Student Lookout: An ancient artifact, delicious Chinese food and a pleasant film surprise

Mastodon tooth in Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History
Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History manager Liz Broughton holds the tooth found by an Aptos resident.
(Via Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History)

Happy June, everyone,

How is it even possible that the end of this month will mark the halfway point of 2023? That does not compute in my head. I swear it was just a couple of weeks ago that we were all refreshing Zonehaven to see if our neighborhoods had been placed under flood warnings.

Anyway, the rapid passage of time might be disconcerting, but at least that means the end of the school year, too! I hope you all have fun activities planned for your last few weeks of whatever school year it is that you’re finishing. Quick reminder that we’ll be cutting Student Lookout down to once a month during the summer, so feel free to text me suggestions for what to include!

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Deals Download

Check out these student discounts:

  • Students (and teachers) get 10% off at Well Within on Thursdays.
  • HoM Korean Kitchen offers 15% off for students.
  • Seymour Marine Discovery Center offers free admission to UC Santa Cruz students and 25% off for all student tickets.

BEST DEAL OF THE MONTH: Student tickets at Kuumbwa Jazz

Located in downtown Santa Cruz, Kuumbwa Jazz is a nonprofit providing Santa Cruz the full spectrum of jazz music through live performance and education. Check out an upcoming show and take advantage of discounted student tickets.

➤ Want to share these deals with your friends? Have them sign up for Student Lookout texts with this link.

Good Eats

Good Eats: Guang Zho ($$)

I’ve name-dropped this Live Oak spot here before, but not since last July. That tells me it’s time to revisit. I’ve been going to this place for more than a decade, as it is the clear front-runner for Chinese food in town in my book. The appetizers are delicious from wontons and potstickers to egg rolls and crab rangoons, and the main dishes are large enough to share with at least one other person. I recommend beef chow fun — smoky, garlicky rice noodles with flank steak, bean sprouts, green onions, broccoli and more — as well as wonton soup and some mushu pork, a stir-fried pork/veggie mix you can wrap in a light pancake. Get a group of friends to pitch in for a true feast.

This week, Jessica M. Pasko — one of the local food writers filling in for Lily Belli while she’s on parental leave — talked a bit about the U.S. Department of Agriculture enlisting regional partners to help small and midsize farming operations, and UCSC’s own Center for Agroecology has a team involved.

Take this week’s news quiz

INSIDE SANTA CRUZ: The holiday weekend brought an ancient artifact to the beach

What at first glance appeared to be no more than a jagged piece of driftwood actually turned out to be something far rarer — and older.

When a woman named Jennifer Schuh came across the strange object on Rio Del Mar State Beach last weekend, she didn’t think much of it, but posted a picture on social media to see if anyone knew what it was. Well, someone did, and he was certainly excited. Local paleontologist Wayne Thompson recognized it as a Pacific mastodon molar, meaning that tooth had laid in the depths of the ocean for perhaps more than 5,000 years. But when Thompson went to the beach to retrieve the ancient tooth, it was gone.

Thompson took to social media, too, pleading for whoever had it to take it to the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History. That someone ended up being a local, Aptos resident Jim Smith, who brought the tooth to the museum Tuesday.

Christopher Neely has the full rundown here.

Around Town - Events

Did you know that we have an events calendar? BOLO, which stands for Be On the Lookout, is our hub for the best events in the county. See all the listings here.

Here are a few events you should check out:

Del Mar Midnight Movie: “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World,” Friday and Saturday, 11:55 p.m. - 2 a.m.

Come to the Del Mar for another midnight movie. “Scott Pilgrim” has become a modern classic of sorts, maintaining a steady level of popularity since its 2010 release. The filmmakers did a great job of bringing a distinct graphic-novel feel to the big screen, plus, you get to see awkward Michael Cera being awkward Michael Cera. That’s enough to warrant a late theater trip, right?

UCSC Opera presents “The Little Prince,” Friday - Saturday, 7:30 p.m., Sunday 3 p.m.

The classic, beloved fable about love, identity, and finding your place in the world is on stage through Sunday. UCSC Opera students will perform with University Orchestra and Sequoia Symphony members to put together a grand iteration of the famous tale. Sunday’s show begins at 3 p.m., just in case that’s the one you planned to attend.

Santa Cruz Pride Parade and Festival, Sunday, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
It’s Pride Month, which means the celebrations are well on their way! Meet down at the corner of Pacific Avenue and Cooper Street at Abbott Square, where the day will kick off with performances and free admission to the Museum of Art and History. There are other local celebrations and activities happening this week, too, so tap the link here for more.

➤ Want more? If you’re still looking for great things to do, check out Wallace Baine’s Weekender here.

This week, I watched: “BlackBerry” (2023), directed by Matt Johnson

Still from "BlackBerry" (2023).
(Via Planet News Post)

It goes without saying that the iPhone and its competitors have a stranglehold on the cellphone market, and have for the past decade-plus. But before the ubiquitous pocket computers became inescapable, there was the BlackBerry.

Matt Johnson is known mostly for his pitch-black comedies shot in mockumentary style, and he draws a lot from his previous work in “BlackBerry.” Though it’s not explicitly described as a mockumentary, the cinematography makes it feel as the movie was filmed with a handheld camera, which makes it feel like you’re right there in the office.

Performances are great across the board — Jay Baruchel plays founding CEO Mike Lazaridis perfectly as a quiet, nerdy perfectionist and Glenn Howerton (Dennis Reynolds from “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”) plays the corrupt, borderline unbalanced co-CEO, Jim Balsillie, to a T and really lets his inner Dennis shine through from time to time. The movie is certainly funny, but is offset with plenty of drama and tragedy as well. Lazaridis’ character ends up embodying exactly what he said he’d never become — churning out janky, ineffective products in a desperate attempt to keep up with a rapidly evolving technological landscape.

It’s a unique film, and takes risks that biopics often don’t. Think “The Social Network” by way of “Arrested Development,” just with more drama. All those parts add up to a very entertaining look at the rise and fall of one of the true tech titans of the 21st century. It might sound like a bit of a bore, but the end result is far from it.

Rating: 4/5

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That’s it from me, friends. I hope you enjoyed this short week and have a great weekend!

— Max


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