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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.
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.
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.
Inner High Foods brings whole-food edibles and teas to the medicinal marijuana market
Two years ago, Jacqui Pearson* noticed that her father was wheezing and coughing—and he began to complain of shortness of breath. After a few medical tests, his doctor diagnosed him with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The third leading cause of death in the United States this progressive lung disease manifests itself as emphysema, chronic bronchitis or, most often, both. As the integrity of lung tissue is destroyed, it gets harder and harder for the patient to breathe. Usually, COPD is caused by smoking tobacco. But Pearson, now in his late fifties, has smoked less than one pack of cigarettes throughout his entire lifetime. The culprit for Pearson’s lung disease is a decades-long habit of smoking marijuana.
Outstanding performance highlights Jewel Theatre's 'House of Blue Leaves'
There's a lot going on in the new Jewel Theatre production of John Guare's "The House of Blue Leaves." A visiting Pope, surprise appearances by a Hollywood filmmaker and a famous movie star, a gaggle of comic nuns, spontaneous piano duets, and a bomb-wielding malcontent all figure into the plot that director Susan Myer Silton has tumbling in and out of the play's single set with farcical speed. Not to mention the thematic cacophony of mid-life disappointment and shattering dreams.
Art duJour re-tools the art of learning—and paints it yellow
How may times have you said to yourself, “Santa Cruz would be great if only there was a place to learn about beekeeping, watch movies in the backyard, decorate my bicycle helmet and take in some splendid local artworks—all under one roof. And it should be yellow.”
Well, you’ve said that for the last time, bub, because now there is such a place, and they are calling it Art duJour.
“They” are Heather Young and Christine Currie, two moms (a teacher and a marketing consultant) who have managed to coax a common dream out of the ether and will it to materialize in our midst. That dream was to create a space and fuel the momentum for a nonprofit arts-education program for adults and children. And it was to be inspiring, community-oriented, and inviting.
Russell, Holmes, sail high seas in Laurie King’s entertaining new mystery novel 'Pirate King'
cclaimed Corralitos mystery writer Laurie R. King has shepherded her husband-and-wife detective team through some dark, sobering themes in her last couple of books—religious fanaticism, moral corruption, even human sacrifice. Her latest novel, “Pirate King,” takes another tack entirely. For this 11th outing in her popular mystery series, King places her intrepid heroine, Mary Russell, and her equally redoubtable husband, Sherlock Holmes, smack in the middle of a witty, lighthearted romp of an adventure involving the early days of the silent film industry, Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, and, of course, pirates.
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.