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Aug 23rd
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Arts, Entertainment, Dining, Calendar

Theater

Hairspray—Extra Firm Hold

Hairspray—Extra Firm Hold

Cabrillo Stage turns up the volume

Santa Cruz, we have a problem. The capacity of Cabrillo’s Crocker Theater is 523, and there are 13 performances of Cabrillo Stage’s smash hit production of “Hairspray” left on the calendar. You do the math—and then get yourself a ticket, stat.

Last weekend’s opening of the Tony Award- winning musical played to a full house, one that squealed with bobby sox enthusiasm, laughed at every gag, whether over the top or nuanced, and rose to their feet en masse—for a standing ovation, and to dance along with the talented cast during curtain call.

“Hairspray” is a coming-of-age story. In this cleverly written show, the story is set in 1962 and the setting is segregated Baltimore and its local televised teen sock hop, The Corny Collins Show. This show within a show (one of my favorite devices) features The Nicest Kids in Town, and once a month —Negro Day. This subtle hint in the second song of the show alerts us to the savvy subterfuge ahead.

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A&E

Balancing on the Brink at Felix Kulpa

Balancing on the Brink at Felix Kulpa

In a black-on-black topography delineated only by texture, a thick viscous muck marches upward at an angle within a deep steel frame. This tarry density contrasts with the reflective, burnished darkness beyond, suggesting a dangerous precipice looming against shining sky. Carved deep within the tarry cliff, small oblong chambers are scribed with lines suggesting growing seeds. A small cluster of metal type floats above the dark horizon like seeds just released in the wind in an untitled work by Michelle Stitz.

Stitz in her most ambitious and successful works seems to seek that dangerous fulcrum between profoundly minimal and disturbingly unresolved. Just a hair more clear, linear or prescriptive and they could become prettily prosaic, but with any less information, could seem empty of content. That’s a slender hair upon which to hang a reputation and Stitz runs right up to that hairsbreadth, and balances right there, on the precipice.

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Literature

Pitch It

Pitch It

Aspiring authors get the chance to tell their story at ‘Pitchapalooza’
Do you have what it takes to be the next James Durbin of the literary world? In what has been touted as the American Idol for aspiring authors, book doctors Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry are bringing their acclaimed “Pitchapalooza” event to Bookshop Santa Cruz on Thursday, July 28.

The event should go something like this: Twenty-five would-be authors will be picked at random to pitch their story ideas to a panel of publishing industry insiders. Each contestant will have one minute to take to the stage and start talking. Once the idea has been pitched and the minute is up, the judges will critique everything from the idea itself to the writer’s pitching style and the marketability of the potential book. At the end of Pitchapalooza, judges will convene to pick a winner—who will receive a half-hour consultation with Eckstut and Sterry on how to turn his or her idea into a published manuscript.

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Theater

Hot For ‘Hairspray’

Hot For ‘Hairspray’

Cabrillo stage unveils its biggest musical yetz
Hairspray” finally hits Cabrillo Stage this week and along with it comes veteran director Janie Scott, actor Tony Panighetti and newcomer Monica Turner.

The Broadway hit—which was inspired by the original John Waters movie—revolves around freedom and civil rights. At its core is Tracy Turnblad (Turner), who wants only one thing in the world: to dance on The Corny Collins Show on TV. She also wants to overcome the prejudices that come with living in Baltimore in the early 1960s.

Fellow actor Panighetti expresses how the themes of the musical are extremely prevalent in today's culture: "American Idol is the big thing. It's about watching the underdog take over and inspire America. Glee is all about misfits. This has become a musical generation; [one] where everyone is rooting for the underdog."

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Theater

Turning Comedy out of Errors

Turning Comedy out of Errors

Stripped down Shakespeare tickles SC’s funny bone
This is Danny Scheie's seventh time directing “The Comedy of Errors,” but his second for Shakespeare Santa Cruz, which debuts on July 9 and runs until Aug. 28 at the Mainstage Theater.

Scheie has carried out nationally-renowned work as an actor, but directing “The Comedy of Errors” holds a special place for him. “For me, I love this play and part of the reason I love it is because I know it too well and it's sort of a true thing about Shakespeare that … we're always told he's infinite,” he says. “You can study him your whole life and learn something every time you see [a Shakespeare play], and I actually think that's true.”

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Theater

Time for ‘Three’

Time for ‘Three’

All for one, one for Shakespeare Santa Cruz
This year's Shakespeare Santa Cruz production of Alexander Dumas' epic masterpiece, “The Three Musketeers,” is set against a redwood forest backdrop—that sublime Sinsheimer-Stanley Festival Glen we have all come to appreciate. Directed by Art Menke, the play is sure to draw a crowd with its classic storyline and early run this summer.

The famous novel tells the story of D'Artagnan, a young man who dreams of becoming a musketeer. Set in 17th century Paris, D'Artagnan befriends three musketeers: Athos, Porthos, and Aramis. Together they go through various misadventures, one of the most famous being a rescue of the Queen of France amidst war. Kit Wilder, a veteran actor of “The Three Musketeers,” plays Porthos, the extrovert and larger-than-life musketeer.

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A&E

Let the Music Play

Let the Music Play

Local composer, Phil Collins, named county’s Artist of the Year
Though he shares his name with the former Genesis frontman, chances are, unless you’ve taken a music class from longtime Santa Cruzan Phil Collins, or seen him conducting a local ensemble, you wouldn’t be able to pick him out in a crowd. And that’s just fine with him.

Collins enjoys the work he does behind the scenes. For every moment he has spent onstage playing piano or guitar, he has spent an equal amount of time out of the public eye, planning lessons, writing grants for various musical organizations he is involved with, and studying the musical traditions of indigenous peoples around the world.

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Theater

An Affair to Remember

An Affair to Remember

Stars shine in Cabrillo Stage's bittersweet 'Last Five Years'
The winning streak continues at Cabrillo Stage with its new production of "The Last Five Years," the second offering in the company's 30th Anniversary season. More of a song cycle than a conventional musical play, the show is a tightrope duet that takes its two performers through an entire romance, from joyous beginnings to bitter end. The songs won't be familiar to most audiences, and the staging is intense: two people onstage in the intimate Black Box Theater for an hour and a half, without an intermission. But as a showcase for two terrific Cabrillo Stage veterans, Andrew Ceglio and Ariel Buck, it's a knockout.

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A&E

Ice Wars

Ice Wars

Local production company uses new journalism to reveal ‘IceWars’ over riches beneath melting Arctic sea
When CNN correspondent Kaj Larsen had the opportunity to head to the North Pole to report on geopolitical events that are surfacing as global warming, causing the Arctic ice to melt, he looked to his roots to help him tell the story.

“I knew I wanted to partner with production companies that had a talent for telling unknown but important stories,” says the Santa Cruz native. So he called The Impact Media Group, a local production company, to collaborate with him on the project.

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A&E

Love is Blind

Love is Blind

Santa Cruz musician, Veronica Elsea, reconciles sight and sound
Last Christmas, Veronica Elsea was strolling down Pacific Avenue when she heard the ear-splitting screech of a busker wailing on a guitar. Without hesitation, she walked over to the musician and said, “I’ll give you 10 bucks if you let me tune your guitar.” The performer obliged, Elsea altered the strings, and she walked away.

Elsea, an accomplished music composer and former member of the Santa Cruz County Symphony, was born blind. She and her twin sister—who is also visually impaired—were delivered prematurely and laid in incubators for the first two months of their lives.

When the girls were three, their mother bought a piano, and it wasn’t long before they proved they were musically inclined. “I was always terrified of the idea that you take a blind kid and plop them in front of a piano and they’re this incredible musician,” laughs Elsea, who used to pull all-nighters memorizing sheet music for the symphony. “But [music] was always something that came fairly easy to us.”

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Trending Now

Whether you live by the Vogue bible or choose to go into your day wearing what you slept in, odds are you wear clothes.

 

Entering Virgo

Sun entering Virgo brings a sign and element change, from Leo’s fire to Virgo’s practical earth. Food, health, grains, service and small animals are in the news and on our minds. It’s one month till autumn. Pumpkins and persimmons are ripening. Venus is in Leo. We radiate warmth; we’re generous, playful and affectionate. Everyone shows off in an ardent, passionate, warm-hearted, romantic and over-dramatic way, reflecting Leo’s fiery nature. Think of life as Shakespeare wrote: life is a play, we are its actors on the same stage together.

 

Final Cut

Cedar Street Video to close after 10 years at downtown location

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of August 22

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
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Locavores Only

Farm dinners at Route 1 Farms and the Homeless Garden Project expand the revolution

 

How should Santa Cruz develop downtown around the San Lorenzo River?

Santa Cruz | Artist/Show Promoter

 

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

 

Clowning Around With Armitage Chardonnay

Four of us headed to Brandon Armitage’s new tasting room in Aptos Village recently to try his well-made wines.