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Oct 02nd
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Film

Reviews and Times

The Hair and How to Spray it

The Hair and How to Spray it

How newcomer Nikki Blonsky went from wannabe to gotta-see in ‘Hairspray’

The message in Hairspray is loud and clear: Embrace being different. That may be yesterday’s news to a gaggle of gays and lesbians, but in a day and age when even something as retro as prejudice wants to make a comeback, the message can’t be heard often enough. Hopefully with “Hairspray” hitting theaters this month, something will stick. The new John Waters-inspired film musical, based on the Broadway hit, which was inspired by Waters’ ’70s cult classic—Oy!—could very well become summer’s brightest offerings. Handsomely directed and choreographed by Adam Shankman, the movie offers the same sort of zing once found in Grease or Little Shop of Horrors. A delight from beginning to end, the story chronicles the misadventures of Tracy Turnblad (newcomer Nikki Blonsky), “a big girl with big hair and an even bigger heart.” Tracy’s got one passion—dancing—and a bold dream of appearing on “The Corny Collins Show,” Baltimore’s wildest television dance party.

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Reviews and Times

Watch Your Step

Watch Your Step

Actor-director David Arquette unleashes his cinematic odyssey, ‘The Tripper,’ at the Santa Cruz Film Festival | by Christa Martin


After numerous e-mails, phone calls and waiting around for two weeks for an interview with David Arquette, I’m on the verge of giving up. Right then, my phone rings. “Hi, this is David Arquette,” says the film and television star, much to my amazement. We exchange pleasantries and he offers apologies for the confusion over scheduling an interview. OK, all is forgiven. He’s a really nice guy.

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Reviews and Times

The Bold and the Badass

The Bold and the Badass

In ‘Grindhouse,’ Freddy Rodriguez morphs into one fiery little torpedo

He went from playing a befuddled undertaker’s assistant in the cable hit Six Feet Under to slowly becoming a memorable presence on the big screen. His name is Freddy Rodriguez and after watching Grindhouse, the cinematic double whammy from directing titans Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez, you bound to remember him. Last seen playing a compassionate busboy in the critical hit Bobby—he also turned heads playing a struggling immigrant in Fast Food Nation—Rodriguez warp speeds past his typically “Mr. Nice” demeanor to  fully embody a machine-gun totin’ wild man opposite sexy siren Rose McGowan in Rodriguez’s segment of Grindhouse. In a round table interview with journalists, Rodriguez bares all.

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Reviews and Times

Captivating Kennedy

Captivating Kennedy

The ’60s, RFK and the hope for great change blend well in a moving ‘Bobby’

There are people out there who will criticize writer director Emilio Estevez’s Bobby. I’m not one of those people.
Bobby is an extraordinary movie for a number of reasons. For starters, you know within the first few frames what Mr. Estevez is doing. He wants you to absorb the legacy of the Robert F. Kennedy. He wants you to hear the late senator’s words. He wants you see his face in old footage, where the man is often seen gracefully interacting with the people of 1968, all of whom appear to have hung their very last hopes on Kennedy’s idealism.

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Reviews and Times

Super-sized ‘Nation’

Super-sized ‘Nation’


‘Fast Food Nation’ author Eric Schlosser ponders the big-screen version of his best-selling read

There’s nothing daring about putting creativity on the side rather than having it be the juiciest of part of a celluloid meal. Fortunately, Fast Food Nation doesn’t do that. In fact, it’s a savory cinematic outing.

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Reviews and Times

John Cameron Mitchell: Shortbus it

John Cameron Mitchell: Shortbus it

The Hedwig alum opens up—real wide

If you think John Cameron Mitchell turned heads—or was it wigs?—earlier this decade with the film version of his stage hit, Hedwig and The Angry Inch, you really haven't seen anything yet. In Shortbus, a hypnotic, visual, soul-stirring, gem, the writer-director takes audiences inside the lives of fractured twentysomethings desperate to find deep connection. Most try to find it via sex. But the allure proves futile. In one of the artists' most daring feats, he boldly illuminates what haunts us beyond the sheets.

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Reviews and Times

Embracing Amy

Embracing Amy

The wild rise of Amy Sedaris's alter ego and why it's coming to a movie theater near you

When a 47-year-old ex-con junky-whore with one hell of an overbite leaves the slammer and heads home, she's surprised to find her daddy has lapsed into a coma. Believing that if she just made him proud, he would see the light of day again, she decides that the best way to turn her life around is pick up right where she left off: As a freshman in high school. Welcome to Strangers With Candy—and Jerri Blank, Amy Sedaris's mind-bending alter ego. Strangers is the audacious big screen transformation of the cult Comedy Central hit spawned by Sedaris, Stephen Colbert and Paul Dinello back in 1999.

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Reviews and Times

Lily Tomlin Gives In

Lily Tomlin Gives In

Lady Lily unveils the deeper truths about life—and working with Robert Altman

Let’s get one thing straight: Lily Tomlin loved morphing into the characters of Edith Ann and Ernestine on stage and in the hit ’70s show Laugh-In, but she also relished working with a phenom like Robert Altman (Short  Cuts, Gosford Park). The revered director did, after all, cast Tomlin in her big screen, Oscar-nominated debut in 1975’s Nashville, a film that launched a bevy of careers, Cybil Shepherd and Jeff Bridges among them. Altman is also at the helm of this June’s A Prairie Home Companion, a vibrant ensemble piece in which Tomlin co-stars alongside Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, Virginia Madsen, Woody Harleson and the avuncular Garrison Keillor—it’s based on Keillor’s

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Reviews and Times

King Kong: Great Ape

King Kong: Great Ape

With ‘Kong,’ Peter Jackson uncages a bold, fascinating new look at an old beast

Director Peter Jackson may be a complex man, but his approach filmmaking is simple: he dives into his task as if it was a Midwestern smorgasbord and doesn’t come up for air until he’s consumed every last morsel of that fifth portion of vanilla bean dessert pudding. And aren’t we all the better for it?  Jackson’s work, this decade in particular, is just epic. Who could argue that his Oscar-winning Lord of the Rings trilogy took cinema to new heights—all that state-of-the-art digital dancing; the grand achievement of bringing Tolkien’s revered lit to the screen; storytelling, reborn at last, at the cineplex. Marvelous. Give the man awards, and keep feeding him, please.

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Reviews and Times

Brokeback Mountain

Brokeback Mountain It's Crouching Cowboy, Hidden Gay Man in Ang Lee’s beautifully crafted masterpiece

There’s a moment in Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain where the film’s two male leads meet for the first time in four years and realize that they are, indeed, in love with each other. They share a series of passionate kisses and embrace underneath a stairwell. For a fleeting moment, they forget that it’s 1967, that they’re committed to other women, and that Wyoming’s machismo set wouldn’t quite know how to embrace the fact that they’re embracing. So the men retreat from the hunger for something they cannot yet articulate and keep their love for each other hidden as they continue their relationship—for 20 years.

And so it goes in one of the most talked about movies of the year. Headlined by Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal, Brokeback was being touted as “one of the most important films of the decade” long before its release this winter. Why? For starters,

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On the Waterfront

As the wharf celebrates its centennial, a personal reflection on its essential place in Santa Cruz’s history

 

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

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New Capitola bakery takes gluten-free goods to the next level

 

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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.”