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Feb 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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Green Swell

Local surfboard company greens up the industry with an eco-conscious business model

 

Two Fish Bound by a Golden Cord

Until March 20, (Spring Equinox), Earth and her kingdoms (mineral, plant, animal, human) experience the influence of Pisces, sign of the World Savior. Whereas the task of Aquarius is as world server, the Pisces task is saving the world—tasks given to the two fishes. Pisces never really enters matter, and as the last sign of the zodiac includes all the signs. During Pisces, having gathered all the gifts of the previous 11 signs, it is a good time to prepare for new initiating plans when Aries (sign of beginnings) begins. No wonder Pisces, like Scorpio, is so difficult (both are ruled by Pluto, planet of death, new life, regeneration, transformations). Both signs (with Scorpio drowning in dark and deep waters) find life on Earth a hardship, disorienting (from the spiritual perspective), at times feeling betrayed. Life is a paradox, especially for Pisces. Each zodiacal sign represents and distributes a different phase and facet (12) of the Soul’s diamond light, Pisces is the “Light of Life itself, ending forever the darkness of matter.” It takes two fish to complete this work (creating eventually an extraordinary human being). One fish turned toward the material world (in order to understand matter), the other fish toward the heavenly world. Around the two fish is a silvery cord binding them together. The two fish are forever bound until all of humanity is redeemed (lifted up into the Light). This is the dedication of all world saviors (Buddha, Christ, the NGWS). Thus the sacrifice and suffering experienced by Pisces. Knowing these things about Pisces, let us help them all we can. Sometimes all of humanity is Pisces.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Seal Change

Celtic selkie lore comes alive in dazzling ‘Song of the Sea’
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Teresa’s Gourmet Foods

New owners for Santa Cruz’s leading local salsa company

 

What defines a good dive bar?

It’s slightly dirty, and they serve cheap drinks. Stella Celeste, Santa Cruz, Barrista

 

Picchetti Winery

After enjoying its contents, I couldn’t throw away the empty bottle of Picchetti Winery’s Red Table Wine.

 

Happy Birthday, Manny

Manuel’s turns 50, farmers market steel head pairs with Pinot, and a Birichino Malvasia