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Aug 03rd
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A&E

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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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Running on Full

Running on Full

The fuel that fires Jackson Browne’s green activism
Jackson Browne has never been one to stay quiet. As introspective poet or volatile protester, he’s emblematic of the singer-songwriter that doubles as a sign of the ever-changing times. At 61, while he’s a classic when it comes to California folk rock troubadours that emerged in the prolific ’60s, he continues to modify his lyrics and his life to accommodate some cutting-edge concerns. So don’t be fooled by the simplicity of the solo sound and Gibson acoustic guitar he’s bringing to the Santa Cruz Civic this Wednesday, Feb. 23, because the man is clearly plugged in.

These days the staunch environmentalist is driving a new Chevy Volt electric car, and he certainly doesn’t “Take It Easy” when it comes to taking political and green-minded stands. When GT catches up with the founder of Musicians United for Safe Energy, and Nukefree.org, his thoughts are preoccupied with the Great Pacific Garbage Patch—and the plastic that feeds it.

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Bold Moves

Bold Moves

Indie film ‘Bold Native’ explores the ethos of animal liberation
"What is freedom? Are we born with it, or do we earn it? And if you deny freedom to the quiet ones—those who have no voice—can you be free yourself? Or are you caged by your own lack of compassion?”

These are the opening words in the film Bold Native, as spoken by the film’s protagonist, a young man named Charlie Cranehill. Charlie is a strong believer in American freedom. But he’s also a domestic terrorist wanted by the F.B.I. and his own freedom survives only so long as he can evade the authorities.

As the leader of a small cell of animal liberators who call themselves Bold Native (and whom the government are after for millions of dollars in property damage), Charlie’s life and livelihood are dedicated to freeing animals from injustices inflicted upon them by humans. The fiction feature length film follows Charlie, documentary-style, over a two year period as he organizes 35 simultaneous liberation actions—the largest ever coordinated in the decentralized, loosely organized movement known as the Animal Liberation Front, or ALF.

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The Poems of David Thorn

The Poems of David Thorn

Editor’s note: In this week’s Poetry Corner, we feature the work of poet David Thorn. He has been published in Poetry Canada, in England, and many literary magazines across the United States, including the Porter Gulch Review, and has been the Poet of the Year three times. He is a writing teacher at UC Santa Cruz and Cabrillo College and is considered Santa Cruz’s original surfing poet.

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Environmentally Speaking

Environmentally Speaking

Renowned history and politics expert Douglas Brinkley talks conservationism at UCSC.
If you ever find yourself feeling cocky about all your achievements and accolades, contemplate Douglas Brinkley’s life for a while. Among the Rice University history professor’s accomplishments: He’s CBS News’ history commentator; he was selected as Rosa Parks’ official biographer; he’s Jack Kerouac’s authorized biographer; he’s the literary executor for Hunter S. Thompson; he’s written several articles for Rolling Stone, including profiles on Ken Kesey, Norman Mailer and Kurt Vonnegut as well as a cover story on Bob Dylan; he’s a contributing editor to Vanity Fair; his books include 1992’s Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt Naval History Prize-winning “Driven Patriot,” 1999’s “The Unfinished Presidency” (believed by many to be largely responsible for Jimmy Carter’s winning of the Nobel Peace prize) and 2006’s Robert F. Kennedy Book Award winner “The Great Deluge”; he’s a member of the Council on Foreign Relations;  he was invited to the White House twice to discuss history with the president … and the list goes on.

On Saturday, January 29, Brinkley presents his lecture “Change: Mobilizing the Historical Narrative” at UCSC.

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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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Health Screening

Santa Cruz wellness expert releases app to improve workplace well-being

 

Leo Sun; Full Moon, Venus Retro in Leo; Saturn Direct

It’s a complex week of planetary movements, challenges, demands and callings. We’re in the time of the Leo Sun. Leo—fixed fire, gold, the heart, generous, strong, noble, the king/queen—needs appreciation and praise from everyone in order to move forward. During Leo we gain a greater sense of self-identification by recognizing our creativity. It’s therefore a perfect time for Venus retrograding in Leo. In Venus retrograde we review and re-assess values. Venus retro in Leo concerns our self as valuable, acknowledging talents, gifts, abilities and offerings. Friday, Venus re-enters Leo (29 degrees, a critical degree) continuing the retrograde to 14 degrees Leo on Sept. 6. Friday (Full Moon) is also the (8 degrees) Leo solar festival, Festival of the Future. Leo is the heart of the sun, the heart of all that matters. When attuned to this heart, we have understanding and inclusivity. The heart of the Lion is Mitra (think “Maitreya,” the coming World Teacher). Leo prepares humanity to receive divine love from subtle sources and later to radiate that love to the kingdoms. Sirius, Ray 2, where love originates, streams through Regulus (heart of Leo), into the heart of the sun (Ray 2) and into all hearts. The heart of Leo is Regulus. Joining Venus, the love underlying all of creation appears. Saturday is Sun/Neptune (confusion or devotion) with late night Saturn turning stationary direct. Ideas, plans and structures held long in abeyance (since March 14) slowly move forward. (Read more on Leo and the week at nightlightnews.org and Risa D’Angeles’ Facebook page, accessed through my website.)

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of July 31

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
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Holy Cannoli

New bakery opens in Ben Lomond, plus Randall Grahm’s quest to grow 10,000 new grape varieties, and Mexican cooking classes

 

Is Santa Cruz turning into Malibu North?

It's got a ways to go before it gets wrecked like Malibu, but I think we need to be very careful about growth. Maria Mattioli, Santa Cruz, Psychotherapist

 

Bargetto Winery

A much-anticipated annual event at Bargetto Winery is the release of their very special La Vita red wine. June 7 was the day to be heralded this year, and I happily squeezed my car into their overloaded car park in eager anticipation of tasting the new La Vita nectar.

 

Margaritaville

Popular Capitola spot gets new owner and complete makeover