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May 24th
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A&E

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An Afternoon at the Smart Museum

An Afternoon at the Smart Museum

A legion of dark-haired, jeans-clad, slender teenaged people with attentive attitudes walked past me as I stood over the “Touch Table,” pulling apart and re-attaching objects using miter, dovetail and lap joints.

A few of the young visitors from Nigata, Japan, took my place around the “Touch Table” after I moved on, and, laughing, attached the objects in unintended ways. Meanwhile, I listened to a video of woodworker Michael Singer explaining his technique for joining irregular shapes while I perused a case of tools displayed below. An unfinished chair, a prototype by Om Anand, held a small sign explaining what a prototype is, challenging the viewer to find the finished chair and to notice the changes.

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Perfect Blends

Perfect Blends

First Friday Art venues pair with local wineries for August Wine Walk
Art and wine. Has a nice ring to it, doesn't it? The folks at the First Friday Art Walk think so, too. To spice up this month's midsummer edition of the popular event (taking place this Friday, Aug. 5), FFAW joins forces with a slate of Santa Cruz vintners to present the August Wine Walk, where art patrons will be able to sample local wines at select FFAW venues around town.

It's a perfect blend, according to First Friday spokesman (and tireless local arts advocate) Chip. Citing our "extraordinary arts community and community of arts supporters," and our region's "unique ... winegrowers and wine enthusiasts," Chip calls the event "exciting in that it is pairing our great art venues with these amazing wineries."

As usual, you'll find work by local artists (painting, sculpture, photography, fabric, ceramics, woodworking), in a staggering variety of venues countywide—cafes, beauty salons, banks, shops and boutiques, from the Eastside to the Westside, Louden Nelson Center to Squid Row Alley, Pleasure Point to Davenport. Designated art galleries, like the Santa Cruz Art League, Felix Kulpa, MichaelAngelo, Artisans, and the Museum of Art & History also participate in the festivities. All venues are open to the public from 5 to 9 p.m., and admission to the Art Walk venues, as always, is free.In addition, this month, more than 20 local wineries will be pouring samples of their finest varieties at select Art Walk venues. The Wine Walk venues are concentrated downtown and on the Westside for easy pedestrian access. Free shuttle service will be available from The Santa Cruz Experience to ferry participants between the two neighborhoods.

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Gender Journey Revisted

Gender Journey RevistedLocal photographer Jana Marcus nabbed as a keynote speaker at major transgender conference. How she's making a wider dent with her award-winning work ‘Transfigurations’

Six years ago, local photographer Jana Marcus turned heads with her photography exhibit “Transfigurations: The Making of a Man,"  a stunning if not illuminating body of work that explored (and exposed) the journey of transgender men through vivid photographs and commentary from its subjects. The work was critically praised and went on to become an award-winning work that eventually included transgender women.
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Sword Play

Sword Play

SSC's 'Three Musketeers' a palpable hit.

En garde! Prepare for serious roistering in “The Three Musketeers,” the second production of Shakespeare Santa Cruz's 30th Anniversary season. Adapted from Alexandre Dumas' evergreen swashbuckling classic, it's beautifully staged by director Art Manke outdoors in the Sinsheimer-Stanley Festival Glen. In this dynamic production, plots are hatched, troths are plighted, honor is impugned and defended, wars are fought, and swords are crossed at every opportunity. If it all feels a bit breathless, it's still rousing good fun.

Dumas' picaresque novel was first published in serial format in 1844. This new adaptation by playwrights Linda Alper, Douglas Langworthy, and Penny Metropulos (commissioned for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in 1999) is impressive in its fidelity to the breadth of Dumas' novel. Plot-furthering climaxes chase each other across the stage at breakneck speed. Manke keeps the action fleet and fluid, in and out of the many compartments, balconies, terraces, draperies, and stairwells of Michael Ganio's formidable set. Some incidents feel rushed, but it's worth noting that director Richard Lester needed two feature-length films to tell the same story this adaptation covers in a fast couple of hours.

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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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Gate Openers

Up-and-coming artists like Ryan Bingham are a great reason to show up early to the Santa Cruz American Music Festival

 

Gemini Sun, Pentecost, Shavuot—Enlightenment and Gladness

As the sun enters Gemini on Sunday, sign of speaking, communication, thinking, inter-relations, writing and understanding languages, the feast days of Pentecost & Shavuot (Catholic and Jewish festivals) occur. During Pentecost’s 50 days after Easter, tongues of fire appear above the heads of the disciples, providing them with the ability to understand all languages and all feelings hidden in the minds and hearts of humanity. It’s recorded that Pentecost began with a loud noise, which happened in an upper room (signifying the mind). The Christ (World Teacher) told his disciples (after his ascension) when encountering a man at a well carrying a water pot (signs for Age of Aquarius) to follow him to an upper room. There, the Holy Spirit (Ray 3 of Divine Intelligence) would overshadow them, expand their minds, give them courage and enable them to teach throughout the world, speaking all languages and thus able to minister to the true needs of a “seeking” humanity. Pentecost (50 days, pentagram, Ray 5, Venus, concrete and scientific knowledge, the Ray of Aquarius) sounds dramatic, impressive and scary: The loud noise, a thunderous rush of wind and then “tongues of fire” above the heads of each disciple (men and women). Fire has purpose. It purifies, disintegrates, purges, transforms and liberates (frees) us from the past. This was the Holy Spirit (Ray 3, love and wisdom) being received by the disciples, so they would teach in the world and inform humanity of the Messiah (Christ), who initiated the new age (Pisces) and gave humanity the new law (adding to the 10 Commandments of the Aries Age) to Love (Ray 2) one another. Note: Gemini is also Ray 2. Shavuot is the Jewish Festival of Gladness, the First Fruits Festival celebrating the giving of the 10 Commandments to Moses as the Aries Age was initiated. Thus, we have two developmental stages here, Jewish festival of the Old Testament. Pentecost of the New Testament. We have gladness, integrating both.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Off Her Meds

Kristin Wiig runs wild—and transcends her sketch comedy roots—as a truly strange character ‘Welcome to Me’
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Flats Bistro

Pizza with an artisan twist comes to Aptos Beach

 

What’s your take on Santa Cruz locals?

Santa Cruz locals are really friendly once you know them. I think a lot of them have a hard time leaving, and I would too. Ryan Carle, Santa Cruz, Biologist

 

Soquel Vineyards

If Soquel Vineyards partners Peter and Paul Bargetto and Jon Morgan were walking down the street wearing their winning wine competition medals, you’d hear them coming from a mile away. This year was particularly rewarding for the Bargettos and Morgan—they won two Double Gold Medals and five Gold Medals at January’s San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

 

Enlightened Flavors

Squash & Blossom’s artisanal alternative-flour delights, beet kvass from Cafe Ivéta, and the Santa Cruz Baroque Festival