BOLO Best Bets: Big-name authors, ambitious music and art ... and Boba Fett
As we approach the second anniversary of the pandemic shutdown, the methodical push back to “normal” in the realm of public events takes a couple of big steps locally. Bookshop Santa Cruz has, for months, been presenting author talks virtually. In the coming days, Bookshop and UCSC’s Humanities Institute are co-sponsoring a couple of prominent back-to-back in-person events at the university, featuring big-name authors Erik Larson and Karen Joy Fowler. Santa Cruz’s innovative music programmers New Music Works is also breaking out of its pandemic funk with a big, bold new concert Saturday, and three Santa Cruz art galleries are co-presenting one big art show. And Capitola hosts its comic-con. All signs point to a new era dawning. Finally!
— 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.)
“This Is Now”: Talk about ambitious: Three local art galleries are combining forces for one group show. More than 150 artists from the Visual Arts Network are represented at the Radius Gallery at the Tannery, the R. Blitzer Gallery on the West Side, and Curated by the Sea downtown. Here’s how it works: The galleries are dividing the works based on the last name of the artists. The Radius features the works of artists from A to F. The Blitzer goes from G to O, and Curated takes on P to Z. “This Is Now” will be focused on new art, created in the past two years. Each of the participating galleries will feature an opening night First Friday reception for the show, which runs through April 10. Go see them in alphabetical order, or be a rebel and see them in some other order.
PATT — “Mostly Mokuhanga”: The collective of artists known as Printmakers at the Tannery (PATT) will showcase member artist Frank Trueba and his work in Japanese wood block printing, aka mokuhanga. The new show will open with a First Friday event featuring a demonstration of making prints from plates by PATT members George Newell and Bob Rocco, 6-9 p.m. Friday. The Trueba show runs through March 26 at the PATT Gallery, Studio 107 at the Tannery Arts Center.
Take Aways: Art to Go!: Pajaro Valley Arts in Watsonville ushered 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 PVA gallery at 37 Sudden St. in Watsonville is open Wednesdays through Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. A reception is planned Sunday for the show’s closing.
SCAL Members A-Z Exhibition: The Santa Cruz Art League is celebrating its members with a big show featuring more than 100 artworks in a wide variety of mediums. The show will be the focus of this month’s First Friday celebration Friday from 6 to 8 p.m. at the SCAL Gallery, 526 Broadway, Santa Cruz. The show runs through April 3.
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 showcasing 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 are the focus of a broad new display at the MAH’s second-floor Solari Gallery. The show runs through March 20.
“Atmosphere”: Monterey Bay artist Enid Baxter Ryce taps into the familiar winter weather patterns for anyone who lives in Northern California in her interactive, multimedia exhibit, “Atmosphere,” 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 is a “fog collector” on hand as well.) The exhibit runs through the winter/early spring months, until May.
Art with Heart: The Santa Cruz Mountains Art Center in Ben Lomond is throwing the focus on love in its latest exhibit, themed on all the different expressions that love often takes. Its First Friday event takes place Friday from 4 to 7 p.m. at the SCMAC, 9341 Mill St., Ben Lomond.
“Who We Are: Portraying Identity”: Cabrillo College presents its first in-person art show of the year, to open Monday at the Cabrillo Gallery on campus. The new show gathered together a collection of artists of different disciplines to meditate on the question of identity, on the basis of ethnicity, culture, spirituality, politics, geography and several other categories. The show features 30 works that approach the question in different ways. The show’s juror, Pauli Ochi will be on hand March 12 for a juror’s talk to discuss the show and its concept. “Who We Are” runs through April 8.
— Wallace Baine
BOOKS & LECTURES
Erik Larson: Just as the Russia-Ukraine conflict has erupted into war and Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskyy has emerged as an inspiring leader, writer Erik Larson emerges to tell a similar tale from another era. In Larson’s new book, “The Splendid and the Vile,” he recounts Winston Churchill’s first year as the United Kingdom’s prime minister and how he convinced the English people to endure in the face of Hitler’s bombing campaigns. In a live, in-person event (not virtual!), Larson visits UC Santa Cruz in an event sponsored by Bookshop Santa Cruz and UCSC’s Humanities Institute. Larson, the author of the hugely popular nonfiction title “The Devil in the White City,” will be in conversation with UCSC politics professor Daniel Wirls. The event is at the Cowell Ranch Hay Barn on campus and it gets started at 4 p.m. Sunday.
Karen Joy Fowler: Santa Cruz novelist Karen Joy Fowler vaulted to literary renown when her heartbreaking novel “We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves” won the PEN/Faulkner Award and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. That was nearly eight years ago, and now KJF is back with a new novel, this one historical fiction. “Booth” prominently features the infamous assassin of Abraham Lincoln, John Wilkes Booth, but on a larger scale, it’s a story of Booth’s family, including his enormously famous father and brother, both icons of 19th-century theater. Fowler comes to UCSC on Tuesday to discuss her new novel in a live, in-person event at the Cowell Ranch Hay Barn on campus. The event, sponsored by Bookshop Santa Cruz and UCSC’s Humanities Institute, will feature Fowler in conversation with fellow Santa Cruz novelist Elizabeth McKenzie. Things get started at 6 p.m.
— Wallace Baine
Sierra Ferrell: West Virginia-born singer and songwriter Sierra Ferrell has traveled the country honing her craft, and the end result is a seductive and heartfelt sound steeped in country and mountain folk, but with a jazzy spark. With more than a bit of Patsy Cline in her soul, Ferrell sets out on tour to showcase her latest recording, “Long Time Coming,” with a date at Felton Music Hall on Thursday.
Lúnasa: For close to 25 years, Dublin-based quintet Lúnasa has been one of the most popular and high-energy bands in the Irish traditional music genre. With guitar, uilleann pipes, flutes and fiddle, Lúnasa has kept alive Irish music through a series of beloved albums dating back to the 1990s. The band visits the Kuumbwa Jazz Center in Santa Cruz on Friday in a show sponsored by the Celtic Society of Monterey Bay. Showtime is 7:30 p.m.
Chris Renzema: Michigander Chris Renzema might be an obscure name in the musical mainstream, but within his particular genre — CCM, or contemporary Christian music — he’s a bright up-and-coming star, a soulful singer-songwriter whose themes shape a particular spiritual profile, not so much tribal pontificating on culture-war issues as trying to convince his listeners that “hate is a hard drug,” and suffering, doubt and hardship never have to be faced alone. Renzema is currently on his “Hope or Nostalgia” tour that brings him to the Rio Theatre in Santa Cruz for an evening of songcraft and uplift. Showtime is 7 p.m.
“The Music of Sound”: The hills are alive with the latest offerings from Santa Cruz’s cutting edge New Music Works, under the direction of Phil Collins. “The Music of Sound” features new works from many of Santa Cruz’s grand old names of contemporary music, including Stan Poplin, Kenneth Hill and Michael McGushin, with soloist performers including sopranos Sheila Willey and Emily Sinclair and guitarist Giacomo Fiore. This big, ambitious concert takes place Saturday evening at Peace United Church in Santa Cruz. Showtime is 7:30 p.m.
Sue Foley: Not sure who gives out the award for Coolest Woman Alive, but Canadian Sue Foley must have brought home the statuette a time or two over the years. The veteran blues guitarist and vocalist, aka “The Ice Queen” (because she’s so cool, see?), is famous for her pink Stratocaster and for what she can do with it as a player. A longtime staple on the Austin blues scene, Foley is also a bluesologist in her own right, having explored the history of women in blues in the DVD “Guitar Woman.” Moe’s Alley gets back to its roots on Sunday by welcoming Foley for an afternoon show. She’ll be playing stuff from her latest recording, “Pinky’s Blues,” and more. Showtime is 4 p.m.
— Wallace Baine
FRIDAY AND SATURDAY
Memphis Hustle at Santa Cruz Warriors: If you haven’t gone yet this season, or even if you have, head to Kaiser Permanente Arena on Friday, Saturday, or both for some G League basketball. The Memphis Hustle will be visiting the Sea Dubs as they enter the final month of the regular season. Both games feature giveaways for the first 1,000 fans in attendance.
FRIDAY, SATURDAY AND SUNDAY
Capitola Collectacon: If you’re missing “The Book of Boba Fett” and “The Mandalorian,” point your bantha in the direction of the Capitola Mall for this comic-con-style event featuring actors who have played the iconic Star Wars character, memorabilia and more. This is the way.
— Max Chun and Will McCahill
FOOD & DRINK
Soup for Ukraine fundraiser: Chef Jessica Yarr honors her Ukrainian heritage this weekend with her pop-up, Chicken Foot, which showcases Eastern European food with a California twist. Chicken Foot is taking orders now for Saturday pickup of quarts of borscht and shchavel. Pickup is 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday at 100 Enterprise Way, Scotts Valley, with proceeds going to the Sunflower of Peace Foundation, a Ukraine relief fund.
Lemon lunch and workshop: If you’re a lemon lover and want more citrus flavor in your life, this farm-to-table culinary event could be a great outdoor Sunday adventure. Enjoy a vegetarian lunch and learn how to make two lemon-based treats to take home with you, not to mention limoncello recipes. The workshop is hosted by Penny Cotter and Penny Ellis of Urban Farm Girls and takes place outdoors at Jeans Farm Art in Aptos. Attendees are welcome to bring their own wine, too.
— Lucille Tepperman
Greater Purpose Comedy — Mike Glazer and Chad Opitz: Deemed perhaps “the most prominent and edgy cannabis-forward comic working today,” Emmy-nominated comedian and “Weed + Grub” podcaster Mike Glazer tops the bill at Greater Purpose Brewing’s weekly showcase. Also on stage will be Chad Opitz, a regular host at Punch Line San Francisco and dubbed a “Best Newcomer” by late Bay Area legend Jimmy Gunn. Proof of vaccination is required, and Funk’s Franks food truck will also be on hand with its Chicago-style hotdogs and more.
11th Hour Comedy Hour with Chelsea Bearce: Chelsea Bearce is a multifaceted comedian who got her start in Los Angeles and honed her skills in New York before moving to the Bay Area. Her blend of observational comedy and self-deprecation combine with her upbeat energy and unique delivery to create a real experience with her audience. Get your comedy fun on while sipping on a drink or enjoying bites from Chubbs Chicken Sandwiches, all on-site downtown at the Santa Cruz Food Lounge.
Doug Stanhope: Do you like nice, clean, upbeat comedians who can get laughs without resorting to ugliness and vulgarity? If so, you’re really going to hate Doug Stanhope, the veteran comic who can out-caustic just about any stand-up alive with his humor that goes down like bleach. Stanhope certainly qualifies as a freethinker, adopting a kind of political ethos he refers to as “anarchist,” and is famous for boozing it up on stage. He’s also a prolific author, having published four books of comedy. Stanhope is certainly not everyone’s cup of tea, and you can get a sense of his acidic style Monday at Felton Music Hall. You’ve been warned.
— Lucille Tepperman and Wallace Baine
KIDS & FAMILY
Westside Marketplace: It’s the first Sunday of the month, and that means the Westside Marketplace is back once again. Come and check out art, handmade crafts and vintage goods, all locally produced. Complete with food trucks and live music, the market has everything you need for a great start to your Sunday.
— Max Chun
HOW TO MAKE THE MOST OF BOLO
Sign up for our weekly Best Bets newsletter, sent every Thursday afternoon.
Send arts, entertainment and culture events you think should be listed (for free) to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’re planning or producing your own event, click on the Promote Your Event button on the calendar.
Questions, comments, concerns? Email email@example.com.