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Dec 20th
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Arts, Entertainment, Dining, Calendar

A&E

Pulling a Legend’s Strings

Pulling a Legend’s Strings

Kuumbwa Jazz celebrates guitarist Django Reinhardt’s 100th birthday in style

It’s hard to imagine a more daunting task for a musician than to try to fill Django Reinhardt’s shoes. Nearly 60 years after the celebrated gypsy jazz guitarist’s death, Reinhardt remains one of the world’s most revered jazz musicians. His superhuman chops are all the more impressive in light of the adverse circumstances with which the musician had to work: As most guitar fans know, the Belgian-born maestro was badly injured in a fire at age 18. The mishap rendered Reinhardt’s right leg—and, more distressingly, the third and fourth fingers of his left hand—paralyzed. Thwarting doctors’ attempts to amputate the injured leg, and ignoring their claims that his guitar-playing days were over, Reinhardt re-taught himself not only to walk within a year, but also to play guitar by way of a completely reinvented approach. He performed his intricate, high-speed guitar solos with the two fully operative fingers of his left hand, while he used that hand’s two partially paralyzed fingers to play chords.

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Literature

The Poems of Stephen Kuusisto

The Poems of  Stephen Kuusisto

Editor’s note: In this week’s Poetry Corner, we feature the work of Stephen Kuusisto, a spokesperson for Guiding Eyes for the Blind, who teaches creative writing at Ohio State University. His best-selling memoir, “Planet of the Blind,” was named a Notable Book of the Year by The New York Times, and his essays and poems have appeared in Harper's, The New York Times Magazine, Poetry, Seneca Review, and currently can be seen in the latest edition of Red Wheelbarrow. The following poems are from “Only Bread, Only Light,” by Copper Canyon Press.

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A&E

Discovery Cruise

Discovery Cruise

Local skipper helps ‘MythBusters’ get to the bottom of a bizarre sea tale

There’s a nasty rumor about a phenomenon known as “the squeeze,” which supposedly plagued early deep sea divers. As the story goes, the failure of the pressure mechanism on a dive suit could cause a diver’s entire body to be sucked up into the suit’s helmet in radically compacted form.

TV watchers who tuned into Nov. 25’s episode of MythBusters—a Discovery Channel program dedicated to proving or debunking urban legends—saw local skipper Jim Christmann helping MythBusters stars Tory Belleci, Kari Byron and Grant Imahara test the legitimacy of this claim. While Christmann’s research boat, the 52-foot Shana Rae, is generally used for serious scientific work such as tagging and tracking dolphins, monitoring toxic algal bloom or studying the behavior of sea otters, the MythBusters crew had more fanciful purposes in mind for the vessel: Namely, toting a gruesome-looking “Meat Man” (a Frankenstein’s monster-like human substitute made from the skin and organs of pigs, placed into an old dive suit) from the Santa Cruz Small Craft Harbor to Monterey Canyon, where it was lowered into 300-foot-deep water and then deprived of air.

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Literature

Artifice and Subterfuge in Vienna

Artifice and Subterfuge in Vienna

J. Sydney Jones delivers a memorable turn in his second Viennese mystery

At the dawn of the 20th century, Vienna was one of the largest cities in the world, as well as the capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. A cosmopolitan metropolis brimming with culture, Vienna was famous worldwide for the art, music, literature and philosophical ideals that sprang from the brilliant minds of the city’s inhabitants. This rich zeitgeist provides a lavish backdrop for “Requiem in Vienna,” the latest novel penned by local author J. Sydney Jones. A neatly woven tale of intrigue, murder and artifice, “Requiem in Vienna” brings to life the marvelous sights, sounds and tastes of this charismatic European city circa 1899.

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Theater

Appetite for Reconstruction

Appetite for ReconstructionLocal orthopedic surgeon Mark Wainer doctors photographs to look like lavish watercolor paintings
Local orthopedic surgeon Mark Wainer has been replacing people’s knees and hips in Santa Cruz for the last 34 years. But his exhibit “Painterly Photographic Art,” viewable at the Felix Kulpa Gallery through Dec. 27, shows his talent for a different kind of reconstruction: He uses the computer programs Photoshop and Painter to make photographs look like watercolor paintings.
Taken in such locales as Paris, Los Angeles and Venice, Wainer’s photos (also viewable at markwainer.com) depict beaches, flowers, city streets, stairways, hillsides, sea cliffs and lighthouses, with the watercolor effect serving to highlight the poignance of these scenes. For an added painterly touch, Wainer prints these images on coated watercolor paper with a rough texture capable of holding a great amount of detail.
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A&E

All Fun and Trains

All Fun and TrainsMAH’s toy train exhibit takes spectators on a creative ride
Whether you are of the generation that grew up riding trains as your primary mode of transportation or you associate locomotives with Thomas the Tank Engine, trains evoke a carefree nostalgia that can make anyone feel like a kid again. After all, who wouldn’t get a kick out of the sound of the cheerful whistle, white steam puffing mightily from the steam engine and parallel tracks stretching on as far as the eye can see?        
For the fourth year running, The Museum of Art & History at The McPherson Center (MAH) has partnered with the Over the Hill Gang (the apropos name of the local Toy Train Operating Society’s Golden Gate Chapter ) to share the excitement and history of trains with a new generation. “As we get older and we die, where do our collections go if we don’t have young people coming along that are interested?” says Craig Miller, chief facilitator of the Over the Hill Gang and co-manager of the MAH exhibit. “We’re trying to infect them with this interest in toy trains. Maybe one out of a hundred kids will remember coming here and then when they get older they’ll think about it with their kids and start collecting too,” Miller surmises.
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Literature

Poetry Corner

Poetry CornerEditor’s note: In this week’s Poetry Corner, we feature poet Ron Slate’s first book of poems, “The Incentive of the Maggot,” (Houghton Mifflin 2005), which was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle poetry prize. His second book from Houghton, “The Great Wave,” was published this year. Slate maintains a literary book review, "On the Seawall," at  ronslate.com. He lives in Milton, Mass.
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A&E

Boy Paints World

Boy Paints World

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.

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Theater

Down a Fox Hole

Down a Fox Hole

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.”

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Literature

Poetry: Nimbus of Self

Poetry: Nimbus of Self

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.

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Page 55 of 66

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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