BOLO Best Bets: Theater, comedy, music, arts, crafts and foodie fun have our heads spinning

Comedian Keith Lowell Jensen and his book "What I Was Arrested For."
Comedian Keith Lowell Jensen brings his stand-up routine to Greater Purpose Brewing on Friday.

Friends, this week’s opportunities for entertainment and/or enlightenment are like a Vegas buffet bar. If you can’t find something to your liking, maybe you’re the problem. There’s new musical theater, adventuring on film, stand-up comedy, food-tasting events, intellectually adventurous art performance, live poetry, a discussion with a nationally celebrated chef, a craft fair, even a live demonstration of how the Native people of this area lived. And in the realm of live music, there’s a ton to choose from as well, including a tough choice on Saturday night between two bright young women singer-songwriters, Taylor Rae and Japanese Breakfast. Is your head spinning yet? Mine certainly is.

— 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.

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.)


Jewel Theatre's 2013 production of "Pump Boys and Dinettes."
(Steve DiBartolomeo)

“Pump Boys and Dinettes”: Hey Santa Cruz theater fans, that sense of deja vu you’re feeling is because the newest production at Jewel Theatre Company is in fact a revival of a hit show from 2013 that is being restaged at the beautiful Colligan Theater at the Tannery. “PB&D” is a rollicking musical set in the fictitious Double Cupp Diner and with music that touches on everything from rock to country to gospel. The new production opens Wednesday for a sure-to-be rockin’ four-week run, starring Jewel’s artistic director, Julie James, as well as Christopher Reber, Ric Iverson, Brent Schindele, Diana Torres Koss and many more.

— Wallace Baine


A flyer for the Unite Against Hate film fest at Greater Purpose Brewing

Film festival and brews at Greater Purpose Brewing Company: Greater Purpose kicks off United Against Hate Week in Santa Cruz County with films, discussions and drinks. The event starts with the viewing of five NIOT (Not In Our Town) anti-racism films and a panel discussion. There will also be information booths stationed around the event space.

— Haneen Zain


California State Parks Ranger Alex Tabone works with native plants

Native Foods Workshop — Indigenous Relationships with Coastal Prairie Plants with Alex Tabone: Join state parks ranger Alex Tabone and staff members of the Santa Cruz Natural History Museum as they educate people of all ages about the ways in which the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band used the resources from around the area to make meals for many years. You will have the opportunity to make some of the food, taste it, and take some home — an engaging Saturday morning for anyone curious about the Indigenous roots of Santa Cruz County.

— Max Chun

Presented by Sempervirens Fund

Mill Creek had been blocked since early in the last century by a 12-foot-tall, 25-foot-wide dam a quarter mile upstream...


Melvin Seals and JGB perform

Melvin Seals & JGB: The “JGB,” if you’re keeping score, is Jerry Garcia Band, a reference to keyboard veteran Melvin Seals’ long collaboration and association with the iconic Grateful Dead frontman. Seals played alongside Garcia for 18 years, and even since Jerry’s death, from his seat behind his Hammond B-3, Seals has kept the flame of that collaboration alive with a lively blend of funk, R&B, blues and jazz, just the way Jerry would have wanted it. Seals and his band play Felton Music Hall on Thursday.

Taylor Rae: One of Santa Cruz County’s most exciting and dynamic exports in the musical realm is singer-songwriter Taylor Rae, a child of Ben Lomond, now living in Austin, Texas. On Saturday, Rae comes home to Moe’s Alley in the wake of the release of her sterling debut album, “Mad Twenties,” which showcases her distinct style that ranges from searching and tender to a blues wail, in a vibe reminiscent of the 1970s. Her big homecoming show at Moe’s will be shared with local world fusion band Mokili Wa.

Japanese Breakfast: Singer-songwriter Michelle Zauner from Eugene, Oregon, has emerged as one of the most intriguing indie artists of the 2020s. Under the stage name Japanese Breakfast, Zauner has released three albums, including the new offering, “Jubilee,” a collection of often poignant songs that came out roughly at the same time as her memoir “Crying in H Mart,” which is being adapted into a movie (with a soundtrack from Japanese Breakfast, of course). She comes to the Catalyst on Saturday, giving locals a shot at catching one of the promising young stars in indie pop.

Slaid Cleaves/Robbie Fulks: With a name like “Slaid Cleaves,” you’d think a guy was born to be a country singer. But this Texas singer-songwriter was gifted more than a cool name. Cleaves has played for Santa Cruz audiences countless times over the years, and locals have become seduced by not only his vivid, lived-in songs but a well-burnished singing voice as well. He’s joined by alt-country artist Robbie Fulks, who has a real gift for mixing heartbreak and humor. A fine country/folk double bill at the Rio Theatre on Tuesday.

La Luz: The all-female trio La Luz has been around for about a decade, fronted by guitarist and singer Shana Cleveland. The La Luz sound blends a bit of crunchy garage rock with some surf influences and, as the band shows on its brand-new self-titled album, a turn toward rich vocal harmonies with a bit of dream pop and a touch of psychedelia as well. This promising, adventurous trio performs live at Moe’s Alley next Tuesday.

— Wallace Baine


Comedian Keith Lowell Jensen and his cat

Greater Purpose Comedy Night — Keith Lowell Jensen: Comedian Keith Lowell Jensen headlines Greater Purpose Brewing’s weekly Friday night comedy event as he releases his book, “What I was Arrested For.” Known for a “subtle, smart approach and his meandering storytelling,” Jensen has appeared on Spike TV, the History Channel and more.

— Haneen Zain


Pajaro Valley Arts 2021 Dia de los Muertos exhibit
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

“Mi Casa es Tu Casa”: Pajaro Valley Arts in Watsonville has mounted its ambitious “Mi Casa es Tu Casa” art exhibit at the downtown PVA Gallery. 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. Among the scheduled happenings this week is a poetry event Thursday via Zoom from Santa Cruz Writers of Color and the Watsonville Library’s poetry contest. And on Nov. 18, there’s a discussion of Robin Wall Kimmerer’s book “Braiding Sweetgrass,” also on Zoom. The PVA Gallery is at 37 Sudden St., downtown Watsonville.

“Landscape and Life”: Multidisciplinary artists Paige Emery and Suzy Poling are closing their co-exhibit at Indexical at the Tannery Arts Center with a live performance and Q&A on Saturday at 8 p.m. Emery and Poling will be on hand to discuss their work and this exhibit in particular, which is their effort to reengage a life force into landscape art, to combat mentalities that allow for exploitation and abuse of landforms. Tickets for the closing performance are $18 at 1050 River St., No. 119.

12x12: An Open Invitational”: Big deal over at Cabrillo College, given that the Cabrillo Gallery is open to in-person visitors for the first time since March 2020. The new show on display at the Cabrillo Gallery showcases the best work from an open invitational of all local artists in everything from painting to printmaking, photography to sculpture, all of it tied together by format: Everything is 12 inches square. The show will be up at the gallery until Dec. 3, in the library building on the uphill side of Cabrillo College.

Exhibitionist”: Art and fashion collide in a creative explosion of expression in the latest exhibit at Curated By the Sea in downtown Santa Cruz. The show features the work of 20 “wearable art” artists from the annual fashion/art show “Pivot,” including Charlotte Kruk, Rose Sellery, The Great Morgani, and many more. “Exhibitionist” doesn’t have a lot of time left at Curated; the show closes Nov. 20 at 703 Front St., Santa Cruz.

— Wallace Baine


The annual Aptos Grange craft fair

Aptos Grange Seventh Annual Craft Fair: The holiday season is fast approaching, and you can get a jump on gifts with Aptos Grange’s annual happening. You’ll find a variety of crafts, art, and other beautiful handmade goods, plus a benefit raffle and food available for purchase.

Really Really Free Market: Head to SubRosa with some of your old but still good things for the Really Really Free Market — a place where you can bring items you don’t use but either can’t or don’t want to throw away. Social distancing measures will be observed. Bring your old stuff and trade it for someone else’s.

— Max Chun


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 menu includes smokehouse sliders, smoked chicken and jalepeno dip and smoked chicken wings. 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. (the Deadlies is this week’s act), and movies on the beach at 6:30 p.m. Fridays (this week featuring " Waynes’ World”).

Pana Food Truck at Stockwell Cellars: Every Friday, Stockwell Cellars invites a different food truck and musical talent to feed and entertain guests at its Westside tasting room. This week, enjoy a glass or bottle of wine while listening to live music by the Fitzgerald Trio and eat Venezuelan arepas, plantains and more from Pana Food Truck.

Tapas and Tunes at 1440 Multiversity: Scotts Valley’s 1440 Multiversity offers a new immersive culinary learning experience on select Friday nights called Tapas and Tunes. The kitchen staff at 1440 Multiversity will guide visitors through a garden tour and the preparation of a variety of sustainable foods at different tapas stations, followed by performances from local Santa Cruz bands.

Saturday Supper at 1440 Multiversity: Saturday Supper at 1440 Multiversity starts with a chef’s open house and garden tour before a multi-course dinner at Kitchen Table prepared by the 1440 culinary team with ingredients sourced from more than 35 local farms.

— Haneen Zain


A promotional flyer for Jory Post's 'Daily Fresh'

Jory Post’s Daily Fresh: The late Santa Cruz writer Jory Post is the inspiration for the continuation of a writers series he launched during the pandemic. The weekly Daily Fresh brings together local writers to read their material in a virtual event co-sponsored by phren-Z, Catamaran Literary Reader and Bookshop Santa Cruz. This week features work from accomplished local literary voices Dan White, Elizabeth McKenzie, Kathy Chetkovich and Paul Skenazy. Things get started at 5 p.m. Friday. Go to Bookshop Santa Cruz’s website to register for the free event.

Dorie Greenspan: Cooking has its own Nobel Prize, and it is called the James Beard Award. New York author and columnist Dorie Greenspan has five of them. The author of 14 cookbooks has a new one in stores called “Baking With Dorie,” which contains recipes for, among other things, “an apple pie with browned butter that tastes like warm mulled cider.” The New York Times Magazine columnist will discuss her new book and all things cooking with food writer Donna Yen, in a virtual event sponsored by Bookshop Santa Cruz. It starts at 6 p.m. Tuesday. It’s free, too.

Morton Marcus Memorial Reading: The late Santa Cruz poet and critic Morton Marcus is honored each year by a memorial poetry reading, this year featuring his friend and contemporary Gary Young, who is not only a Pushcart Prize-winning poet but an accomplished fine-arts printer as well. Young, a well-known figure at UC Santa Cruz, closes out the fall 2021 Living Writers Series sponsored by the UCSC Literature Department and the Creative Writing Program. The virtual reading takes place Thursday at 5:15 p.m.

— Wallace Baine


A flyer for Mountainfilm On Tour at the Rio Theatre

Mountainfilm on Tour: Get ready for some thematically rich films in this screening of documentaries at the Rio Theatre. All films are curated by the Mountainfilm festival in Telluride, Colorado, and will be exploring themes of nature, politics, environment, and social justice issues — in line with the festival’s purpose of using film to inspire audiences to create a better world. Attendees must provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test taken within 72 hours of the event.

— Max Chun


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