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Highway 17 Landslides

Many students here at UCSC live either on campus or within the city of Santa Cruz. Catching the City Metro, riding a bike, or simply walking out of their dorms and straight to class is the most commuting that the average student has to do. I however am not one of those students. I live near San Jose and have to commute on Highway 17 to get to class every day. Unfortunately, over the last few days a landslide has been backing up traffic on the already normally congested roadway. This has made commuting more difficult, and in some cases, made reaching or leaving Santa Cruz close to impossible.

The landslide happened last Tuesday on the 7th. It occurred just before Scotts Valley going northbound, completely blocked the highway on that side. This forced officials to close the highway last Tuesday. By Wednesday they had diverted traffic into one of the southbound lanes and making Highway 17 a two-way street around the area of the landslide. Then a bad situation got much worse when two constructions workers were run over by a dump truck on Thursday, injuring one (Stephen Whittier, 34) and killing the other (Bobby Gill, 54). This caused construction to halt for the rest of Thursday so that the accident could be investigated by Cal-OSHA. It was not clear if the dump truck driver had his back-up warning alarms on during the accident, so no arrests or citations have been made yet.

However, to make matters worse the continued heavy rains all of last week ended up causing the hillsides to become even more unstable. As a preemptive measure Highway 17 and all the alternate routes in and out of the city were closed completely Friday. Caltrans crews, CHP officials, and personnel from the California Division of Occupational Safety monitored the landslide all day, with them deciding that the area was safe for drivers early Saturday morning. A week after the initial landslide the highway is still restricted to one lane access both directions and not much debris from the landslide has been cleared out. It is not clear when officials will be finished.

This is not the first obstruction to befall Highway 17 this year. On January 9th, a landslide knocked down a telephone pole into the two northbound lanes, shutting off access going northbound. Later, on January 27th a bank robbery in Los Gatos ended up closing the highway as police searched for the suspects from 11AM all the way into the night. With rain forecasted to return on Thursday we can only hope that this won’t cause more landslides to happen. Otherwise commuting to school will become less of a drive and more like some kind of crusade against nature.

You can visit the United States Geological Survey website for more information about landslide preparedness. Stay safe out there!

This blog post was written by KZSC volunteer Thea Miller.

Activism in Santa Cruz County

The Artists on Art show for January 18th, 2017, featured spiritual activist and author, Ami Chen, community activist Miriam Stombler and Didje Koffa to talk about the protests happening in Santa Cruz County in response to the inauguration of the 45th President of the United States.

On inauguration night, the eve before the Women’s March, we are having a peaceful gathering to affirm our core values as friends, family, neighbors, and community. Come and hear inspirational speakers, light a candle (or bring a flashlight), and sing songs of solidarity.

This is a family and kid-friendly event. Bring an umbrella and dress warm! We stand together – rain or shine!

Our program begins at 5:30pm with Candlelighting, candles will be provided, but feel free to bring a flashlight (weather may not be conducive for candles!)

Our moderator is Lani Bandhauer who will welcome speakers: Santa Cruz County Supervisor John Leopold, Brenda Griffin of the NAACP and activist, educator, and author Bettina Aptheker. Music and Poetry will be provided by Djide Koffa and Simone Cox.

This event is sponsored by Women United California. #unitetoignite

 

 To hear our interview in its entirety please click on the play button below.

Wiki Wiki Wednesday, Grateful for Artful Waves of Generosity

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Visiting Doug Haut’s Shop, where they shape ’em in the back & sell ’em in the front.

Hi, Your DJ Lani B., here with a super surprise. If you tune in early on a Wednesday morning, Wiki Wiki Wednesday plays music from Hawai’i and the Pacific Islands. These are the Islands, and these the Islanders, who were were the originators of the Surf culture in the Pacific.

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The gift, art board, ‘Alani, J.D., Lani & Fletch at KZSC

Santa Cruz has a long history of connection with Hawai’i, from the 1885 visit by the three Hawaiian princes who were attending military school in California, who surfed the San Lorenzo Rivermouth, to Duke Kahanamoku, among many others.  Santa Cruz holds a unique place in the popularization of surfing on the West Coast of the American Mainland.

The Santa Cruz and Hawai’i surf connection was solidified again, recently. Fletch and JD, of the Santa Cruz Board Builders Guild and Jeffery Devine Rockets, who work out of Doug Haut’s surf shop on the Westside of Santa Cruz, conspired with Wiki Wiki Wednesday music program founder MB for a tremendous surprise.

This gift, the original art surf board,  ‘Alani” with the graceful image by Danvers, was an absolute surprise. I’m so grateful for the gesture and goodwill for the music we love to share.

Mahalo nui loa, gentlemen of the Santa Cruz Board Builders Guild! Thank you very much for this beautiful gift of your hands and skill.

WARM BREW! Tracing their Footsteps…

     Warm Brew is quintessentially West Coast – the two are synonymous. Their lyrics, though, are anonymous. (you’ll never hear ‘em copy! Top Notch Baby! Never coming less, sky’s the limit, you gots to believe up in… the Brew!) Their songs are riddled with personal experiences, never boasting of falsified encounters, and mainly speaking of their growth amid the sea spray of the Pacific and the concrete edges of the greater surrounding L.A. county. Since their first EP in 2010 – Natural Spirit – they’ve purely embodied their humble, Ghetto Beach Boyz roots. Native to beautiful Santa Monica and Venice, CA, the trio consists of Manu Li (pronounced Manu “Lee” not Manu “L-eye!”), Serk Spliff(ton), and Ray Wright. Manu and Ray grew up together and met in middle school, I believe, the two later linking up with Serk in high school. Shout out SaMoHi, rivals of my alma mater El Segundo High. While Manu was contemplating a future in politics, Ray and Serk were respectively leading their football and soccer clubs to famed victory, Serk himself winning a state championship and Ray earning himself a spot on the Toreros football lineup (Univ. of San Diego).

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     This temporary split halted the trio’s progression, but upon Ray’s decision to return home they decided to channel all their energy and talent into sculpting a greater sound and presence in Los Angeles. Early on as a group they frequented backyard shows and house parties, wrecking shop and turning the hell up as per usual. Put that on hold…

     As a historian, I’ll be taking you through their discography, beginning with Natural Spirit. N.P (July, 2010), featuring the George Benson-Breezy track “Doin’ It Right”, is riddled with terrific samples, scratches, and lyrics that solidified the group’s recognition in the area. This project included Wright’s good friend, Espy, who produced and handled the keys on various tracks. Espy, your production is legit man, bravo. Give it a listen on: www.espy.bandcamp.com/album/natural-spirit As they put it, the album is, “Fun. It’s hard hitting, it’s devastating, it’s mind blowing, and it’s what we make. Straight hip hop, but always fresh and new. Ain’t no half steppin’ on this record.” Word to Big Daddy Kane, they weren’t bluffing. It smacks! My favorite tracks are: “I Know I Got It”, “Natural Spirit”, “Nineteen”, and an instrumental track that finishes off the album… “Now, Los Angeles”. Moving onward, the Brew’s sophomore release was Warm Brew the EP (June, 2011) in which the group diversified their portfolio and explored the realms of contemporary alternative hip hop, but nonetheless had to spring it allll the way back to Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik & Outkast’s famous “Crumblin’ Erb”, a 420 favorite, on their track “Boilin’ Bud (Dungeon Family Tribute)”. Peep “Tommy Pickles” as well. Here’s the album: www.espy.bandcamp.com/album/warm-brew-ep.

     In 2012 Warm Brew released a couple more albums: Kottabos (May, 2012) & Sippin All Day Last Night (December, 2012). Kottabos features a new array of producers including Al B Smoov (current DJ and extensive producer), DeUno, DJ Dahi, the TeQnitionZ, Danny Dee. The group maintains their lyrical fluidity, while experimenting further with tracks like “Get It,” to get that booty shaking, “Creep” where Serk and Ray get CrazySexyandCool to the classic “Creep” track by TLC, and a smooth track “DGPG” which the Brew wrecks on, inspired by The Alchemist’s “Tick Tock” ft. Nas & Prodigy. They get together with South Carolina natives OxyMoron on “SC 2 SC”, in which both groups with similar stories flow off one another tremendously. Check it out: http://warmbrew.bandcamp.com/album/kottabos.

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     Sippin All Day Last Night carries a similar vibe as Kottabos, another feel-good record by Warm Brew that opens up with birdies chirpin’ in “Hear Ya Say”. This album doesn’t get much recognition, and I’ve noticed that various articles on the group have overshadowed this album for one reason or another. Find it here: http://warmbrew.bandcamp.com/album/sippin-all-day-last-night. I view this album as essential to Warm Brew’s evolution. They mention how early on they were having as much fun as they could, making money, spending money, doing shows, etc. But as we see, the next album Warm Brew would release would go on to get them signed, and I find that Sippin All Day Last Night marks the group’s transition into professional work. My picks: “Hear Ya Say”, “Booze Cruise”, “World Wide International”, “Proper Amount”.

     Continuing on their ride, the group released, hah, The Ride (July, 2013) their longest release to date which included an array of features from familiar friends and new faces alike – vocals from Hugh Augustine, Natia, Azizi Gibson, along with production from Al B Smoov, The Teqnitionz, DJ Dahi, Danny Dee, Joe Brown, and Lord Quest. Their track “Wanna Get High” feat. Hugh Augustine would later earn them great recognition by L.A. native Dom Kennedy (see: From the Westside with Love: II) who had been recently holding it down for L.A. on the hip hop scene along with T.D.E. pioneer Kendrick Lamar. After hours of working together, vibing off one another during studio sessions, and getting to know one another more personally, Dom would have Warm Brew sign onto his independent label OPM (Other People’s Money). Here’s The Ride: http://warmbrew.bandcamp.com/ . My personal favorites from the album: “Good Morning”, “The Ride”, “Wanna Get High”, “Word”, “Lightbulb Effect”, “We Don’t Know”, “Loungin”… heck just listen through!

     The group took a bit of a break until releasing last year’s Ghetto Beach Boyz (January, 2015) under Dom’s guidance. They attribute the album’s fuller feel to his mentorship. He versed them on ways to create a body of work that, from beginning to end, holds up against, arguably, many of the hip hop albums that were up for album of the year (in which J. Cole took home the crown at the BET Hip Hop awards). That may be saying a lot, but this album solidified Warm Brew’s influence in the Los Angeles hip hop scene. They began to receive greater recognition, performing overseas in France (Paris I believe), while turning heads throughout the States. Through this all they have continually stuck to their roots, properly representing where they come from on each track. Over past albums, like Sippin, Warm Brew meddled with G Funk, a sub-genre of hip hop that was incredibly popular during the 90’s on the West Coast (Warren G, Snoop Dogg, Nate Dogg, that trio as 213, DPG, Dr. Dre, DJ Quik, Hi-C, 2nd II None, list goes on.) Their track “W$ Phonk” is purely G-Funk, from the synths, to Ray Wright’s Nate Dogg-esque crooning, to Manu Li’s playful and insightful (text your mother before others, straight up, she’s takes priority over most! It makes me chuckle, but he’s being real!) imagery. The track is golden. But personally, I prefer “We Can Do It”. The track is graciously layered, mellows you down into a distinct and smooth rhythm, and delivers humbled lyrics that reflect on the group’s journey up to this point. Perhaps “A1Day1” serves a better example of them holding it down for those who have stuck it out with them (including family, friends, a big finger to the naysayers), but “We Can Do It” is a living testament that Warm Brew has continually gotten it done, whether you’ve known it or not, and their business here is unfinished. Check out the album on Spotify, I confidently approve of each track, no half steppin’!

     Their latest album Diagnosis (July, 2016) is their first album under Redbull Records. They are actually the first hip hop group on the label, so props guys! The album is on the shorter side, but it serves as a teaser for their coming works, so don’t stress out. Nevertheless, they continue to deliver the goods, teaming up with Swiff D (who has produced for Schoolboy Q), Buddy, SiR (who is on the rise himself as well), and longtime friend Hugh Augustine. Hugh Augustine is also a terrific artist, I recommend his works (see Word is Bond, Massimo Ciabatta, Hurry Up and Wait). Hugh was featured on Isaiah Rashad’s latest album, Sun’s Tirade (see: “Tity and Dolla”)  which Al B Smoov also produced on (see: “Wat’s Wrong,” co-produced by Smoov). Warm Brew lets us know that they’re sticking to the path they view ahead of them: one of wide recognition, anxious and loyal fans, and further development. “Hallelujah” serves the purpose of thanking the one above for allowing the three, after years and years of hard work, struggling to make money, hopping from one job to another early on to save cash, to still be together after it all. They also pay tribute to L.A. legend Kobe Bryant [we’ll miss you Kobe :’( . Mamba forever ] who retired this past season with their track “24 Pivot”. You can listen on Spotify or on SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/warmbrew

Phew…

With all that being said, it’s safe to say that I’ve followed the group for quite some time and am anxious to see what the future has in store for Warm Brew. They have the ultimate potential to become one of the best hip hop groups out of Los Angeles, they have some great expectations to fulfill but I believe they can exceed them all. Best of luck for the future, Warm Brew. They’ve already been acknowledged by various esteemed L.A. hip hoppers like Dom Kennedy, The Alchemist, People Under the Stairs, and members of T.D.E. The future looks bright for them, keep your eyes peeled folks.

Warm Brew will be in Santa Cruz tomorrow night, get tickets online at http://www.catalystclub.com/ or Ticketmaster. I’ll be there mobbing with my crew, it’s gonna get rowdy. Also, check out their music videos which they’ve been coming out with throughout the years, just look ‘em up on the Tube! www.youtube.com or go to http://warmbrewla.com/westsidechristmas/

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Tune in to Beats, Rhymes & Life tonight – midnight to 1am – to hear some of my picks live on KZSC Santa Cruz, 88.1FM. Also stay tuned for an interview with Warm Brew I got scheduled. Peace!

– The Tone

Jazzy and Bluesy News

Hello KZSC listeners,

Here are some fun videos to get your week started off on a bluesy note…

Check back tomorrow for some jazz and blues charts.

Keep it bluesy y’all.

Santa Cruz County Art of Guitar Exhibit and Festival

There are many luthiers in the Santa Cruz area creating beautiful instruments, and handmade guitars are being exhibited during the month of February through March 15, 2014, as part of the very first Santa Cruz County Art of Guitar Exhibit and Festival. An assortment of instruments are on display at the R. Blitzer Gallery on the West Side of Santa Cruz, CA and you can hear these guitars being played at various venues in a series of concerts (check the main festival website for details). Performers include Jayme Kelly Curtis, founder of the festival, Kenny Hill, William Coulter, Muriel Anderson, Marty O’Reilly, and many more. The Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History‘s free First Friday of February event (2/7/14) will feature a Hill Guitar Company shop setup displaying how classical guitars are made, crafts activities for kids, a harmonics/physics demonstration and lecture by David Winters, guitar strap weaving, and many live performances by artists throughout the evening. A locally produced book by Jim MacKenzie and Renee Flower featuring photos and essays about local instrument builders has also been released in association with the exhibit.

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