At the end of Pacific Avenue sits a DIY fashionista’s gathering place
Surrounded by used sewing machines, heaps of scrap fabric, spools of thread and buttons, Elaina Ramer instructs a visitor on how to mend the hem of her shirt in the middle of The Fabrica: a hole-in-the-wall sewing and textile arts workshop that opened in March of last year. Ramer, Ann Altstatt and Stefanie Wolf are the founders of The Fabrica, where locals can take sewing classes for free (though donations are welcome), and bring in sewing projects to work on, like a visitor in the early days—a man who wanted to sew a yurt, a portable, canvas-covered, wood lattice-framed dwelling structure traditionally used by Mongolian nomads.
Jewel Theatre debuts “The House of Blue Leaves”
The Pope is coming to town. OK, not the real Pope, and not this town, but that’s the premise of a play debuting at Center Stage and produced by Jewel Theatre. “The House of Blue Leaves,” written by John Guare and directed by Susan Myer Silton, tells a compelling story about celebrity worship, not listening to other people, family and even humiliation.
The story unfolds in Queens, New York, on Oct. 4, 1965, when the Pope is coming to America. Our cast is a wild bunch of characters: There’s Artie, a zookeeper, who hopes to strike it rich as a songwriter. He’s married to a woman named Bananas. And yes, she really is fruity. She’s a homemaker whose son, Ronnie, just joined the Army. Meanwhile, Artie is having an affair with his neighbor, Bunny, who’s trying to push Artie to make contact with an old Hollywood friend. And on top of all that, Ronnie is planning to blow up the Pope.
Tandy Beal & Company invites you on a journey to the other side of death
Let’s say you’re walking along the path near Seacliff Beach. You look fantastic. It’s a brilliantly sunny day, and you happily observe that the bounce in your step is in perfect synch with that song in your heart.
No. Scratch that. You’re walking down Pacific Avenue, and you’ve just stepped in gum. You’re being panhandled, and a creditor is ringing your cell phone.
In any event, that’s when it happens. A runaway bus. That heart attack you’ve been dreading. A wad of genetically modified yam gets lodged in your throat.
However it transpires, you’ve just managed to achieve the inevitable—you’re dead.
Author Jay Feldman sheds light on the darker side of American history
He compares it to the urban legend of frogs in boiling water. The story goes that if you put a frog into a pot of boiling water, it will immediately jump out. But if you introduce the frog into a pot of cold water and then heat the water by degrees, the frog won’t perceive the incremental increase in temperature. It will stay in there and boil to death.
True or not, the parallel between this analogy and Jay Feldman’s newly released book, “Manufacturing Hysteria,” is clear. Feldman’s comprehensive history of America’s political climate of scapegoating and surveillance starting with World War I and leading up through the 20th century gives a compelling account of how incremental encroachment of civil liberties has led us up to where we are today in post-9/11 America.
The tears in this piece are rough, fast, vertical, stacked close together; surfaces are shiny skins on flat fields of naked paper. The blue comes in from the top left, seeming to drip down in sinewy strands of indigo, cerulean and ultramarine—different blue colors: the tears sometimes bulge into tear-shaped strips, a little fuzzy in the edges as if abraded by a too-wide passing frenzy. There are radical divergences, but for the most part the direction is all down, down until stopped by that whisper of scarlet.
Trying to let the body tell that story of movement—those tears, and the strips, and the edges and the dripping down and the act of tearing and the act of holding onto the paper … that what I was invited to do as I joined artist Andrew Purchin in preparation for his upcoming residency in one of the Museum of Art & History’s new programs, “Makers at the MAH.” Purchin is a painter of movement and an avid dancer. When MAH Executive Director Nina Simon invited him to spend a day painting in the lobby as a way to connect art making with art viewing, Purchin devised a way to make it all flow.
Hart’s Fabric hosts a craft fair
They’re crafty, smart, savvy seamstresses. Meet the youthful trio that’s behind what will surely be a magnetic and rather spectacular upcoming event hosted by Hart’s Fabric—Craftacular Wonder Fair. They are: Megan Werdmuller von Elgg, Chelsea Gurnoe and Dana Harris, all Hart’s employees and part-time crafters. Decked out in handmade clothing, they meet up with me for a serious conversation about handmade goods and the upcoming Craftacular Wonder Fair that they are curating. The event will be held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 28 in the back parking lot of Hart’s. There, 17 local vendors will sell their wares—clothing, jewelry, knit projects, sewn goods, print pieces and paintings. For crafty types, it’s definitely going to be craftactular.
Do fashion-savvy moms dopplegang their daughters?
Mimicry is powerful—it activates neurons involved in perception and behavior. It strengthens bonds when babies light up to a parent’s smile. And according to consumer behavior research, it drives women to buy those too-tight jeans and ankle-breaking stilettos worn by fashion icons.
Yet unlike family and friends—who compliment, borrow and sometimes steal our favorite clothes—celebrity role models don’t mimic in return. In fact, the actors who grace best dressed lists probably wouldn’t say “hi” if they passed you on the street, much less “nice jeans, where did you get them?”
Diversity, expert touch is the key to its success
I can mend anything,” says Patricia Moore. She holds a small weaving into the light streaming through a door behind her. The weaving is old, from Thailand. Moore is the proprietress of Rivendell, a store and gallery that spills onto an artful patio in front of the Santa Cruz Art Center at 1001 Center St. Her back door opens onto Squid Row, the colorful alley in Downtown Santa Cruz where, in the 164-year old Enterprise Iron Works building, Moore and her business partner, Wayne Brennan, established Rivendell more than 18 years ago.