Mountain Home

By Julie Horner

While most seemed snug and expectantly quiet on Christmas Eve, well heated and well fed, we castaway wanderers traveled by unexpected invitation through rural northeast county to the church on the Summit. Reluctant and unsure in a dark parking lot, the ragged sound of working man’s hand-bells chimed dimly from within. Forced by the chill we tiptoed inside. A score of stragglers and strangers still bundled in their beanies and down jackets sang in watery unison under the hasty direction of an itinerant salesman in a vintage frock coat. The room echoed with eternal hollowness, leaders suddenly stricken voiceless and vulnerable, dry mouths clicking. Heads were bowed in awkward indifference; some making peace, others openly checking the hand-held. At last Silent Night’s somber manifest forced all to their feet and the weirdness was banished long enough to briefly unify those within as brothers – a reason, finally, to glance, nod, and look away – the redemption in the scent of cheap white candles shakily lit and just as quickly snuffed.

 Without a word, we slipped from the warmth into the night to join Mary and her companion under crisp December stars. Only yards from the glowing holiday windows, living rooms filled with laughter, and the church with its burned-out soul and grocery store Danish, the native forest embraced the travelers in thankful silence. A flask of whisky passed from lip to lip, silhouettes round a rusty dryer drum warming fire. Home and hearth had no roof, no walls, no doors. The Heavens stretched, winking.

Copyright 2018 Julie Horner for the Santa Cruz Mountain Bulletin

Originally published in print in the January/February issue: www.santacruzmountainbulletin.net

Boulder Creek Brewery Switches Hitches

Locals Set Adrift Without “The Fishbowl” and Times Together at the Boulder Creek Brewery Outpost

By Julie Horner

On March 29th, 2015 the well-loved Boulder Creek Brewery was gutted by fire. The building remains, an empty shell, at 13040 Highway 9, the epicenter of Boulder Creek. A “For Sale” sign tacked to the façade has signaled the end of an era for months now. They’re not going to rebuild.

Moving to Boulder Creek from Ben Lomond some years ago, refuge and solace was found after tedious upheaval, boxes and belongings, with a late-night plate and a velvety pint. Relative newbies to town at the time, Moe was quick to put us at ease: “No sleep ‘til Brookdale!” he pretend-screamed into an imaginary mic, putting a local twist to the Beastie Boys’ “No Sleep till Brooklyn” and setting the scene for life in our new digs. Hell yes, we could stagger home on foot, and all would be right with the world! What a find, Boulder Creek and its Brewery!

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Home of original on-site brews such as Dragon’s Breath IPA and Redwood Amber Ale, the Brewery was a hub for wonderful food and good times for local characters and travelers through. After the fire, which is believed to have been sparked by an electrical wiring failure, the heartbeat of a small mountain town was silenced for a few breathless, unbelieving months. The day after the fire, neighbors wandered down in a daze to stand outside the building squinting up at the morning light pouring through where the roof used to be. The brand-new awnings and “Boulder Creek Brewery” sign remained intact as if nothing had happened.

For regulars, the ghostly absence of colorful family friendly community gathered together over a solid meal and a tasty pint was deafening. Rarely has an off-the-hook burger, locally brewed beers on tap, and a catch-up on current gossip (and the wedge-cut fries) been more sorely missed.

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Time heals and the spirit of a mountain town always prevails. A stroke of good fortune after bad allowed the business to move sideways and kitty-corner one block to the just-vacated Boulder Creek Music storefront under the I.O.O.F Hall at 152 Forest Street. For the better part of two years, the Boulder Creek Brewery Outpost kept the vibe alive with locals and visitors alike, stirring up small bites in a clever ‘kitchen-in-a-pinch’ and pouring exceptional guest taps. The lifeblood of a small town again found its course, and on most evenings “The Fishbowl,” as the seating area at the front of the establishment became known, would be bubbling with smiling faces, tall tales, and uproarious laughter.

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And seasons have turned again. The note taped to a late September window reads: “Nancy’s next chapter coming soon. I will be moving down the road a ways to open Boulder Creek Roadside Café. This will be in the old Burger 9 location. I look forward to having a real kitchen again. Hope to see everyone there. Thank you all for your support.”

Boulder Creek Roadside Café is expected to open its doors in December just a short jaunt north of downtown at 15520 Highway 9, across from Garrahan Park and near the Mountain Store. A hungry, thirsty mountain town anticipates slipping comfortably back into the familiar sharing the day’s travels over exceptional brews and sinking teeth into the best burgers in the county! Stay tuned: www.facebook.com/bouldercreekbrewery

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Copyright 2017 Julie Horner.
Leap2Three Publications | www.facebook.com/leap2threepublications

Photos by SLV Steve and Julie Horner. Text originally published in the Santa Cruz Mountain Bulletin by Julie Horner: www.santacruzmountainbulletin.net www.facebook.com/SantaCruzMountainBulletin

Boulder Creek’s Barry Tanner – The Gift of Go-To

By Julie Horner

It’s all happened here, at the corner of Forest Street and Pine just behind the Odd Fellows Hall in downtown Boulder Creek, in the building that formerly housed the town’s post office and is now often referred to simply as “Barry Tanner’s studio.” Whether for fundraisers, remembrances, band practice, or recording, the studio is as no-nonsense on the outside as its owner. Inside is where the magic happens and the place has become a community hub through the generosity of a man who has energy to burn and an innate talent to make things happen. “I grew up in Davis. My mom was campaign manager for the first socialist mayor in the United States. I was born to organize people.”

Once on the coast, he jumped deep into the Santa Cruz music and theater scene. He lived off-grid in Last Chance for a while and then bought a place in Boulder Creek in 2003 when, he says, “places were boarded up…it was dead.” He had choices…and a little inheritance…so he spent some time traveling, most notably to New Orleans and France, where he spent years playing music in a 7-piece jazz/blues band. “I never saved any money doing it but got paid well and treated well.” He bought a tiny apartment overlooking the Mediterranean and was inspired by vibrant festivals, painters, jugglers, and dancers. He brought that joie de vivre back to Boulder Creek: “I either had to move or create some kind of scene here.”

In 2004 he was instrumental in organizing live dinner music on Friday and Saturday nights at Blue Sun (now Los Amigos), “and from there to Joe’s,” he says. Then he landed the old post office. It was a “serendipitous horsehead in the bed” moment: He could either “keep running around Europe eating French food” or make an offer.

“This building has led to Joe’s Bar and Boulder Creek Music Works. From the minute I took possession of the building people started showing up…Tim Welch (Funkranomicon) was waiting outside with his drums in his pickup truck.” Barry’s studio filled a need, and word-of-mouth the news got out. “There’s so many phenomenal musicians up here; the studio provides a pivot point, a hub, to rehearse and record, all those kinds of things.”

“It’s what I love doing…I’d be doing it anywhere…that’s my curse.” But he’s doing it here.

He and Todd Reed started regular music at Joe’s in 2008. “There’s a long list of musicians who played benefits there, but we were the first to start regular music on Thursdays for the Camp Krem kids. All money from the tip jar went to Doctors Without Borders – this was right after Haiti.” Every Thursday is the pro-jam now, where top talent comes together to form ad hoc bands for a night. Dozens of local bands got their start playing together at Joe’s, he says. Barry himself plays bass in Badenov (“as in Boris and Natasha”), an example of what he calls “putting a band together at short notice.”

“I book and do sound for over 200 bands a year at Joe’s, plug-and-play.” And this doesn’t count local festivals. He gets calls from three or four bands a week from around the world, he says. And he’s just completed a series of seven First Friday concerts at the Odd Fellows Hall; he often finds himself running back and forth across the street between Joe’s and the I.O.O.F.

Countless bands have recorded albums and shot video in Barry’s studio, and he just got his 16-channel system up and running. “Everyone and their brother has a home setup. I have the perfect room for recording a large group.” Funkranomicon, Take One, Live Concert Series with Carolyn Sills, Vito and Friends, Research and Development, all have recorded at Barry’s. Agents for some of them, like High on Fire and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, “sneak their people here to get them out of the cities to help them get focused.” The recording space is more like being in a living room than being in a high-pressure studio. “I measure my success by how busy the studio is, how much is getting done.”

Barry’s studio also boasts fully operational live-broadcast radio capability. The equipment was initially set up for KBCZ 90.1 Boulder Creek Community Radio before the station moved to the Visitor Center. “I started with the radio before there was even a station. It was just a dream.” Barry lay the groundwork to broadcast from his place, produced the morning show from there, and trained volunteers. “I love teaching. I was having a ball teaching people how to be on the radio.”

“Go-to people pop up, they’re going to make it happen. There are people in this community who have that gift.” But, he says, everybody should step in and lend a hand. “You gotta get your shovel out to keep the go-to people from burning out.”

Three years ago, Barry was told he would only be alive for another year. Now he doesn’t waste his time. “I’m going to go to festivals…I’ve got to get my tickets to Kate Wolfe…I’ve got an air mattress that fits perfectly in the back of my van, my folding chairs…”

Contact Barry: BCMusicWorks@gmail.com

Copyright 2017 Julie Horner. Originally published in the Santa Cruz Mountain Bulletin May 2017 issue. www.santacruzmountainbulletin.net

Bear Creek Country Club – All Eyes on the Prize

BCRPD opens newly acquired Bear Creek Country Club for KBCZ 90.1 Radio fundraiser

By Julie Horner

The first opportunity for the public to enjoy the reopening of Bear Creek Country Club, a recent acquisition by the Boulder Creek Recreation and Parks District, is on Saturday, April 22 for the KBCZ Time Machine Dance Party: 1960s Edition radio station fundraiser, hosted by KBCZ 90.1 FM Boulder Creek Community Radio. The evening includes an all-1960s soundtrack featuring live DJs, a silent auction, beer, and wine. BCRPD’s new Bear Creek Facility, perfectly preserved in full 1960s splendor, is indeed, a time capsule itself.

The 1.2-million-dollar purchase, completed in November of 2016, came with a swimming pool, tennis courts, clubhouse, workout room, hot tub, sauna, four acres of park land, BBQ pits, creek access, basketball court, and interior social areas with soaring ceilings and sophisticated retro decor. To restore, renovate, and upgrade existing structures to meet public building access requirements – and help pay back the loan to the Santa Cruz Land Trust, which was instrumental in completing the sale – the District has launched a crowdfunding campaign with a goal to gather $600,000 over the next two years. To donate, visit: www.crowdrise.com/bear-creek-recreation-and-events-center-funding

Step back to the future and join the KBCZ Time Machine 1960s Dance Party: www.facebook.com/events/1351172781617271

 

 

Copyright 2017 Santa Cruz Mountain Bulletin. Originally printed in the Santa Cruz Mountain Bulletin April 2017 edition. www.santacruzmountainbulletin.netwww.facebook.com/SantaCruzMountainBulletin/

Camp Krem – Camping Unlimited – Anticipates the Arrival of Summer Revelers with Fifth Annual Do-It-Ourselves Festival April 28-30, 2017

By Julie Horner

As antidote to the dark and wet, rustic Jon Lucchese Center stands on a sandy plateau in full sun biding over a sweeping panorama of forest and blue sky. The air, soft and moistly fragrant with oak and bay, is gratefully languid after an eternity of torrential rain, mud, and cabin fever. It is peacefully still, the only sounds being the rush of nearby Peavine Creek and the roaring press of silence. Founded in 1957 by special needs educator, Alex Krem, Sr., Boulder Creek’s family run campground created especially for “giving exceptional people the opportunity to be themselves,” welcomes the coming of spring and “new worlds of discovery, adventure, and friendship.” Summer, says camp manager Christina Krem, “is rowdy” with campers of all ages eager to embark on outdoor educational experiences that will help them build lifelong relationships with nature.

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In addition to sprucing things up for the anticipated 500 or so adults and young people with disabilities who will revel on this mountaintop over the course of the spring and summer, the staff at Camp Krem is also about to do it up for Do-It-Ourselves, the fifth annual DIO Festival, a reliably sold-out weekend music experience which brings world-class up-and-coming talent to Boulder Creek for three days in late April. DIO Fest is one of the groups outside of regular summer camp programs who responsibly rent the facility; the intention is to present an intimate festival vibe while giving back to the community.

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The connection between Camp Krem and the DIO Fest goes back to when DIO Fest co-founder, Jon Labeaud and his wife, Andrea, worked as camp counselors. And in part because of that relationship, Christina says, the team that puts on DIO Fest has given back to the Camping Unlimited community by donating a portion of festival proceeds to the camp’s musicology program, with monies going directly to the salary of the on-staff music therapist. And the team of volunteers who set up and tear down lend their energy every year to improving existing infrastructure; Christina noted specifically the addition of a permanent roof on the amphitheater and new and reinforced structural stage elements inside Jon Lucchese Center. These are performance areas that campers use during the rest of the season for the talent show, a highlight of the camping experience, which helps develop a sense of individual self-worth, while being built-in fun.

Part of the ethic of giving back includes the opportunity for musicians, dancers, and artists of all kinds to volunteer their time at Camp Krem to help inspire and delight. Several musicians who have performed at DIO Fest have returned at later dates to share their music, Christina said, including Kendra McKinley, Big Bear, McCoy Tyler Band, and Marty O’Reilly & the Old Soul Orchestra. Local talent is very much invited to come share what they do best. Whether by volunteering time or by making a monetary gift, “donations are hugely appreciated.”

Come explore Camp Krem, meet the staff, and tour the facilities at their open house, Saturday, May 13, 2017 from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm | 102 Brook Lane, Boulder Creek | 831- 338 – 3210 | www.campingunlimited.org

Get tickets for the Do-It-Ourselves Festival: www.facebook.com/DoItOurselves/

Copyright 2017 Santa Cruz Mountain Bulletin. Originally published in the March 2017 issue of the Santa Cruz Mountain Bulletin: www.santacruzmountainbulletin.net

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Fully Fledged – KBCZ 90.1 Boulder Creek Community Radio

The only thing missing is the moose…
By Julie Horner
From the window overlooking the bustling intersection of this one-stop small mountain town, a constant stream of people and cars kaleidoscope past in a blur of sound and color. Afternoon sun brightens newly painted walls, the space clean, comfortably spare, and cozy yet with plenty of wiggle room to work the imagination. Sheltered within the KBCZ’s freshly functional broadcast digs, music mingles with the muted sounds of life at full speed.
For a moment it feels like “Chris in the Morning,” the fictional DJ from the make-believe Alaska radio station KBHR (“K-Bear”) from Northern Exposure, the TV series that aired in the early 90s. At some point that ubiquitous moose will wobble past the window.
KBCZ is a non-profit, non-partisan, non-commercial educational (NCE) live broadcast and cloud streaming radio station committed to serving the local community. Programming pulls from local expertise, boasting a team of 25 DJs producing original content that includes music, local history, art, agriculture, lifestyle, weather, emergency information, safety issues, community events, and the local economy. KBCZ is operated by the Boulder Creek Recreation and Park District, which holds the FCC license and pays music industry fees. The station is sustained financially through donations, fundraising, and local business underwriting.
Program Manager, Tina Davey, has been with the project since the beginning, about three years. Well known on the Central Coast as a professional voiceover artist, when the opportunity arose to help start a community radio station, she jumped on it. She went to the initial meetings when Tim Welch was spearheading the early effort and together with a growing team of local talent, has been instrumental in bringing the station “out of the closet” and fully fledged to the well-intentioned but underused Boulder Creek Visitor Center located in the Burl Business Center at 13200 Highway 9, Suite A, adjacent to Boulder Creek Pizza & Pub.
Initially the station shared space with the Santa Cruz Mountain Bulletin above Jenna Sue’s. They eventually moved to a converted closet in the BC Rec building, all the while growing the station’s music archives, building the on-air team, and gaining support throughout the community with periodic fundraisers like Flicks in the Sticks (an outdoor family movie night held at Junction Park), themed dances, and outdoor festivals.
The station went online late in 2016 with their first regular live broadcast – the KBCZ Morning Show – at Barry Tanner’s Boulder Creek Music Works in the former post office building. Then the Visitor Center became available and in January, 2017, station devotees, Leslie and Matt Buchanan began remodeling the interior from the ground up, completely transforming the space into a fully functional DJ booth and reception area. Tina Davey said of their first officially dedicated public broadcasting space, “We were in the closet for over a year. We’re just thrilled to be here…like we’re in the Taj Mahal!”
Tina says KBCZ is actively looking for community members who would like to program their own shows. Prior DJ experience is always welcome but is not a prerequisite, and training on the computer-based broadcast program is provided. “We are also looking for grant writers and members to be on an advisory board; we already have two people from KSCO who are helping.”
The goal, Tina says, is to fill all the empty DJ slots with NCE content…cars, cooking, kids sports (they’re planning to approach student talent at SLVHS), and other ideas from community members. “The radio station is going to explode this year. We need people who want to be engineers, work the software, talk, and interview. We need more people – just everybody!”
As KBCZ gears up for their April 22 fundraiser – a 60s inspired time machine dance and silent auction at BC Rec’s newly acquired Bear Creek Country Club – Tina and her team are soaking in the excitement of the new broadcast space at the Visitor Center. “We’ve wanted this space for a long time…we finally got it. Now we’re going to be visible.”
Listener supported radio for the San Lorenzo Valley, local original programming at 90.1 FM and streaming online. http://kbcz.org/ | www.facebook.com/BCRadioNow
Copyright 2017 Santa Cruz Mountain Bulletin. Originally published in the Santa Cruz Mountain Bulletin, March 2017. www.santacruzmountainbulletin.net | www.facebook.com/SantaCruzMountainBulletin/
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Boulder Creek Home Hit by Mudslide – Family Seeks Assistance With GoFundMe Campaign

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“While we’re in limbo, there will be no respite” – Val Hollen

By Julie Horner

Locals have seen the force of unrelenting nature first hand while making the daily migration to Barbara Day Park to snap photos of the swollen San Lorenzo River surging over the dam. On the other side of the bridge, a lone home clings to its moorings against a moving mountain.

On February 7, the hillside behind Kirk and Val Hollen’s Boulder Creek home gave way, taking down trees and boulders and slamming into the back wall of the house. Storm watchers at Junction Park several hundred yards upstream reported hearing the initial rumble of earth set into motion punctuated by the rending crack of uprooting tree line. The slide, Val Hollen said, “Made a terrible noise when the compression shock hit the house.” No humans were home at the time of the slide and no one was hurt. Elke the German Shepherd was immediately rescued from inside the home, visibly shaken but OK. The mud, rocks, and debris came to rest with enough force to cause windows to shatter.

“The house is still on its foundation,” Val reports, and the home is insured. “There was a lot of mud on the back wall and we’re working with a hydrogeologist. It’s just been a bit frightening.” Her husband, Kirk, and his team of volunteers have managed to clear the mud away from the home but there are serious unknowns. “We don’t know about the availability of the FEMA funds and there are insurance deadlines to file with the county.” They will have to pay out-of-pocket for necessary inspections. “Everything costs money. We need to have a geologic report that is mandatory, and the mitigation plan for the unsafe and dangerous conditions. I’m not sure where we are about it, actually. I’m feeling like I’m not as shocked and terrified anymore – but I’m lying – it’s awful.”

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“Short term there is a lot of rallying around. Most of the assistance that is out there – Red Cross has been awesome – is immediate. Do you need a blanket? Do you need a roof over your head?” Now it’s not immediate anymore; the medium and long term is the problem. “We’re staring down the next 6 months to a year. It’s very scary. Two weeks in a friend’s guest bedroom is not the same as six or eight months – you won’t be friends at the end of it.” And there’s nothing out there for rental housing, she finds. “We want to be staying near the house to be keeping an eye on it properly.” But after a frustrating search in Boulder Creek, it looks like temporary accommodations will probably be in Scotts Valley while the couple tackles the requirements that will determine the fate of their property.

A GoFundMe campaign to help the Hollens with some of these daunting expenses has reached $9,779 of a $20k goal. Donations continue to be gratefully accepted: www.gofundme.com/veterans-home-hit-by-mudslide

“I just want to thank everyone who has reached out to offer help, hugs and otherwise send good vibes. This has always been an awesome town and we’re not planning on leaving! We’re taking it one step at a time and one day at a time and remaining grateful for all the things we do have.”

Copyright 2017 Santa Cruz Mountain Bulletin. Originally published in the Santa Cruz Mountain Bulletin, March 2017 issue. www.santacruzmountainbulletin.netwww.facebook.com/SantaCruzMountainBulletin/