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Jul 01st
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Arts, Entertainment, Dining, Calendar

A&E

Blurring Borders

Blurring Borders

Lila Downs to perform a multicultural show of ‘sins and miracles’ at The Mello

Singer-songwriter Lila Downs’ work has always been about blurring borderlines—international, cultural, racial, and musical. The daughter of a Mixtec Indian singer and Scottish-American professor, she grew up listening to her mother rendering Lola Beltrán’s heartfelt rancheras and her father crooning Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land.”

From her early multicultural influences, Downs began to create music that was a cutting-edge synthesis of traditional Mexican ballads with American jazz, folk, blues and rock, infused with indigenous sounds. She lives a cross-border life, residing and performing in both Mexico and the United States. And the songs she sings often tell the story of people whose lives straddle cultural and international boundaries, giving voice to the uprooted and disenfranchised, as well as honoring the stories they carry from their homeland.

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A&E

Beautiful Disaster

Beautiful Disaster

Local artist Glenn Carter invites Santa Cruzans to discover beauty in the mess

Powerful reactions are commonplace when it comes to Glenn Carter’s art. During the 2011 Open Studios tour, the Santa Cruz artist recalls being approached by a spectator who had come through the exhibit feeling intensely affected. “It was toward the end of her visit and she remarked how stirring all the work was for her on a very deep level,” Carter says. “And then she welled up with tears, saying ‘Thank you for this.’ Seeing someone moved to that level of deep and sincere feeling is the highest compliment I could hope to receive.”

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A&E

Happy Endings

Happy Endings

UCSC alumna returns with one-woman show about her experience in hospice

It was during one of her first visits as a hospice worker that Taren Sterry realized something significant. “His name was Don,” says Sterry, as she recalls her patient. “We were sitting at his kitchen table. And I had a very clear thought that none of the books or studying or papers that I had read up until that point had prepared me for the job that I was there to do, which was simply to be present with another human being.”

The visit was just one of many during a six-month ethnographic field study as part of the community studies major at UCSC. Inspired by a course taught by Wendy Martyna about death and dying, Sterry chose to work with terminally ill patients and their families. “After about three classes I knew that was what I wanted to study,” she says. “I loved stories, I still do. I love learning about people’s lives. I love hearing about how people make meaning out of their lives.”

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A&E

Pushing the Envelope

Pushing the Envelope

‘What Is Erotic?’ makes its seventh run at The 418

ll through history, artists have been pushing us to examine our views of what is and isn’t erotic, with subjects ranging from the relatively tame (Francisco Goya’s “La Maja Desnuda”) to the extremely challenging (Mapplethorpe’s photography, Rod Stewart’s “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?”). Santa Cruz keeps this tradition alive via “What Is Erotic?”a festive and daring fundraiser for The 418 Project. Themed “In the Boudoir,” this year’s event—the seventh overall—hits The 418 on the weekends before and after Valentine’s Day.

The fun, bawdy character of “What Is Erotic?” will be evident right from the Pre-Show Erotic Salon: Staying in character, the actors will playfully interact with audience members. Moondance O’Brien, one of this year’s performers, reveals that the show’s cast and crew refers to the members of this “welcoming committee” as “fluffers.” “Some people might be feather ticklers; some people might be reciting poetry; some people might be offering spankings,” she explains. Other performers will hand-feed chocolate-dipped strawberries to audience members. All such interaction is consent-oriented, but O’Brien ventures that “the majority of people who come to this show have a sense of what they’re going to experience. They’re pretty eager.”

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A&E

The Poems of David Swanger

The Poems of David SwangerEditor’s note:  This week’s Poetry Corner features David Swanger, the second Santa Cruz County Poet Laureate. Swanger has received fellowships in poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts and the California Arts Council. He has written a book about poetry, “The Poem as Process,” a book about aesthetic education, “Essays in Aesthetic Education,” as well as four books of poems. His most recent book of poems, “Wayne’s College of Beauty,” won the John Ciardi Prize in Poetry, and was a finalist in Fore Word’s Book of the Year Awards.
Natural Disaster
(January 1982, Santa Cruz County)
 
Overflow advances across strawberry
fields, insinuates streets and suddenly
everyone has a house on the water. And
such rich, redolent water, water carrying
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A&E

In Style, In Love

In Style, In Love

Local ‘green’ fashion designer infuses Buddhist teachings into her clothing and bag line

Spirituality and fashion. They seem so … out of style. How often do you run across an article in Vogue about a leading designer who’s focused on putting a spiritual spin on the construction of his or her garments? Praise God and wear high heels? Follow Buddha and slip into something slinky? It seems like an unlikely pairing—as unlikely as wearing a trench coat in the dead heat of summer. But there are some fashion designers who are trying to make a difference with their creative work by way of constructing fashionable attire that offers a positive message. Case in point—Anastasia Keriotis, the 51-year-old founder of Dharma Love, a wildly successful local “green” design company whose wares can be seen in stores around the county and in numerous Whole Foods markets.

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Literature

Losing Baggage

Losing Baggage

Pam Houston’s genre-breaking book takes readers on adventures far and deep within

You could say it was prescient that Pam Houston began writing her latest book on an airplane. But then, the award-winning short-story writer and novelist often writes on airplanes—and when she started writing these vignettes she had no idea they’d morph into a novel.

“I was invited to an evening called ‘Unveiled’ at the Wisconsin Book Festival in Madison, where a group of us was going to read new, untested work,” said Houston. “I took the assignment so literally that I wrote the first 12 chapters on the plane and in the hotel the night before. After I read, Richard Bausch said, ‘Write 100 of them, and that’s your next book.’”

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A&E

Ready to B.I.K.E.?

Ready to B.I.K.E.?

Bike Dojo unveils new program that links kids in need with bikes—and exercise

In 2010 the Outdoor Foundation reported that cycling is the second most popular activity. But while that may not be “news” to the many avid cyclists here in Santa Cruz, another factoid may raise eyebrows and force people to take action: More than 50 percent of children don’t have a bicycle or don’t even know how to ride. The statistics also note that more kids know how to play video and computer games than those who know how to ride a bike.  

But not for long.

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Theater

Tip of the Tongue

Tip of the Tongue

Local improv troupe, Freefall, throws out script in favor of drama

The idea of being onstage in front of a sold-out audience without a script is the stuff of nightmares. But one person’s terror is another’s ultimate thrill—especially if you’re one of the five talented members of the Santa Cruz-based Freefall Improvisational Theater troupe.

“One of the biggest payoffs is when you’re on stage and you don’t know why or how you’re doing what you’re doing,” says Bob Giges, one of Freefall’s founding members. “You really have no conscious control of what you’re doing. It’s just like, ‘Hey I’m going there,’ and your mind can’t really catch up with it. You do things that are faster and funnier and more intense than your mind could ever do. It takes you over and when you have that experience of being immersed into that so much it’s just ... like nothing else in my life.”

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A&E

Fever Pitch

Fever Pitch

Dengue Fever breathes new life into vintage Cambodian pop

While backpacking with a friend through Southeast Asia in 1997, Ethan Holtzman, organist for Los Angeles-based band Dengue Fever, had a revelation—all thanks to a mosquito.

“Traveling by bus somewhere between the ruins of Angkor Wat and the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh, Holtzman’s traveling buddy was going through the symptoms of Dengue Fever,” explains friend and fellow band member Paul Smith. “Each time Holtzman made his way to the front of the bus to check in on his friend, a kind of music he had never heard before came blaring from the tape deck of the bus driver, leaving him hungry for more.”

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I Was a Teenage Deadhead

Memories of life on tour, plus the truth about that legendary Santa Cruz Acid Test

 

I Build a Lighted House and Therein Dwell

Wednesday, June 24, Chiron turns stationary retrograde (we turn inward) at 21.33 degrees Pisces. We usually speak of “retrograde” when referring to Mercury. But all planets retrograde. Next month in July, Venus retrogrades. What is Chiron retrograde? Chiron represents the wound within all of us. Wounds have purpose. They sensitize us; make us aware of pain and suffering. Through our wounds we develop compassion. Through compassion we become whole (holy) again. Chiron helps develop these states of consciousness. Everyone carries a wound. Everyone carries family wounds (family astrology tracks the astrological “DNA” through generations). Chiron wounds are deep within. We’re often not aware of them until Chiron retrogrades. Then the wounds (through pain, hurt, sadness, suffering) become apparent. They seem to break us open emotionally, psychologically. Painful events from the past are remembered. They are brought to the present for healing. Through experiencing, talking about and deeply feeling what is hurting us, healing takes place. We begin to understand and bring healing to others. All week, Jupiter and Venus move closer together in the sky. They meet in Leo at the full moon, Cancer solar festival, on Wednesday, July 1. The Cancer keynote is, “I build a lighted house and therein dwell.” The soul’s light has finally penetrated the “womb” of matter. The New Group of World Servers is to radiate this light. At the end of each sign are keywords to use and remember during the Chiron retrograde.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of June 26

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
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Kickin' Chicken

Local kitchen alchemist Justin Williams is fast becoming a cult flavor master. His late-night wizardry, which began last fall delivering mainly to starving UCSC students, is catching on with taste buds beyond campus. Kickin’ Chicken delivers its spicy-sweet fried chicken and waffles to Westside residents between 9 p.m. and 2 a.m. nightly. Or you can catch him and his brother and sister, Candice and Danny Mendoza, serving it up at their “Sunday Mass” at the Santa Cruz Food Lounge at 1001 Center St. in Santa Cruz. Using sous vide, a French method of cooking chicken in a water bath at a tightly controlled temperature, they then flash fry it for an amazingly crispy coat. Candice Mendoza spoke to GT about Kickin’ Chicken’s rise.

 

What’s a creative new approach to addressing summer beach litter?

Robotic dogs, with duct tape on their paws, that walk around picking up litter wherever they go. Joaquin Heinz, Santa Cruz, Barista

 

Pelican Ranch Winery

The most popular red wines found on store shelves are also those most commonly known, such as Pinot, Zinfandel and Merlot. But when you come across a more unusual varietal, like Pelican Ranch Winery’s Cinsault ($19), it opens up a whole new world. Cinsault is a grape that can tolerate heat, so it is found in countries with warmer climes such as Morocco, Algeria, Lebanon, and France. It’s rare in California but grows well in places like Lodi—Silvaspoons Vineyard in this particular case—where it’s hot and dry. Often used as a blending grape, the silky Cinsault is just fine on its own.

 

Open Wide

Soif’s soft reboot leads to expanded menu, plus the ‘thinking woman’s ketchup’