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Jul 29th
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The Fate of Organics

The Fate of Organics

Santa Cruz nonprofit Organic Farming Research Foundation leads the charge for organics in the Farm Bill and beyond

Organic. Santa Cruz can pat itself on the back for helping bring about this word’s current ubiquity.

The area’s more obvious contributions to the organic movement include The Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, which is headquartered at our City on a Hill, UC Santa Cruz, and is widely considered the birthplace of organic farming, and Westside Santa Cruz-based California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF), one of the oldest and largest organic certification organizations in the country.

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Mi Vida Loca

Mi Vida Loca

Santa Cruz’s own Joe Ortiz hits a high note. How his turbulent, and oftentimes humorous, childhood became the genesis of an original musical at Cabrillo Stage.

Growing up is hardly a walk in the park—especially when your father is a Puerto Rican womanizer with a gambling addiction that’s as aggressive as his drinking addiction. So was the case for Joe Ortiz, who at 6 years old, had his universe flipped upside down, when a bookie set up shop in his living room in order to settle the gambling debts of his father, who had secretly skipped town.

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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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The Binding of Edmund McMillen

How a Santa Cruz designer created one of the most unlikely hits in video game history

 

Sun in Leo, Rosy Star, Venus and Uranus Retrograde

Three major celestial events occur this week. Wednesday, the Sun enters Leo, highlighting the heart center of everyone. Leo is a sign of deep sensitivity (along with Cancer). Wednesday is also the feast day of St. Mary Magdalene, one of the most misunderstood women in the Bible. Saturday, July 25, Venus turns stationary retrograde at 0 Virgo (progressed Regulus, the Law, Hall of Records). Venus retrogrades for 44 days and nights, forming one petal of a five-pointed rosy star (pentagram) in the sky (five retrogrades over eight years = star). Venus retrograde turns values upside down. Our usual sense of beauty, values, the real price of things, relationships—all turn into a bundle of confusion. We don’t seem to know anything. Luxury goods are mispriced, values are jumbled, we wonder who that person is we’re in relationship with. We don’t know where our money is or where it’s gone. Venus, in daily life, represents values (resources, money, possessions and quality of relationships). Venus retrograde asks, “What do I value?” Venus retrograde puts us in touch with what has changed and what is truly of value in our lives. Venus retrogrades from 0 Virgo to 14 degrees Leo (July 25-Sept. 6). Leo is about the self and our creativity, which is how we come to know and value ourselves. We “know ourselves through what we create.” In Venus (values) retrograde (inner focus) we will ask, “What are values (not just money and finances)? What are my values? What do I create? How do I value my creations? Do I value myself?” Sunday, Uranus—planet of all things new, revelatory and revolutionary—also retrogrades (from 20 to 16 degrees Aries) until the full moon of Christmas Day. Five months of Uranus retrograde. In July and continuing on through the following months we have many planets retrograding. Things therefore slow down. Everyone’s focus becomes subjective, hidden by veils and curtains. A time when inner reserves of strength are available. A time of protection.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of July 24

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
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AJ’s Market

Local cult fave keeps getting bigger and better

 

What do you think of Bernie Sanders?

He’s what we need, more hardcore Democrats. Old-school, ’70s-style Democrats. Tony Dolan, Santa Cruz, Freelancer

 

Hunter Hill Vineyards & Winery

Calling all Merlot lovers—Hunter Hill has released its 2013 estate Merlot ($25)—and a superb one it is, too.

 

Turn Up the Beet

Golden beets with buffalo mozzarella, plus single-malt whiskies and award-winning local Chardonnays