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Jul 30th
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A&E

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Indie Spirit

Indie Spirit

Santa Cruz native subject of Sundance-winning documentary

Edmund McMillen remembers the moment when his professional ambitions became apparent. He was a freshman at Soquel High School, when a local independent artist named Clay Butler visited as a guest speaker.

“I just thought he was the coolest guy in the world,” says McMillen. “I knew that I wanted to do exactly what he did, which was whatever he wanted. Just to get paid for being creative and doing your own stuff. And I knew it wasn’t a very lucrative career because you risk a lot to do it, but I could just tell right away that if I had the ability to do that I would be very happy.”

That revelation was only the beginning of a long process of making his dreams a reality, but the payoff has been substantial. Now an independent video game developer, McMillen is a subject in the documentary Indie Game: The Movie, winner of the World Cinema Documentary Editing Award at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, and an official selection for the SXSW Film Festival later this month. The film will be screening at The Rio Theatre on March 2, followed by a Q&A with the film’s directors, Lisanne Pajot and James Swirsky, as well as McMillen and his partner Tommy Refenes.

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A Picture’s Worth

A Picture’s Worth

Local photographer Kalie Ilana Cassel-Feiss weaves art and activism

Brightly colored strands of cotton slant taut into the hands of an indigenous Guatemalan woman weaver, wearing an intricately patterned skirt. Similarly elaborate shawls and scarves hang in the background and hint at the handiwork the woman is about to create. The scene is captured in a photograph taken by local photographer/painter Kalish (Kalie) Ilana Cassel-Feiss, as part of a series entitled “Weaving Women Guatemala.”

Cassel-Feiss explains that the woman in the photograph is weaving with thread made of cotton flowers, which the women in an indigenous Mayan village spun and colored by hand with dyes from local plants.

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Circles of Mathematical Women

Circles of Mathematical Women

Dancers pay homage to mathematical foremothers

The relationship between women and mathematics is historically underappreciated. But despite adversity, women, often self-taught, have made significant discoveries in the field.

The earliest known female mathematician was Hypatia, an intellectual in ancient Alexandria. She was murdered in AD 415 by a Christian mob for what they called pagan, unladylike behavior. Émilie du Châtelet cross-dressed so she could attend lectures in the 1700s, Sophie Germain published under a male pseudonym in the early 1800s, and Emmy Noether gave lectures under the name of a male colleague in the early 1900s.

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Blurring Borders

Blurring Borders

Lila Downs to perform a multicultural show of ‘sins and miracles’ at The Mello

Singer-songwriter Lila Downs’ work has always been about blurring borderlines—international, cultural, racial, and musical. The daughter of a Mixtec Indian singer and Scottish-American professor, she grew up listening to her mother rendering Lola Beltrán’s heartfelt rancheras and her father crooning Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land.”

From her early multicultural influences, Downs began to create music that was a cutting-edge synthesis of traditional Mexican ballads with American jazz, folk, blues and rock, infused with indigenous sounds. She lives a cross-border life, residing and performing in both Mexico and the United States. And the songs she sings often tell the story of people whose lives straddle cultural and international boundaries, giving voice to the uprooted and disenfranchised, as well as honoring the stories they carry from their homeland.

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Beautiful Disaster

Beautiful Disaster

Local artist Glenn Carter invites Santa Cruzans to discover beauty in the mess

Powerful reactions are commonplace when it comes to Glenn Carter’s art. During the 2011 Open Studios tour, the Santa Cruz artist recalls being approached by a spectator who had come through the exhibit feeling intensely affected. “It was toward the end of her visit and she remarked how stirring all the work was for her on a very deep level,” Carter says. “And then she welled up with tears, saying ‘Thank you for this.’ Seeing someone moved to that level of deep and sincere feeling is the highest compliment I could hope to receive.”

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Happy Endings

Happy Endings

UCSC alumna returns with one-woman show about her experience in hospice

It was during one of her first visits as a hospice worker that Taren Sterry realized something significant. “His name was Don,” says Sterry, as she recalls her patient. “We were sitting at his kitchen table. And I had a very clear thought that none of the books or studying or papers that I had read up until that point had prepared me for the job that I was there to do, which was simply to be present with another human being.”

The visit was just one of many during a six-month ethnographic field study as part of the community studies major at UCSC. Inspired by a course taught by Wendy Martyna about death and dying, Sterry chose to work with terminally ill patients and their families. “After about three classes I knew that was what I wanted to study,” she says. “I loved stories, I still do. I love learning about people’s lives. I love hearing about how people make meaning out of their lives.”

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Pushing the Envelope

Pushing the Envelope

‘What Is Erotic?’ makes its seventh run at The 418

ll through history, artists have been pushing us to examine our views of what is and isn’t erotic, with subjects ranging from the relatively tame (Francisco Goya’s “La Maja Desnuda”) to the extremely challenging (Mapplethorpe’s photography, Rod Stewart’s “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?”). Santa Cruz keeps this tradition alive via “What Is Erotic?”a festive and daring fundraiser for The 418 Project. Themed “In the Boudoir,” this year’s event—the seventh overall—hits The 418 on the weekends before and after Valentine’s Day.

The fun, bawdy character of “What Is Erotic?” will be evident right from the Pre-Show Erotic Salon: Staying in character, the actors will playfully interact with audience members. Moondance O’Brien, one of this year’s performers, reveals that the show’s cast and crew refers to the members of this “welcoming committee” as “fluffers.” “Some people might be feather ticklers; some people might be reciting poetry; some people might be offering spankings,” she explains. Other performers will hand-feed chocolate-dipped strawberries to audience members. All such interaction is consent-oriented, but O’Brien ventures that “the majority of people who come to this show have a sense of what they’re going to experience. They’re pretty eager.”

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The Poems of David Swanger

The Poems of David SwangerEditor’s note:  This week’s Poetry Corner features David Swanger, the second Santa Cruz County Poet Laureate. Swanger has received fellowships in poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts and the California Arts Council. He has written a book about poetry, “The Poem as Process,” a book about aesthetic education, “Essays in Aesthetic Education,” as well as four books of poems. His most recent book of poems, “Wayne’s College of Beauty,” won the John Ciardi Prize in Poetry, and was a finalist in Fore Word’s Book of the Year Awards.
Natural Disaster
(January 1982, Santa Cruz County)
 
Overflow advances across strawberry
fields, insinuates streets and suddenly
everyone has a house on the water. And
such rich, redolent water, water carrying
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In Style, In Love

In Style, In Love

Local ‘green’ fashion designer infuses Buddhist teachings into her clothing and bag line

Spirituality and fashion. They seem so … out of style. How often do you run across an article in Vogue about a leading designer who’s focused on putting a spiritual spin on the construction of his or her garments? Praise God and wear high heels? Follow Buddha and slip into something slinky? It seems like an unlikely pairing—as unlikely as wearing a trench coat in the dead heat of summer. But there are some fashion designers who are trying to make a difference with their creative work by way of constructing fashionable attire that offers a positive message. Case in point—Anastasia Keriotis, the 51-year-old founder of Dharma Love, a wildly successful local “green” design company whose wares can be seen in stores around the county and in numerous Whole Foods markets.

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Ready to B.I.K.E.?

Ready to B.I.K.E.?

Bike Dojo unveils new program that links kids in need with bikes—and exercise

In 2010 the Outdoor Foundation reported that cycling is the second most popular activity. But while that may not be “news” to the many avid cyclists here in Santa Cruz, another factoid may raise eyebrows and force people to take action: More than 50 percent of children don’t have a bicycle or don’t even know how to ride. The statistics also note that more kids know how to play video and computer games than those who know how to ride a bike.  

But not for long.

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Picture of Health

Santa Cruz just received a high ranking among California counties. But it may be hiding some of the biggest health dangers facing our area

 

Mars Enters Scorpio: The Nine Tests

Over the years I’ve mentioned the nine tests of Mars and Scorpio. The tests are given to everyone—unawakened, beginning to awaken, and the awakened. The purpose is to test our strength, courage, ability to adapt, discriminate and have discernment. To see if we are deceived by illusion or are “warriors triumphant, emerging from the battle.”

 

Final Cut

Cedar Street Video to close after 10 years at downtown location

 

Time Capsule

Actors age in real time in audacious, mesmerizing ‘Boyhood’
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Foodie File: Maharaja

Chef Didar Singh on Royal Taj’s reincarnation as Maharaja

 

I remember Santa Cruz when…

Santa Cruz | Librarian

 

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

 

Muns Vineyard Rosé of Pinot Noir

This vivacious cherry-pink Rosé is a simply beautiful summer wine.