Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Sadly, Marc Chagall will not be participating in Open Studios in Santa Cruz this year. But a record 320 artists are opening their studios to the public, and there are still two weekends left to see them in their natural habitat.

I know what you're thinking: so much to see in so little time. That's why I'm providing art lovers with a handy, sanity-saving to-do list to help you get the most out of your customized art tour.

First, get with the program. The OS Calendar/Guide is a 15-month calendar with a color photo of the work of every OS artist, along with their addresses, websites, phone numbers, shoe sizes, mothers' maiden names—well, you get the idea. Supplemental indexes list artists alphabetically, and according to medium, while the map is indispensable for finding that tiny mountain retreat, or converted off-road garage that the artist calls home. Map and calendar listings also tell you which artists' studios will be open which weekend. (South County, from Watsonville to the Yacht Harbor was last weekend; North County, from the Yacht Harbor to Davenport is this weekend, October 9-10. Anything goes on the third "Encore" weekend, October 16-17, where participating artists anywhere can open for one last hurrah.) A great tool for contacting local artists year-round, the calendar costs $20 and is still available throughout the county.

Next, hie thee off to the Open Studios Preview Exhibit at the Art League (526 Broadway in Santa Cruz), to view OS artists' work up close and personal, and get a more accurate idea of proportion, color, and material. Believe me, seeing the work in the flesh will save you hours of driving time later, as you zero in on who you really want to visit. Most artists also provide color postcards of their work free to the public in the Art League lobby. Exhibit hours are 11am to 5pm Wednesday through Friday and 10am to 5pm on Saturday and Sunday, through October 17. The OS Calendar/Guide can also be purchased at the Art League.

Finally, make a plan. This is a self-guided tour; it's up to you to decide who you want to see and when and where you want to go. One word of advice—even the most intrepid Open Studio art tourist can't be expected to absorb more than about eight to ten studios in a day, before the eyes glaze over and the brain cells gear down to zombie mode. So pace yourself. Choose your artists carefully and try not to visit more studios than you can actually appreciate.

Artists studios are open from 10am to 5pm each weekend of the event. Do your homework, grab a friend, hit the road and enjoy!


Just a reminder that tickets are available starting tomorrow for the 1st Annual Morton Marcus Memorial Poetry Reading, November 6, at the Cabrillo Recital Hall. Former U.S. Poet Laureate Robet Hass will read his work. Selections from Mort's final book, "The Dark Figure In the Doorway: Last Poems" will be read by Gary Young, Joseph Stroud, and Stephen Kessler. It's a free event, but seating is limited and Mort had a legion of fans, so tix will be required for admission. Get your free tickets at Cabrillo Bookstore, UCSC McHenry Library, Bookshop Santa Cruz and Bookworks; they won't last long!

FOODIE ALERT: If you love to ogle exotic food in exotic settings, look out for The Chef of South Polar, the opening night premiere in the upcoming Pacific Rim Film Festival, Santa Cruz's favorite free film event. It's a wry and delicious fiction film based on the true story of Jun Nishimura, a young Japanese Coast Guard cook on a year-long assignment to a remote outpost in Antarctica, cooking for an 8-man research team. In an environment so hostile, not even a virus can survive, mealtimes are the highlight (and the most important bonding ritual) of the day, and these guys aren't about to settle for energy bars and Tang. Bringing a whole new meaning to the concept of frozen food, the ever-resourceful Chef Jun lovingly handcrafts elaborate gourmet meals that see the team through every possibly adversity: homesickness, cabin fever, broken long-distance romances, suicidal depression, and the greatest calamity of all—running out of ramen noodles! Suichi Okita directs with a light, but resonant touch, and Masato Sakai is wonderful as Chef Jun. The Chef Of South Polar kicks off the PRFF on Friday, October 15, at the Del Mar, 7 p.m. (It screens again Saturday, October 16, at 1 p.m.) Admission is free on a first-come, first-served basis, so start planning now. (And whatever you do, don't go to this movie hungry!)

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