Santa Cruz photojournalist James Clark speaks on his decision to join the Marines, his two deployments to Afghanistan and how he managed to discover the most fascinating understanding of life—through his camera lens
James Clark is only 25 years old. But if you sit and talk with the young local writer and photojournalist you can immediately spot a rare wisdom etched into his face and soulful hazel eyes; wisdom that, for most of us, might typically take a lifetime to absorb or comprehend. For it’s on Clark’s face, and in his expressions, that the ideas of life, death, survival, courage and brotherhood all seem to gather together in one place to create a rare composite of inner knowing that can only come from having served two tours of duty as a Marine in the War in Afghanistan, now into its 11th year.
The best-selling author and super food-and-ag champion opens up about the fate of the Farm Bill, GMOs and why big business and politics can taint the soil of modern agriculture. Plus: A rare glimpse at what really fueled the advocate’s career path.
Every five years, Congress revamps the Farm Bill, which is the major food and agricultural tool that sets policy for a variety of significant matters affecting agriculture, rural development and nutrition programs for low-income individuals. The 2008 Farm Bill expired at the end of September and Congress has yet to give it a green light, mostly due to a bundle of controversies that revolve around tweaks to nutritional programs. Money seems to be the bottom line. Republicans want to make cuts. Democrats object.
On the eve of a rare Santa Cruz gig, we probe the mind of Bill Maher and explore how comedy and politics helped send the comedian’s celebrity soaring into one hell of an orbit.
It’s political hunting season and, man, is Bill Maher on the prowl. Of course, this isn’t “breaking” news. The unabashed liberal comedian has fiercely pointed his creative Uzi toward the American political system—and its mixed bag of politicians—for nearly 20 years now. Back in the ’90s, when Comedy Central’s Politically Incorrect first aired (it later moved to ABC), Maher quickly became known for being not just your garden-variety envelope-pusher, but somebody far more crafty (and sane). He was able, through a clever mix of wit, wisdom and insight, to help reinvent the way modern comics and commentators approach the issue of politics and present it to television audiences. In the years that followed, especially when the comic found success on HBO with Real Time With Bill Maher (beginning in 2003), others followed suit. Without Maher, some would argue, the likes of Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert may not have been so lavishly embraced by the masses.
A look inside fashionART Santa Cruz 2012
It doesn’t take much to convince Santa Cruz residents to dress up—at least in the costumed sense. Any week here could look like Monday, Tuesday, Burning Man, Renaissance Faire, Halloween, Saturday, Sunday (rest, repeat). We will gladly don rabbit ears, a feathered mask or a tablespoon of glitter at the drop of a hat, and fly our freak flag at the most public of venues. However, translate that same practice to a night on the town, or, heaven forbid, daily workaday expression, and many among us tend to be guilty of choosing between “dressy” or “casual” flip-flops. (There’s also the classic barometer, that is thankfully becoming passé, but still bears repeating, if for no other reason than as a cautionary tale: a trip to Shadowbrook Restaurant = wear long pants. Most other destinations = anything goes.)
Dynamic, enterprising and inventive, Community Television of Santa Cruz County weathers the modern media storm but still faces an uncertain future
This past May, YouTube turned 7 years old. To mark its birth, the Official YouTube Blog proudly announced that 72 hours of video are uploaded to the site every minute. Though it seems that now, more than ever before, individuals are creating videos with their smartphones, digital cameras, and computers with the purpose of sharing their footage with as many people as possible via the Internet, YouTube’s success has one local nonprofit scratching its head.
For nearly 18 years, Community Television of Santa Cruz County has been putting locally made videos on the air via three area channels. Whether those videos were produced onsite at its Pacific Avenue studio or produced elsewhere, CTV will air “anything that’s not illegal” and stream it on its website, Keith Gudger, vice chair of CTV, says with a laugh.
A community of local visionary artists is making higher consciousness visible
As I step inside a cave-like structure on Soquel Avenue, a burly, tattooed man glances up from a laptop computer. He’s heavily peacocked in exotic jewelry and space-age gypsy/tribal rock star clothing, and there’s a sizeable splash of blue-green dye in the punky plumage erupting from his scalp. It’s an impressive look: Picture a Road Warrior character whose battle gear has been given a lysergic acid patina.
The “T” word. You’ve muttered it under your breath after witnessing an ill-advised left turn, while shaking your head at an unwieldy load of beach paraphernalia, or maybe when overhearing someone declare “I can see Hawaii!” while pointing straight at Moss Landing. The “T” word is an easy catchall for behaviors we don’t deem local. It’s not flattering. However, anyone who understands, even in the most general terms, the concept of our tourism-based local economy and tax dependency will keep these mutterings to a minimum. Taken a step further, those lucky enough to travel and explore the world outside of our awe-inspiring climes recognize the joy of being the tourist (the definition of which, contrary to popular opinion, is not “one who takes my street parking” but is actually “one who travels for leisure, recreation or relaxation”).