Exploring Our Very Own San Lorenzo River – A Secret History of American River People

Exploring Our Very Own San Lorenzo River

It has been such a busy couple months I haven’t had a chance to share with you some of the interesting developments lately. At the beginning of the year, I was contacted by our local Arts Council of Santa Cruz County about participating as a story collector in the Ebb & Flow Festival this year.

Shantyboat Dotty at Santa Cruz Ebb & Flow, 2018. Photo by Bredette Dyer

Ebb & Flow is a celebration of our own San Lorenzo River that flows through downtown Santa Cruz, and incidentally near my house further up the valley up in the hills. I’ve worked with Ebb & Flow for the past several in which the Shantyboat Dotty was present at both the downtown and Tannery celebrations.

This time, the folks at the arts council making Ebb & Flow happen wanted to build the celebration around a series of stories from river people who shared a connection with the San Lorenzo River.

An interview with George Ow Jr. where we talked about his growing up in one of the last Chinatowns along the San Lorenzo

On two separate dates, we interviewed a score of people who had a connection to the San Lorenzo River, including birders, anglers, river neighbors, conservationists, and houseless people living along the river.

Vrinda Quintero tells us about living by the San Lorenzo. She also made us tacos! Photo by Michael Baba

Leading up to Ebb & Flow, these interviews will be used to inspire a dance performance and excerpts will be shared on social media. At Ebb & Flow on June 7th, the interviews will be exhibited on the Shantyboat Dotty as part of the exhibit.

Leo Cruz tells us about growing up near a river in Mexico and coming to live along the San Lorenzo River.
The author lines up a shot during an interview amongst the riparian foliage of the San Lorenzo River.

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