Arts and Review

Metro Reflections

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Arts and Review

by David Hoban

PARIS (July 21, 2011) - I noticed, commuting on the train in early morning Paris, women who were half-dressed, getting dressed and made up. It was as if the jam-packed car was a private boudoir. Ordinarily I would think that making up the face is done in private until the face in the mirror matches the mask one wants to present to the public. Not true. I watched a woman put on lipstick, lip-liner, powder, eye shadow, and eye-liner then, replacing sandals with high heels, she tied a scarf around her neck and pulled her tight, tapered pants over her heels. She was not alone. It seemed possible to me that these women had, in fact, placed themselves in an autistic shell awaiting their emergence into the world of offices or professionalism, in such a way that the masses did not exist at all.

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Why I Force My Students to Memorize Poetry (Despite the Fact that it Won't be on the Standardized Test)

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Arts and Review

 by Andy Waddell

SANTA CRUZ (July 21, 2011) - Some years ago, at a conference of English teachers, a group of colleagues and I found ourselves in a room by a fire with time to kill. I suggested that each of us recite some poem or speech we had learned in school. I realize that such a suggestion is nerdy to an almost unbelievable degree, but these were English teachers after all and I expected full well that the idea would be taken up with enthusiasm. I pictured, not only exclamations as to the beauty of the lines, but funny stories of nervousness overcome, childish misreading of famous lines, perhaps even negative comments, such as, “And that is why, to this day, I cannot stand Longfellow.” What I did not expect from my young colleagues was their reaction that they had “never really memorized anything.”

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The Toxic Tale of the Tiger Mother

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Arts and Review

Written by Maria Gaura

SANTA CRUZ (February 2011) - Amy Chua’s “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” is the strangest of parenting manuals.
In one slim volume, Chua details the methods she used to transform her elder daughter into a piano prodigy, and humorously recounts the misery she heaps on her girls, on her extended family, and on herself, in her quest to create the perfect child.
In the Tiger Mother’s world, maternity is not for the faint of heart, and childhood resembles an 18-year stint in a Marine Corps boot camp. Chua believes in pushing her children to their limits and beyond, and even infancy offers no respite.

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Frau Knolle

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Arts and Review - Arts and Review

By David Hoban - Special to SantaCruzWire.com
SANTA CRUZ (January 2011) - It is thirty years after the War. I am living in Munich , a student, a Jew, here over my parents’ objections. But here I am. I am afraid. I believe that somewhere in a Greek-columned building in Kaiserplatz there is a technical manual directing the intricacies of all German relationships. They study it religiously. They follow it imperfectly. Obedience to its rules is not enforced by jack-booted police, rather by little old ladies wearing Persian lamb coats, uttering disapproving sounds.

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Grab Life by the Pen

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Arts and Review

Editors Note: To start the new year, we're offering something new -- a poem by Santa Cruz Wire reader William Marzolla. We hope it inspires you to pick up a pen, a paintbrush, or guitar, and try something new in 2011.
 By William Marzolla -  Special to SantaCruzWire.com
Scratch at white with my pen,
      push pigment onto paper,
         push meaning into ink.
Rusty fingers, formerly deft,
smear creations across the page.

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Squabbling Siblings Seek World Domination in "39 Clues"

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Arts and Review

By Mason Kelly, Special to SantaCruzWire.com
SANTA CRUZ (August 2010) - Action, adventure, suspense and a little humor now and then. If you like those things, then I would recommend The "39 Clues" books to you. In this series, you will read about exciting adventure as the two main characters (siblings Dan and Amy) travel to Venice, the Bahamas, Tokyo, Boston, Moscow, Paris and many other interesting places to find the 39 clues.
Dan and Amy have always been fighting - the 14-year-old bookwormish , shy sister, and the 12-year- old action-loving, athletic brother. Amy just can’t believe that (in her eyes) this dorky, annoying, impulsive little boy is her brother. On the other hand, Dan can’t believe that (in his eyes) this fun-hating, book fanatic, depressing girl is his sister. They argue about everything. But they learn to cooperate when they embark on an amazing journey to find the 39 clues and become the most powerful people on earth.

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The Lightning Thief Movie - Disappointing If You've Read The Book

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Arts and Review

By Mason Kelly, Special to SantaCruzWire.com
SANTA CRUZ (July 2010) - When I first heard that a movie version of Rick Riordan's bestselling book "The Lightning Thief" was coming out, I was jumping for joy. I had read the book close to 50 times (no exaggeration!) and knew the story like the back of my hand. But when I saw the movie, I realized the director had distorted and erased many of the best characters and events in the book.     
For instance, the movie has no tree of Thalia, no Mr. D, no Cerberus (a three-headed dog-beast), and no fight with the war god Ares. In addition, the actors looked much older than their 12-year-old characters and didn’t seem enthused about what they were doing. (They wore vacant, bored expressions most of the time.) “The Lightning Thief” is a decent movie if you haven’t read the book. But if you have, the movie is a pretty big letdown.
The movie is funny, I have to give it that. Grover, Percy's satyr sidekick, is definitely the funniest character, always making jokes about the underworld, his goat butt, and just about anything else.  “Is it just me, or is it raining cows?” Grover says as the Minotaur (a giant half-bull, half-man beast) throws a cow at them.

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Riordan's "Red Pyramid" Rivals "Percy Jackson"

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Arts and Review

By Mason Kelly, Special to SantaCruzWire.com
SANTA CRUZ (July 2010) - After the blockbuster hit movie and extremely popular book series, “Percy Jackson and the Olympians,” author Rick Riordan was hard pressed to write another book anywhere near as good as his previous series. A lot of people thought it couldn’t be done. Well, if you were one of those people, think again, because Rick Riordan’s newest release, “The Red Pyramid” is already starting to look like an enormous hit.
Riordan's newest heroes, siblings Carter and Sadie Kane, make humorous, enjoyable main characters in the first book of the series, “The Kane Chronicles.”  Carter and Sadie argue and fight and argue some more. They are a perfect brother and sister.
One of the unique things about the book is that it is written in first person, with the main characters alternately telling the story. They act like they are talking into a tape recorder, the microphone seems to switch between the two of them.

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Music, Drama and Birthday Cake: Cabrillo Celebrates Chopin, Schumann

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Arts and Review

Written by Tara Leonard

APTOS (May, 2010) - Susan Bruckner, Head of the Piano Department at Cabrillo College, is throwing a birthday party and music lovers of all ages are invited. There will be cake and the playing of “Happy Birthday” just like at other celebrations. But the gift for attendees will be six hours of live performances of the music of Chopin and Schumann. After all, it’s not every year that two of the world's most famous Romantic composers celebrate their second century.
The 200th Birthday Marathon will take place on Monday, May 24, at Cabrillo’s new Recital Hall from noon to 6 p.m. More than 70 performers will play instrumental and vocal solos, duets and chamber works. Plus Cabrillo College theater students will read from the letters and diaries of Robert Schumann and his beloved wife Clara.

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Add Your Two Cents On SantaCruzWire.com

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Arts and Review

SANTA CRUZ (March 2010) - We’ve added a new service to SantaCruzWire.com – software that allows visitors to comment immediately about stories on our site, and to exchange views with other readers.
Thank you for checking out this new application, and please excuse our mess over the next few weeks as we work out some of the kinks in the system.
We hope this new feature will encourage readers to participate in and expand our ongoing discussion of community issues. We’re looking forward to having more of the amazing conversations we now enjoy with our readers when we meet them at the store, on campus and downtown.

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Practice Makes Perfect: Music Students Shine at Certificate of Merit Exam

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Arts and Review

Written by Tara Leonard

SANTA CRUZ (March, 2010) - Eleven-year-old Isabel Corser sat at the upright piano, her blond hair still wet from swim practice, her bare right foot working the damper pedal as she played a lulling rendition of Sparkling Waters by Martha Sherrill Kelsey. Finishing with a confident flourish she said, “That piece is flowing, so it makes me think of a river moving. But my other one is completely different.” Turning back to the keyboard, she launched into a bouncy, happy Little Joke by Kabalevsky. “That one is more staccato,” she explained. “If you were walking, staccato would mean you pick up your feet quickly.”
Corser, along with more than 29,000 music students across California, is practicing for the annual Certificate of Merit music exam. For over 70 years CM, as students call it, has been sponsored by the Music Teachers Association of California (MTAC), a statewide network of professional music teachers. Here in Santa Cruz County, the exam takes place on Sunday, March 21.

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The Secret Series - Alchemy, Murder and Snarky Laughs For Pre-Teens (and Their Parents)

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Arts and Review

Written by Maria Gaura

SANTA CRUZ ( January 2010) – The title of the first book in the Secret Series is … well … a secret. So is the identity of the author, the town where the story takes place, and even the names of the heroes.
The first page of book one warns readers to go no further, and hints at the dire consequences of doing so. But the warnings are so overblown, the writing so funny, and the artwork so off-kilter, that you keep laughing and turning pages, despite the prickle of unease creeping up the back of your neck.
The Secret Series, now three books and counting, may not appeal to young children. But it is precisely on-target for the skeptical pre-teen reader who pounces on inconsistency, delivers dead-on parodies of television infomercials, and can sniff out adult hypocrisy at twenty paces. That is to say, most middle schoolers will love these books.

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