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Dec 21st
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Literature

Like Mother Like Daughter

Like Mother Like Daughter

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.

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Literature

Point of No Return

Point of No Return

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.

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A&E

Chocolate-Covered What?

Chocolate-Covered What?

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.

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A&E

Erotic Environment

Erotic Environment

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.”

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A&E

She Who Laughs Last

She Who Laughs Last

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.

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Literature

The Enlightenment is Over

The Enlightenment is Over

Author Michael Meade on the importance of bringing the light into the dark—and vice versa

In case you just tuned in, things on Earth are looking a little rough around the edges—water and air pollution, poverty, endless wars, corporate hegemony, economic collapse. And the speed of destruction seems to be quickening. While some have decided that the ship is sinking, Michael Meade argues that we’re simply living in a dark time that calls for attention to dark knowledge. He says that this uncomfortable time provides exactly the conditions necessary for positive change to occur.

Michael Meade is a storyteller, author and scholar of mythology, anthropology and psychology who weaves together stories and ancient ideas to shed light on the current crises in ecology and culture. His books and audio CD’s include “The World Behind the World” and “The Light Inside Dark Times.” Meade is the founder of Mosaic Multicultural Foundation and he often works with at-risk youth, U.S. veterans returning from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and prisoners. On Friday, Nov. 13, Meade will be giving a presentation entitled The Light Inside Dark Times at 7 p.m. at the Pacific Cultural Center.  On Saturday, Nov. 14, Meade will lead an intensive workshop, also at the PCC, entitled The Mythic Life: Accepting Fate, Finding a Destiny from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $12 and $85, respectively, and can be ordered online at mosaicvoices.org. GT recently spoke with Meade about current possibilities for change.

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Literature

Poetry Corner Featuring the work of poet Josephine Dickinso

Poetry Corner Featuring the work of poet Josephine Dickinso

In this week’s Poetry Corner, we feature the work of poet Josephine Dickinson, author of the book, “Silence Fell.” She lives in Alston, the remote Cumbrian mining town high in the Pennines, since 1994.
June

Evening. A cool June. Hand in hand

we walk round the garden, dodging

loose stones, gaps where the new lawn needs

chocking with ballast, ducking the

windsock wrapping itself round its

pole, checking rows of this and that,

which seeds have failed to show up, which

flowers begin to glow, cold-frame

cucumbers to grow big enough

to finger the panes of glass. But

there is no blossom this year on

the apple tree. It has been too

cold. But when we step round the house

to the front door again and kiss,

we know it is no ordinary

love, this, that we stand in the cold

and the damp of this unusual

cold, wet June (but there are no wars)

and do what we do all the time -

love indoors outdoors just the same.

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Literature

Memento Morty

Memento Morty

A look back on the adventurous life of Morton Marcus | By Lisa Jensen

One afternoon in August, 2008, Morton Marcus appeared at our door with a cold bottle of champagne for my husband, Jim Aschbacher, and me. It was unusual for Mort to drink much at all, let alone in the middle of the day, but he wanted to make a toast. "I love you guys," he told us. "I've had a great life."

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Theater

Theater Roundup Three plays open this weekend

Theater Roundup Three plays open this weekend

The Sweepers
As the newbie theater company on the scene, Fox Whole Productions may have found a unique niche with its first production, “The Sweepers.” Not only is it a compelling story of women whose husbands and sons go off to the war, and the secrets that these women hold behind, but director Alan Fox has gone to lengths to create an interactive experience for theatergoers.

As patrons arrive, they will be greeted by actors (in character), and during intermission the audience will be treated to locally catered Italian finger foods.

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Literature

Dancing With Butterflies

Dancing With Butterflies

UC Santa Cruz grad treasures her cultural roots

The cultural patchwork that exists on the Central Coast of California is remarkable. Particularly prevalent in these parts is the Hispanic culture, which influences everything from the foods we eat to the entertainment that we indulge in. The country of Mexico has given us so much, including the colorful pageantry of Folklorico dancing which has captured the imagination and hearts of everyone that has been fortunate enough to observe its swirling skirts and mesmerizing footwork. Even if you have never had the pleasure of watching a traditional Folklorico dance, you can experience the excitement, culture and romance of this Mexican folk dance through Reyna Grande’s new book, “Dancing With Butterflies.”

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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