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Photograph by Stephen Laufer

Hey Jozseph Schultz, Where You Goin' With That Knife In Your Hand?: And who's your attractive friend?

Trees Lounge

Food, music and art take over the languid Arboretum gardens this weekend

By Christina Waters

On Sunday, May 18, from 10am to 4pm, the robust gardens of the Arboretum at UC-Santa Cruz will ring with Latin rhythms, arias, jazz, Shakespeare (Hamlet performed in under an hour!) and assorted maverick literary performances. Wildlife of all kinds and sensational culinary fragrances will fill in any possible gaps in the lush meadow setting. By now you've guessed why--it's Art in the Arboretum, an annual outdoor soirée positively stuffed with artwork, food, theater, music and the aerial acrobatics of billions of hummingbirds. Free to everybody and his cousin, the yearly feast for the senses happens in the midst of UCSC's collection of subtropical botanicals which include Australian grevilleas, spectacular banksias, acacias, waratahs and mysterious South African proteas.

The only-in-Santa-Cruz flavor is thanks to such cultural exotica as a Shakespeare-to-go version of Hamlet, in which the timeless intricacies of Shakespeare's most famous play are performed in 50 hyperactive minutes (co-produced by Shakespeare Santa Cruz and the UCSC Theater Arts Department).

Renowned dancer/choreographer Mel Wong continues the alfresco fun with flashy excerpts from his Swan Pond, performed by gifted student dancers. The natural setting itself will be incorporated into 3-D artworks and sculpture from students of Jennifer Parker.

Many aficionados will recall last year's gorgeous display of provocative and colorful artworks at the Arboretum event. This year, UCSC faculty painters Melissa Gwyn and Frank Galuszka have gathered their students' finest paintings to fill the central exhibition hall of the Arboretum, including original art by Warren Schultheis, Dana Hemenway, Mike Cross, Aurelia Pezzi, Sally Sherwood and others. These high quality, low-cost artworks are available to purchase as well as enjoy and the art show runs daily from noon to 3pm, May 10 through Sunday's all-day gala.

There's tons more stuff, from great poetry reading to edgy Latin American music by Voces and luscious opera arias sung by Rebecca Hope Stuhlbarg. But here's the most flavorful stuff--the one and only "India Joze" Schultz will be bringing his wok to the Arboretum to cook up sensational multilingual dishes from his delicious repertoire. Locals will recall Schultz as the genius behind India Joze, for two decades a leading restaurant in Central California. The spicy, world-fusion cooking which fueled that culinary landmark will be wok'd up before your very eyes Sunday, and seasoned specialties cooked up by Jozseph (check out his amazing body language) will definitely be available for sampling. Just watching and listening to Schultz expound, as he cooks, about spices, herbs, cooking styles and gastro-metaphysics makes for unforgettable armchair anthropology.

So, essentially, as far as the Art in the Arboretum event on Saturday, May 10, goes, you gotta be there. Come see the artwork daily from noon to 3pm, and stay all day on the 18th for tons of sensory bombardment. Park in the Eucalyptus Grove and take the shuttle to the Arboretum, which is located on Empire Grade Road, halfway between the Main and West entrances to the UCSC campus.

DINING AT THE SOURCE: A few years ago, Gabriella Café chef Jim Denevan received a sacred calling to reacquaint food consumers with the fields and growers who actually put the finest organic flavors on their tables. The result was an intensive series of monthly dining encounters, in a variety of "restaurants without walls," throughout the Central Coast. The concept brings together specific growers, with a guest chef and invited winemaker, to the alfresco orchards and fields where the main meal is prepared and served. You, the guest, can enjoy harvest dining in the region where the food was produced, tour the grounds and meet the makers, so to speak. It's an unforgettable opportunity to be where the true and original food action is. On July 20, for example, "Outstanding in the Field 2003" features Avanti chef Brian Curry, who'll be cooking up fresh organic harvest at Happy Boy Farm in Santa Clara. Find out more about the series, and reserve your place in the sun by calling 877.886.7409; or log onto www.outstandinginthefield.com. ... And the food word for the month is "crimpy" from Kelly's.

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From the May 14-21, 2003 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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