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Sep 02nd
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Theatre

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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A&E - Theater

The Reason to Be

The Reason to BeLocal Jewish Theatre company connects people with the Jewish experience

Every time they stage a new play, she’s remembered. Liliana Moraru, in many ways, was at the forefront of getting Santa Cruz’s Jewish Theatre launched, along with renowned local director/teacher Wilma Marcus Chandler and Claire Cameron. In 2009, Chandler gathered a group of actors and crewmembers, many connected with Temple Beth El in Aptos, and asked if they would be associated with putting together large-scale productions at the temple. However, the temple’s schedule wasn’t able to accommodate mounting major theater productions.

The next year, in 2010, the fledgling group morphed into a legitimate company with its first major production, “Crossing Delancey.” Moraru was supposed to be a part of the project, but sadly, she passed away before seeing the play. The company, now on its feet, knew its official name—The Liliana Moraru Santa Cruz Jewish Theatre. From there, the community theater group has been performing and producing steadily, with work that is either written by a Jewish person or has at the heart of the play a topic important to Jewish life.

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A&E - Theater

The World Accordion to Al

The World Accordion to Al

He’s lampooned hernias, morbid obesity and surgical catastrophies. Now Weird Al shows us the lighter side of the apocalypse.

It’s tempting to read between the lines of “Skipper Dan,” a Weezer-esque pop-rocker off “Weird Al” Yankovic’s latest album, Alpocalypse. Here, the veteran musical satirist sings from the perspective of an actor who starred in every high school play and graduated first in his class at Juilliard, only to end up as the tour guide on the Jungle Cruise ride at a Disney Park: “Now I’m laughing at my own jokes, but I’m crying inside … I should’ve listened when my grandfather said, ‘Why don’t you major in business instead?’” In light of Yankovic’s own academic creds (after scoring straight As throughout high school and graduating as valedictorian at age 16, he earned a degree in architecture at California Polytechnic State University), could this song be a veiled confession that he’s fed up with playing “My Balogna” and “Eat It” night after night?

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You Are What You Post

Online personality algorithms put astrological profiles to shame, but UCSC psychologists are raising questions about sharing personal data

 

Venus Direct, Mercury Retro Soon, Honoring Our Labors

As Burning Man (nine days, Aug. 30-Sept. 7 in the sign of Virgo) burns in the hot white desert sands, a petal of the rose created by retrograde Venus and the twelve-petaled Sun in Virgo’s petals unfold. All of us are on the burning ground (Leo) in the womb (cave of the heart) of the mother (Virgo), gestating for humanity once again (each year) a new state of consciousness. Both Virgo and Cancer, feminine (receptive energies) signs, are from our last solar system (Pleiades). When humanity first appeared on Earth we were nurtured by the mother, a matriarchy of energies (on islands in the Pacific). Eve, Isis and Mary are part of the lineages of our ancient Mother. Overseen by the Pleiades, the Earth (matter, mater, the mother) in that last solar system was imbued with intelligence (Ray 3). As we move toward autumn, another mother, Ceres realizes she has mere weeks left with her beloved daughter, Persephone. Persimmon and pomegranate trees prepare for autumn, their colors signs of hope as the light each day continues to dim. Sunday, Venus in Leo turns stationary direct, yet continues in her shadow until Oct. 9 (when retrograde Mercury turns direct). Slowly our newly assessed values emerge from the Venus retrograde. We thought in Venus retro how to use our resources more effectively. Mercury retrogrades Sept. 17. Monday is Labor Day. Let us honor the labor of everyone, all life a “labor.” Let us honor Labor Day and all those who have “served” (labored for) us this past year. We honor their labors. We honor the labor of our parents, those who have loved us. We honor our own labors, too. We are all in service, we are all laboring. We are all valuable.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Girl Gone Wild

’70s SF recalled in raw, poignant ‘Diary of a Teenage Girl’
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