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Aug 31st
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Arts, Entertainment, Dining, Calendar

A&E

The Naked Pilgrim

The Naked Pilgrim

Robynn Smith at MichaelAngelo’s
On wood and on paper, the recent works of Robynn Smith at MichaelAngelo Gallery express with eloquence and passion the sturm und drang shared this moment throughout the world. While the earth cracks and waters heave and the oppressed rise up and monsters aim guns at children and freaks clamber over each other for an antidote to radioactive clouds an ocean away, Smith finds eddies in the grain of wood and draws a tree root pushing into the air, stretching out as if to find a clean spot for life.  This body of work is neither sudden nor impulsive, but, just like the inequities and abominations it alludes to, it has been years in development, and getting darker.

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A&E

Eco Design

Eco Design

Local fashion designer Angelina Rennell on design and her online eco-boutique
Fashionistas: listen up. We’ve got some crucial career advice for all of you seamstresses-in-the-making. You’ve always wondered: how do they do it? How does a fashion designer get off the ground and get a line started, and then sell it, and so on? Such questions about how a designer creates this reality burn in the fashion-consciousness of designers-in-the-making. We stumbled upon some answers when we met the creative, inspiring, local fashion darling Angelina Rennell, a Santa Cruz designer who has carved out her own niche in the world of fashion, both locally and beyond.

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Theater

Xanadu: Roll With It, Baby, And You’ll Have a Ball

Xanadu: Roll With It, Baby, And You’ll Have a Ball

Dreams do come true—“Xanadu,” that curious movie musical/box office blunder of the 1980s, is still worthy of our attention. After morphing into a stage musical several years ago, it surprised everyone by becoming one of Broadway’s rockin’ hits. It broke box office records for the stage at the time and somehow managed to warm hearts in the process.

Why?

The original film, which starred Olivia Newton-John as a beautiful mythical Greek muse trying to help an L.A. artist’s dreams come, took itself way too seriously. True, there were hit songs like “Magic,” “Suddenly,” “All Over The World” and, of course, “Xanadu,” but on stage, thanks to crafty creative shenanigans of the show’s creators—Douglas Carter Beans (book) and Jeff Lynne and John Farrar (music and lyrics)—camp is taken to a new level. And on roller skates to boot! Fun.

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A&E

Finding Futzie Nutzle

Finding Futzie Nutzle

Bruce Kleinsmith’s creativity shine at Cabrillo Gallery
The name was too long. Kleinsmith. It took up too much space at the bottom of a drawing. He wanted something phonetic instead, something that “jumped right off the page.” A cartoon figure he liked was called Futzie Nutzle—his own cartoon. He’d done the lettering with his left hand: “an avenue into another brain hemisphere.” The Z’s jumped right off the page.

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A&E

Space Invaders

Space Invaders

Musicians find prime practice space at Santa Cruz Rehearsal Studios

Practice makes perfect. But what about when you don’t have a place to hone your instrumental and vocal jiu-jitsu—then what? With the sound ordinance and party-crashing police pretty ubiquitous in town (just ask your local bemoaning band about it), Santa Cruz Rehearsal Studios (SCRS) is serving up soundproofed rooms for players to get loud in, one hour at a time. After all, if lovers can get it on at an hourly rate, so should musicians.

When SCRS owner Paul Gallacher moved to Santa Cruz in 2003 he, like most musicians, just wanted to jam. For the seasoned bassist who’d previously lived and gigged in the big cities (New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco), finding people to play with wasn’t the problem. It was finding where to play.

“There was a place in town that had a monthly lockout rental,” Gallacher recalls his arduous search for an affordable spot to rock. “But the concept of having a monthly lease didn’t work with my budget, and I didn’t want a lease to just jam with people or get a band going.”

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A&E

The Exhibitionist

The Exhibitionist

Rich Harvest at Pajaro Valley Gallery

Landscapes lushly compose themselves of fog and sedge and water while an ocean hides beyond the trees. Irrigated fields march in all directions in bold grids while bees make their way through dramatic clouds. A perky crop of houses erupts on a hillside; birds stalk and stare and rise in flight everywhere and a pantheon of noble vegetables pose for their close-ups. “A Harvest of Images: Pajaro Valley Impressions by the MPC Printmakers” at Pajaro Valley Arts Council Gallery serves up that promised harvest in 100 fine art prints by 48 artists in an exhibition curated by painter Howard Ikemoto.

The humble appearance of the PVAC gallery is all part of the act of the quietly essential powerhouse hidden within a converted bungalow on a residential street in Watsonville. PVAC uses the homey feeling to relax viewers into a receptive relationship with the art, then in room after tiny room builds a story around powerful social or educational themes.

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Literature

The Poems of Brad Crenshaw

The Poems  of Brad Crenshaw

Editor’s notes: Brad Crenshaw received both his MFA and PhD in English from the University of California, Irvine. He later obtained a second PhD in clinical psychology and neuroscience from the University of Massachusetts, where he teaches neuropsychology in the graduate psychology program. For many years he worked as a neuropsychologist in a New England medical center. His poems and critical articles have appeared in various magazines, including Chicago Review, Parnassus, Massachusetts Review, Shenandoah, The Formalist, The Sandhills Review, Illinois Quarterly, Faultline and others. Greenhouse Review Press has published his chapbook, Limits of Resurrection. He lives in Amherst, Massachusetts, and part of the year in Fallbrook, California.

 

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Literature

Eco-venturous

Eco-venturous

Ecology mixes with art in T.C. Boyle’s fascinating new environmental novel, ‘When the Killing’s Done’
Everything is set in motion by the quote from Genesis in the beginning,” says author T.C. Boyle, speaking about his newly released novel, “When the Killing’s Done.” By citing the heavenly dictate for people to multiply, subdue the land and have dominion over “every living thing that moveth upon the earth,” Boyle raises a string of questions in the mind of the reader:

What gives us the right to raise animals in feedlots, slaughter them and eat them? To set pigs free on islands, destroy natural ecosystems, then exterminate the animals we translocated there in the first place? Is the life of one animal worth more—or less—than that of an entire species? Is it okay to kill one species to save another?

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A&E

The Art of Nature

The Art of Nature

Two diverse artists get close to nature with grants from the Creative Work Fund
Claudia Stevens is the surgeon of artists—exact and patient. She examines the intricate parts of a monkey flower under her microscope, then renders the seed pods, leaves and root structures perfectly in gouache, silver point and dry brush water color.

A photograph might depict these details well enough, but Stevens’ art translates the ethereal quality of live plants through translucent layering techniques.

Stevens studied printmaking and scientific illustration at UC Santa Cruz, and continued her art education at San Jose State University where she earned a master’s degree. That was 20 years ago. Since then, her illustrations have been commissioned by Sunset magazine, Rodale Press, Bantam Books and University Press. By necessity, teaching has dominated her art career.

Creating an art series requires a significant time commitment, which is hard to meet without the promise of compensation.

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A&E

Herbal Outfitters

Herbal Outfitters

Quirky new downtown shop dispenses natural highs
Only a longtime resident of this town can fully grasp the meaning of the slogan “Keep Santa Cruz Weird.” There was a time when the Pacific Garden Mall teemed with eccentric characters, bohemian shops and offbeat events. For every Average Joe, there was an unusual street performer, a hippie harlequin wielding devil sticks or a flamboyant hipster in A Clockwork Orange-like apparel.

Santa Cruz’s quirk factor has taken a significant plunge in the past decade or so, but lately there have been some encouraging signs that our town is getting its weird back. One example is the pair of gentlemen whom your narrator recently saw reclining on the lawn of the Capitola New Leaf in sleeping bags. Another is an unambiguously psychedelic shop on Pacific Avenue called Truthlab, which proclaims itself an “antidote to the ordinary.”

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Mercury Enters Libra

It’s the week of Burning Man, the temporary, intentional, alternative, art-filled community on the playas of Nevada. Mercury, messenger of the Sun, enters Libra this week. Libra is the equalizer, a sign of balance and right human relations. Sometimes with Libra, we can be indecisive and confused while learning how to make balanced and right choices. Sometimes to keep the peace we communicate only what others want to hear. Eventually, we learn how to speak from the heart.

 

Final Cut

Cedar Street Video to close after 10 years at downtown location

 

Banter and Spark

Engaging actors, wry script distinguish lightweight rom-com ‘What If’

 

Back to Silicon Beach

With a new wave of startups, the future of Santa Cruz tech looks more promising than ever
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Himalayan Kitchen

Chef Purna Regmi on the secrets of Nepalese cooking

 

What’s the nicest thing you’ve done for someone this week?

Germany  |  Beekeeper

 

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

 

A Cab To Be Coveted

I first tasted Villa del Monte’s 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon at a Fourth of July party, where the hosts had bought a case of it because they love it and didn’t want to run out. It’s one of those wines that will grab you—in the best way—with its full body and rich fruit characteristics.