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Nov 01st
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Reviews and Times

Film - Reviews and Times

Somewhere North of Up

Somewhere North of Up

The adventurous Chris Sharma on tough rock climbs and what life looks like on top of the world
Chris Sharma has a firm grip on life. He needs the tight handhold because he’s often dangling by just a few fingers, death or injury close by. Such is the life of the world’s best rock climber. At 26, the Santa Cruz native, who now spends more time away from his hometown than in it, is the type of daredevil that will scour the world, hunting for the most challenging climb that planet Earth can offer.

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Film - Reviews and Times

The Hair and How to Spray it

The Hair and How to Spray it

How newcomer Nikki Blonsky went from wannabe to gotta-see in ‘Hairspray’

The message in Hairspray is loud and clear: Embrace being different. That may be yesterday’s news to a gaggle of gays and lesbians, but in a day and age when even something as retro as prejudice wants to make a comeback, the message can’t be heard often enough. Hopefully with “Hairspray” hitting theaters this month, something will stick. The new John Waters-inspired film musical, based on the Broadway hit, which was inspired by Waters’ ’70s cult classic—Oy!—could very well become summer’s brightest offerings. Handsomely directed and choreographed by Adam Shankman, the movie offers the same sort of zing once found in Grease or Little Shop of Horrors. A delight from beginning to end, the story chronicles the misadventures of Tracy Turnblad (newcomer Nikki Blonsky), “a big girl with big hair and an even bigger heart.” Tracy’s got one passion—dancing—and a bold dream of appearing on “The Corny Collins Show,” Baltimore’s wildest television dance party.

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Film - Reviews and Times

Watch Your Step

Watch Your Step

Actor-director David Arquette unleashes his cinematic odyssey, ‘The Tripper,’ at the Santa Cruz Film Festival | by Christa Martin


After numerous e-mails, phone calls and waiting around for two weeks for an interview with David Arquette, I’m on the verge of giving up. Right then, my phone rings. “Hi, this is David Arquette,” says the film and television star, much to my amazement. We exchange pleasantries and he offers apologies for the confusion over scheduling an interview. OK, all is forgiven. He’s a really nice guy.

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Film - Reviews and Times

The Bold and the Badass

The Bold and the Badass

In ‘Grindhouse,’ Freddy Rodriguez morphs into one fiery little torpedo

He went from playing a befuddled undertaker’s assistant in the cable hit Six Feet Under to slowly becoming a memorable presence on the big screen. His name is Freddy Rodriguez and after watching Grindhouse, the cinematic double whammy from directing titans Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez, you bound to remember him. Last seen playing a compassionate busboy in the critical hit Bobby—he also turned heads playing a struggling immigrant in Fast Food Nation—Rodriguez warp speeds past his typically “Mr. Nice” demeanor to  fully embody a machine-gun totin’ wild man opposite sexy siren Rose McGowan in Rodriguez’s segment of Grindhouse. In a round table interview with journalists, Rodriguez bares all.

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Film - Reviews and Times

Captivating Kennedy

Captivating Kennedy

The ’60s, RFK and the hope for great change blend well in a moving ‘Bobby’

There are people out there who will criticize writer director Emilio Estevez’s Bobby. I’m not one of those people.
Bobby is an extraordinary movie for a number of reasons. For starters, you know within the first few frames what Mr. Estevez is doing. He wants you to absorb the legacy of the Robert F. Kennedy. He wants you to hear the late senator’s words. He wants you see his face in old footage, where the man is often seen gracefully interacting with the people of 1968, all of whom appear to have hung their very last hopes on Kennedy’s idealism.

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Film - Reviews and Times

Super-sized ‘Nation’

Super-sized ‘Nation’


‘Fast Food Nation’ author Eric Schlosser ponders the big-screen version of his best-selling read

There’s nothing daring about putting creativity on the side rather than having it be the juiciest of part of a celluloid meal. Fortunately, Fast Food Nation doesn’t do that. In fact, it’s a savory cinematic outing.

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Film - Reviews and Times

John Cameron Mitchell: Shortbus it

John Cameron Mitchell: Shortbus it

The Hedwig alum opens up—real wide

If you think John Cameron Mitchell turned heads—or was it wigs?—earlier this decade with the film version of his stage hit, Hedwig and The Angry Inch, you really haven't seen anything yet. In Shortbus, a hypnotic, visual, soul-stirring, gem, the writer-director takes audiences inside the lives of fractured twentysomethings desperate to find deep connection. Most try to find it via sex. But the allure proves futile. In one of the artists' most daring feats, he boldly illuminates what haunts us beyond the sheets.

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Film - Reviews and Times

Embracing Amy

Embracing Amy

The wild rise of Amy Sedaris's alter ego and why it's coming to a movie theater near you

When a 47-year-old ex-con junky-whore with one hell of an overbite leaves the slammer and heads home, she's surprised to find her daddy has lapsed into a coma. Believing that if she just made him proud, he would see the light of day again, she decides that the best way to turn her life around is pick up right where she left off: As a freshman in high school. Welcome to Strangers With Candy—and Jerri Blank, Amy Sedaris's mind-bending alter ego. Strangers is the audacious big screen transformation of the cult Comedy Central hit spawned by Sedaris, Stephen Colbert and Paul Dinello back in 1999.

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Film - Reviews and Times

Lily Tomlin Gives In

Lily Tomlin Gives In

Lady Lily unveils the deeper truths about life—and working with Robert Altman

Let’s get one thing straight: Lily Tomlin loved morphing into the characters of Edith Ann and Ernestine on stage and in the hit ’70s show Laugh-In, but she also relished working with a phenom like Robert Altman (Short  Cuts, Gosford Park). The revered director did, after all, cast Tomlin in her big screen, Oscar-nominated debut in 1975’s Nashville, a film that launched a bevy of careers, Cybil Shepherd and Jeff Bridges among them. Altman is also at the helm of this June’s A Prairie Home Companion, a vibrant ensemble piece in which Tomlin co-stars alongside Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, Virginia Madsen, Woody Harleson and the avuncular Garrison Keillor—it’s based on Keillor’s

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Film - Reviews and Times

King Kong: Great Ape

King Kong: Great Ape

With ‘Kong,’ Peter Jackson uncages a bold, fascinating new look at an old beast

Director Peter Jackson may be a complex man, but his approach filmmaking is simple: he dives into his task as if it was a Midwestern smorgasbord and doesn’t come up for air until he’s consumed every last morsel of that fifth portion of vanilla bean dessert pudding. And aren’t we all the better for it?  Jackson’s work, this decade in particular, is just epic. Who could argue that his Oscar-winning Lord of the Rings trilogy took cinema to new heights—all that state-of-the-art digital dancing; the grand achievement of bringing Tolkien’s revered lit to the screen; storytelling, reborn at last, at the cineplex. Marvelous. Give the man awards, and keep feeding him, please.

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Jawing

Monterey Bay scientists are working to crack the mysteries of—and dispel the myths about—great whites. But in the highly contentious world of shark experts, there’s a fin line between love and hate

 

Altars of Remembrance, Forgiveness & Rapprochement

We’re in Scorpio now—things mysterious, ageless, hidden, sometimes scary. Friday is Halloween; Saturday, All Saints Day; Sunday, All Soul’s Day. Sunday morning at 2 a.m. (after midnight), Daylight Savings Time ends. Clocks are turned back. Tuesday is the General Election. Our vote is our voice. Each vote matters. Applying freedom of choice—Libra’s teachings. It’s time to build Halloween, All Saints and All Souls altars—with marigolds, pumpkins, sugar skeletons, copal (incense), pomegranates, persimmons, candy corn and cookies, orange and black. It’s so Saturn (now in Scorpio). Saturn is the dweller on the threshold (like St. Peter at the gates of heaven). Saturn can look like a Halloween creature—a gargoyle—a fantastic dragon-like creature protecting sacred sites. The dweller (Saturn) stands at the door or threshold of sacred mysteries, wisdom temples, inner sanctums of churches, offering protection, scaring evil away. The last day of October and first two days of November, when veils between worlds thin and spirits roam about, are times of remembrance, forgiveness, reconciliation and rapprochement. These actions liberate us. At death, when reviewing our lives and the consequences of our actions if we have forgiven, then we are free, less encumbered with grief and sadness. We place forgiveness on our altars. Happy Halloween, everyone! It’s good to dress up as what we’re afraid of. Or whom we would mentor. Then we become one with them. Note to readers: by Thanksgiving I will need a place to live (with purpose). Please contact me if you know of a place where I can rest for awhile. Teach and build community. [email protected] I will be leaving my mother’s home for the last time.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of October 31

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Back Nine Grill & Bar

The secrets of remodeling and juicy steak

 

What is Santa Cruz’s biggest eyesore?

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Alberti Vineyards

Looking for some blood-red wine for your Halloween party? Then I have a recommendation for a new brew.

 

Turning Point

New revolving restaurant on the wharf, plus Cafe Ivéta and the last great Jack cheese