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Oct 01st
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Chris Rene

Chris Rene

The now-famous local opens up about ‘The X Factor,’ growing up in Santa Cruz, life after addiction, and what’s next on the creative road ahead

Less than a year ago, then 28-year-old Santa Cruz native Chris Rene was collecting trash for a living and battling a drug and alcohol addiction. Today, exactly three weeks after taking third on the first season of FOX’s The X Factor, Rene is at the top of the iTunes charts, nearing a record deal, designing a fashion line, and just over 11 months sober. Motivated by fellow Santa Cruz musician James Durbin’s rise to the top on American Idol, the rapper/songwriter worked up the courage to audition for The X Factor back in September. It was there that Rene touched the heart of America with his original rap song “Young Homie,” and his inspiring story.

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Music HEALS!

Music HEALS!

Meet the locals who play a fundamental role in the fascinating world of music therapy

At Dominican Hospital, music is respiratory therapist Earl White’s secret weapon. With the stressful job of treating anyone—from infants to geriatrics—having difficulty breathing with medication, a ventilator, and/or a breathing tube, White is constantly surrounded by patients and families in distress.

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Santa’s Performance Review

Santa’s Performance Review

Editor’s Note: The following article was birthed thanks, in part, to the fearless efforts of “private, secret and classified media” from anonymous"whistleblowers”—otherwise known as gtleaks. In fact, our exclusive website, which was secretly launched early last year, has nabbed too many secret documents to list—and most of them hitting front pages of major news organizations. Early releases included major documentation of Wal-Mart hitting Santa Cruz, a Banana Republic outlet store arriving somewhere along Pacific Avenue and just-released data of a three-way thoroughfare along a major Downtown Santa Cruz strip. There’s more. (There’s always more …)

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Tradition for the Non-Traditional

Tradition for the Non-Traditional

One Woman’s (Holiday) Story

Happy Solstice, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Joyous Kwanzaa to you. Or, if you are of the ilk, Hello, it’s Thursday!

This time of year it is difficult to avoid a winter holiday of one flavor or another in our culture, whether religious, spiritual, cultural or familial. While it is undeniable that the long, dark and cold nights lend themselves to inner contemplation, whether or not this self-examination is part of a larger celebration for you is really none of my business. I don’t plan to change that. What I do plan to do, however, is make my “me time” a little bit of your business. Not because it’s special. In fact it is just the opposite.

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Water Divide

Water Divide

When it comes to regional water planning, where is the county headed?
It’s one week after Water Conservation Manager Toby Goddard presented the draft 2010 Urban Water Management Plan to the Santa Cruz City Council and he’s reflecting on some aspects of the report he feels were overlooked. For one thing, he says, nearly all of the citizens who spoke during the public comment period fixated on one sliver of the plan. (Not surprisingly, that sliver concerned the city’s divisive intent to pursue desalination.) Having spent the better part of five months crafting the UWMP (the fourth he’s written for the city), Goddard had hoped the rest of the hefty document would garner some interest, too. He notes that not a single person inquired about his careful choice of cover art—which, in a way, also had something to do with desalination.  

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The Mayors: Outgoing & Incoming

The Mayors: Outgoing & Incoming

Longtime Santa Cruz journalist Geoffrey Dunn talks with outgoing Mayor Ryan Coonerty and incoming Mayor Don Lane about a variety of political and economic issues facing Santa Cruz —both as a community and as a municipality—and their hopes and dreams for Surf City in the upcoming year.

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Byting the Apple

Byting the Apple

An Early Profile of Steve Jobs
In the early 1980s, the late Santa Cruz writer James D. Houston, who had come of age in the Santa Clara Valley and who later studied at both San Jose State and Stanford, was one of the first journalists to explore the burgeoning computer industry on the other side of the Santa Cruz Mountains.

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Community Fund

Community FundGiving. Transformation. These are the themes that four local nonprofits bring to life in our annual Community Fund issue.

How important are local youths to you? To the four nonprofits featured on the following pages, youths are a significant focus. Behold the four stars of our annual Community Fund issue: the Summer Youth Employment Program, Watsonville Wetlands Watch, Mariposa’s Arts and Food What?! These dynamic organizations have made tremendous strides working with young people—from offering diverse educational services to providing unique, one-of-a-kind opportunities. So, over the next few pages, take some time and discover the inner workings of these local nonprofits and learn how your own contributions to the Community Fund can be so vital—see page 27 for donation information. In the meantime, get involved, be inspired.—Greg Archer, Editor

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The Durbinator

The Durbinator

With ‘American Idol’ behind him and a hot new debut album, James Durbin talks candidly about the power of belief, life before and after ‘Idol’—and the woman who saved him from ruin.

When James Durbin mania reached its height earlier this year, the town of Santa Cruz started to resemble a restaurant in Being John Malkovich where the only word anyone says is “Malkovich.” It seemed you couldn’t walk a full block without hearing a conversation about James Durbin, seeing a James Durbin banner or window display or stumbling upon a James Durbin-based gathering at a local establishment (James Durbin cupcakes, anyone?). The grand finale, of course, was James Durbin Day, a homecoming concert at the Boardwalk that drew 30,000 fans, generated about $1 million in visitor spending and inspired the folks at Zoccoli’s Deli to name a sandwich after Durbin. (That would be The Durbinator.)

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418 Turns 18

418 Turns 18One of the county’s most innovative theater and dance portals reaches a new milestone

To the untrained eye, the building located directly across the street from the Downtown Santa Cruz Metro station is just that—another building. Thanks to a beautiful but rather intrusive tree blocking the yellow sign that hangs above the entrance, one could easily mistake the Front Street building for India Joze’s new cafe. That’s partially true, but what lies behind it is the lifeblood of the Santa Cruz performance community: The 418 Project.

Just beyond the enticing aroma of chef Jozseph Schultz’ Middle Eastern and South Asian delicacies is a haven for the ethnic, contemporary, ecstatic, and modern dancers of the area to leap, twirl, pirouette, stomp and tumble to their hearts’ content.

Celebrating its 18th year, The 418 Project has come a long way since its humble beginnings. Originally called Santa Cruz Dance Gallery, the venue was founded by local dancer Rita Rivera to fill a void in the community.

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Reflecting Glass

Composer Philip Glass’ first trip to Big Sur was by motorcycle; little did he know that he’d establish a music festival there six decades later.

 

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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Wurst Case Scenario

Venus Spirits releases agave spirit, Renee Shepherd on planting garlic, Sausagefest 2014, and wine harvest in full swing

 

Do you think you are addicted to technology?

Santa Cruz  |  Unemployed

 

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.”