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Aug 27th
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Arts, Entertainment, Dining, Calendar

A&E

Horse of a Different Color

Horse of a Different Color

Local opera singer shines on ‘America’s Got Talent’

When Dorothy Donell was 21, she was gearing up for an audition at Juilliard, the prestigious fine arts university. But fate decided to step in. And so did her horse—it bonked her in the mouth and her tooth was chipped, prompting her to visit her uncle’s dentist, and there she met her husband, a recent dentistry grad. Life took a different direction for her at that point. While Donell’s dreams of studying opera at Juilliard went untapped, she didn’t stop singing. Many years later, another horse (and her exquisite voice) would open new doors for her—as in live television.

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A&E

Love Pains

Love Pains

Documentary exposes love’s dirty deeds

Love—it is fundamentally wonderful, nutty, crazy and unexplainable. There are high school sweethearts, adult lovers, marriage partners and then there’s psychotic love, the type that has the capacity to overlook things like abuse, or say, maybe someone throwing acid in your face to purposefully disfigure you. This type of “love” is at the heart of Crazy Love, a wildly disturbing, yet fascinating documentary that takes a look at an obsessive relationship that spans about 50 years.

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A&E

The Living Dead

The Living Dead

Young Santa Cruzans show off their zombie flick at the Rio

I usually detest gory films. And zombie movies. Puh-lease. What about gory, zombie student films? Could prove to be a bloody mess (both onscreen and in the production value). But when three young filmmakers (two recent UC Santa Cruz grads and one current junior) came knocking, and knocking, and knocking on GT’s doors, we knew their film had some life.

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A&E

Gamers, Not Geeks

Gamers, Not Geeks

Two Santa Cruz video game designers break down life as a gamer

At Sundance, they wear Ugg boots, hair is coiffed, and “independent” movies are splashed across the screens. Glamour is in full force. At the Independent Game Festival (IGF)—which was held in San Francisco in February this year—it’s a vastly different independent scene. This one is without the paparazzi fuss and the Hollywood hoo-hah; it honors independent artists who make video games.

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A&E

Cows, Boxes and Poetry

Cows, Boxes and Poetry

The Tannery Project gets its first residents with the Dead Cow Gallery

At the entrance to Highway 9, a rickety homemade sign says in white painted letters, “Dead Cow Gallery.” With that sort of advertising, you have to turn on your blinker and veer down the gravely driveway to find out exactly what “Dead Cow Gallery” is. Is it a real gallery, out in the midst of a construction site? Is it a new burger joint? Or is it the latest leather shoe store? You’re not sure what you’ll find, but the sign is too mysterious and the location too bizarre to do anything else but take yourself on an adventure.

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Theater

The City of Lights

The City of Lights

Mountain Community Theater finds a new approach to drama

Three guys walk into a bar: Albert Einstein, Pablo Picasso and Elvis. Surreal? Yes. But the concept isn’t too far from reality or from Santa Cruz, as the encounter happens on stage this weekend with Mountain Community Theater’s “Picasso at the Lapin Agile.” The quirky and reportedly “hilarious” play, written by über funny man, Steve Martin, takes place in Paris, 1904. In a mysterious bar somewhere in the City of Lights, these three geniuses stumble upon one another. Normally, that might seem like an idea that’s way too over the top. But in the hands of Martin, we are likely to forget the impossibility of such a meeting, and instead eavesdrop on what this strange gathering of men will bring about. (Laughs, for sure.)

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Theater

Spare Chair

Spare Chair

Pisces Moon brilliantly takes an intimate look at the death penalty in ‘The Exonerated’

Capital punishment. Besides abortion, it’s one of the most controversial topics that send people into their fighting corners. It makes for a fascinating idea to interpret on stage, which is exactly what Pisces Moon theater company has done with its most recent play, “The Exonerated,” which opened last weekend at the Broadway Playhouse.

Director Susan Myer has this uncanny ability to do with a play what a great visual artist might do with their canvas. (This is not particularly surprising, being that Myer has a history in the fine arts.) She presents community theater plays unlike any I’ve ever seen. By now, audiences can expect to an enjoy a Myer production, and even learn a thing or two.

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Literature

Your Deepest Intent

Your Deepest Intent

Rev. Deborah L. Johnson goes deep in her new book

Rev. Deborah L. Johnson answers the phone with a crackly voice. She apologizes for the froggy throat and explains that she just got sick—right in the middle of some important work in Washington D.C. Johnson, the founder of Inner Light Ministries in Soquel and a powerful speaker and activist, is in the nation’s capitol lobbying for the passage of the Employment Non-discrimination Act and the Local Hate Crimes Act. Both are pieces of legislation that would hopefully thwart how some gays are mistreated.

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Literature

Love Letter

Love Letter

Flipping pages with author Jonathan Lethem

Jonathan Lethem answers the phone with a deep voice. I blurt out, “I’m afraid you’re going to sound like Carl.” He laughs and quickly thwarts my worry, assuring me that he doesn’t have the same uncomfortable phone manners as Carl, a tacky and wacky character in Lethem’s new book, “You Don’t Love Me Yet.”

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A&E

Nun on the Run

Nun on the Run

Suzanne St. John’s debut documemory is a blessing

Maybe they were sipping warm cups of coffee, or nibbling on licorice. Suzanne St. John isn’t quite sure. All she remembers is that her mom, Nancy St. John, said something along the lines of “I used to be a nun.” The 20-year-old Suzanne was floored. But even then, and now, 16 years later, she says it all sort of makes sense. The bizarre twist in her mother’s life is the puzzle piece that was missing for so many years.

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Entering Virgo

Sun entering Virgo brings a sign and element change, from Leo’s fire to Virgo’s practical earth. Food, health, grains, service and small animals are in the news and on our minds. It’s one month till autumn. Pumpkins and persimmons are ripening. Venus is in Leo. We radiate warmth; we’re generous, playful and affectionate. Everyone shows off in an ardent, passionate, warm-hearted, romantic and over-dramatic way, reflecting Leo’s fiery nature. Think of life as Shakespeare wrote: life is a play, we are its actors on the same stage together.

 

Final Cut

Cedar Street Video to close after 10 years at downtown location

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of August 22

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >

 

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Locavores Only

Farm dinners at Route 1 Farms and the Homeless Garden Project expand the revolution

 

How should Santa Cruz develop downtown around the San Lorenzo River?

Santa Cruz | Artist/Show Promoter

 

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

 

Clowning Around With Armitage Chardonnay

Four of us headed to Brandon Armitage’s new tasting room in Aptos Village recently to try his well-made wines.