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Apr 24th
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Blank Verse

Blank Verse

Local jewelry designers woo Anthropologie … and maybe Madonna

One afternoon in the summer of 2009, good friends Jane Farrar and Laamie Young sat themselves down on the floor of Farrar’s house in Santa Cruz, and spread out beads, buttons, leather fragments, gloves, and a mishmash of craft-related stuff, as well as a bottle of Prosecco. And then they got to work. Hours later, they had crafted together an über chic cuff bracelet that was remarkably original, encompassed by a brooch, slabs of leather and more. Neither had any idea that the day’s creation would be the beginnings of a potentially successful jewelry line, and that the names “Anthropologie” and “Madonna” would become a natural  part of their lexicon just six months down the road.

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Fighting for Equality

Fighting for Equality

Local event sheds light on discrimination against LGBTQ people and others

Comedian Louis C.K. has an unforgettable routine that underscores the absurdity of legal battles related to gay marriage: “How do they argue it in court? I can imagine when they get to the Supreme Court, and the lawyers for the gay side are like, ‘Well, your honor, we pay taxes; there’s nothing illegal about what we do; we’re the same as anyone else. Why shouldn’t we get the same protection under the law that the heterosexuals get?’ And then they ask the other lawyer, and he says, ‘Your honor … THEY’RE F***IN’ QUEER!’ That’s it, isn’t it? Isn’t that the whole argument?”

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Pulling a Legend’s Strings

Pulling a Legend’s Strings

Kuumbwa Jazz celebrates guitarist Django Reinhardt’s 100th birthday in style

It’s hard to imagine a more daunting task for a musician than to try to fill Django Reinhardt’s shoes. Nearly 60 years after the celebrated gypsy jazz guitarist’s death, Reinhardt remains one of the world’s most revered jazz musicians. His superhuman chops are all the more impressive in light of the adverse circumstances with which the musician had to work: As most guitar fans know, the Belgian-born maestro was badly injured in a fire at age 18. The mishap rendered Reinhardt’s right leg—and, more distressingly, the third and fourth fingers of his left hand—paralyzed. Thwarting doctors’ attempts to amputate the injured leg, and ignoring their claims that his guitar-playing days were over, Reinhardt re-taught himself not only to walk within a year, but also to play guitar by way of a completely reinvented approach. He performed his intricate, high-speed guitar solos with the two fully operative fingers of his left hand, while he used that hand’s two partially paralyzed fingers to play chords.

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Discovery Cruise

Discovery Cruise

Local skipper helps ‘MythBusters’ get to the bottom of a bizarre sea tale

There’s a nasty rumor about a phenomenon known as “the squeeze,” which supposedly plagued early deep sea divers. As the story goes, the failure of the pressure mechanism on a dive suit could cause a diver’s entire body to be sucked up into the suit’s helmet in radically compacted form.

TV watchers who tuned into Nov. 25’s episode of MythBusters—a Discovery Channel program dedicated to proving or debunking urban legends—saw local skipper Jim Christmann helping MythBusters stars Tory Belleci, Kari Byron and Grant Imahara test the legitimacy of this claim. While Christmann’s research boat, the 52-foot Shana Rae, is generally used for serious scientific work such as tagging and tracking dolphins, monitoring toxic algal bloom or studying the behavior of sea otters, the MythBusters crew had more fanciful purposes in mind for the vessel: Namely, toting a gruesome-looking “Meat Man” (a Frankenstein’s monster-like human substitute made from the skin and organs of pigs, placed into an old dive suit) from the Santa Cruz Small Craft Harbor to Monterey Canyon, where it was lowered into 300-foot-deep water and then deprived of air.

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All Fun and Trains

All Fun and TrainsMAH’s toy train exhibit takes spectators on a creative ride
Whether you are of the generation that grew up riding trains as your primary mode of transportation or you associate locomotives with Thomas the Tank Engine, trains evoke a carefree nostalgia that can make anyone feel like a kid again. After all, who wouldn’t get a kick out of the sound of the cheerful whistle, white steam puffing mightily from the steam engine and parallel tracks stretching on as far as the eye can see?        
For the fourth year running, The Museum of Art & History at The McPherson Center (MAH) has partnered with the Over the Hill Gang (the apropos name of the local Toy Train Operating Society’s Golden Gate Chapter ) to share the excitement and history of trains with a new generation. “As we get older and we die, where do our collections go if we don’t have young people coming along that are interested?” says Craig Miller, chief facilitator of the Over the Hill Gang and co-manager of the MAH exhibit. “We’re trying to infect them with this interest in toy trains. Maybe one out of a hundred kids will remember coming here and then when they get older they’ll think about it with their kids and start collecting too,” Miller surmises.
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Boy Paints World

Boy Paints World

Artist Brian Barneclo’s mid-century modern design brightens up downtown

Flip Cameras are all the rage right now. Celebrities and common folk are toting them around, capturing day-to-day video, without having to be technological geniuses. A select group of artists has been chosen to put their designs on said Flip Cameras, and at the forefront of the mix is local Brian Barneclo who also just installed a stunning mural in downtown Santa Cruz. The 37-year-old muralist/Flip Camera designer/artist has painted an enormous, Santa Cruz-inspired, urban stylized piece on the adjacent wall to the ever-popular Old School Shoes in downtown Santa Cruz.

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Chocolate-Covered What?

Chocolate-Covered What?

Marini’s scores a spot in the new Ripley’s Believe It Or Not book with its strangest offering: chocolate-covered bacon

You just never know which combinations of flavors are going to work. The first guy to extol the virtues of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches was probably met with ridicule, and we all know the story of Chubby Hubby, an unlikely mix of pretzels, peanut butter, fudge and vanilla malt ice cream that began as a prank by a couple of mischievous coworkers, yet remains a highly successful Ben and Jerry’s flavor to this day.

I cling to these thoughts for dear life as I prepare to sample the most unique item that the local candy store Marini’s has to offer: a stick of bacon smothered in milk chocolate. It’s a combination that would make Homer Simpson drool, but between the obvious strangeness of the snack and the fact that I generally don’t eat factory-farmed meat, the prospect of biting into this thing is putting my journalistic intrepidness to the test.

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Erotic Environment

Erotic Environment

A local artist’s work fits right in at Camouflage

Some art is made for gallery walls. It hangs unabashedly on vast expanses of white, unaffected by the emptiness of the space, as if it were designed to sit quietly in a row of other paintings. This is not the case with the erotic artwork of Abbie Rabinowitz.

Rabinowitz’s erotica belongs in the cozy comforts of someone’s home, hung over a couple’s bed, or, as she has recently discovered, on the walls of a sex shop: A selection of her erotic paintings, woodcarvings and thangkas recently found new life through exhibition at Camouflage, an adult sex store in Downtown Santa Cruz.

Erotica is one of Rabinowitz’s oldest and most developed styles. Inspired by Picasso’s erotic series, she began painting sexually charged pieces in her early twenties as a way to express her own experiences. Today, she still finds herself returning to eroticism to process her personal life, but also uses it to capture larger, universal realties of sexuality. “It’s a theme I go back to because it’s such a part of all of our lives,” she says. “It’s a basic, primal, emotional experience.”

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She Who Laughs Last

She Who Laughs Last

Local legend Sista Monica proves that you can’t keep a good woman down

Blues Lioness” Sista Monica Parker is about as successful as a Santa Cruz musician can get: She’s performed at major music festivals all over the world, accepted an invitation to play for President Clinton and Vice President Al Gore at the 2000 Democratic National Convention, and won a profusion of awards—including Artist of the Year for Santa Cruz County, a Bammie for Best Blues Artist in California, the 2000 Gail Rich Award and the San Jose Mercury News’ award for Silicon Valley’s 12 Most Creative & Powerful Women. So it will surprise some people that in the almost two decades that Parker has been singing blues, soul and gospel music for a living, she’s kept a day job as a recruiting consultant for various high-tech companies in the Silicon Valley area. “That has been what has been able to catapult me into existence as an artist. By having my own record label and taking my band to the studio and saying, ‘We’re gonna do this, and I’ll pay for it,’” she explains.

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Small Wonders

Small Wonders

Neenel Kharb’s jewelry puts pieces of the city and the sea in new Hands

When Plato famously declared that necessity is the mother of invention, he probably should have added another corollary: for some people, boredom can be the mother of creativity. At least that was the case for local jewelry designer Neenel Kharb, who first started creating her unique pieces, which are made almost entirely from found natural objects, because she really, really needed something to do. “I was living in this little A-frame hut at a permaculture site,” she recalls. This was while Kharb was earning her B.A. in the Community Studies program at UC Santa Cruz, where she focused especially on food, agriculture, and social justice. But while her stint in Marin helped teach her volumes about organic farming, it wasn’t exactly the most exciting time for her socially. “There’s nothing to do,” she says bluntly. “It was a totally desolate place.” What there was, however, was nature and solitude in abundance. “There were a lot of bird feathers everywhere, and these beautiful pine cones that would fall and look like roses. So I had all of this free time and all this access to nature. I would sit in this hut in the middle of the night and craft and experiment. This is what came out of that.”

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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