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Apr 24th
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A&E

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Speed Racer

Speed Racer

Local auto racer stays on the fast track
In Germany, crowds of thousands flock to the automobile racing star’s hotel just to try to find out which room is his. Back home in Santa Cruz, people who meet him ask his name and wonder what it is he does, exactly.

We sit in Brook Johnston's office on a Friday afternoon. I am lucky I've caught some time with him, as the 22-year-old has just arrived back from a trip to Texas and plans a return flight to the Lonestar state on Monday.

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Riding the Wave

Riding the Wave

Surfing takes the spotlight in a breathtaking new MAH show
Upon my arrival at his picturesque hillside studio, surf photographer and videographer Patrick Trefz offers me water with lemon. Soon after, I clamor behind him through a small dark semicircle, into a dome-shaped sweat lodge. It reminds me of an igloo made from stone. To my relief, on such a stifling hot afternoon (hence the water), the sweat lodge is currently out of order but, as Trefz points out, it provides great acoustics for our interview.

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Night on the Town

Night on the Town

Santa Cruz Hot spots and other notables you need to know about
Motiv, Mad House, Jalisco, Parish Publick House, Britannia Arms, Boulder Creek Brewery

In downtown Santa Cruz, Motiv is hot and happening. The nightclub’s  owner, 39-year old Mike Pitt, said the root word motiv in many languages means purpose. Purpose is fueled by inspiration.

“We’re an art venue,” says Pitt, “we’re a political forum, we’re music, we’re food. What all those things have in common is inspiration. That was my goal, to bring together all this inspiration.”

Born and raised in Santa Cruz, Pitt graduated from UCSC. Once a competitive surfer, he’s a sales rep for O’Neill, managing 100-plus accounts. And he’s no stranger to nightlife. In 2005 he purchased Castaways, a seedy Live Oak bar.

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Surfing Wholeheartedly

Surfing Wholeheartedly

Local event helps veterans, amputees go surfing
When Chris Lopez was an infantryman stationed in Iraq in 2003, his father would go out surfing and sit on his board to send him prayers across the ocean. Today the 27-year-old, who retired from the service and returned to Santa Cruz with an injured lower back and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), assists fellow veterans through his work at the local Veterans Affairs office. Taking a cue from his father, he also picked up surfing as a source of relief from the memories of war, and the stresses of the everyday. Now, he’s helping other veterans—and amputees—do the same.

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Notes from the Past

Notes from the Past

A new book reveals the history and beauty behind the humble postcard

One of my most vivid childhood memories is that of my mother writing postcards. Whether we were simply on a weekend getaway a few towns over or we had traversed across one or more oceans, my mom’s idea of a vacation was to commemorate it by sending a postcard to everyone she knew. The following ritual is ingrained in my psyche—stop at every souvenir stand, drug store etc. that may sell the small works of art and purchase as many as possible. Then, return to the hotel and stay up late into the night writing rough drafts (my mom is an incurable perfectionist known to take hours selecting a suitable birthday card for a friend). Finally, and with much deliberation, she would select the postcards best suited for each person and commence to write lovely little messages that illuminated the highlights of our trip thus far. Sometimes it would take us entire days to find a post office, where my sister and I would risk our lives licking the backs of third-world stamps to allow my mom’s scrawled messages to reach friends and family back home.

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The Third Eye

The Third Eye

Carl Weiseth finds a surprise ‘jewel’

About a year-and-a-half ago, Carl Weiseth was hiking Central California’s coastline. It was a gorgeous day—perfect sunset, flowers everywhere, hummingbirds buzzing around, and the clouds were rolling in. As he descended to head back to his campsite, Weiseth happened upon something that would change the entire course of his life: a pinecone. “It was big, perfectly symmetrical, and spiky,” Weiseth says. “I could barely hold it in my hand.”

It was as if it were sitting there waiting for him right in the middle of his path. He carried it back home with him to Santa Cruz, after his camping trip, and set it on a windowsill. Months passed, and over time, the sunlight hitting it “cured it.”

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Stroke of Genius

Stroke of Genius

Inside the the fascinating mind of Disney animation legend Floyd Norman

Since Walt Disney first put pen to paper and created that cute little mouse in 1928, America has had a perpetual love affair with all things Disney. Animation has come a long way since the early days of artists drawing sketch after sketch to create a continuous story, but there’s something about the classic art of animated cartoons that has thoroughly captured the hearts and imaginations of both young and old.

Cartoonist Floyd Norman, who will be the guest of honor at Atlantis Fantasy World on Saturday, Feb. 13, has played a major role in creating many of the animated features that are synonymous with the Disney empire.

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House of the Rising Son

House of the Rising Son

Justin Townes Earle trades ghosts, leaving Nashville for New York

For some people, it’s hard to be the new kid on the block. For others, it’s what they seek. Speaking from his home in New York City, Justin Townes Earle’s southern twang makes its way through the phone line—the Nashville native tells me he was chasing the ghost of Woody Guthrie when he made the move to the Big Apple a year ago. He wouldn’t be the first; there was one Robert Zimmerman who did the same. Earle is, however, an anomaly in plenty of other ways.

The progeny of Steve Earle that inherited his name from Townes Van Zandt, Justin Townes Earle has enough to live up to—his dad just won another Grammy and has been a folk rock force for decades. Unlike most children of stars, though, he’s managing just fine as the proposed “next big thing” in country, and he’s bringing his pre-war acoustic blues to the Crepe Place on Friday, Feb. 12. Whereas his last show in town was a knockout solo scene-stealer (one in which I kept looking for the nonexistent second guitarist I was sure I was hearing), this time he’ll add upright bass and fiddle.

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Pottery for Peace

Pottery for Peace

Local artists auction teacups to build schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan

Don’t underestimate the power of the tea party—it could start a revolution. Bonnie and Steven Barisof, Santa Cruz potters with more than 70 years of combined experience, understand this. Spurred on by the power of another little everyday thing, the written word, the Barisofs are spearheading a teacup party in town to raise awareness and funds for education in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

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True Nature

True Nature

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s new novel explores human reactions to a devastating natural disaster
It’s difficult to fathom the unbelievable stories of heroism and endurance that have daily reached our ears since the massive earthquake hit Haiti a few weeks ago. But it should set us thinking that, if a quake of that magnitude were to strike here, would we be prepared? What would we do if a temblor more substantial than any we’ve seen in 200 years hit Santa Cruz County? Would we rise to the occasion, helping our friends and neighbors in the hour of need? Or would we cower alone, hoarding our food and water in a dark corner? Natural disasters are a sure-fire way of bringing out the true nature of individuals, as demonstrated in Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s new book, “One Amazing Thing.” Banerjee will be speaking about her new book at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 8 at Capitola Book Café.

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Best of Santa Cruz County 2014

The 2014 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll Come on in, and have a look around. There’s a lot to see—hundreds of winners selected by thousands of GT readers across Santa Cruz County. So if some of this looks familiar, it’s probably because you helped make it happen. But there are always new things to discover, too—you could go to a different winner or runner-up every day in the Food and Drink category alone, and you’d be booked just about until next year’s Best of Santa Cruz County issue comes out.

 

Something Essential Disappears

Lunar and solar eclipses follow one another. Lunar eclipses occur at full moons, and solar eclipses at new moons. Two weeks ago at the full moon we had the blood red moon—a total lunar eclipse (the next one is Oct. 8). On Monday night, April 28 (new moon), as the Sun, Moon and Earth align, a solar eclipse (Sun obscured) occurs. Eclipses signify something irrevocably is changed in our world. The Sun is our essential life force. Monday’s new moon, 9 degrees Taurus, is also an annular solar eclipse when the Moon moves centrally in front of the Sun, yet does not cover the Sun completely. The Sun's outer edges, still visible, form a “ring of fire” around the Moon.

 

Sugar: The New Tobacco?

Proposed bill would require warning labels on sugary drinks Will soda and other saccharine libations soon come with a health warning? They will if it’s up to our state senator, Bill Monning (D-Carmel). On Feb. 27, Monning proposed first-of-its-kind legislation that would require a consumer warning label be placed on sugar-sweetened beverages sold in California. SB 1000, also known as the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Safety Warning Act, was proposed to provide vital information to consumers about the harmful effects of consuming sugary drinks, such as sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks, and sweetened teas.

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of April 17

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Palate-Stretching 101

A wine education with Soif’s experts As a veteran of many weekend wine “seminars” at Soif, I have to confess that I’ve never known less (going in) and learned more (coming out) than I did last week at the Spanish Wine Tasting with ace rep Brian Greenwood. These are classy, casual events and it’s hard to imagine having this much flavor fun anywhere for $20.

 

Martin Ranch Winery

Sauvignon Blanc 2011 One of my favorite wines is Sauvignon Blanc, and this one made by Martin Ranch is particularly lovely. Bright, crisp and refreshing, it’s perfect to pair with fish and shellfish—and good for picnics as it has an easy screw-cap bottle. There’s nothing worse than setting down your blanket, pulling out your sandwiches—and then realizing you don’t have a corkscrew.

 

Foodie File: Red Apple Cafe

Breakfast takes center stage at Gracia Krakauer's Red Apple Cafe Before they moved to Aptos, Gracia and her husband Dan Krakauer would visit friends in Santa Cruz County and eat at the Red Apple Café all the time. Then they moved up here from Santa Monica five years ago, and bought the Aptos location (there’s a separate one in Watsonville) from the family who owned it for two decades.

 

How would you feel about a tech industry boom in Santa Cruz?

I feel like it would ruin the small old-town feeling of Santa Cruz. It wouldn’t be the same Surf City kind of vacation town that it is. Antoinette BennettSanta Cruz | Construction Management