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Aug 30th
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Blogs - CultureBeat

Holy Hour

Holy Hour

Tips on how to book a show at The Abbey Coffee, Art & Music Lounge
Tucked away behind Vintage Faith Church at 350 Mission Street, The Abbey Coffee, Art & Music Lounge has helped ignite a bit of a singer-songwriter revolution in Santa Cruz. Celebrating its second anniversary this month, The Abbey is a family-friendly, nonprofit venue, owned and operated by the church. With a built-in Sunday crowd, the venue showcases an eclectic blend of local and touring musicians.

A coffee house first, The Abbey only showcases music on Saturday and Sunday evenings, with a rare Friday night performance for special occasions. Volunteer booker Bennett Gibson works for Apple by day and handles booking by night. Gibson prefers e-mails that are short and to the point. Include your band name and a link to your music for a more immediate response. Still trying to keep its own head above water, The Abbey has no budget to pay artists yet, but you can sell your merch (no house cut) and the audience is known to be generous with a tip jar. The bottomless coffee cup can also be a perk for those who enjoy a coffee buzz in the evening.

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Blogs - CultureBeat

Brace yourself—The online viral movement known as Tarp Surfing has arrived

Brace yourself—The online viral movement known as Tarp Surfing has arrived

Once again Santa Cruz has thrust itself into the limelight. The brainchild of Homer Henard developed out of his sheer interest to make surfing relevant again, bridge the gap between surfers and skaters all while promoting world peace. The white-hot YouTube video below (produced and directed by Chris Killen for Ruse Entertainment at press time was recorded at 1.5 million views) has taken the internet by storm, inspiring thousands of kids across the planet to Tarp Surf.

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Blogs - CultureBeat

The North Coast

The North Coast

Last week I visited several towns along the Northern Coast: Booneville, Fort Bragg, Mendocino, Philo, Westport, Santa Rosa, Napa and Sonoma.  I ended up spending three days in Mendocino, two days longer than expected, because there were so many people of interest to interview.  Two that come to mind are Sharon Peterson, owner of the Highlight Gallery and Jessica Norris, director of the Mendocino Art Center.

The Highlight Gallery on Main Street started as many galleries here have, as a cooperative gallery with an emphasis on fine woodworking.  Mendocino, a former Mill Town has been host to some of the finest woodcrafters in the world and has had a close relationship with the nearby College of the Redwoods. The college offers a variety of community-based classes, including its world-famous Fine Woodworking Program started by master woodworker James Krenov.Sharon, an artist who showed me some of the finest examples of woodworking I have seen in a long time.  Because, there is a long-standing relationship between Mendocino and Santa Cruz, some of the work was by Santa Cruz artists.

The Mendocino Art Center was established on the grounds of the former Preston mansion, which was featured in the James Dean movie East of Eden. When the mansion burned to the ground in 1957, Bill Zacha acquired the entire park-like property with a $500 deposit. By 1959 the remaining carriage house had been converted to the nucleus of the Art Center, while other outbuildings and animal sheds became the first studios.  Now the Art Center is an educational and exhibition facility as well as home to Mendocino Theatre Company. Needless to say, for a small Mill Town there is a lot going on in the arts.

Blogs - CultureBeat

Comic Con 2010 Wrap Up!

Comic Con 2010 Wrap Up!

Or at least here are the top five things that I read about since I wasn't actually there:

5. Dexter: Season 5 Trailer - (Heads up, do NOT click on that link until you've seen the unbelievable finale to season 4 from last year) Michael C. Hall has already earned his status as one of the finest actors of this generation for his performance as David Fisher on HBO's masterful series Six Feet Under - but man, if he isn't close to outdoing himself on Dexter: Showtime's profoundly addictive series about a serial killer with a moral code who only pursues those who deserve to be murdered (aka other killers).The new season kicks off this September and the trailer unveiled offers a glimpse at yet another year full of the kind of high caliber storytelling the show's become known for.

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Blogs - CultureBeat

Sacramento’s 2nd Saturday Art Walk

Sacramento’s 2nd Saturday Art Walk

This past weekend I arrived in Sacramento just in time to enjoy Sacramento’s 2nd Saturday Art Walk.  The event was started by artist Michael Himovitz over 20 years ago as a way to bring art lovers together once a month.  Michael passed away 15 years ago, but his legacy lives on in a monthly event that now draws several thousand people each month.  The streets were lined with musicians, artists and vendors everywhere I went.  By nightfall there were thousands of people in the streets (which the city closes off) all with that celebratory air about them.

I met with Lucas Himovitz, Michael’s son, to get a tour of the various activities that take place each month.  We went to four or five galleries, all of which were packed with people and ironically, by 2nd Saturday standards gallery owners thought it was a slow night.  As the organizer of Santa Cruz’ s First Friday Art Tour I was amazed at how many people were out enjoying both the local art and the street party atmosphere.  I met several local bands that had set up in parking lots and allies who have been playing the same spot for years and making a livelihood. Art sales were brisk and everyone was well behaved, even with a minor police presence.  Makes you wonder. This week I will be heading to Napa, Sonoma and Mendicino.  See you on the road.

Blogs - CultureBeat

We'll Miss You Harvey

We'll Miss You Harvey

 

"It makes you feel good to know that there’s other people afflicted like you." -

Harvey Pekar 1939 - 2010


Harvey Pekar was known for being many things: A writer, record collector, husband, father, grouch - but more than anything else he was known simply for being himself. I first became aware of American Splendor (Pekar's long running autobiographical comic strip) when the brilliant movie adaptation came out back in 2003 and I was immediately fascinated by his unique approach to a medium more well known for ripped up good guys beating up on ripped up bad guys. Alternatively, American Splendor focused on the mundane everyday aspects of life and the accompanying frustration that was inevitable. To put it in Harvey's own words: "Ordinary life is pretty complex stuff," and within the pages of his book it was that and much more.

 

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Blogs - CultureBeat

The vastness and the beauty

The vastness and the beauty

We have been on the road for almost 7 weeks now and have finally made it through the desert after enduring temperatures of well over 100 degrees for weeks.  The desert with all of it’s beauty, takes a toll on both the vehicle and the individual.  Surprisingly, more people live in the desert year round than I would have ever suspected and they have figured out how to incorporate the heat into their lives.

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Blogs - CultureBeat

Grind Out Hunger

Grind Out Hunger

Over the last year the momentum for locally grown skateboard charity Grind Out Hunger has been accelerated considerably. What has started out as an opportunity to get local school children involved in raising awareness of childhood hunger has began to take on a life of its own. Grind Out Hunger was founded in 2003 with the guidance of Second Harvest Food Bank and the goal was to simply improve the Holiday Food Drive and its relationship with the kids at their schools. Grind Out Hunger exists on a platform of live speaking engagements in the schools spreading altruism, whichever elementary, middle or high school that raises the most pounds of food per student will win gift certificates to Santa Cruz Skate Shop (Skateworks is now on board for the 2010-2011 season!!) and a Grind Out Hunger skateboard trophy designed by legendary artist Jimbo Phillips.

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Blogs - CultureBeat

Making it Work

Making it Work

For whatever reason, my love of Project Runway faded out once the show made the leap from Bravo to Lifetime. It wasn't like it was moved to a different night and time slot or anything and remembering what channel to look for every Wednesday was only mildly confusing. I think the main problem was that I'd spent all of that long, torturous time that passed between seasons getting over the whole "reality" competition formula (not totally true, I still watch Top Chef). Which is too bad because those first seasons of PR held me in a vice like grip from beginning to end (Danny V was robbed!). Still, I miss Tim Gunn enough that I was pretty excited when I came across an article featuring his review of Wonder Woman's new costume. That's right, as of issue #600 Diana Prince receives yet another in a long line of makeovers. In a medium where change is generally met with nerd screams from every corner of the globe, I have to admit that I don't really mind this and neither does Mr. Gunn:

"Capes and cloaks can be easily removed if they get caught on something. Gowns and dresses, not so much. The more form-fitting, the better. So tight pants or skinny jeans, sure. I think Wonder Woman could work a pant."

I love that guy. You can check out the rest of his comments at this link (it's a fun read) and here's what you can find on the shelves this week.

Auf wiedersehen!

Blogs - CultureBeat

Black and Blue

Black and Blue

Tips on how to book a show at the Blue Lagoon
In a world where e-mails go unanswered and phone calls never get returned, local bands can find a kindred spirit in Blue Lagoon booker Cory Atkinson. Coming up through the ranks with his own band, Atkinson is all too familiar with the trials of booking a tour and the heartbreak of playing an empty room. He works hard to respect bands, and let’s face it; you can’t say that about everyone.

Recently celebrating their thirtieth anniversary, the Blue Lagoon is a Santa Cruz institution. Booking live shows for the past five years, local bands can represent on Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights. A cavernous space, the entire bar can hold upwards of 400, but the band room is considered sold out at 250. On a typical Wednesday night, everybody is happy with 50 people in the room. Local bands can hone their craft midweek and work their way up to a weekend slot.

A practitioner of the ancient art of “show trading,” Atkinson often plays matchmaker, pairing a local Santa Cruz band with a decent following, with an up and coming San Francisco band. The idea is that the out of town band gets some local exposure, and if all goes well will return the favor by bringing the hometown band up to the city where they have the larger draw. When balanced correctly, this scenario encourages a win/win with the bands and the club.

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Mercury Enters Libra

It’s the week of Burning Man, the temporary, intentional, alternative, art-filled community on the playas of Nevada. Mercury, messenger of the Sun, enters Libra this week. Libra is the equalizer, a sign of balance and right human relations. Sometimes with Libra, we can be indecisive and confused while learning how to make balanced and right choices. Sometimes to keep the peace we communicate only what others want to hear. Eventually, we learn how to speak from the heart.

 

Final Cut

Cedar Street Video to close after 10 years at downtown location

 

Banter and Spark

Engaging actors, wry script distinguish lightweight rom-com ‘What If’

 

Back to Silicon Beach

With a new wave of startups, the future of Santa Cruz tech looks more promising than ever
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Himalayan Kitchen

Chef Purna Regmi on the secrets of Nepalese cooking

 

What’s the nicest thing you’ve done for someone this week?

Germany  |  Beekeeper

 

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

 

A Cab To Be Coveted

I first tasted Villa del Monte’s 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon at a Fourth of July party, where the hosts had bought a case of it because they love it and didn’t want to run out. It’s one of those wines that will grab you—in the best way—with its full body and rich fruit characteristics.