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Apr 24th
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Cover Stories

Cover Stories

Articulations

Articulations

Residents say the best is yet to come for the Tannery Arts Center.  Plus: A look at the center’s funding and the hurdles ahead.

One year ago, on a cold and drizzly November day, more than 100 artists and their families camped outside of the soon-to-be Tannery Arts Center with hopes of securing a residence. Today, nearly 230 people live in the 100 Tannery live/work units, where the household artists work on everything from painting to poetry, piano to ballet, and pottery to hip-hop.

The center, a long time in the making, began as a mere dream of Santa Cruz arts organizations that hoped for a day when local artists and nonprofits could have an affordable home. The Santa Cruz Cultural Council had completed a Cultural Action Plan in 1999 that assessed local arts, concluding that it was a $32 million per year industry that employed 750 full-time equivalents and paid $3 million in taxes, according to Tannery Arts Center Director George Newell. The hitch was the high cost of living that was sending local talent over the hill. “You need affordable housing, you need an affordable studio, and you need some venues in which to present your art,” says Newell, describing the findings of the study.

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Cover Stories

Food & Wine

Food & Wine

A feast of chefs, vintners and 10 wild dishes that just make you want to grab a fork.

Charlie Parker, Cellar Door Café

Chef Charlie Parker cares about cooking, and cares about making people happy with food. This is evident when you taste his creations at Bonny Doon Vineyard’s Cellar Door Café. Whether it’s a small plate or a selection from the three-course prix fixe menu, each dish is memorable with its wonderful seasonings and thoughtful presentation.

“I love different flavors and how things taste together,” Parker says. “It’s what drives me.”  His passion is apparent and his journey is interesting to chronicle.

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Cover Stories

World War II

World War II

In the George Bush Sr. era, they ruled the Santa Cruz music scene, worked with the real-life ‘more cowbell’ guy and came inches away from becoming rock superstars. Almost two decades later, World Entertainment War is back to launch a new assault on mass media.

The 2006 film Idiocracy depicts a dystopian society of the future in which the movie Ass—a 90-minute close-up of a man’s buttocks, with the occasional fart serving to spice up the plot—wins an Oscar for Best Screenplay, and the most popular show on TV is called Ow! My Balls! (It’s exactly what it sounds like.)

Absurd as this scenario might seem, the bizarre truth is that much of what passes for entertainment in the present day makes the media as depicted in Idiocracy look downright benign. In recent times, we’ve watched game show contestants vie for cash prizes by eating bowls of blended rats on Fear Factor, and we’ve seen Entertainment Weekly praise Jackass—a TV program whose stars captured the public imagination by attaching leeches to their eyeballs, receiving kicks in the groin from children (Ow! My balls!) and taking massive amounts of laxatives in order to poop into toilets that were up for sale—as one of the greatest shows of the past 25 years.

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Cover Stories

Santa Cruz & the Loma Prieta Earthquake

Santa Cruz & the Loma Prieta EarthquakeShe rattled the earth—and our senses—but the great quake of 1989 also made us take action. A look back at the unforgettable events that forced the county to shape the future.  Maybe it’s just the DNA of nature, the world or the universe, but if you look closely enough, you’ll notice that great things emerge from rubble. Plants, in their seedling states, in fact, have to rise through a lot of manure before they shine proudly toward the sun. You can say that about Santa Cruz County, too. It’s certainly had its challenging days, as the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake proved all too well. Loma, powerful as she was, shook the county to its core on Tuesday, Oct. 17, 1989. Registering 7.1. on the Richter scale (later downgraded to 6.9), it annihilated most of downtown Santa  Cruz, devastated portions of Watsonville and ravaged many parts of mountain communities like Ben Lomond and Felton. Nobody seemed to have been left unscathed—inside and out. But in the aftermath, as the fires burned and locals sifted through all the wreckage, the community came together in ways nobody could have expected. On the following pages, GT looks back at the events of that fateful day. We chronicle the unique takes of a photographer who was on the scene on Pacific Avenue, right after the quake hit (Reflections Behind the Lens). We showcase the beginning stages of how downtown Santa Cruz began a new journey ahead. We also interview local politicos of the day (Looking Back, Looking Ahead) and look back on the importance of remembering such events (Memory Matters, On That Day, Rumblings form the Past). Beyond that, there are celebrations to note, too (see below) and other first-hand accounts of an unforgettable day that generated a powerful ripple effect—and a monstrous sea change—into a community whose spirit always seemed destined to soar. --GREG ARCHER
See all Loma Prieta earthquake articles in the Santa Cruz History section >
Cover Stories

Masterpiece Theater

Masterpiece Theater

A chronicle of the wildly inventive evolution of Cabrillo College and its new Visual and Performing Arts Complex
On a perfect fall day, sunlight streams through the trees at Cabrillo College in Aptos, illuminating the recently constructed Visual and Performing Arts Complex like a shiny new penny. The $80 million facility consists of five buildings totaling 122,300 square feet. The Crocker Theater and the recital hall may be the crowning glory of the new complex, but there are also three new buildings dedicated solely to art instruction.
“There has been a total transformation of our campus in the last five years,” says Cabrillo College President Brian King. Now is a great time to be a Cabrillo College art student of any genre because gone are the days of 50-year-old classrooms and art supplies left over from the Jurassic Age. The school’s new Visual and Performing Arts Complex is a masterpiece of spacious, well-lit classrooms and performance areas equipped to fully train a new generation of artists in Santa Cruz County.

The decision to undertake the massive project of creating this multi-mullion dollar complex was not taken lightly. In fact, the faculty at Cabrillo College has been hoping to see this dream become a reality since 1978, but obtaining sufficient funding—particularly for the arts—has always been the pressing issue. But the State of California smiled on Cabrillo College (fortunately before its coffers ran dry), providing $20 million in state bond money. Additional funds came from the Federal government and directly from our community, with voters passing measure C in 1998, which granted $85 million, and measure D in 2004 which provided another $118.5 million.

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Cover Stories

Dancing Queen

Dancing Queen

Watsonville’s Ruby Vasquez keeps Mexican folk dancing alive
“Every region in Mexico, every state, has its own unique style of dance,” says Watsonville native Ruby Vasquez. As she speaks, her eyes shine with a passionate enthusiasm for the Mexican folk dancing that has played such a major role throughout her life. “In the style of Jalisco and many other styles in the Mexican dances, one of the main articles of clothing that is a common thread for the women is a rebozo,” she explains as she gently twirls the multicolored woven garment in her hands. “You’ll still see in Mexico women using the rebozo as a daily article of clothing. They use it like a shawl, in the marketplaces to display their produce, and they use it to carry their babies with them. For me, at a young age learning about the different dance styles from each state and the outfits that represent them allowed me to start growing up and start making connections with other cultures. There are a lot of commonalities that you can make and you can really draw on those connections when you get exposed to them.”

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Cover Stories

Home & Garden

Home & Garden

The Great Cover Up

Rest and rejuvenation for your weary soil, green manure gives back

by Bruce Willey
The transition between summer and fall has always been an especially acute time for vegetable gardeners. Not only must we reacquaint ourselves with store-bought tomatoes that taste like gopher fur dipped in wood shavings, but we must also adapt to all the extra time on our hands as our garden beds lie fallow.  There is, after all, nothing worse than a gaggle of gardeners wearing overalls and floppy hats, fondling their hoes outside a 7-Eleven and asking strangers for a spare heirloom tomato.

But as any good organic gardener knows, late summer/early fall is time to sow the cover crop. Often called green manure, cover crops have been around before the invention of the “green” light bulb, or for that matter, before “green” meant something other than the color of plants, grass and trees. Organic gardeners have long touted the benefits of green manure with the same zeal of growing their own vegetables. And they know that the two have a symbiosis that works magic in the garden.

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Cover Stories

What’s For Lunch?

What’s For Lunch?

A record number of students are qualifying for the federal free lunch program; but what are we feeding them?

With the country abuzz over health care reform—decrying supposed death panels or outraged over soaring insurance premiums—it seems the health care fervor has forgotten something pretty important: health. Not sickness, not insurance, but health. Wellness. It’s something that is quickly slipping from our grasp as a society, and yet the debate rages on about what drugs and surgeries to use and how to pay for them, instead of how to stay healthy in the first place.

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Cover Stories

Lest We Forget

Lest We Forget

One high school reunion and a bundle of memories spawn a bunch of headscratching. Welcome to Human Memory 101

You know, there’s a cold, cruel poetry to the phrase “over the hill”: At birth, we begin an uphill climb—struggling to stand on two legs, growing, learning, reaching for the stars, rising in stature and status, aspiring to great heights of achievement, etc. Arriving at the top of the hill—life’s peak—we bathe in the sun’s warmth, enjoying equally clear views of all that lies behind us and all that lies ahead. All too soon, however, we begin the inevitable decline, the slow march down the other side of the hill. The force of gravity tugs at our flesh and bones with increasing insistence as we gain momentum on our descent, gradually causing our spines and faces to droop earthward, as if in haste to merge with the soil that waits to reclaim us at our journey’s end.

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Cover Stories

Surfing for Change

Surfing for Change

Local wave rider encourages Santa Cruz to bank locally, save the world
Clad in a T-shirt, shorts and sandals, Kyle Thiermann is the kind of guy one might expect to run into on Pacific Avenue. His sun-bleached, sandy hair and quintessential Santa Cruz demeanor make even more sense when he reveals that he is a professional surfer. At 19 years old, it seems that a person in his position would have few worries outside of hitting Steamer Lane and devouring Zoccoli’s chicken pesto sandwiches (his favorite). But behind Thiermann’s blue eyes there lies a worldly passion, which extends far beyond the exhilaration of catching a perfect set down at Pleasure Point.

After finishing lunch and detailing the stories behind each of his many scars—a compound fracture in his left arm from Derby Skatepark, a gash in his abdomen from a ruptured appendix in Mexico, a divot above his right eye, which he caught surfing—we get into Thiermann’s preoccupation with the environment, global economics and fractional reserve lending.

That complex debt instruments would be of interest to a guy living as carefree a life as Thiermann may come as a surprise to some. However, as this Santa Cruz native has discovered—and documented in a short video titled Claim Your Change—even surfers may be adversely affected by the actions of Wall Street titans. Worse, he says, many individuals in Santa Cruz, surfers included, are contributing to environmental degradation simply by depositing their paychecks.

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Cover Stories

14 State Parks in 4 Days

14 State Parks in 4 Days

Before budget cuts hit and gates close, our diligent scribe explores the area’s greatest treasures

Bonny Doon was burning. Jaws was lurking. The Terminator was touring. And it was all happening in Santa Cruz County on the third day of my story. It seemed like a strange convergence as I returned home from a long day amongst the redwoods. Big Basin, California’s oldest state park, at this point, was recoiling from the smoke that had swirled into its canopies from the blazing Lockheed Fire, which had spread across more than 5,000 acres and was 15 percent contained. News headlines were buzzing about how the worst local fire in 20 years had set up camp north of Santa Cruz, while a great white shark that mauled a dolphin had taken up residency in our local beaches in the south.

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Best of Santa Cruz County 2014

The 2014 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll Come on in, and have a look around. There’s a lot to see—hundreds of winners selected by thousands of GT readers across Santa Cruz County. So if some of this looks familiar, it’s probably because you helped make it happen. But there are always new things to discover, too—you could go to a different winner or runner-up every day in the Food and Drink category alone, and you’d be booked just about until next year’s Best of Santa Cruz County issue comes out.

 

Something Essential Disappears

Lunar and solar eclipses follow one another. Lunar eclipses occur at full moons, and solar eclipses at new moons. Two weeks ago at the full moon we had the blood red moon—a total lunar eclipse (the next one is Oct. 8). On Monday night, April 28 (new moon), as the Sun, Moon and Earth align, a solar eclipse (Sun obscured) occurs. Eclipses signify something irrevocably is changed in our world. The Sun is our essential life force. Monday’s new moon, 9 degrees Taurus, is also an annular solar eclipse when the Moon moves centrally in front of the Sun, yet does not cover the Sun completely. The Sun's outer edges, still visible, form a “ring of fire” around the Moon.

 

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.

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of April 17

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Palate-Stretching 101

A wine education with Soif’s experts As a veteran of many weekend wine “seminars” at Soif, I have to confess that I’ve never known less (going in) and learned more (coming out) than I did last week at the Spanish Wine Tasting with ace rep Brian Greenwood. These are classy, casual events and it’s hard to imagine having this much flavor fun anywhere for $20.

 

Martin Ranch Winery

Sauvignon Blanc 2011 One of my favorite wines is Sauvignon Blanc, and this one made by Martin Ranch is particularly lovely. Bright, crisp and refreshing, it’s perfect to pair with fish and shellfish—and good for picnics as it has an easy screw-cap bottle. There’s nothing worse than setting down your blanket, pulling out your sandwiches—and then realizing you don’t have a corkscrew.

 

Foodie File: Red Apple Cafe

Breakfast takes center stage at Gracia Krakauer's Red Apple Cafe Before they moved to Aptos, Gracia and her husband Dan Krakauer would visit friends in Santa Cruz County and eat at the Red Apple Café all the time. Then they moved up here from Santa Monica five years ago, and bought the Aptos location (there’s a separate one in Watsonville) from the family who owned it for two decades.

 

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