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Night Howl
By Karen Reardanz

[whitespace] Smith Grade Construction Dance & Theater Company Making Waves: Smith Grade Construction Dance & Theater Company concludes the SC Dance Gallery's three-weekend 'Creative Waves' on Friday and Saturday.

Just Deserts:
Renowned author brings a world of interest into the history of the Jews

IT'S HARD TO DECIDE what we like best about author Thomas Cahill's style--his exhaustive research, his attention to detail or that Cahill manages to shrink a subject spanning thousands of years and the birth of a civilization down into a relatively short, lively read with a catchy title. His latest example, The Gifts of the Jews: How a Tribe of Desert Nomads Changed the Way Everyone Thinks and Feels, weighs in at a mere 270 pages, leaving little room for bloated, mind-numbing academics.

But Gifts of the Jews is anything but lightweight. Tracing the history of Western civilization since Abraham heard the Voice of God speaking "go forth," Cahill illuminates how Jews--the first monotheists--dramatically altered the perception of life. Once seen by ancient societies as an endless, unalterable cycle of birth and death, destiny was now unique to each individual.

As in his previous bestseller, How the Irish Saved Civilization, Cahill isn't afraid to back up lofty titles with hard research. For this book, he attended the Jewish Theological Seminary for two years and learned Hebrew so that he might better read the Bible through the eyes of the people who created it. The hard work paid off--The Gifts of the Jews is on the New York Times bestseller list and has sent the publisher back to the presses five times to meet the demand since its release last month.

Cahill will be reading from The Gifts of the Jews this Friday, 7:30pm at Capitola Book Cafe, 1475 41st Ave., Capitola. For more information, call 408/462-4415.
July St. James

Wave of the Future

The Santa Cruz Dance Gallery concludes its celebration of that pesky weather phenomenon El Niño with the third installment of Creative Waves, its three-weekend dance festival. This performance features Nita Little's Smith Grade Construction in a production titled "Tears Up the Floor," a frenetic blend of dance, drama and music.

The show features four repertory pieces that go from fast and funny to dark and contemplative. Special appearances by Sara Wilbourne, Marcia Talyor-Croft, Nancy LeVan and Frey Faust prove this is no ordinary production, as does the diverse collection of Smith Grade modern dance talent.

Promising to be an intensely innovative night of dance, Creative Waves takes the stage on Friday and Saturday at 8pm at the Dance Gallery, 418 Front St, SC. Tickets are $10. For more info, call 408/457-1448.

'What' Is Going On?

For all of you who made the trek to one of What Is Art?'s countless shows last week, you probably found yourself staring at a big ol' closed sign. You also, of course, saw the note saying that What Is Art? was temporarily, and reluctantly, closed due to a nasty bout of falling asbestos. On top of everything else those folks have to deal with--remember the entertainment license and renovations?--now they have to go through the expense and inconvenience of the dreaded asbestos removal. 'Tis the pained life of an artiste, I suppose.

The What Is Art? crew wishes to extend its most heartfelt apologies to those who came on down to support 'em and found a show canceled (like Al Frisby) or moved to a different locale (like Open Mic night). They'll be up and running again in no time, so keep your eyes open.

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From the April 30-May 6, 1998 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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