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Aug 28th
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A&E

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Herbal Outfitters

Herbal Outfitters

Quirky new downtown shop dispenses natural highs
Only a longtime resident of this town can fully grasp the meaning of the slogan “Keep Santa Cruz Weird.” There was a time when the Pacific Garden Mall teemed with eccentric characters, bohemian shops and offbeat events. For every Average Joe, there was an unusual street performer, a hippie harlequin wielding devil sticks or a flamboyant hipster in A Clockwork Orange-like apparel.

Santa Cruz’s quirk factor has taken a significant plunge in the past decade or so, but lately there have been some encouraging signs that our town is getting its weird back. One example is the pair of gentlemen whom your narrator recently saw reclining on the lawn of the Capitola New Leaf in sleeping bags. Another is an unambiguously psychedelic shop on Pacific Avenue called Truthlab, which proclaims itself an “antidote to the ordinary.”

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Shut Up, Skinny Bitches!

Shut Up, Skinny Bitches!

“Shut up, and eat something!” That’s my new motto for 2011. It’s also one of the messages found in the new book, “Shut Up, Skinny Bitches—The Common Sense Guide to Following Your Hunger and Your Heart” (NorLightsPress), which I co-wrote with an eating disorder specialist Dr. Maria Rago.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: It’s the new year; we should all be “dieting.” We should limit our food consumption. Dammit … we should just get skinny!

Think again. Eat! Skinny is not the cure.

Blasphemy?

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Running on Full

Running on Full

The fuel that fires Jackson Browne’s green activism
Jackson Browne has never been one to stay quiet. As introspective poet or volatile protester, he’s emblematic of the singer-songwriter that doubles as a sign of the ever-changing times. At 61, while he’s a classic when it comes to California folk rock troubadours that emerged in the prolific ’60s, he continues to modify his lyrics and his life to accommodate some cutting-edge concerns. So don’t be fooled by the simplicity of the solo sound and Gibson acoustic guitar he’s bringing to the Santa Cruz Civic this Wednesday, Feb. 23, because the man is clearly plugged in.

These days the staunch environmentalist is driving a new Chevy Volt electric car, and he certainly doesn’t “Take It Easy” when it comes to taking political and green-minded stands. When GT catches up with the founder of Musicians United for Safe Energy, and Nukefree.org, his thoughts are preoccupied with the Great Pacific Garbage Patch—and the plastic that feeds it.

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Bold Moves

Bold Moves

Indie film ‘Bold Native’ explores the ethos of animal liberation
"What is freedom? Are we born with it, or do we earn it? And if you deny freedom to the quiet ones—those who have no voice—can you be free yourself? Or are you caged by your own lack of compassion?”

These are the opening words in the film Bold Native, as spoken by the film’s protagonist, a young man named Charlie Cranehill. Charlie is a strong believer in American freedom. But he’s also a domestic terrorist wanted by the F.B.I. and his own freedom survives only so long as he can evade the authorities.

As the leader of a small cell of animal liberators who call themselves Bold Native (and whom the government are after for millions of dollars in property damage), Charlie’s life and livelihood are dedicated to freeing animals from injustices inflicted upon them by humans. The fiction feature length film follows Charlie, documentary-style, over a two year period as he organizes 35 simultaneous liberation actions—the largest ever coordinated in the decentralized, loosely organized movement known as the Animal Liberation Front, or ALF.

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The Poems of David Thorn

The Poems of David Thorn

Editor’s note: In this week’s Poetry Corner, we feature the work of poet David Thorn. He has been published in Poetry Canada, in England, and many literary magazines across the United States, including the Porter Gulch Review, and has been the Poet of the Year three times. He is a writing teacher at UC Santa Cruz and Cabrillo College and is considered Santa Cruz’s original surfing poet.

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Environmentally Speaking

Environmentally Speaking

Renowned history and politics expert Douglas Brinkley talks conservationism at UCSC.
If you ever find yourself feeling cocky about all your achievements and accolades, contemplate Douglas Brinkley’s life for a while. Among the Rice University history professor’s accomplishments: He’s CBS News’ history commentator; he was selected as Rosa Parks’ official biographer; he’s Jack Kerouac’s authorized biographer; he’s the literary executor for Hunter S. Thompson; he’s written several articles for Rolling Stone, including profiles on Ken Kesey, Norman Mailer and Kurt Vonnegut as well as a cover story on Bob Dylan; he’s a contributing editor to Vanity Fair; his books include 1992’s Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt Naval History Prize-winning “Driven Patriot,” 1999’s “The Unfinished Presidency” (believed by many to be largely responsible for Jimmy Carter’s winning of the Nobel Peace prize) and 2006’s Robert F. Kennedy Book Award winner “The Great Deluge”; he’s a member of the Council on Foreign Relations;  he was invited to the White House twice to discuss history with the president … and the list goes on.

On Saturday, January 29, Brinkley presents his lecture “Change: Mobilizing the Historical Narrative” at UCSC.

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Sundance Kid

Sundance Kid

Monterey Bay Area filmmaker makes it to Sundance
You don’t have to live in Hollywood to make it in the film industry. Just ask Douglas Mueller, who’s on his way to Park City, Utah, this week for the renowned Sundance Film Festival, where the feature-length movie he co-produced, Prairie Love, will debut.

Mueller, a California State University Monterey Bay (CSUMB) alumni, and local resident, is among the respected, small cadre of filmmakers whose work will be shown at Sundance this year. The festival, founded by actor Robert Redford, can turn the names of relatively unknown films, producers, directors and actors, into movie magic. Think top contender Winter’s Bone and Jennifer Lawrence from last year’s festival.

Prairie Love is being featured in a category of films that were made for under $500,000. “The film is about three eccentric characters who are trying to find companionship in a desolate situation,” Mueller says. “A vagrant comes across a man who is ill and nurses him to health. In the process he discovers that the man was on his way to meet his pen pal girlfriend, and he reads his letters. The vagrant kills the other fellow, takes up his identity and goes to pick up his convict girlfriend.”

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The Poems of Jim Russo

The Poems  of Jim Russo

Editor’s notes: In this week’s Poetry Corner, we feature the work of Jim Russo who was born in North Beach. He moved to Santa Cruz County in 1963. As a former actor, he likes to write words that make people laugh, among other things.

My Tub
A big damn Polar Bear
Is getting into my tub
Hey man, I don't crowd your ice cube
It's gone? That's fucked!
Get out of my tub

Untitled
And birds make love at sunset
Humans should make love at sunset

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Locating Art’s Funny Bone

Locating Art’s Funny Bone

Introducing First Friday artist, Cahill Wesse
Cahill Wessel would not have lasted a day on Noah’s Ark. The 22-year-old artist, fresh out of UC Santa Cruz, believes that not only opposites, but also completely random and unrelated objects, attract.

When the young visionary looks at a taco, for instance, he doesn’t necessarily see what most of us do—crunchy, cheesy, (sometimes spicy), mouth-watering goodness. Instead, he imagines what it would look like when juxtaposed with another object. In this case, he chose skulls.

Loosening the art world’s necktie with his dark humor, homage to pop art and wild imagination, Wessel laughs in the face of all artists who take their work too seriously.

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Fungus Among Us

Fungus Among Us

The 37th Annual Santa Cruz Fungus Fair finds the food, fun and fascination in fungi
If I touch it am I going to die? This is the most frequently asked question every year at the Santa Cruz Fungus Fair. Luckily, it turns out the answer is no. Though Santa Cruz is home to two of the world’s deadliest mushrooms—the death cap (Amanita phalloides) and the destroying angel (Amanita ocreata), you would have to actually ingest them to die.

“There are a lot of mushrooms that can make you sick, but not many of them are fatal,” says Phil Carpenter, president of the Fungus Federation of Santa Cruz. Still, many species are edible—and tasty, he adds. Though Carpenter does collect edible local mushrooms for his table, he’s driven to search for different species of fungus for another reason. He calls it the treasure-hunt aspect.

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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.