By Devin Dunlevy
City News Reporter
Finally there’s a place to get drip coffee for a dollar in Santa Cruz — provided, of course, that you bring your own mug.
SubRosa is a new community space offering a broad selection of anarchist books and magazines in addition to Java Bob’s gourmet coffee.
It opened Nov. 1 with an open mic celebration featuring music and poetry, among other live performances. Centrally located in “the Hub,” SubRosa is right next to the Bike Church on Pacific Avenue.
The location is intended to be a place to hang out and meet friends, but activists hope the new space will inspire projects and ultimately provoke new ideas for the anarchist movement.
“Until now there hasn’t really been a public space in town that promotes the discussion of socio-political thought based around anarchist, anti-authoritarian principles,” Santa Cruz resident Alex Barangan said on a visit to SubRosa.
The space is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week. Frequent hours are made possible by donations and the volunteer staff.
“SubRosa is maintained by a small collective and a vast network of people who care about the space,” according to the official communiqué. “The collective is made up of local anarchists and anti-authoritarians who are longtime members of the Santa Cruz community.”
In addition, the space aims to be conducive to creative expression.
Wes Modes, a member of the SubRosa collective and artist for 10 years, sees the café as an opportunity to revive local art galleries that have been disappearing in Santa Cruz over the years.
“We’re dedicated to emerging artists,” Modes said.
Cody Trimble was passing through Santa Cruz and decided to stop by SubRosa after hearing about the new opening on Indymedia.org.
“I was really impressed,” Trimble said. “The coffee was amazing, the staff was nice and they had diverse reading material for the subject. The location seemed fitting as well.”
UC Santa Cruz anthropology student Emerald Snow staffs at SubRosa.
“A lot of people in the Free Skool collective collaborate with the SubRosa collective,” Snow said.
Free Skool Santa Cruz is a skill-sharing network that provides free classes in the community as an alternative to hierarchical education. SubRosa will host a number of Free Skool classes, including a workshop on writing letters to prisoners coming up Nov. 16.
Local radicals formed the café out of an old warehouse and parking lot. The area used to be occupied by Serpent’s Kiss, a pagan ritual supply store that moved to a new location on N. Pacific Avenue.
The result was a powerful transformation. A courtyard perfect for socializing welcomes visitors, and free wi-fi is provided throughout the space. Computers are available for use as well.
“Planning for the space has been going on for four years,” Modes said. “We started forming it a couple months ago. It couldn’t have happened without the help of the community.”
Modes stressed that SubRosa is a place for the entire community, not exclusively for anarchists.
“We want to see neighbors, wayward youth, old ladies knitting, people talking and conspiring,” Modes said. “This is a place for networking.”