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Dec 20th
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Arts, Entertainment, Dining, Calendar

A&E

Dance, Monkee, Dance!

Dance, Monkee, Dance!

Charting the evolution of The Monkees’ Michael Nesmith

Michael Nesmith must have inherited pioneer genes from his mom, who famously invented Liquid Paper (Google it, kids). Arguably the most interesting member of The Monkees, Nesmith has played a crucial part in fusing music with television and video, first by playing guitar in the world’s first made-for-TV band, and then by coming up with the idea for MTV. For better or worse, his efforts have helped shape a music industry in which a powerful visual presentation is often as important to an artist’s success as the music itself.

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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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Is This a Dream?

A beginner’s guide to understanding and exploring the uncanny world of lucid dreams

 

Giving and Giving, Then Giving Some More

2014 is almost over. Wednesday, Dec. 17, the Jewish Festival of Light, Hanukkah, begins. We are in our last week of Sag and last two weeks of December. Sunday, Dec. 21 is winter Solstice, as the sun enters Capricorn (3:30 p.m. for the west coast). Soon after, the Capricorn new moon occurs (5:36 p.m. for the west coast)—the last new moon of 2014. Sunday morning Uranus in Aries (revolution, revelation) is stationary direct (retro since July 22). Uranus/Aries create things new and needed to anchor the new culture and civilization (Aquarius). We will see revolutionary change in 2015. Capricorn new moon, building-the-personality seed thought, is, “Let ambition rule and let the door to initiation and freedom stand wide (open).” Capricorn is a gate—where matter returns to spirit. But the gate is unseen until the Ajna Center (third eye), Diamond Light of Direction, opens. Winter solstice is the longest day of darkness of the year. The sun’s rays resting at the Tropic of Capricorn (southern hemisphere) symbolize the Christ (soul’s) light piercing the heart of the Earth, remaining there for three days, till Holy Night (midnight Thursday morning). Then the sun’s light begins to rise. It is the birth of the new light (holy child) for the world. A deep calm and stillness pervades the world.The entire planet is revivified, re-spiritualized. All hearts beating reflect this Light. And so throughout the Earth there’s a radiant “impress” (impressions, pictures) given to humanity of the World Mother and her Child. The star Sirius (love/direction) and the constellation Virgo the mother shines above. For gift giving, give to those in need. Give and give and then give some more. This creates the new template of giving and sharing for the new world.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Stocking Stuffers

The men behind the women of the Kinsey Sicks Dragapella Beautyshop Quartet explain their own special brand of ‘dragtivism,’ and their holiday show at the Rio
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Tramonti Pizza

Why there’s no such thing as too much Italian food in Seabright

 

Guitar or surfboard?

Guitar. The closest thing I ever came to surfing was sliding down a rock hill. Charlie Tweddle, Santa Cruz, Hats and Music

 

Fortino Winery’s Intriguing Charbono

At the opening celebration of the new Santa Clara Wine Trail in August, one of the wineries we visited was Fortino. This is where I first tasted their intriguing estate-grown Charbono—a varietal that is one of the rarest in California, with only 80 acres grown statewide.

 

Beyond the Jar

How Tabitha Stroup has built her rapidly expanding jam empire