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May 24th
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Arts, Entertainment, Dining, Calendar

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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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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Gate Openers

Up-and-coming artists like Ryan Bingham are a great reason to show up early to the Santa Cruz American Music Festival

 

Gemini Sun, Pentecost, Shavuot—Enlightenment and Gladness

As the sun enters Gemini on Sunday, sign of speaking, communication, thinking, inter-relations, writing and understanding languages, the feast days of Pentecost & Shavuot (Catholic and Jewish festivals) occur. During Pentecost’s 50 days after Easter, tongues of fire appear above the heads of the disciples, providing them with the ability to understand all languages and all feelings hidden in the minds and hearts of humanity. It’s recorded that Pentecost began with a loud noise, which happened in an upper room (signifying the mind). The Christ (World Teacher) told his disciples (after his ascension) when encountering a man at a well carrying a water pot (signs for Age of Aquarius) to follow him to an upper room. There, the Holy Spirit (Ray 3 of Divine Intelligence) would overshadow them, expand their minds, give them courage and enable them to teach throughout the world, speaking all languages and thus able to minister to the true needs of a “seeking” humanity. Pentecost (50 days, pentagram, Ray 5, Venus, concrete and scientific knowledge, the Ray of Aquarius) sounds dramatic, impressive and scary: The loud noise, a thunderous rush of wind and then “tongues of fire” above the heads of each disciple (men and women). Fire has purpose. It purifies, disintegrates, purges, transforms and liberates (frees) us from the past. This was the Holy Spirit (Ray 3, love and wisdom) being received by the disciples, so they would teach in the world and inform humanity of the Messiah (Christ), who initiated the new age (Pisces) and gave humanity the new law (adding to the 10 Commandments of the Aries Age) to Love (Ray 2) one another. Note: Gemini is also Ray 2. Shavuot is the Jewish Festival of Gladness, the First Fruits Festival celebrating the giving of the 10 Commandments to Moses as the Aries Age was initiated. Thus, we have two developmental stages here, Jewish festival of the Old Testament. Pentecost of the New Testament. We have gladness, integrating both.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Off Her Meds

Kristin Wiig runs wild—and transcends her sketch comedy roots—as a truly strange character ‘Welcome to Me’
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Flats Bistro

Pizza with an artisan twist comes to Aptos Beach

 

What’s your take on Santa Cruz locals?

Santa Cruz locals are really friendly once you know them. I think a lot of them have a hard time leaving, and I would too. Ryan Carle, Santa Cruz, Biologist

 

Soquel Vineyards

If Soquel Vineyards partners Peter and Paul Bargetto and Jon Morgan were walking down the street wearing their winning wine competition medals, you’d hear them coming from a mile away. This year was particularly rewarding for the Bargettos and Morgan—they won two Double Gold Medals and five Gold Medals at January’s San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

 

Enlightened Flavors

Squash & Blossom’s artisanal alternative-flour delights, beet kvass from Cafe Ivéta, and the Santa Cruz Baroque Festival