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Madame Chairperson: Chairish the Thought owner Andrea Turnbull knows something about pampering backsides.

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Best way to go to San Bernardino without actually going there

Gateway Plaza

My dad from San Berdoo was proud of his low-number membership card at Price Club in the early '80s. He went on to amass a wallet full of warehouse cards, middle-of-the-road books, bulk slacks and gallons of cheddar-cheese fish to drown his misfortune for living in the strip mall/warehouse world of California's armpits. Now, each time he visits me, I try to take him to some "funky" Santa Cruz joint. But like moths to light, we end up banging our heads into the Gateway Plaza on River Street. We're home at last--home at last--laughing, slightly comfortable, until he asks me when I'm moving back. I still haven't told him we have a Costco.

Bruce Willey


Best last stop before the poorhouse

Velvet Underground

It take an enormous amount of willpower to walk out of Velvet Underground empty-handed. My kung fu is weak, my willpower's even weaker, and I fail miserably time and again. Everyone needs a sliding-chalice-and-bread-loaf Last Supper pen. And what's a doorway without bamboo hula girl curtains? 3D Pope writing tablets are a guarantee of never being banned in Boston (one more thing the pope has to apologize for). Store owner Lisa Towns says she and husband Steve Glenn do all the buying. "We look for new and interesting items that may seem kind of strange at first," she explains. The must-have status follows shortly. (1108 Pacific Ave., SC; 469.9401)

Jessica Lyons



Doors of Perception: The changing rooms at Echo take appliance recycling to new heights.

Best refrigerator recycling

Echo

For creatively challenged types, recycling is synonymous with weekly trips to the curbside, crusty cat food cans in tow. But those ingenious women at Pacific Avenue's Echo boutique know that yesterday's castaways can serve as functional art. The entry to each dressing room features a stylish vintage refrigerator door, promising that shoppers can try on their pattern-cuff jeans and ethnic-print tops in complete privacy. Echo has gotten quite the make-over during the past year; it now offers everything from clothing to shoe earrings. Echo is becoming one of Santa Cruz's best clothing stores, but it hasn't ditched its quirky personality--or refrigerator parts--in favor of pandering to bland mass appeal. (1535 Pacific Ave., SC; 458.1642)

Mary Spicuzza


Best fiery wheels

Metro Bus Ads for Tycho.net

The first time I saw the flaming bus charging down Soquel Avenue, I heeled hard right and skidded to a stop on the sidewalk. Then I realized that those realistic-looking tongues of orange and red fire were part of a giant bus-side ad for "blazing fast Internet access." Now that my blazing-slow Datsun B-210 is back from the body shop, the ads are growing on me. They make our buses look like AA fuel dragsters, even when they're standing still--which is one way to convince people to try mass transit.

Al Roberts


Best place to let your inner chameleon crawl out

Paper Vision

Tattoos are tempting but also painfully permanent. Does anyone really want the name of an ex-lover from 40 years ago legible across a sagging bicep at Leisure World? When the need to articulate one's uniqueness becomes overpowering, try Paper Vision on the mall in Santa Cruz for some temporary tattoos. Here, individuality flows like wine, but the end result is easily reversible. The designs range from henna-inspired flowers to sparkling dragons and giant fish. Barbed-wire hearts are always a good standby, without all the commitment of the real thing. Born to Be Wild--for a week or so. (1345 Pacific AVe., SC; 458.1345)

Jessica Lyons


Best place to pamper your butt

Chairish the Thought

This Capitola store is the place for folks who gag on Ethan Allen and prefer a touch of vintage or shabby chic underneath their haunches. Wooden rockers, kitchen wickers, sofas--they're all here, lovingly refurbished by owner Andrea Turnbull. Want a turn-of-the-century high chair? It's here. A footstool dressed in fancy spats and pinstripe pants? Chairish the Thought's got it. The shop also carries other goodies, from pique assiette (mosaic), which Turnbull both makes and offers classes in, to used clothes. Turnball also deserves a prize for wittiest-named shop south of Santa Cruz. (503 Capitola Ave., Capiola; 465.0630)

Kelly Luker


Best place to ditch the rest of the world

Temple Beth El Cemetery

Alone time is almost a necessity in this hyperactive world. When the land of the living turns to nightmare, the land of the dead offers a bit of solitude. Tucked behind a eucalyptus grove and between a park and an old, wooden house lies a small, shady cemetery at Temple Beth El Jewish Community Center. Alone in the center courtyard rests a single park bench, a welcome respite far from the madding crowd. On a peaceful stroll, quiet-seekers can learn something of those who've come before or place a rock on a marker (according to Jewish tradition) before leaving with dose of spiritual renewal. (3055 Porter Gulch Rd., Aptos; 479.3444)

Kelly Altshuler

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From the March 22-29, 2000 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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