Santa Cruz Good Times

Oct 07th
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blog_noise_EmilyHellerSA roundup of comedy, music and mayhem
Friday, Oct. 29, had the foreboding element of heavy rain hovering in the night sky like a million drops of determent. Still, the holiday vibe coursed through the Santa Cruz community strong enough to bring several hundred hopeful to the Rio Theatre for an evening of guffaws, entitled “Jack-O-Laughter.” Brainstormed by Capitola resident John Brown, the night featured Bay Area Comedy Central star Kevin Camia—but the balmy evening belonged to UC Santa Cruz graduates Emily Heller and Brendan Lynch. Heller and Lynch both share a deadpan delivery that provides a foundation for their snarky humor, and each found their way into the audience’s heart.

Later in the evening on the other end of town, a voodoo party was gearing up to unleash the power of the Dead. Moe’s Alley has become the favorite digs of Grateful Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann, and with his latest incarnation, 7 Walkers, the thick crowd was bordering between jubilant and too drunk to funk. Local openers Shady Groove unleashed the gremlins and by the time 7 Walkers took the stage, the blog_noise_Pumpkinssound became a mix of cacophonous caterwauling. New Orleans mainstay Papa Mali, resplendent in golden dreads and a girth that far surpassed Jerry Garcia, took the helm. With a few precise Vodon chants, he killed the feedback dead.

Last minute Halloween preparations on Saturday, Oct. 30 meant scooting up Highway 1 to Rodoni Farms for an annual hunt through the pumpkin patch. Slogging through the mud at the gourd orphanage I nimbly avoided being led into the corn maze. Having seen The Shining one too many times, my fear of being stuck in any sort of a labyrinth without a machete kept my eyes on the ground looking for the perfect orange buddy to take home.

blog_noise_halloweenAnd finally, the arrival of Oct. 31 meant only one thing—strolling Pacific Avenue and watching, participating in and being one with the freaks of Santa Cruz as the annual, almost-anything-goes costumed parade emerged in a strictly organic manner. Always better than Burning Man, as we’re not stuck in a desert, the streets came alive with mischief, magic and meaningful mayhem. Sock Monkey chased down a wary banana, a Toblerone candy bar ran into a carton of milk, a silent movie complete with Charlie Chaplin, Keystone Cop and flickering movie camera enacted silent vignettes, a makeshift wresting ring emerged complete with masked marauders, and a large group of pirates took seize of a corner and started a swarthy drumming encampment.

Truly a hallucinatory swirl of visions best to escape from before 10 p.m., when Zack Friend’s friends began to try and contain the revelry with cops and copters recreating the feel of Apocalypse Now, Halloween was, and will hopefully always be, a time for us to come together as a community of cleverly costumed characters.

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A Ritual & Initiation

The Pope has come and gone, but his loving presence ignited new hope and goodness in many. While he was in NYC, China’s ruler arrived in Washington D.C. East (China) and West (Rome), meeting in the middle, under Libra, balancing sign of Right Relations. The Pope arrived at Fall Equinox. Things initiated at Fall Equinox are birthed at Winter Solstice. The Pope’s presence was a ritual, an initiation rite—like the Dalai Lama’s visits—offering prayers, teachings and blessings. Rituals anchor God’s plan into the world, initiating us to new realities, new rules. The Pope’s presence brings forth the Soul of the United States, its light piercing the veils of materialism. The Pope’s visit changed things. New questions arise, new reasons for living. A new wave of emerging life fills the air. Like a cocoon shifting, wings becoming visible. The winds are different now. Calling us to higher vision, moral values, virtues that reaffirm and offer hope for humanity. A changing of the guard has occurred. Appropriately, this is the week of the Jewish Festival of Sukkoth (’til Oct. 4), when we build temporary homes (little huts in nature), entering into a harvest of prayer and thanksgiving, understanding our fragile and impermanent existences. We are summoned to reflect upon our lives, our humanity, our nature, our spirit and each other. Offering gratitude, becoming a magnet for others. We observe. We see the needs. We love more.
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