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Oct 01st
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Music - Features

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Dark Star Orchestra lights up a rare acoustic show
Formed in 1997 as a Chicago bar band that played Grateful Dead tunes, Dark Star Orchestra (DSO) soon began touring upwards of 200 nights a year. With an increasing number of people hungry to see DSO, the band now plays the same large concert halls at which the original 1960s iconic band used to perform. DSO lead guitarist John Kadlecik—talking from the road in Seattle—reflects on the early years. “I had been initially playing with another Dead cover band, but my idea was to recreate shows in their entirety,” he reminisces. “When DSO caught on, we all quit our day jobs.”

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Music - Features

High, Low and In Between

High, Low and In Between

Steve Earle recalls the late great Townes Van Zandt

Steve Earle’s admiration for Townes Van Zandt is nearly as legendary as the two men themselves. Point one: A teenage Earle started following the iconic country singer-songwriter upon discovering him in Houston back in 1972. Point two: He named his first son after him, the emerging Justin Townes Earle who’s now commanding attention for his own potent honky tonk delivery and lyrical skills. Point three: He just released an entire album covering 15 Van Zandt songs, simply titled Townes. Recording the core vocals and guitar tracks live in his New York apartment last September, the gritty Grammy-winning Earle is now taking the musical tribute—and his memories of one of the most underappreciated and prolific poets—on the road, and he’ll be hitting The Rio at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 7. When he talks about Van Zandt, whose infamous life of alcohol and drug abuse ended on New Year’s Day of 1997 at the age of 52, Earle’s tone shifts restlessly between poignant awe of the man and his influence, to somber lament (and riled frustration) for the fame, health and success that his idol never obtained. Like Van Zandt, Earle rose in the growlin’ blues, country-rock songwriting ranks only to fall to his own substance abuse and eventual imprisonment in the early ’90s. Unlike Van Zandt, he made it out of the darkness—sobering up and singing again to reclaim himself, a family and his lauded career. Townes Van Zandt epitomized the struggling, self-destructive folk phenom that could never quite enjoy the brilliance he emanated, and now Steve Earle is giving his greatest mentor what he could never hold onto in life: the spotlight.

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Music - Features

Rollin’ with Doe

Rollin’ with Doe

Rapper Really Doe shares tales of a misspent youth
One day in Chicago in the late ’80s, a 9-year-old, self-described “spoiled kid” named Warren Trotter came home to a brutal shock: While he was out, his father had died of a heart attack. “The last words I said to my pops was, “A’ight, Dad, I’m goin’ to the store,’” Trotter recalls.

 

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Music - Features

She Hangs Darkly

She Hangs Darkly

Hope Sandoval returns with the Devil on her shoulder

Despite being a seasoned performer and the enigmatic voice behind the dreamy ’90s folk pop cult band, Mazzy Star, Hope Sandoval is notoriously pained by the thought of performing. It’s been eight years since a major tour, and her return to the road with Colm Ó Cíosóig in the Warm Inventions, which kicks off this Friday, Sept. 18 at the Brookdale Lodge, is no light affair—literally and metaphorically.

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Music - Features

Everything Old is New Again

Everything Old is New Again

DJ Tom LG combines the past and the present
The annual Burning Man festival is a unique fusion of the ancient and futuristic, the human and the digital. The very nature of its Nevada desert location, which puts its participants face-to-face with many of the same basic survival issues with which our primitive ancestors grappled, ensures a somewhat archaic feel, yet the tribal festivities are enlivened by electronic music and state-of-the-art technology.

In short, it’s probably the only place in the world where you might see a robot cruising past a cluster of naked people dancing around a fire.

One would be hard-pressed to find a better DJ for a Burning Man after-party than Tom LG, whose musical tastes epitomize this synthesis of the archaic and modern. “Part of the electronic music scene is to be continually moving forward: Don’t look back; that record was played yesterday, therefore, it’s obsolete,” offers LG, who will be spinning records at this Wednesday’s post-Burning Man party at Moe’s Alley along with DJ Seek, Little John and Rob Monroy. In contrast to that, he notes, “I think the essence of what I’m about is this old and this new, this past and present. I ride this line back and forth, and when the two come together is when I think I’ve created the best experience for people.”

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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

 

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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.”