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Aug 28th
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Cover Stories

Cover Stories

The Fate of Organics

The Fate of Organics

Santa Cruz nonprofit Organic Farming Research Foundation leads the charge for organics in the Farm Bill and beyond

Organic. Santa Cruz can pat itself on the back for helping bring about this word’s current ubiquity.

The area’s more obvious contributions to the organic movement include The Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, which is headquartered at our City on a Hill, UC Santa Cruz, and is widely considered the birthplace of organic farming, and Westside Santa Cruz-based California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF), one of the oldest and largest organic certification organizations in the country.

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Cover Stories

Mi Vida Loca

Mi Vida Loca

Santa Cruz’s own Joe Ortiz hits a high note. How his turbulent, and oftentimes humorous, childhood became the genesis of an original musical at Cabrillo Stage.

Growing up is hardly a walk in the park—especially when your father is a Puerto Rican womanizer with a gambling addiction that’s as aggressive as his drinking addiction. So was the case for Joe Ortiz, who at 6 years old, had his universe flipped upside down, when a bookie set up shop in his living room in order to settle the gambling debts of his father, who had secretly skipped town.

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Cover Stories

Let’s Hear it for the Girls

Let’s Hear it for the Girls

Fearless females honored at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music’s 50th

“It’s really easy to hide behind a camera,” Deborah Luster says, when asked how she became a photographer. The Louisiana native goes on to explain that she took up the hobby as a means of honoring her mother’s memory and re-engaging with the world, after she was murdered by a hired hit man in April of 1988.

Twenty-four years later, the resulting photos and Luster’s incredible life story have inspired a musical composition, which will debut as part of a larger work, entitled “Hidden World of Girls: Stories for Orchestra,” at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music on July 28 and 29.

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Cover Stories

Game Face

Game Face

For many technophiles, Santa Cruz-based game designer/programmer Graeme Devine is an über creative beast. But what’s behind the secret to his most recent success with GRL Games?

It’s 2012, so when it comes to something like social gaming, it’s not that hard to do the math. Add any one of the numerous devices to which we now have access—from the iPhone and the tablet to the computer and the console—with the bastion of game designers and programmers out there, draw a line under it and you’d find the number of games available reaching somewhere in the millions. Why … it was only two years ago that news reports revealed that social gaming would rise 30 percent by 2012, gaining an edge in popularity over traditional forms of entertainment like television and film. (And then, there’s Wii.)

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Cover Stories

Finding Hope in Harvest

Finding Hope in Harvest

At 40, the county’s indelible Second Harvest Food Bank reaches a significant milestone. And the fight to eradicate hunger has never been stronger.

Aisles of stacked pallets, crates, and cardboard boxes filled with rice, beans, pineapples, canned food, foods of every kind, stretch out as far as the eye can see. This is the massive warehouse of the Second Harvest Food Bank (SHFB) in Watsonville, and it is buzzing with activity. Volunteers remove plastic film from crates full of bananas to prevent them from spoiling. Workers zip by in orange forklifts, packing orders into trucks destined for the Davenport Resource Center, the Salvation Army, Padres Unidos, or any one of the 200 agencies SHFB serves.

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Cover Stories

Fringe

Fringe

How one local lured in hundreds of artists for the ultimate fest

What Fringe?
Let’s play a game. I will describe something for you, and you guess what the subject is. This mystery subject focuses on the performing arts—theater, dance, performance art, puppetry, spoken word, improvisation, film and visual arts. This mystery thing is uncensored— no one is too overly concerned with swearing or nudity, and family-friendly content is also welcome. What’s more, participation is vital and varied, and it celebrates originality. Now, what would you say I have just described:
0 Santa Cruz, California
0 A Fringe Festival

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Cover Stories

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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Special Publications

Santa Cruz Visitor Guide

Santa Cruz Visitor Guide

One of the pleasures that locals find living in Santa Cruz County is, perhaps, knowing that they reside in somewhat of a protective paradise. There’s the striking beauty—from the gorgeous Monterey Bay to the breathtaking Santa Cruz Mountains. And then there’s the amazing food—from festive little taquerías to upscale culinary hot spots. And in between, there’s so much activity happening that it’s hard to be bored here. Now, you get to experience some of the splendor, too. Most visitors to the area admit to being captivated by everything Santa Cruz County has to offer, and our annual guide is designed to help steer you in the right direction, and, perhaps, point out a few things you may not have even considered on your trip.
Open Santa Cruz Visitor Guide PDF
>
Santa Cruz Visitor Guide Online>

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Cover Stories

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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Cover Stories

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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Cover Stories

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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Mercury Enters Libra

It’s the week of Burning Man, the temporary, intentional, alternative, art-filled community on the playas of Nevada. Mercury, messenger of the Sun, enters Libra this week. Libra is the equalizer, a sign of balance and right human relations. Sometimes with Libra, we can be indecisive and confused while learning how to make balanced and right choices. Sometimes to keep the peace we communicate only what others want to hear. Eventually, we learn how to speak from the heart.

 

Final Cut

Cedar Street Video to close after 10 years at downtown location

 

Banter and Spark

Engaging actors, wry script distinguish lightweight rom-com ‘What If’

 

Back to Silicon Beach

With a new wave of startups, the future of Santa Cruz tech looks more promising than ever
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Himalayan Kitchen

Chef Purna Regmi on the secrets of Nepalese cooking

 

What’s the nicest thing you’ve done for someone this week?

Germany  |  Beekeeper

 

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

 

A Cab To Be Coveted

I first tasted Villa del Monte’s 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon at a Fourth of July party, where the hosts had bought a case of it because they love it and didn’t want to run out. It’s one of those wines that will grab you—in the best way—with its full body and rich fruit characteristics.