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Jun 30th
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Theatre

A&E - Theater

Captivating Cirque

Captivating Cirque

Breathtaking ‘Quidam’ Delves Into Deeper Emotions

When you think about a Cirque du Soleil show, it’s all about that big tent, the stunning acts and the fascinating modern circus-like revelry. Well that, and so much more, but as “Quidam,” one of Cirque’s longest running shows, hits the Bay Area this week, we may be in for a surprise.
And a pleasant one at that.

A slight veer off the track of most Cirque shows, “Quidam” doesn’t take us into an “imaginary realm” of quirky yet fascinating and often larger-than- life characters. It’s more of an examination of our own world. Reality—really? Yes. Here, we experience a land inhabited by people with real-life concerns.

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A&E - Theater

Xanadu: Roll With It, Baby, And You’ll Have a Ball

Xanadu: Roll With It, Baby, And You’ll Have a Ball

Dreams do come true—“Xanadu,” that curious movie musical/box office blunder of the 1980s, is still worthy of our attention. After morphing into a stage musical several years ago, it surprised everyone by becoming one of Broadway’s rockin’ hits. It broke box office records for the stage at the time and somehow managed to warm hearts in the process.

Why?

The original film, which starred Olivia Newton-John as a beautiful mythical Greek muse trying to help an L.A. artist’s dreams come, took itself way too seriously. True, there were hit songs like “Magic,” “Suddenly,” “All Over The World” and, of course, “Xanadu,” but on stage, thanks to crafty creative shenanigans of the show’s creators—Douglas Carter Beans (book) and Jeff Lynne and John Farrar (music and lyrics)—camp is taken to a new level. And on roller skates to boot! Fun.

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A&E - Theater

A New Jewel

A New Jewel

Jewel Theatre Company takes over the Actors’ Theatre space
Julie James has some big shoes to fill. And we think she’ll do just fine. As the artistic director of Jewel Theatre Company, one of Santa Cruz’s only equity theater companies, James has decided to ratchet things up significantly with her constantly sold-out theater performances by securing Jewel a home base—the old Actors’ Theatre digs. Actors’ Theatre, a long-time Santa Cruz venue for plays created by the resident company at the time (Actors’ Theatre), and many other shows that have passed through its halls, has moved out of the building. The empty space paved the way for James and her company, Jewel, to take over as the resident company.

The big shoes are the memories that Actors’ Theatre leaves in that building on Center Street. There, the annual 8 10s @ 8 has happened (and will continue to as James is already in conversations to keep that event ongoing). In addition, Actors’ Theatre raised up a cadre of directors, producers, and actors in Santa Cruz, and offered classes, workshops, and much more throughout the years.

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A&E - Theater

Sweet Dreams?

Sweet Dreams?

Cabrillo Stage welcomes ‘Scrooge’
Christmas Carol” may be a tale as old as time, but for 33-year-old award-winning actor Tony Panighetti, Cabrillo Stage’s winter playbill is an opportunity to breathe new life into one of literature’s most reviled villains.

Ebenezer Scrooge is a complex fellow. Stingy to a fault, the rickety old businessman would be the last person to lend you a quarter for the parking meter. He is, however, not impervious to change.

With the help of his deceased business partner Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmases Past, Present and Yet to Come—think Jiminy Cricket meets Sleeping Beauty’s Three Good Fairies—he finds the spirit of the holiday.

For Panighetti, therein lies the beauty of the Dickensian anti-hero.

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A&E - Theater

Discovering a Jewel

Discovering a Jewel

Santa Cruz’s own equity theater company soars
In an era when the arts are still getting hit hard financially, and money is so tight that people are hawking things at pawn shops, occasionally, some good rises out of the ashes. And when that good is in the form of the arts, it’s even more inspiring. That’s exactly what’s been happening lately with Jewel Theatre, a local theater company which continues to garner attention for its plays, and for its professional theater status as the only equity company in town, other than Shakespeare Santa Cruz. Just months ago, the company debuted its play, “Clouds,” set at the Broadway Playhouse, directed by renowned local theater director Susan Myer Silton. This time around, Jewel is putting on a production of the musical, “Company,” directed by its own founder and artistic director, Julie James.

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A&E - Theater

‘Street’ Jam

‘Street’ Jam

Unconventional methods work for this new play
We all know the drill: the ushers seat the audience, the lights dim, the curtain goes up, and the play begins.

But what happens when all theatrical boundaries are removed, blurring the separation between the on-stage drama and reality, with no clear start or finish? Santa Cruz producer Alan Fox is determined to find out. Last week, Fox debuted his second career production, an original musical called “The Street”—think “Cabaret” meets Amsterdam’s Red Light District.

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A&E - Theater

Tropical Punch

Tropical Punch

Lively cast makes the most of Cuba-set comedy 'Clouds'
Four men, one woman, a vintage Cadillac, and miles and miles of hot, dusty roads on the island of Cuba, 10 years after the Revolution. Are they in Paradise or Hell, on the road to destiny or disaster? The answer is all of the above as the opinions of these characters—and the audience—shift like errant trade winds from moment to moment, in Michael Frayn's comedy, “Clouds,” the lively inaugural production of the sixth season of Santa Cruz's own Jewel Theatre Company.

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A&E - Theater

Comedic ‘Clouds’

Comedic ‘Clouds’

Director Susan Myer Silton returns with a new—and funny—endeavor
She’s back. After a year-long sabbatical, revered local theater director Susan Myer Silton is back in the director’s chair, and this time around, she’s ratcheting everything up several notches. And that’s a hard feat, considering that Myer Silton is the co-founder and artistic director of the popular and edgy Pisces Moon theater company that for years has been turning out stellar dramatic work. But with her new play, “Clouds,” produced by Jewel Theatre of San Jose, Myer Silton is indeed upping the ante. This time around, she’s working with an equity company, and staging a play that’s using some equity actors, and in addition, she’ll play only the role of director this time. No longer does she have to write the grants, hire the lighting guy and so on. Her skills are purely focused on one thing—directing “Clouds,” which opens on Sept. 16 at the Broadway Playhouse in Santa Cruz.

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A&E - Theater

Busy Signals

Busy Signals

Our obsessions with cell phones becomes evident in new play
Gerry Gerringer, artistic director of Actors’ Theatre, is kicking off the company’s 26th season with a play you’ve probably never heard of. “Dead Man’s Cell Phone” may not have the theatrical history of a Shakespeare comedy, but it’s the perfect example of what’s hot right now in contemporary playwriting.

Sarah Ruhl, who was nominated for a 2010 Tony award for her play “In the Next Room,” wrote this new dark comedy, which revolves around Jean (Julia Cunningham), a woman who answers a stranger’s phone when it won’t stop ringing, only to find out that the man is dead. Rather than seek medical assistance for him, Jean gets herself entangled in his dysfunctional relationships with his alienated widow, his commanding mother and his mysterious mistress, and even falls in love with his lonely brother.

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A&E - Theater

Here and Now and There

Here and Now and ThereTandy Beal’s representation of the afterlife looks downright inviting
“HereAfterHere: A Self-guided Tour of Eternity” is a new musical produced by Tandy Beal that deals with a topic intimately connected to each and every one of us—death and the afterlife. Logically, we know this point in our lives is inevitable, yet no one seems to want to face the macabre topic head on. “HereAfterHere” will force you to confront your destiny in an honest and at-times humorous way and will leave you pondering the possibility of the afterlife like you never have before. 
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I Was a Teenage Deadhead

Memories of life on tour, plus the truth about that legendary Santa Cruz Acid Test

 

I Build a Lighted House and Therein Dwell

Wednesday, June 24, Chiron turns stationary retrograde (we turn inward) at 21.33 degrees Pisces. We usually speak of “retrograde” when referring to Mercury. But all planets retrograde. Next month in July, Venus retrogrades. What is Chiron retrograde? Chiron represents the wound within all of us. Wounds have purpose. They sensitize us; make us aware of pain and suffering. Through our wounds we develop compassion. Through compassion we become whole (holy) again. Chiron helps develop these states of consciousness. Everyone carries a wound. Everyone carries family wounds (family astrology tracks the astrological “DNA” through generations). Chiron wounds are deep within. We’re often not aware of them until Chiron retrogrades. Then the wounds (through pain, hurt, sadness, suffering) become apparent. They seem to break us open emotionally, psychologically. Painful events from the past are remembered. They are brought to the present for healing. Through experiencing, talking about and deeply feeling what is hurting us, healing takes place. We begin to understand and bring healing to others. All week, Jupiter and Venus move closer together in the sky. They meet in Leo at the full moon, Cancer solar festival, on Wednesday, July 1. The Cancer keynote is, “I build a lighted house and therein dwell.” The soul’s light has finally penetrated the “womb” of matter. The New Group of World Servers is to radiate this light. At the end of each sign are keywords to use and remember during the Chiron retrograde.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of June 26

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
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Kickin' Chicken

Local kitchen alchemist Justin Williams is fast becoming a cult flavor master. His late-night wizardry, which began last fall delivering mainly to starving UCSC students, is catching on with taste buds beyond campus. Kickin’ Chicken delivers its spicy-sweet fried chicken and waffles to Westside residents between 9 p.m. and 2 a.m. nightly. Or you can catch him and his brother and sister, Candice and Danny Mendoza, serving it up at their “Sunday Mass” at the Santa Cruz Food Lounge at 1001 Center St. in Santa Cruz. Using sous vide, a French method of cooking chicken in a water bath at a tightly controlled temperature, they then flash fry it for an amazingly crispy coat. Candice Mendoza spoke to GT about Kickin’ Chicken’s rise.

 

What’s a creative new approach to addressing summer beach litter?

Robotic dogs, with duct tape on their paws, that walk around picking up litter wherever they go. Joaquin Heinz, Santa Cruz, Barista

 

Pelican Ranch Winery

The most popular red wines found on store shelves are also those most commonly known, such as Pinot, Zinfandel and Merlot. But when you come across a more unusual varietal, like Pelican Ranch Winery’s Cinsault ($19), it opens up a whole new world. Cinsault is a grape that can tolerate heat, so it is found in countries with warmer climes such as Morocco, Algeria, Lebanon, and France. It’s rare in California but grows well in places like Lodi—Silvaspoons Vineyard in this particular case—where it’s hot and dry. Often used as a blending grape, the silky Cinsault is just fine on its own.

 

Open Wide

Soif’s soft reboot leads to expanded menu, plus the ‘thinking woman’s ketchup’