The Box Sets of 2011

Elvis Costello is asking his fans not to buy his $262 box set, which he considers grossly overpriced.

Ah, Nevermind. Although the Pixies’ Trompe le Monde, the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ BloodSugarSexMagik and A Tribe Called Quest’s The Low End Theory were all released on the same day in 1991 as Nirvana’s breakthrough album, only Nevermind received the 20th-anniversary box-set treatment this year.

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Klezmatics: They Did It Oy Vey

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.

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Pop-Up Cards at Makers Factory

Just wait til we take the glitter to this thing. Photo by Samantha Larson.

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.”

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Celebrating Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass Roots

Peter Rowan plays the Digital Media Factory this Sunday for Bill Monroe Day. Photo by Ronald Reitman.

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.

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Santa Cruz Poet Releases Career Collection

Robert Sward, Santa Cruz Weekly poetry editor, with Toby

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.

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The Heavy Metal Perfection of Mammatus

Mammatus plays 105 Pioneer Street on Saturday, Nov. 26.

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.”

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‘A Year With Frog and Toad,’ a Creature Feature for All Ages

Toad (Mike Ryan) and Frog (Nick Gabriel) go sledding in SSC's holiday show. Photo by r.r. jones.

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.

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