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Hi friends,

Remember these names: Morgen Jacobs. Joey Spence. Victor Gonzalez. Andres Perez. Bernard P. Corpuz. Kylan Jones-Huffman. Jason Hendrix. They are among those from Santa Cruz County who lost their lives in combat serving their country in Iraq and Afghanistan. This Memorial Day, let’s honor them and their families not with grief or guilt, but with grace and gratitude. However you feel about those wars, or war in general, the conviction to risk one’s life in service to others is worthy of our respect. Find a moment in your holiday weekend to raise a glass to the fallen.

Now, on with the show.

This Just In!

Among the newly booked shows coming to Santa Cruz County venues is the great saxophonist Joshua Redman, slated for Kuumbwa Jazz on Sept. 20. Also at the Kuumbwa, look for the unconventional originals in the quartet The Bad Plus, who come to town Aug. 10. The German synth-pop singer with the very American stage name Roosevelt arrives at The Catalyst on Sept. 29. The “tribal electronica” band Beats Antique will play The Catalyst on Oct. 28. The fine folk duo MaMuse teams up with the choral group WildChoir for a big show at The Rio on Sept. 30. And more than 40 professional dancers will take the stage Nov. 17 at the Santa Cruz Civic for the ballet “Cinderella” as part of the World Ballet Series.

Housing Month Ad

Check out my 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. Welcome to the B9:

  1. Looking for a strong dose of Americana this Memorial Day weekend? Felton’s Covered Bridge Festival and Parade is there for you.
  2. The amazing run of literary events in this town continues with the appearance of the brilliant novelist Lisa See at Bookshop Santa Cruz.
  3. Famed musician and record producer Peter Asher has some stories to tell about McCartney, Jagger, Ronstadt, James Taylor and many more. And he’s telling those stories live at the Kuumbwa.
  4. Wait, opera? On campus? For free? Based on a beloved literary fable known all over world? Tell us more.
  5. All the way from India and straight to The Catalyst come the “psychedelic cabaret” sounds of the Peter Cat Recording Co.
  6. Music professionals come together for a thoughtful and wide-ranging community discussion on the continuing evolution of the music industry.
  7. Cabrillo College is ground zero for the intriguing Music In May chamber-music festival with back-to-back concerts Saturday and Sunday.
  8. Yes, country music can definitely have a California flavor. Need proof? Discover Tyler Rich.
  9. It’s pronounced like “dive,” but that’s only the beginning of the amazing discovery process that leads you to the great Scottish folk band Daimh.

Host a musician

The Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music is back in person at the Civic Auditorium for the first time since 2019.
The Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music is back in person at the Civic Auditorium for the first time since 2019. Credit: Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz

The Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, set to run July 29 through Aug. 13, is a fixture on Santa Cruz County’s summer calendar — and if you’ve got an in-law unit or a spare room, you can host a performer or composer in town for the occasion. Read more here.

Shows coming to The Catalyst this week

The development debate in art

Longtime local artist Russell Brutsche has some thoughts on the build-now mentality he sees powering the wave of construction in downtown Santa Cruz, and you can see those thoughts set to canvas in a First Friday exhibition. Read more here.

The free music season

A band performs on the Colonnade Stage at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
Credit: Via Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

From the wharf and Boardwalk in Santa Cruz to the Capitola Village beachfront — and all kinds of other spots — free concerts abound as spring turns to summer. Read more here.

Earworm of the Week

As a writer, I might be expected to always stand up for lyrics in songcraft and to consider them primary to the experience of enjoying music. Sure, I’m a word guy, and I love great songwriting as much as the next audiophile. But I’ve found that melody, rhythm and instrumentation often give more power to words than the other way around. For example, one of the most profoundly moving musical expressions ever recorded is one with an utterly breathtaking vocal performance, but no words. I’m talking about “The Great Gig in the Sky,” from Pink Floyd’s landmark “Dark Side of the Moon,” which celebrates its 50th anniversary this spring. “Dark Side” is, of course, one of the most famous albums of the 20th century, so this song is certainly no obscurity. You’ve probably heard it dozens of times (or more), but, perhaps as a nod to the recording’s half-century mark, I would encourage anyone to hear it again and try to experience it afresh. It is a haunting masterpiece of wordless vocalizing, the work of British singer Clare Torry, who improvised a keening wail over music written by Floyd’s keyboardist Richard Wright. The song is so powerful because you’re not listening to, and then interpreting, language. You’re only reacting to the human voice put to stunning use of communicating deeply felt anguish and defiance without a single word uttered. If you’re hearing this for the first time, prepare to be rendered speechless.

A screengrab from a video for Pink Floyd's song

All the Earworms in one place

For those who’ve been following my Earworm of the Week, I’ve assembled a playlist that contains them all.

Santa Cruz County Trivia

What well-known landmark in Santa Cruz County is named for a once wealthy Canadian who died penniless and was buried in an unmarked grave south of San Francisco?

Last week’s answer: According to, there are 292 places in the world called “Santa Cruz,” in 36 countries. Which of these countries has the most Santa Cruzes? It is the Philippines, which has more than twice as many as the second-place country on the list, Mexico. There are, in fact, 62 municipalities named Santa Cruz in the Philippines. And how many cities called Santa Cruz are in the U.S.? Five, one more than Costa Rica, one less than Cuba. The American Santa Cruzes include one each in Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and Puerto Rico. (And, well, you know about the fifth one.)


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...