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Dec 18th
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Arts, Entertainment, Dining, Calendar

Literature

Tragedy Revisited

Tragedy Revisited

Matthew Shepard’s mother visits Santa Cruz in support of a new book that details her journey to becoming an activist

It’s been 11 years since a brutal hate crime left a 21-year-old gay college student dead and focused the nation’s attention on little town in Wyoming. On Oct. 12, 1998, Matthew Shepard died, five days after searchers found him beaten, robbed and bound to a fence—left to freeze in the frigid, Laramie, Wyo., air. Back then it was hard to view the murder as anything less than a tragic tale of oppression—an example of a dark and viciously intolerant side to America. But today, more than a decade later, glimmers of hope sparkle among the ruins of an otherwise morbid scene. Shepard’s life became more recognized that day, and in his death the gay rights community found a common catalyst for action.

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A&E

Small Wonders

Small Wonders

Neenel Kharb’s jewelry puts pieces of the city and the sea in new Hands

When Plato famously declared that necessity is the mother of invention, he probably should have added another corollary: for some people, boredom can be the mother of creativity. At least that was the case for local jewelry designer Neenel Kharb, who first started creating her unique pieces, which are made almost entirely from found natural objects, because she really, really needed something to do. “I was living in this little A-frame hut at a permaculture site,” she recalls. This was while Kharb was earning her B.A. in the Community Studies program at UC Santa Cruz, where she focused especially on food, agriculture, and social justice. But while her stint in Marin helped teach her volumes about organic farming, it wasn’t exactly the most exciting time for her socially. “There’s nothing to do,” she says bluntly. “It was a totally desolate place.” What there was, however, was nature and solitude in abundance. “There were a lot of bird feathers everywhere, and these beautiful pine cones that would fall and look like roses. So I had all of this free time and all this access to nature. I would sit in this hut in the middle of the night and craft and experiment. This is what came out of that.”

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A&E

Poetry - When Just a Sentence Changes

Poetry - When Just a Sentence Changes

Editor’s note: Juanita Brunk  grew up in Virginia. These poems are from her collection of poetry, “Brief Landing On The Earth’s Surface,” which was chosen by Philip Levine for a Brittiingham Prize.  She recently returned from a year in Asia with her teenage son and is back in New York City, where she has lived for many years.

ON THIS EARTH

To love my own, my body,

to know without saying, legs, you are good legs,

and feet and stomach and arms, good, and the spaces

under my arms, and the brown pigments

splashed across my back like tea leaves.

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A&E

Celestial Mechanics

Celestial Mechanics

Santa Cruz’s brightest export, Sleepy Sun, is master of its own orbit

They shuffle in from who knows where, likely not from around here, arriving at a poorly-lit warehouse in the blighted neighborhood of West Oakland known as “Ghost Town.” Feathers and beads adorn their heads, earthen-toned overalls, Baja hoodies, and organic cotton dresses their bodies. As the sickly red light fades away and the fog machine hisses into action, it becomes apparent that they are not the only ones here: light from a digital projector is reflected from the lip piercings of a metalhead who towers near the front, a group of athletic-looking frat-row types jostle for position in the crowd, even a lone tattooed bicycle punk can be sighted, leaning against the filthy concrete walls. Suddenly, the thunderous, tom-heavy drum opener to Sleepy Sun’s “New Age” tears through the fog-heavy room, punctuated by bass, and there is a sense of certainty as to why all have gathered here. Singer Bret Constantino (perhaps the most outlandishly clad of all) steps up to the microphone and breathes rhythmically; the groove locks in, and markers of identity, concepts of place, and the rest of life’s trivialities become meaningless.

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Theater

Eco Rich

Eco Rich

Two artists embrace the green movement during Encore Weekend of Open Studios

Just when you thought things couldn’t get any ‘greener,’ now we’ve got a ‘green’ Open Studios. As the countywide annual art offering kicks off its encore weekend, GT decided to take a look at two artists who are not only creating stellar art, but also doing so with a green consciousness. Meet a few of our ‘green’ female artists at this year’s Open Studios: There’s the 29-year-old painter Sarah Bianco, and the 45-year-old maker of functional art, Polly Goldman. The two women are changing the concept that creating art can be wasteful.

Bianco resides at The Tannery, the new live/work space studios and apartments off of River Street near downtown Santa Cruz. She’s one of the lucky ones who were able to snag an enviable piece of real estate. Keep in mind, though, that her pursuits to live at The Tannery were hard earned. Bianco and her husband camped out in a parking lot just to hand in their rental application. From there, the pieces fell together, and they were able to move in. They have a two-bedroom space where they live, and where Bianco creates her painting artwork, and the two also run their painting business, which offers house painting, faux indoor painting, and more.

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A&E

Compassionate Communication

Compassionate Communication Local group, Nonviolent Communication Santa Cruz, continues to expand

“Compassion is the radicalism of our time,” the Dalai Lama has said.  Locally, we can feel grateful to have a number of radical organizations focused on cultivating compassion in personal, political and spiritual realms.  One such group is Nonviolent Communication Santa Cruz, currently celebrating five years of growing and learning in the community. On Saturday, Oct. 17 all are invited to join in the celebration at Funabunda, an extravaganza of “fun in abundance” with delicious food, inspiring music, spectacular magic and a “hungry duck” silent auction.   The event takes place from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Center for Compassion (225 Rooney St., across the freeway from Morrissey Avenue).  Tickets are available for $15 at nvcsantacruz.org or $20 at the door. 
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A&E

Hail the Heils

Hail the Heils

A mother and three adult children prove that when it comes to art,
‘connection’ may be the best creative force of all

There are “artists,” and then there are Artists. The artists take themselves rather seriously and usually have fancy statements about their work (that sometimes are a little hard to decipher). The Artists are the ones who infuse some humor into the seriousness of being an artist.

On a fine day in September, I have the pleasure of meeting four of these Artists—a mother and her three adult children, all of whom are participating in this year’s Open Studios during the Oct. 10-11 weekend in South County. Meet the Heil family: There’s Betty, the 82-year-old mom, and Kris, her 50-something, son, then her two daughters, Judy Stabile and Wendy Aikin, also in their fifties. They’ve all shown up to their mother’s Spanish villa in the Pleasant Valley area, a stunning home, dotted with the work of many local artists. Spacious and airy, it provides great acoustics for the booming laughs of the Heil family. This is a crowd of jokesters, but underneath the comedy, they have a heart-warming story to tell about how they each became artists.

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A&E

Meals on Wheels

Meals on Wheels

The Fourth Annual Freewheelin’ Farm Art Show invites you to feed your mind and body
Freewheelin’ Farm Art Show, Saturday, Oct. 24
In the early 2000s, when two locals named Amy Courtney and Cassandra Brown started a small farm five-and-a-half miles north of Santa Cruz on Highway 1, they were quick to embrace the CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) system, in which farmers regularly deliver produce to paying members. There was just one hitch: Courtney and Brown didn’t have any cars with which to make their deliveries. The solution to their dilemma came in the form of an old, trashed bicycle trailer, which they fixed up so as to begin biking their produce into town.

Today, that little patch of land on Highway 1 is known as Freewheelin’ Farm, and its overseers still make their deliveries by bike. “Something that isn’t talked about in agriculture that much is how our fruits and vegetables are moved around the country,” notes Kirstin Yogg, one of three co-owners of the farm. “Generally it’s in big trucks, and it’s using a lot of gas. So this is kind of our little stab at helping that problem in the world.”

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Literature

Nimbus of Self - Poetry

Nimbus of Self - Poetry

Editor’s note: This week we feature the work of Lynn Levin. These poems are from her new collection of poems,
“Fair Creatures of an Hour,” published by Loonfeather Press

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Theater

Open Studio

Open Studio

New performance space opens up in town
When Joan Van Antwerp was thinking about creating the second half of her life, she decided to enroll in a theater class at Cabrillo College. As a first-time thespian, she had no idea that her experience in this class would alter the direction of her life. And eventually, she would partner with local entrepreneur and theater aficionado Debbie Quigg to launch a theater arts space that has just opened, called The Mill Works Theatre.

This new space holds court at The Mill Gallery in downtown Santa Cruz, and is open every other Monday night as a works-in-progress venue where theatrical types can gather to put a short piece up on stage, try out a monologue, do a staged reading, and so on. The venue offers what can be hard to find around town—inexpensive performance space.

 

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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