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Sep 21st
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A&E

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Lights, Camera …

Lights, Camera …

Indie adult film star Madison Young teaches Santa Cruzans how to take erotic filmmaking into their own hands

Pornography has always gone hand-in-hand with the idea of “doing it yourself,” but never more so than in the present era. The Digital Revolution has made it relatively easy for Joe and Jo Blow to not only produce and star in their own naughty movies, but also to show those movies to the world at large if they so desire. As a result, Independent internet porn now threatens to topple the DVD-based mainstream adult film industry in the same way that digital audio encoding has dealt a fatal blow to major record labels.

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Head to Head

Head to Head

The Pacific Rim Music Festival combines musical masterminds from across the ocean
Any musician knows that collaborating with fellow musicians in your own town can be hard enough, but just imagine collaborating with musicians on a different continent. Fortunately, we live in a world in which compositions can now be swiftly sent across the Web in the form of Mp3s so that innovative fusions of culture and sound are possible. Take for instance, the Pacific Rim Music Festival (PRMF).

In its fourth installation since its inception in 1996, this year’s festival combines instruments and techniques of the Orient with those of the West. The Korean 12-string zither-like gayageum, the two-string fiddle (haegeum), the bamboo flute, the mouth organ, the bamboo oboe, Korean percussion, and the Indonesian gamelan tradition will find themselves embraced by Western performers and modern nuances—classical European strings, and even electric guitars, will be infused. 

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It Girl

It Girl

Up-and-coming local fashion designer hits her stride
Alexis Meschi opens the door looking every bit the up-and-coming fashion designer that she is: she wears tall grey boots, designer jeans, the perfect assortment of accessories and an enviable shirt that she made herself. She doesn’t look a day over 21, but she’s 30, married, and has three adorable, young daughters. Meschi is also the sole proprietor and fashion designer of her own company, Lex Designs, which creates modern/romantic T-shirts, dresses, tank tops, skirts, purses and clutches, that are eye-catching and cutting edge—and each is created and sewn by Meschi. At the quick rate that her clothes have been selling at downtown Santa Cruz retailer Stripe, there’s no doubt of her talent, or that her wares are likely going to stretch beyond this city by the sea. (Keep an eye on her. We have a feeling she’s going far.)

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Raindance

Raindance

DJ Little John has been throwing parties for 15 years and shows no signs of stopping
If there is one indisputable fact about electronic music, it’s that it makes people dance. This is so true, in fact, that if you were to go to an electronica show and not dance, something might be wrong with you.

It was this inescapable, lawless dancing that first drew John Edmonds to the electro scene in 1995 (which is, by his account, “early for some, late for others”). Edmonds, now better known around Santa Cruz by his DJ name Little John, was a Deadhead following music around the country, camping out and embracing a lifestyle of freedom—the ultimate expression of which was dancing at music festivals and concerts. Electronic music had a lot more bass and a lot less guitar, but it engendered the same liberated dancing—something he experienced in full force that year on his first trip to Burning Man (which he’s only missed two years since).

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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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Catwalk on the Wild Side

Meet the artists and designers behind this year’s edition of FashionART, SantaCruz’s most outrageous fashion show

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Watch List

From Google to the government to data brokers, why your privacy is now a thing of the past

 

The Peace Equation

Sunday is the United Nations’ International Day of Peace, a global peace-building day when nations, leaders, governments, communities and individuals are invited to end conflict, cease hostilities, creat 24 hours of non-violence and promote goodwill. Monday is Autumn equinox as the Sun enters Libra (right relations with all of life). The Soul Year now begins. We work in the dark part of the year (Persephone underground) preparing for the new light of winter solstice. Tuesday to Wednesday is the Virgo new moon festival. We know two things about peace. “The absence of war does not signify peace.” And “Peace is an ongoing process.” In its peace-building emphasis, the UNIDP, through education, attempts to create a “culture of peace, understanding and tolerance”. Esoterically we are reminded of the peace equation: “Intentions for goodwill (and acting upon this intention) create right relations with all earth’s kingdoms which create (the ongoing process of) peace on earth.” At noon on Sunday, in all time zones, millions of participating groups will observe a moment of silence for peace on earth. Bells will ring, candles will be lit, and doves released as the New Group of World Servers recite the Great Invocation (humanity’s mantram of direction). To connect with others around the world see www.cultureofpeace.org    Let us join together with the mother (Virgo). Goodwill to all, let peace prevail on earth. The dove is the symbol for the day.
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Sweet Treats

Local cannabis bakers win award for cookies

 

What fashion trends do you want to see, or not see?

Santa Cruz  |  High School Guidance Counselor

 

Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

Santa Clara Wine Trail

My memories of growing up in England include my mother pouring port after Sunday dinner—and sometimes a glass of sherry before dinner. My family didn’t drink much wine back then, but we certainly made up for it with the port and sherry.