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Dec 28th
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A&E

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Balancing on the Brink at Felix Kulpa

Balancing on the Brink at Felix Kulpa

In a black-on-black topography delineated only by texture, a thick viscous muck marches upward at an angle within a deep steel frame. This tarry density contrasts with the reflective, burnished darkness beyond, suggesting a dangerous precipice looming against shining sky. Carved deep within the tarry cliff, small oblong chambers are scribed with lines suggesting growing seeds. A small cluster of metal type floats above the dark horizon like seeds just released in the wind in an untitled work by Michelle Stitz.

Stitz in her most ambitious and successful works seems to seek that dangerous fulcrum between profoundly minimal and disturbingly unresolved. Just a hair more clear, linear or prescriptive and they could become prettily prosaic, but with any less information, could seem empty of content. That’s a slender hair upon which to hang a reputation and Stitz runs right up to that hairsbreadth, and balances right there, on the precipice.

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Let the Music Play

Let the Music Play

Local composer, Phil Collins, named county’s Artist of the Year
Though he shares his name with the former Genesis frontman, chances are, unless you’ve taken a music class from longtime Santa Cruzan Phil Collins, or seen him conducting a local ensemble, you wouldn’t be able to pick him out in a crowd. And that’s just fine with him.

Collins enjoys the work he does behind the scenes. For every moment he has spent onstage playing piano or guitar, he has spent an equal amount of time out of the public eye, planning lessons, writing grants for various musical organizations he is involved with, and studying the musical traditions of indigenous peoples around the world.

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Ice Wars

Ice Wars

Local production company uses new journalism to reveal ‘IceWars’ over riches beneath melting Arctic sea
When CNN correspondent Kaj Larsen had the opportunity to head to the North Pole to report on geopolitical events that are surfacing as global warming, causing the Arctic ice to melt, he looked to his roots to help him tell the story.

“I knew I wanted to partner with production companies that had a talent for telling unknown but important stories,” says the Santa Cruz native. So he called The Impact Media Group, a local production company, to collaborate with him on the project.

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Love is Blind

Love is Blind

Santa Cruz musician, Veronica Elsea, reconciles sight and sound
Last Christmas, Veronica Elsea was strolling down Pacific Avenue when she heard the ear-splitting screech of a busker wailing on a guitar. Without hesitation, she walked over to the musician and said, “I’ll give you 10 bucks if you let me tune your guitar.” The performer obliged, Elsea altered the strings, and she walked away.

Elsea, an accomplished music composer and former member of the Santa Cruz County Symphony, was born blind. She and her twin sister—who is also visually impaired—were delivered prematurely and laid in incubators for the first two months of their lives.

When the girls were three, their mother bought a piano, and it wasn’t long before they proved they were musically inclined. “I was always terrified of the idea that you take a blind kid and plop them in front of a piano and they’re this incredible musician,” laughs Elsea, who used to pull all-nighters memorizing sheet music for the symphony. “But [music] was always something that came fairly easy to us.”

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Psyched About Sandra

Psyched About SandraBernhard hits the Bay Area for Pride Weekend
Sandra Bernhard is taking her bold comedy show on the road—and just in time for Gay Pride. Bernhard  hits San Francisco this weekend at the Marine's Memorial for two wild outings—the show is dubbed "I Love Being Me, Don't You?" And the rich material delivers Bernhard's signature comedic style—from the insightful to the outlandish. With comedy bits devoted to such notables as Angelina Jolie, and other comedic entrees like Kabbalah Centre, Grindr and Where the F**k is Tina Turner, it's easy to see why. (You'll be wowed by two musical covers: Beautiful People and Kiss Me Deadly.)
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Page Turner

Page Turner

Local Girls Develop Tangerine Moon magazine
A collection of Tangerine Moon magazines is perfectly displayed on a coffee table. Its publishers sit, poised to explain their latest venture. But these aren’t suits, this is Santa Cruz mom Elise McCandless and her 12-year-old daughter, Kelly.

Tangerine Moon, a seasonal publication with its spring issue now available for $4.95 at Bookshop Santa Cruz, is the creative product assembled by local middle school students Gina Condotti, Morgan Eidam, Athena Greenleaf, Sophie McCallum-Spalaris, Kelly McCandless and Megan O’Hara. The magazine’s first edition was released this past January.

The current edition, which was released this past May, labels itself as “a magazine by girls who love to write,” includes book recommendations, a centerfold highlighting original dress designs and fashion advice, a recipe for stir fry, an advice column and so much more for all the growing girls looking to prepare for a pleasant spring season.”

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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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Dancing In the Rain

District Attorney Bob Lee’s death in October stunned the Santa Cruz community, but he had battled cancer fiercely—and privately—for more than a decade. Now one of his closest friends reveals the remarkable inside story

 

Our Gifts - Fiery Sacrificial Lights to One Another

Wednesday is Christmas Eve, Hanukkah ends and the Moon is in Aquarius, calling for the new world to take shape at midnight. Thursday morning, the sun, at the Tropic of Capricorn, begins moving northward. The desire currents are stilled. A great benediction of spiritual force (Capricorn’s Rays 1, 3, 7) streams into Earth. Temple bells ring out. The heavens bend low; the Earth is lifted up to the Light. Angels and Archangels chant, “On Earth, peace, goodwill to all.” As these forces stream into the Earth they assume long swirling lines of light, in the likeness of the Madonna and Child. The holy child is born. Let our hearts be “impressed” with and hold this picture, especially because Christmas may be difficult this year. Christmas Day is void of course moon (v/c moon), which means we may feel somewhat disconnected from one another. It’s difficult to connect in a v/c moon. Try anyway. Mercury joins Pluto in Capricorn. Uh oh … we don’t bring up the past containing any dark and difficult issues. We are to attempt new ways of communicating—expressing aspirations and love for one another, replacing wounding, sadness, lostness, and hurts of the past. Play soothing music, pray together, have the intention for peace, harmony and goodwill. Don’t be surprised if things feel out of control and/or arguments arise. We remember, before a new harmony emerges, chaos and crisis come first to clear the air. We are to be the harmonizers. Christmas evening is more harmonious, less difficult, more of what Christmas should be— radiations of love, sharing, kindness, compassion and care. Sunday, Feast Day of the Holy Family, is surprising. Wednesday is New Year’s Eve, the last day of 2014. Taurus moon, a stabilizing energy, ushers in the New Year. Happy New Year, everyone! Peace to everyone. Let us realize we are gifts radiating diamond light to one another. Living sacrificial flames!

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Let My People Go

There’s a lot to like in Ridley Scott’s maligned ‘Exodus’
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Best Bites of 2014

A look back at the year in good taste

 

What downtown business is good for both one-stop shopping and last-minute gifts?

The Homeless Garden Project store. Because it is a community effort and has really useful and beautiful things, and allows you to connect with a lot of folks who are doing great work in Santa Cruz. Miriam Greenberg, Santa Cruz, UCSC Professor

 

Vino Tabi Winery

One of Santa Cruz’s most happening areas to go wine tasting is in the westside’s Swift Street Courtyard complex. Ever since a group of about a dozen wineries got together and formed Surf City Vintners (SCV), the place has been a hive of activity, and a wine-tasting mecca. Adding to the mix is the lively Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing beer company—making Swift Street Courtyard a perfect spot for a glass of wine or a pitcher of ale.

 

Betty’s Eat Inn

Yes, she’s a real person; no, this isn’t her