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Apr 21st
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Bite Your Tongue

Bite Your Tongue

Monterey author offers pointers for effective communication in new book

We can all recall a time when we reacted poorly in a social situation—whether it was in response to an insensitive remark, a missed curfew, a sudden change of plans, or otherwise. While hurtful words and damaged feelings are natural reactions to such emotional triggers, Dr. Carl Alasko, a recently retired psychotherapist based in Monterey, believes he has the answer to gracefully navigating these situations.

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The Poems of Ellen Bass

The Poems of Ellen Bass

Editor’s note:  Ellen Bass was recently named the new Santa Cruz County Poet Laureate. Her poetry includes “Like a Beggar” (Copper Canyon, 2014), “The Human Line” (Copper Canyon, 2007), and “Mules of Love” (BOA, 2002), and she coedited “No More Masks!” (Doubleday, 1973), the first major anthology of poetry by women. Her work has been published in The New Yorker, The American Poetry Review, The New Republic, Ploughshares, and The Kenyon Review. She teaches in the MFA program at Pacific University. Visit ellenbass.com.

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Growing Up Girl

Growing Up Girl

Local coming-of-age doc stands out in Watsonville Film Festival lineup

When acclaimed Watsonville filmmaker Consuelo Alba witnessed her first Xilonen ceremony as an adult in the Pajaro Valley, the indigenous dancing and drumming rituals immediately resonated with her. She sensed right away that the pre-Hispanic rite of passage was just the sort of ceremony she would have loved to experience as a girl.

“I first heard about it and was really intrigued,” says Alba. “It took me a couple of years to attend and then I was blown away.”

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Cradles of Change

Cradles of Change

New MAH exhibit gives voice to orphans in sub-Saharan Africa

It’s been more than a decade since artist and activist Naomi Natale traveled to Kibera, one of the largest slums in Kenya. It was there where she caught a glimpse of some of the estimated 48 million orphan children in sub-Saharan Africa. 

“It was a life-changing experience,” says Natale. “You go with all these statistics and information in your head, and when you come back, you think in terms of faces and real-life stories.” 

Natale hoped to photograph some of those faces, in order to draw attention to the plight of orphaned children across Africa. But after arriving home, still haunted by what she had seen, Natale decided she wanted to do something more. Art seemed like the best option for sharing her experiences and depicting the emotional loss felt by orphaned children and their communities.

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The Durbin Legend

The Durbin Legend

James Durbin talks life post-‘Idol’ and his sophomore album, ‘Celebrate’

In the bitter winter of New York, James Durbin reminisces about his hometown of Santa Cruz, and the whirlwind that was set in motion the day he took fourth place on season 10 of FOX’s American Idol.

“It was really crazy,” he says, remembering May 14, 2011, or “Durbin Day,” when he went from being an ordinary local resident to a celebrity overnight. “I have to pinch myself whenever I think about it.”

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Organic Red, White and Blues

Organic Red, White and Blues

Rock legend (and vintner) Boz Scaggs returns to Santa Cruz

After an explosive set by Tower of Power at the 2011 Aptos Blues Festival, Grammy Award-winning Boz Scaggs took the stage. Channeling almost 50 years of musical experience into a transcendent set—Scaggs’ guitar playing was scintillating—his trademark tenor voice on such hits as “Lowdown” and “Lido Shuffle” had aged like a fine Rhône wine. “That was a good day. That’s a great festival you got there,” says Scaggs from his home just above Napa Valley.

Skip ahead to 2013 when Scaggs’ first album in five years, Memphis, was released. On it, a cover of Mink DeVille’s “Mixed Up, Shook Up Girl” resonates with the warmth of a fireplace on a rainy afternoon. Memphis seamlessly blends soul, funk and R&B into a vintage sound, and it’s obvious that from stage to studio, Scaggs is one of America’s most gifted performers.

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Mother, May I?

Mother, May I?

New exhibit explores the intersection of motherhood and art

Dreams of giving birth to nine-pound pears or shape-shifting rabbit babies were not uncommon for Irene Lusztig during her pregnancy. Anxiety dreams of this nature could enter her head any night of the week. She couldn’t help but wonder if that was normal. Were other mothers experiencing the same thing?

“The anxiety dreams that women have when they are pregnant had me thinking about the things that are OK or not OK to say about motherhood,” explains Lusztig. “Almost all women experience these dreams and I wanted to collect them to start a conversation that many women feel they have to suppress.”

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Art You Can Play

Art You Can Play

Santa Cruz County Art of Guitar Exhibit and Festival celebrates the aesthetic and sonic beauty of the instrument

We tend to think of the world's great guitar players as more than just musicians. They are artists. According to Jayme Kelly Curtis, the same goes for the world's best guitar makers—many of whom live and work in Santa Cruz.

Curtis, the pioneering force behind the first-ever Santa Cruz County Art of Guitar Exhibit and Festival, wants to celebrate the creators of those “exquisite works of functional art” we call guitars. The festival, which runs Feb. 1 through March 15, will showcase more than 20 of “the world's most admired guitar builders”—all of them local.

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Too Legit To Quilt

Too Legit To Quilt

Santa Cruz artist Ann Baldwin May takes quilting to a whole new level

At first glance, Ann Baldwin May’s decorative art quilts could easily be mistaken for paintings. The award-winning local artist consistently challenges the traditional definition of what a quilt is with her remarkable use of detail.

A collection of her creations is now on display at R. Blitzer Gallery in Santa Cruz, where a playful tagline aptly warns visitors, “These are not your grandmother’s quilts.” While May tends to be modest about her art, gallery owner Robert Blitzer can’t stop gushing about it.

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The Poems of Patricia Zylius

The Poems of Patricia Zylius

Editor’s note:  In her own words, Patricia Zylius is “an incurable copyeditor, and fortunately, gets paid for it.” In 2012, she published “Dear Sweeties: Tom Cuthbertson on His Dance with Cancer,” by her late ex-husband. Her chapbook, “Once a Vibrant Field” was published in 2013 by Finishing Line Press.

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Smells Like Team Spirit

The organizers of TEDx Santa Cruz don’t just talk about this year’s theme, ‘radical collaboration’—they live it

 

Pluto Retrograde, Aries New Moon, Lyrid Meteor Showers

As the Lyrid meteors, radiating from the star Vega in the Harp constellation, begin showering heaven and earth with light, Pluto, planet of transformation (or die) turns stationary retrograde (Thursday, April 16), 15 degrees Capricorn. Retrogrades have purpose, allowing humanity time to review, reassess, research and reinvent while returning to previous situations. Retrogrades are times of inner activity, seeds sown in bio-dynamically prepared soil. Pluto retrograde is the most serious and resolute of retrogrades—a pure tincture, or, as in homeopathy, a “constitutional” touching the essences of all that matters. Pluto offers deep insight into confusion or puzzlement and areas where transformation is still incomplete. It’s valuable to have one’s astrology chart to follow what area of life the major planets— especially Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto—are influencing. These outer planets have long-term and lasting effects on our psyche, inner/outer life events, how people see us and how we see and process our world. Pluto, retrograde for five months (until Sept. 24) offers deep earthquakes of change, awakens humanity to the task of building (Capricorn) the new culture and civilization, flailing our inner world about, deepening us until we transform and do things differently. Pluto is an unrelenting teacher. New moon (29 Aries) is Saturday, April 18. With the personality-building keynote, “Let form again be sought.” Mars anchors the new creative fires of Aries into our world. The New Group of World Servers participates together in the new moon festival, while also preparing for the Taurus Wesak, Buddha Full Moon Festival (May 3). Join us everyone.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of April 17

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
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Munch

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

 

What would you like to see a TED talk about?

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

 

37th Parallel Wines

I visited the Capitola Mall recently to check out the newly launched Third Fridays Walking Art Tour, and was surprised to find an impressive assortment of artwork from local artists.

 

Mighty Leaf

Radicchio from Dirty Girl Produce, wine etiquette fail, and a treat from Gayle’s