If you ask Santa Cruz writer Anne Steinhardt her age, she cm21says, “I’m so old that when I was born the Dead Sea was just not feeling well.”

Understood. She’s been writing for a long time. Steinhardt first moved to Santa Cruz in the 1970s when she snagged a job teaching at UC Santa Cruz. In

Writer and musician Anne Steinhardt.

Writer and musician Anne Steinhardt.

that decade, she also had several notable books published including “Thunder La Boom” and “How To Get Balled in Berkeley.”

Now retired from teaching at Hartnell College for 20 years, Steinhardt has recently self-published a new book called, “Pele Voodoo Live!: A Rockumentary.” The title was printed from Bookshop Santa Cruz’s savvy in-house publisher of sorts—the Espresso Book Machine—a cool contraption that allows authors to self-publish their works on the spot, and customers can have books printed on demand.

Her new novel is based loosely on her personal experiences playing bass on the road for seven years with popular Santa Cruz all-women world beat band Pele Juju. It walks the reader through what it might be like to be part of an up-and-coming band, to team up with a Hollywood producer who just might put his own spin on your music, how to recover, and even what it’s like going to counseling together as a band. “It brings out the demons in everyone,” Steinhardt says. “It’s a classic rock story saga, straight to the top then crash and burn.”

She adds, “People should pick up the book if they ever danced to Pele Juju (her local band back in the day). Our fans will enjoy this. It takes you on the road with the band. And it’s a heck of a read.”


When Karen Hansen was in elementary school, she caught the bug; the creative/artistic bug that is. Her school had a kiln and she was able to experiment with ceramics as well as explore weaving and papier mache. “Being at that school was a life changer for me,” says Hansen, who credits her teachers with motivating her to pursue art.

While Hansen ended up choosing a career in teaching, ceramics

Ceramic artist Karen Hansen.

Ceramic artist Karen Hansen.

has certainly followed her through her life. She has studied extensively at Cabrillo College and now sells a line of fascinating polka-dot decorated vases and containers on Etsy. (Find her work under “Polka Dot Clay Studio” on the indie crafting website.) “I love things that are polka-dotted,” she says. “It implies something festive.”

That sentiment definitely applies to her new work crafting ceramic nichos, brightly colored wall boxes “to hold whatever is sacred to the owner—photos or treasures,” she says.

Learn more about Hansen at


There’s no argument that every person has a different perspective—on our surroundings, life, and our personal interactions. When you think about it that way, it gives us a little more room to be tolerant of perspectives that are different than ours.

Santa Cruz artist Dmitri Zurita agrees.

Conceptual artist Dmitri Zurita.

Conceptual artist Dmitri Zurita.

“I have always been interested in perspectives—the ways each of us perceive the world and how it shapes our reality,” says Zurita. He challenges these perspectives by engaging in original installation work like the current window display on the ground floor of the Rittenhouse Building in downtown Santa Cruz, which will be up for another month.

“I heaped piles of clothing in that storefront that become a mass, an obstruction, a view blocked—offering other perspectives on colonialism, consumption, individuality, absence,” he says. “I also construct environments—a simple container filled with toxic substances, and include in the installation a device that warns of danger, but allows access to it.”

He adds, “My work offers viewers a set of questions that require them to peel back, enter into, decode, expose or perceive another reality, another way of seeing.”

For Zurita, sliding into this kind of artwork was a natural extension of his musical and writing talents. He was exposed to art galleries and museums at a young age. As a college student at UC Santa Cruz he took a photography class and earned top honors, which was admittedly a first in his education and prompted him to switch his major to art.

Currently, the conceptual artist is working on several different projects including transnational collaborations—one with students in a cinematography school in Tijuana, Mexico, along with students from UC Santa Cruz and Southwestern College in San Diego, in addition to a Photoshop project with artists from across the world.

Zurita is a 2012-2013 Irwin Scholarship recipient from the art department at UCSC. The Irwin Scholars will have a show at the Sesnon Gallery at the university from May 29 to June 16. Learn more at

3 thoughts on “Novelist Anne Steinhardt fictionalizes her experience in 1990s band Pele Juju in new novel; ceramist Karen Hansen; artist Dmitri Zurita

  1. Yay! Great to know that Annie Steinhardt is still writing! I have fond memories (distant, but fond) of dancing all night at the old Catalyst to Oganookie, Annie Steinhardt on fiddle. That’s how old I am!

  2. Annie was in Django, not Oganookie. But she was on the fiddle at the Catalyst and we were dancing all ngiht!

  3. Annie was indeed in Django and her fiddle playing only exceeded her bass playing throughout her long career as a Santa Cruz musician.

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