Quick Take:

Your place to go for things to do in Santa Cruz County.

With rain expected to come to our drought-stricken region this weekend, there are bound to be more than a few impromptu celebrations, or at least some dancing in the street, across the county. But as far as planned events go, look for the return of a couple of familiar touchstones we haven’t seen since the good old days of 2019: the return of the Santa Cruz Symphony, and the Boardwalk’s Chili Cook-Off, not to mention a return to a live runway show at Pivot: The Art of Fashion.

Taken together, the rain, all that chili, the fashion show, the symphony, Halloween on the horizon — well, at least for a weekend, it all feels a lot like pre-pandemic times. Huzzah to that!

— Wallace Baine

See our full BOLO calendar listings for events in Santa Cruz here. And as if that isn’t enough, we have you covered for all the MAJOR events coming up into the next year with Down The Line, a listing assembled by Wallace Baine that’s your key to getting tickets before they sell out.

Now, here’s what Team BOLO thinks you should know for the weekend and beyond:

(Click category headers for full BOLO listings in that category.)


Country and Western performer Dave Stamey

Dave Stamey: Any conversation about contemporary cowboy music has to begin with Dave Stamey, a cowboy and rancher, who’s also an accomplished singer-songwriter. Stamey doesn’t waste much time with non-cowboy themes in his songs, as you might pick up from his most popular tunes like “Buckaroo Man,” “Montana,” “The Bandit Joaquin,” and “Somewhere West of Laramie.” If you’re thinking he’s some kind of tongue-in-cheek Gene Autry parody act, think again. Stamey’s songs have a poignance and power as broad as the wide-open West. See the Western Music Hall of Famer live Friday at Michael’s on Main in Soquel.

Santa Cruz Symphony: It’s been a loooong time since local music lovers have been able to see the Santa Cruz Symphony Orchestra perform live. And now, finally, the opening concert of the symphony’s ambitious new season is upon us. On Saturday evening at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium, and again Sunday afternoon at the Mello Center in Watsonville, the symphony will present “Remembrance & Rejuvenation” as a way to honor the trauma of the past year and to move forward into the new one. The concert will begin with Samuel Barber’s heartbreaking “Adagio for Strings” and also feature pieces by Corelli and Tchaikovsky, as well as the astronomically inspired “Starburst” from contemporary composer Jessie Montgomery. Saturday’s concert begins at 7:30 p.m., Sunday’s at 2 p.m.

Ralph Anybody fundraiser: One of the region’s most familiar radio voices, KPIG’s Ralph Anybody, suffered a big loss recently when a tree fell on his home. Now, after years of hosting similar fundraisers, Ralph is the man of the hour in a show that serves as a kind of all-star game of local musicians. Among those slated to perform are Mira Goto, Anthony Arya, Carolyn Sills Combo, Hank & Ella, Patti Maxine, Michael Gaither, and several others. Join the party and lend a hand Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Kuumbwa Jazz Center.

Pivot: The Art of Fashion: The red-letter date of the year in the realm of Santa Cruz fashion takes place this year at the Tannery Arts Center, as close to 40 artists and designers showcase their latest apparel creations, from the chic and desirable to the zany and outrageous. The designers come from near (merely steps away at the Tannery lofts) and far (from the East Coast, Hawaii, and other points), all participating in an unforgettable runway show with live music and other surprises. The show begins at 7:30 p.m. (with a VIP pre-party at 5:30 p.m.) Only one fashion accessory is required for admission. Yep, don’t forget your face mask.

Branford Marsalis: Jazz royalty comes to the Kuumbwa Jazz Center in the person of the great sax man Branford Marsalis and his quartet. Son of Ellis, brother of Wynton, the New Orleans-born Branford Marsalis has been exploring the outer reaches of jazz since first emerging from his brother’s band in the mid 1980s. Mainstream audiences probably know him best as the bandleader on “The Tonight Show,” but his collaborations have reached broadly across the artistic universe from Sting to Spike Lee. Most recently, he composed and performed the soundtrack to the Netflix film “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” The Marsalis Quartet plays two shows Monday at the Kuumbwa, 6:30 and 9 p.m.

— Wallace Baine


A flyer for the Boardwalk Bites and Brews festival

Boardwalk Bites and Brews: Happening every Thursday and Friday through Nov. 19, the Boardwalk’s private event chef, Scott Meyer, delivers food paired with beers from Santa Cruz and beyond. This week’s dishes include tri-tip sandwiches, samosas and potato jax. You can pair this event with music and movies, too: There will be a live band at nearby Neptune’s Stage on Thursdays from 6:30-7:30 p.m. (Harry & the Hitmen is this week’s act), and movies on the beach at 6:30 p.m. Fridays (this week featuring “The Big Lebowski”).

Annual Boardwalk Chili Cook-Off: The Boardwalk Chili Cook off is back for another year. The event is open to the public and anybody is able to make a team and join in on the competition. Attendees can purchase a tasting kit in order to try chili throughout the day and vote on their personal favorites. Those competing will receive free all-day ride passes with the entry fee.

Santa Cruz Mountain Vintners Festival: Take your pick of more 25 local wineries, buy your passport and make reservations for groups of up to six. At each stop, guests will enjoy a flight of three to five wines delivered by knowledgeable staff.

— Haneen Zain


A flyer for the Creepy Carnival at London Nelson

Creepy Carnival at London Nelson Center: Halloween is just more than a week away, so what could be better than a Halloween-themed festival complete with a haunted house and crafts? Mask-making and haunted house walks are happening all day, with the family-friendly haunted house in the afternoon and the scarier version at night ($5 admission). Come with the whole family, wear costumes, and get spooky!

— Max Chun


Mural artist Yermo Aranda at work.
Mural artist Yermo Aranda at work. Credit: Via Santa Cruz County Parks

Artist of the Year: Santa Cruz County’s Artist of the Year for 2021 is well-known Watsonville painter and muralist Guillermo Aranda. And to celebrate Aranda and his decades-long work, the county’s Arts Commission is hosting a virtual event Saturday afternoon during which the artist will speak about his many murals and his many years as a teacher of mural painting. Also performing will be the Whitehawk Dancers, a group that teaches and performs traditional Aztec dancing. The group was co-founded by Aranda. The online event takes place Saturday from 3 to 4:30 p.m.

“Mi Casa es Tu Casa”: It’s a big month coming up at the Pajaro Valley Arts gallery, as PV Arts mounts its ambitious “Mi Casa es Tu Casa” art exhibit with a packed schedule of events. The theme for this year’s event is “History, Loss, and Healing,” with a long roster of participating artists including Amalia Mesa-Bains, Carmen Leon, Priscilla Martinez, Shmuel Thaler, Myra Eastman, and many others. Events in the coming weeks include performances and film screenings, a candlelight vigil, a poetry event, a writing workshop, and lots more. The whole thing starts on Wednesday at the PVA gallery, 37 Sudden St., downtown Watsonville.

“Homecoming”: The Radius Gallery at the Tannery is the site for a remarkable showing of new art from five local artists, each having been evacuated during the 2020 CZU fires in Santa Cruz. Dan Hennig (sculpture), Laurie Hennig (sculpture), Todd LeJeune (painting), Leslie Morgan (mixed media, painting, resin) and Margaret Niven (painting, printmaking) all created works to reflect their experiences in the aftermath of the fires. The Radius is open Wednesdays through Sundays noon-5 p.m. and by appointment. The show runs through Nov. 7. Yep, it’s free.

— Wallace Baine


Author Laura Davis and her memoir,

Laura Davis: Santa Cruz-based author Laura Davis has built a career helping others to heal and to navigate many of life’s obstacles. She first emerged more than 30 years ago as the co-author (with poet Ellen Bass) of the bestselling “The Courage to Heal,” and has written several books since then on parenting, repairing broken relationships, and other topics. Now she takes part in a virtual event sponsored by Bookshop Santa Cruz to talk about her latest work, and her first memoir, “The Burning Light of Two Stars,” about her relationship with her mother. The book is released on the day of the online talk. Things get started Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Lara Vapnyar: The 2021 Living Writers Series presented by the UCSC Literature Department and Creative Writing Program is focusing this fall on writers from the non-English-speaking world. This week, the series continues with Russian-born fiction writer Lara Vapnyar, who has written novels and short stories in Russian and English. The former Guggenheim fellow will discuss her latest book, “Divide Me By Zero,” in a virtual online event sponsored by the Humanities Institute at UCSC and by Bookshop Santa Cruz. It gets started at 5:15 p.m. next Thursday.

— Wallace Baine


Comedian Kiry Shabazz

Kiry Shabazz headlines Greater Purpose Comedy Night: Kiry Shabazz is a stand-up comedian from Cleveland, now based in Los Angeles and a regular on the Northern California comedy scene. Shabazz recently made his television debut on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” and was the winner of the 2017 “Standup NBC” competition. Proof of vaccination against COVID-19 required.

— Haneen Zain


A flyer for the Boardwalk Chili Cook-Off

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk Chili Cook-Off: Head beachside Saturday for some chili tasting at the return of the Boardwalk’s Chili Cook-off. Cooking begins at 10 a.m. and public tasting begins at 1 p.m. Both professional and amateur chefs will be competing to see who will come out as this year’s champ.

Roaring Camp Harvest Faire and Steam Festival: If you were unable to make it last weekend, there’s still time to get to Roaring Camp for its Harvest Faire and Steam Festival. There will be plenty of fall-specific activities and crafts such as pumpkin-picking, candle-making, scarecrow-making, and gold panning. There will also be steam- and belt-powered equipment on display.

— Max Chun


A flyer for

“Stoke the Fire” and “Mountain Revelations”: The Rio Theatre presents a double feature presented by Teton Gravity Research. “Stoke the Fire” is a ski and snowboard film featuring an impressive roster of athletes and a killer soundtrack bound to get you pumped for the ski season. “Mountain Revelations” begins right afterward and follows three professional snowboarders as they explore the extreme terrain of Alaska’s Chugach Mountains. Attendees must show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test taken within 72 hours of the event.

— Max Chun


Sign up for our weekly Best Bets newsletter, sent every Thursday afternoon.

You can also get our weekly Best Bets text alert by signing up here or texting the word BOLO to (831) 387-7662.

Send arts, entertainment and culture events you think should be listed (for free) to us at bolo@lookoutlocal.com.

If you’re planning or producing your own event, click on the Promote Your Event button on the calendar.

Questions, comments, concerns? Email bolo@lookoutlocal.com.