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The Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music — one of the country’s most adventurous music festivals — comes again to Santa Cruz this weekend for its 59th year, though, just as in 2020, this summer’s festival is an online-only affair. Still, until the Cabrillo Fest can again take up its rightful place at the Civic Auditorium, audiences are able to connect with the festival’s programming, which this year consists of cutting-edge relevant subjects like fire and climate change. Setting the tone out the gate is “Contested Eden,” a piece that mourns and pays homage to what was lost in last summer’s fires in the mountains. Check it out on Saturday, and support this unique festival.
Elsewhere, Cabrillo Stage closes its outdoor summer season with a bunch of performances of the immortal “Pirates of Penzance,” and Bonny Doon visual artists open their studios to the curious and the adventurous. Check it all out in our BOLO calendar. And in our Down The Line calendar, see what’s in store for your futures into 2022. BOLO also has its own Instagram, too — follow us here.
Now, here’s what Team BOLO thinks you should know for the weekend and beyond:
Greensky Bluegrass: All summer long, Felton Music Hall has been presenting socially distanced pod-centric outdoor shows on the beautiful lawn at Roaring Camp, and the summer series comes to an end with back-to-back live shows from Greensky Bluegrass. This Michigan-based quintet has been performing together close to 20 years, and their approach has to been to bring a wide variety of styles and flavors to traditional bluegrass instrumentation. One of the most adventurous and unpredictable acts on the bluegrass circuit plays Thursday and Friday at Roaring Camp.
“Contested Eden”: The Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music opens its second consecutive virtual season (and 59th season overall) featuring Berkeley-born composer Gabriela Lena Frank’s latest piece that focuses on the 2020 California wildfires. The piece will be presented in several incarnations: for chamber ensemble, full orchestra, and the supporting music for a dance performance by dancer/choreographer Molly Katzman in the Santa Cruz Mountains burn zone. The all-virtual event takes place at 7 p.m., followed by a live talk with Frank, Katzman and the Cabrillo Festival’s artistic director, Cristian Macelaru. Go to the Cabrillo Festival’s site for access and show details.
Moshe Vilozny & Peter Harper: Santa Cruz singer/songwriter Moshe Vilozny returns to Moe’s Alley, the club where he worked for years as its chief booking agent, this time as a performer. Vilozny combines his Americana sound, flecked with international influences, with that of fellow recording artist Peter Harper, also an accomplished visual artist and brother of star Ben Harper, in an evening of song and reflection at The Yard at Moe’s Alley. The fun gets started at 6 p.m.
“In the Works”: The Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music continues its two-weekend virtual season with this concert showcasing the work of three rising composers: Meng Wang, Jeremy Rapaport-Stein and Theo Chandler. Each of the composers worked closely with the musicians of the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, under the direction of artistic director Cristian Macelaru. The concert takes place at 7 p.m. Sunday. Go to the Cabrillo Festival’s website for access directions and show details.
— Wallace Baine
“Pirates of Penzance”: Cabrillo Stage wraps up its frenetic 2021 summer season with a weekend of performances of the beloved Victorian-era Gilbert & Sullivan comic opera “Pirates of Penzance” and its well-known “patter” songs, including the unforgettable “Major-General’s Song.” Directed by Joseph Ribeiro with musical direction from Cheryl Anderson, “Pirates” plays for five performances — Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 6 p.m. and Saturday/Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. at Cabrillo’s outdoor amphitheater.
“The Agitators”: Santa Cruz Shakespeare comes roaring back with live, in-person theater at the Grove at DeLaveaga Park for the first time since 2019. Mat Smart’s two-character play “The Agitators” is an evocative historical dramatization of the real-life decades-long, up-and-down friendship between 19th-century civil-rights icons Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony, starring, respectively, SCS veterans Allen Gilmore and Patty Gallagher. Performances this weekend include Friday night at 8, Saturday afternoon at 2, and Sunday night at 7. The show runs periodically through Aug. 29.
“RII”: Santa Cruz Shakespeare heads forthrightly into the post-pandemic live theater world with its first in-person performances in two years. The Shakespearean offering at SCS this summer is Jessica Kubzansky’s smart adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Richard II,” titled “RII.” The play, using Shakespeare’s own words, converts the Bard’s play into a three-actor showcase, highlighting today’s relevance of the story of the ill-fated King Richard. This weekend’s performances include Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Saturday at 8 p.m. and a Sunday matinee at 1 p.m., with following performances taking place periodically through Aug. 29.
— Wallace Baine
Pardis Parker at Greater Purpose Brewing: Pardis Parker is the creator and star of Comedy Central’s “Mideast Minute,” a writer whose work has been published by the New Yorker, the New York Times and more. Parker has headlined comedy shows throughout Canada and the United States and will be making an appearance at Greater Purpose Brewing this Saturday.
— Haneen Zain
DoonArt Studio Tour: Bonny Doon’s annual art studios tour returns this year with 24 artists sharing their work and showing off their studios after a forced hiatus in 2020. (“It was just me here for an extended period of time,” ceramicist Mattie Leeds told Lookout’s Wallace Baine. “So I got into some new stuff.”) The tour began as an effort to make Bonny Doon artists more visible to the county — the region’s more remote studios don’t always get a lot of traffic during the countywide Open Studios tour in October. Objects both practical and artistic will be available to purchase, including paintings, photography, woodworking, ceramics, furniture, tiles, textiles and jewelry, with many artists demonstrating their techniques for visitors. The DoonArt Studio Tour is free Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Visit its Facebook page for a map of participating studios and more information.
— Laurel Bushman
FOOD & DRINK
Regenerative Cannabis Farm Tour: Bird Valley Organics and Lifted Organics Farms come together to provide an immersive farm tour through over 20 varieties of cannabis. The event will provide happy hour snacks by local Tabitha Stroup of Friend in Cheeses Jam Co. and Shef. Watsonville’s Slough Brewing Collective will be crafting a special terpene-infused beer for the event.
Farm-to-Table Event at Lonely Mountain Farm: Owned by Kenny and Molly Baker, Lonely Mountain Farm supplies some of the most environmentally friendly and sustainable crops in Santa Cruz County. In conjunction with award-winning chef Brad Briske, owner of Soquel restaurant Home, Outstanding in the Field hosts a farm-to-table event culminating in a meal with all top-tier ingredients.
— Haneen Zain
KIDS & FAMILY
Art at the Beach: Enjoy a day out in Capitola Village and visit the first August installment of Art at the Beach. You will have the opportunity to purchase a variety of pieces of different styles and mediums from local vendors, such as paintings, photography, jewelry, sculptures and more.
— Max Chun
The Westside Marketplace: The Westside Marketplace, held the first Sunday of every month in the Old Wrigley Building parking lot, has just about everything you might want in a local market: food trucks, drinks, local art and more. This Sunday’s live music will be from Adrea Castiano and band from 2-5 p.m. Friendly, leashed dogs allowed, too.
— Max Chun
Andy Pancakes featuring Tammi Brown headlines Midtown Block Party: Every Friday in the heart of Midtown, a parking lot is transformed into a venue filled with local artists, food vendors and new performers every week. This week’s headliner, Andy Pancakes, comes in two forms: a solo artist or a band. The band has its roots in Santa Cruz with Tammi Brown as its lead vocalist. Brown is known for her role with the Lost American Jazz Book act and also performs with Grammy-nominated vocal ensemble The Cultural Heritage Choir.
— Haneen Zain
NOTE: An earlier version of this story listed “Zootopia” Movie Night on Tuesday as a Best Bet; the event was postponed Friday over COVID-19 concerns.
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