Hump Day Hot Seat: Marlana Tollaksen

My super cool and talented friend, Marlana Tollaksen, jumps into this week’s Hump Day Hot Seat. She’s an amazing illustrator and textile designer who is full of wanderlust, can’t help but be a badass babe, and totally appreciates a mostly black wardrobe like myself. Learn more about Marlana, her work, and how she hopes to expand her creativity below. Check out her ridiculously magical doodles on Tumblr too. You won’t regret it!

Marlana, thank YOU for stopping by today and letting strangers get to know you! “You don’t know me!” 😛 Go ahead & get yours, Milengie!!! I’m so proud of you! Love and miss you mucho, my lovely!!! xoxo ❤

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1. Who are you?

Marlana T.  Artist and maker of things.  Wanderer and procrastinator.

2.  What do you do?

Professionally, I’m a freelance textile artist and illustrator.  Otherwise I have this ongoing art journal project I pour my heart into. I have three now!   In it I make intricate drawings depicting my thoughts and feelings and hand letter the entire text. It’s also a way to keep a record of my travels and all the interesting people I meet along the way.

3. When/Where/How did you get your start?

As far back as I can remember I’ve been making artwork.  As a child this was always my main focus so it was a no-brainer to go to art school.  I studied textile/surface design at FIT with a concentration in decorative arts.  My professional foot in the door was ten years ago at a small textile studio my friend and I called “The Rat Den” for shit pay where my artwork made someone else rich.

4.  How long have you been at it?

My entire life!  I’ve always been working toward something even when it felt while I was working toward nothing.

5.  What is the most important thing we should know about you?

I’m direct.

6.  Is there anyone else in your field that you particularly admire?

My good friend Joanna Mulder.  She’s a shockingly versatile artist and is endlessly talented.  She can literally do/make anything.

7. What other types of art are you into?

I really love screenprinting and printmaking.  Though I don’t have too much experience in either, I’d like to maybe someday get some.

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8. You got any crazy hobbies or unique talents?

My new fave hobby is making handmade clothing out of scrap fabric while on the road.  I was just in Mexico for three months, where I made two bikinis and a shirt out of my jeans and some leather and t-shirt scraps.  Now I have this dream where I travel with, like, no clothes in my backpack and I just make my wardrobe as I go along.

9.  What’s your favorite vice?

Weed, baby!

image110. How do you make it over the creative hump?

I make it a point to put myself in interesting new settings and situations.  The only time I feel creative interruption is when my life is stagnant.

11. If someone was to write a Craigslist missed connection about you, what would it say?

We met in _______ a couple years back.  You looked really upset and told me you had to take a shit and I never saw you again.

12.  What is your most prized possession?

My resilience.

13. Truth or Dare?  Elaborate.
 
Dare.  I like to be challenged.

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Thursday Three: Mainly MidMod

 

I’m thrilled for another Thursday Three with friends from Mainly MidMod Furniture & More. Good friends, Becca and Karim, are a couple living in Santa Cruz and started collecting furniture for themselves. They quickly discovered their passion, impeccable taste, and talent for salvaging, restoring, and reselling midcentury modern furniture. Check out three things that are inspiring them these days!

Thanks to Mainly MidMod for stopping by .stART here. today! You’re THE BEST! ;P xoxo

Santa Cruz Photographer Meg Venter
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Photo Credit Meg Venter/Artisans Gallery

If there’s a way to bottle up the colorful rides and salty air of the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, it’s found in local photographer Meg Venter‘s “Summer of ’67.” We love the tones, composition, and vintage vibe of this piece and the rest of her boardwalk-themed collection. We’re leaving Santa Cruz for the Pacific Northwest this month, and Venter’s prints will be coming along to brighten up those rainy days.

Food Blogger Molly Yeh  (and her upcoming cookbook!)

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Photo Credit Meg Venter/Artisans Gallery
North Dakota-based food blogger and photographer Molly Yeh transports us back to the time we spent living in fun and funky Fargo. Yeh grabs your attention with gorgeous, moody photos and keeps you hooked with colorful anecdotes and mouthwatering recipes. (And her cakes couldn’t be any damn cuter.) Plus, her first cookbook, Molly on the Range, comes out this October. We’re preparing for major Midwest nostalgia.
Bend Goods 
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Everything we love about midcentury modern design comes to life in Bend Goods’ colorful, sculptural wire furniture. We’re particularly obsessed with the Los Angeles company’s bomb drum table (orange is where it’s at) and glorious chairs. Picture yourself lounging on these bad boys in some tropical courtyard  — it’s what dreams are made of.

Monday Funday: Screaming Hand 30th Anniversary

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Acrylic on wood by (L-R) Jim Phillips, son Jimbo Phillips, and grandson Colby Phillips

I had the pleasure of volunteering for the Screaming Hand 30th Anniversary Show during the VIP preview event on Thursday night at Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History (MAH). Artists featured in the show, MAH members, and the who’s who of Santa Cruz skateboarding came together for an awesome night. Honoring one of the most iconic images in skateboard culture and its creator Jim Phillips, the MAH was screaming with so much energy and excitement, and so was I. It was my first night volunteering at the museum, and I couldn’t be more thrilled!

The Screaming Hand 30th Anniversary Show has been traveling around the world for the past year, showcasing Jim Phillips’ original logo interpreted by 50+ artists from all over the world. The final stop is where it all began (Santa Cruz circa 1985), and opened to the general public during First Friday Santa Cruz festivities. The celebration will continue as the show remains at the MAH for the next eight months.

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In addition to hearing words from MAH Executive Director Nina Simon and Jim Phillips himself, I mingled with some of the artists in the show who were so incredibly stoked to be included. A MAH member was equally excited that the event was bringing together a variety of different people for a common interest and spectacular show. What an exciting event for the Santa Cruz community, the MAH and their mission, “To ignite shared experiences and unexpected connections.”

Seeing how different artists portray the Screaming Hand in their own format and style really gives the show its exuberance. It’s an epic collection of inspired works. From a fun and bright mixed media on panel by Mark Gonzalez, a stencil spray paint on panel by Jason Adams, a hand lettering acrylic on wood by Thomas Campbell, an ink/pencil on paper by Eric Dressen, to photographs of screaming  Jason Adams by Jai Tanju, a modern Bauhaus-like spray paint on panel by Ben Raney, a neoclassic inspired oil on canvas by Jason C. Arnold, and so many more. These pieces are bound to transcend expectations of skate art for museum goers.

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So much fun both Thursday and Friday nights. I bumped into and caught up with friends, some people I haven’t seen in awhile like Jai Tanju and Jimbo Phillips. I met artists I’ve admired for awhile like Jeremy Fish and Caia Koopman, and then legends like Jason Jesse. He is genuinely one of the nicest dudes I’ve ever met. I’m so thankful to call Santa Cruz home and stoked that “my life is dope, and I do dope sh*t!” (- K. West)

Stay tuned for more art, culture, and design I think is rad! Thanks for stopping by! xo ❤

Thursday Three: Lilyette Estanislao

I’m stoked to have family stopping by and contributing to .stART here. today! My cousin, Lilyette Estanislao, has totally colorful taste in true fellow Sagittarius form, and I love her for it. She is unapologetic for her scintillating style for miles and manages to constantly have her finger on the pulse. She’s always been an inspiration to me, and so I had to ask what she’s inspired by these days. Check out Lily’s Thursday Three below – all about remembering and embracing the simpler times.

Thanks for hanging out, Lily! You rock!!! ❤ ❤ ❤  #arrowed #heathers #familyalways

Alabama Shakes

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I had the distinct pleasure of seeing Alabama Shakes perform live at Panorama Music Festival on Randall’s Island recently. I had no idea who they were or what they were about. Arriving late on Friday evening, they were the first band I got to see and one of the few that left a really lasting impression. Their blues rock sound was a throwback to simpler times. Brittney Howard’s voice ringing out over the crowd was enthralling! I may have been feeling “some kind of way” already being at a music festival in NY in the middle of summer, but watching and listening to her made me feel all the more: that the tension and politics in the air as of late could easily be wiped away when you’re surrounded by people with one goal in mind: be present and ENJOY this moment (no matter how hard you’re sweating).

Stranger Things

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There seems to be a recurring theme in the things that are interesting me lately … they are all reminiscent of a simpler time — perhaps because the NYC grind can be so exhausting. Stranger Things on Netflix is no different. A real nod to everything we loved about the 80s, it reminds us of the innocence, passion, and vigor of childhood. Anyone that grew up in the 80s will love this; it is like stepping into a time machine and watching something you would have back in the day and remembering how KICK ASS “back in the day” really was! The soundtrack and score are also effing amazing! The Duffer Brothers killed this – thank you for making something NEW with a feeling of the old. Hoping for a second season!

Raystown Lake

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My summer is never complete without a trip to Raystown Lake in Hesston, PA. In fact, if I can’t take the trip, my summer feels like a huge fail. This trip is also about the simpler things: fun with friends on summer vacation – floating, day drinking, playing silly games, TALKING … Remember just hanging out with each other minus all the distractions? It’s a weekend about unplugging, being present, and LAUGHING your ass off. Go a few days without primping, “shower” with a jump in the lake, lay on the top deck, and see more stars than you ever will in your life. This year, we dubbed it #Rays20FIXteen and that it did.

Lilyette Estanislao was born in Queens, raised in Jersey, and now lives in Brooklyn, NY. An aspiring actress with an award-winning, one woman comedy short film under her belt, she is also a boss in the restaurant industry. She recently helped launch a new restaurant lounge on the Lower East Side where she is now the reservations manager. Lily is young at heart, loves a themed party, and adores her family and friends. You can always find her donning a colorful and totally fly, head to toe outfit, heavy on the accessories. She is always red!

 

Hump Day Hot Seat: Jessica Natal

Chillin’ in today’s Hump Day Hot Seat is an awesome friend and one of Jersey City’s finest! No matter how much time has passed, we always find ourselves having a blast together. She’s a rad chick – as wild as her hair – who can’t stop, won’t stop. An experienced graphic artist for hire, Jessica Natal, is someone to keep an eye on, both literally and figuratively. You just never know what she’ll get into next. Thanks for hanging out with me on .stART here., Jessy! And I got mad love to give…

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Photo © Bernadette Cruz

1. Who are you?

A 35 yr old graphic/web designer with artistic tendencies from the mean streets of Newark, NJ.

2. What do you do?

I web, I art, and I coffee. I coffee a lot.

3. When/Where/How did you get your start? 

I was about 4 or 5 when my sperm donor told me that the world was a huge painting. Thus began my love affair with texture, typography, and color.

4. How long have you been at it? 

I took a hiatus when I was 20 (had to go to work), but I found my way back at 31 after a soul sucking position working for a government contractor.
 
5. What is the most important thing we should know about you? 

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As Vampire Queen Merceline, Photo © Bernadette Cruz

I’m a work in progress. I fuck up. I over-design. I make jokes. We wake up the next day and life goes on.

6. Is there anyone else in your field that you particularly admire?

I really love Jessica Hische. She’s managed to bridge the gap between illustration and typography and it’s amazing to watch. Jessica Walsh is another fave – check her out. She’s incredible. Mind you, the “Jessica’s” is not lost on me.

7. What other types of art are you in to? 

I’m really into collage these days. It sounds corny, but you can make some cool shit using old letters, newspapers, and mod podge.

8. You got any crazy hobbies or unique talents? 
 
I’m really good at pissing off meatheads, cursing, and karaoke. That last one always surprises people.
 
9. What’s your favorite vice? 

Good ol’ fashioned whiskey.
 
10. How do you make it over the creative hump? 

Walk away. I shut down my computer, I put the brush down, and I answer the call from
within me for “drankin’.”

11. You eat food? What kind? Like to cook? 
 
Total foodie. Anything with cheese and sauce tickles my fancy.  The good sauce though,with more salt than anything.

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Selfie  © Bernadette Cruz

12. Truth or Dare? Elaborate. 

Truth. Mostly because there’s nothing you can ask of me that I haven’t already done.

13. What is your most prized possession?

Probably my ability to adapt. You can shoot anything at me, and I’ll adapt. And I have to say, those are my proudest moments.

 

Monday Funday: stART something new

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Santa Cruz MAH, Photo © Bernadette Cruz

Let’s stART this week off enjoying another installment of Monday Funday.

DUDE! I’m so stoked to start volunteering at Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History (MAH). I attended a volunteer orientation on Saturday and learned that their mission totally aligns with my personal goals right now. “To ignite shared experiences and unexpected connection.” Right on!

In my current state of funemployment, I’ve been really opening up to endless possibilities. I am feeling rejuvenated and even more determined to make the most of this crazy journey we call life. It’s been awhile since I felt this inspired. Luckily, I’ve had such awesome continued support coming from a variety of sources. From my ever-loving family, unwavering friends, to new bonds and connections made locally, I am extremely thankful! I am super grateful for a couple of recent experiences that are motivating me into a powerful trajectory.

I started working temporarily for a chiropractic wellness office in June a handful of hours a week. I totally enjoyed getting treatment there so when an opportunity to help out came along, I had to say YES! It’s such a wonderful place of healing and feels really great to be part of it.

I am also helping out a friend get certified to be a law of attraction coach. She’s helping me focus on what I want and how to get it while she hones in on her practice and coaching skills. It’s been a totally gratifying experience and is reminding me to live the life I love through the power of positive thinking.

All this to say that I’m so stoked for all that is now and up next. Some of it will be brand new and some of it may still be far off in the distance, but it feels awesome, and I’m totally happy. Go out and get yours!

“There’s only one very good life and that’s the life you know you want and you make it yourself.” – Diana Vreeland

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Santa Cruz MAH, Photo © Bernadette Cruz

Hump Day Hot Seat: Christine Soner

Coming in hot with this brand new Hump Day Hot Seat featuring one of my homies, Christine Soner! Hailing from Jersey, Christine grew up in a creative family where music, painting, and sewing were celebrated.  She graduated with a degree in clothing construction and design and quickly became a visual merchandiser for major clothing retailers, like Benetton and Macy’s. Check out what she’s into these days, at play and while working for IKEA, as she answers questions provided by Finch & Ada. Big thanks to Christine for hanging out on .stART here. MUAH!

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1. Who are you?

A curious, creative, Jersey girl with a good heart.

2. What do you do?

I do corporate PR for a major home furnishing retailer, IKEA.

3. When/Where/How did you get your start?

I started off as a decorator in the Elizabeth store in ’93, and about six years in, a position opened for a product placement person with corporate. So I went for it, got it and was able to remain at the store, since it’s so close to all the media offices in NYC. My main function is to help media outlets get the products or images they need. I’ve also been a stylist for photoshoots if someone needs one, be it a television show, publication or online outlet, I help with corporate events, I was a founding member of our Pinterest account, I blog for our design blog TheShare-Space. I’ve even created original content for our Instagram account, in my office, with my iPhone. So I’ve had my hands here, there and everywhere.

4. How long have you been at it?

This November it will be 17 years total in PR, 23 years total with the company.

5. What is the most important thing we should know about you?

I’m a fiercely loyal friend as any Leo.

6. Is there anyone else in your field that you particularly admire?

I absolutely know nothing about anyone in the PR field.

7. What other types of art are you in to? 

13620113_10154339424262053_3597889990066158415_nI began getting heavily into street art about 10 years ago, and yes I had a Banksy and Shepard Fairey phase (lost interest in them at least 5 years ago). I was at galleries, museums and warehouse shows every week and weekend, throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens. 5 years ago I inherited a house, so that became the focus of my spare time and money. Then 3 years ago my free time got focused on becoming caretaker of my mom, so all my social activities and working on my house, has had to take a back seat. Ironically the last thing my living and dining rooms need, is art. This summer I am taking random days off from work, just with the intention of seeing some exhibits and installations. I recently went to Grounds for Sculpture in south Jersey for the first time, and it was great. Storm King Art Center in upstate NY has a special exhibit of Dennis Oppenheim’s going on. Govenors Island was just overhauled with the installment of The Hills and the longest slide in NYC. In Rockaway Queens there is an installation by Katharina Gross I want to see, and lastly, a retrospect of the late, great fashion illustrator Antonio Lopez, at El museo del Barrio in Spanish Harlem. He was one of my 80’s idols and we attended the same designing school in NYC.

8. You got any crazy hobbies or unique talents?

Pinterest has been my only hobby the last 5 or 6 years. I’m a virtual scrap-booker. I use to save lots of magazine pages of fashion and interiors, and when Pinterest came along, I freaked out. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve purged a lot of physical stuff. I also love that with technology, you can go smaller and lighter. Albums to tapes, tapes to CDs, CDs to audio files. I nearly wanted to kill myself when Apple stopped production of the iPod. At least now with the 6s+, I bought the 128 gig so I can store the current 80 gigs of music that I have.   This year my goal was to take all those magazines pages, some dating back as far as the early 1980s, photograph them with my phone, then upload them to Pinterest. I’m also tackling a lot of my photos by uploading them into albums on Facebook. I also think it would be cool to put certain photos into Chatbooks, actually hard cover bound books.

9. What’s your favorite vice?

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Unique cocktails with things in them like cucumbers, rosemary, lavender, fresh ginger, etc. Relaxing and drinking with friends is the best. And Pinterest. I’m obsessed with Pinterest.

10. How do you make it over the creative hump?

Take a break and go on social sites, Instagram and Pinterest. Then I just dive right back in.

11. You eat food? What kind? Like to cook?

Yes, a bit of everything, except I don’t really like fruit, nuts or too much spice in what I’m eating. And tofu freaks me the f*ck out. I absolutely hate cooking. I like cleaning and organizing.

12. Tell me about the last time a project blew up in your face?

I can’t recall a project completely blowing up, but when you’re in PR, there can be a lot of set backs as you move along through a project. Things are very reactive, so sometimes you have to put out little fires along the way. You can be dealing with many different personalities and working styles. Not everyone is good with deadlines, which is disrespectful. When that happens, your whole project get’s thrown off balance, and usually means scrambling at the 11th hour.

13. What is your most prized possession?

My Pinterest account.

Refreshed and Renewed

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Photo © Bernadette Cruz

I’m baaaack! You know you missed me.

After more than a two year hiatus, it’s time to share more up and coming art, culture, and design I think is rad. I love writing about the arts, supporting artists and creatives whose passion for their crafts are undeniable, and inspiring people to be more creative. What prompted this resurrection you may ask? Well, I felt inspired!

I’ve been on The Master Cleanse for the past two weeks. (Today’s my last day! YAY!) It’s a super intense yet rewarding detox. A way to refresh and renew – body, mind, and soul. This year’s cleanse, my third year in a row, was even more necessary since I left my job in April and needed to clear my head from all that was. Out with the old, in with the new if you will. Not only was this experience an awesome boost for me physically, but the cleanse really helped me focus and totally envision where I see myself in the foreseeable future. So I thought, what better place than to .stART here.

I’m so stoked to cultivate more art, culture, and design through my lens with you. With an improved look, I’ll be bringing back all of your favorite features starting tomorrow with a brand spanking new Monday Funday, then more later in the week with some Hump Day Hot Seat, Thursday Three, and Fresh Friday Finds. Big kudos to all my awesome guests who have participated in the past and those still to come! Thanks for stopping by and stay tuned!

“Creativity is intelligence having fun.” – Albert Einstein

Hump Day Hot Seat: Ali Smith

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© Ali Smith

Today is a bit of a Wednesday Rewind too! You might remember NYC-based photographer, Ali Smith, when she was previously featured on .stART here. in Fresh Friday Finds and a Hump Day Hot Seat in 2013. Find out what she’s been up to lately as she answers questions provided by Finch & Ada once more here. Be sure to check out Ali Smith’s MOMMA LOVE photo book and follow her on Twitter and Instagram too!

1. Who are you?

That is deep, my friend. Still not sure. Thus far, I am a photographer. Musician. I stand around 5’9″. I have started moisturizing because I’m noticing fine lines. I’m happy to be a mom and a wife.

2. What do you do?

Take pictures and try to make a statement.

3. When/Where/How did you get your start?

I started as a touring,  recording musician.  I took pictures of everything and everyone around me which involved a lot of craziness and black clothing. After years of touring, I craved more female connection because touring and playing music is largely about vans, sweat and men everywhere. Once I decided I wanted more female connections in my life, I reached out to artists who’d inspired me- Alice Walker, Exene Cervenka, Sandra Bernhard, Mary Karr, 35 in total- photographed and interviewed them, and that became my first book, Laws of the Bandit Queens.

4. How long have you been at it?

I’ve been at it since college and since I was touring, so early 20’s, but I haven’t had to do any other type of work besides photography for 15 years or so.

5. What is the most important thing we should know about you?

That I was never a drug addict ( my least favorite public myth about me from my music days). In fact, I never did any drugs. Not preaching, just setting the record straight.

6. Is there anyone else in your field that you particularly admire?

Donna Ferrato, Amy Arbus, Diane Arbus, Martin Parr, William Egglesteen, Paolo Roversi, Alec Soth, Joshua Bright, Bob Carey, Cig Harvey, Cristina De Middel, and Jennifer McClure.

7. What other types of art are you in to?

I recently saw some paintings from students who were really into and adept at photo realism. After years of being surrounded by high concept and modern art, I was taken aback at how incredible realism can be in painting. How stunning. Right now, I’m into that. But I appreciate all manner of art, as long as I feel I’m not being conned by someone with a budget and no ideas. Ideas are queen.

8. You got any crazy hobbies or unique talents?

Talk to me in ten years when my son is 14, and I have time for hobbies again. That said, I like to get crafty with my bad self and make all sorts of things- chocolate, soft toys, models of volcanoes that work.

9. What’s your favorite vice?

Whiskey is my favorite vice. Also crap TV.

10. How do you make it over the creative hump?

Forge ahead. Like a Sherpa. Up that hill. With breaks built in to catch your breath. (the breaks are a new idea for me, but definitely smart)

11. You eat food? What kind? Like to cook?

I do. Anything that has the letter “r” in its name. I like my husband to cook.

12. Tell me about the last time a project blew up in your face?

Thank GOD that hasn’t happened often at all, but now that you’ve made me say it out loud, it will. THANKS A LOT, BERNADETTE! But really, honestly, it has only happened when I have compromised too much and let peoples’ worry and micromanaging win out. Then the product turns out lame. 

13. Truth or Dare? Elaborate.

Truth. Because I am not the type to run naked to the mailbox and back on a dare.

14. What is your most prized possession?

Can my child be a possession? If not, then my husband.

Monday Funday: San Francisco & Santa Cruz

Today’s mellow Monday Funday is actually all about my Sunday Funday yesterday. My friend, Heather, was in town from the east coast so I met up with her in San Francisco. We spent the afternoon people watching at Dolores Park in the Mission, and here’s what I saw.

 IMG_6982 Heather with a turtle on a leash. The owner brought TWO turtles to the park!

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Then, I came back to Santa Cruz for an evening walk up West Cliff Dr. only to stumble upon a silent disco party at Lighthouse Point Park called Silent Santa Cruz, where guests listen and dance to music through headphones. Here’s what I saw.

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“And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.” – Khalil Gibran