Local students compete to raise money for their school’s music programIt’s not every day that a 13-year-old Santa Cruzan earns $35,000 for his school’s music department. But that’s exactly what Jose Picazo did two years ago, and what he hopes to accomplish again in this year’s SchoolJam USA battle of the bands contest.
The Santa Cruz Pop Warner Stingrays are in the running to become the, Best of the West but not without support from their community.The Stingrays have earned a spot in the Best of the West Championship Bowl Game in Temecula, Calif. But despite their impressive performance, the Stingrays must still raise $18,000 if they want to travel to the championship. The game takes place on Saturday, Dec. 3, and the team must raise the funds by Dec. 2. They are actively seeking donations from local residents and businesses to make the trip and compete against teams from four different states.
Santa Cruz local selected as YouTube Next TrainerBefore this year, Susan Becraft was just your average corporate professional. But her rock-hard abs and perfectly defined biceps were proof that outside of work, she had a passion not shared by most of her colleagues. The 46-year-old Santa Cruz resident recently made the switch and became a personal trainer, a decision that has already earned her international recognition. Becraft began working toward her goal earlier this year, and in July she landed a job at as a personal trainer at Rocky’s Gym in Santa Cruz.
A peek into life aboard the Pirates of the Caribbean shipTo hop aboard the Lady Washington is to take a step back in time. The 112-foot ship offers a glimpse into the life of sailors in the 1800s, with walk-on tours, sailing excursions and staff dressed in period clothing. The vessel, which is the official state ship of Washington, was docked in Moss Landing through today, Tuesday, Nov. 15.
Santa Cruz’s own ‘X Factor’ contender returns to rap roots, makes it to top 10
A sterling rendition of Coolio’s 1995 hit “Gangsta’s Paradise” on Wednesday’s episode of “The X Factor,” scored Santa Cruz singer/songwriter Chris Rene a coveted spot in the top 10.
The Grammy-winning song—off the Dangerous Minds soundtrack—was a welcome return to the musical genre most familiar to Rene, whose silky smooth vocals and quick-spitting rhymes have won over the show’s judges (Paula Abdul, Simon Cowell, Nicole Scherzinger, and L.A. Reid) since day one.
During the performance, the 28-year-old displayed a new level of confidence as he moved effortlessly across the stage in a black fedora and leather jacket. Surrounded by billowing smoke, he and a troupe of background dancers got the crowd grooving to the beat while green and purple lights flashed onstage.
On a rainy Saturday night at the McHenry Library at UC Santa Cruz, several hundred Deadheads gathered to share their appreciation—and fundraising dollars—as The Grateful Dead Archives unveiled a special preview of the exhibit, entitled “The Attics of Our Lives.”
A wild buffet of gourmet cheese, oysters and mini-burgers was washed down with wine as the house band—a symbiotic hybrid of local Dead tribute bands Slugs and Roses and China Cats—ripped through an evening of instrumental classics. Larry Graff (lead guitar), Paul Garcia (drums), Scott Cooper (guitar), and Roger Sideman (bass) provided the soundtrack for the festivities, embedding songs like “Crazy Fingers” with noodling worthy of the missing maestro.
Reggae kings, See-I, tear up Moe's Alley
The diverse musical ingredients that make up See-I, an eight-piece group spliced from the DNA of the world-renowned Thievery Corporation, were stirred up, cooked, scorched, and seared at Moe’s Alley Thursday, Nov. 3.
A flambeau fusion of roots reggae, dub, funk, soul, and even a little Bad Brains on the side (both bands hail from Washington, D.C.), was served up by lead vocalists, Roots and Zeebo Steele. As the two chatted, rhymed, and harmonized the night away, the energy remained stoked from the grooving audience.
Songs traveled the See-I trajectory, spanning seamlessly from a cover of “We Need the Funk," to an original dub-dancehall tune, to a rocking tribute to Gregory Isaacs. Four members of the group continue on the roster of Thievery Corporation, while the other four extend the band’s musical pallet into the realms of New Brazilian, old school funk, and just about anything else with profound bass and rhythm.
Chris Rene cranks up the heat, advances to top 11 on ‘The X Factor’
Feel free to exhale, Santa Cruz—Chris Rene is still in it. The 28-year-old singer/songwriter proved once again this week that he has “The X Factor” in the bag.
Surrounded by a cloud of smoke and actual flames, Rene cranked up the heat during Wednesday’s episode on Fox with a crowd-pleasing rendition of the Carpenters’ 1971 hit “Superstar.”
Besides missing his trademark ballcap, Rene’s performance had the same heart and confidence that made him a standout during the auditions back in September. Rene even put his own spin on the classic by incorporating a short original rap into the lyrics—a creative move that had the judges and the audience (who gave him a standing ovation) craving more.
“I’m so proud of you, Chris,” said Paula Abdul, following the performance. “You are honest, you’re transparent with your thoughts, you can always work harder. This you found your groove in, this was your song and you owned it.”
Third annual Sea Glass Festival hits The Boardwalk this weekend
Krista Hammond has always had a passion for sea glass.
“My mom would tell me to go look for sea emeralds,” she says. “As young as I can remember, I always kind of picked it up and put it in my pocket.”
Hammond has managed to turn her lifelong interest into a profitable business. She founded her company, Santa Cruz Sea Glass, with her husband Tony Berkowitz in 2006. The two connected over a shared passion for surfing and the tiny treasures they found hidden on beaches.