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May 22nd
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GTW Cover Stories

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Let’s Hear it for the Girls

Let’s Hear it for the Girls

Fearless females honored at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music’s 50th

“It’s really easy to hide behind a camera,” Deborah Luster says, when asked how she became a photographer. The Louisiana native goes on to explain that she took up the hobby as a means of honoring her mother’s memory and re-engaging with the world, after she was murdered by a hired hit man in April of 1988.

Twenty-four years later, the resulting photos and Luster’s incredible life story have inspired a musical composition, which will debut as part of a larger work, entitled “Hidden World of Girls: Stories for Orchestra,” at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music on July 28 and 29.

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Game Face

Game Face

For many technophiles, Santa Cruz-based game designer/programmer Graeme Devine is an über creative beast. But what’s behind the secret to his most recent success with GRL Games?

It’s 2012, so when it comes to something like social gaming, it’s not that hard to do the math. Add any one of the numerous devices to which we now have access—from the iPhone and the tablet to the computer and the console—with the bastion of game designers and programmers out there, draw a line under it and you’d find the number of games available reaching somewhere in the millions. Why … it was only two years ago that news reports revealed that social gaming would rise 30 percent by 2012, gaining an edge in popularity over traditional forms of entertainment like television and film. (And then, there’s Wii.)

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Finding Hope in Harvest

Finding Hope in Harvest

At 40, the county’s indelible Second Harvest Food Bank reaches a significant milestone. And the fight to eradicate hunger has never been stronger.

Aisles of stacked pallets, crates, and cardboard boxes filled with rice, beans, pineapples, canned food, foods of every kind, stretch out as far as the eye can see. This is the massive warehouse of the Second Harvest Food Bank (SHFB) in Watsonville, and it is buzzing with activity. Volunteers remove plastic film from crates full of bananas to prevent them from spoiling. Workers zip by in orange forklifts, packing orders into trucks destined for the Davenport Resource Center, the Salvation Army, Padres Unidos, or any one of the 200 agencies SHFB serves.

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Fringe

Fringe

How one local lured in hundreds of artists for the ultimate fest

What Fringe?
Let’s play a game. I will describe something for you, and you guess what the subject is. This mystery subject focuses on the performing arts—theater, dance, performance art, puppetry, spoken word, improvisation, film and visual arts. This mystery thing is uncensored— no one is too overly concerned with swearing or nudity, and family-friendly content is also welcome. What’s more, participation is vital and varied, and it celebrates originality. Now, what would you say I have just described:
0 Santa Cruz, California
0 A Fringe Festival

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The Boardwalk Empire

The Boardwalk Empire

Fred Swanton was a larger-than-life figure with larger-than-life ambitions on the Santa Cruz waterfront. Some of his dreams came to fruition. Others went up in flames.

During May of 1906—only a month after the Great Earthquake and Fire destroyed much of San Francisco and severely devastated the economy of the entire West Coast—Santa Cruz impresario and civic booster extraordinaire Fred Swanton embarked on a whirlwind railroad tour of California and Nevada, championing Santa Cruz and its colorful Neptune Casino as a summertime destination.

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The Marvels Around Us

The Marvels Around Us

In an excerpt from his forthcoming history book, Geoffrey Dunn cracks the mystery of talented local artist Lillian Howard

Each little plant has its purpose in living, and attends to that purpose with a single-hearted devotion beautiful to witness, if only we open our dull human eyes to see the marvels around us.

Lillian Howard
Beautiful Santa Cruz County, 1896

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Jonathan Franzen

Jonathan Franzen

On the eve of his only (and rare) public appearance for his new book, ‘Farther Away,’ the celebrated author opens up about life, loss and finding connection
GT Exclusive: Listen to Jonathan Franzen read from "Farther Away" (below)

I fear striking this match, but let’s see what happens …

A baby monkey fighting with a kitten has more than a million hits on YouTube. The one with the Bengal cat “talking” to her kitten has attracted nearly 2 million viewers. And the 10 best cat bloopers? More than 8 million hits. If you’re still reading this, bless you. Everybody else may be watching YouTube.

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Beyond Black Rock City

Beyond Black Rock City

As Burning Man’s popularity soars, it also grapples with growing pains. The festival’s community ponders the future, while bringing the culture to a wider public.

In 1986, a small group of friends gathered at Baker Beach, in San Francisco, to celebrate the summer solstice by lighting a 9-foot-tall wooden man on fire. The group, led by Larry Harvey, could not have known the magnitude of what they had set in motion.

Fast-forward almost 10 years, to 1995—the first year that Marian Goodell attended what was by then known as Burning Man. By that time, the week-long annual gathering had situated on a parched lakebed in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. The Man, as he came to be called, was now about 40-feet-tall, and was burned toward the end of the festival in a cathartic marvel of fire. Tickets were $35, and the ephemeral city—which was on its way to becoming “Black Rock City” (BRC)—held 4,000 people.

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Top Chef

Top Chef

Soquel’s own culinary whiz kid takes us behind the scenes of competitive cooking

In the United States, most people associate the act of turning 21 with one thing: the ability to legally purchase and consume alcohol. But for Soquel native Reilly Meehan, who just reached the milestone in November, being 21 has an even better perk: He can now study the art of wine pairing.

It’s a passion that’s out of the norm for people his age, but for Reilly, a burgeoning chef who just earned the title of American Culinary Federation Western Region Student Chef of the Year, in March, wine pairing is the next conquest in a long line of skills he hopes to master in the kitchen.

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Summering

Summering

Deep thoughts, bons mots and other misadventures in the art of ‘summering’

There is a holy trinity of summers that dwell within my psyche,  not unlike Charles Dickens’ well-worn Ghost of Christmas past, present and yet-to-come. Mine don’t anthropomorphize, shake chains or walk through walls, and my specters are not intentioned on providing a learning moment, as they were for dear Ebenezer Scrooge. Mine serve more as reminders; mine are more taunt than haunt. (For you Dickens fans, I vow to deal with the allegorical implications and comparisons later.)

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Gate Openers

Up-and-coming artists like Ryan Bingham are a great reason to show up early to the Santa Cruz American Music Festival

 

Gemini Sun, Pentecost, Shavuot—Enlightenment and Gladness

As the sun enters Gemini on Sunday, sign of speaking, communication, thinking, inter-relations, writing and understanding languages, the feast days of Pentecost & Shavuot (Catholic and Jewish festivals) occur. During Pentecost’s 50 days after Easter, tongues of fire appear above the heads of the disciples, providing them with the ability to understand all languages and all feelings hidden in the minds and hearts of humanity. It’s recorded that Pentecost began with a loud noise, which happened in an upper room (signifying the mind). The Christ (World Teacher) told his disciples (after his ascension) when encountering a man at a well carrying a water pot (signs for Age of Aquarius) to follow him to an upper room. There, the Holy Spirit (Ray 3 of Divine Intelligence) would overshadow them, expand their minds, give them courage and enable them to teach throughout the world, speaking all languages and thus able to minister to the true needs of a “seeking” humanity. Pentecost (50 days, pentagram, Ray 5, Venus, concrete and scientific knowledge, the Ray of Aquarius) sounds dramatic, impressive and scary: The loud noise, a thunderous rush of wind and then “tongues of fire” above the heads of each disciple (men and women). Fire has purpose. It purifies, disintegrates, purges, transforms and liberates (frees) us from the past. This was the Holy Spirit (Ray 3, love and wisdom) being received by the disciples, so they would teach in the world and inform humanity of the Messiah (Christ), who initiated the new age (Pisces) and gave humanity the new law (adding to the 10 Commandments of the Aries Age) to Love (Ray 2) one another. Note: Gemini is also Ray 2. Shavuot is the Jewish Festival of Gladness, the First Fruits Festival celebrating the giving of the 10 Commandments to Moses as the Aries Age was initiated. Thus, we have two developmental stages here, Jewish festival of the Old Testament. Pentecost of the New Testament. We have gladness, integrating both.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Off Her Meds

Kristin Wiig runs wild—and transcends her sketch comedy roots—as a truly strange character ‘Welcome to Me’
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Flats Bistro

Pizza with an artisan twist comes to Aptos Beach

 

What’s your take on Santa Cruz locals?

Santa Cruz locals are really friendly once you know them. I think a lot of them have a hard time leaving, and I would too. Ryan Carle, Santa Cruz, Biologist

 

Soquel Vineyards

If Soquel Vineyards partners Peter and Paul Bargetto and Jon Morgan were walking down the street wearing their winning wine competition medals, you’d hear them coming from a mile away. This year was particularly rewarding for the Bargettos and Morgan—they won two Double Gold Medals and five Gold Medals at January’s San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

 

Enlightened Flavors

Squash & Blossom’s artisanal alternative-flour delights, beet kvass from Cafe Ivéta, and the Santa Cruz Baroque Festival