BOLO Best Bets: Look sharp and hit the town for jazz and more, plus ‘Christmas Story’ under the redwoods
Here’s what you’re probably thinking: Wow, y’know, 2021 is almost gone and I’m not anywhere near my annual quota of going out to fun events yet. Good thing December has you covered. Jewel Theatre‘s swingin’ musical, “Pump Boys & Dinettes,” is gearing up for one final weekend, and there are all kinds of swank, dress-up events if the office Christmas party doesn’t scratch your socializing itch. Kurt Elling, who might be the most debonair man alive, comes to town. Pink Martini will be classing up the joint as well. And for those with kids to entertain, you can always catch up on Ralphie in “A Christmas Story” at Roaring Camp’s holiday drive-in movie series.
— 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.)
Pink Martini (with China Forbes): First Portland, then the world. Such has been the byword for the longtime jazz/cabaret mini-orchestra Pink Martini, the 12-member band fronted by charismatic vocalist China Forbes that paints with all the colors, creating a swank, loungy international panoply of traditions from tango to samba to bossa nova to Italian romance music. The band has played many times for loyal Santa Cruz audiences, and it brings its worldly vibe to the Rio Theatre in a show sponsored by the Kuumbwa Jazz Center. Saturday night with Pink Martini — sounds like an opportunity to bring your A-game dress-wise.
Randy Baker Memorial Concert: Friends, family and admirers of the late Dr. Randy Baker will gather Saturday evening at Michael’s on Main to celebrate the life and passions of the popular Soquel doctor, whose healing philosophy embraced both Eastern and Western modes of medicine. A devoted music lover (his most famous patient was the Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia), Randy leaves behind two daughters, who will be beneficiaries of this showcase concert featuring Keith Greeninger, Shana Morrison, Joe Craven, Patti Maxine, Matt Hartle, Bill Laymon and more. Tickets to this benefit show are $60, and showtime is 6 p.m.
Kurt Elling: He’s possessed of one of the most distinctive and recognizable baritone singing voices in contemporary jazz, but Kurt Elling has proved to be more than just a singer. He is every bit as renowned as a storyteller, a showman and an artist with broad appetites for the whole of American and European music. Elling’s latest recording, “SuperBlue,” finds him in collaboration with jazz guitar great Charlie Hunter on a collection of songs that shows the Chicago-born jazz singer’s funk and blues side. Elling returns to the Kuumbwa Jazz Center for two shows on Monday, at 6:30 and 9 p.m.
Mapache: Guitarists and singers Clay Finch and Sam Blasucci are the primary figures in the Southern California band Mapache (that’s Spanish for “raccoon”), which plays a beguiling blend of Western/Mexican folk, country and acoustic. Mapache comes to Moe’s Alley with a sound that colors in the blank spaces between bluegrass, Neil Young-style acoustic songwriting and divine Everly Brothers-style vocal harmonies (Finch and Blasucci also play in the Dead cover band Grateful Shred). Looking for a quintessentially California sound? These guys deliver. They play Moe’s on Monday.
THURSDAY, DEC. 16
“A Frank Sinatra Christmas”: Irish-born vocalist John Michael will conjure the spirit of Ol’ Blue Eyes, Frank Sinatra, in an evening of both holiday favorites and Sinatra classics. It’s a fitting way to embrace the ho-ho-holiday, all at Michael’s on Main in Soquel. Michael plays Frank at Michael’s next Thursday, Dec. 16. Showtime is 8 p.m.
— Wallace Baine
FRIDAY AND SATURDAY
Festivus Seasonal Tastings: Staff of Life has a pair of Festivus Seasonal Tastings on tap, Friday at its Watsonville store to benefit the Agricultural History Project Center and Museum and on Saturday at its Santa Cruz store to raise money for Second Harvest Food Bank. The tastings will include an array of wines, ciders and sparkling wines along with specialty meats, caviar, traditional Italian torrone and panettone, and artisanal cheese from around the world.
Sip, Savor and Sway at Stockwell Cellars: Pana Food Truck and its Venezuelan arepas and plantains return to Stockwell Cellars’ Westside tasting room for this week’s Sip, Savor and Sway event. Enjoy a glass or bottle of wine while listening to live music by George Zaferes of the Ten O’clock Lunch Band and veteran Santa Cruz guitarist Dave Preschutti.
Charcuterie Boards and Beer at Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing: Take on Brie creator Melanie Scheer Hatchett joins Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing for an afternoon of cheese and beer pairings. Guests can participate in trivia and will leave with their own cheese boards and a bottle of Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing ale.
— Haneen Zain
“Pump Boys and Dinettes”: It’s down to the wire for Jewel Theater Co.’s latest production, a revival of a hit show from 2013 that is being restaged at the beautiful Colligan Theater at the Tannery. “PB&D,” approaching its final weekend, 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 stars Jewel’s artistic director, Julie James, as well as Christopher Reber, Ric Iverson, Brent Schindele, Diana Torres Koss and many more. Performances are Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday (the final performance) at 2 p.m.
— Wallace Baine
West Cliff Holiday Outdoor Market: Head to the lighthouse on West Cliff Drive on Saturday for a holiday edition of this community market, where you’ll find locally made crafts and gift ideas complete with a selection of food trucks. Shopping local is very important as economic recovery continues to prove difficult for many, and this is a great place to find everything you need for the holiday season.
— Max Chun
“Gifted”: Downtown gallery Curated By the Sea is packing its Front Street space with a wide variety of artworks from more than 30 of the most prominent names on the Santa Cruz art scene, rotating the content regularly throughout the gift-giving season. Curated is open Thursday through Saturday noon-4 p.m., or by appointment, at 703 Front St., Santa Cruz.
“Indicators”: Surfing and art slam together for an exhibit at the R. Blitzer Gallery on the Westside of Santa Cruz, featuring the artistic creations of well-known figures in the Santa Cruz surf world, including Stan Welsh, Margitta Dietrick-Welsh, Vince Broglio, Nancy Broglio, Ed Dickie, Tessa Hope Hasty, Dave Anderson, Boogie Bill, Gary Hughes and more. It’s all up at the Blitzer through Jan. 28, at 2801 Mission St., in the old Wrigley Building.
PATT Group Show: Printmakers at the Tannery (PATT) are hosting their latest group show, featuring the work of 13 local fine-art printers at the PATT studio at the Tannery Arts Center. Among the artists showcasing their fine prints and cards are Andrée Lebourveau, Frank Trueba, George Newell, A.V. Pike, Jane Gregorius, Lynne Simpson, Janis O’Driscoll, Cindy Haug, Bob Rocco, Mary Neater, Lu Lee, and Ann Miya. The show runs through Dec. 26, at PATT’s Tannery studio 107.
“Small Works 2021”: More than a dozen Santa Cruz area visual artists are showing their finest wares in Radius Gallery’s invitational show “Small Works 2021,” featuring jewelry, photography, pottery, you name it, all priced with gift-giving season in mind. Artists include Shelby Graham, Margaret Niven, Elisabeth Foster, Maha Taitano, Todd LeJeune, Gazelle Walker, Jenny James and many more. Open Wednesday through Sunday, noon to 5 p.m., through Dec. 23.
“Mi Casa es Tu Casa”: Pajaro Valley Arts in Watsonville is set to present the final weekend of 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, through Sunday. The PVA gallery is at 37 Sudden St., downtown Watsonville.
— Wallace Baine
THURSDAY THROUGH SUNDAY
Holiday Lights Drive-Thru: Lighted tunnels, giant Christmas trees and fair food await at the Holiday Lights Drive-Thru at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds in Watsonville. Open 5:30-9 p.m. Thursday through Sunday through Dec. 26.
— Haneen Zain
BOOKS & LECTURES
Jaime Cortez: Writer Jamie Cortez grew up in Watsonville, and his new short story collection, “Gordo,” is set largely in the farm-laborer communities of Watsonville and San Juan Bautista, as a young gay boy learns about sex, manhood, family and Chicano power growing up in the 1970s. He’ll appear to talk about “Gordo” in this live virtual event, sponsored by Bookshop Santa Cruz. The online-only book reading begins at 6 p.m. Thursday, and it’s free.
— Wallace Baine
Stand-up comedy at Abbott Square: In an event produced by Dope Show, comedians from across the Bay Area featured on late night TV, Comedy Central, SF Sketchfest and more will be performing in Abbott Square — for free, though you’re welcome to make a donation that goes straight to the comedians.
Greater Purpose Brewing Comedy Night: Ryan Goodcase, who in 2019 became the youngest person to win the World Series of Comedy, headlines this week’s comedy night at Greater Purpose Brewing. He also won the 45th San Francisco International Comedy Competition in 2021, and locals might remember him from the Santa Cruz Comedy Festival.
Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing Comedy Night: Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing welcomes comedians from the Bay Area and beyond for shows every week. Regulars from The Punch Line San Francisco, Cobb’s Comedy Club and Rooster T. Feathers bring the laughs to the Westside.
— Haneen Zain
KIDS & FAMILY
San Lorenzo Valley Museum Annual Holiday Craft Workshop: This holiday craft event is back, but with a few procedural changes. Only 30 people are allowed in the building at any given time, and must register beforehand; book a 45-minute time slot beginning on the hour from 1-4 p.m. You may also request to have craft bags prepared for you to pick up in a drive-thru on Saturday instead.
— Max Chun
Drive-in Movies Under the Stars: “A Christmas Story”: Through Dec. 18, Roaring Camp will be screening holiday-themed movies for the whole family. This Saturday brings one of the most famous, “A Christmas Story.” On the off chance that you haven’t seen this movie yet, bring some snacks and bundle up in your car for this comedy classic.
— Max Chun
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