Thursday, December 2, 2010


Good grief, it's December already—panic in the streets! And as usual, there's way too much going on in Santa Cruz. As the Red Queen says to Alice, "It takes all the running you can do to stay in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run twice as fast as that!" Boy, that's the story of my life.

For starters, our monthly First Friday Art Tour returns this week, with art of every description by local artists on view in a staggering variety of venues countywide—cafes, home design shops, beauty salons, a bank, a tattoo parlor, a winery, Loudon Nelson Center, and even a few designated art galleries, like the Santa Cruz Art League, Felix Kulpa, Artisans, and the MAH. (That's "Christmas Tree," by veteran local artist David Fleming, who's showing new work at the Center Street Grill, along with Kathy Cheer.) Get a complete list of exhibits and venues at the First Friday website, and don't forget to bundle up, cuz, baby, it's cold outside!

Speaking of art in frozen climates, the annual Art in the Cellars holiday art show takes place at Bargetto's Winery in Soquel this weekend. Art Boy and I had the pleasure of presenting our wares at this event a few years ago (back when I was making my "Weird Sisters" line of fabric dolls, like my "Infinite Jester" icon over there in the menu column). It was a fun show to do—lots of interesting art tucked into the nooks and crannies between the wine barrels, live holiday music, and plenty of bonhomie. But, ye gads, was it chilly in there!

It has something to do with keeping the vats at a consistent temperature as the wine ferments, and heaven knows no one wants to interfere with the delicate alchemy by which grapes transform into festive libations. But here's a word to the wise: pack a down jacket and mittens as you prepare to go spelunking into the cellar. (It's actually a warehouse adjoining the parking lot, but it might as well be subterranean). Still, local artists like printmaker Liz Lyons Friedman (above), photographer John Gavrilis, and many others are well worth the trip, and whats a little cold, anyway, at this wintry time of year? Nothing that can't be cured with a glass or two of Chaucer's Mead. Drop in Saturday or Sunday, from 11 am to 5 pm.

Still looking to jump-start the holiday spirit? Forget Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Ruby Tuesday, Wingnut Wednesday, or any other artificial, media-contrived shopping frenzy. Instead, how about opting out for a slow, scenic drive up the Slow Coast to Davenport for a Holiday Open House this Sunday at La Sirena Antiques & Gifts?

You'll find an eclectic mix of goodies, with a special emphasis on French country antiques, international textiles, and hand-crafted ethnic beads from around the world. In keeping with the spirit of the season, you'll also find a groaning board of cookies, nibblies, and Yuletide cheer of the bottled variety set up in the courtyard to welcome you in from the cold. Hours are 2-5 pm, Sunday afternoon, at 500 Highway 1.

And as long as you're up there, stop in at the New Davenport Gallery (450 Highway 1) and check out the December "Metal Is Magical" show. This hit parade of local metalworkers includes everything from massive sculptures by Fred Hunnicutt, Jamie Abbott, and Holt Murray to precious metal jewelry by Lynda Watson and Lynn Guenther, to name just a few. That all these creative, talented artists live and work right here in our little corner of the world is enough to put anybody in a holiday mood.

And while we're on the subject of overflowing talent, the Santa Cruz Film Festival is hosting an "Open Projector" event tonight (Thursday, Dec 2), from 5 to 8pm at the Vino Tabi Winery in the Swift Street Courtyard (334 Ingalls St. SC). Aspiring filmmakers are invited to bring your movie in DVD format, 10 minutes or shorter, for a public showing before a discerning crowd of film enthusiasts. First come, first served; no prizes, no pressure. And it's free! What could be more festive?

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