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Oct 07th
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film_HIGHWATER-BethanyIt's the perfect antidote to a muggy summer evening: wave after wave of crystal-clear, turquoise walls of water towering some 20 feet up into the sky, then crashing down again in an explosion of surf, like shattering diamonds. These are the true stars of Dana Brown's latest surf documentary, Highwater, the gigantic, justly fabled waves off the North Shore of Oahu. Every so often you might notice a tiny human silhouette maneuvering a board under the curl or plowing over a crest, but mostly it's the natural spectacle of the thundering waves themselves, more than the people trying to ride them, that deserve the accolade "awesome." Brown (son of Bruce Brown, whose seminal The Endless Summer in 1966 set the standard for the genre) goes to the North Shore to document surfing's Triple Crown, a prestigious series of surf contests that cap the annual pro surfing circuit with a six-week climax in Oahu. (As one on-camera surf enthusiast explains, "Hawaii is a speed bump in the middle of the ocean," whose powerful break creates "the biggest ride-able waves on the planet.") Brown follows the pros, fans, wannabes, hangers-on, tourists, and locals from Haliewa Alii to Sunset Beach to the fearsome Banzai Pipeline. He follows the fortunes of various contestants throughout the three events, each with its individual winner, whose top scorers are then in competition for the title of Triple Crown Winner. Brown doesn't explain the scoring film_highwatersystem, who the judges are, or how they evaluate, so the details of the contest are a little hazy. He's more interested in the surfers themselves—from veterans Sunny Garcia (six-time Triple Crown Winner), Pat O'Connell and Kelly Slater to 13-year-old North Shore homeboy John John Florence. He builds up a little tourists vs. locals drama, celebrates the spirit of a place where lifeguarding is a career, and captures a genuine moment when the competition halts and the surfers paddle out to form a memorial circle for one of their own who never made it out of the pipe. (He also devotes a few well-meaning, if perfunctory, scenes to the North Shore women's surf competitions, still evidently deep in the shadow of the guys.) Hand-held guerrilla production values chip away a bit more of the film's potential. But if the sheer majesty of "the best waves in the world" floats your board, this movie won't disappoint. Not rated. 90 minutes. (★★1/2) | LJ

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Mercury Direct in Libra, Columbus Day, Libra New Moon

Mercury completes its retrograde Friday, poised stationary direct Friday evening at zero degrees Libra. Mercury begins its journey through Libra once again, completing its retrograde shadow Oct. 12. Things should be a bit less complicated by then. Daily life works better, plans move forward, large purchases can be made, and communication eases. Everything on hold during the retrograde is slowly released. Since we eliminated all thoughts and ideas no longer needed (the purpose of Mercury’s retrograde) during the retrograde, we can now gather new information—until the next retrograde occurs on Jan. 5, 2016 (1.3 degrees Aquarius), retrograding back to 15 degrees Capricorn on Jan. 25. It’s good to know beforehand when Mercury will retrograde next—Jan. 5, the day before Epiphany. On Monday is Columbus Day, when the sailor from Genoa arrived in the new lands (Americas), Oct. 12, 1492. This discovery by Columbus was the first encounter of Europeans with Native Americans. Other names for this day are “Discovery Day, Day of the Americas, Cultural Diversity Day, Indigenous People’s Day, and Dia de la Raza.” Italian communities especially celebrate this day. Oct. 12 is also Thanksgiving Day in Canada. Monday is also the (19 degrees) Libra new moon festival. Libra’s keynote while building the personality is, “Let choice be made.” Libra is the sign of making life choices. Often under great tension of opposing forces seeking harmony and balance. There is a battle between our lower (personality) and higher selves (soul). We are tested and called to cultivate right judgment and love. When we align with the will-to-good, right choice, then right judgment and love/wisdom come forth. Our tasks in Libra. 


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