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Jan 28th
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Arts, Entertainment, Dining, Calendar

A&E

Something Old, Something New, All Things Blue

Something Old, Something New, All Things Blue

A mixed bag of stellar acts shine at this year’s Santa Cruz Blues Festival
Music Festivals seem to be recession-proof—from the East Coast’s massive Bonneroo to the West Coast’s epic Coachella and the hundreds of smaller festivals in between—cash registers are ringing and communities are celebrating. And like the swallows returning to San Juan Capistrano, blues fans will be swooping down to Aptos Village Park for the 18th Annual Santa Cruz Blues Festival on Saturday, May 29 and Sunday, May 30. Although corporations fund most musical festivals, in Santa Cruz, low back chairs and beer on tap are the frothy face of what is an increasingly rare locally owned event.

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A&E

On the Road

On the Road

Kirby Scudder and Mark Halfmoon plan to discover what inspires Californians
With the economy still shot, people feeling grumpy, and everyone complaining all the time, you’d think Californians were an unhappy lot. Not so. There are plenty of people in our golden state who continue to find the West Coast an inspired place. And two local men are about to hit the road on a cinematic adventure to prove that even though complaints abound, we’re living in a great state, and perhaps it’s time to remember that.

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A&E

Poetry Corner

Poetry Corner

Editor’s note: In this week’s Poetry Corner, we feature the work of Dion Farquhar, a poet and fiction writer with recent poems in “moria,” “The Dirty Napkin,” “of(f) course,” “BlazeVOX,” and “Hamilton Stone Review" and "Shifter.” Her chapbook, “Cleaving,” won first prize at Poets Corner Press in 2007, and her first poetry book, “Feet First,” will be published by Evening Street Press in July 2010.

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A&E

Delicious Designs

Delicious Designs

Local jewelry designer’s work is a treasure chest of inspiration
Denise Peacock peers through a window, tracing with her finger the curves of a blossoming cherry tree outside. She locks her eyes with the bark, as if she and the tree sit in joined meditation. She describes how her jewelry design is largely inspired by things like this tree: twisting branches and erratic color schemes, the way things blossom, how the light passes through leaves and petals, and the muted shadows that juxtapose the hues.

Peacock is an artist of two aesthetic worlds: nature and city. During her youth in England, she moved between London and the bordering countryside in Kent where she would romp free with her siblings in the open fields and woods. After attending university in London, she moved to New York City with her husband and two daughters, taking photography classes and visiting galleries. And now she and her family live in Santa Cruz.

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A&E

Art of a Different Color

Art of a Different ColorLos Angeles-based artist Robbie Conal brings his unique artistic vision to Santa Cruz
Longtime artist and political activist Robbie Conal prefers to create the kind of art that makes people do a double take. Since graduating from Stanford University with a master of fine arts degree in the late ’70s, Conal has focused his talent on political satire, creating humorous yet thought-provoking posters that have papered the streets of cities such as New York, Washington D.C. and San Francisco. But for his upcoming Santa Cruz show at the A.L. Walters Gallery, Conal has chosen to show a softer side of his personality. Entitled with the same moniker as his new book, “Not Your Typical Political Animal,” the month-long gallery show will feature drawings of animals that Conal does as a way to reconnect with the planet. “For 23 years I’ve been doing satirical portraits of people who have a lot of power and abuse it,” Conal says. “This builds up a certain level of cosmic residue that isn’t necessarily always positive. As a break to flush my system and reconnect with some positive vibes from the climate and other living creatures … I did drawings of dogs and cats and other animals as an antidote that helps me reconnect on a more positive level,” the artist explains.
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Literature

Solitary Confinement

Solitary Confinement

Pulitzer Prize-winning author pens poignant new novel
Literary maven Jane Smiley is no stranger to fame. She has published four works of non-fiction and 13 novels (including the critically acclaimed “A Thousand Acres” which I read in my American Authors class while studying English in college and promptly fell in love with her writing) in the time that many people take to decide where to travel for summer vacation.  Her latest literary foray is entitled, “Private Life,” an illuminating new novel that spans the life of an ordinary woman married to an extraordinary yet self-indulgent man. Or so she thinks. The 20th century has just dawned and Margaret Early, a native of St. Louis, Mo., blithely marries the man her mother chooses for her, and resigns herself to be a dutiful housewife. Her secretive new husband moves her to Northern California, where she endures two world wars, the San Francisco earthquake of 1906 and myriad personal tragedies. Little does she know of the trials and tribulations she will endure as the wife of a Navy captain that fancies himself a scientist of the highest degree. What begins as a marriage based on convenience and security turns into a prison sentence, and Smiley’s lyrical prose explores the life of one woman who lives a life she grows to loathe. To outside observers, Margaret’s existence seems charmed, but on the inside, turmoil and unhappiness threaten to disarm her will to live.

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A&E

In the Bag

In the Bag

Terry McInerney’s strong, fashionable handbags make a dent in Santa Cruz
There are days in life when fate waits around the corner for you. For Terry McInerney, that is how success manifested in her life. Early last year, McInerney, a married Santa Cruzan with two children, was out shopping with her young daughter. They stepped into a local store and her daughter started chatting up a patron, someone she recognized from swimming lessons. “She told her, ‘My mom makes bags,’” McInerney says of her daughter, who turned out to be quite a marketing genius.

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A&E

Shall We Dance?

Shall We Dance? This sensational weeklong celebration of dance returns to Santa Cruz for the third year
Watching Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers glide and sway gracefully through 1930s musicals such as Top Hat and Flying Down to Rio is an unequivocal visual treat. There’s just something about seeing dancers perform their fine tuned craft that is at once supremely delightful and innately inspirational—as if our bodies are made to dance and the movements must simply be gently pulled and coaxed from them.
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A&E

Things That Go Boom, Boom

Things That Go Boom, Boom

Local women’s kindness-based card game is worth the shuffle
Just like a boomerang, what you put out into the world will come back to you. This is the creed of the Boom Boom Revolution, a movement for kindness that erupts from two local women and their card game.

Co-founded by local duo Mary Beth Campbell and Helene Scott, the revolution is fueled one kind notion at a time, via the original card game entitled “Boom Boom Cards; The intentional Acts of Kindness Kit.”

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A&E

Lights, Camera …

Lights, Camera …

Indie adult film star Madison Young teaches Santa Cruzans how to take erotic filmmaking into their own hands

Pornography has always gone hand-in-hand with the idea of “doing it yourself,” but never more so than in the present era. The Digital Revolution has made it relatively easy for Joe and Jo Blow to not only produce and star in their own naughty movies, but also to show those movies to the world at large if they so desire. As a result, Independent internet porn now threatens to topple the DVD-based mainstream adult film industry in the same way that digital audio encoding has dealt a fatal blow to major record labels.

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Force of Nature

Santa Cruz’s Carlie Statsky brings her love of the natural world to the hyper-personal art of wedding photography

 

Mercury Retrograde in Aquarius

The magical time of Mercury’s retrograde cycle is here once again, until Feb. 11, and then some. The Mercury retro cycle actually lasts eight weeks when we consider its retrograde shadow, giving us six months a year for review. We know the rules of Mercury retro: Be careful with everything; cars, driving, money, resources, friends, friendships, groups, interactions, thinking, talking, communications. Avoid big purchases, important meetings and important repairs. Mercury retrograde times are for review, reassessment and rest. Our minds are overloaded from the last Mercury retro. Our minds need to assess what we’ve done since October—eliminating what is not needed, keeping what’s important, preparing for new information in the next three months (till mid-May). Mercury in Aquarius retrograde … we reinvent ourselves, seek the unusual, we don’t hide, we’re just careful. We live in two worlds; outer appearances and inner reckonings, with both sides of our brain activated. Yet, like the light of the Gemini twins, one light waxes (inner world), the other (outer realities) wanes. Like Virgo, we see what’s been overlooked—assessing, ordering and organizing information. It’s an entirely inner process. When speaking we may utter only half of the sentence. We’re in the underworld, closer to Spirit, eyes unseeing, senses alerted, re-doing things over and over till we sometimes collapse. Because we’re in other realms, we’re wobbly, make mistakes, and don’t really know what we want. It’s not a time for decisions. Not yet. It’s a time of review. And completing things. Mercury retro: integration, slowing down, resolution, rapprochement.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of January 23

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
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Bye Bye Benten!

Benten closing, plus Award-winning gin, a massive burrito and chocolate review

 

Trout Gulch Vineyards

Scanning the shelves of Deluxe Foods of Aptos, which carries an impressive selection of local and imported wines, I picked up a bottle of Trout Gulch Vineyards Chardonnay 2012, described as “a local favorite” by the busy market.

 

Cremer House

What’s old is cutting-edge again in Felton

 

How are you going to make a tangible difference in your community this year?

Spread more kindness and compassion.