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Dec 20th
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Cover Stories

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Weird is as Weird does

Weird is as Weird does

People assume Santa Cruz is ‘weird.’  But is it—really? Our gal-about-town tells all.

A dreadlocked midwife, a transgendered Unitarian Universalist minister, and a polyamorous Republican walk into a bar … stop me if you’ve heard this one.

The Premise

You’ve seen the bumper sticker. You own the bumper sticker. You’ve considered covering an entire wall in your bathroom with the catch phrase (that would, after all, be quite fitting). It could be that you, like me, have caught yourself shouting to a friend or acquaintance as you part ways, “Keep it weird!” You laugh to yourself, give a thumbs-up and go on your merry way. But do you sometimes walk away wondering, “Am I keeping it weird? Am I doing my part? Am I, as a private citizen, putting my best weird foot forward?”

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Eating for Wellness

Eating for Wellness

Inside the remarkable—and healthy—world of local chef and nutritionist David Wells
David Wells can’t recall his first memory of food. He can, however, remember the period in his youth when he went without it.

Wells, who is now an Aptos-based chef and nutritionist with a long, impressive career as a celebrity chef behind him, traces his gastronomical calling back to this time when, as a teenager, he found himself neglected and hungry. His mother sent him to Mendocino to live with his father, who Wells says “wouldn’t even notice if I didn’t come home for a week.” At 15 years old, he got a job washing dishes at a local restaurant just to be around a food supply.

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Environmental Evolution

Environmental  Evolution

Surfer and environmental activist Kyle Thiermann has grown in many ways since he first made waves in Good Times. Back in 2009, Thiermann was a wide-eyed 19-year-old kid, living the dream. He was a pro boarder, sponsored by Patagonia and Sector 9, and just beginning his university studies at Gaia University—a college that offers students accredited degrees for pursuing social change projects of their own design.

He landed on the cover of GT in September 2009 for his first Gaia project, Claim Your Change, a short video which explored how banking locally was a simple way to support the local community—and at the same time casting a no vote on environmentally damaging projects, such as coal mining and oil drilling, which are often financed by major banks.

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Rogue Warrior

Rogue WarriorGeoffrey Dunn’s new book, ‘The Lies of Sarah Palin,’ takes on the most polarizing political figure of our time
Note: On May 10, popular Santa Cruz writer and filmmaker Geoffrey Dunn entered the national political discussion for the 2012 presidential election with the release of his fascinating and illuminating new book, “The Lies of Sarah Palin: The Untold Story Behind Her Relentless Quest for Power” (published by MacMillan/St. Martin’s Press), a portion of which is excerpted in this edition of Good Times.
Already on several national bestseller lists, including in the No.1 spot on Amazon for Political Biography, Dunn’s work has been called “a tour de force in investigative journalism.” One early review called it the “best adversarial piece” ever written about Sarah Palin. Bloggers in Alaska from across the political spectrum have called it everything from “superb” to “brilliant.”
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the gleeks

the gleeksInventive and just downright fun, our local ‘glee’ clubs rock. We tell you why.

What is glee?

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines it as “exultant high-spirited joy.” But unless you’ve been living under a rock, the word now conjures up one thing: Fox’s hit TV series Glee. Since its pilot episode aired almost exactly two years ago today, the show has skyrocketed in ratings and on the iTunes charts. Here in Santa Cruz, local singing groups have seen the impact first hand. But is it possible that the award-winning musical dramedy could be both a blessing and a curse? You’ll just have to keep reading to find out …

‘Teenage  Dream’

You’ll never find a happier group of pre-teens than the New Brighton Middle School Glee Club. Stop by Joanne Roster’s classroom during lunchtime on a Thursday, and you’ll be overwhelmed by the number of smiling kids who give up their recess to belt out Owl City’s “Fireflies,” The Lovin’ Spoonful’s “Do You Believe in Magic,” and a special (tween-appropriate) version of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It,” called “Eat It.”

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Ruffo's Wild Ride

Ruffo's Wild Ride

Filmmaker Rocky Romano is not the first person to fall for Santa Cruz. (So many have, but who has the space to document it all?) So, when grilled about what he believes makes the area stand out, Romano just laughs. “Yeah—there’s something in the water here, right?”

Maybe it’s not the water—maybe it’s the people.

That’s something Romano discovered all too vividly when he embarked on filming a documentary about surf icon Anthony Ruffo. The film makes its much-anticipated debut in the 10th annual—so big, so bold—Santa Cruz Film Festival [SCFF] May 14 (see insert). It chronicles, sometimes quite dramatically, Ruffo’s curious journey of late.

The doc’s trailer, in the filmmaker’s words, says it all: “On Oct. 1, 2010, I contacted professional surfer and methamphetamine addict Anthony Ruffo in regard to making a documentary film about his life. I thought that this would be a story about the rise and fall of a surfing icon. Instead … I got a story about being human.”

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Best Of Santa Cruz 2011 index

Best Of Santa Cruz 2011 index

If there’s one thing we have learned this year—more than any other year that GT has published The Best Of Santa Cruz Readers’ Poll—is that you really want to have your voice heard. More of you showed up to log in your votes (see below). As a result, we find ourselves having produced our biggest Best of Santa Cruz edition ever. We’ve even added a new category for next year in our A&E section, thanks, in part, to the inspiration of the local guy who graces our cover this week (see page 100). So, dive in. And thanks for voting—and reading. —Greg Archer, Editor

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Best Shops 2011

Best Shops 2011

For years, Camouflage took home the Best Adult Store prize, but this year, the race was heated. Did Camouflage win? Check it out.

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Best of Best of Food and Drink 2011

Best of Best of Food and Drink 2011It’s official: you dig El Palomar Restaurant. For many things. But the local Food Giant is just one of many favorites. Last year, Soif nabbed Best Appetizers, but this year, Crow’s Nest too back the crown. Meanwhile, Soif racked up other wins. New category: Best Hog Dog. Take a peek.
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Best of A.E. & Nightlife 2011

Best of A.E. & Nightlife 2011So many votes, but how did it all play out? Felix Kulpa Gallery, once again, takes best honors for Best Gallery. Back take note of stellar wins for All About Theatre and The Crepe Place.
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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