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.”
As the newbie theater company on the scene, Fox Whole Productions may have found a unique niche with its first production, “The Sweepers.” Not only is it a compelling story of women whose husbands and sons go off to the war, and the secrets that these women hold behind, but director Alan Fox has gone to lengths to create an interactive experience for theatergoers.
As patrons arrive, they will be greeted by actors (in character), and during intermission the audience will be treated to locally catered Italian finger foods.
Two artists embrace the green movement during Encore Weekend of Open Studios
Just when you thought things couldn’t get any ‘greener,’ now we’ve got a ‘green’ Open Studios. As the countywide annual art offering kicks off its encore weekend, GT decided to take a look at two artists who are not only creating stellar art, but also doing so with a green consciousness. Meet a few of our ‘green’ female artists at this year’s Open Studios: There’s the 29-year-old painter Sarah Bianco, and the 45-year-old maker of functional art, Polly Goldman. The two women are changing the concept that creating art can be wasteful.
Bianco resides at The Tannery, the new live/work space studios and apartments off of River Street near downtown Santa Cruz. She’s one of the lucky ones who were able to snag an enviable piece of real estate. Keep in mind, though, that her pursuits to live at The Tannery were hard earned. Bianco and her husband camped out in a parking lot just to hand in their rental application. From there, the pieces fell together, and they were able to move in. They have a two-bedroom space where they live, and where Bianco creates her painting artwork, and the two also run their painting business, which offers house painting, faux indoor painting, and more.
New performance space opens up in town
When Joan Van Antwerp was thinking about creating the second half of her life, she decided to enroll in a theater class at Cabrillo College. As a first-time thespian, she had no idea that her experience in this class would alter the direction of her life. And eventually, she would partner with local entrepreneur and theater aficionado Debbie Quigg to launch a theater arts space that has just opened, called The Mill Works Theatre.
This new space holds court at The Mill Gallery in downtown Santa Cruz, and is open every other Monday night as a works-in-progress venue where theatrical types can gather to put a short piece up on stage, try out a monologue, do a staged reading, and so on. The venue offers what can be hard to find around town—inexpensive performance space.
Lori Rivera wears Multiple Personality Disorder well in sizzling “Smoke”
Humans are multi-faceted creatures, ruled by diverse and often contradictory impulses. Each of us has a sweet side and a cruel side, a brave face and a cowardly face, a capacity for smoothness and sophistication as well as for clumsiness and gullibility.
As the star of the one-woman cabaret “Smoke,” local vocalist Lori Rivera is a living portrait of humanity’s composite nature. Throughout the show, she rapidly switches back and forth between two different characters: a passionate but somewhat guileless woman named Celeste, and a sensual older woman named Francesca, who mentors Celeste in the ways of love.
New theater director Gina Hayes stages work of famous poet
Starting up a new theater company in a small town like Santa Cruz can equate to making it as an actor in Hollywood. Meaning that it’s tough, not only to get it off the ground, but to keep it rolling. And that is exactly what 24-year-old UC Santa Cruz alumni Gina Hayes has set about to passionately do with her creation of Red Egg Theater. The one-woman company, spearheaded by Hayes, hopes to provide college students across the Bay Area, and particularly in Santa Cruz, with an option to act off-campus, and plug into community theater.
Mountain Community Theater goes to the outer limits
Miguel Reyna started watching The Twilight Zone when he was just 8 years old. His ‘assignment’ was to record the shows for his mom who worked an evening shift. For the next four years, the young Reyna became addicted. “Your mind is blown away,” he says of the popular 1960s television show. “Watching those Twilight Zones gave me the chills at a young age and really put a different lens on life for me. Up until this day, the suburbs [anywhere] look like The Twilight Zone. The show is dated in the acting and dialogue, but they it’s relevant and timeless through the stories.”
Shakespeare Santa Cruz falls in love with ‘Romeo and Juliet’
It’s the love story that never dies. However, in this case, the lovers at the heart of the tale do have a tragic ending, but still, the story at large in “Romeo and Juliet” is one that endures time and spans generational differences. It is the classic tale of boy meets girl, families forbid the love affair, and the lovers go against the wishes of their families. It’s a story about love and what happens when people try to interfere, because, as we all know, don’t tell people what to do when they’re in love.
Is it just us, or can this woman actually save the human race?
Sandra Bernhard rocks on stage, brightens up a scene whenever she’s got a co-starring TV gig, and happens to be one of the most outspoken comediennes/performance artists around. Fortunately, for us, Bernhard wants everybody to be ready—if not really conscious—for 2008. I caught up with The B recently and we got down and dirty. Read on …
Q: People love you here in Northern California.
A: And I love them.