A lone UC Santa Cruz student walks on the vast lawn overlooking the Monterey Bay
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)
City Life

BOLO Best Bets: First Friday, a Prankster and tunes to disperse the Omicron mists

The news on the Omicron front is promising, but Friday offers an intriguing test to see if Santa Cruz’s arts audiences are ready to get away from their screens and back out in the world. First Friday will include a number of venues open to the curious, some with live entertainment and most with a promise to engage personally with artists. Author Ken Babbs, slated to participate in a virtual book reading next week, was originally going to be Bookshop Santa Cruz‘s return to in-person programming before Omicron put that back in the virtual world. Our suggestions? Wear your masks, keep your distance, but get out there and connect with the world.

— 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.)

VISUAL ARTS

FRIDAY
First Friday Santa Cruz: The monthly celebration of art in downtown Santa Cruz known as First Friday is upon us again, with events at many spots around town, including several galleries/studios at the Tannery Arts Center such as Apricity Gallery, Studio 112, Gallery 125 and TAC Clay. Also look for receptions/events at RREVV Gallery on Pacific Avenue, Curated by the Sea on Front Street, and let’s not forget the Santa Cruz Mountains Art Center up in Ben Lomond, plus many others. Events are free, and generally run between 6 and 8 p.m.

OPENING THIS WEEK
“Iconic California”: Downtown gallery Curated By the Sea presents a new show in collaboration with the California Art Club of more than 50 pieces devoted to the iconic images of California. The show debuts with a First Friday reception featuring live music from Los Improviders. “Iconic California” runs at Curated through Feb. 26.

ONGOING
“Natural Habitats”: The Cabrillo Gallery was all set to open its latest exhibit, a group show meditating on natural and manmade spaces. That was before the Omicron variant. With the Cabrillo College campus now closed, this new exhibit opened this week online only. Local artists participating in this ambitious project include Andrea Borsuk, Glenn Carter, Myra Eastman, Janet Fine, Sara Friedlander, Anne Green, Lidia Hasenauer, Melissa Kreisa, Stephanie Martin, Ed Penniman and Robynn Smith. Jurors Donna Seager and Suzanne Gray present a jurors’ talk Saturday at 4 p.m. Please register to join. The exhibit runs through Feb. 25.

ONGOING
Rydell Visual Arts Fellowship: The legacy of the late Santa Cruz artists and philanthropists Roy and Frances Rydell is a biannual fellowship providing grants to four local visual artists with national reputations. Over the years, the Rydell fund has contributed more than $600,000 to local artists, and the Museum of Art & History in Santa Cruz is ready to showcase the 2020-21 winners: printmaker and illustrator Ann Altstatt, designer and artist Marc D’Estout, dancer and choreographer Cid Pearlman and photographer and printmaker Edward Ramirez. The Rydell fellows will be the focus of a broad new display at the MAH’s second-floor Solari Gallery. The show runs through March 20.

ONGOING
Take Aways: Art to Go!: Pajaro Valley Arts in Watsonville is ushering in 2022 in a big way with a new exhibit featuring the work of (this is not a typo) 73 local artists. This gigantic all-star team of Santa Cruz County visual artists are presenting pieces to fit every budget to raise money for PVA in sculpture, photography, glasswork, fiber, encaustic and several other mediums. The show opens this weekend at the PVA gallery, 37 Sudden St. in Watsonville, and the gallery is open Wednesdays through Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. A reception is planned for the closing of the show March 6.

ONGOING
“Atmosphere”: Monterey Bay artist Enid Baxter Ryce taps into the familiar winter weather patterns for anyone who lives in Northern California in her new interactive, multimedia exhibit “Atmosphere,” opening Friday at the Museum of Art & History in downtown Santa Cruz. Using paintings, photographs, film and even an interactive soundscape sculpture, Ryce brings together collaborators musician Lanier Sammons, historian William Cowan, sculptor Natalie Jenkins and scientist Dan Fernandez to example phenomena such as “atmospheric rivers” and winter fog. (There will also be a “fog collector” on hand as well.) The exhibit runs through the winter/early spring months, until May.

— Wallace Baine

BOOKS & LECTURES

Ken Babbs, a trombone and a furry friend with the Merry Prankster bus "Furthur."
(Via Ken Babbs)

TUESDAY
“Protests & Town Halls, Now What?” virtual webinar: In 2020, conversations around racism and inequality reached new heights in the wake of George Floyd’s murder and the resounding support for the Black Lives Matter movement. As part of Black History Month, the Santa Cruz Warriors will be hosting an anti-racism webinar moderated by Sea Dubs sideline reporter Zenab Keita and featuring voices including Golden State associate head coach Mike Brown and WNBA veteran/ESPN commentator Chiney Ogwumike.

WEDNESDAY
Ken Babbs: He is one of the dwindling surviving members of the infamous Merry Pranksters — the mischievous Northern California renegades who jump-started the psychedelic 1960s. And now he’s written a book that he calls, with a wink and a nod, a bBurlesque.” Ken Babbs was right there beside the charismatic Ken Kesey at the head of the Pranksters on the day-glo painted bus they called “Furthur.” Now in his 80s and eager to chat about the old days and his new book, Babbs takes part in a virtual event sponsored by Bookshop Santa Cruz on Wednesday, free to anyone with an internet connection. All you gotta do is register to hear all the old stories about Kesey, Ginsberg, Cassady, the Grateful Dead and more. The event begins at 6 p.m.

— Max Chun and Wallace Baine

LIVE MUSIC

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FRIDAY
Simple Dreams, a tribute to Linda Ronstadt: She was easily the queen of California-flavored rock in the 1970s, with a string of unforgettable hits and a later career that touched on everything from folklorico to jazz standards. The immortal Linda Ronstadt is no longer performing, but Simple Dreams conjures the best of Ronstadt’s golden period, beginning with her stint in the Stone Poneys and on through her big arena hits. Simple Dreams comes to Michael’s on Main in Soquel for a dinner-and-a-show date Friday.

SATURDAY
SambaDa: There might be no local band performing today that is as familiar to Santa Cruz audiences as the celebratory Brazilian samba/funk band SambaDa. Led by capoeira master Papiba Godinho and dancer Dandha de Hora, SambaDa has put on some memorable shows at Moe’s Alley over the years. The colorful and joyful band returns to Moe’s on Saturday night for a midwinter celebration of Carnaval. The fun begins at 9 p.m.

WEDNESDAY
Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio: You can’t find a cooler American-music vibe than that of Seattle-based organist Delvon Lamarr and his trio, known by fans as DLO3. These guys begin with the juicy feel of Jimmy Smith-era Hammond B-3 organ and mix in a distinct Booker T. & the MGs flavor and tastes of soul, New Orleans funk, improv jazz and psychedelic blues, provided by Lamarr, crackerjack guitarist Jimmy James and drummer Dan Weiss. DLO3 comes to Moe’s Alley to play their latest new song, “Pull Your Pants Up,” and tons more, Wednesday. Opening is Andre Cruz & the Black Diamond Rhythm Band.

WEDNESDAY
The Green: Yep, it sounds like a new chain of cannabis dispensaries, but The Green is, in fact, a Hawaii-based reggae band that has been charming audiences for more than a decade. The Green is known for bringing an aloha-flavored uplift to their serene Jamaican-style rhythms. The band had a busy 2021, highlighted by the release of its sixth album, “Brand New Eyes,” in November. The Green play the Catalyst on Wednesday. Opening is Los Angeles-based singer Keznamdi.

THURSDAY, FEB. 10
Built to Spill: Coming straight outta Boise, Idaho, now nearly three decades ago, the guitar-driven trio Built to Spill is still under the benign control of the brilliant Doug Martsch. BtS rode an enormous wave of popularity back in 1999, thanks to the hit album “Keep It Like a Secret.” Martsch and his bandmates have kept the emotionally charged, Pavement/Dinosaur Jr.-style sound in the years since. The band’s most recent release paid tribute to the late singer-songwriter Daniel Johnston. Built to Spill spills into the Rio Theatre on Thursday, Feb. 10.

— Wallace Baine

FILM

MONDAY
Screening of “Selma” at CineLux Capitola hosted by the Santa Cruz Warriors: You’ve got two options to get into Monday’s screening of the historical drama “Selma” at CineLux Capitola theater: be (or know) a Warriors season-ticket holder or enter to win via CineLux’s Facebook and Instagram. Guests have the opportunity to participate in a Q&A with Santa Cruz Warriors guard Jacob Evans III, and coach Seth Cooper will introduce the film about the 1965 civil rights march in Alabama.

— Max Chun

Presented by UC Santa Cruz

UC Santa Cruz student Tommy Alejandrez was living on the streets when he met former NFL player Zack Follett on a busy...

THEATER

A poster for the play "The Weir"

THIS WEEKEND
“The Weir”: Jewel Theatre in Santa Cruz jumps headlong into 2022 with its latest production, presenting Conor McPherson’s “The Weir,” which won the Laurence Olivier Award for best new play following its 1997 debut. The play is set in a small pub in rural Ireland, where three men attempt to impress a young woman who has just moved to the area from Dublin with scary stories. When the woman tells her story, however, the exercise moves into the realm of the personal and the poignant. Directed by local theater pro Susan Myer Silton, “The Weir” runs through Feb. 20 at the Colligan Theater at the Tannery Arts Center in Santa Cruz. 7:30 p.m. Thursday; 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 2 p.m. Sunday.

— Wallace Baine

FOOD & DRINK

FRIDAY
Tapas and Tunes: This immersive culinary event returns Friday to Scotts Valley’s 1440 Multiversity, with a movement class such as tai chi or qi gong giving way to sustainable small plates prepared by 1440’s staff and music from local artists.

SATURDAY
Sandar & Hem Pop-Up at Cantine Winepub: Santa Cruz Mountains newcomer Sandar & Hem Wines will be pouring flights of its current releases Saturday afternoon in Aptos Village, with winemaker Rob Bergstrom on hand as a guide — and to offer a sneak peek at a 2022 spring release.

SATURDAY AND SUNDAY
Burrell School Vineyards Annual Wine & Crab Feed: Tickets are going fast (and get ‘em by Friday) for Burrell School Vineyards & Winery’s annual wine and crab feed. The to-go event features the newly released 2020 “Teacher’s Pet” Chardonnay, and each take-home box includes fresh local crab, homemade clam chowder, fresh sourdough, Caesar salad, crab-themed cupcakes and a bottle of the aforementioned chardonnay. As a bonus for those picking up Saturday, genre-bending band Levi Jack will be performing live originals, evoking alt-rock, country, folk and grunge.

— Will McCahill and Lucille Tepperman

RECREATION

A local bounty of Boulder Creek mushrooms.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

SATURDAY
Exploring the Mushrooms of the Santa Cruz Mountains with Christian Schwarz: Fungi fanatics take note: The Museum of Natural History and naturalist Christian Schwarz will be guiding an expedition — location to be determined — surveying the beauty and biodiversity of the Santa Cruz Mountains, with a concentration on the mushrooms located around the coast. Capacity is limited, so get your tickets while they last.

SUNDAY
Santa Cruz Warriors Black History Month game: Dig that Warriors jersey out of your closet and head to Kaiser Permanente Arena on Sunday for a game against the South Bay Lakers as the Sea Dubs celebrate Black History Month. The first 1,000 fans get a special-edition Black History Month T-shirt.

— Max Chun

KIDS & FAMILY

The Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History in Seabright
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

FRIDAY
Free Admission Day at Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History: Bring the whole family to the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History for its First Friday free day. Browse displays about local ecology, animals and vegetation and have the kids climb the iconic whale sculpture out front. Weather permitting, save some time to explore the surrounding park or head across the street to Seabright Beach.

— Max Chun

FESTIVALS

SUNDAY
Westside Marketplace and Food Trucks: Food trucks are back at the Westside Marketplace, which happens the first Sunday of every month at the Old Wrigley Building parking lot on Santa Cruz’s Westside. Fare from Pana, Taquizas Gabriel, Union and Three Waves Coffee complements music from the Rayburn Brothers in addition to the usual bounty from local artists, artisans and makers.

— Will McCahill

COMEDY

FRIDAY
Greater Purpose Comedy – Phil Griffiths: Phil Griffiths brings his dry, deadpan style to Live Oak on Friday as he headlines Greater Purpose Brewing’s weekly standup show. Griffiths is a Bay Area regular with gigs at the San Jose Improv, the Punch Line San Francisco and more under his belt, and he’s also the host of his own showcase, Comedy Sharks.

— Will McCahill

HOW TO MAKE THE MOST OF BOLO

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Questions, comments, concerns? Email bolo@lookoutlocal.com.