Hi friends,

Some new words I find amusing and I vow to use them as soon as it’s appropriate for a dorky old white dude to do so. I haven’t said yet in the wild that something “slaps,” but it’s coming. On the other hand, some new words make me want to step in front of a moving bus. I mean, “meatfluencer”? Really? Is there something we can do to stop this? Congress, where are you?

Now, on with the show.

This Just In!

Attention, all those who love the 1980s and/or flowerpot headwear. Everybody’s favorite robotic new-wave band, Devo, will perform live and in person at the Santa Cruz Civic on Nov. 2. One of the globe’s finest guitarists, Mali-born Vieux Farka Toure, will visit the stage at Moe’s Alley on Feb. 10. He’s the heart and soul of the Drive-By Truckers, and now Patterson Hood is touring solo, coming to Felton Music Hall on Dec. 15. The fine singer-songwriter Alejandro Escovedo plays Nov. 17 at Moe’s.

Be sure to check out Lookout’s carefully curated and constantly updated planning guide, Down the Line, for the staggering riches and amazing choices awaiting Santa Cruz audiences. It’s our look ahead at the best shows, concerts and events through the rest of the year at clubs, stages and venues all over the county.

The logo for Baine's Nine

B9: What’s what in the week ahead

Here they are, nine necessary know-abouts for the week ahead. It’s the It’s-October-already! B9:

  1. Looking for an exciting and rootsy American original? Remember this name: Valerie June.
  2. Wednesday nights don’t get any cooler than watching Jordan Peele’s horror flick “Us,” in the Cocoanut Grove, right beside where the movie was shot.
  3. Santa Cruz novelist Nina Simon is having a moment. Yep, that’s her on the New York Times bestseller list. Ask her about it in Capitola.
  4. Don’t let summer fade away without a sendoff. The popular Midtown summer block party gives it one last hurrah Friday.
  5. What could the visual-arts world really be in Santa Cruz? Drop in on the “Ten” exhibition grand opening and see a vision of what could be.
  6. There’s always room for another brilliant songwriter with a guitar in your life. It’s time to experience David Luning.
  7. Folk, soul, gospel, even a dollop of disco are all on the menu for one night of celebrating music and community activism with MaMuse and Wildchoir.
  8. Teddy? FDR? Nope, this Roosevelt is an internationally celebrated German-born synth-pop artist who explores everything from funk to punk.
  9. Latin jazz meets the Grateful Dead, because, of course. The Latin Dead cracks the code live at Felton Music Hall.
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New ‘Ten’ show opens ‘art season’ in Santa Cruz

art on display at the Radius Gallery at the Tannery Arts Center in Santa Cruz
Inside “Ten” at the Radius Gallery at the Tannery Arts Center. Credit: Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz

Aiming to showcase the “endless” pool of Santa Cruz County arts talent, the group show “Ten” opens Saturday at the Radius Gallery at the Tannery and M.K. Contemporary Art, formerly Curated By the Sea. M.K. owner Melissa Kreisa says “Ten” can be an annual event and, coinciding with the annual Open Studios, herald a fall art season in a county brimming with accomplished artists. Read more here.

10 must-see stops on the 37th annual Santa Cruz County Open Studios Art Tour

Trivia Night recap

Wallace Baine hosting Lookout's September trivia night Tuesday at Abbott Square.

Man, did we all have a great time at the last Lookout Trivia Night of the season at Abbott Square on Tuesday. As the host of the show for two years now, I’ve come to appreciate how difficult it is to produce an entertaining evening of trivia that finds the sweet spot between too easy and too difficult. Plus, you have to find questions that have some relevance to people’s interests and don’t feel like they’re pulled out of a box of Trivial Pursuit.

We did our show once a month through the summer months, which means we’ll be dark until 2024. But please keep an ear peeled for our announcement of a new trivia night season come next spring. That gives us plenty of time to produce an even better show. Thanks to everyone who has participated this year, and we’ll see you in ’24.

The Catalyst Club Weekender ad 9/28

Earworm of the Week

I’ve lived a long time on this planet and I’ve yet to hear anyone say, “You know what this party really needs right now? Bongos.” The accordion, the trombone, the “keytar,” let’s also toss the bongo drums into the Unfairly Maligned Joke Instrument Club. It’s the one thing everyone (wrongly) thinks they can play. But you know who could really play the bongos? Dude by the name of Preston Epps. An Oklahoma native and veteran of the Korean War, Epps landed on the pop charts way back in 1959 with something called (with uninspiring directness) “Bongo Rock.” This instrumental novelty tune begins like any vaguely surf-guitar-ish dance-floor number until the guitar retreats and lets Epps rip. And what follows is nothing short of astonishing, a propulsive fury of ecstatic drumming that you feel sure can’t be sustained. Yet, just when you think the drummer is about to keel over in exhaustion, it keeps going and going. And you’ll find yourself exhorting, in the language of the era, “Go, Daddy, Go!” Alas, despite its popularity, “Bongo Rock” proved to be a one-off. Epps, who lived to be 88, attempted follow-ups like “Bongo in the Congo” and the rather desperate-sounding “Bongo Bongo Bongo.” But bongo novelty tunes are one of those things that no one wants two of, apparently. Still, we have that one hit, giving the bongos a bit of respectability. The keytar could only hope for such a moment of glory.

A screengrab from the video for Preston Epps' song

Santa Cruz County Trivia

No cheating now: What words are emblazoned on the famous neon clock outside Shopper’s Corner market on Soquel Avenue?

A person in a Brussels sprout costume rides a Boardwalk ride
Credit: Via Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

Last week: Yes, the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk did indeed hold a food festival throughout the 1980s and early ’90s devoted to one specific food item. Do you remember the Brussels Sprout Festival? That’s a thing that happened. Remember, back then, Brussels sprouts were down there with rutabagas as America’s least favorite veg. Gradually, we all learned of better ways to prepare them and now they’re solidly middle class in popularity, and maybe this annual festival had something to do with that. We do know that chocolate-covered Brussels sprouts were served, which might have been the last time anyone in human history has attempted such a thing.


That’s all I got, friends. Come at me with comments, ideas, complaints, or thundering insights. Thanks to all Lookout members for your faith and support, and please, spread the word on what we’re doing.

Wallace reports and writes not only across his familiar areas of deep interest — including arts, entertainment and culture — but also is chronicling for Lookout the challenges the people of Santa Cruz...