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Dec 20th
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Arts, Entertainment, Dining, Calendar

A&E

Bite Your Tongue

Bite Your Tongue

Monterey author offers pointers for effective communication in new book

We can all recall a time when we reacted poorly in a social situation—whether it was in response to an insensitive remark, a missed curfew, a sudden change of plans, or otherwise. While hurtful words and damaged feelings are natural reactions to such emotional triggers, Dr. Carl Alasko, a recently retired psychotherapist based in Monterey, believes he has the answer to gracefully navigating these situations.

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A&E

The Poems of Ellen Bass

The Poems of Ellen Bass

Editor’s note:  Ellen Bass was recently named the new Santa Cruz County Poet Laureate. Her poetry includes “Like a Beggar” (Copper Canyon, 2014), “The Human Line” (Copper Canyon, 2007), and “Mules of Love” (BOA, 2002), and she coedited “No More Masks!” (Doubleday, 1973), the first major anthology of poetry by women. Her work has been published in The New Yorker, The American Poetry Review, The New Republic, Ploughshares, and The Kenyon Review. She teaches in the MFA program at Pacific University. Visit ellenbass.com.

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A&E

Growing Up Girl

Growing Up Girl

Local coming-of-age doc stands out in Watsonville Film Festival lineup

When acclaimed Watsonville filmmaker Consuelo Alba witnessed her first Xilonen ceremony as an adult in the Pajaro Valley, the indigenous dancing and drumming rituals immediately resonated with her. She sensed right away that the pre-Hispanic rite of passage was just the sort of ceremony she would have loved to experience as a girl.

“I first heard about it and was really intrigued,” says Alba. “It took me a couple of years to attend and then I was blown away.”

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Theater

Storm System

Storm System

Complex family mysteries saturate JTC's 'Three Days of Rain'

Evidently we have the Jewel Theatre Company to thank for the much-needed downpour recently. There must have been some sympathetic juju involved in JTC opening a play called “Three Days of Rain” just when Santa Cruz needed it most! The phrase in the title, besides being at the top of everyone's weather wish-list for the past few months, turns out to have special significance within the context of the play itself, a generational drama about family, secrets, and destiny.

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A&E

Cradles of Change

Cradles of Change

New MAH exhibit gives voice to orphans in sub-Saharan Africa

It’s been more than a decade since artist and activist Naomi Natale traveled to Kibera, one of the largest slums in Kenya. It was there where she caught a glimpse of some of the estimated 48 million orphan children in sub-Saharan Africa. 

“It was a life-changing experience,” says Natale. “You go with all these statistics and information in your head, and when you come back, you think in terms of faces and real-life stories.” 

Natale hoped to photograph some of those faces, in order to draw attention to the plight of orphaned children across Africa. But after arriving home, still haunted by what she had seen, Natale decided she wanted to do something more. Art seemed like the best option for sharing her experiences and depicting the emotional loss felt by orphaned children and their communities.

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Theater

On With the Show

On With the Show

Shakespeare Play On breathes new life into Shakespeare Santa Cruz

For the past three decades, Shakespeare’s robust and witty dialogue could be heard echoing throughout The Sinsheimer-Stanley Festival Glen outdoor theater at UC Santa Cruz on any given summer evening. Amidst food-scattered picnic blankets, the community sat rapt by the onstage antics of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” or  the drama of “Romeo and Juliet.”

But on Aug. 26, 2013, UC Santa Cruz announced that, due to worsening budget challenges to the university and the professional repertory company being deeply in debt, Shakespeare Santa Cruz would be forced to end its 32-year run.

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A&E

The Durbin Legend

The Durbin Legend

James Durbin talks life post-‘Idol’ and his sophomore album, ‘Celebrate’

In the bitter winter of New York, James Durbin reminisces about his hometown of Santa Cruz, and the whirlwind that was set in motion the day he took fourth place on season 10 of FOX’s American Idol.

“It was really crazy,” he says, remembering May 14, 2011, or “Durbin Day,” when he went from being an ordinary local resident to a celebrity overnight. “I have to pinch myself whenever I think about it.”

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A&E

Organic Red, White and Blues

Organic Red, White and Blues

Rock legend (and vintner) Boz Scaggs returns to Santa Cruz

After an explosive set by Tower of Power at the 2011 Aptos Blues Festival, Grammy Award-winning Boz Scaggs took the stage. Channeling almost 50 years of musical experience into a transcendent set—Scaggs’ guitar playing was scintillating—his trademark tenor voice on such hits as “Lowdown” and “Lido Shuffle” had aged like a fine Rhône wine. “That was a good day. That’s a great festival you got there,” says Scaggs from his home just above Napa Valley.

Skip ahead to 2013 when Scaggs’ first album in five years, Memphis, was released. On it, a cover of Mink DeVille’s “Mixed Up, Shook Up Girl” resonates with the warmth of a fireplace on a rainy afternoon. Memphis seamlessly blends soul, funk and R&B into a vintage sound, and it’s obvious that from stage to studio, Scaggs is one of America’s most gifted performers.

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A&E

Mother, May I?

Mother, May I?

New exhibit explores the intersection of motherhood and art

Dreams of giving birth to nine-pound pears or shape-shifting rabbit babies were not uncommon for Irene Lusztig during her pregnancy. Anxiety dreams of this nature could enter her head any night of the week. She couldn’t help but wonder if that was normal. Were other mothers experiencing the same thing?

“The anxiety dreams that women have when they are pregnant had me thinking about the things that are OK or not OK to say about motherhood,” explains Lusztig. “Almost all women experience these dreams and I wanted to collect them to start a conversation that many women feel they have to suppress.”

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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