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May 25th
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Arts, Entertainment, Dining, Calendar

A&E

Lighting Up

Lighting Up

Blue Light Safety Project offers shelter but raises questions

Imagine walking down a dark street flickering with shadows. Or worse, imagine that you are being pursued by someone unsafe on that same dark street. Now picture a halo of blue light glowing from a nearby porch. Imagine that this blue light signifies a safe place to stop, make a phone call—or perhaps even share a meal or stay for the night.

If it sounds comforting to know that there are safe houses where you can seek refuge in your neighborhood, that’s exactly what organizers of the Blue Light Safety Project intend. The idea is simple: anyone can install a blue bulb in their porch light bulb socket and this will let neighbors, community members or passersby know that they are welcome to knock on the door if they feel threatened or unsafe.

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A&E

What's Up, Doc?

What's Up, Doc?

Real stories take center stage in 23rd Annual Pacific Rim Film Festival (schedule below)

Truth may not be stranger than fiction, but reality is every bit as compelling in this year's edition of the Pacific Rim Film Festival. Now in its 23rd year, Santa Cruz's favorite free film festival unspools Oct. 14-19, at three locations: The Del Mar Theatre, the Rio Theatre, and Cabrillo College Watsonville Center. As usual, the festival presents films from all around the Pacific Rim, from China, Japan, the Philippines, India, South Korea, New Zealand and Australia to Mexico, Hawaii and the U. S. mainland. And of the 19 films served up in this year's festival, nine are documentaries, including the opening night kickoff event and the closing night benefit. Three other films in the lineup are fact-based stories, lightly fictionalized accounts of real people and real-life events.

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A&E

Wood You Look At That?

Wood You Look At That?

Two first-year Open Studios artists open up about their art within the framework of the environment

Ask three people what they see when they gaze into one of those magic eye pictures and you are practically guaranteed to get three entirely different answers. Where one person sees a butterfly emerging from a cocoon, another may see a couple kissing passionately, and the third may see a space shuttle landing on the moon. Art is subjective, in other words, and backs up the claim that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Similarly, where your average Joe may see only a scrap of washed up wood, Cynthia Kingsbury and James Barsimantov see exquisite works of furniture. A rocking chair maybe? Perhaps a table on which many future meals will be shared? The sky isn’t even the limit with these two craftspeople, and this, their first year participating in Open Studios, marks just the beginning.

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Literature

The Poems of Robert Sward

The Poems of Robert Sward

Editor’s note:  In this week’s Poetry Corner, we feature the work of Robert Sward who has taught at Cornell University, the Iowa Writers' Workshop and UC Santa Cruz. A Guggenheim Fellow, he was chosen by Lucile Clifton to receive a Villa Montalvo Literary Arts Award. His more than 20 books include: “Four Incarnations” (Coffee House Press), “Rosicrucian in the Basement,” “The Collected Poems,” and “God is in the Cracks” (Black Moss Press, Canada), now in its second printing. His latest, “New & Selected Poems,” 1957-2011, is about to be published by Red Hen Press.

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A&E

Music For Change

Music For Change

Baaba Maal uses his songs as a vehicle for global unity

Though he has been playing music his entire life and recording with fervor for the past two decades, rhythm and melody are not Baaba Maal's primary focus. These days, the Senegalese singer and songwriter, views his music—along with the worldwide recognition it has brought him—as more of a means to achieving a greater good.

While he is certainly a dedicated musician—he has released roughly one LP each year since he began professionally tracking his tunes in 1989—Maal is also a thinker, a philosopher, a pundit, an organizer and a storyteller. Then again, where he comes from, that is exactly what a musician is supposed to be.

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Theater

Big Issues, Bold Work

Big Issues, Bold Work

‘The Letters’ explores life beneath state control in Soviet Russia

While some will stop at nothing to hide the truth, others will let nothing stop them from revealing it. Either way, there is a price to pay.

John W. Lowell’s play, “The Letters,” takes viewers back to Soviet Russia, circa 1931. When love letters surface between a famous Russian composer and his various homosexual paramours, the government embarks on a campaign to hide the evidence so as not to bring disrepute to the State. Anna, a ministry employee, is mysteriously called into the director’s office, where she is at first offered a promotion—but the exchange subtly morphs into a deadly cat-and-mouse game.

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A&E

Contest Mania Winners

Contest Mania Winners


Contest Mania Winners
9-word Novel Contest
See > all the novels >

Pet Party!
See all the pets

Thank you to all our entrants.
Also see: Santa Cruz area dog-friendly shops directory >

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Literature

Lost Memory

Lost Memory

Russell Banks’ new novel tackles taboo topics of sex offenders, Internet porn addiction and the ephemeral line between reality and fantasy

From the window of his Miami Beach condo, acclaimed author Russell Banks looks out onto Biscayne Bay, where a tunnel causeway stretches from mainland Florida to the barrier island on which he lives. At first a seemingly ordinary bridge spanning a stunning view, the causeway began to capture his imagination several years ago when it attracted the attention of the media: living beneath the bridge was a modern-day leper colony of convicted sex offenders.

Due to a 2005 city of Miami ordinance that banned convicted sex offenders from living within 2,500 feet of schools, parks, bus stops—or anyplace where children congregate—the Julia Tuttle Causeway was the only place in the city proper that these men could call home. So what began with a few tents quickly expanded into a shanty town complete with makeshift toilets, kitchenettes and gasoline-powered generators to charge residents’ cell phones along with the GPS tracking devices many of them were required to wear around their ankles.

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A&E

Monsters, Inc.

Monsters, Inc.

Monsters beware: a potions master has it out for you

Monsters are under the bed. They lurk behind the door. They tiptoe around a toddler’s room. Even Pixar made a movie about the monsters that scare children. But no one has fought with monsters like Stephanie Corey. The potions master created a line of products that offer several functions: Spray her Monster Armor on a monster and the creature will turn into a friend, or spritz it around the house and monsters will stay away. Or take a bath and your whole body will be covered in armor, protecting you from one-eyed ghouls and vampires. Of course, this might sound like child’s play, and that’s partly correct.

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A&E

Motion ... at the Mill

Motion ... at the Mill

New dance spaces and the Third Annual Ethnic Dance Festival mark an exciting time in the world of dance in Santa Cruz

Do you remember visiting Disneyland when you were a kid (or maybe with your kids) and taking a spin on the “It’s a Small World” ride? The little boats sail through all the cultures of the globe, as tiny robots representing the citizens of each country serenade visitors with the local dance, costume and culture. Sure it’s trite, and the cloying sweetness of the music may leave you wanting to abandon ship, but the idea of using dance as a way to unite the world’s cultures is one that should not be underestimated.

This weekend, the Third Annual Ethnic Dance Festival hits Santa Cruz by storm. A kind of live action version of “It’s a Small World,” dancers representing more than a dozen different cultures will assemble in Downtown Santa Cruz to offer classes and performances open to the public. This year, the festival has moved to Laurel Park behind Louden Nelson Center.

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Gate Openers

Up-and-coming artists like Ryan Bingham are a great reason to show up early to the Santa Cruz American Music Festival

 

Gemini Sun, Pentecost, Shavuot—Enlightenment and Gladness

As the sun enters Gemini on Sunday, sign of speaking, communication, thinking, inter-relations, writing and understanding languages, the feast days of Pentecost & Shavuot (Catholic and Jewish festivals) occur. During Pentecost’s 50 days after Easter, tongues of fire appear above the heads of the disciples, providing them with the ability to understand all languages and all feelings hidden in the minds and hearts of humanity. It’s recorded that Pentecost began with a loud noise, which happened in an upper room (signifying the mind). The Christ (World Teacher) told his disciples (after his ascension) when encountering a man at a well carrying a water pot (signs for Age of Aquarius) to follow him to an upper room. There, the Holy Spirit (Ray 3 of Divine Intelligence) would overshadow them, expand their minds, give them courage and enable them to teach throughout the world, speaking all languages and thus able to minister to the true needs of a “seeking” humanity. Pentecost (50 days, pentagram, Ray 5, Venus, concrete and scientific knowledge, the Ray of Aquarius) sounds dramatic, impressive and scary: The loud noise, a thunderous rush of wind and then “tongues of fire” above the heads of each disciple (men and women). Fire has purpose. It purifies, disintegrates, purges, transforms and liberates (frees) us from the past. This was the Holy Spirit (Ray 3, love and wisdom) being received by the disciples, so they would teach in the world and inform humanity of the Messiah (Christ), who initiated the new age (Pisces) and gave humanity the new law (adding to the 10 Commandments of the Aries Age) to Love (Ray 2) one another. Note: Gemini is also Ray 2. Shavuot is the Jewish Festival of Gladness, the First Fruits Festival celebrating the giving of the 10 Commandments to Moses as the Aries Age was initiated. Thus, we have two developmental stages here, Jewish festival of the Old Testament. Pentecost of the New Testament. We have gladness, integrating both.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Off Her Meds

Kristin Wiig runs wild—and transcends her sketch comedy roots—as a truly strange character ‘Welcome to Me’
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Flats Bistro

Pizza with an artisan twist comes to Aptos Beach

 

What’s your take on Santa Cruz locals?

Santa Cruz locals are really friendly once you know them. I think a lot of them have a hard time leaving, and I would too. Ryan Carle, Santa Cruz, Biologist

 

Soquel Vineyards

If Soquel Vineyards partners Peter and Paul Bargetto and Jon Morgan were walking down the street wearing their winning wine competition medals, you’d hear them coming from a mile away. This year was particularly rewarding for the Bargettos and Morgan—they won two Double Gold Medals and five Gold Medals at January’s San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

 

Enlightened Flavors

Squash & Blossom’s artisanal alternative-flour delights, beet kvass from Cafe Ivéta, and the Santa Cruz Baroque Festival