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Jul 06th
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On The Spot

On The Spot

Actress Suzanne Schrag celebrates ‘Two Dozen Years Of Makin’ It Up’ with local improv group Um…Gee…Um

As a member of the Santa Cruz-based nonprofit improvisational theater troupe Um…Gee…Um, local actress Suzanne Schrag can travel to the moon and back, become a member of the CIA, be crowned a princess, and still be home in time for dinner. The company, which will celebrate its 24th anniversary with a show called “Two Dozen Years of Makin’ It Up” on Saturday, Feb. 23 at Broadway Playhouse, was founded by eight students who met in Wilma Marcus Chandler’s Cabrillo College theater improvisation class in 1989, and have been performing together ever since. Their goal? To “to tickle the imagination” by taking the audience with them on their wildly comedic and farcical adventures, which can last anywhere from 20 minutes to over an hour.

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CultureBeat

Designers, Make It Work

Designers, Make It Work

Local artist/teacher hopes to expand annual teen fashion show with fundraising campaign

 

Kathleen Crocetti, a local artist and teacher at Mission Hill Middle School in Santa Cruz, seeks support to expand fashionTEENS Santa Cruz, an annual fashion show featuring the recycled designs of and modeled by middle and high school students in Santa Cruz County. Since its inception three years ago, the show has entertained sold-out crowds with one-of-a-kind outfits created with reconstructed clothes found in area thrift shops. The show has gotten so popular over the years that it now requires a much larger space than Mission Hill to accommodate the sell-out crowd. Crocetti has her eyes on the Civic Auditorium for this year’s event, scheduled to take place on April 17, and hopes that a Kickstarter campaign will help make that dream a reality.

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CultureBeat

School Of Rock

School Of Rock

Arindam Krishna Das on the making of another smashing rock opera featuring local youth

Arindam Krishna Das is not afraid of taking risks when it comes to his theatrical productions. Since directing his first play at Little People’s Repertory Theater nearly 15 years ago, Das has developed a reputation around Santa Cruz County for his unique artistic vision, go-big-or-go-home mentality, and ability to breathe new life into classic musicals, from “Annie” to “The Rocky Horror Show.” Das plans to continue that tradition this month at San Lorenzo Valley High School, where he will unveil The Who’s “Tommy” on Feb. 15.

Thirty-two SLVHS students will help tell the story of Tommy Walker, a “deaf, dumb and blind boy” who becomes the leader of a messianic movement after discovering his inexplicable mastery of the pinball machine. The rock opera, based on Pete Townshend’s 1969 eponymous double-album which sold more than 20 million copies worldwide, features a number of chart-toppers, including “We’re Not Gonna Take It,” “See Me, Feel Me” and “Pinball Wizard,” and implores the audience to reflect on the social norms of the 1950s and today.

In the days leading up to opening night, we sat down with Das to discuss the art of the rock opera, what it takes to put on a production of this magnitude, and what he hopes the audience will take away from “Tommy.”

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The Ticker

Helping Pets 
In Need

Helping Pets 
In Need

BirchBark Foundation announces its launch this spring

When pets and their owners grow together over the years, they become more than just human and animal—they become companions and friends. And like all good friends that stick around, pets can become an indispensable part of the family. So what happens if an unexpected illness or injury threatens a pet’s life, but the treatment they need to survive is beyond the owner’s means?


When faced with circumstances like these, pet owners of Santa Cruz and Monterey counties had few options other than payment plans, adoption, or euthanasia—until now.


The recently launched nonprofit the BirchBark Foundation was formed for “people that have the heart, the house, and all the resources to care for their pet, but suddenly face a catastrophic medical problem they can’t afford to pay for,” says Dr. Merrianne Burtch, founder and president of the BirchBark Foundation.

Throughout her 14 years of treating animals at Pacific Veterinary Specialists and Emergency Service, which she founded in 1999 and co-owns, Burtch says she ran into these sorts of financial crises all too often. In March of last year, she decided to do something about it. 


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The Ticker

Preserving Living Landscapes

Preserving Living Landscapes

Land Trust of Santa Cruz County raises $13.5 million to protect local land

The Land Trust of Santa Cruz County (LTSCC) recently announced the completion of its 18-month campaign to raise $13.5 million from community members to help protect vital habitats within the county, from the subtle sentience of the Cemex Redwood Forest, to the ancient seafloor of the Sandhills habitat, to the rolling Pajaro Hills east of Watsonville. In total, they have helped to preserve 9,900 acres of land because of the campaign.

In 2011, LTSCC partnered with The Nature Conservancy, Peninsula Open Space Trust, Save the Redwoods League, and Sempervirens Fund, to form the Living Landscape Initiative (LLI), which assisted in protecting the recently acquired CEMEX Redwood forest.

The 8,500-acre CEMEX Redwood Forest north of Davenport was one of the largest unprotected habitats in Santa Cruz County until the LLI acquired the property from CEMEX, a concrete supply company. The forest is a key watershed for four creeks, one of which provides drinking water to Davenport, while another supplements the City of Santa Cruz with 20 percent of its potable water, according to LTSCC’s Outreach Manager Calah Pasley.

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CultureBeat

The Hunt For Bill Murray

The Hunt For Bill Murray

Director and UCSC alumnus Christopher Guerrero seeks out the elusive Bill Murray to star in thesis film

Christopher Guerrero, a UC Santa Cruz alumnus and current graduate student of the USC School of Cinematic Arts, has an ambitious vision for his thesis film: to cast one of the most famous men in Hollywood, Bill Murray, in a lead role. It may sound like a pipe dream, but Guerrero and his crew are beyond determined to convince the iconic actor—by any means possible—to join them in Santa Cruz, where they intend to start filming in May of this year. In an effort to gain Murray’s attention, the group of students have established Bill Murray Appreciation Day (BMAD), set to take place on Saturday, Feb. 2, also known as Groundhog Day (a reference to Murray’s 1993 comedy of the same name). The inaugural event will be held on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles, where fans dressed up as Bill Murray in his various film roles will embark on a BMAD Bar Crawl. Guerrero hopes that the celebration will extend beyond Los Angeles, however, and that fans will honor the day around the world each year. In preparation for this weekend’s event, we caught up with Guerrero to discuss his film, the new holiday, and the progress of his quest.

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The Ticker

The Pinnacle Of Parks

The Pinnacle Of Parks

Pinnacles National Monument becomes a national park, bringing good news to the area's economy and its resident condors 

As of this month, the United States has welcomed a new addition to the National Parks Program, and it happens to be in Santa Cruz County’s backyard. President Barack Obama signed a bill on Thursday, Jan. 10 officially recognizing Pinnacles National Monument, located near Soledad, Calif., as a national park.

The bill, which has been in the works since mid-2012, was drafted by Santa Cruz’s congressional representative, Rep. Sam Farr (D-Carmel). According to a statement released by Farr, the upgrade of the park’s status could boost the area’s economy through increased tourism.

"By elevating Pinnacles National Monument to national park status we also elevate the region’s appeal to potential visitors," Farr said in the statement. "These new tourists will spend their dollars at local businesses and ultimately be the driving force that helps this region ... grow and eventually prosper."

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CultureBeat

Redefining Possible

Redefining Possible

Big wave surfer, Chris Bertish, the subject of new locally produced film 

When Aurelia Productions, a Santa Cruz film production company, first heard about Chris Bertish—winner of the 2010 Mavericks Invitational big wave surf competition and one of South Africa’s highest-profile watermen—they saw an opportunity to create change and inspire the world. After all, Bertish is more than just a surfer. When he’s not in the ocean, Bertish shares his positive and energetic spirit with others by inspiring and encouraging them to do what they love and to never give up. His unique story is the subject of a forthcoming feature-length film produced by Aurelia, entitled Ocean Driven: The Chris Bertish Story. In an effort to help make the film a reality, the company is hosting a fundraising dinner at Conscious Creations on Saturday, Jan. 26. We sat down with director Nadia Tarlow and Bertish himself to talk about the making and the purpose of the film.

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CultureBeat

Dance Through Time

Dance Through Time

Local movers and shakers bring the evolution of Santa Cruz dance to life on stage

Santa Cruz County is notorious for its lively dance community. From classic ballroom dance to contemporary hip-hop, conventional ballet to daring burlesque, we’ve got it all. But that hasn’t always been the case.

Prior to 1959, there wasn’t a formal dance class to be found in town.

All that changed when Roberta Bristol organized the first dance class at Cabrillo College, which served as a catalyst for the local movement.

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CultureBeat

Maverick Memories

Maverick Memories














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The Boards Are Back in Town

More than a century after a famed trio of Hawaiian princes first surfed in Santa Cruz, their redwood olo surfboards are returning to the Museum of Art & History

 

We Hold These Truths to Be Self-Evident

Saturday, July 4, is the 239th birthday of the United States, commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence (the U.S. astrology chart has Aquarius moon—freedom for its people, by its people). Cancer, a liberating and initiating sign, is the “gate” where Spirit enters matter. Cancer receives and distributes Ray 3 (Divine Intelligence) and Ray 7 (new rules, new rhythms, new free nation under God). Cancer represents an intelligent freethinking humanity that can and must create right economics for the world. This means a policy of sharing, an opportunity for the U.S. when Venus (money, resources, possessions, etc.) retrogrades July and August in Leo (the heart of the matter). The United States has a unique spiritual task for the world: to lead humanity within and toward the light, accomplished by its people who must first awaken to this task, learn discrimination and be directed by the soul to assume the Herculean task of spiritual world leadership. Let us review the first words of our Constitution: “We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this constitution for the United States of America.” Let us form that union together. The following is a review of the spiritual tasks for each sign. Read all the signs. They all apply to everyone.  

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of July 3

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
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Lunch is Packed

Picnic basket lunches from Your Place, plus smoked chili peppers, and new owners at Camellia Tea House

 

What would you like the Supreme Court to rule on next?

Raising the minimum wage so that those that are in poverty now can have a higher standard of life. Greanna Smith, Soquel, Nanny

 

Bruzzone Family Vineyards

Bruzzone Family Vineyards is a small operation run by Berna and John Bruzzone. Starting out a few years ago making only Chardonnay, they eventually planted Pinot Noir on their extensive property and now make this varietal as well.

 

Ty’s Eatery

Pop-up hooks up with Santa Cruz Food Lounge for healthy comfort food