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Sep 30th
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Arts, Entertainment, Dining, Calendar

Theater

"Beach Blanket Babylon' (Still) Sizzles

Iconic San Francisco revue continues to improve with age

There are very few theatrical productions that make it to middle-age. Thankfully, “Beach Blanket Babylon,” which turns 39 this summer, is one of them. In fact, the revered San Francisco spectacle is the country’s longest-running revues.

That’s a terrific testament to the legacy that the late- Steve Silver left behind. Silver launched “BBB” back in the ’70s and the show immediately turned heads with its show-stopping musical parodies and clever plot—a whiny Snow White desperately searching for a Prince Charming. That may have been enough to lure audiences in initially, but Silver and his creative team went a step beyond, always updating the show by infusing it with a delicious gluttony of current events.

This is evident in the revue's latest incarnation—a nonstop powerhouse of sheer brilliance that majestically surfs the peculiar waves of pop culture, scoops up as many headline-grabbers as it can and feasts on their absurdities.

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Theater

Channeling Casals

Channeling Casals

Israeli musician Amit Peled brings famous cello to Aptos

Amit Peled has many blessings in his life. He’s an accomplished cellist and conductor, and has performed in top venues throughout the world. At 28, he became the youngest professor at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, where he and his wife are raising three children. And twice in his life, once when he was a boy and again as a man, his life’s path was altered by a man he never met: the preeminent cellist of the 20th century, the late Pablo Casals.

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Theater

Good Bet

Good Bet

Performances highlight JTC’s revival of ‘Horse Dreamer’

Now in its eighth season, Jewel Theatre Company continues to produce quality professional theatre right in the heart of Downtown Santa Cruz. Spearheaded by Artistic Director Julie James, and making use of an ever-expanding gene pool of directors, performers and stage technicians, the company keeps local audiences intrigued with its lineup of often challenging, unexpected material. Case in point is the new JTC production of “Geography of a Horse Dreamer,” a lesser-know drama by the iconic Sam Shepard that considers the plight of the artist in a world of commerce, the vagaries of luck, and (as usual, for Shepard) the spectacle of men behaving badly.

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A&E

Local Lens

Local Lens

Second annual Watsonville Film Festival shines light on Central Coast talent

With this year’s Oscar ceremony in the rearview mirror, the time is ripe for a cinematic palette cleanser, and the second annual Watsonville Film Festival, which takes place March 2-3, might be just what the doctor ordered for cinephiles and casual filmgoers alike. “It’s definitely a community film festival,” says Consuelo Alba, a local filmmaker whose company, Veremos Productions, is one of the festival’s founders. “Our mission is to educate and inspire the community—and specifically young people—to get involved, to create their own films, to document their own stories,” she continues. “There are many stories in this area that need to be told, so we want to engage students and the whole community in the experience of watching film and producing our own films.”

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A&E

The Poems of Dane Cervine

The Poems of Dane Cervine

Editor’s note:  Dane Cervine’s poems have won, or been finalists for, awards from Adrienne Rich, Tony Hoagland, The Atlanta Review and Caesura. His work has appeared in a diverse range of publications, including The SUN Magazine, The Hudson Review, anthologies, short films, animation, newspapers and online. Cervine serves as Chief of Children’s Mental Health for Santa Cruz County, and has a small private practice as a therapist. Visit danecervine.typepad.com.

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A&E

Washed Away

Washed Away

Tsunami survivors share stories of resilience in Gretel Ehrlich’s new book, ‘Facing the Wave’

When a massive earthquake struck Tohoku, Japan in 2011, it shook the waterfront house of an 84-year-old woman so badly that it fell over. A local merchant who happened to be running past scooped the older woman onto his shoulders and carried her to higher ground. Interviewed later by a local journalist, the woman revealed that she was the last geisha on the northern coast of Japan and the last person who knew a traditional song.

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A&E

Welcome To The Jungle

Welcome To The Jungle

Watsonville native Scott Serrano turns back time, lets imagination run wild

Scott Serrano’s journey backwards in time began roughly 10 years ago, when he became interested in science travel writing as a source of artistic inspiration. “I read ‘The Malay Archipelago’ by Alfred Russell Wallace, and I basically fell in love with that book and the way it captured the feeling of being in dense tropical jungles, and somebody immersing themself in that kind of universe,” says Serrano.

“[Wallace] was like a sponge; he was absorbing everything around him,” he continues, “tribal people, plants, insects, the weather, geology… He spent most of that book celebrating how rich the diversity of life is—this from a sheltered young man from uptight Victorian England, raised in a small town in almost-poverty conditions, who had never been out of England until he began exploring.”

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A&E

You Make My Heart Sing

You Make My Heart Sing

Valengrams make hearts hum in barbershop harmony

We all remember the scene. John Cusack’s character in Cameron Crowe’s 1989 film, Say Anything, legendarily attempts to get the attention of his love interest by holding a boombox above his head and blasting Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” outside of her house.

The tradition of making such grand romantic gestures lives on, thanks in part to groups like Santa Cruz’s Gold Standard Chorus (GSC), a chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society, which was founded the same year that Say Anything hit theaters.

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A&E

Mapping Our Future

Mapping Our Future

Local octogenarian eco-artists are ahead of the environmental curve

A note to all future journalists preparing to interview environmental and ecological artists Helen Mayer Harrison and Newton Harrison: Despite all of your prior research and groundwork, chances are you will end up asking all of the wrong questions. “There’s a better way to look at it than that,” Newton will say. “I would like to go somewhere else with that question.”

Rest assured, the former UC San Diego professors are happy to help you figure out what questions you should be asking, and in the process, you will learn much more.

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Theater

Terrific Tens

Terrific Tens

18th annual 8 Tens @ Eight one of the best ever

The philosophy behind Santa Cruz Actors' Theatre's annual short play festival, 8 Tens @ Eight, has always been what I call the Bus Theory: if one play doesn't get you where you want to go, there'll be another one along in 10 minutes. What's great about this year's festival is the quality of the plays overall is so high. Not one of this year's eight 10-minute plays ever runs completely out of gas; all are well-written, well-acted, and cleverly staged, and most have a story arc that delivers the viewer to a valid destination.

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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

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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.”