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Sep 17th
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Arts, Entertainment, Dining, Calendar

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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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 Different Revolution

Aries Moon late Wednesday and Thursday. We think new thoughts and initiate new ideas. Sun in Virgo with Saturn in Scorpio help disciples to create orderly structures to anchor and bring forth new ideas. Stabilizing Taurus moon Friday and Saturday. We anchor new ideas into form and matter, like seeds planted in the soil. We tend them, waiting for green shoots to emerge. Like the gestating Virgo Sun Madonna, awaiting the birth of the holy child, the Soul, the new light at winter solstice. Mercury and Chiron converse about what hurts and what heals.Saturday is a complex day with Mercury (communication), Mars (action!) and Uranus (revolution). Mercury in Libra is opposite Uranus in Aries. Oppositions (recognizing something new appearing over there somewhere) eventually synthesize. Mercury in Libra calls for Right Action and Right Relations, especially with money. Uranus in Aries—the revolution this time must be different.  Also on Saturday, Mars enters Sagittarius. Where are we going, what are our goals, where’s justice, where’s the mountain, do we have good shoes? Sunday Venus trines Pluto—in-depth assessment of money, values and resources. Gemini moon Monday; we talk a lot, tending to tasks in gardens and neighborhoods. Cancer Moon Tuesday and Wednesday; we nurture and nourish. The stars and planets remind us.Note: William Meader, esoteric author & international teacher, will be speaking on “The Soul of Humanity Evolving Through Crisis” at Meditation Mount, 7pm, Friday, Sept. 12.

 

Final Cut

Cedar Street Video to close after 10 years at downtown location

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of September 12

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >

 

Watch List

From Google to the government to data brokers, why your privacy is now a thing of the past
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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

 

Soquel’s Pinot Winner

When you taste Soquel Vineyards’ extraordinary 2012 Partners’ Reserve Pinot Noir, you will know why it won a Double Gold in June at the 2014 San Francisco International Wine Competition.

 

Wood Fire Woodie

Scotts Valley pizzeria gets fired up the old-school way