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Aug 29th
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Blogs - CultureBeat

Can’t Stop Won’t Stop

Can’t Stop Won’t StopSeasoned veterans The Ryan Montbleau Band win over Don Quixote’s

If you missed it, The Ryan Montbleau Band played a jaw-dropping set at Don Quixote’s on Oct. 28. But for a group that once played an average of 200 gigs a year, what else would you expect? “We’re sort of always on the road,” Montbleau admits. “I almost don’t even know what it’s like to be off.”

The six-piece from Boston, which formed in 2006, has since backed off the manic touring of its youth, playing a mere 160 dates a year now. Delivering a genre-bending soul, alt-country, reggae mash-up with jam band energy, RMB has evolved into a musical snail carrying its home on its back. “It’s been basically the same guys for eight years. I think we have some semblance of a family on the road,” Montbleau says. “We have to live with each other.”

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Blogs - CultureBeat

History Comes Alive

History Comes Alive

Think ancient history is, well, ancient history? What about if it’s in your own backyard?

More than 200 students, archeologists and history enthusiasts turned out for a lecture at the Cabrillo Horticulture Center on Thursday, Oct. 27. The riveted audience members furiously scribbled notes as a panel of archeologists and experts discussed historical sites on the Central Coast. Dusty McKenzie, an archaeology and anthropology instructor at Cabrillo, was inspired to organize the event after getting a sense of what he says is a public misunderstanding of California’s native residents at a recent Santa Cruz City Council meeting. The community’s response was in reaction to ancient remains found of a young Ohlone girl, the local Native American tribe, at a proposed building site.

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Blogs - CultureBeat

Locals Rally Around Jay Moriarty Biopic

Locals Rally Around Jay Moriarty BiopicCamera crews and Hollywood celebrities have been a fairly common sight around town lately, thanks to the production of a major motion picture titled, “Of Men and Mavericks.” Local filming wrapped up on Monday, Oct. 24 with a final scene shot at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.

The film is based on Jay Moriarity, a longtime Santa Cruz resident and legendary surfer who passed away in 2001 during a diving expedition in the Maldives. Moriarity was a world-renowned big wave surfer, earning his reputation at Mavericks in Half Moon Bay when he was only 16 years old. The film will focus on Moriarity’s surfing career, as well as the relationship between him and his mentor, Rick “Frosty” Hesson, played by Gerard Butler.

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Blogs - CultureBeat

In It To Win It

In It To Win It

Santa Cruz’s Chris Rene snags a spot in the top 12 on ‘The X Factor’

Santa Cruz local Chris Rene got one step closer to a $5 million recording contract on Tuesday night’s episode of “The X Factor” … if only by a hair. The 28-year-old garbage collector and recovering drug addict performed Rose Royce’s 1978 low tempo R&B number “Love Don’t Live Here Anymore” in front of a packed auditorium of screaming fans.

Yet the song selection by “X Factor” judge L.A. Reid was a questionable one, following an explosive performance by fellow contestant Brian Bradley, a.k.a. Astro. The 14-year-old opened the show with an energetic rendition of Kriss Kross’ 1992 hit rap song, “Jump,” making it difficult for Rene, who came second in the line-up, to match the energy in the room.

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Blogs - CultureBeat

Chili Craze

Chili CrazeCULTUREBEAT > Hot meals and warm weather at the second annual chili cook-off

The enticing aroma of freshly made chili laced with salty ocean air greeted visitors to the boardwalk this Saturday, Oct. 22. More than 50 teams competed for glory—and the accompanying prize money-- at the second annual Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk Chili Cook-Off.

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Blogs - CultureBeat

Let it Ride

Let it Ride

The Prodigal Son, Ryan Adams, Returns to Santa Cruz a Changed Man

Ryan Adams opened his sold-out show at the Rio Theatre on Monday, Oct. 17, with “Oh My Sweet Carolina,” off his 2001 release, Heartbreaker. It seemed symbolic as he sang, “I gambled up my life,” with a voice that has never been clearer. Watching Adams sip from a mug of tea and rummage through a binder of dog-eared songs on stage, proved the rumors are true: Adams—known by many for his drug and alcohol abuse—is a new man.

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Blogs - CultureBeat

All That Jazz

All That Jazz

Playing it fast and loose at the 54th Annual Monterey Jazz Festival
It was a beautiful sunny morning at the 54th Annual Monterey Jazz Festival. Held September 16-18 at the Monterey Fairgrounds, the festival boasted a wide array of musical acts on eight stages, making the choice of where to sit (and which artists to see), the most difficult task of the day. Settling in at the Garden Stage, the crowd filled in around me. With two hours to go before the first band, smiles were shared, seats were saved, and the first drinks were purchased.

The courtyard where the food booths were located was a highlight—not only for the amazing vegan Jamaican reggae wraps, macaroni and cheese with collard greens (I’m a vegetarian), and delicious tamales, but also for the Oakland street performers and art collective, the John Brothers Piano Company. The duo performed sets on an upright piano and clarinet throughout the event, perhaps putting in more stage time than anyone else playing the festival. Imagine the soundtrack to a black and white film as the villain ties the heroine to the railroad tracks—add in heroic vaudeville antics, and you get the perfect mix of music and showmanship.

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Blogs - CultureBeat

A Taste of Brazil

A Taste of Brazil

Samba Rock Acai Café brings guilt-free berry creations and Latin flavor to Santa Cruz

Just a few years ago, during his couple of trips to Brazil, Ron Wilkerson enjoyed riding his BMX bike throughout the scenic landscape, as well as courting his current wife and business partner, Vanessa. It was there in Vanessa’s beautiful native country, where the Wilkersons had the idea to start an acai restaurant in the United States. “We flirted with moving and starting an acai café in other cities,” says Ron, “but Santa Cruz seemed to be the perfect spot for our first one, as it is such a health-conscious place with people who are open to new things.”

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Blogs - CultureBeat

Tales to Tails

Tales to Tails

Local children overcome fear of reading aloud with the help of canines

Once, when called upon during class in the second grade, I remember telling my teacher that I didn’t know how to read. She later contacted my family, rather perplexed, at which point the jig was up and I had to admit to everyone the actual truth: like many children, I was just not comfortable reading out loud.

Today, literacy is a very big issue in the United States. Kids are encouraged to read less and less, and instead are allowed to utilize interactive video games and watch TV. For that reason, I was relieved to find out about Santa Cruz Public Libraries’ admirable commitment to literacy within the community, despite budget cuts.

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Blogs - CultureBeat

Writer Stephen Kessler Contemplates Culture

Writer Stephen Kessler Contemplates Culture

“Just give me something to talk about and I’ll go to town,” admited Stephen Kessler as he adjusted his spectacles in front of an attentive crowd at Bookshop Santa Cruz this past Thursday night, Aug. 25—a crowd that gathered to hear Kessler, the poet, translator, editor and novelist, as well as general cultural humorist, read three excerpts from his new collection of essays entitled: The Tolstoy of the Zulus.

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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.