The Great Morgani
Curated By The Sea gallery’s “Exhibitionist” pairs 10 visual artworks with 10 wearable works, including this feathery Great Morgani.
City Life

BOLO Best Bets: Patti Smith, Padma Lakshmi, First Friday galore and Bacon & Bloody Mary Fest

Hi friends,

As it always does, September snuck up on all of us quickly. And while mid-September features big, festival-like events in Santa Cruz and Watsonville alike, the week ahead could be called the Week of Patti and Padma. The former is, of course, the great Patti Smith, who’s next on deck for the Dream Inn’s innovative “vertical concert” series Wednesday. And then there’s the elegant foodie Padma Lakshmi, who appears in a live virtual event, courtesy of Bookshop Santa Cruz next Thursday, Sept. 9.

Before all that, though, is the fabulous First Friday arts event all across Santa Cruz, just now stretching its legs and hitting its post-pandemic stride. If you haven’t participated yet this summer, now’s the time to join the parade.

— Wallace Baine

Lookout Santa Cruz’s BOLO (Be On the Lookout) calendar is “your place to go for things to do” in Santa Cruz County.

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.


Best Bets is presented by Santa Cruz Community Credit Union, CineLux Theatres and Santa Cruz County Chamber of Commerce.

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.)


San Lorenzo Valley native Jesse Daniel
Jesse Daniel.

Jesse Daniel: Just as he says in his song “Son of the San Lorenzo,” this young country singer/songwriter was shaped by his growing up near Ben Lomond, where he “ate blackberries right off the vine,” as he sings. Despite the bucolic trappings, Daniel’s story has had its share of travails, as he’s fought back from almost getting consumed by weeds, booze and pills. Having gotten out of town, traveled the country, and ended up in Texas to record his latest country record, “Beyond These Walls,” Daniel comes back to his old stomping grounds. This could be a special night, for a special artist. He plays Felton Music Hall on Thursday.

AZA: The band AZA is inspired by the lively folk music of the Imazighen people of Morocco, sung in the Tamazight language. That might sound exotic, but the truth is that AZA has been performing in Santa Cruz for close to two decades. Led by longtime friends and native Moroccans Fattah Abbou and Mohamed Aoualua, AZA plays a blend of North African and Middle Eastern dance music with an unmistakable California influence pushing forward as well. AZA plays a dinner-and-a-show concert at Michael’s on Main in Soquel.

Gimme Gimme Disco: Sometimes you just need a big helping of kitsch and glitter with familiar tunes, hideous outfits and funny hair. And Felton Music Hall is ready to deliver. FMH will be hosting this decadent and hilariously tacky 1970s disco party, inspired by the music, clothes and general awesomeness of ABBA. Get out the hot pants and powder blue tux jackets, but that leaves one question: Do they make spandex face masks? The party starts at 8 p.m.

Patti Smith: When you think of the gritty and poetic New York punk-rock matriarch Patti Smith, you probably don’t also think of a groovy poolside stage by the beach, but that’s exactly what’s set to happen Wednesday. The woman who gave the world “Dream of Life” (one of her finest albums) will perform live with her trio at the Dream Inn, in the latest of the Dream Inn’s “vertical concert” series. Tickets are predictably pricey, because they include a room with a view of the show and a one-of-a-kind experience. (Things start just under $600 and the primo seats touch four figures, though divided among four people, the maximum headcount per room, maybe that’s doable). But here’s a pro tip: If past vertical shows are any indication, you can hear pretty well from Cowell Beach.

— Wallace Baine


A portrait by Abi Mustapha.

It’s a big week for art in Santa Cruz County with First Friday brewing, and the highest concentration of navigable art per square foot will be at The Tannery Arts Center. There, Apricity Gallery will feature the ghostly paintings of Scott Rasmann, portrait artist Abi Mustapha will open up her studio, Radius Gallery continues its evocative “What Remains” exhibition, Printmakers at the Tannery and TAC Clay Studio open up to the public, and much more. Many of these spaces are open only for First Friday and then by appointment, so don’t miss the opportunity to peek into these artists’ minds.

Other notable First Friday goings-on include a pop-up exhibition at the Santa Cruz Art League featuring bold artwork and gritty photography by young locals Milo Halperin and Sean Balto. The reception starts at 6 p.m. Friday and the show runs until Sept. 11.

And Curated by the Sea gallery presents “Exhibitionist,” pairing 10 visual artworks with 10 wearable works from the upcoming production of “Pivot: The Art of Fashion.” A feathery Great Morgani number meets the abstract musings of Beth Shields, for example. Jazz ensemble “Los Improvidors” will play at the gallery’s First Friday reception from 6-8 p.m.

— Laurel Bushman


Sandra Cisneros.

Sandra Cisneros: The celebrated author, poet and essayist has been one of the most prominent and insightful writers on the contemporary Chicana experience for decades, and she’s still at it. In this live virtual event, Cisneros joins writer Ruben Martinez in an event co-sponsored by The Humanities Institute at UC Santa Cruz. The subject of conversation will be the author’s latest novel, “Martita, I Remember You,” a uniquely packaged novella told in both English and Spanish. A $16 ticket gets you participation in the conversation and a copy of the book. Things get started at 7 p.m.

Padma Lakshmi: Fans of TV cooking shows need no introduction to the fabulous Padma Lakshmi, the Indian-born host of “Top Chef” (and let’s not forget Hulu’s underrated “Taste of the Nation”). The host and cookbook author has a new book out, this time aimed at younger readers. In this live, virtual event, sponsored by Bookshop Santa Cruz, Lakshmi will chat about her new picture book, “Tomatoes for Neela,” in conversation with comedian Michelle Buteau. The $5 admission price includes entry to the event and a donation to FoodWhat, the Santa Cruz County organization that brings young people to food activism. Things get started at 6 p.m.

— Wallace Baine

What started as a simple partnership to provide financial literacy training to Diamond Tech Institute students has...


A handout for Bruno's Bacon & Bloody Mary Fest

Sip, Savor and Sway/Drunk Monkeys food truck: Every Friday, Stockwell Cellars invites a different food truck and new musical talent to feed and entertain guests at its Westside location. This week, enjoy a glass or bottle of wine while listening to live music by Shady Rest and sample an assortment of Asian-fusion dishes from the Drunk Monkeys food truck.

Bruno’s Bacon and Bloody Mary Fest: Head to Scotts Valley for a bacon-filled festival complete with music, corn hole, face painting and even giant inflatable ax throwing as Bruno’s celebrates its fourth anniversary. The festival will largely showcase the most delicious bacon-inspired recipes Bruno’s has to offer, but non-meat eaters will be taken care of, too, with a vegetarian menu. Bacon is so universally beloved, it’s hard to think of a reason to miss this one.

Oyster and seafood pop-up at Stockwell Cellars: On the first Sunday of every month, Bill Oysterman brings some of the West’s best oysters to Stockwell Cellars. This weekend, his longtime colleague Parker Stokes furnishes other seafood options, including wild Gulf shrimp cakes with remoulade and red radish relish, with key lime pie for dessert.

— Haneen Zain and Max Chun


Bird-watching at Neary Lagoon

Birding at Neary Lagoon: Bird enthusiasts of all kinds, and particularly families, can meet the staff of the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History at Neary Lagoon wildlife refuge for a morning of bird watching. Binoculars will be provided by the museum and experts will be present to share the best tips for identifying different kinds of birds. While the event is outdoors, masks and social distancing are required as the program is designed for children and families.

— Max Chun


The Crow's Nest in Santa Cruz

San Francisco Comedy Competition preliminaries at Crow’s Nest: The annual San Francisco Comedy Competition is one of the biggest comedy events in the Bay Area. Fifteen competing comedians will meet at the Crow’s Nest to face off before five are chosen to advance to the finals.

Westside Comedy Night: Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing has lined up comedians from across the Bay Area for shows every week. Regulars from The Punch Line San Francisco, Cobb’s Comedy Club, Rooster T. Feathers Comedy Club and more make their way to Santa Cruz for these one-night events.

— Haneen Zain


A flyer for the Westside Marketplace

The Westside Marketplace: The first Sunday of September means another installment of the Westside Marketplace at the Old Wrigley Building parking lot. Santa Cruz’s makers’ markets are some of the best places to find local goods, art, and food — this weekend accompanied by live music from reggae fusion band Ancestree.

— Max Chun


The Svelty Welty Trio

Midtown Block Party: The Svelty Welty Trio: Every Friday in the heart of Midtown, a parking lot is transformed into a venue filled with local artists, food vendors and new performers. The headliners for the first block party of September, the Svelty Welty Trio, feature locals Ted Welty, Don Caruth, Ryan Price and Rob Ouse.

— Haneen Zain


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