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Aug 02nd
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Chris Rene

Chris Rene

The now-famous local opens up about ‘The X Factor,’ growing up in Santa Cruz, life after addiction, and what’s next on the creative road ahead

Less than a year ago, then 28-year-old Santa Cruz native Chris Rene was collecting trash for a living and battling a drug and alcohol addiction. Today, exactly three weeks after taking third on the first season of FOX’s The X Factor, Rene is at the top of the iTunes charts, nearing a record deal, designing a fashion line, and just over 11 months sober. Motivated by fellow Santa Cruz musician James Durbin’s rise to the top on American Idol, the rapper/songwriter worked up the courage to audition for The X Factor back in September. It was there that Rene touched the heart of America with his original rap song “Young Homie,” and his inspiring story.

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Music HEALS!

Music HEALS!

Meet the locals who play a fundamental role in the fascinating world of music therapy

At Dominican Hospital, music is respiratory therapist Earl White’s secret weapon. With the stressful job of treating anyone—from infants to geriatrics—having difficulty breathing with medication, a ventilator, and/or a breathing tube, White is constantly surrounded by patients and families in distress.

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Santa’s Performance Review

Santa’s Performance Review

Editor’s Note: The following article was birthed thanks, in part, to the fearless efforts of “private, secret and classified media” from anonymous"whistleblowers”—otherwise known as gtleaks. In fact, our exclusive website, which was secretly launched early last year, has nabbed too many secret documents to list—and most of them hitting front pages of major news organizations. Early releases included major documentation of Wal-Mart hitting Santa Cruz, a Banana Republic outlet store arriving somewhere along Pacific Avenue and just-released data of a three-way thoroughfare along a major Downtown Santa Cruz strip. There’s more. (There’s always more …)

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Tradition for the Non-Traditional

Tradition for the Non-Traditional

One Woman’s (Holiday) Story

Happy Solstice, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Joyous Kwanzaa to you. Or, if you are of the ilk, Hello, it’s Thursday!

This time of year it is difficult to avoid a winter holiday of one flavor or another in our culture, whether religious, spiritual, cultural or familial. While it is undeniable that the long, dark and cold nights lend themselves to inner contemplation, whether or not this self-examination is part of a larger celebration for you is really none of my business. I don’t plan to change that. What I do plan to do, however, is make my “me time” a little bit of your business. Not because it’s special. In fact it is just the opposite.

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Water Divide

Water Divide

When it comes to regional water planning, where is the county headed?
It’s one week after Water Conservation Manager Toby Goddard presented the draft 2010 Urban Water Management Plan to the Santa Cruz City Council and he’s reflecting on some aspects of the report he feels were overlooked. For one thing, he says, nearly all of the citizens who spoke during the public comment period fixated on one sliver of the plan. (Not surprisingly, that sliver concerned the city’s divisive intent to pursue desalination.) Having spent the better part of five months crafting the UWMP (the fourth he’s written for the city), Goddard had hoped the rest of the hefty document would garner some interest, too. He notes that not a single person inquired about his careful choice of cover art—which, in a way, also had something to do with desalination.  

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The Mayors: Outgoing & Incoming

The Mayors: Outgoing & Incoming

Longtime Santa Cruz journalist Geoffrey Dunn talks with outgoing Mayor Ryan Coonerty and incoming Mayor Don Lane about a variety of political and economic issues facing Santa Cruz —both as a community and as a municipality—and their hopes and dreams for Surf City in the upcoming year.

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Byting the Apple

Byting the Apple

An Early Profile of Steve Jobs
In the early 1980s, the late Santa Cruz writer James D. Houston, who had come of age in the Santa Clara Valley and who later studied at both San Jose State and Stanford, was one of the first journalists to explore the burgeoning computer industry on the other side of the Santa Cruz Mountains.

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Community Fund

Community FundGiving. Transformation. These are the themes that four local nonprofits bring to life in our annual Community Fund issue.

How important are local youths to you? To the four nonprofits featured on the following pages, youths are a significant focus. Behold the four stars of our annual Community Fund issue: the Summer Youth Employment Program, Watsonville Wetlands Watch, Mariposa’s Arts and Food What?! These dynamic organizations have made tremendous strides working with young people—from offering diverse educational services to providing unique, one-of-a-kind opportunities. So, over the next few pages, take some time and discover the inner workings of these local nonprofits and learn how your own contributions to the Community Fund can be so vital—see page 27 for donation information. In the meantime, get involved, be inspired.—Greg Archer, Editor

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The Durbinator

The Durbinator

With ‘American Idol’ behind him and a hot new debut album, James Durbin talks candidly about the power of belief, life before and after ‘Idol’—and the woman who saved him from ruin.

When James Durbin mania reached its height earlier this year, the town of Santa Cruz started to resemble a restaurant in Being John Malkovich where the only word anyone says is “Malkovich.” It seemed you couldn’t walk a full block without hearing a conversation about James Durbin, seeing a James Durbin banner or window display or stumbling upon a James Durbin-based gathering at a local establishment (James Durbin cupcakes, anyone?). The grand finale, of course, was James Durbin Day, a homecoming concert at the Boardwalk that drew 30,000 fans, generated about $1 million in visitor spending and inspired the folks at Zoccoli’s Deli to name a sandwich after Durbin. (That would be The Durbinator.)

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418 Turns 18

418 Turns 18One of the county’s most innovative theater and dance portals reaches a new milestone

To the untrained eye, the building located directly across the street from the Downtown Santa Cruz Metro station is just that—another building. Thanks to a beautiful but rather intrusive tree blocking the yellow sign that hangs above the entrance, one could easily mistake the Front Street building for India Joze’s new cafe. That’s partially true, but what lies behind it is the lifeblood of the Santa Cruz performance community: The 418 Project.

Just beyond the enticing aroma of chef Jozseph Schultz’ Middle Eastern and South Asian delicacies is a haven for the ethnic, contemporary, ecstatic, and modern dancers of the area to leap, twirl, pirouette, stomp and tumble to their hearts’ content.

Celebrating its 18th year, The 418 Project has come a long way since its humble beginnings. Originally called Santa Cruz Dance Gallery, the venue was founded by local dancer Rita Rivera to fill a void in the community.

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Health Screening

Santa Cruz wellness expert releases app to improve workplace well-being

 

Leo Sun; Full Moon, Venus Retro in Leo; Saturn Direct

It’s a complex week of planetary movements, challenges, demands and callings. We’re in the time of the Leo Sun. Leo—fixed fire, gold, the heart, generous, strong, noble, the king/queen—needs appreciation and praise from everyone in order to move forward. During Leo we gain a greater sense of self-identification by recognizing our creativity. It’s therefore a perfect time for Venus retrograding in Leo. In Venus retrograde we review and re-assess values. Venus retro in Leo concerns our self as valuable, acknowledging talents, gifts, abilities and offerings. Friday, Venus re-enters Leo (29 degrees, a critical degree) continuing the retrograde to 14 degrees Leo on Sept. 6. Friday (Full Moon) is also the (8 degrees) Leo solar festival, Festival of the Future. Leo is the heart of the sun, the heart of all that matters. When attuned to this heart, we have understanding and inclusivity. The heart of the Lion is Mitra (think “Maitreya,” the coming World Teacher). Leo prepares humanity to receive divine love from subtle sources and later to radiate that love to the kingdoms. Sirius, Ray 2, where love originates, streams through Regulus (heart of Leo), into the heart of the sun (Ray 2) and into all hearts. The heart of Leo is Regulus. Joining Venus, the love underlying all of creation appears. Saturday is Sun/Neptune (confusion or devotion) with late night Saturn turning stationary direct. Ideas, plans and structures held long in abeyance (since March 14) slowly move forward. (Read more on Leo and the week at nightlightnews.org and Risa D’Angeles’ Facebook page, accessed through my website.)

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of July 31

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
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Holy Cannoli

New bakery opens in Ben Lomond, plus Randall Grahm’s quest to grow 10,000 new grape varieties, and Mexican cooking classes

 

Is Santa Cruz turning into Malibu North?

It's got a ways to go before it gets wrecked like Malibu, but I think we need to be very careful about growth. Maria Mattioli, Santa Cruz, Psychotherapist

 

Bargetto Winery

A much-anticipated annual event at Bargetto Winery is the release of their very special La Vita red wine. June 7 was the day to be heralded this year, and I happily squeezed my car into their overloaded car park in eager anticipation of tasting the new La Vita nectar.

 

Margaritaville

Popular Capitola spot gets new owner and complete makeover