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Jul 24th
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Literature

Writing With Courage

Writing With Courage

Laura Davis uncovers the magic of the memoir

Writing can be a powerful, healing tool. Laura Davis knows that to be true. She’s written a handful of popular non-fiction books on just that—finding the ‘courage to heal.’ And for Davis, a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, the writing process itself was her own healing tool.

Her past, and her future, came into focus around the same time—as a child, and then again as an adult. “I’ve been writing since I was a little girl as a means for self-expression, what I thought, felt, and believed, as a way to educate and inform, and provoke,” says Davis, a longtime Santa Cruz author, who teaches writing classes in town. “Writing has been a critical way I’ve processed with my life and coped with my life.” This has included blogging when she was ill with cancer recently, to writing seven books with topics ranging from sexual abuse to parenting to reconciling relationships.

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A&E

Notes from the Past

Notes from the Past

A new book reveals the history and beauty behind the humble postcard

One of my most vivid childhood memories is that of my mother writing postcards. Whether we were simply on a weekend getaway a few towns over or we had traversed across one or more oceans, my mom’s idea of a vacation was to commemorate it by sending a postcard to everyone she knew. The following ritual is ingrained in my psyche—stop at every souvenir stand, drug store etc. that may sell the small works of art and purchase as many as possible. Then, return to the hotel and stay up late into the night writing rough drafts (my mom is an incurable perfectionist known to take hours selecting a suitable birthday card for a friend). Finally, and with much deliberation, she would select the postcards best suited for each person and commence to write lovely little messages that illuminated the highlights of our trip thus far. Sometimes it would take us entire days to find a post office, where my sister and I would risk our lives licking the backs of third-world stamps to allow my mom’s scrawled messages to reach friends and family back home.

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Theater

Doctor’s Orders

Doctor’s Orders

Christopher Durang’s witty work hits the Actors’ Theatre

Theater director Gerry Gerringer sits in a tiny office, and we talk, like therapist to patient, which is ironic, since he’s directing a play about such things, with Christopher Durang’s “Beyond Therapy,” opening up at the Actors’ Theatre on Feb. 25 and running through March 19.

“It's really a clever, funny script,” Gerringer says. “It was kind of a play for its time, and now as time has elapsed since the ’80s when it was written, it becomes kind of a satire that’s relevant today. Though all of the characters in some ways have their strangeness, the two therapists who are in this play are so out there and eccentric that it's almost going beyond therapy to think that they can help these people. Comedy is very therapeutic. I think humor connects people and provides access to dialogue about different political issues. Laughter is one of the best things you can do on a regular basis.”

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A&E

The Third Eye

The Third Eye

Carl Weiseth finds a surprise ‘jewel’

About a year-and-a-half ago, Carl Weiseth was hiking Central California’s coastline. It was a gorgeous day—perfect sunset, flowers everywhere, hummingbirds buzzing around, and the clouds were rolling in. As he descended to head back to his campsite, Weiseth happened upon something that would change the entire course of his life: a pinecone. “It was big, perfectly symmetrical, and spiky,” Weiseth says. “I could barely hold it in my hand.”

It was as if it were sitting there waiting for him right in the middle of his path. He carried it back home with him to Santa Cruz, after his camping trip, and set it on a windowsill. Months passed, and over time, the sunlight hitting it “cured it.”

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Literature

Literary Landslide

Literary Landslide

Two writers launch The Monterey Bay Writers Studio
Rumor has it that long ago, Santa Cruz had a raging literary ‘scene,’ where local writers gathered at pubs, exchanged ideas, and developed their own sub-culture. It seems that that electricity has dimmed somewhat over the years, with writers falling back into their solitary ways. Granted, there are plenty of writing groups in town, including famous poets, acclaimed novelists, steadfast journalists, and the like, but when was the last time they all got together and rebuilt that ‘scene?’

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Literature

Poetry Corner

Poetry Corner

Editor’s note: In this week’s Poetry Corner, we feature the work of Catie Rosemurgy, the author of two poetry collections, “The Stranger Manual” (Graywolf 2010) and “My Favorite Apocalypse” (Graywolf 2001). She teaches at The College of New Jersey and lives in Philadelphia.


MISS PEACH IS A CROSS BETWEEN
A missing tooth and a fang.
A bloom and a sand storm.
A chain letter and a trap door.
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Theater

Ovo is Simply Outstanding

Ovo is Simply Outstanding

Cirque du Soleil's delicious new "eggs"stravangza is a winner

Hold the fly swatter! "Ovo," Cirque du Soleil's fascinating new outing, is more than a headturner. It's simply outstanding.

A memorable, often spellbinding frolic from beginning to end, the show, which opened in The City last fall, has settled into its San Jose digs. But in a fun turn, the outing takes audiences inside the inner workings of the ecosystem. More specifically, a place where a bountiful universe of  bugs—all kinds—engage in great mysteries. Here, Cirque's clever creatures fret over the arrival of a mysterious egg--by a neurotic fly (fittingly)--which forces everyone to question the egg's existence and perhaps their own. In other words: This is the best eye-candy of the season!

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A&E

Stroke of Genius

Stroke of Genius

Inside the the fascinating mind of Disney animation legend Floyd Norman

Since Walt Disney first put pen to paper and created that cute little mouse in 1928, America has had a perpetual love affair with all things Disney. Animation has come a long way since the early days of artists drawing sketch after sketch to create a continuous story, but there’s something about the classic art of animated cartoons that has thoroughly captured the hearts and imaginations of both young and old.

Cartoonist Floyd Norman, who will be the guest of honor at Atlantis Fantasy World on Saturday, Feb. 13, has played a major role in creating many of the animated features that are synonymous with the Disney empire.

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A&E

House of the Rising Son

House of the Rising Son

Justin Townes Earle trades ghosts, leaving Nashville for New York

For some people, it’s hard to be the new kid on the block. For others, it’s what they seek. Speaking from his home in New York City, Justin Townes Earle’s southern twang makes its way through the phone line—the Nashville native tells me he was chasing the ghost of Woody Guthrie when he made the move to the Big Apple a year ago. He wouldn’t be the first; there was one Robert Zimmerman who did the same. Earle is, however, an anomaly in plenty of other ways.

The progeny of Steve Earle that inherited his name from Townes Van Zandt, Justin Townes Earle has enough to live up to—his dad just won another Grammy and has been a folk rock force for decades. Unlike most children of stars, though, he’s managing just fine as the proposed “next big thing” in country, and he’s bringing his pre-war acoustic blues to the Crepe Place on Friday, Feb. 12. Whereas his last show in town was a knockout solo scene-stealer (one in which I kept looking for the nonexistent second guitarist I was sure I was hearing), this time he’ll add upright bass and fiddle.

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A&E

Pottery for Peace

Pottery for Peace

Local artists auction teacups to build schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan

Don’t underestimate the power of the tea party—it could start a revolution. Bonnie and Steven Barisof, Santa Cruz potters with more than 70 years of combined experience, understand this. Spurred on by the power of another little everyday thing, the written word, the Barisofs are spearheading a teacup party in town to raise awareness and funds for education in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

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Mars Enters Scorpio: The Nine Tests

Over the years I’ve mentioned the nine tests of Mars and Scorpio. The tests are given to everyone—unawakened, beginning to awaken, and the awakened. The purpose is to test our strength, courage, ability to adapt, discriminate and have discernment. To see if we are deceived by illusion or are “warriors triumphant, emerging from the battle.”

 

Final Cut

Cedar Street Video to close after 10 years at downtown location

 

Roger That

The late film critic Robert Ebert profiled in lively doc, ‘Life Itself’

 

The Maestra Returns

Cabrillo Festival’s Marin Alsop is back to ‘rock the boat of tradition’
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Time is Ripe

Local fruit harvests hit markets, Storrs Winery celebrates ‘Best White’, and a salt fix from heaven

 

I remember Santa Cruz when…

Santa Cruz | Librarian

 

Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

Hunter Hill Cabernet Sauvignon

Smooth with soft tannins, this velvety crimson Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 is delicious and very drinkable.