Archive for June 2011 | Monthly archive page

San Luis Obispo has a sense of humor.  Where else can you spend the night in a caveman-themed hotel room or eat a five pound hamburger solely for sport and the respect of your peers?  In addition a visit to the Madonna Inn and a meal at Sylvester’s Burgers, residents of San Luis Obispo enjoy a fledgling circus scene.  From clowns to aerial dancers, the county is home to a surprising number of performance artists.

Suspended Motion: Ever dreamed of flying?  Now you can spin, flip and glide through the air with classes from Suspended Motion, a collective of Central Coast aerial dancers. These  performers offer instruction in aerial silks, hoop, trapeze, net, rope and hammock. Exhilarating and challenging, aerial performance is a creative way to build strength and flexibility through the arts.

Bike Happening: Each first Thursday of the month, after Farmers Market, bicycles, tall cycles and unicycles swarm downtown.  Decked out in costumes in accordance to each month’s theme, riders make a loop beginning at the Mission and extending through Higuera and Marsh streets. For themes, routes, and rules of the ride, visit the Bike Happening Facebook page.

Juggling and Circus Skills Club: Every Friday afternoon, join jugglers, acrobats, unicyclists, hoopers and spinners meet for skill training  and hang-out sessions on the Cal Poly campus near the Architecture building. Practice begins  at 5:30.  Come trade tricks and have a great time learning something new!

Circus Vargas: This month, the circus is coming to town!  Circus Vargas will be pitching a tent at the Madonna Inn from June 30- July 4.  Marvel at the flying trapeze, laugh at clowns, and thrill over the death-defying feats of acrobats, contortionists and motorcyclists.  Tickets are on sale now.

If all of those diversions weren’t exciting enough, keep an eye out in the coming months for Circus Open-Mic nights, tall-bike riding pandas and subversive whoopee cushions — you never know where they’ll strike next!



Bambu Batu is proud to announce our newest bamboo t-shirt designs printed with sustainable, environmentally friendly inks, brought to you by local printer, Rebellious Nature.  This San Luis Obispo company offers affordable rates for simple designs and small-batch orders for hoodies, shirts, long sleeve tees, kids clothing and tote bags.  Each item is hand-printed on a manual press, ensuring a high level of quality and attention to detail.  Rebellious Nature uses PVC and phthalate-free inks, recycles their textiles, and uses only US made organic materials for their private line of apparel.  For a peek at some of their handy-work, check out  AnarchTee Political and Social Activist T-shirts and Bambu Batu’s Be happy and San Leisure Obispo tees.

Why are pthlalate-free inks a better choice for your health and the environment?  Pthlalates are petroleum-derived chemicals used to soften PVC based compounds.  They were first introduced in the 1030’s and became more widespread beginning in the 1950’s.  They are found in a number of products including toys, adhesives, flooring, detergents, cosmetics and other personal care products.  Combined with pigment and PVC resin, they compose most of the plastisol inks utilized for conventional textile printing.

Studies have linked a class of these chemicals called ortho-pthlalates to disruptions in the endocrine system, reproductive problems, learning disabilities and cancer.  Several of these compounds have been banned from use in products marketed to children, while others have been severely restricted.  Due to the possibility of these chemicals leeching into their environments and causing harm to both producers and consumers, many have started to use more environmentally friendly, vegetable based inks.

Enjoy peace of mind and comfort of body by wearing sustainable, natural fabrics with safe, earth-friendly inks!

Whether you are a fan of organic farming, urban redevelopment, social justice, or just plain good writing, you will thoroughly enjoy Novella Carpenter’s Farm City. Detailing her move to the ghetto of Oakland and her adventures as an urban farmer, Novella writes with humor, candor, and lyricism that would impress any critic regardless of topic.

Her chronicles of late night dumpster dives to feed her pigs, rabbits and chickens, reflections over her complex and mixed emotions over killing and preparing animals she has raised and defended, and the character sketches of the people inhabiting her neighborhood are all extremely engaging.  Carpenter’s work inspires conscious and deep reflection on how food is produced and appreciation for the effort and emotion required to put together a meal.

Before beginning Novella’s account of city crop cultivation, I wondered to myself about what kind of personality would be willing to move from idyllic Portland, Oregon to the concrete jungle.  My preconceptions ranged from the Flighty Hippy and the Idealistic Environmentalist to the Anarchist Off-the-Grid Warrier and Starving Activist.  Surprisingly, I found Carpenter as someone I would be delighted to have a close friend.  Her passion for food and its connection to community and social justice is evident through her generosity.  She shares her harvests with neighbors, inner-city literacy programs, friends, and anyone off the street interested in her garden.

Her sense of humor and clear-eyed observations of her neighborhood cut through any bucolic delusions of saving the world through a backyard vegetable plot.  She acknowledges the hardships and squalor or Oakland’s gang and drug scene, poverty, and urban decay.  Bleak profiles of city life are contrasted with impressions of nature trying to eke out an existence along with the inhabitants of the ghetto, stories of charity and potlucks, and self-effacing evaluations of her own personality.  Carpenter is candid with her joys as well as her anger, frustrations and disappointments (see the story of her possum “murder” or vitriolic description of the woman who butchered her pigs).  A lady who can raise her own food, learn to cure her own meat, dumpster-dive for scraps with a headlamp and brave the inner-city with grace and humor is someone I can respect.

Farm City is a fairly quick read, and a great choice for a summer book.  Who knows, you may be inspired to catch your own swarm of bees, plant a rare breed of watermelon, or order poultry through the mail!  I’m contemplating some raised veggie beds and a compost heap as we speak…

Let us know if you have any further book review suggestions!