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Apr 17th
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CultureBeat

Blogs - CultureBeat

Songs of the Mountains

Songs of the Mountains

Diana Jones gets ‘High’ channeling Appalachian tunes
Purity is inherent in the songs of Appalachia. Nashville-based singer and songwriter Diana Jones believes that the old mountain hymns and forest ballads continue to ring true to this day because the people who composed them did so without any pretense.
“They weren’t singing because they had a career, or wanted to go on stage,” Jones says of the music first pioneered in the mountain ranges of the eastern United States. “They were singing because it was a part of their community and society.”

The progenitors of the music were attempting to make sense of natural disasters, love, crop booms and busts, life and death, says Jones, who adeptly channels the sounds of the Appalachian range on her latest record, High Atmosphere, released April 5.
The music of Appalachia has always resonated with Jones, who will bring her show to Don Quixote’s in Felton on Wednesday, June 15. She says that even as she grew up in New York, she always felt a connection to the melodies and stories she heard coming from the mountains.

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Blogs - CultureBeat

First Class is in Session

First Class is in Session

Back at the turn of the century, Bryan Singer's reverent cinematic take on the X-men helped establish a tone for comic book movie adaptations that can still be felt to this day. By taking the source material seriously Singer managed to hit a sweet spot for moviegoers that grounded Marvel's mutants in a familiar reality, yet still allowed for many of the super hero flourishes expected from fans who'd waited years to see these characters come to life on the big screen. Later he followed up with an incredible sequel in X-Men United, which expanded upon everything great about the original and would go on to relax in a comfy spot near the top of a lot of "best comic book movies ever" lists.

Unfortunately, everything pretty much fell apart after that.

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Blogs - CultureBeat

This One Will Kill You

This One Will Kill You

Director Christopher Nolan's vision of everyone's favorite caped crusader not only made The Dark Knight the biggest film of the summer of 2008, but also launched it into a top spot on the list of all time domestic box office receipts. It even went on to snag a posthumous supporting acting Oscar for Heath Ledger's already iconic portrayal of the Joker as well as become the gold standard for comic to film adaptations.

 

So the wait for the upcoming third entry in the series (The Dark Knight Rises) has been understandably torturous. In fact, after nearly 3 desperate years of hoping for even the slightest bit of information to slip out of camp Nolan, it wasn't until just this past month that our first (albeit brief) glimpse was given at what to expect in the next installment. Specifically, Tom Hardy in costume as Batman's new nemesis:

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Blogs - CultureBeat

The Mother Hips Offer a Festival to Remember

The Mother Hips Offer a Festival to Remember

With summer on its way and the music festival circuit approaching, it’s nice to know that a relatively new one is within reach. Now in its third year, the 2011 Mother Hips Family Hipnic took place in Big Sur at Fernwood Campground on May 14 and 15. Having grown beyond the confines of the Henry Miller Library, local promoters (((folkYEAH!))), upped the ante and created a first class concert experience complete with tents, families, a festive atmosphere and Mother Hips fans stoked to have two days with their favorite band.

The opening bands on both days were a mixture of Americana roots and new California Soul with only a smattering of attendees paying attention—most were busy setting up camp, hiking the beautiful terrain and making friends with neighbors. But heads turned when Nicki Bluhm took the stage with her band, The Gramblers.

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Blogs - CultureBeat

Call Down the Thunder.

Call Down the Thunder.For the last decade or so the summer movie season has come to be defined by it's crop of super hero flicks. And with the Green Lantern, Captain America, and an X-men prequel all waiting in the wings to administer their own brand of justice for movie-goers in the coming months, 2011 is no exception. This weekend is the official kickoff for nerds around the world as Marvel's Thor finally swings his mighty Mjolnir across movie screens everywhere.
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Blogs - CultureBeat

Don’t Mess With Texas

Don’t Mess With Texas

Hot Club of Cowtown sidesteps tumbleweeds, stomps out labels
Nothing irks Elana James more than to hear her trio described as being a part of some retro movement.

“We get pigeonholed as these western swing revivalists, which we absolutely can’t fucking stand,” James says over the phone from her Austin, Texas home. “This notion that we are living in a sepia-tone, alternative universe is complete bullshit.”
James, the sharp-tongued, fiddler and singer for Hot Club of Cowtown says that her music is just as modern as anything on Top 40 radio today. “It just so happens that this is what inspired this band.”

By “this,” James means western swing and hot jazz, two genres pioneered by artists like Bob Wills and Stephane Grappelli, respectively. The way she sees it, just because the music harkens back to a specific time and place—in the case of the aforementioned musical styles, the 1930s and 1940s—doesn’t mean that it can’t be thoroughly rooted in the present.
“Everyone draws on things that came before them,” James says.

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Blogs - CultureBeat

Durst’s Political Outbursts

Durst’s Political Outbursts

A night of Tax Relief Comedy files into the Kuumbwa.
The Kuumbwa Jazz Center is the most intimate and acoustically perfect room for comedy in Santa Cruz. Even with a small crowd the laughter percolates, and on Saturday, the moment was ideal for a thematic comedy event.

The premise of the show was Tax Relief Comedy and the opening comic and host was none other than the irascible Glenn Beck, played by Kurt Weitzmann. A soul of the Bay Area comedy scene, Weitzmann has spent decades honing his craft—bringing forth such notable classic ensemble pieces as The Hitler Roast and The Jesus Roast. Imitating one of the most deranged characters in the political media melee has its challenges: like, how do you outdo somebody who already is a parody of himself? But the small audience warmed up to Weitzmann’s shenanigans and he set the stage for the most spoofed bouffant in the biz.

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Blogs - CultureBeat

Sacred Craft Expo’s Santa Cruz Debut

Sacred Craft Expo’s Santa Cruz Debut

Old guard and young guns shape the future

The Sacred Craft Consumer Surfboard Expo blew into town this past weekend, an event rarer than the pre-apocalyptic blizzard and Super Moon that dusted our fair Surf City Saturday. For a brief 48 hours, optimism and mutual respect in the surfing community trumped headlines of freakish weather, meltdowns and no-fly zones. And Santa Cruz turned out in droves, with more than 3,000 folks in attendance.

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Blogs - CultureBeat

Got Comedy?

Got Comedy?

The Best of SF International Comedy Competition hits town
Comedy, like all of the arts, appears to us as the work of individuals, when in reality it is the effort of a larger group of people. Behind the scenes is where some of the more interesting stories appear—and in comedy, there is the silver-haired Jonathan Fox. You might have enjoyed his efforts at the Crow’s Nest, where for the last 15 years he’s been providing the fodder for the weekly Sunday night laughs.

“I’ve actually been booking comedy for 30 years in Santa Cruz,” Fox says. “At first it was at the old Albatross, which used to be off of 41st Avenue. That lasted about 15 years on Sunday nights, and they went out of business and the Crow’s Nest called me and asked me if I would like to move over.  And I’ve been here ever since. And, it’s been super successful.”

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Blogs - CultureBeat

Holy Bat-Casting!

Holy Bat-Casting!

So Christopher Nolan dropped quite the bombshell this week. In a statement released by Warner Bros., the Dark Knight and Inception director finally revealed which two villains the caped crusader will be squaring off against in his third (and presumably final) Batman film. And guess what, nerds? It isn't Hugo Strange or the Riddler! Nope, Anne Hathaway will be slinking into the form fitting black tights as Catwoman and Tom Hardy will take on the role of Bane: The character who in the comic books is best known for setting all of the inmates of Arkham Asylum free and eventually breaking Batman's back (along with being a general pain in the butt).

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Growing Hope

Campos Seguros combats sexual assault in the Watsonville farmworker community Farm work was a way of life for Rocio Camargo, who grew up in Watsonville as the daughter of Mexican immigrants. Her parents met while working the fields 30 years ago, and her father went on to run Fuentes Berry Farms.

 

Cardinal Grand Cross in the Sky

Following Holy Week (passion, death and burial of the Pisces World Teacher) and Easter Sunday (Resurrection Festival), from April 19 to the 23, the long-awaited and discussed Cardinal Cross of Change appears in the sky, composed of Cardinal signs Aries, Libra, Cancer, and Capricorn, with planets (13-14 degrees) Uranus (in Aries), Jupiter (in Cancer), Mars (in Libra) and Pluto (in Capricorn), an actual geometrical square or cross configuration. Cardinal signs mark the seasons of change, initiating new realities.

 

Sugar: The New Tobacco?

Proposed bill would require warning labels on sugary drinks Will soda and other saccharine libations soon come with a health warning? They will if it’s up to our state senator, Bill Monning (D-Carmel). On Feb. 27, Monning proposed first-of-its-kind legislation that would require a consumer warning label be placed on sugar-sweetened beverages sold in California. SB 1000, also known as the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Safety Warning Act, was proposed to provide vital information to consumers about the harmful effects of consuming sugary drinks, such as sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks, and sweetened teas.

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of April 17

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Foodie File: Red Apple Cafe

Breakfast takes center stage at Gracia Krakauer's Red Apple Cafe Before they moved to Aptos, Gracia and her husband Dan Krakauer would visit friends in Santa Cruz County and eat at the Red Apple Café all the time. Then they moved up here from Santa Monica five years ago, and bought the Aptos location (there’s a separate one in Watsonville) from the family who owned it for two decades.

 

How would you feel about a tech industry boom in Santa Cruz?

I feel like it would ruin the small old-town feeling of Santa Cruz. It wouldn’t be the same Surf City kind of vacation town that it is. Antoinette BennettSanta Cruz | Construction Management

 

Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

Trout Gulch Vineyards

Cinsault 2012—la grande plage diurne The most popular wines on store shelves are those most generally known and available—Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, which are all superb for sure. But when you come across a more unusual varietal, like Trout Gulch Vineyards’ Cinsault ($18), it opens up a whole new world.