Vintage Stories

The Blues are back. Santa Cruz is one of its unlikely new homes. How do these things happen? How do cultural scenes coalesce? Bigger than the sum of its parts, a cultural movement is the product of people who will it into being. Jon Atkinson is a large part of the reason why the Blues is prominent in Santa Cruz, these days thanks to Larry Ingram, owner of Aptos St BBQ and Mission St BBQ. Larry is the huge force behind this development, bringing Christopher “Preacher Boy” Watkins, Big Jon Atkinson, and a deep pool of legendary Blues talent on board. Larry has live Blues music in both restaurants 7 nights a week from 6-8. Big Jon and Larry have been last two art exhibitions have had the Blues as part of their theme, explicitly and implied through tone. The first was a series of experimental paintings with poems that was entitled “Pogonip Blues.” It was a series inspired by the idea of the Blues expressed visually and with words, in response to things that were happening around the world and here in Santa Cruz. The next extended series I worked on was entitled “Dark Fields, Bright Spots.” The Blues have historical roots in the US American South, but they speak to a universal spirit of resilience in the face of uneven odds and challenging

Remedies for the Body

There’s a lot to think about, these days. Being thoughtful is usually considered a good thing and in an age of phone-scrolling zombies all too rare. Mindfulness, we mainly agree, is a technique that everyone could use a little more of. We can’t forget about the body, though. Sometimes, it’s ok to let go and let the body have its time at the wheel. That’s one of the goals of meditation and one of the effects of beer; freedom from mental slavery.JJT.15.April.2016.blogPhysical discipline is also a path to freedom. Every kinetic form has its own unique ways of getting the body to grow dominant during the time of practice. It’s not just about building the body in a pleasing form, but attuning the mind to the body and giving the body control in relation to the Cannabis is truly a panacea. It helps with so many things, including: building a strong appetite, creating restful sleep and providing pain relief. Training and living in the contemporary world can be enhanced by this medicinal

Awakening in April

Tri-tip Salad from Mission St. BBQ
Jewel from Broken Shades at Mission St. BBQ
Wyatt Barrabee
Craft Beer at Mission St. BBQ
BBQ Dinner at Mission St. BBQ
Tommy is Back!
The Giant DIPA is back!
Aki Kumar at Aptos St. BBQ
Kendra at Pilates 26
Kendra on the machine
New Pilates Instructor at Pilates 26
Sunset from the Therapeutic Healing Collective
Making Cookies at Big Pete’s Treats
Beet Burger from Cremer House
Taz ripping
Shatter by Punch Extracts from Therapeutic Healing Collective

What You Eat

There is so much more to food than meets the eye. Food is an expression of culture, of life itself. Food is about connection. Arctic Char, for example, is a fish related to Salmon and Trout. It is loved for its flavor and chosen for its sustainability. This fish was served at the Cremer House and it came from Royal Hawaiian Seafood.JJT.Blog.1.April.2016-5JJT.Blog.1.April.2016-6JJT.Blog.1.April.2016-7

Rhythm of Days

You always heard older people talking about how fast time moves, but it wasn’t until you actually had experienced enough years to feel it for yourself that this mysterious element of time began to take shape: acceleration. My dad used to share an explanation for it. He thought that you always feel the same age internally and can remember what it was like to be younger, so the more time passes the faster it seems to go. It’s mostly an effect of the conflict between knowing that a lot of time has passed and feeling that it was just yesterday. He has a rare capacity for memory, though. He can remember slight plot details and character points from novels he read twenty years ago. When I stop to remember things that vividly stand out in my memory, like the earthquake of 1989, it doesn’t feel like yesterday, at all. For me, it feels like a different

Local World Class

There’s no excuse for mediocrity, today. Quality makes all the difference between a life well lived and a life endured. This doesn’t mean that you have to be excessive or spend a lot of money to achieve quality experiences. Quality shouldn’t have to be as rare as it is. First of all, if you consume less you can consume better. Buying a bottle of cheap liquor makes sense if your goal is to forget your worries for a night even though it’s going to cost you the morning. Buying an expensive bottle of whiskey that you savor and drink small amounts of over time actually creates a greater value even though you spent more money at the time of purchase, because you give the experience time and space to happen out of respect for the quality of the drink. If you pick up a bottle of Wayward Whiskey by Venus Spirits from 41st Ave Liquor and you have a visitor to entertain, then you can offer them a nice glass of whiskey on the rocks and your life will be fun and filled with more drinking scenes like those classic vignettes in detective fiction by Raymond Chandler and less like those bleary-eyed laments in early Bukowski. JJT.41st.15.March.2016-7Great drinks compliment great food. When it comes to what you put in your body, don’t you want the best? Again, this is a quality over quantity equation. I’m not saying that you should break your bank by shopping for the most expensive things. I’m merely suggesting that if you value quality you can find ways to incorporate it into your life. This Bob Salad from the Cremer House is an example of a way to treat yourself well. The Cremer House is a reflection of my sister Emily’s desire to share quality experiences with people. The Corned Beef that is featured above is also her creation. She owns a brewery and a restaurant and she spends her time working to deliver the best possible experiences to the people of Santa Cruz, the Santa Cruz Mountains and beyond.JJT.Cremer.10.March.2016-2What would life be without music? It’s impossible to say, but surely it would be much more difficult. Music is a powerful art of connection. When we listen to music together we share an experience. Evoking visceral emotions, playing with words and tones, drawing out time with rhythm, engineering a body of sound: musicians create an amazing happening when they play. The Blues is central to American music. The influence of Blues on almost all other American musical forms cannot be denied. We are lucky enough here in Santa Cruz to have some great music that comes through town. Added to our already rich musical heritage, Aptos St. BBQ and Mission St. BBQ have been hosting world class Blues acts. These intimate and free concerts are one of the best things happening in Santa Cruz 2016. Every night from 6-8, you can eat dinner while listening to live music that is a direct continuation of true American roots music. Last night, Alabama Mike played with Big Jon Atkinson at Mission St and brought the heat, soul, and style that makes Blues music so universally enjoyed.JJT.Alabama.Mike.MSB.18.March.2015-10

Be Merry

One of the most impressive economic developments I’ve witnessed during my time on the west coast is the boom of the craft beer industry. I’ve seen it grow right before my eyes and in the lives of my loved ones. My sister Emily and I went to school at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, OR. That’s where she got the craft-beer bug. I, too, developed a love for quality beer in the great Northwest, but Emily saw a business opportunity. I don’t know how she got her chutzpah, but she got a lot of it. After working as the only female engineer in her department at Qualcomm, she started an organic brewery (Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing) in Santa Cruz in 2005. Since then, a proliferation of micro-breweries has emerged along the west coast. What started in Portland took root in San Diego and has bourgeoned into a serious industry, here in Santa Cruz, too. This beer is a Pineapple Sculpin by Ballast Point Brewing and Spirits. This small brewery recently was bought by Constellation Brands (makers of Corona and Modelo) for over a billion dollars. It’s official: micro-brewing is big business. The rise in the popularity of craft beer has opened up business opportunities in other sectors, too. Larry Ingram has two BBQ joints that offer an amazing selection of beers. Taking trips each week to San Diego, Ingram prides himself on providing the cutting edge of the craft brew world.


Gary Irving in his natural environment: the studio. Don’t be fooled by his adventure-machine (the ultimate van for exploring): he’s not all safaris and mud-flaps. This guy has compelling ideas about art, too. He’s a technical wizard who does things with Photoshop that make people scratch their heads with a dazed-by-jealousy smile. It has been a real treat to work with Gary while he is creating a masterful series depicting the Seven Sins as things we have done to the environment. Making art today would seem pretty hollow and shallow without considering our global contexts. Climate changes, nuclear proliferations, genetic modifications: there are plenty of concerns facing every human, and every living thing for that matter. Gary has a vision and it is a dark one but one that is full of intelligence and wit. For anything to change, we need first to face the problems confronting our times and that is what Irving is attempting in this series: it is a self-portrait of humanity’s vices on the edge of the brink.



Great food makes for great living. Felton is not famous for much. Fame isn’t the point in Felton. Feltonians are more concerned with living than being seen, generally, and that means working hard, taking care of family, staying humble and being close to the daily works and wonders of the natural world. Mountain folk are teachers, farmers, healers, arborists, bakers, jazzercise enthusiasts, watercolorists, mud-shoveling, horse-loving, leaf-raking, pie-baking, jeans and t-shirt wearing folks who are the salt of the earth, the water in the river, the roots on the bank. The Cremer House, in this great but humble town, is doing something special: it’s feeding the people of Felton and the Santa Cruz Mountains with cutting edge fine dining. Now, this truly is the best of worlds. Living in the serene and sublime mountains and having access to Pan Seared Arctic Char with Moroccan spice couscous, melted leaks and yogurt dill sauce is not a bad thing.


Back to BBQ! The West Side of Santa Cruz is loving Mission St. BBQ. Finally, there is a great BBQ joint close to home for those of us on this side of the river. The Ingram family is serious about smoked meat and we are the lucky beneficiaries.
A sense of humor helps to deal with the challenges we face every day. Medical cannabis helps a lot of people to manage their stresses and to medicate their ailments. Since Prop 215 passed in California, patients have been able to procure high quality cannabis. At Therapeutic Healthcare, the bud-tenders are friendly, knowledgable, and fun.
Harliss Mofoin’ Sweetwater came through and sang some mean and dirty down low blues at Aptos St. His sax player was possessed. The foursome played with the energy of a herd of buffalo.


Passion for Photography
Nandi visited last weekend and we did a photo shoot together. She’s a passionate photographer who wants to work in the music industry photographing bands on tour and musicians’ portraits. It was cool to get to know her and to work side by side.
We were filming Tazy at the Lane and then popped up the stairs just in time to see this. The sun was setting, but first it lit up these Cypresses and we both had to stop to get a shot.
Then there was this. What a sunset. This particular spot has a lot of stunning sunsets, but this was an amazing one even for here.
Nandi and I were stoked on the sunset!
BBQ at Mission St: standard. Always friendly faces there.
Al Frisby was playing at Mision St. Good times. He’s a soulful and funny entertainer with a great collection of instruments and stories.
Chip invited me to photograph the last day of this garden. What a beautiful bunch of flowers. The organic methods Chip is using are working really well.