Artist Brian Barneclo’s mid-century modern design brightens up downtown
Flip Cameras are all the rage right now. Celebrities and common folk are toting them around, capturing day-to-day video, without having to be technological geniuses. A select group of artists has been chosen to put their designs on said Flip Cameras, and at the forefront of the mix is local Brian Barneclo who also just installed a stunning mural in downtown Santa Cruz. The 37-year-old muralist/Flip Camera designer/artist has painted an enormous, Santa Cruz-inspired, urban stylized piece on the adjacent wall to the ever-popular Old School Shoes in downtown Santa Cruz.
Newbie theater director discovers a new spark
It’s Dec. 1, the beginning of a new season. Twinkle lights abound, Christmas carols are humming overhead in grocery stores, and Alan Fox is sitting in a downtown Santa Cruz coffee shop, remembering his partner who died three years ago today. For him, it’s not necessarily a “holly jolly Christmas,” but for the first time it’s not a humbug holiday either. In the last year, Fox’s creative life has taken off, and he’s experiencing the peace and excitement that comes with that.
After enduring quite a bit of grief over the last few years, Fox, an executive recruiter for nonprofits, decided to get back in touch with his creative self by taking a documentary film class in San Francisco. He read a ton of books, was mulling over an idea for a film, when wham, the stock market took a dive and he realized that it might be a bit indulgent to spend a bunch of money on a first-time documentary. So, instead of pursuing that route, he took a few classes at Cabrillo College, including a scriptwriting course and a directing class. The directing end of things really resonated with him. The teacher of the class encouraged Fox to direct a 10-minute play—the experience was challenging, enlightening and inspiring. “I saw that there was something that I could do to get that spark back,” Fox says. “There is a future.”
Editor’s note: In this week’s Poetry Corner, we feature the work of Robin Ekiss, a former Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, a recipient of a Rona Jaffe Foundation Award for emerging women writers, and author of the book, “The Mansion of Happiness” (University of Georgia Press, VQR Poetry Series, November 2009). She lives in San Francisco.
The Opposite of the Body
Of the face in general, let me say it’s a house
built by men and lived in by their dreams.
Carolina De Robertis’ debut novel explores the bonds of motherly love through generations
Spanning centuries, continents and the deep and hidden layers of the heart, “The Invisible Mountain” captured my attention from the very first page. And being the type of person who forgets to eat when a superbly written and fascinating tome captures my imagination, during the course of devouring this book I inadvertently lost three pounds.
“The Invisible Mountain” is set in the enchanting world of 20th century Uruguay—a country continuously overshadowed by its larger South American siblings, Argentina and Brazil. A paradox of a nation, Uruguay struggles to grow up and stand on its own two feet amidst world wars, civil unrest and military juntas. But this novel is not about a nation. The unforgettable story is that of women. Mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts—interwoven by and through their womanhood and connected by an inexorable string unraveling through generations. The first novel written by Carolina De Robertis, “The Invisible Mountain” has a voice that is both eerie and mystifying in the best way possible, and filled with relatable characters that are guaranteed to strike an intimate chord within.
Kay Redfield Jamison’s latest read offers a haunting yet transformative look at the depths of ‘madness’
Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison’s new memoir “Nothing Was the Same” is a love story like no other: Two exceptional people, each doctors, each contending with a life-threatening illness.
Jamison is a professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, a researcher, a writer of books, a well-known authority in her field of psychology. At 17, Jamison was diagnosed with manic-depressive illness. She lived through mania, paralyzing depressions, and a mercifully failed suicide attempt; she wrote about this illness and its impact on her life in her moving memoir “An Unquiet Mind.” In her prologue to her new memoir “Nothing Was the Same” she tells us that manic depression is a kind of madness, that she was determined to “avoid perturbance” (such as falling in love). She believed she needed to “coddle” her brain and modify her life and thus her dreams. The renowned and charming scientist, Dr. Richard Wyatt fell in love with her and she with him; thus, a modified life and abandoned dreams were not in the cards for her. He became her husband and she enjoyed nearly 20 years with him until his sorrowful, inevitable death of Hodgkin’s disease.
Marini’s scores a spot in the new Ripley’s Believe It Or Not book with its strangest offering: chocolate-covered bacon
You just never know which combinations of flavors are going to work. The first guy to extol the virtues of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches was probably met with ridicule, and we all know the story of Chubby Hubby, an unlikely mix of pretzels, peanut butter, fudge and vanilla malt ice cream that began as a prank by a couple of mischievous coworkers, yet remains a highly successful Ben and Jerry’s flavor to this day.
I cling to these thoughts for dear life as I prepare to sample the most unique item that the local candy store Marini’s has to offer: a stick of bacon smothered in milk chocolate. It’s a combination that would make Homer Simpson drool, but between the obvious strangeness of the snack and the fact that I generally don’t eat factory-farmed meat, the prospect of biting into this thing is putting my journalistic intrepidness to the test.
A local artist’s work fits right in at Camouflage
Some art is made for gallery walls. It hangs unabashedly on vast expanses of white, unaffected by the emptiness of the space, as if it were designed to sit quietly in a row of other paintings. This is not the case with the erotic artwork of Abbie Rabinowitz.
Rabinowitz’s erotica belongs in the cozy comforts of someone’s home, hung over a couple’s bed, or, as she has recently discovered, on the walls of a sex shop: A selection of her erotic paintings, woodcarvings and thangkas recently found new life through exhibition at Camouflage, an adult sex store in Downtown Santa Cruz.
Erotica is one of Rabinowitz’s oldest and most developed styles. Inspired by Picasso’s erotic series, she began painting sexually charged pieces in her early twenties as a way to express her own experiences. Today, she still finds herself returning to eroticism to process her personal life, but also uses it to capture larger, universal realties of sexuality. “It’s a theme I go back to because it’s such a part of all of our lives,” she says. “It’s a basic, primal, emotional experience.”
Local legend Sista Monica proves that you can’t keep a good woman down
Blues Lioness” Sista Monica Parker is about as successful as a Santa Cruz musician can get: She’s performed at major music festivals all over the world, accepted an invitation to play for President Clinton and Vice President Al Gore at the 2000 Democratic National Convention, and won a profusion of awards—including Artist of the Year for Santa Cruz County, a Bammie for Best Blues Artist in California, the 2000 Gail Rich Award and the San Jose Mercury News’ award for Silicon Valley’s 12 Most Creative & Powerful Women. So it will surprise some people that in the almost two decades that Parker has been singing blues, soul and gospel music for a living, she’s kept a day job as a recruiting consultant for various high-tech companies in the Silicon Valley area. “That has been what has been able to catapult me into existence as an artist. By having my own record label and taking my band to the studio and saying, ‘We’re gonna do this, and I’ll pay for it,’” she explains.