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Apr 26th
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A&E

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It Takes a Village

It Takes a Village

Village Yoga celebrates 10 years with a book release and more
Ten years of gratitude, love, community, change, physical and emotional balance, cover the pages of Village Bikram Yoga Santa Cruz’s original new book, “Bend a Little.” The collection of heartfelt testimonials and photographs of the Village Yoga community is set for release just in time for the studio’s 10-year anniversary party this weekend.

“It is a bit overwhelming for us to have this compilation and this testimony of what we’ve been doing for the last 10 years, and to have it in a book where people have poured their hearts out and been really honest and truthful,” says Sally Adams, who co-owns the studio with Amy Mihal. “It’s allowed me to actually see and experience the gratitude that people feel. They are always saying thank you, but I don’t normally take the time to actually feel that gratitude. This book is changing me, I think. It’s really having a profound effect on me to take the time to feel that gratitude.”

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Incandescent Moments

Incandescent Moments

Local icons Bruce and Marcia McDougal, Big Creek Pottery, celebrated in new MAH exhibit
Bruce and Marcia McDougal have always thrived on "the excitement of the moment." Ask what this means, and Marcia offers a typically direct and resonant response: "Like the first time your baby smiles at you."

The McDougals' lives as artisans, craftpersons, and local cultural icons have been full of such incandescent moments. Potters, jewelry-makers, teachers, hoteliers, international travelers, longtime proprietors of the Davenport Cash Store and Bed and Breakfast, they have been at the heart of cultural life in Santa Cruz County for close to 50 years. But it's their role as founders of the fabled Big Creek Pottery School, up Swanton Road, from 1968 through 1983, that is currently drawing them once more into the spotlight. The McDougals, their work, and their school are the focus of a major retrospective opening this month at the Museum of Art & History: “Big Creek Pottery: A Social History of a Visual Idea.”

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The Naked Pilgrim

The Naked Pilgrim

Robynn Smith at MichaelAngelo’s
On wood and on paper, the recent works of Robynn Smith at MichaelAngelo Gallery express with eloquence and passion the sturm und drang shared this moment throughout the world. While the earth cracks and waters heave and the oppressed rise up and monsters aim guns at children and freaks clamber over each other for an antidote to radioactive clouds an ocean away, Smith finds eddies in the grain of wood and draws a tree root pushing into the air, stretching out as if to find a clean spot for life.  This body of work is neither sudden nor impulsive, but, just like the inequities and abominations it alludes to, it has been years in development, and getting darker.

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Eco Design

Eco Design

Local fashion designer Angelina Rennell on design and her online eco-boutique
Fashionistas: listen up. We’ve got some crucial career advice for all of you seamstresses-in-the-making. You’ve always wondered: how do they do it? How does a fashion designer get off the ground and get a line started, and then sell it, and so on? Such questions about how a designer creates this reality burn in the fashion-consciousness of designers-in-the-making. We stumbled upon some answers when we met the creative, inspiring, local fashion darling Angelina Rennell, a Santa Cruz designer who has carved out her own niche in the world of fashion, both locally and beyond.

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Finding Futzie Nutzle

Finding Futzie Nutzle

Bruce Kleinsmith’s creativity shine at Cabrillo Gallery
The name was too long. Kleinsmith. It took up too much space at the bottom of a drawing. He wanted something phonetic instead, something that “jumped right off the page.” A cartoon figure he liked was called Futzie Nutzle—his own cartoon. He’d done the lettering with his left hand: “an avenue into another brain hemisphere.” The Z’s jumped right off the page.

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Space Invaders

Space Invaders

Musicians find prime practice space at Santa Cruz Rehearsal Studios

Practice makes perfect. But what about when you don’t have a place to hone your instrumental and vocal jiu-jitsu—then what? With the sound ordinance and party-crashing police pretty ubiquitous in town (just ask your local bemoaning band about it), Santa Cruz Rehearsal Studios (SCRS) is serving up soundproofed rooms for players to get loud in, one hour at a time. After all, if lovers can get it on at an hourly rate, so should musicians.

When SCRS owner Paul Gallacher moved to Santa Cruz in 2003 he, like most musicians, just wanted to jam. For the seasoned bassist who’d previously lived and gigged in the big cities (New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco), finding people to play with wasn’t the problem. It was finding where to play.

“There was a place in town that had a monthly lockout rental,” Gallacher recalls his arduous search for an affordable spot to rock. “But the concept of having a monthly lease didn’t work with my budget, and I didn’t want a lease to just jam with people or get a band going.”

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The Exhibitionist

The Exhibitionist

Rich Harvest at Pajaro Valley Gallery

Landscapes lushly compose themselves of fog and sedge and water while an ocean hides beyond the trees. Irrigated fields march in all directions in bold grids while bees make their way through dramatic clouds. A perky crop of houses erupts on a hillside; birds stalk and stare and rise in flight everywhere and a pantheon of noble vegetables pose for their close-ups. “A Harvest of Images: Pajaro Valley Impressions by the MPC Printmakers” at Pajaro Valley Arts Council Gallery serves up that promised harvest in 100 fine art prints by 48 artists in an exhibition curated by painter Howard Ikemoto.

The humble appearance of the PVAC gallery is all part of the act of the quietly essential powerhouse hidden within a converted bungalow on a residential street in Watsonville. PVAC uses the homey feeling to relax viewers into a receptive relationship with the art, then in room after tiny room builds a story around powerful social or educational themes.

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The Art of Nature

The Art of Nature

Two diverse artists get close to nature with grants from the Creative Work Fund
Claudia Stevens is the surgeon of artists—exact and patient. She examines the intricate parts of a monkey flower under her microscope, then renders the seed pods, leaves and root structures perfectly in gouache, silver point and dry brush water color.

A photograph might depict these details well enough, but Stevens’ art translates the ethereal quality of live plants through translucent layering techniques.

Stevens studied printmaking and scientific illustration at UC Santa Cruz, and continued her art education at San Jose State University where she earned a master’s degree. That was 20 years ago. Since then, her illustrations have been commissioned by Sunset magazine, Rodale Press, Bantam Books and University Press. By necessity, teaching has dominated her art career.

Creating an art series requires a significant time commitment, which is hard to meet without the promise of compensation.

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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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We Can Rebuild You

A look back at how downtown Santa Cruz recovered from the 1989 earthquake

 

International Earth Day—Mother Earth Day

Every April 22, humanity celebrates International Mother Earth Day and Earth Day. As more than a billion people participate in Earth Day activities every year, Earth Day has become the world’s largest civic observance. The massive concern to build right relations between humanity and the living being we call Earth is evidence of humanity’s love of the Mother. In 2009, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed April 22 International Mother Earth Day, with a significant resolution affirming “the interdependence existing among human beings, other living species (the kingdoms—mineral, plant, animal and human) and the planet itself, the Earth which we all inhabit.” The Earth is our home. Celebrating Earth Day helps us define new emerging processes (economic, social, political) focused on the well-being of the kingdoms. Through these, humanity seeks to raise the quality of life, foster equality and begin to establish right relations with the Earth. We dedicate ourselves to bringing forth balance and a relationship of harmony with all of nature. Learn about planting a billion trees (the Canopy Project); participate in 1.5 billion acts of green. Disassociation (toward Earth) is no longer viable. We lose our connection to life itself. Participation is viable—an anchor, refuge and service for all of life on Earth. Visit earthday.org; harmonywithnatureun.org; and un.org/en/events/motherearthday for more information. From Farmers Almanac, “On Earth Day, enjoy the tonic of fresh air, contact with the soil, companionship with nature! Go barefooted. Walk through woods, find wildflowers and green moss. Remain outside, no matter the weather!” Nature, Earth’s most balanced kingdom, heals us. The New Group of World Servers is preparing for the May 3 Wesak Buddha Taurus solar festival. We prepare through asking for and offering forgiveness. Forgiveness purifies and like nature, heals.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Mission Critical

How reading Lisa Jensen’s reviews taught me to love film
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Oral Fixations

Blown away by a Tuesday night dinner at Oswald

 

What would you like to see a TED talk about?

Hydrogen-gas cars that are coming this summer. Scott Oliver, Santa Cruz, Professor

 

Sarah’s Vineyard

Sarah’s Vineyard of Gilroy is known for crafting fine wines—and one of my all-time favorites is its Chardonnay. But this time, its Viognier has my vote.

 

Munch

East Coast meets West Coast in new meat lover’s paradise