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Sep 03rd
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Arts, Entertainment, Dining, Calendar

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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Literature

Behind the Break-up

Behind the Break-up

Authors Maira Kalman and Daniel Handler open up

On a Bookshop Santa Cruz wall, notes are taped above a pile of books whose covers depict a luminous white coffee mug suspended against a red backdrop.

“We broke up because I’m not a gorgeous Australian who lives in China. Accents, right?” reads one note. The words, “We broke up because...” are printed on pages of a notepad near the shop’s display, prompting book shop visitors to share their break up stories. The notes correspond directly with the title of the books piled below: “Why We Broke Up,” by Daniel Handler (a.k.a. popular children’s author Lemony Snicket).

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A&E

Art Breeds Freedom

Art Breeds Freedom

How creativity and expression bring a renewed sense of importance to the incarcerated

Jack Bowers once had a revelation while walking through his Seabright neighborhood. As Bowers, who worked as an art facilitator at Soledad State Prison, and his kids made their way to a local playground, he saw a man on a porch that he recognized—a former inmate from Soledad. It gave him a renewed sense of the importance of prisoners being a part of the larger community.

“It was brought home to me: Who do we want coming back to the community?” says Bowers. “Someone who is angry and bitter, or someone who’s part of the community, a responsible neighbor? It’s called enlightened self-interest."

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A&E

Commas, Apostrophes and Periods

Commas, Apostrophes and Periods

MAH’s ‘Poetry and Book Arts Extravaganza’ explores new dimensions of books and words

If you walk into the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History on Friday night (Jan. 20), you may find words in surprising places. A poet may pop out of a bathroom stall, or recite lines while the elevator ascends. You’re likely to find sculptures created from books, haiku built from blocks, a book that’s sprouted wings. Someone you don’t know may pass you a poetic scroll—and you’ll probably be invited to chalk words on the museum stairs.

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A&E

Tiger’s Time

Tiger’s TimeAuthor Téa Obreht opens up about writing the wildly successful ‘The Tiger’s Wife’

While 2011 was considered the year of the rabbit, for author Téa Obreht, it was really the year of the tiger. In March of last year, the 26-year-old released her first novel through Random House and became a literary sensation with “The Tiger’s Wife,” a mystical fable set to the backdrop of the recovery of war in the Balkan area. With rich language, compelling storytelling, magical realism, and historical events, it’s no surprise that “The Tiger’s Wife” was such a hit with readers and critics. As a young literary voice, Obreht writes like a longtime seasoned pro—her writings have already been featured in The New Yorker online, The Atlantic online, as well as in the pages of Harper’s.

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Literature

New Year’s Resolution: Write Your Book in 2012

New Year’s Resolution: Write Your Book in 2012

Kiss procrastination goodbye; say hello to pen and paper

If the old adage is true, that each of us has a book inside ourselves, then the trick for most people is getting the words from the inside transcribed to pages on the outside.

The problem for many would-be writers is that the idea of having written is far more attractive than the grueling task of writing itself. Yet if you harbor a secret dream of penning the next American novel—or even a breathtaking bodice ripper—one thing is certain: you must sit down and write.

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A&E

Cosmic Spin

Cosmic Spin

Moto Ohtake's new sculpture lends beauty and motion to Santa Cruz

The newest art installation in the Heritage Plaza on Pacific Avenue in Downtown Santa Cruz is a massive kinetic sculpture, which its creator, local artist Moto Ohtake, describes as his "personal self-contained imaginary universe." On a windy day, the new sculpture, entitled “Aero No. 7,” can be seen wildly gyrating and sending numerous disks orbiting around its base. When the winds subside the sculpture is static and calm. This seems symbolically fitting as both the universe and Downtown Santa Cruz are places that often test the relationship between chaos and order.

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You Are What You Post

Online personality algorithms put astrological profiles to shame, but UCSC psychologists are raising questions about sharing personal data

 

Venus Direct, Mercury Retro Soon, Honoring Our Labors

As Burning Man (nine days, Aug. 30-Sept. 7 in the sign of Virgo) burns in the hot white desert sands, a petal of the rose created by retrograde Venus and the twelve-petaled Sun in Virgo’s petals unfold. All of us are on the burning ground (Leo) in the womb (cave of the heart) of the mother (Virgo), gestating for humanity once again (each year) a new state of consciousness. Both Virgo and Cancer, feminine (receptive energies) signs, are from our last solar system (Pleiades). When humanity first appeared on Earth we were nurtured by the mother, a matriarchy of energies (on islands in the Pacific). Eve, Isis and Mary are part of the lineages of our ancient Mother. Overseen by the Pleiades, the Earth (matter, mater, the mother) in that last solar system was imbued with intelligence (Ray 3). As we move toward autumn, another mother, Ceres realizes she has mere weeks left with her beloved daughter, Persephone. Persimmon and pomegranate trees prepare for autumn, their colors signs of hope as the light each day continues to dim. Sunday, Venus in Leo turns stationary direct, yet continues in her shadow until Oct. 9 (when retrograde Mercury turns direct). Slowly our newly assessed values emerge from the Venus retrograde. We thought in Venus retro how to use our resources more effectively. Mercury retrogrades Sept. 17. Monday is Labor Day. Let us honor the labor of everyone, all life a “labor.” Let us honor Labor Day and all those who have “served” (labored for) us this past year. We honor their labors. We honor the labor of our parents, those who have loved us. We honor our own labors, too. We are all in service, we are all laboring. We are all valuable.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Girl Gone Wild

’70s SF recalled in raw, poignant ‘Diary of a Teenage Girl’
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Sushi Garden

Local sushi empire expands to Scotts Valley

 

Do you overshare online?

I don’t think so. I just post things about my life, like successful things. Sometimes I just like sharing different news that I find interesting, or favorite artists, clothes, music. I like to post photos. Natalia Delgado, Santa Cruz, Server

 

McIntyre Vineyards

I recently met up with three friends for dinner at Sanderlings at Seascape Beach Resort. We chose to eat outside so we could watch the sun set over the ocean, but the Aptos fog rolled in and swallowed it up.

 

Sustainable Supper

The Homeless Garden Project’s Sustain Supper series supports its award-winning programs