Our winter reading list features a comic anthology, an exploration of eating, and the true tale of a sexual renegade in the LGBT community. Also included: novels, short stories and even a fresh take on war from a Marine who witnessed it firsthand in Vietnam.
The Klezmatics aren’t your average Jewish music band. When the group plays Klezmer music, a vibrant Jewish style filled with lively violin, they bring in styles from everywhere—salsa, the blues, even Irish music. “It widens the colors and possibilities for arrangements,” says Lori Sklamberg, co-founder and vocalist for the Klezmatics. The beauty is in experimentation.
Rhan Wilson’s satirical holiday spectacular puts a dark twist on seasonal department store staples like “O Christmas Tree,” repurposing the carols in a minor key to almost dirgelike effect.
The new Makers Factory—installed in its Cruzio building offices for two weeks now—invites the Santa Cruz community to drop by their downtown space for their first public event: making personalized lasercut holiday popup cards and decorations.
“Popup cards are a traditional form of greeting card,” says Makers Factory co-founder Chris Yonge. “The problem is that they require some planning and they require some skill and handiwork.”
If bluegrass music were a family-run company, mandolin-picker Bill Monroe would be founding CEO. That’s why Ginny Mitchell of Santa Cruz Live TV is bringing guitar maven Peter Rowan, who played with Monroe as one of his “Bluegrass Boys,” to the Digital Media Factory. The honorary day is set for Sunday. Dec. 4 for Bill Monroe Day in Santa Cruz. Mayor Ryan Coonerty proclaimed it so.
When Robert Sward arrived in Santa Cruz in 1985, he instantly became the area’s most nationally famous resident poet. Thanks to his much-anthologized poem “Uncle Dog: The Poet at 9,” the first he ever published and one that remains a classic 50 years later, local writers knew Sward’s name and welcomed him as a borderline celebrity. Ever since then he has thrived here as a prolific poet, novelist, journalist, teacher and, in recent years, poetry editor of the Santa Cruz Weekly.
The members of Santa Cruz experimental metal band Mammatus have a time-tested method to ensure that all their music reaches a high standard. They look for what they call the Yes Factor—that moment during practice when a song comes together and everyone knows it. “That’s what we’re always looking for, the part of the song that gives you goosebumps. It’s all about finding that magical moment,” says guitarist Nicky Emmert. He adds, “It takes us a really long time to write a song.”
When it comes down to it, Frog shouldn’t really even need Toad. The congenial amphibian could just as easily pal around with the mice and birds that hang around the swamps if he wanted. But he doesn’t. He prefers his slower-moving, socially inept foil. This year’s winter Shakespeare Santa Cruz play, A Year With Frog and Toad—the group’s first holiday production in two years—is an all-ages tale of friendship based on the children’s books by Arnold Lobel.
Santa Cruz is a awash in holiday cheer with the Santa Cruz Ballet Theatre’s Nutcracker, the Lighted Boat Parade, Jingle Shells at the Seymour Marine Discovery Center and much more.
Charles Michael Kittredge Thompson IV has been a solo artist for three times as long as he was originally with the Pixies. He’s released three times as many albums as he did with the band, under three different stage names—his original Pixies moniker Black Francis, the solo change-up Frank Black and even the combination Frank Black Francis.