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Dec 22nd
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Arts, Entertainment, Dining, Calendar

Theater

Tropical Punch

Tropical Punch

Lively cast makes the most of Cuba-set comedy 'Clouds'
Four men, one woman, a vintage Cadillac, and miles and miles of hot, dusty roads on the island of Cuba, 10 years after the Revolution. Are they in Paradise or Hell, on the road to destiny or disaster? The answer is all of the above as the opinions of these characters—and the audience—shift like errant trade winds from moment to moment, in Michael Frayn's comedy, “Clouds,” the lively inaugural production of the sixth season of Santa Cruz's own Jewel Theatre Company.

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Theater

Comedic ‘Clouds’

Comedic ‘Clouds’

Director Susan Myer Silton returns with a new—and funny—endeavor
She’s back. After a year-long sabbatical, revered local theater director Susan Myer Silton is back in the director’s chair, and this time around, she’s ratcheting everything up several notches. And that’s a hard feat, considering that Myer Silton is the co-founder and artistic director of the popular and edgy Pisces Moon theater company that for years has been turning out stellar dramatic work. But with her new play, “Clouds,” produced by Jewel Theatre of San Jose, Myer Silton is indeed upping the ante. This time around, she’s working with an equity company, and staging a play that’s using some equity actors, and in addition, she’ll play only the role of director this time. No longer does she have to write the grants, hire the lighting guy and so on. Her skills are purely focused on one thing—directing “Clouds,” which opens on Sept. 16 at the Broadway Playhouse in Santa Cruz.

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Theater

Busy Signals

Busy Signals

Our obsessions with cell phones becomes evident in new play
Gerry Gerringer, artistic director of Actors’ Theatre, is kicking off the company’s 26th season with a play you’ve probably never heard of. “Dead Man’s Cell Phone” may not have the theatrical history of a Shakespeare comedy, but it’s the perfect example of what’s hot right now in contemporary playwriting.

Sarah Ruhl, who was nominated for a 2010 Tony award for her play “In the Next Room,” wrote this new dark comedy, which revolves around Jean (Julia Cunningham), a woman who answers a stranger’s phone when it won’t stop ringing, only to find out that the man is dead. Rather than seek medical assistance for him, Jean gets herself entangled in his dysfunctional relationships with his alienated widow, his commanding mother and his mysterious mistress, and even falls in love with his lonely brother.

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Theater

Here and Now and There

Here and Now and ThereTandy Beal’s representation of the afterlife looks downright inviting
“HereAfterHere: A Self-guided Tour of Eternity” is a new musical produced by Tandy Beal that deals with a topic intimately connected to each and every one of us—death and the afterlife. Logically, we know this point in our lives is inevitable, yet no one seems to want to face the macabre topic head on. “HereAfterHere” will force you to confront your destiny in an honest and at-times humorous way and will leave you pondering the possibility of the afterlife like you never have before. 
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Literature

The Science of Space

The Science of SpaceMary Roach’s latest book illuminates the strange yet true facts of space travel
If you thought her first three books (“Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers,” “Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife,” and “Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex”) were disgusting, yet you were struck by the strange affliction of being unable to put them down, just wait until you read “Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void,” Mary Roach’s fourth scientifically based book that explores the oddities of human beings in unusual situations—this time focuses on space travel.
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A&E

Arts and Crafts

Arts and CraftsThe Crafter’s Studio opens for its second time
It’s a blistering hot day in late August, and a woman ducks out of the heat and sweeps through the front door of The Crafter’s Studio, rushes straight to Rebecca Clinger, and says something along the lines of, “I heard there’s a class where I can make pajama pants. Sign me up.”
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Literature

Real Meal

Real Meal‘Women Food and God’ is a delicious literary meal
“One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.”    —Carl Jung

Geneen Roth’s incisive and well-written book “Women Food and God” is a timely book. I don’t know if eating problems have proliferated but women today certainly discuss them more openly than in previous generations.
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A&E

The Little Store That Could

The Little Store That Could

First-time business owner opens hippie chic boutique
It was March, Terra Lynn’s birthday, and she and a friend were perusing their Chinese astrological signs on an iPhone app. Lynn discovered she was a “water dog,” and one of her descriptive features was that she was also a “wallflower.”“I’m a one-on-one kind of person … I don’t like being the center of attention,” she says.

So when she opened up her own hippie chic boutique at the south end of Pacific Avenue this summer, and decided to name it Wallflower, she was choosing a very non-wallflower sort of lifestyle. As a person who doesn’t like to be the center of attention, she just thrust herself into it.

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Literature

Let Freedom Ring

Let Freedom Ring

Plus Good Times Book Picks
Jonathan Franzen’s latest release lends impellent view to modern America

For anyone who has not yet had the pleasure of reading part time local author Jonathan Franzen’s works, his stellar new book “Freedom” is just the place to begin. Epic in theme, yet with a microscopic clarity of character, “Freedom” delves deep into the American psyche posing handfuls of those pesky ‘what if’ questions that human beings plague themselves with on a daily basis. What if I didn’t get married? What if I didn’t have children? What if I chose a different career? Will asking these unanswerable questions really help us move forward with our lives?

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A&E

The City

The CityImpact Media Group takes business to the city but stays grounded in Santa Cruz
It’s hard to make a name for your business on a global scale when you’re based in a small town like Santa Cruz. It’s even harder if you’re a production company.
Impact Media Group on Soquel Avenue may be 340 miles from Hollywood, but the company has a history of accolades including a 1984 Academy Award nomination for founder Eric Thiermann’s film In the Nuclear Shadow: What Can the Children Tell Us? and an Oscar for his 1986 documentary short Women for America.

Thiermann, who was in the first graduating class at UC Santa Cruz, founded the company in 1976. Impact started out producing a documentary about artists in maximum security prisons, then moved on to filming music videos starring artists like James Brown, then on to high profile weddings. Today, Impact creates everything from documentaries, to technical product videos for Silicon Valley companies, to TV commercials for brands, to educational videos and everything in between.
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Is This a Dream?

A beginner’s guide to understanding and exploring the uncanny world of lucid dreams

 

Giving and Giving, Then Giving Some More

2014 is almost over. Wednesday, Dec. 17, the Jewish Festival of Light, Hanukkah, begins. We are in our last week of Sag and last two weeks of December. Sunday, Dec. 21 is winter Solstice, as the sun enters Capricorn (3:30 p.m. for the west coast). Soon after, the Capricorn new moon occurs (5:36 p.m. for the west coast)—the last new moon of 2014. Sunday morning Uranus in Aries (revolution, revelation) is stationary direct (retro since July 22). Uranus/Aries create things new and needed to anchor the new culture and civilization (Aquarius). We will see revolutionary change in 2015. Capricorn new moon, building-the-personality seed thought, is, “Let ambition rule and let the door to initiation and freedom stand wide (open).” Capricorn is a gate—where matter returns to spirit. But the gate is unseen until the Ajna Center (third eye), Diamond Light of Direction, opens. Winter solstice is the longest day of darkness of the year. The sun’s rays resting at the Tropic of Capricorn (southern hemisphere) symbolize the Christ (soul’s) light piercing the heart of the Earth, remaining there for three days, till Holy Night (midnight Thursday morning). Then the sun’s light begins to rise. It is the birth of the new light (holy child) for the world. A deep calm and stillness pervades the world.The entire planet is revivified, re-spiritualized. All hearts beating reflect this Light. And so throughout the Earth there’s a radiant “impress” (impressions, pictures) given to humanity of the World Mother and her Child. The star Sirius (love/direction) and the constellation Virgo the mother shines above. For gift giving, give to those in need. Give and give and then give some more. This creates the new template of giving and sharing for the new world.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Stocking Stuffers

The men behind the women of the Kinsey Sicks Dragapella Beautyshop Quartet explain their own special brand of ‘dragtivism,’ and their holiday show at the Rio
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Tramonti Pizza

Why there’s no such thing as too much Italian food in Seabright

 

Guitar or surfboard?

Guitar. The closest thing I ever came to surfing was sliding down a rock hill. Charlie Tweddle, Santa Cruz, Hats and Music

 

Fortino Winery’s Intriguing Charbono

At the opening celebration of the new Santa Clara Wine Trail in August, one of the wineries we visited was Fortino. This is where I first tasted their intriguing estate-grown Charbono—a varietal that is one of the rarest in California, with only 80 acres grown statewide.

 

Beyond the Jar

How Tabitha Stroup has built her rapidly expanding jam empire