Massage the Messenger

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Shoot it Like It’s Rented

This week I have in my hands a beautiful little camera, the Sony a7ii with a 55mm 1.8 Zeiss lens. I rented this setup from Borrow Lenses and so far I am happy as could be with the results. Here are some photos from my first two days with the camera.

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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. JJT.15.April.2016.blog-6Big 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 JJT.15.April.2016.blog-7My 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 times.JJT.15.April.2016.blog-8

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 mind.JJT.15.April.2016.blog-2Medical 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 herb.JJT.15.April.2016.blog-4

Awakening in April

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Bigfoot
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Tri-tip Salad from Mission St. BBQ
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Jewel from Broken Shades at Mission St. BBQ
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Wyatt Barrabee
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Craft Beer at Mission St. BBQ
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BBQ Dinner at Mission St. BBQ
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Tommy is Back!
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The Giant DIPA is back!
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Aki Kumar at Aptos St. BBQ
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Kendra at Pilates 26
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Kendra on the machine
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New Pilates Instructor at Pilates 26
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Sunset from the Therapeutic Healing Collective
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Making Cookies at Big Pete’s Treats
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Beet Burger from Cremer House
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Taz ripping
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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 lifetime.JJT.blog.30.March.2016-6JJT.blog.30.March.2016-2JJT.blog.30.March.2016-3JJT.blog.30.March.2016-4JJT.blog.30.March.2016-5JJT.blog.30.March.2016-7JJT.blog.30.March.2016-10JJT.blog.30.March.2016-8JJT.blog.30.March.2016-11JJT.blog.30.March.2016-12JJT.blog.30.March.2016-16JJT.blog.30.March.2016-18JJT.blog.30.March.2016-21JJT.blog.30.March.2016-22JJT.blog.30.March.2016-25JJT.blog.30.March.2016-24JJT.blog.30.March.2016

Be Merry

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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.

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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.

 

 

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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.

 

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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.
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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.
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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.

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Passion for Photography

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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.
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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.
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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.
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Nandi and I were stoked on the sunset!
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BBQ at Mission St: standard. Always friendly faces there.
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Al Frisby was playing at Mision St. Good times. He’s a soulful and funny entertainer with a great collection of instruments and stories.
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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.

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