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Feb 13th
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Sista Monica

music LYLBSistaMonicaFor two decades, Santa Cruz soul, blues and gospel singer Sista Monica Parker has drawn musical inspiration from her experiences in love and lust, and the pains of leaving and letting go. Those are hard facts of life that passionate people can always relate to, Parker admits with a laugh. “And that's the kind of music that always seems to feed my soul,” she says. To celebrate her 20 years of performing, Parker will sing at a concert called “Acoustic Honey” on Saturday, along with a four-piece band at Kuumbwa Jazz.

Throughout her career, Parker has performed at festivals for thousands of fans, and in her younger years, those huge crowds energized her. One of the most pivotal moments in her career, she recalls, was performing in front of 15,000 people as a fill-in for blues icon Etta James, who came down with heatstroke at a festival in 1994. For “Acoustic Honey,” however, Parker looks forward to an intimate setting, where she can feel the love from the audience and give it right back to them in her songs. “When you can make eye contact and sing to a person and see them experience where you're coming from, that takes a certain amount of maturity and depth,” she says. “Acoustic Honey” is a tribute to Parker's whole career, but she says it's also a celebration of life. Ten years ago, on Jan. 29, doctors diagnosed Parker with a rare form of cancer called synovial sarcoma, which forced her to undergo chemotherapy and fight for her life. “One of things that I got out of that experience, besides the opportunity to live, is a sense of urgency and defined purpose for my life,” she says. “I realized that my purpose is really to sing straight to people's hearts. Because when you do that, the connection is everlasting. And it doesn't matter the size of the crowd anymore.”

INFO: 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 9. Kuumbwa Jazz, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. $20/adv, $23/door. 427-2227.

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Heart Me Up

In defense of Valentine’s Day

 

“be(ing) of love (a little) more careful”—e.e. cummings

Wednesday (Feb. 10) is Ash Wednesday, when Lent begins. Friday (Feb. 12) is Lincoln’s 207th birthday. Sunday is Valentine’s Day. On Ash Wednesday, with foreheads marked with a cross of ashes, we hear the words, “From dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return.” Reminding us that our bodies, made of matter, will remain here on Earth when we are called back. It is our Soul that will take us home again. Lent offers us 40 days and nights of purification in preparation for the Resurrection (Easter) festival (an initiation) and for the Three Spring Festivals (at the time of the full moon)—Aries, Taurus, Gemini. The New Group of World Servers have been preparing since Winter Solstice. The number 40 is significant. The Christ (Pisces World Teacher) was in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights prior to His three-year ministry. The purpose of this desert exile was to prepare his Archangel (light) body to withstand the pressures of the Earth plane (form and matter). We, too, in our intentional purifications and prayers during the 40 days of Lent, prepare ourselves (physical body, emotions, lower mind) to receive and be able to withstand the irradiation of will, love/wisdom and light streaming into the Earth at spring equinox, Easter, and the Three Spiritual Festivals. What is Lent? The Anglo-Saxon word, lencten, comes from an ancient spring festival, agricultural rites marking the transition between winter and summer. The seasons reflect changes in nature (physical world) and humanity responds with social festivals of gratitude and of renewal. There is a purification process, prayerfulness in nature and in humanity in preparation for a great flow of spiritual energies during springtime. Valentine’s Day: Aquarius Sun, Taurus moon. Let us offer gifts of comfort, ease, harmony, beauty and satisfaction. Things chocolate and golden. Venus and Taurus things.

 

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