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Santa Cruz Film Festival Diary, Day 4

Santa Cruz Film Festival Diary, Day 4

Kurt Kuenne’s ‘Shuffle’

With its mid-May scheduling, the Santa Cruz Film Festival, which I continued to explore at a moderate tempo over the weekend, creates the ultimate first-world conundrum for attendees: How does one take advantage of all the festival has to offer when it’s 70 degrees outside? There’s a reason, I think, why many of the world’s most distinguished film festivals happen in places(or during seasons) that wouldn’t merit an extended stay sans said festival.

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CultureBeat

Santa Cruz Film Festival Diary, Day 3

Santa Cruz Film Festival Diary, Day 3

Locally-produced short film program, ‘Only in Santa Cruz'

One of the responsibilities of any given film festival is to spotlight local talent, and this year’s shorts program, Only in Santa Cruz, which screened on Saturday, May 12 at the Nickelodeon, exists in that spirit—and, as is the case with many a short film program, this collective is a bit of a mixed bag.

It opens with Good Morning, Day!, in which several strangers interact while waiting for the bus and on the strange ride that follows; ultimately, it’s a potentially interesting concept rendered almost incomprehensible by its nauseating form. 

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The Ticker

Taking New Steps Abroad

Taking New Steps Abroad

Locals race for a greener China

Kimberly Bingham and her husband were only planning to stay in China for a year. Six years down the road, the Santa Cruz couple—along with their two children—have found themselves making leaps and bounds to help the biggest continent on Earth a greener place for us all.

Bingham, who was born and raised in Santa Cruz, is now teaching in Suzhou, China.  She is currently training with a team for the Great Wall Marathon, a race that has been run by only about 11,000 people to date. She plans on running not only as a test to her own physical strength—the race consists of 5164 steps—but also as a fundraiser for the Million Trees Project, which is dedicated to improving both ecological and humanitarian conditions in inner Mongolia.

 

“Living abroad, especially living in Asia, you see things that are sometimes really difficult to see—both human suffering and just general damage to the planet ... you have to decide pretty early on if you are going to care about the things you see,” Bingham says.  “If this were about planting a tree in China and walking away, it would be a waste. I really appreciate that the Million Tree Project is focused on the big picture ... reforestation is of critical importance for the overall health of our entire planet.”

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CultureBeat

Santa Cruz Film Festival Diary, Day 1

Santa Cruz Film Festival Diary, Day 1

Opening night: Sascha Rice’s “California State of Mind: The Legacy of Pat Brown”

With relatively modest pomp and circumstance, the Santa Cruz Film Festival kicked off its 11th year on Thursday night at the Del Mar Theatre, although not without a technical hitch (or several). Ultimately, the opening night menu had to be flipped; the feature film screened first, followed by the Good Times/Impact/SCFF screenwriting contest winners short film program, which was originally scheduled to precede the feature. But if the night was destined to be an unpredictable one due to those aforementioned technical difficulties, it’s lucky, then, that the selected entrée delivered so reliably.

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Mind & Body

Yoga for a Better Night’s Sleep

Yoga for a Better Night’s Sleep

NAVIGATING YOGA > As anyone who practices yoga can tell you, it is a powerful way to relax. As such, it also can mean better, deeper sleep. But what exactly about yoga aids healthy sleep? Is it the long, luxurious stretching? Is it the meditation aspect, or the deep breathing? Or it is because “savasana” basically feels like a nap? In short, the answer is yes to all of the above. Yoga is one of the best ways to promote relaxation—so how can we take advantage of its positive affects on sleep?

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The Ticker

I am Shannon

I am Shannon

SANTA CRUZ > Take Back Santa Cruz plans community event to commemorate Shannon Collins

Late last night, Tuesday, May 8, Take Back Santa Cruz founder Analicia Cube posted the words “I am Shannon Collins” on the group’s Facebook page.    

At the time of this writing, nearly 20 others—men and women, alike—had followed suit and commented that they, too, are Shannon Collins.

Collins was a 38-year-old Santa Cruz resident and downtown business owner who was brutally murdered on Monday, May 7 in the city’s Lower Broadway neighborhood. According to the Santa Cruz Police Department, the attack was random and had no clear motive. The attacker was Charles Anthony Edwards, a 43-year-old transient from San Francisco with “an extensive violent crime history.” You can read more about the incident here.

 “I am Shannon” is also the name the TBSC event Cube has planned for Monday, May 14—one week after Collins’ death. “We are all her,” Cube says. “You could be her. I could be her. She was one of us. That’s the basic sentiment.”

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The Ticker

Blunting Hunger Pangs

Blunting Hunger Pangs

WATSONVILLE > Friday discussion aims to spread awareness of CalFresh eligibility

Santa Cruz County has been taking advantage of more food assistance programs than ever over the last few years, but Second Harvest Food Bank thinks that public awareness of available resources could use a boost.

This Friday, May 11, Second Harvest Food Bank will hold an event highlighting the CalFresh program (formerly known as food stamps and now federally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP). According to a Second Harvest press release, CalFresh is being seriously underutilized.

“Currently, less than 50 percent of eligible Californians are benefiting from this valuable program,” says Second Harvest’s Deborah Yashar in the press release.

Food aid programs in Santa Cruz have been seeing spikes in use over the past several years. In 2003, 32,618 people in Santa Cruz County were served by the Second Harvest Food Bank. By 2010, that number had grown to 52,400.

 

Students benefiting from free or reduced cost school meals have also increased in number—while still below the California average, students receiving these benefits went from 36.4 percent of students to 50.9 percent.

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The Ticker

Fatal Stabbing Information Released

Fatal Stabbing Information Released

SANTA CRUZ > Police have released the identity of the local woman who passed away yesterday, Monday, May 7, due to a brutal stabbing attack. The victim was Shannon Collins, the well-known and beloved co-owner of Camouflage in Downtown Santa Cruz.

Collins, who was 38-years-old, was accosted and repeatedly stabbed on the 300 block of Broadway Street around 11:50 a.m. yesterday. She was pronounced dead on the scene. Police say the suspect, 43-year-old transient Charles Anthony Edwards, hails from San Francisco—where they say he has “an extensive violent criminal history”—and had been in Santa Cruz for about a week. He did not know Collins.    

“After interviews with multiple witnesses, and Mr. Edwards, investigators established that the victim did not know Mr. Edwards,” said a Tuesday SCPD press release. “It appears as though this was a senseless, unprovoked and random attack by Mr. Edwards upon an innocent victim. There is no clear motive.”

Edwards was booked at 9 p.m. Monday and remains in police custody. His photo will be released after the police department has finished conducting photo lineups with witnesses, of which they say there were “a high number.”

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The Ticker

Progress for Project Homeless Connect

Progress for Project Homeless Connect

SANTA CRUZ > Data from the third annual event is in

The variety of offerings at the recent Project Homeless Connect (PHC) included everything from reading glasses and dental screenings to one-on-one assistance and ID cards.

The April 17 event was the third annual installment of PHC—a one-stop shop that crops up once a year to provide a wide range services and support for the growing homeless population in Santa Cruz County.

“Homelessness is a really hot topic in Santa Cruz,” says Samantha Green, research analyst for Watsonville-based nonprofit Applied Survey Research, which organizes the event along with the United Way of Santa Cruz County. Together, the organizations gather 45 service agencies and 450 community volunteers for an eight-hour event that Green says has visibly changed lives.  

 “It’s wonderful to see people who were homeless two years ago who have a home now, who have gained weight, who we can see again, and who can see people who they’ve been helped by,” says Green. “It’s really amazing.”

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CultureBeat

Sunni Side Up

Sunni Side Up

How art can change the world: Renowned poet/activist Sunni Patterson speaks out

Celebrated spoken word artist, poet, and activist Sunni Patterson heads to UC Santa Cruz on Sunday, May 6, to take part in the sixth annual Birth of Word Festival, presented by Rainbow Theater. Prior to her visit, GT caught up with Patterson to discuss her craft, the role of an artist in today’s world, the culture of her hometown, New Orleans, and more.

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Is This a Dream?

A beginner’s guide to understanding and exploring the uncanny world of lucid dreams

 

Giving and Giving, Then Giving Some More

2014 is almost over. Wednesday, Dec. 17, the Jewish Festival of Light, Hanukkah, begins. We are in our last week of Sag and last two weeks of December. Sunday, Dec. 21 is winter Solstice, as the sun enters Capricorn (3:30 p.m. for the west coast). Soon after, the Capricorn new moon occurs (5:36 p.m. for the west coast)—the last new moon of 2014. Sunday morning Uranus in Aries (revolution, revelation) is stationary direct (retro since July 22). Uranus/Aries create things new and needed to anchor the new culture and civilization (Aquarius). We will see revolutionary change in 2015. Capricorn new moon, building-the-personality seed thought, is, “Let ambition rule and let the door to initiation and freedom stand wide (open).” Capricorn is a gate—where matter returns to spirit. But the gate is unseen until the Ajna Center (third eye), Diamond Light of Direction, opens. Winter solstice is the longest day of darkness of the year. The sun’s rays resting at the Tropic of Capricorn (southern hemisphere) symbolize the Christ (soul’s) light piercing the heart of the Earth, remaining there for three days, till Holy Night (midnight Thursday morning). Then the sun’s light begins to rise. It is the birth of the new light (holy child) for the world. A deep calm and stillness pervades the world.The entire planet is revivified, re-spiritualized. All hearts beating reflect this Light. And so throughout the Earth there’s a radiant “impress” (impressions, pictures) given to humanity of the World Mother and her Child. The star Sirius (love/direction) and the constellation Virgo the mother shines above. For gift giving, give to those in need. Give and give and then give some more. This creates the new template of giving and sharing for the new world.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Stocking Stuffers

The men behind the women of the Kinsey Sicks Dragapella Beautyshop Quartet explain their own special brand of ‘dragtivism,’ and their holiday show at the Rio
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Tramonti Pizza

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Guitar or surfboard?

Guitar. The closest thing I ever came to surfing was sliding down a rock hill. Charlie Tweddle, Santa Cruz, Hats and Music

 

Fortino Winery’s Intriguing Charbono

At the opening celebration of the new Santa Clara Wine Trail in August, one of the wineries we visited was Fortino. This is where I first tasted their intriguing estate-grown Charbono—a varietal that is one of the rarest in California, with only 80 acres grown statewide.

 

Beyond the Jar

How Tabitha Stroup has built her rapidly expanding jam empire