Ram Dass has spoken four words to me so far, and the cosmic humor has already begun to flow. Some initial audio trouble has just been resolved, and the famed spiritual teacher’s voice has materialized from my laptop, kicking off our Skype session with an unforgettable opening line:

“Can you hear now?”

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Gate Openers

Up-and-coming artists like Ryan Bingham are a great reason to show up early to the Santa Cruz American Music Festival

 

Gemini Sun, Pentecost, Shavuot—Enlightenment and Gladness

As the sun enters Gemini on Sunday, sign of speaking, communication, thinking, inter-relations, writing and understanding languages, the feast days of Pentecost & Shavuot (Catholic and Jewish festivals) occur. During Pentecost’s 50 days after Easter, tongues of fire appear above the heads of the disciples, providing them with the ability to understand all languages and all feelings hidden in the minds and hearts of humanity. It’s recorded that Pentecost began with a loud noise, which happened in an upper room (signifying the mind). The Christ (World Teacher) told his disciples (after his ascension) when encountering a man at a well carrying a water pot (signs for Age of Aquarius) to follow him to an upper room. There, the Holy Spirit (Ray 3 of Divine Intelligence) would overshadow them, expand their minds, give them courage and enable them to teach throughout the world, speaking all languages and thus able to minister to the true needs of a “seeking” humanity. Pentecost (50 days, pentagram, Ray 5, Venus, concrete and scientific knowledge, the Ray of Aquarius) sounds dramatic, impressive and scary: The loud noise, a thunderous rush of wind and then “tongues of fire” above the heads of each disciple (men and women). Fire has purpose. It purifies, disintegrates, purges, transforms and liberates (frees) us from the past. This was the Holy Spirit (Ray 3, love and wisdom) being received by the disciples, so they would teach in the world and inform humanity of the Messiah (Christ), who initiated the new age (Pisces) and gave humanity the new law (adding to the 10 Commandments of the Aries Age) to Love (Ray 2) one another. Note: Gemini is also Ray 2. Shavuot is the Jewish Festival of Gladness, the First Fruits Festival celebrating the giving of the 10 Commandments to Moses as the Aries Age was initiated. Thus, we have two developmental stages here, Jewish festival of the Old Testament. Pentecost of the New Testament. We have gladness, integrating both.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Off Her Meds

Kristin Wiig runs wild—and transcends her sketch comedy roots—as a truly strange character ‘Welcome to Me’
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Flats Bistro

Pizza with an artisan twist comes to Aptos Beach

 

What’s your take on Santa Cruz locals?

Santa Cruz locals are really friendly once you know them. I think a lot of them have a hard time leaving, and I would too. Ryan Carle, Santa Cruz, Biologist

 

Soquel Vineyards

If Soquel Vineyards partners Peter and Paul Bargetto and Jon Morgan were walking down the street wearing their winning wine competition medals, you’d hear them coming from a mile away. This year was particularly rewarding for the Bargettos and Morgan—they won two Double Gold Medals and five Gold Medals at January’s San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

 

Enlightened Flavors

Squash & Blossom’s artisanal alternative-flour delights, beet kvass from Cafe Ivéta, and the Santa Cruz Baroque Festival