A mother and three adult children prove that when it comes to art,
‘connection’ may be the best creative force of all
There are “artists,” and then there are Artists. The artists take themselves rather seriously and usually have fancy statements about their work (that sometimes are a little hard to decipher). The Artists are the ones who infuse some humor into the seriousness of being an artist.
On a fine day in September, I have the pleasure of meeting four of these Artists—a mother and her three adult children, all of whom are participating in this year’s Open Studios during the Oct. 10-11 weekend in South County. Meet the Heil family: There’s Betty, the 82-year-old mom, and Kris, her 50-something, son, then her two daughters, Judy Stabile and Wendy Aikin, also in their fifties. They’ve all shown up to their mother’s Spanish villa in the Pleasant Valley area, a stunning home, dotted with the work of many local artists. Spacious and airy, it provides great acoustics for the booming laughs of the Heil family. This is a crowd of jokesters, but underneath the comedy, they have a heart-warming story to tell about how they each became artists.
The Fourth Annual Freewheelin’ Farm Art Show invites you to feed your mind and body
Freewheelin’ Farm Art Show, Saturday, Oct. 24
In the early 2000s, when two locals named Amy Courtney and Cassandra Brown started a small farm five-and-a-half miles north of Santa Cruz on Highway 1, they were quick to embrace the CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) system, in which farmers regularly deliver produce to paying members. There was just one hitch: Courtney and Brown didn’t have any cars with which to make their deliveries. The solution to their dilemma came in the form of an old, trashed bicycle trailer, which they fixed up so as to begin biking their produce into town.
Today, that little patch of land on Highway 1 is known as Freewheelin’ Farm, and its overseers still make their deliveries by bike. “Something that isn’t talked about in agriculture that much is how our fruits and vegetables are moved around the country,” notes Kirstin Yogg, one of three co-owners of the farm. “Generally it’s in big trucks, and it’s using a lot of gas. So this is kind of our little stab at helping that problem in the world.”
New performance space opens up in town
When Joan Van Antwerp was thinking about creating the second half of her life, she decided to enroll in a theater class at Cabrillo College. As a first-time thespian, she had no idea that her experience in this class would alter the direction of her life. And eventually, she would partner with local entrepreneur and theater aficionado Debbie Quigg to launch a theater arts space that has just opened, called The Mill Works Theatre.
This new space holds court at The Mill Gallery in downtown Santa Cruz, and is open every other Monday night as a works-in-progress venue where theatrical types can gather to put a short piece up on stage, try out a monologue, do a staged reading, and so on. The venue offers what can be hard to find around town—inexpensive performance space.
Lori Rivera wears Multiple Personality Disorder well in sizzling “Smoke”
Humans are multi-faceted creatures, ruled by diverse and often contradictory impulses. Each of us has a sweet side and a cruel side, a brave face and a cowardly face, a capacity for smoothness and sophistication as well as for clumsiness and gullibility.
As the star of the one-woman cabaret “Smoke,” local vocalist Lori Rivera is a living portrait of humanity’s composite nature. Throughout the show, she rapidly switches back and forth between two different characters: a passionate but somewhat guileless woman named Celeste, and a sensual older woman named Francesca, who mentors Celeste in the ways of love.
That’s the motto for a hip new cosmetology school in town
This is the first time I’ve ever owned a blow-dryer,” says Dafni Moon matter-of-factly. “I’m still learning how to use mascara.” In some ways, her lack of experience with primping, teasing, and spackling isn’t surprising; the 24-year-old Moon grew up here in Santa Cruz, a self-described “hippie girl” who didn’t have much interest in makeup. But what is a little surprising is Moon’s career choice: she’s just months away from testing for her cosmetology license, studying at the city’s newest and hippest beauty school, The Cosmo Factory. An afternoon talking with some of the Cosmo crew went a long way toward explaining the school’s motto: “This Ain’t Yer Mama’s Beauty School.”
The FashionART Runway Show returns for its fourth and boldest year
As the quintessential hippie town, Santa Cruz seems like the last place on earth where a fashion show would be a hands-down hit. Granted, with its cutting edge, jaw-droppingly artistic style, the annual FashionART Runway Show has a slightly more psychedelic feel than most productions of its kind, but you still have to marvel at the near-fanatical zeal with which it’s been embraced by a community known for its love of all things earthy and organic. Spawned by River Street’s MichaelAngelo Gallery and sponsored by local banks, businesses and individuals, the event draws a crowd of nearly 1,000 each year. Just what is it about this show that inspires such fervor among its patrons?
Artist Marvin Plummer captures iconic wave on Swift Street mural project
year ago, Marvin Plummer was gliding along the Pacific Ocean in a diving boat, snapping pictures of the waves, and one in particular caught his attention. It was what’s called the “middle peak” at Steamer’s Lane—a gargantuan wave known to the locals who surf there. Little did Plummer know that the famous wave would live on through his work as an artist and become a permanent fixture in our community
This week’s Poetry Corner features the work of Brendan Constantine, a poet based in Los Angeles. His work has appeared in Ploughshares, Ninth Letter, The Cortland Review, and other journals. His collection, “Letters To Guns,” was released in February from Red Hen Press.