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Nov 27th
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CultureBeat

The Heroic Age

The Heroic Age

This is a big week for the house of ideas with Marvel kicking out the first issue in their biggest event so far this year: "Age of Heroes." A series that sets out to wipe the darkened slate from the last several years of violent, harder edged crossovers and shed a little light back in their universe. Bringing together the creative writing team of Kurt Busiek (awesome), Rick Remender (dunno), Paul Cornell (ditto), and Dan Slott (LOVE him) as well as several top notch artists, I'd be lying if I said I had no interest in the book. I know that Marvel has been hit and miss for a while now, but I still have fond memories of those incredibly fun giant-sized issues (no Man-Thing jokes, please) rolled up in my back pocket as a kid and this whole new take appears to be a return to comics that aren't taking themselves so seriously. Always welcome in my opinion.

So is this Marvel's answer to DC's lightening up of its titles with "Brightest Day" after their remarkably bleak, Blackest Night series? Personally, I feel like the softening up might have something to do with the company's recent acquisition by Disney - In any case it's nice to see a return made by both companies to the type of stories that made comics so great to read back before the industry went all grim 'n gritty in the mid-eighties. In the words of Dan Slot: "Fun is not a dirty word anymore." Sounds great to me. Check out the other releases here.

Mind & Body

Love Handles

Love Handles

Reader’s Request: I have a little jiggle around the middle. Can you suggest some exercises that I could do to tone up my abs?

Ah, yes, the love handles. I think most people feel as though they could tighten and tone that area. And as we gain weight around our middle, our rate for type 2 diabetes and other weight-onset diseases increase. It’s important to work on this area for our health reasons alone, not including the “muffin-top” that can pop up over our jeans.

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The Ticker

The Curious Case of Hemp

The first Hemp History Week began on May 17 with a slew of events across the nation—and a few in Santa Cruz—aimed at educating people on the deep roots of hemp in American history and the stigmas the useful crop faces in modern times. Participants are sending postcards to the president asking him to legalize hemp, which became illegal to grow in the United States starting with the Marihuana Tax Act that passed in 1937. To learn more about the history of hemp and to hear how Santa Cruz celebrated the week, read the full story at goodtimessantacruz.com in the Fresh Dirt Blog section. Visit hemphistoryweek.com for more information about Hemp History Week. 

Obsessive Beauty

Skin Deep

Skin DeepI’ve tried every skin care product out there, from the pricey and unimpressive to drug store brands, and everything in between. I’ve got oily, sensitive, sometimes combination, occasionally acne-prone, and soon-to-be maturing skin. It’s a real blast. One day I’ve got a zit, another day flaky skin, a fine line here, an age spot there. For years, my skin has looked like a mess. In my search for the perfect solution to my skin care concerns, I finally stumbled upon what has been my across-the-board cure-all—Mario Badescu. Since using the brand full-time for the last four months, my cystic acne has ceased, my whiteheads are few and far between, my dry patches took a hike and even the small fine lines around my eyes seem to be on hiatus. I found a skincare line that works—and it works wonders. (By the way, no one is paying me to write this review. I’m speaking purely from my own experience.)
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CultureBeat

If You Play It, They Won’t Just Come

If You Play It, They Won’t Just Come

Tips on how to avoid playing to an empty room
If I could summarize exactly how to sell out every show in Santa Cruz, I would be writing this blog from my yacht in Spain, instead of at this faux wood desk. People with brains much bigger than mine spend their entire careers trying to figure out exactly what motivates someone to go from observer to consumer, from seeing the concert poster to buying the ticket.

The blessing and the curse is that there is no secret formula. Filling the room is a predicament shared by musicians big and small, so consider yourself in very good company.

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The Ticker

Hemp History Week

Hemp History Week

Santa Cruz celebrates the long and windy history of hemp
Can the same raw material produce all types of paper, healthy soaps, durable houses, omega-3 rich ice cream, stylish clothes, and bio-diesel? Would it be possible to do it organically and sustainability, with no pesticides and considerably less water? Well, yes, it’s very possible--just not here in the United States.

Here in Santa Cruz, a town well educated in marijuana, seemingly little is known about hemp. While hemp and marijuana are both plants of the Cannabis genus, hemp can’t be smoked like marijuana. Most hemp contains 0 percent Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient found in marijuana. Some contain, at most, 0.3 percent THC, while marijuana contains anywhere between 6 percent to more than 20 percent THC. So, to any doubters, you can rest assured that marijuana smokers will not be setting hemp T-shirts and soaps ablaze in their backyards in hopes of getting high.

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CultureBeat

The Westsiders by Joshua Pomer

The Westsiders by Joshua Pomer

Joshua Pomer had a dream, to one day document his best friends rise to the top as innovators of surf while placing Santa Cruz firmly on the map. What Josh didn’t realize at the time was his desire to tell the story of their tragedies and triumphs while holding on for the ride of their lives. This would become The Westsiders a story about four friends coming from very different backgrounds with one common thread of brotherhood through surfing and dark influences.

Before I can review the film (we attended the Santa Cruz Film Festival premier), one must understand the creative mind of Joshua Pomer. Shooting Super 8 movies from the age of six, skits and random objects in motion caught the eye of this young cinematographer. I sat down with Josh and we chatted about life, friends and family along with desire to create and share. These words are from that conversation.

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CultureBeat

"Bruce Wayne of Earth...LIVE."

We all knew it was inevitable. Death is never permanent in comic books and when Bruce Wayne checked out back in Final Crisis, it was just a matter of time before we'd see him again. The odd thing is, with Dick Grayson and Damien Wayne as the replacement Batman and Robin providing the most incredible entertainment the bat books have seen in years, I'm actually not really excited to see the guy come back.

Well, here it is anyway because Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne, a 6-issue mini series written by Grant Morrison kicks off this week. Essentially portraying Bruce's journey throughout time itself (I still don't get it), the book promises to put together the storyline pieces that the scribe has been spreading throughout his run on the character ever since he took over the main title back in 2006.

 

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Mind & Body

Did you miss the Bash?

Did you miss the Bash?If you missed the opening at StudioSC, 1010 Fair Street, last Friday, you’ll want to be sure to keep your ears open for the next one.  It was part of the successful “First Friday Series,” Santa Cruz’s homegrown art crawl.  1010 Fair is a ways from the downtown scene, but with a modern edgy space, photography of five local photographers, each with their individual posse, the chemistry was right, and the people found their way.  DJ Fox mixed a sonic backdrop of funky down-tempo grooves. Good fashion, food, and drinks. 
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The Ticker

Coffee Connections

Coffee Connections

Community Agroecology Network (CAN)’s week of events features Darling Betsabe Campos Rayo of Nicaragua

If you’re part of the 54 percent of the American population that drinks coffee, it’s likely you had a cup this morning. But how likely is it that you also pondered about the hands that produced your cup of coffee, and questioned how it came to end up in your hands?

Community Agroecology Network (CAN) is a Santa Cruz-based organization that encourages consumers not only to ask these questions, but also to answer them. They collaborate with small coffee farmers in Central American communities to research methods to grow sustainable coffee and create an alternative and more direct market in which producers receive a fairer share of the profits. To help jumpstart the dialogue between coffee consumers and coffee producers, CAN will be hosting a series of events this week, May 10 through 14, featuring Darling Betsabe Campos Rayo from their partner community in Matagalpa Nicaragua.

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Good Times Holiday Giving

Giving Where It Helps

 

Giving Thanks: The Thought-Form of Solution

We are in the time and under the influence of Sagittarius, sign of the wanderer, good food, good music, and the joy (Jupiter as ruler) that occurs from giving to others while simultaneously giving thanks from our hearts. Having the Thanksgiving holiday during the month of Sag is not a mistake. No other sign understands joy (an aspect of the Soul) as Sag (except Pisces when not in despair). “Sag is a beam of directed and focused light. The beam reveals a greater light ahead, illuminating the Way to the center of the Light,” emitting the Ray of Joyfulness. Thanksgiving is a time for gratitude; in the form of prayers, thoughts, feelings, wishes, hopes and greetings. Gratitude is something we still need to learn. Gratitude creates goodwill. Together, gratitude and goodwill create the “thought-form of solution” for humanity and our world’s problems. Gratitude and goodwill are the prerequisites for the reappearance of the Christ, the Aquarian World Teacher. In Ancient Wisdom texts it is written, “being grateful is the hallmark of one who is enlightened.” Gratitude comes from the Soul—the characteristics of which are love and wisdom (Ray 2). Gratitude is scientifically and occultly (mental, not emotional) a releasing agent. Gratitude liberates us and everything around us. Also a service to others, gratitude is deeply scientific in nature, releasing us from the past and laying open our future path leading to the new culture and civilization, the new laws and principles, the rising light of Aquarian, the Age of Friendship and Equality. The Hierarchy lays much emphasis upon gratitude. Let us be grateful this year and this season together. And so now the days of light illuminating the darkness begin (December’s festivals and feast days). Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. I am grateful for all of you, my readers.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of November 28

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
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Round About Now

The glory of persimmons, plus Ivéta scone mix and lunch at Assembly

 

What charities would you like to see people support this season?

Judy Allen, Scotts Valley, Consulting

 

Big Basin Vineyards

I was just in the process of purchasing a bottle of Big Basin’s 2012 Homestead in Vinocruz when Matt Ryan walked into the store. Ryan manages the tasting room, sales and the mailing list at Big Basin, and, considering the popularity of their wines, he’s a very busy man.

 

Ashby Confections

Local chocolate maker talks chocolate and self control