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Mar 27th
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Cover Stories

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In Search of Charlie Chan

In Search of Charlie Chan

The Cruz Connection.  How a longtime Santa Cruz resident, Helen Kinau Wilder, figures prominently
Charlie Chan, the great fictional detective, was a man of mystery and intrigue—as well as a racist cultural stereotype wrapped in an enigma. For an entire generation of mainstream America he represented a skewed and constructed image of Chinese Americans, a deferential and asexual caricature, spewing out fortune-cookie clichés for mass consumption.

Beginning in the early 1920s through the end of the 1940s, Chan was a remarkably ubiquitous icon in American film and literature, comic books and television shows. Chan was the title character in no fewer than six novels by the popular mystery writer Earl Derr Biggers, a rather proper Mid-Westerner and Harvard graduate who first “created” the Chan character in 1917 and brought him into the world full-bloom in 1925, in his novel “The House Without a Key,” first published serially in the Saturday Evening Post.

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Great Shot

Great Shot

Behind the lens with wedding photographer Joop Rubens — how he captures the most important memories on a wedding day and why he stands out
There’s one person at your wedding that is going to be up in your business more than anyone else. Are you guessing that it’s your mother-in-law? Nope. The wedding planner? Close, but not quite there. Your new husband-to-be? Almost. It’s your photographer. Surprised?

Don’t be, because whomever you contract to take photos on your wedding day is going to be there when your mom buttons up your dress; when the makeup artist applies the final swipe of lipstick; when your maid of honor hands you that “something blue.” The photographer will be there for the first kiss, the exchange of rings, the cutting of the cake, the first dance, and every other epic moment that happens on the best day of your life.

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And The Nextie Goes To

And The Nextie Goes To

Analicia Cube, Doron Comerchero, Deutron Kebebew and Cliff Hodges think outside of the box to better the community. Here’s how.

January is National Mentoring Month. In a recent proclamation President Barack Obama declared that this is the time to honor “important individuals who unlock the potential and nurture the talent of our country.”

It’s fitting that this week our progressive networking group that seeks to encourage and connect new generations of local leaders, Santa Cruz NEXT, is doling out its 2011 NEXTie awards to four locals who not only think big, they’ve put their big ideas into big actions.

Embodying the spirit of National Mentoring Month and the key words promoted by Santa Cruz NEXT—“inform,” “inspire” and “involve,” Analicia Cube, Doron Comerchero, Deutron Kebebew and Cliff Hodges each brim with the kind of passion and proactive resolve that is taking Santa Cruz to new heights. The results of their disparate work—out on the streets, in the classroom, in volunteer programs or in business—have had transformative effects throughout the community. The fact is this: they’re teaching us more than a few things.

The public is invited to celebrate the achievements of these honorees during the NEXTies party at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 22, at the Top of The Ritt in Downtown Santa Cruz. Tickets are $45 and include champagne, appetizers, music and more.

Here, we take a look back at how each of their stories started—and how they’ve proven to be some of Santa Cruz’s brightest forward thinkers.

Learn more at santacruznext.org. Tickets: nexties2011.eventbrite.com.

 

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Heal Thyself

Heal Thyself

Everywhere I turn in Santa Cruz, I’m astonished by the fortitude of its citizenry. Clearly I’m not referring to conquering inclement weather, withstanding horrific living standards or existing in abject community poverty. In comparison to other cities of comparable size, all of these noted needs are met for the majority of us in a spectacularly satisfactory manner. (Yes, our local hunger issues, crime upswings and cost of living woes are not to be ignored or made light of, however that’s another day and another 2,000 words.)

The overwhelming characteristic that impresses me so is the number of my fellow Santa Cruzans who are healing from something. (Included in this “healing” verb are the phrases “Working through something.”  “Dealing with something.” “Cleansing something.” And my personal favorite, “Processing.”) We, Santa Cruz, are a community of professional full-time menders.

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The Tiki King

The Tiki King

One lover of ukuleles keeps the torch lit for Tiki-loving locals
In 1966, when local entrepreneur Pat Baron was an impressionable young lad, his surfer uncle gave Baron’s father a three-foot stone Tiki (an image of a Polynesian god). “My dad stuck it out next to our playhouse when I was a kid,” Baron recalls. “It was always there under the tree. It was one of those both alluring and frightening things, because here was this stone idol.”

Apparently the Tiki’s presence had a lasting effect on Baron, who now goes by Tiki King (tikiking.com). You can recognize Tiki King by his Hawaiian shirt and his fez, the latter of which is emblazoned with an imposing-looking Tiki and the initials TK. Even at events like the Anaheim, Calif.-based music product trade show known as NAMM, Baron’s colorful appearance demands attention. “There’s people dressed head-to-toe in zippers and leather, there’s girls wearing patent leather nurse outfits and there are people like Slash and The Red Hot Chili Peppers, and I’m wearing a Hawaiian shirt and a fez,” he laughs. “Here in this Mecca of alternative extreme, where they have guitars shaped like machine guns, I can make heads turn just by doing my thing.”

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Year in Review

Year in Review

Great Expectations … for 365 days
How did you pronounce it? Formally—two thousand ten? Or casually? Twenty ten. If you’re like me, and odds are you’re more like me than you’d like to admit, you accidentally wrote it as 2001 sporadically for most of the year. Any way you addressed it, 2010 had a lot to live up to based on my intense research. (Disclaimer #1: To those of you who are not familiar with my method of intense research … it involves re-reading my own diary, talking to a panel of approximately three people—at least one of whom will undoubtedly be in elementary school—and Internet searches, which somehow always guide me directly to the “Buy it Now” list of Buffalo China on eBay.)

Judged purely on the cultural guideposts set for us by those who came before (mostly the low-hanging guideposts that we run into in the dark), it appears our current year failed on a number of levels. Perhaps the roadmap for the year wasn’t as plain as in previous times  (1984—dystopia über alles, 1999—party like it’s, 2000—Y2K grid boogie), but we can’t deny that the expected goals were there for the realizing. All we had to do was stop, look or listen.

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The Holiday Spirit

The Holiday Spirit

Reclaiming the winter holiday, Santa Cruz-style
Here in the winter holiday season, we take time out to honor our loved ones, cultivate camaraderie and compassion and huddle together for warmth during the darkest, coldest part of the year. But what to do when the nonstop barrage of elevator-friendly Christmas tunes and falsely perky TV commercials dampens our holiday cheer, and the true song of Yuletide joy is drowned out by the clinking of coins and the beeping of barcode scanners?

Thankfully, there’s no shortage of Santa Cruzans who have found inventive ways to combat mall-culture consumerism and rediscover the original meaning of the holidays. A prime example is “An Altared Christmas” (altared.com), which made its sixth annual run at The Rio on Dec. 11. In this offbeat yet heartfelt Christmas celebration, an assembly of world-class musicians performs traditional Christmas numbers, but with a unique twist: The songs have all been transposed to minor keys. Rather than being a mockery of these tunes, this fresh take on well-known seasonal standards offers listeners a chance to hear songs to which they’ve become numb due to endless repetition in mercantile venues in a new way. In the process, many audience members receive a much-needed reminder of what the holidays are all about.

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Smells Like Teen Spirit

Smells Like Teen Spirit

Meet five local teens whose passions are positively affecting their community.


“The young do not know enough to be prudent, and therefore they attempt the impossible—and achieve it, generation after generation.” – Pearl S. Buck


While the idea of a teen “acting out” traditionally espouses a negative connotation—runaways, drugs, parties, or gangs—there are teens who are currently standing up and acting out on behalf of their conscience.

Contrary to most news headlines, there are plenty of remarkable teens serving as progressive role models who are just plain getting a bad rap—soldiering on amidst all the stereotypes of 2010 teens that prefer to dwell on the depressing, the violent, or the discouraging.

While focus tends to remain on a videogame-obsessed legion of kids that could be labeled Generation X-Box, there’s also something to be said for the advantages of modern technology and how it’s utilized by modern youth. More than ever before, teens have worlds of information at their texting fingertips, with a plethora of outputs of information constantly surrounding them—all the i-things, TVs, computers and cell phones. And there are many kids now tapping into these modes of communication for research, support and strength as they fight for sundry causes.

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In the Field

In the Field

Spend a week with cops and you start hearing the same things over and over.

“People think it’s like a cop show on television. They think we can solve crimes in an hour.”

Or: “We’re human. Sometimes we make mistakes.”

Or: “It does get frustrating when we know someone is guilty but we have to spend so much time and energy just to prove it.”

Or: “Yeah, they (criminals) come over here because they know that if they get caught, the sentences are less than other places.”

Welcome to the inner workings of the Santa Cruz Police Department. It’s not Iraq or Afghanistan, but Interim Police Chief Kevin Vogel recently invited me to “embed” with his department for a week. The deal was this: I had complete access. I was welcome at staff meetings, briefings and on any calls. I was free to report whatever was said, except, of course, spilling the beans about a specific case, an upcoming arrest or details of an investigation. Then again, I wasn’t interested in specific cases. What I wanted to find out was this: are Santa Cruzans being well served by their cops?

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The Forgotten Epidemic

The Forgotten Epidemic

Thirty years ago, AIDS emerged and changed the fates of millions. But even after great strides were made medically and otherwise, three decades later, some ask: Is AIDS awareness fading?
Almost 30 years ago in the summer of 1981 while IBM was rolling out its first PC and NASA was celebrating its first shuttle launch … and  Charles, Diana, Luke and Laura were all still single while MTV was just about to kill the radio star, two separate reports were issued from the Centers for Disease Control. The first, on June 5, reported that between October 1980 and May 1981, five young men were treated for biopsy-confirmed pneumocystis carinii pneumonia in three different hospitals in Los Angeles. All five patients had laboratory-confirmed previous or current cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection and candidal mucosal infection. Two of the patients died. All five were sexually active homosexuals men.

 

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Best of Santa Cruz 2015

In 40 years of publishing, Good Times has seen a lot of “bests.”

 

Spring Triangle: Three Spring Festivals—Aries, Taurus, Gemini

The Spring signs Aries, Taurus and Gemini constitute a triangle of force that sets the template for the nine signs that follow and the template for the entire year (Spring 2015 - Spring 2016) ahead. Aries initiates new ideas, Taurus stabilizes the new thinking of Aries and Gemini takes the initiating stabilized ideas of Aries/Taurus and disperses them to all of humanity. It is in this way that humanity learns new things, with the help of Mercury, the messenger. As Spring unfolds, three elements emerge: the Fire of Aries (initiating new ideas), the Earth of Taurus (anchoring the ideas of God through Mercury) and the Air of communicating Gemini. These three signs/elements are the Three Spring Festivals. They are the “triangle of force” forming the template (patterns) of energy for the upcoming new year. After these three we then have the soothing, calming, warming, nurturing and tending waters of the mother (Cancer). Cancer initiates our next season under the hot suns of summer. Planets, stars and signs create the Temple of Light directing humanity towards all things new. March 29 is Palm Sunday, when the Christ, World Teacher, was led into Jerusalem (City of Peace) on a donkey (humility). Palms waving above His head, signified recognition of the Christ’s divinity. Palm Sunday is the Sunday before the Easter (Resurrection Festival). Palm Sunday begins Holy Week, the week of capture, imprisonment, passion, sacrifice, crucifixion, death and resurrection of the christ. All events in the Christ’s life represent events (initiations) that humanity experiences through many lifetimes. We turn our attention to these holy events this week. Their concepts portray and reveal to us greater spiritual understanding. Then, Aries, the “light of life itself” shines through us.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

The Magic Touch

Stage magician vs. charlatans in engaging ‘An Honest Liar’
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Spring Spirits

Sean Venus’ gin straight up, remembering Rosa’s and a tasting of Hungarian wines

 

What’s your favorite most recent outdoor discovery in Santa Cruz?

A hike that’s across from Waddell Beach. I didn’t realize you could go across the highway and do a super simple loop, and it’s beautiful. You can see the coastline. Liz Porter, Santa Cruz, Community Outreach

 

Martin Ranch Winery

Muscat 2012

 

Front Street Kitchen

Pop-up spot attracts paleo crowd with locally sourced low-carb meals