Hi friends,

Dear Trader Joe’s, In regard to the sign at the Front Street entrance of your fine store in downtown Santa Cruz, closed since the pandemic — I don’t think you know what the word “temporary” means. Happy to lend you my dictionary. Just trying to be helpful, Sincerely, Just Some Guy.

Now, on with the show.

This Just In!

There’s a big benefit planned to help out locals who were displaced by last winter’s floods. The event called “Pajaro Rising” features appearances by three literary luminaries including Watsonville memoirist Jaime Cortez, Colombia-born Pulitzer Prize finalist Ingrid Rojas Contreras and Bay Area essayist and historian Rebecca Solnit, all at the Cowell Ranch Hay Barn on Nov. 30, with all proceeds going to the Pajaro Long-Term Recovery Center. Bookshop Santa Cruz brings writer Temple Grandin to the London Nelson Center to talk about her latest book Nov. 28. The Clam Chowder Cook-Off returns to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk on Feb. 24-25. Plus, the jazz band that specializes in the unique sound of the Gullah community of coastal South Carolina, Ranky Tanky, comes to the Kuumbwa on Jan. 8.

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 “earthquake-weather” B9:

  1. One more time: It’s a rousing encore weekend for the Open Studios tour, with artists’ studios open for visitors from across the county.
  2. The amazing Carsie Blanton somehow combines the 1950s-bad-girl-from-the-wrong-side-of-town vibe with a thoroughly modern speak-truth-to-power coolness.
  3. One of Santa Cruz’s most celebrated poets, Ellen Bass, teams up with talented newcomer Edgar Kunz at “The Hive Live!”
  4. The Santa Cruz Symphony goes all-out for the opera buffs in its audience with performances of Mozart, Rossini, Verdi, Bizet and Beethoven, on Saturday at the Santa Cruz Civic, Sunday at the Mello in Watsonville.
  5. Beer, wine and the refined pleasures of Pleasure Point. Now that’s a promising Saturday afternoon.
  6. I wasn’t able to sleep much after seeing the Actors’ Theatre ghostly production of “The Thin Place,” which I suspect was exactly what the director was after.
  7. If you dig the places where classical music intermingles with Celtic folk, you’re in for a treat with Fire & Grace.
  8. Kellen and Jamie Coffis love no recording artist more ardently than the late great Tom Petty. On Saturday, the Coffis Brothers bring that passion to the stage.
  9. What’s that? You’d love to support Bonny Doon Community School? And taste fabulous beers and wines at the same time? Surrounded by beautiful art? It’s your lucky weekend.
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Capitola floods horror fiction

The cover of Debra Castaneda's novel

The latest novel from former KION-TV news director Debra Castaneda is directly inspired by Capitola’s experience with the Storm of ’23. “A Dark and Rising Tide” imagines a scary winter storm that actually brings forth some enormous and mysterious sea creature, and a couple trying to survive both the ocean’s fury and the monster it washed to shore.

Read my full story here on Castaneda’s newest work and the process behind it.

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

Welcome to Satori

Choreographer and performance artist Tom Brady
Choreographer and performance artist Tom Brady. Credit: Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz

“The Hive Live!,” the poetry reading presented by the Hive Poetry Collective, comes around again next week, on Tuesday evening. This time, the event is hosting one of Santa Cruz’s poetry brand names, the great teacher and poet Ellen Bass, along with fellow poet Edgar Kunz, a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford and author of an acclaimed new volume called “Fixer.”

What’s also remarkable about the next “Hive Live!” is its venue. It’s taking place at Satori, a new performance space on Santa Cruz’s Westside. The studio is the home of performance artist Tom Brady, a celebrated performer in the Midwest before moving to Santa Cruz less than a decade ago.

Satori is not prominent. It exists in a small industrial park on Almar Avenue that also houses the guitar shop of the late guitarmaker Rick Turner. But it’s a new performance space that might become a hot spot for other events.

Enjoy the poetry event Tuesday, and check out the new space as well.

More Halloween stuff

In a recent roundup of Halloween-themed events coming up in Santa Cruz County, I neglected to mention a big Halloween bash taking place at El Vaquero, the fun little winery on Freedom Boulevard near the turnoff to Corralitos.

El Vaquero will be hosting Michael Gaither & His New Best Friends, on Saturday, Oct. 28, for a Halloween-flavored show. Should be a blast.

The Catalyst Club weekender ad 10/19

Earworm of the Week

Elvis, Beatles, Michael Jackson … Taylor Swift? Has Tay-Tay actually attained that level of international fame? I like her music just fine (“Anti-Hero” is a jam!). But — warning, old-fart take ahead — I’m mystified about what exactly elevates her from any number of great female millennial artists out there. One I find much more compelling is British-born singer-songwriter Lily Allen. Mind you, Allen is no secret. In the U.K., she qualifies as a bona fide superstar (with the paparazzi battles to prove it), and her tempestuous career choices and her occasionally middle-finger attitude to the media sphere make her an awkward comparison with Swift (plus, Tay would never record this). One of Allen’s most beloved songs is “The Fear,” a jaunty piece of satire that bites, and bites hard, taking aim at precisely the kind of cynical privilege that might reflect the values (or lack thereof) of a significant part of her fan base. She’s also marketed her own sex toy, and walked away from music stardom to be a stage actress in New York? Can anyone imagine Taylor Swift doing any of those things? Yeah, me neither.

A screengrab from the video for Lily Allen's song

Santa Cruz County Trivia

Just two years before he became a bona fide movie star as co-writer and co-star of “Good Will Hunting,” Ben Affleck starred in a film shot largely in Santa Cruz. What was the name of that film?

Ben Affleck in a movie set in Santa Cruz
Credit: Via Fusion Studios, Inc.

Last week: What’s the now largely extinct place name that old-timers might use in reference to the area where Freedom Boulevard meets Highway 1 to the east of Aptos? It’s Rob Roy Junction, which was once the main turnoff to get to the small town of Rob Roy, now called La Selva Beach. As late as 2000, there was a Rob Roy Video Store in La Selva.


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...