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Dec 22nd
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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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Holiday Reads

Holiday Reads

The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2010
Growing, Older: A Chronicle of Death, Life, and Vegetables
A Year of Adventures
Sea by Heidi R. Kling
Charlie Chan
River House
Luka and the Fire of Life

.

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The Fashionista

The Fashionista

Local maven launches a ‘green’ fashion retail outlet online
With a model for a grandmother and fashion magazines lying around the house as a youngster, Deirdre Holbrook was destined to find a career in fashion—in some way or another. After working in public relations, slugging her way through journalism, and finding her niche in environmentalism, Holbrook recently landed in that seemingly destined place—she pulls double duty overseeing a PR firm (Vie PR) for “green-friendly” clothing designers, and she has also recently launched a charming website named oakandco.com, which functions as a retail outlet for environmentally conscious clothing. All this, while holding down a family and life here in Santa Cruz. And not only that, but Holbrook can be credited for helping to put local jewelry company Blank Verse on the fashion landscape. The local designers of Blank Verse have been featured in numerous recognizable magazines and their work has slipped onto the wrists and necks of celebrities.

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Northwestern Gothic

Northwestern Gothic

Horse Feathers’ Justin Ringle on how unemployment, gloomy weather and Gothic lit minimized his sound
We all know Portland is overrun with them. You know the crowd I’m talking about: the over-educated, rarely employed, too-cool youth on the cusp of computer culture and an artistic aesthetic. There’s no doubt about it, there are just too many graphic designers in Oregon.

“I came to find out when you move to Portland, Ore., it’s kind of a shocking realization that if there’s any creative field then there is a surplus of unemployed people,” explains Horse Feathers’ frontman Justin Ringle. “There are more graphic designers in Portland than there are musicians, almost, so it was kind of a rough transition. I couldn’t find a job in that field, so, low and behold, I end up touring around in a van most of the year.”

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Inner Fashionista

Inner Fashionista

Local indie fashionista Domini creates custom clothing to embrace your body as well as your beliefs
Your body is fine—it’s the cut that isn’t. These are the words of Domini, a local fashion designer and ergonomic clothing architect who creates custom clothes designed to fit each individual’s body, lifestyle and beliefs.

“People come to me saying, ‘I have to lose five pounds so I can fit in this outfit,’” says Domini. “There’s something wrong with the cut—it’s not you. Body types are different. Manufacturers will cut to a median that everyone tries to fit into. I’m trying to get people into the mindset that if something doesn’t work, they can change it—rather than people thinking they have to change themselves.”

A recent transplant from the San Francisco Bay Area, where she was one of the front-runners of the underground “indie fashionista” movement, Domini currently works out of her design studio in Sand City and is expanding into the Santa Cruz area.

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Going Nuts

Going Nuts

Bob von Elgg’s mural magnifies the little things in life
At first glance, Bob von Elgg’s nearly 18-foot mural is a tad daunting. Titled “Abundance for All: Raining Acorns,” the painting, which now graces the Mission St. facing wall of Safeway on the Westside, looks exactly as it sounds.

Colossal acorns falling from the sky may seem like an awfully random subject for a piece of art, but when the 52-year-old graphic designer and three other members of the city’s mural artist registry were invited to develop proposals on the theme of food and history in Santa Cruz, he could not think of a better muse.

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SCTV

SCTV

New ‘Santa Cruz Live’ puts the spotlight on our flourishing local music scene.
For many people, the name “Austin, Texas” instantly conjures images of a rich, thriving music scene. Its reputation as a music Mecca is not unwarranted: The city boasts the most music venues per capita in the nation. Documenting some of its finest musical moments is Austin City Limits, the nation’s longest-running concert music show in the history of American television. Having first gone into broadcast in 1976, ACL has been named a Rock and Roll Landmark by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum and is the only TV program that has ever received the National Medal of Arts.

If local country/Americana vocalist Ginny Mitchell has her way, Santa Cruz will soon be considered a sister city to Austin, and this town’s live music scene will provide just as much a lure for visitors as do the beach, redwoods, Boardwalk and famously pleasant climate. “We’re sitting on a hotbed of music,” the musician states. “Santa Cruz is poised just like Austin, in terms of how many musicians per square foot. And every night there are so many wonderful things, it’s hard to go out and see everything—all kinds of music, no matter what it is.”

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Is This a Dream?

A beginner’s guide to understanding and exploring the uncanny world of lucid dreams

 

Giving and Giving, Then Giving Some More

2014 is almost over. Wednesday, Dec. 17, the Jewish Festival of Light, Hanukkah, begins. We are in our last week of Sag and last two weeks of December. Sunday, Dec. 21 is winter Solstice, as the sun enters Capricorn (3:30 p.m. for the west coast). Soon after, the Capricorn new moon occurs (5:36 p.m. for the west coast)—the last new moon of 2014. Sunday morning Uranus in Aries (revolution, revelation) is stationary direct (retro since July 22). Uranus/Aries create things new and needed to anchor the new culture and civilization (Aquarius). We will see revolutionary change in 2015. Capricorn new moon, building-the-personality seed thought, is, “Let ambition rule and let the door to initiation and freedom stand wide (open).” Capricorn is a gate—where matter returns to spirit. But the gate is unseen until the Ajna Center (third eye), Diamond Light of Direction, opens. Winter solstice is the longest day of darkness of the year. The sun’s rays resting at the Tropic of Capricorn (southern hemisphere) symbolize the Christ (soul’s) light piercing the heart of the Earth, remaining there for three days, till Holy Night (midnight Thursday morning). Then the sun’s light begins to rise. It is the birth of the new light (holy child) for the world. A deep calm and stillness pervades the world.The entire planet is revivified, re-spiritualized. All hearts beating reflect this Light. And so throughout the Earth there’s a radiant “impress” (impressions, pictures) given to humanity of the World Mother and her Child. The star Sirius (love/direction) and the constellation Virgo the mother shines above. For gift giving, give to those in need. Give and give and then give some more. This creates the new template of giving and sharing for the new world.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Stocking Stuffers

The men behind the women of the Kinsey Sicks Dragapella Beautyshop Quartet explain their own special brand of ‘dragtivism,’ and their holiday show at the Rio
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Tramonti Pizza

Why there’s no such thing as too much Italian food in Seabright

 

Guitar or surfboard?

Guitar. The closest thing I ever came to surfing was sliding down a rock hill. Charlie Tweddle, Santa Cruz, Hats and Music

 

Fortino Winery’s Intriguing Charbono

At the opening celebration of the new Santa Clara Wine Trail in August, one of the wineries we visited was Fortino. This is where I first tasted their intriguing estate-grown Charbono—a varietal that is one of the rarest in California, with only 80 acres grown statewide.

 

Beyond the Jar

How Tabitha Stroup has built her rapidly expanding jam empire