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.
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.’”
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.
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.”
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.”
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).
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."
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.
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.