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Apr 16th
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Cover Stories

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The Boardwalk Empire

The Boardwalk Empire

Fred Swanton was a larger-than-life figure with larger-than-life ambitions on the Santa Cruz waterfront. Some of his dreams came to fruition. Others went up in flames.

During May of 1906—only a month after the Great Earthquake and Fire destroyed much of San Francisco and severely devastated the economy of the entire West Coast—Santa Cruz impresario and civic booster extraordinaire Fred Swanton embarked on a whirlwind railroad tour of California and Nevada, championing Santa Cruz and its colorful Neptune Casino as a summertime destination.

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The Marvels Around Us

The Marvels Around Us

In an excerpt from his forthcoming history book, Geoffrey Dunn cracks the mystery of talented local artist Lillian Howard

Each little plant has its purpose in living, and attends to that purpose with a single-hearted devotion beautiful to witness, if only we open our dull human eyes to see the marvels around us.

Lillian Howard
Beautiful Santa Cruz County, 1896

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Jonathan Franzen

Jonathan Franzen

On the eve of his only (and rare) public appearance for his new book, ‘Farther Away,’ the celebrated author opens up about life, loss and finding connection
GT Exclusive: Listen to Jonathan Franzen read from "Farther Away" (below)

I fear striking this match, but let’s see what happens …

A baby monkey fighting with a kitten has more than a million hits on YouTube. The one with the Bengal cat “talking” to her kitten has attracted nearly 2 million viewers. And the 10 best cat bloopers? More than 8 million hits. If you’re still reading this, bless you. Everybody else may be watching YouTube.

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Beyond Black Rock City

Beyond Black Rock City

As Burning Man’s popularity soars, it also grapples with growing pains. The festival’s community ponders the future, while bringing the culture to a wider public.

In 1986, a small group of friends gathered at Baker Beach, in San Francisco, to celebrate the summer solstice by lighting a 9-foot-tall wooden man on fire. The group, led by Larry Harvey, could not have known the magnitude of what they had set in motion.

Fast-forward almost 10 years, to 1995—the first year that Marian Goodell attended what was by then known as Burning Man. By that time, the week-long annual gathering had situated on a parched lakebed in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. The Man, as he came to be called, was now about 40-feet-tall, and was burned toward the end of the festival in a cathartic marvel of fire. Tickets were $35, and the ephemeral city—which was on its way to becoming “Black Rock City” (BRC)—held 4,000 people.

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Top Chef

Top Chef

Soquel’s own culinary whiz kid takes us behind the scenes of competitive cooking

In the United States, most people associate the act of turning 21 with one thing: the ability to legally purchase and consume alcohol. But for Soquel native Reilly Meehan, who just reached the milestone in November, being 21 has an even better perk: He can now study the art of wine pairing.

It’s a passion that’s out of the norm for people his age, but for Reilly, a burgeoning chef who just earned the title of American Culinary Federation Western Region Student Chef of the Year, in March, wine pairing is the next conquest in a long line of skills he hopes to master in the kitchen.

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Summering

Summering

Deep thoughts, bons mots and other misadventures in the art of ‘summering’

There is a holy trinity of summers that dwell within my psyche,  not unlike Charles Dickens’ well-worn Ghost of Christmas past, present and yet-to-come. Mine don’t anthropomorphize, shake chains or walk through walls, and my specters are not intentioned on providing a learning moment, as they were for dear Ebenezer Scrooge. Mine serve more as reminders; mine are more taunt than haunt. (For you Dickens fans, I vow to deal with the allegorical implications and comparisons later.)

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Green Pages

Green Pages

Bike to the future
Three’s A Charm
‘We’re Open’
GreenBiz

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Santa Cruz Film Festival

Santa Cruz Film Festival

Famke Janssen opens up about her premiere in the Santa Cruz Film Festival. How she morphed into writer-producer-director of the new, inventive comedy-drama, ‘Bringing Up Bobby’

Local filmmakers deliver a provocative look at street youth and the transformational power of music in ‘Don’t Cost Nothin To Dream’   

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The Cannabis Couple

The Cannabis Couple

With April 2’s Oaksterdam University raid still fresh in collective memory, this year’s 4/20 celebration was more than just a holiday for stoners; it was a “We shall overcome”-style show of solidarity. Like persecuted minority members lighting candles at a vigil, the ganja smokers of America hoisted their doobies high, refusing to be vilified for their love of a plant that promotes giggling, quesadilla appreciation and thoughts of how cool it would be if the moon were triangular. 

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The 2012 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll

The 2012 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll

What is the best new business in Santa Cruz County? Where do you find the best calamari? Which local mover and shaker captured your interest? The answers to all that—and much more—awaits. Welcome to our annual Best Of Santa Cruz Readers’ Poll. It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, we spotlight all of the local businesses, restaurants and humans that captured your interest over the past year. Our hats go off to our readers, for voting, and to all of the individuals recognized as being the “best” they can be in the creative realms they operate in. They’re a passionate bunch, these winners, so take some time and appreciate their time in the spotlight. Also, take note of our annual Critics’ Picks on page 100, where our editorial posse unveils a different kind of “list.”  As always, thank you for reading. And here’s to another year of making Santa Cruz County the very best it can be.
As always, thanks for reading. And here’s to another year of making Santa Cruz County the best it can be.
—Greg Archer, Editor

Best of Santa Cruz County Index:
| Critics’ Picks | Shops | Food & Drink | Arts & Entertainment | Health & Fitness | Professionals | The Rest |

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Aries Solar Festival

Sunday is Palm Sunday. Symbolizing victory and triumph, paradise, sacrifice and martyrdom, the Pisces World Teacher entered Jerusalem (City of Peace) on a donkey (signifying humility).

 

Sugar: The New Tobacco?

Proposed bill would require warning labels on sugary drinks Will soda and other saccharine libations soon come with a health warning? They will if it’s up to our state senator, Bill Monning (D-Carmel). On Feb. 27, Monning proposed first-of-its-kind legislation that would require a consumer warning label be placed on sugar-sweetened beverages sold in California. SB 1000, also known as the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Safety Warning Act, was proposed to provide vital information to consumers about the harmful effects of consuming sugary drinks, such as sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks, and sweetened teas.

 

Animal Magnetism

Bear, mouse dare to be friends in charming ‘Ernest and Celestine’ It’s not exactly Romeo and Juliet. It’s not even a romance, although it is a love story about two individuals separated by prejudice who find the courage to form an unshakable bond despite the rules and traditions that keep them apart.

 

Printer's Devil

Iconic editor Buz Bezore, who died last month at the age of 68, left a huge mark on Santa Cruz journalism   Eventually, it’s all a blur. You live long enough, and maybe a little too hard at times, so that when you hit the rewind button of faded memory, it moves so fast that you can hardly sort and gather the details. One scene skips to the next, and to the next, without proper editing or sequencing. Chronologies get distorted. Which came first: stealing the chickens or coloring the eggs?
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Foodie File: Yan Flower

Yan Belleville has owned Yan Flower, an affordable Chinese restaurant in Downtown Santa Cruz, with her husband Raymond for eight years, and it’s a family affair. Her brother, sister, sister-in-law, and cousins work there too. Locals know the joint for its massive lunch specials starting at $4.

 

How would you feel about a tech industry boom in Santa Cruz?

I feel like it would ruin the small old-town feeling of Santa Cruz. It wouldn’t be the same Surf City kind of vacation town that it is. Antoinette BennettSanta Cruz | Construction Management

 

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

 

Comanche Cellars

Pinot Noir 2010 I first tasted Comanche Cellars Pinot when a friend brought a bottle to share over lunch at Center Street Grill in Santa Cruz. Upon trying it, I knew I had to find out more about it.