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Dining Out on Turkey Day

Dining Out on Turkey Day

Tired of spending Thanksgiving hunched over a steaming hot stove? Skip the cooking this year and let someone else do all the hard work. Plenty of Santa Cruz restaurants will be open on the holiday, and more than a few are offering up specialty Thanksgiving menus. Forget about brining and basting; all you have to do is pick up the phone and make your reservation.

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Blogs - CultureBeat

Almost Famous

Almost Famous

Local students compete to raise money for their school’s music program

It’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.

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Blogs - CultureBeat

Going the Distance

Going the Distance

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.

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Blogs - CultureBeat

Strong Like Susan

Strong Like Susan

Santa Cruz local selected as YouTube Next Trainer

Before 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.

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Blogs - CultureBeat

Pirates of the Central Coast

Pirates of the Central Coast

A peek into life aboard the Pirates of the Caribbean ship

To 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.

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Blogs - CultureBeat

Chris Rene’s “Paradise”

Chris Rene’s “Paradise”

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.

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Blogs - CultureBeat

Attics of Our Lives

Attics of Our LivesUCSC’s highly anticipated Grateful Dead Archives offers sneak peek

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.

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Blogs - CultureBeat

Funkadelic Roots

Funkadelic Roots

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.

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Blogs - CultureBeat

Santa Cruz’s “Superstar”

Santa Cruz’s “Superstar”

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.”

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Blogs - CultureBeat

Ocean’s Treasures Wash Ashore

Ocean’s Treasures Wash Ashore

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.

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Mars Enters Scorpio: The Nine Tests

Over the years I’ve mentioned the nine tests of Mars and Scorpio. The tests are given to everyone—unawakened, beginning to awaken, and the awakened. The purpose is to test our strength, courage, ability to adapt, discriminate and have discernment. To see if we are deceived by illusion or are “warriors triumphant, emerging from the battle.”

 

Final Cut

Cedar Street Video to close after 10 years at downtown location

 

Roger That

The late film critic Robert Ebert profiled in lively doc, ‘Life Itself’

 

The Maestra Returns

Cabrillo Festival’s Marin Alsop is back to ‘rock the boat of tradition’
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Time is Ripe

Local fruit harvests hit markets, Storrs Winery celebrates ‘Best White’, and a salt fix from heaven

 

I remember Santa Cruz when…

Santa Cruz | Librarian

 

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

 

Hunter Hill Cabernet Sauvignon

Smooth with soft tannins, this velvety crimson Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 is delicious and very drinkable.