Celebrating a decade of showcasing independent filmmaking from around the world, the 2011 Santa Cruz Film Festival presents 167 films from 33 countries, with 67 films hailing from the Greater Santa Cruz/Monterey area. Festivities kick off Thursday, May 5 with a gala opening for the dark love story Prairie Love and continue until Saturday, May 14, when the city-sized velvet curtains close with Ruffo, a somber look at a surf legend's struggles with addiction. Other films include the tattoo-artist documentary Ed Hardy: Tattoo the World, and Under the Boardwalk, an analytical history of the game Monopoly and the countless world wars fought over who gets to be the car.
With spring spreading like a bag of spilled gravy, now is the ideal time to throw open the windows and get home-care projects underway. Pick up a Stanley six-piece screwdriver set for $6.99, a VPT rip hammer for $8.49, and a whole bunch of screws, anchors, and bolts (prices vary), and you'll be ready to finally mount every buffalo nickel and steel penny in your coin collection. Illuminate the newfound décor with a 12-pack of Ace light bulbs ($21.48), the better to see by as you make use of a Purdy four-piece premium paint-tray kit ($19.99). If you need to match paint to a favorite coverlet or choose a hue that complements a pleather recliner, each store offers a paint-matching service free of charge. Get keys made for $1.99 a pop, or clean a barnacle-encrusted carpet with the help of a carpet-cleaning machine ($30 a day to rent).
Californian abodes can emulate the relaxing, laid-back atmosphere of the tropics with the island-inspired, eco-friendly home accoutrements found at Element Home Furnishings. Many of the items in the shop's unique collection were imported from exotic locales or supplied by local businesses. Multicolored flip-flops, banana-leaf journals, and scented candles immediately evoke vacations on the beach, and a selection of artwork invites a second look with signs made of surfboards and vibrant paintings of Hawaiian landscapes. The shop's furniture show room unveils beds and tables constructed out of sustainable materials, such as plantation-grown mahogany and teak, and towering divider screens made of bamboo wrestled from the jowls of a panda.
Jimmy Fox and his wife founded Linda Mar Ace Home Center in 1953, before the town of Pacifica was even incorporated. Though its ownership has changed several times since the 1950s, the focus on service has remained constant through the years. Today, the store, one of the original Ace Hardware stores on the West Coast, has expanded to house more than 40,000 products, from paint to power tools to lawn and garden supplies. Any product not found in the store can be easily ordered through the store’s large network of suppliers and manufacturers, and will be delivered promptly by the construction stork.
Since 1975, Helm of Sun Valley has outfitted outdoor enthusiasts with seasonal supplies, rentals, and gear from brand-name manufacturers. Prepare for a snow- surmounting winter with a trove of cold-weather essentials ($20+), including gloves, socks, hats, and metronomes that keep chattering teeth on a steady beat. Ski- and snowboard-rental packages ($20+) equip thrill seekers for the slopes, whereas thorough tune-ups ($35) and an array of other services ready personal planks for airborne adventures. Patrons can also mine the store's racks for specialty items such as snowboarding pants ($100+), or attempt to impress neighbors and fanciful pool floats with high-end outdoor furniture for summer months.