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Apr 24th
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A&E

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If Walls Could Talk

If Walls Could Talk

Local muralist, Elijah Pfotenhauer, literally paints the town red

While most people would classify Elijah Pfotenhauer as a “working artist”—he makes a living by teaching art to children, painting murals, and painting live at local cafes—spend a little time with him, and it becomes clear that “living artist” is a more appropriate term. That’s because Pfotenhauer utilizes art whenever he can to interact with his environment.

“When I was young, I used [art] a lot more for awkward times, for looking at myself internally,” he says. “As I’ve progressed, it’s a way to escape, but it’s also a way to address your surroundings as well, and engage them.”

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Poetry Corner

Poetry Corner

Editor’s note: This week’s Poetry Corner features Kevin Simmonds, a San Francisco-based writer, musician, and filmmaker, originally from New Orleans. His books include “Mad for Meat,” “Collective Brightness: LGBTIQ Poets on Faith, Religion & Spirituality,” and “Ota Benga Under My Mother’s Roof.” He wrote the music for “HOPE: Living and Loving with HIV in Jamaica,” which won a 2009 Emmy Award.

July in St. Helena
vine workers pass like la brisa calma
though my windows
as i ease up on the gas to San Francisco
an hour away
one dirty white man against a newspaper rack
by Walgreens waiting
for anyone to look
i will but won’t say sorry
i don’t have a job either
& poetry doesn’t change that
the slant of sorry
doesn’t ease his tightened throat
when the vine worker hears
there are five too many & he
may be one of them
saying in his mind
mi hija mi hija
like Hail Mary without the beads
now dangling from his rear view
what is want   what is need
what’s sweat without the breeze
my stepfather would say
in his wide brimmed hat staring
at how delicate i would always be
how scared he was of that

Aunt Jemima  
My momma put a scarf ‘round my head when I was a child. I can’t hardly remember my head without it. It don’t even come off no more. I dream of combs, of a man undoing the knot, taking me away somewhere.

I comfort. Sticky sweet maple flow of bosom they been sucking since 1889. Uncle Ben know what I’m talking ‘bout. We comfort.  

Flat worlds stacked one on top the other. I holds them together.  

Never mind that update they say they did 20 years ago, when they replaced my scarf and gave me pearls and a lace collar. That ain’t me.

Tell me something sweet, something that’ll stick and undo the knots I known.

An Old Man Carrying His Catheter Bag
white-haired vapor
in khakis
shuffling down a street

held it waist high
a flag
signaling the body

solid   liquid   gas
the body comes
to all three

I am bile
as I am wit
I drink to live in this body

See to it that you revere
this gold
this gold
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The Golden Ticket

The Golden Ticket

Portland indie rockers, AU, take a page from Willy Wonka on latest effort

Luke Wyland says there is an "eerie similarity" between how he looked as a child and Peter Ostrum's depiction of Charlie Bucket in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.

"Yeah," Wyland says, reflecting on the parallels between his formative years and the 1971 Gene Wilder classic. "I definitely grew up immersed in imagination."

In fact, it is still very common for the lead singer and songwriter of Portland bliss-rockers AU (pronounced "ay-you") to get lost in his thoughts and daydreams. "It certainly has carried over into my adult life," he says of his bond with that fortunate young lad who found the last golden ticket.

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Handicapable

Handicapable

Emmanuel Yeboah brings his inspiring life journey to Inner Light Ministries

It is widely considered a curse to be born disabled in Ghana, West Africa. If you are not poisoned or left for dead, you will most likely spend your life begging on the streets. Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah was born in Ghana in 1977 with a severely deformed right leg. Lucky enough to be raised by a supportive mother, Yeboah became a national hero at age 25 when he successfully rode his bicycle, one-legged, across Ghana in 2002.

Yeboah says he was inspired to complete the ride because he wanted to change the perceptions of disabled people.

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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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We Can Rebuild You

A look back at how downtown Santa Cruz recovered from the 1989 earthquake

 

International Earth Day—Mother Earth Day

Every April 22, humanity celebrates International Mother Earth Day and Earth Day. As more than a billion people participate in Earth Day activities every year, Earth Day has become the world’s largest civic observance. The massive concern to build right relations between humanity and the living being we call Earth is evidence of humanity’s love of the Mother. In 2009, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed April 22 International Mother Earth Day, with a significant resolution affirming “the interdependence existing among human beings, other living species (the kingdoms—mineral, plant, animal and human) and the planet itself, the Earth which we all inhabit.” The Earth is our home. Celebrating Earth Day helps us define new emerging processes (economic, social, political) focused on the well-being of the kingdoms. Through these, humanity seeks to raise the quality of life, foster equality and begin to establish right relations with the Earth. We dedicate ourselves to bringing forth balance and a relationship of harmony with all of nature. Learn about planting a billion trees (the Canopy Project); participate in 1.5 billion acts of green. Disassociation (toward Earth) is no longer viable. We lose our connection to life itself. Participation is viable—an anchor, refuge and service for all of life on Earth. Visit earthday.org; harmonywithnatureun.org; and un.org/en/events/motherearthday for more information. From Farmers Almanac, “On Earth Day, enjoy the tonic of fresh air, contact with the soil, companionship with nature! Go barefooted. Walk through woods, find wildflowers and green moss. Remain outside, no matter the weather!” Nature, Earth’s most balanced kingdom, heals us. The New Group of World Servers is preparing for the May 3 Wesak Buddha Taurus solar festival. We prepare through asking for and offering forgiveness. Forgiveness purifies and like nature, heals.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Mission Critical

How reading Lisa Jensen’s reviews taught me to love film
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Oral Fixations

Blown away by a Tuesday night dinner at Oswald

 

What would you like to see a TED talk about?

Hydrogen-gas cars that are coming this summer. Scott Oliver, Santa Cruz, Professor

 

Sarah’s Vineyard

Sarah’s Vineyard of Gilroy is known for crafting fine wines—and one of my all-time favorites is its Chardonnay. But this time, its Viognier has my vote.

 

Munch

East Coast meets West Coast in new meat lover’s paradise