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Sep 01st
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Arts, Entertainment, Dining, Calendar

Theater

O Unholy Night

O Unholy Night

Cabrillo Stage shakes up the season with a Marx Brothers-inspired holiday hootenanny

Breaking with traditional Christmas sentimentality, the musical farce “A Night at the Nutcracker,” takes its inspiration from classic Marx Brothers’ comedies, and imagines what might happen if, behind the scenes of “The Nutcracker Ballet,” a villainous thief plotted to make off with the money for the show, and the Marx Brothers—Groucho, Chico and Harpo—arrived to save the day. 

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A&E

The Poems of Kim Dower

The Poems of Kim Dower

Editor’s note: Kim Dower’s first poetry collection, “Air Kissing on Mars,” described by the Los Angeles Times as “sensual and evocative, seamlessly combining humor and heartache,” and by Thomas Lux as “a rare and astonishing first book,” was published by Red Hen Press in 2010. Dower’s poems have appeared in Ploughshares, Rattle, and Barrow Street, and Eclipse. Her second collection, “Slice of Moon,” will be published by Red Hen Press in the fall of 2013. She lives in Los Angeles.

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A&E

Blue Christmas

Blue Christmas

On the eve of what could be its final run, “An Altared Christmas” founder Rhan Wilson looks back on the show’s eight-year history

Once upon a time, a group of disheveled community members gathered to celebrate the holidays—dragging feet, feigning smiles and secretly praying for the whole thing to be over as soon as possible. Then, like a message from God etched upon Tupperware, a fruitcake appeared. As they ate it, the disillusioned crowd became family, discordance became harmony in a minor key, and colors brightened every doorway.

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A&E

War Of Words

War Of Words

Santa Cruz native opens up about his creative role in Steven Spielberg’s Abraham Lincoln biopic

Now that our collective post-election hangover has mostly subsided, politics are probably the last thing you’re looking for in an escape outing at the movies. But Steven Spielberg’s new film—about the triumph of the political process in a time of near-apocalyptic social discord—might surprise you.

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Literature

Exposed

Exposed

David Cay Johnston’s new book explains how big companies rob us blind

In his late teens David Cay Johnston started to ask questions. “Why do we have these guys in uniforms with guns driving around in cars all day?” “Why is the Santa Cruz County Courthouse being built in such an unusual shape?”

He wrote an article, while still living in his hometown of Santa Cruz, proving that the off-kilter courthouse building, which officials had promised would save money, actually cost more than a conventional building.

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A&E

Everything Is Illuminated

Everything Is Illuminated

Local neon artist Brian Coleman reveals his latest creations at the Felix Kulpa Gallery

Local abstract neon artist Brian Coleman creates colorful arcing, looping, cursive-shaped patterns from glass tubes filled with glowing gasses—xenon, krypton, subtle amounts of argon, and once in a while a pinch of Mercury for bright reds.

The results, he says, are other-worldly.

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A&E

Promised Land

Promised Land

New performance art piece tackles turf wars in Santa Cruz history

In 2009, an altercation stemming from the utterance of the word “Westside” ended with a Santa Cruz youth slain. “It is clear that many factors and details surrounded this heinous crime, and yet there was a noticeable surge of conversation and debate on the topic of territorialism and the representation of turf,” says Eli Weinberg, a dancer/choreographer whose latest project was conceived as a response to that tragic event. “One of my goals with this work was to try to understand how, in a city of less than 60,000 residents, such clear demarcation of territory came to be and how the identification with one side or another managed to permeate so many sectors of the community.”

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Theater

The Quack Pack

The Quack Pack

Shakespeare Santa Cruz’s ‘Ugly Duckling’ revamp promises to entertain and inspire

Anyone who has ever felt left out, or survived high school for that matter, will appreciate Shakespeare Santa Cruz’s holiday show, “Honk!” The charming and heartfelt production is based on Hans Christian Andersen’s classic fairy tale, “The Ugly Duckling.”

“Essentially it’s a great allegory for bullying,” says actress Megan Smith, who stars as Ida, the duckling’s mother. “Being a person who is different from the dominant culture, how it affects your home and social life, and how to deal with that.”

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A&E

His Man Stan

His Man Stan

Cabrillo College jazz icon Ray Brown celebrates Stan Kenton’s centennial with a rare concert of Kenton arrangements

It was in the early 1970s that Cabrillo College music instructor Ray Brown—fresh off a stint in the U.S. Army’s touring jazz band during the Vietnam War—wound up playing fifth trumpet in the legendary Stan Kenton Orchestra, the last remnant of the so-called Big Band Era that forged a uniquely American sound in the years bookending the Second World War.

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Literature

State of Grace

State of Grace

Vintage Faith founder sifts through the ‘mess’ of modern-day church in new book

Dan Kimball is not your average church founder. Having not grown up in a Christian family, his path to evangelical Christianity has been a circuitous one, which includes several years as a punk and rockabilly drummer.

Eventually, that colorful background led to the founding of Vintage Faith Church and The Abbey in Santa Cruz, and more recently, Kimball has used his unique perspective to write “Adventures in Churchland: Finding Jesus in the Mess of Organized Religion,” a book published by Harper Collins.

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Mercury Enters Libra

It’s the week of Burning Man, the temporary, intentional, alternative, art-filled community on the playas of Nevada. Mercury, messenger of the Sun, enters Libra this week. Libra is the equalizer, a sign of balance and right human relations. Sometimes with Libra, we can be indecisive and confused while learning how to make balanced and right choices. Sometimes to keep the peace we communicate only what others want to hear. Eventually, we learn how to speak from the heart.

 

Final Cut

Cedar Street Video to close after 10 years at downtown location

 

Banter and Spark

Engaging actors, wry script distinguish lightweight rom-com ‘What If’

 

Back to Silicon Beach

With a new wave of startups, the future of Santa Cruz tech looks more promising than ever
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Himalayan Kitchen

Chef Purna Regmi on the secrets of Nepalese cooking

 

What’s the nicest thing you’ve done for someone this week?

Germany  |  Beekeeper

 

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

 

A Cab To Be Coveted

I first tasted Villa del Monte’s 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon at a Fourth of July party, where the hosts had bought a case of it because they love it and didn’t want to run out. It’s one of those wines that will grab you—in the best way—with its full body and rich fruit characteristics.