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Jul 30th
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Arts, Entertainment, Dining, Calendar

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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Literature

A Rare Bird

A Rare Bird

Favorite local author James D. Houston pens another engrossing novel

When James D. Houston walks into your office and kindly asks if you might be willing to review his latest book, the answer, of course, is yes. Houston, a long-time local scribe who has achieved national acclaim for his writings, is a master of the written word. His books, including the recent release, “Bird of Another Heaven,” are gems. In addition, the fact that Houston is a down-to-earth gentleman puts yet another gold star in his grade book.

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A&E

Green Things

Green Things

Renee’s garden keeps on growing

Renee, Renee, how does your garden grow? With Asian greens and seedlings, and pretty flowers all in a row. OK, so that’s a spin-off of an old nursery rhyme, but somehow it seems fitting for a local woman who’s the master of her own garden—Renee Shepard.

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A&E

Everything is Illuminated

Everything is Illuminated

Jewish Film Fest offers an insider’s glimpse at life in Israel

These days, film festivals are aplenty. There’s one being hawked every few months (or so it seems). So how do you plow through the weeds to pluck a gem of a festival? In the case of this month’s latest offering, you won’t have to do much hemming and hawing. GT can fully endorse the following festival fare: On Sunday, March 11, audiences will be whisked overseas to the heart of Israel, which serves as the backdrop for five powerful films offered in the 7th Annual Temple Beth El Jewish Film Festival.

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Literature

Hollywood in the Hills

Jane Smiley takes on Tinesltown

Last year, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jane Smiley slipped into a UC Santa Cruz class. While she might be a bit older than the general stock of students, no one paid attention to her. Week after week, Smiley sat in on Loren Steck’s class about Hollywood, how the showbiz industry works and the movies that it makes. Smiley, a famous author, with her signature light hair, big glasses and wide smile, took notes. If only the students had known who was amongst them—Smiley was attending a class about movies to do research for a book she was writing about Hollywood and the people who make movies.

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A&E

Wild Tiger

Wild Tiger

How former Santa Cruzan Aaron Platt nabbed an Independent Spirit Award nomination


The phone rang at 8:30 in the morning in November 2006. Aaron Platt roused himself from sleep and grabbed it. On the other end was his friend and movie-making cohort, Cam Archer, “freaking out on the phone,” Platt says. Still in a sleepy stupor, it took Platt a little time to catch on to what Archer was so excited about. “It was straight out of that movie, For Your Consideration, where the kid is not expecting the Oscar nomination and he’s in his apartment passed out,” Platt says. “Cam said I got nominated for something. I had no idea what he was talking about.”

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A&E

Lymphedema

Lymphedema

What is it? Patients with this frustrating disease speak out and offer help

In 2000, Stephanie Mungai received one of those pesky insect bites. Most people would just slap on some soothing balm and forget about it. But for Mungai, that was hardly the case. Within an hour her arm was red and puffed up to nearly an inch larger than its normal size. She had to rush to an emergency room.

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Picture of Health

Santa Cruz just received a high ranking among California counties. But it may be hiding some of the biggest health dangers facing our area

 

Mars Enters Scorpio: The Nine Tests

Over the years I’ve mentioned the nine tests of Mars and Scorpio. The tests are given to everyone—unawakened, beginning to awaken, and the awakened. The purpose is to test our strength, courage, ability to adapt, discriminate and have discernment. To see if we are deceived by illusion or are “warriors triumphant, emerging from the battle.”

 

Final Cut

Cedar Street Video to close after 10 years at downtown location

 

Time Capsule

Actors age in real time in audacious, mesmerizing ‘Boyhood’
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Foodie File: Maharaja

Chef Didar Singh on Royal Taj’s reincarnation as Maharaja

 

I remember Santa Cruz when…

Santa Cruz | Librarian

 

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

 

Muns Vineyard Rosé of Pinot Noir

This vivacious cherry-pink Rosé is a simply beautiful summer wine.