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Aug 29th
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A&E

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Oakland Museum

Oakland Museum

Freshly Redesigned it is a California Dream
The new director of the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History in Santa Cruz, Nina Simon, champions “the participative museum” and promises to make MAH a more interactive place, part of the daily life of the community. For tangible evidence of how exhilarating a “participative museum” can be, visit the redesigned Oakland Museum of California.

The museum has three components:  the recently redesigned California art and California history buildings, and a natural sciences building which reopens in 2012.  Originally dedicated in 1969 as the “museum of the people,” the post-modernist Kevin Roche-architected building was lauded then as an example of innovative museum design. Sprawling over four city blocks in the Lake Merritt side of downtown Oakland, its scored concrete exterior rises forbiddingly above street level, but atop the broad, welcoming staircase the concrete forgets to be fortress-like. Light plays dramatically on the interlocking planes of buildings and staircases and leads the visitor to arbors and gardens, restaurant and inviting tables amid trees and nooks where artworks delight. A huge Viola Frey figure guards the entrance to the art wing.

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Match Games

Match Games

How are couples navigating pinched bank accounts in a shaky economy?
After nine years as a marketing manager, Santa Cruz resident Jack Carr, 35, was laid off from his job. It was 2009, the height of the economic downturn. But that wasn’t the only thing taking a downturn. His relationship with his live-in girlfriend was also strained.

In August of 2010, the couple broke up, but moving was not a financial option. So they kept their Santa Cruz rental, claiming separate bedrooms. Carr finally secured a job one year later.

His ex-turned-housemate started to date again a few months after their split, but Carr had to postpone dating until he could recover financially.

“If I get back out there, I’ve got to find stuff to do that’s free,” Carr says. “It’s not like I could take someone out to a nice dinner.”

After paying back debts accumulated while on unemployment, Carr had to buy new work clothes and deal with delayed car repairs. Plus, his income has been reduced by more than $1,000 per month from what it was previously.

As a result, he says he’s “had to change the way I think about dating.”

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Liquid Astrology

Liquid Astrology

Local entrepreneur mixes business know-how with the cosmos to create a line of zodiac-specific drinks
It was Eric Wick’s mother and sister who instilled in him an attraction to astrology. “My mom used astrology as a way of explanation for me,” Wick discloses with a smile. “If I had a bad day at school, I would come home and we could talk about it in terms of that.”

Though one-third of Americans read their horoscope regularly, Wick has a deeper connection to the metaphysical art.  His interest stems not necessarily from its role in predicting the future, but rather from the descriptions of each sign’s personality, which he believes to be mysteriously accurate.

This intriguing combination of fascination for the stars and an education in business has led Wick down an unbeaten path, one that has culminated in the production of an innovative product.   

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In Bloom

In Bloom

Sculpture springs from the gardens of Sierra Azul
Hunched guard dogs made of river rocks take fluid shape at each side of a grassy entrance; behind them, a giant fish stands on its nose, glinting multicolored in the light. Beyond is the garden—as magical a landscape as man and nature can devise. The gardens of Watsonville’s Sierra Azul Nursery have sprouted their spring crop of sculpture, becoming a dazzling demonstration of the friendly annual creative competition between nature and man.

Over six years of maturation, Sculpture Is has become one of the most anticipated annual exhibitions in the Monterey Bay region, this year featuring 56 Northern Californian artists and 135 sculptures in widely diverse styles and media, placed within the now-mature plantings of the two-acre Mediterranean gardens in Watsonville’s agricultural outskirts.

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The Changing Tide

The Changing Tide

Geologist Gary Griggs wants to take you on a tour of our evolving coast
Should Californians worry about tsunamis? Why do we need coastal fog? Are you living on an ancient sea floor? The answers to these questions and more can be found in “Introduction to California’s Beaches and Coast” by Gary Griggs, director of the Institute of Marine Sciences and Long Marine Laboratory at UC Santa Cruz. Published last year by the University of California Press as part of their California Natural History Guides series, the book is a pocket-sized easy read, designed for the layperson, naturalist or anyone with a curiosity about the natural world.

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Holy Crepe!

Holy Crepe!

How the owners of The Crepe Place fathered an unlikely music venue
Be careful what you wish for over a bubbling bong, because it just might come true. When best friends Adam Bergeron and Eric Gifford were trading tokes as roommates in their early twenties, two decades ago, back when Bergeron was a busboy at The Crepe Place, little could they have known that someday they’d be the responsible ones at the helm of the restaurant.

“It was always a weird, hokey dream over umpteenth zillion bong hits. ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if we could do our own thing and ran our own business?’” Gifford remembers.

Donning a Hawaiian shirt strewn with Giants baseball logos, and sitting in the cozy front room of The Crepe Place, Gifford’s jokey, casual demeanor reflects the vibrant family atmosphere of the haunt. With Bergeron completing the My Two Dads partnership, the two East Coast transplants mull over their history on a quiet weekday afternoon.

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Man Opens Box: a Palimpsest

Man Opens Box: a Palimpsest

A few dozen chairs surrounded the double-wide card table in the middle of the Sesnon Gallery for an event on the afternoon of May 6, when artists Ian Everard and Maria Chomentowski performed the opening of a box. Handling the contents with white cotton gloves, the artists were mindful of the performance score. They encouraged audience members to participate.

The box is a Fluxus box; the score a brief list of actions (“Open the case. Take out the objects…”); the performance, called InFlux, an event in the spirit of Fluxus, an international movement of composers, artists, architects and designers in the 1960s and early ’70s influenced by Dada and springing from the ideas of composer John Cage. Prominent Fluxus artists included George Maciunas, George Brecht, Allan Kaprow (“happenings”), Yoko Ono and Nam Jun Paik. Fluxus influenced Christo and Gilbert and George among others including Ian Everard, an English-born artist now living in Santa Cruz. Everard is a copycat.

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The Biggest Little Blues Festival in the World

The Biggest Little Blues Festival in the World

Located down in the lush Aptos Village Park and up the mossy banks from Aptos Creek, the 19th Annual Santa Cruz Blues festival on May 28 and 29 guarantees blues enthusiasts a rare concert experience in an intimate outdoor setting.

While many of the original acts have gone to the great blues jam in the sky—Albert Collins, Pinetop Perkins, Snooky Pryor, Koko Taylor—the festival has continued to flourish with fresh line-ups each year to satisfy the hardiest of music fans.

The booker and one of the main organizers, Bill Welch (along with Brad Kava, Michael Blass and Mike Spano), hunkers down in his basement bunker located in the Santa Cruz hills. Although it’s been the better part of two decades, it still takes Welch and his partners one thousand hours to put Santa Cruz’s favorite outdoor festival together. Each year starts from scratch with the organizers sorting through hundreds of possibilities and narrowing it down to fewer than 10 acts—without a doubt, one of the most spectacular this year will be Experience Hendrix, a massive combination of 13 headliners performing the rock god’s classic jams.

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Funny Bone

Funny Bone

A chat with ‘The Daily Show’ creator Lizz Winstead
Lizz Winstead can’t help but be funny. The Brooklyn resident was the co-creator of The Daily Show, and served as its head writer for years. But before that she was a tireless standup comedian. But her comedy turned her into a kind of media visionary: in addition to helping to create The Daily Show, she co-founded Air America. And you can credit her with hiring Stephen Colbert. She’ll be at Kuumbwa Jazz Center Friday on behalf of the Santa Cruz County Democratic Party.

The following day, she’ll conduct a workshop on writing political satire. The workshop, which will be at NextSpace in Santa Cruz, is co-sponsored by Bookshop Santa Cruz. “I love doing the workshops,” she says by phone from Atlanta. “I tell people ‘I can’t make you funny,’ but the one thing I can do is help unlock the demons that fester inside people who want to write.”

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“DURBIN DAY” videos

“DURBIN DAY” videos

Santa Cruz, CA. James Durbin’s rock 'n' roll Cinderella story had a happy ending under a sunny sky on the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk Saturday. In what has turned out to be a rallying force in Santa Cruz and for many around the world Durbin’s rising star made an appearance in our hometown thanks to the efforts of Beach Boardwalk and city officials.

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Mercury Enters Libra

It’s the week of Burning Man, the temporary, intentional, alternative, art-filled community on the playas of Nevada. Mercury, messenger of the Sun, enters Libra this week. Libra is the equalizer, a sign of balance and right human relations. Sometimes with Libra, we can be indecisive and confused while learning how to make balanced and right choices. Sometimes to keep the peace we communicate only what others want to hear. Eventually, we learn how to speak from the heart.

 

Final Cut

Cedar Street Video to close after 10 years at downtown location

 

Banter and Spark

Engaging actors, wry script distinguish lightweight rom-com ‘What If’

 

Back to Silicon Beach

With a new wave of startups, the future of Santa Cruz tech looks more promising than ever
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Himalayan Kitchen

Chef Purna Regmi on the secrets of Nepalese cooking

 

What’s the nicest thing you’ve done for someone this week?

Germany  |  Beekeeper

 

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

 

A Cab To Be Coveted

I first tasted Villa del Monte’s 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon at a Fourth of July party, where the hosts had bought a case of it because they love it and didn’t want to run out. It’s one of those wines that will grab you—in the best way—with its full body and rich fruit characteristics.