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Jul 22nd
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Theatre

A&E - Theater

Off the Cuff

Off the Cuff

Hilarity and humanity collide at the Santa Cruz Improv Fest

For those with a basic familiarity of improvisational theater, the words "improv" and "comedy" may be so closely related as to be virtually synonymous. Due in large part to the success of the television program Whose Line is it Anyway? and the ComedySportz live improv franchise, the theater genre is commonly associated with short-form gag-sprees, chock full of puns and one-liners.

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A&E - Theater

Inner Demons

Inner Demons

Local artists explore emotions—the good, the bad, and the ugly—in new dance theater showcase

This isn't the first time that Per Haaland and Carol Fields have collaborated on performance art, but it might be their best effort yet.

Haaland—a local dance theater stalwart—has produced a provocative piece, entitled “But I Will Stay,” which focuses on the idea of attaining enlightenment and accepting emotion. Whereas Fields has created a multimedia performance, called “Exit Through a Revolving Door,” which presents the joys and perils of working as both an artist and in the tech industry. This weekend, the pair will present their united artistic visions in two showings at The 418 Project in Downtown Santa Cruz.

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A&E - Theater

G is for Gangsta

G is for Gangsta

Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs earns street cred with edgy and experimental pop

Though 33-year-old Merrill Garbus is the master of mimicking sounds, has the ability to sing in all sorts of pitches—first apparent in tUnE-yArDs’ 2009 debut, BiRd-BrAiNs—and is frequently decked out in eye-catching face paint, that’s about as far as her relation to birds goes.

“I like imitating things with my voice,” says Garbus. “There is something pleasurable about that—this idea that I’m not stuck with having to be any one voice, but that I can be free to explore that voice.” Though born and raised in Connecticut, the singer/songwriter is now thoroughly thriving in Oakland, Calif., a city which, along with the rest of the Bay Area, Garbus finds both fashionable and liberating.

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A&E - Theater

Beyond the Breakup

Beyond the Breakup

Dietzman & Co. examines heartbreak in debut showcase

It all started with a rough break up. Well, two actually. “Literally we were offered the show, my partner and I broke up a week later, and then I moved to Santa Cruz,” says Sierrah Dietz, co-director of “It Just Is,” an upcoming dance showcase. The performances run April 13-15 at Motion at the Mill.

Dietz’ longtime friend and fellow choreographer, Molly Katzman, was also experiencing a difficult breakup at the time when the pair was given the opportunity to direct the production. “When we were questioning what this show was going to be about, it was so clear that that was where I was,” explains Dietz. “I couldn’t vocalize anything that was going on for me and I just needed to get it out somehow.”

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A&E - Theater

Splitting Heirs

Splitting Heirs

Toxic family ties explored in JTC's engrossing 'Hello & Goodbye'

Two of Santa Cruz's best known and most dependable actors receive a gift of a play in the Jewel Theatre Company's new production of Athol Fugard's “Hello & Goodbye”—a gift that keeps on giving to local audiences in this intense evening of dramatic theater. Played with both terrific brio and aching subtlety by Mike Ryan and Julie James, and directed by Bay Area theater veteran Jessica Heidt, Fugard's two-character drama emerges as an incisive, microcosmic look at family, class, and cultural dysfunction in South Africa of the recent past.

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A&E - Theater

‘Becoming Britney’

‘Becoming Britney’

How this bold, inventive original musical conceived by Bay Area locals is suddenly the hottest ticket in town. Head to the Retro Dome!

Let’s face it, Britney Spears is an acquired taste. The headlines. The turmoil. The shaved head. How much are we willing to tolerate from our pop divas?

A lot, apparently.

Still, we always seem to come back to the troubled singer, to use her vernacular, “one more time.”

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A&E - Theater

Tip of the Tongue

Tip of the Tongue

Local improv troupe, Freefall, throws out script in favor of drama

The idea of being onstage in front of a sold-out audience without a script is the stuff of nightmares. But one person’s terror is another’s ultimate thrill—especially if you’re one of the five talented members of the Santa Cruz-based Freefall Improvisational Theater troupe.

“One of the biggest payoffs is when you’re on stage and you don’t know why or how you’re doing what you’re doing,” says Bob Giges, one of Freefall’s founding members. “You really have no conscious control of what you’re doing. It’s just like, ‘Hey I’m going there,’ and your mind can’t really catch up with it. You do things that are faster and funnier and more intense than your mind could ever do. It takes you over and when you have that experience of being immersed into that so much it’s just ... like nothing else in my life.”

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A&E - Theater

Time For ‘Tidings’

Time For ‘Tidings’

Cabrillo Stage aims to hit a high note with its festive new show, ‘Plaid Tidings’
It’s the Christmas season: trees, stockings, gifts, chestnuts … and pepper spray in faces while shopping. Things are both festive and chaotic at this time of year when the weather gets chilly and shoppers forget the reason for the season. A cure to the madness—get in touch with the nostalgic side of the holiday. Gather around a piano and sing a few classic tunes with family and friends. Sip some hot chocolate away from the crowds. Sit by a toasty fire and wrap gifts slowly and mindfully. And for a serious splash of holiday cheer, maintain the nostalgic sense of things by taking in an upbeat musical at Cabrillo Stage. On Dec. 16, the musical theater company launches “Plaid Tidings,” a sequel to the original show, “Forever Plaid,” which played at Cabrillo Stage in 2008. This show is full of glad tidings, slapstick jokes, and lots of old, memorable Christmas songs.

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A&E - Theater

Holiday Cheer

Holiday Cheer

Delightful SSC 'Frog & Toad' is exuberant fun for all ages

You don't have to know the “Frog and Toad” series of children's books by Arnold Lobel to fall in love with “A Year With Frog and Toad,” the new holiday production from Shakespeare Santa Cruz. In a fleet, satisfying (and very child-friendly) 70 minutes—sans intermission—this lively production keeps kids and adults rapt with jazzy songs, inventive design, good humor, and heart. They might as well tie a giant red ribbon around the UC Santa Cruz Mainstage Theater—this production is such a big, happy holiday gift to the community.

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A&E - Theater

Green Piece

Green Piece

Embrace all things amphibian in Shakespeare Santa Cruz’ and the UCSC Theater Arts Department’s new offering

Move over Kermit, there’s another famous frog in town for the holidays. But instead of a motley muppet, this one is based on a character from the beloved children’s tales, “Frog and Toad.” Though officially the winter production of Shakespeare Santa Cruz, the local theatrical powerhouse has teamed up with the UC Santa Cruz Theater Arts Department to produce a Broadway-endorsed musical treat.

Based on a series of children’s books written in the 1970s by Arnold Lobel, the “Frog and Toad” stories outline the adventures and misadventures of a friendly frog and a cantankerous toad as they negotiate the ups and downs of living a woodland life. A loveable assortment of forest creatures join them on occasion to create a panoply of engaging characters that entertain as well as teach various life lessons. The effect is that the story creates the perfect opportunity for adorable little animals to sing Disney-esque show tunes. But it wasn’t until 2002 that Lobel’s daughter Adrianne, saw the characters’ musical potential, that she commissioned the production. Thus, “A Year With Frog and Toad” was born. The peppy, G-rated musical quickly became a hit, finding its way to Broadway and becoming nominated for not one, but three Tony Awards, including Best Musical, in 2003. Since then, the production has remained a family-centric favorite in regional theater circuits across the country.

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Art Files: Opposites Attract

Using found objects, Victoria May seeks beauty in dichotomy and tension, the creepy and absurd

 

A Year of Creative Self-Expression

Wednesday, after a year in Cancer’s nourishing waters, Jupiter enters fiery Leo. Next Tuesday, the sun joins Jupiter in Leo. Leo is the sign of the three fires of life, of seeking our individuality, our gifts and talents. Life for the next year will be quite dramatic, expressive, creative and generous. Jupiter, the heart of Aquarius, is the planet of expansion and truth, distributing Ray 2 of Love and Wisdom.

 

Final Cut

Cedar Street Video to close after 10 years at downtown location

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of July 18

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
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Desserts at Seabright’s La Posta, a pop-up breakfast, local ethnic cuisine, and a long-lost varietal 

 

What is the most outrageous thing you did as a kid?

Santa Cruz | Retired

 

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

 

Loma Prieta’s Pinotage

Although drinking alone is not half as much fun as drinking with others, after a busy day of dashing around, I came home and poured myself a glass or two of Loma Prieta’s Pinotage 2010 (saving a bit for my husband). There’s something about taking that first sip of a worthy wine that gives one an all-over glow.