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Sep 16th
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A&E

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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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Poetry - When Just a Sentence Changes

Poetry - When Just a Sentence Changes

Editor’s note: Juanita Brunk  grew up in Virginia. These poems are from her collection of poetry, “Brief Landing On The Earth’s Surface,” which was chosen by Philip Levine for a Brittiingham Prize.  She recently returned from a year in Asia with her teenage son and is back in New York City, where she has lived for many years.

ON THIS EARTH

To love my own, my body,

to know without saying, legs, you are good legs,

and feet and stomach and arms, good, and the spaces

under my arms, and the brown pigments

splashed across my back like tea leaves.

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Celestial Mechanics

Celestial Mechanics

Santa Cruz’s brightest export, Sleepy Sun, is master of its own orbit

They shuffle in from who knows where, likely not from around here, arriving at a poorly-lit warehouse in the blighted neighborhood of West Oakland known as “Ghost Town.” Feathers and beads adorn their heads, earthen-toned overalls, Baja hoodies, and organic cotton dresses their bodies. As the sickly red light fades away and the fog machine hisses into action, it becomes apparent that they are not the only ones here: light from a digital projector is reflected from the lip piercings of a metalhead who towers near the front, a group of athletic-looking frat-row types jostle for position in the crowd, even a lone tattooed bicycle punk can be sighted, leaning against the filthy concrete walls. Suddenly, the thunderous, tom-heavy drum opener to Sleepy Sun’s “New Age” tears through the fog-heavy room, punctuated by bass, and there is a sense of certainty as to why all have gathered here. Singer Bret Constantino (perhaps the most outlandishly clad of all) steps up to the microphone and breathes rhythmically; the groove locks in, and markers of identity, concepts of place, and the rest of life’s trivialities become meaningless.

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Compassionate Communication

Compassionate Communication Local group, Nonviolent Communication Santa Cruz, continues to expand

“Compassion is the radicalism of our time,” the Dalai Lama has said.  Locally, we can feel grateful to have a number of radical organizations focused on cultivating compassion in personal, political and spiritual realms.  One such group is Nonviolent Communication Santa Cruz, currently celebrating five years of growing and learning in the community. On Saturday, Oct. 17 all are invited to join in the celebration at Funabunda, an extravaganza of “fun in abundance” with delicious food, inspiring music, spectacular magic and a “hungry duck” silent auction.   The event takes place from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Center for Compassion (225 Rooney St., across the freeway from Morrissey Avenue).  Tickets are available for $15 at nvcsantacruz.org or $20 at the door. 
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Hail the Heils

Hail the Heils

A mother and three adult children prove that when it comes to art,
‘connection’ may be the best creative force of all

There are “artists,” and then there are Artists. The artists take themselves rather seriously and usually have fancy statements about their work (that sometimes are a little hard to decipher). The Artists are the ones who infuse some humor into the seriousness of being an artist.

On a fine day in September, I have the pleasure of meeting four of these Artists—a mother and her three adult children, all of whom are participating in this year’s Open Studios during the Oct. 10-11 weekend in South County. Meet the Heil family: There’s Betty, the 82-year-old mom, and Kris, her 50-something, son, then her two daughters, Judy Stabile and Wendy Aikin, also in their fifties. They’ve all shown up to their mother’s Spanish villa in the Pleasant Valley area, a stunning home, dotted with the work of many local artists. Spacious and airy, it provides great acoustics for the booming laughs of the Heil family. This is a crowd of jokesters, but underneath the comedy, they have a heart-warming story to tell about how they each became artists.

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Meals on Wheels

Meals on Wheels

The Fourth Annual Freewheelin’ Farm Art Show invites you to feed your mind and body
Freewheelin’ Farm Art Show, Saturday, Oct. 24
In the early 2000s, when two locals named Amy Courtney and Cassandra Brown started a small farm five-and-a-half miles north of Santa Cruz on Highway 1, they were quick to embrace the CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) system, in which farmers regularly deliver produce to paying members. There was just one hitch: Courtney and Brown didn’t have any cars with which to make their deliveries. The solution to their dilemma came in the form of an old, trashed bicycle trailer, which they fixed up so as to begin biking their produce into town.

Today, that little patch of land on Highway 1 is known as Freewheelin’ Farm, and its overseers still make their deliveries by bike. “Something that isn’t talked about in agriculture that much is how our fruits and vegetables are moved around the country,” notes Kirstin Yogg, one of three co-owners of the farm. “Generally it’s in big trucks, and it’s using a lot of gas. So this is kind of our little stab at helping that problem in the world.”

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This Ain’t Yer Mama’s Beauty School

This Ain’t Yer Mama’s Beauty School

That’s the motto for a hip new cosmetology school in town
This is the first time I’ve ever owned a blow-dryer,” says Dafni Moon matter-of-factly. “I’m still learning how to use mascara.” In some ways, her lack of experience with primping, teasing, and spackling isn’t surprising; the 24-year-old Moon grew up here in Santa Cruz, a self-described “hippie girl” who didn’t have much interest in makeup. But what is a little surprising is Moon’s career choice: she’s just months away from testing for her cosmetology license, studying at the city’s newest and hippest beauty school, The Cosmo Factory. An afternoon talking with some of the Cosmo crew went a long way toward explaining the school’s motto: “This Ain’t Yer Mama’s Beauty School.”

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Runway Success

Runway Success

The FashionART Runway Show returns for its fourth and boldest year
As the quintessential hippie town, Santa Cruz seems like the last place on earth where a fashion show would be a hands-down hit. Granted, with its cutting edge, jaw-droppingly artistic style, the annual FashionART Runway Show has a slightly more psychedelic feel than most productions of its kind, but you still have to marvel at the near-fanatical zeal with which it’s been embraced by a community known for its love of all things earthy and organic. Spawned by River Street’s MichaelAngelo Gallery and sponsored by local banks, businesses and individuals, the event draws a crowd of nearly 1,000 each year. Just what is it about this show that inspires such fervor among its patrons?

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Making Waves

Making Waves

Artist Marvin Plummer captures iconic wave on Swift Street mural project

year ago, Marvin Plummer was gliding along the Pacific Ocean in a diving boat, snapping pictures of the waves, and one in particular caught his attention. It was what’s called the “middle peak” at Steamer’s Lane—a gargantuan wave known to the locals who surf there. Little did Plummer know that the famous wave would live on through his work as an artist and become a permanent fixture in our community

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Blurring the Lines

Blurring the Lines

Artist Michelle Giulvezan-Tanner’s work

When I first met Michelle Giulvezan-Tanner years ago, she was a straightforward artist. These days, the painter has taken to being more abstract, particularly on canvas. It happened about two years ago. She felt that her work, predominantly large-scale oil paintings of people, had become static and one-dimensional. “They didn’t seem to have any life or movement so I started hungering for that wonderful abstract of mark making,” she says. “I had a great conversation with a curator in San Francisco. He pushed me to go back to my abstract roots. I love throwing paint around and seeing what emerges from it; I [now] take abstraction and infuse portraiture.”

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Watch List

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

 

A Different Revolution

Aries Moon late Wednesday and Thursday. We think new thoughts and initiate new ideas. Sun in Virgo with Saturn in Scorpio help disciples to create orderly structures to anchor and bring forth new ideas. Stabilizing Taurus moon Friday and Saturday. We anchor new ideas into form and matter, like seeds planted in the soil. We tend them, waiting for green shoots to emerge. Like the gestating Virgo Sun Madonna, awaiting the birth of the holy child, the Soul, the new light at winter solstice. Mercury and Chiron converse about what hurts and what heals.Saturday is a complex day with Mercury (communication), Mars (action!) and Uranus (revolution). Mercury in Libra is opposite Uranus in Aries. Oppositions (recognizing something new appearing over there somewhere) eventually synthesize. Mercury in Libra calls for Right Action and Right Relations, especially with money. Uranus in Aries—the revolution this time must be different.  Also on Saturday, Mars enters Sagittarius. Where are we going, what are our goals, where’s justice, where’s the mountain, do we have good shoes? Sunday Venus trines Pluto—in-depth assessment of money, values and resources. Gemini moon Monday; we talk a lot, tending to tasks in gardens and neighborhoods. Cancer Moon Tuesday and Wednesday; we nurture and nourish. The stars and planets remind us.Note: William Meader, esoteric author & international teacher, will be speaking on “The Soul of Humanity Evolving Through Crisis” at Meditation Mount, 7pm, Friday, Sept. 12.

 

Final Cut

Cedar Street Video to close after 10 years at downtown location

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of September 12

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
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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

 

Soquel’s Pinot Winner

When you taste Soquel Vineyards’ extraordinary 2012 Partners’ Reserve Pinot Noir, you will know why it won a Double Gold in June at the 2014 San Francisco International Wine Competition.