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Oct 02nd
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Cover Stories

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Everything’s ZEN

Everything’s ZEN

Long before Umi was a Zen master in the Santa Cruz Mountains, he was a seafaring rock radio pioneer who riled the establishment and ushered in the British Invasion. In this spirited interview, he shares tales of his colorful journey and sheds light on the nature of Zen.
As I approach the end of the long driveway on Empire Grade that leads to Stillpoint Zen Community, Pink Floyd’s “One of These Days” is blaring from the nearest building. With its relentless, menacing bass line and its maniacal, howling pedal steel guitar, it’s a far cry from the soft sound of bells and wind chimes you might expect to hear at a spiritual center in the Santa Cruz Mountains. But taken in context, it’s not an unfitting welcome: From 1964 to 1968, Stillpoint’s focal figure, now known to the members of his community as Enlightened Master Umi, served as DJ and program director for Britain’s first offshore pirate radio station, Radio Caroline. During those years, the station’s crew sailed the English Coast, defying the establishment by broadcasting the rock & roll music of the day. In so doing, they played a key role in sparking the British Invasion and bringing color and life force to a staid, button-down society. Their exploits are echoed—albeit in highly sensationalized form—in the film Pirate Radio, currently on the New Releases shelves of video stores.

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Journeys with Geneen

Journeys with GeneenSpiritual Feast

Former Cruzan and best-selling author Geneen Roth opens up about food, life, God and the legion of emotions that can illuminate our deepest held beliefs


When you take your pulse, you know you’re alive. But are you really “living?” If Geneen Roth were asking that question, she’d no doubt add: How are you really living?

 

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I Gotta Feeling

I Gotta Feeling

I Can't Get It Out of My Head.
When your internal DJ won’t stop playing an infuriatingly catchy song, you’ve got yourself an earworm. Our intrepid reporter dissects the tunes that drive us insane—in the membrane.
You know what's a shitty song? “Animal” by Neon Trees. This tune sucks like it’s trying to inhale a balloon through a straw. It sucks with the wild, furious abandon of a desperate addict trying to use a flashlight as a crack pipe. So why has some sick, self-persecuting part of my psyche been playing it over and over since the moment I woke up this morning?

What we have here is an earworm: a piece of music that burrows into the mind and refuses to leave. An earworm might take the form of a hit song of the present day, or it could be some piece of pop culture gunk that got lodged in the folds of your brain 20 years ago. TV commercials are among the worst offenders: Online forum users show great disgust for a tribal chant addressed to an anonymous figure in possession of a Kit-Kat bar, and a musical testimony to the deliciousness of the baby back ribs at Chili’s seems to be the object of almost universal contempt.

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Garbage Patch Kids

Garbage    Patch  Kids

Santa Cruz nonprofit The Clean Oceans Project has big hopes for cleaning up trash from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

The world’s largest landfill is an accidental one.

Dubbed The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, it stretches across the Northern Pacific Ocean about half way between Hawaii and the San Francisco Bay Area. Depending on whom you ask, its estimated bulk ranges from the size of Texas to bigger than the continental United States, and can reach depths of 100 feet.

 

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It Takes A Tribe: STS9

It Takes A Tribe: STS9From instrumental music to activism, STS9 makes big things happen. A look back at the band’s decade in Santa Cruz and its latest surprising feats.
When members of STS9 (Sound Tribe Sector 9) shared a condemned house in Watsonville at the start of the millennium, the idea of raising money to build a home for anyone else was pretty unfathomable. “It was literally people living in sheds and shacks around this one house,” keyboardist David Phipps laughs. “Those were the last of our glory days living hand to mouth.” Since then, the band’s incandescent mesh of electronica-meets-jam band dexterity (self-described as “post-rock dance music”) has spread like a virus on the Internet and across international stages.

But there’s a whole lotta musicians out there who find success for sounding good. It’s whether or not they have anything to say that is another story.
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Fall Fashion Trends

Fall Fashion Trends

The Season’s New Looks Are Brought To Santa Cruz

Fashion Editor’s note: This year’s Fashion Issue takes a close look at the trends and personal interpretations of what fall fashion can do for you. Locals weigh in on the verdict of what’s in and out, and how to maintain a stylish wardrobe as the fall weather creeps in on us. Following this article is a photo spread by local designer-stylist-photographer Alexis Meschi. The multi-talented Meschi blew us away with her powerful images that capture fall fashion in all of its glory. Enjoy.  —Christa Martin

Fashion comes in all shapes and sizes, trends and classics, and oftentimes it’s here to stay, whether you like it or not—think skinny jeans. GT caught up with some of the local people involved in fashion to discover how the fall runway looks will (or won’t) translate to the fashionable residents here in Santa Cruz. What we’ve discovered is encouraging, and, most importantly, we found that the fashionistas amongst us are doing what Santa Cruzans always do—they push the envelope and make a statement that’s unique to them. Incorporating fall fashion into one’s own “look” only furthers the creative expression found by way of what you wear.

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Meet the Bouncers

Meet the Bouncers

Words of wisdom and tales of the trade from the guys who keep  the Bars in Santa Cruz safe
Wherever there’s a crowd of people drinking, there’s bound to be a jackass or two. Much as we might wish we could just hit the “Eject” button and send the rabble-rousers flying, it takes a living, breathing human to get rid of that unwanted guest who’s had one too many. Which, of course, is where bouncers come in. The doorman is a figure who appears throughout history and throughout nature: The Old Testament makes mention of “gatekeepers” whose duty was to keep things copasetic at the Levitical Temple, and even certain species of ants have their own peacekeepers whose duty is to chuck out unwelcome parties. Clearly, this is an essential service, but few people have the stones for it, let alone the physical power.

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Spine Time

Spine Time

People who are passionate about what they do are truly magnetic. Seemingly lit from within, they emanate an intrinsic confidence and undaunted fortitude that draws others directly into their orbits. Like the sun at the center of its own universe, John Amaral, D.C. (Doctor of Chiropractic) is one of those people.

“I believe that more people need to experience what it feels like when they’re not trying to be someone else or be somewhere else, to just experience who they are, why they’re here and what they’re made of without self-judgment or striving,” Amaral says of his dedication to helping others attain a higher quality of living.

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Restorative Justice

Restorative Justice

The art of sharing power and responsibility to create community
Downtown Santa Cruz, a high school student takes clothes from a store without paying and is caught in the act. Instead of going to jail, she agrees to meet with a store manager to discuss the act and mutually agree on what to do next. 

An elementary school garden is destroyed by teenagers. During a restorative dialogue, the teenagers sob with sadness, realizing the affect they’ve had on the younger kids who put so much energy into growing their garden.

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{second} Night Life

{second} Night Life

Groundbreaking local business Virtual Venues Network gives live music fans the next best thing to being there
In the late ’90s, local music promoter Michael Horne went to a Rolling Stones concert that changed his life. It wasn’t the music that made such a big impression—it was the fact that rather than watching the band, Horne found himself focused on a giant screen that was showing the concert to audience members too far back to get a good view of the performers. “We were way, way back in the nosebleed seats, and it started to rain,” he recalls. “I remember looking at my girlfriend: ‘You realize we paid 130 bucks to watch a screen’—because Mick’s an inch tall—‘in the rain? And everyone’s happy! We’re stoked to pay $130, 20 bucks to park, $8 for a bottle of water, sit in the nosebleed seats, watch the screen and call that rock & roll!’”

 

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On the Waterfront

As the wharf celebrates its centennial, a personal reflection on its essential place in Santa Cruz’s history

 

Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, occurs this year during Libra, the sign of creating right relations with all aspects life and with earth’s kingdoms. We contemplate (the Libra meditation) forgiveness, which means, “to give for another.” Forgiveness is not pardon. It’s a sacrifice (fire in the heart, giving from the heart). Forgiveness is giving up for the good of the other. This is the law of evolution (the path of return).

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of September 26

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
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Melinda’s

New Capitola bakery takes gluten-free goods to the next level

 

Do you think you are addicted to technology?

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Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

Apricot Wine for Dessert

Thomas Kruse Winery, a participant in the new Santa Clara Wine Trail, has been around for a long time—since 1971, to be exact. When our little group arrived to try some wine at the Kruses’ low-key tasting room, Thomas Kruse and his wife Karen were there to greet us. Theirs is a small operation, and they’re proud to offer quality wine at affordable prices. “Because we are small and low-tech, it’s easy to relate to the whole winemaking process,” says Karen—and the Kruses take pride in making wine “just like it has been made for centuries.”