BOLO Best Bets: Erotic performance, a ukulele bash and fantasy fare
So many questions on the arts and live entertainment front this week: What is Erotic? What is the sound of 200 ukuleles playing at the same time? How do I dress for the Old World Festival? Who remembers the special fun of Special Fun? Will there be cake at Ginny Mitchell’s birthday bash? Don’t be left wondering. Go seek the answers.
— Wallace Baine
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.)
“What Is Erotic?”: Since 2005, Santa Cruz’s The 418 Project has been exploring sexuality in the variety show “What is Erotic?”, which combines music, dance, theater and spoken word to open up questions about sensuality and sexual identity in today’s world. More than 20 performers — men, women, non-binary — come together for the first “What is Erotic?” show in The 418’s new space at 155 S. River St. Performances include pole dancing, burlesque, comedy and live theater. Ages 18 and over only. The show will be presented both in person and as a livestreaming event. Showtime is 7 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings.
— Wallace Baine
Ukulele Club of Santa Cruz: There aren’t many shows out there that are (1) free of charge, and (2) encourage you to bring your own axe. In this case, that axe is the ukulele, the star of the show in this 20th-anniversary celebration of the Ukulele Club of Santa Cruz, a community built around a versatile, often ridiculed string instrument. The Uke Club has attracted a battalion of independent-minded free spirits all intent on creating community through music. All uke lovers, from beginners to experts, are welcome to swing by the Rio Theatre on Thursday to celebrate with the Ukers. It’s free. Hawaiian attire optional.
Dan Bern: Brilliant and prolific singer-songwriter Dan Bern was a local guy for a while; he and his family moved to New Mexico from their home in Soquel during the pandemic. On Friday, Bern returns to town for the first time since he moved away. For close to 25 years, he’s been writing and recording sharply insightful, sometimes humorous and often moving songs themed on any number of subjects from politics to theology to baseball. Bern plays the intimate setting of the Kuumbwa Jazz Center on Friday. Opening is Alex Lucero.
Ginny Mitchell birthday bash: There might be no performing artist alive with deeper roots in Santa Cruz than singer-songwriter Ginny Mitchell, who will celebrate her birthday with an all-star lineup of local musical talent, including lap-steel legend Patti Maxine, rising star A.J. Lee, master guitarist Steve Palazzo, fiddler Daniel Thomas and many more. Ginny’s big bash is a dinner-and-a-show event at Michael’s on Main in Soquel. Dinner starts at 6:30 p.m. and the music begins at 8.
Special Fun: Anyone alive and dancing in Santa Cruz back in the 1980s is going to remember the band Special Fun (which was both of those things). The world-beat party band featured the inspiring drumming of Arthur Hull and contributions from Michael Horne, Bob Von Elgg, Gary Regina, Gary Kehoe and Renato Annicchiarico. The band later branched off into SolCircle. Now the Funsters are all coming together again to explore both the Special Fun and SolCircle catalogues of music with a live show at Michael’s on Main in Soquel. It all happens Saturday, beginning at 7:30 p.m.
Richard Bryant’s Run Jump Bop: Singer-songwriter Richard Bryant has been a fixture on the Monterey Bay music scene for years. Santa Cruz fans might recognize him most readily for his vocal performances with the White Album Ensemble for many years. On Saturday, Bryant comes to the Kuumbwa Jazz Center with a performance showcasing his original music, with a stellar support band behind him including Tiran Porter, Bill Spencer, Amy Treadwell, Lori Hofer-Romero, Mike Shannon and Steven Krilanovich. It all begins at 8 p.m.
Brother Ali: Big stuff going down at the Catalyst in Santa Cruz on Tuesday. In the main room will be the always-spirited, Irish-traditional-music-meets-punk sound of Flogging Molly. But an even more intriguing show might be in the Atrium: It’s there where hip-hop artist Brother Ali performs. The Minnesota-based Ali is part of the well-known hip-hop collective Rhymesayers Entertainment, and he’s known for his illuminating, social-justice-oriented lyrics and for his on-the-streets activism (he was once arrested for occupying a house in defense of a family fighting eviction). He’s also known as an inspiring speaker for Islamic spirituality. Brother Ali plays the Catalyst Atrium on Tuesday. Showtime is 9 p.m.
— Wallace Baine
Old World Festival: Hear ye, hear ye! Greater Purpose Brewing is hosting a fantasy-themed old world faire at its East Cliff location, presented by The Neighbor’s pub. Local visual storyteller Old World Fantasy will transport you into another world — a celebration of folklore, cottagecore, Renaissance, and fantasy — as you wander through the local artists marketplace with live music by Lindsey Wall. Entry is free, but a $5 donation is encouraged.
— Max Chun and Lucille Tepperman
FOOD & DRINK
St. Pitties Adopt-a-Dog Day + corned beef sandwiches at Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing: Celebrate St. Patrick’s day with some local brews and corned beef sandwiches at Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing, and meet dogs you can take home from 4-7 p.m. from Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter. SCMB will donate $1 from each beer sold to the shelter.
Bruster’s ice cream grand opening: Aptos gets some sweet new treats in the form of ice cream and waffle cones made fresh on the premises daily when Bruster’s opens in the Rancho Del Mar Shopping Center. Flavors include double chocolate chunk, birthday cake and key lime pie, and the chain that launched in Pennsylvania in 1989 also offers sherbets, Italian ices and four non-dairy ice creams made with oat milk.
Colectivo Félix Dinner in the Swift Street Courtyard: In the first edition of this new monthly courtyard dinner series, chef Diego Felix and his Colectivo Félix have created a five-course tasting menu exploring the regional cuisines of his native Argentina, using local ingredients. There’s a pairing with California and Argentina wines, and wines by the glass and beer are available. (Vegetarian and pescatarian options are available upon request.) Seating is limited to 24, so get tix ASAP via fondafelix.com or call 831-889-0653.
Humble Sea Brewing Fifth Anniversary Celebration: The Swift Street brewery will be tapping a special lineup of beer in celebration of its fifth year, and invites you to check out new collaboration releases with some of its best buds in the biz. Local food trucks will be coming through — Hooligan Smoke Club will be dishing up BBQ, Pana Food Truck will be slangin’ arepas and Scrumptious will be serving up fish and chips — and there will be face painting for the kids and kids at heart.
Remember the Poet and Patriot Party: The Slough Brewing Collective and Santa Cruz Cider Co. host a get-together for all who remember and miss beloved downtown Santa Cruz pub The Poet and The Patriot. If you’re feeling somewhat out of sorts since its doors closed last year, here’s your chance to join in for a day of drinks, food, darts and good company. Rick Kendrick — aka DJ Soulciter — of the Inciters will be on the decks, and La Perrona Mexican Food (estilo Coalcomán Michocán) offers the eats.
— Lucille Tepperman
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 display at the MAH’s second-floor Solari Gallery, which wraps up Sunday.
“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 show through April 10. Go see them in alphabetical order, or be a rebel and see them in some other order.
“Who We Are: Portraying Identity”: Cabrillo College presents its first in-person art show of the year at the Cabrillo Gallery on campus. The new show gathers 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 artworks that approach the question in different ways and runs through April 8.
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 at the SCAL Gallery — 526 Broadway, Santa Cruz — runs through April 3.
“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. On through March 26 at the SCMAC, 9341 Mill St., Ben Lomond.
— Wallace Baine
BOOKS & LECTURES
Karen Anne Murray: English-born chef Karen Anne Murray is known around Monterey Bay for her tea shop Eddison & Melrose in Pacific Grove (near Trader Joe’s). To celebrate the 20th anniversary of E&M, Murray has compiled a book of her culinary creations, including her trademark, Karen Anne’s Granola. The book, “Chef Karen Anne Murray’s Tea Table,” has just been published and the author will be on hand for a virtual event to discuss her book, her food and her tea shop on Wednesday. Things get started at 6 p.m.
— Wallace Baine
Greater Purpose Comedy — Karinda Dobbins & Dhaya Lakshminarayanan: Get your female comic fix Friday with two headlining comedians. Dhaya Lakshminarayanan has been crowned winner of “The Ultimate Comedy Challenge” by Comedy Central Asia and was named one of the 20 “Women to Watch”by San Francisco’s KQED. Joining her as a headliner is stand-up comedian, writer and actor Karinda Dobbins, deemed one of “Six Hilarious Female Comedians You Don’t Know Yet — But Should,” by Bitch Magazine.
Westside Comedy Night — Logan Guntzelman: Los Angeles native Logan Guntzelman headlines Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing’s weekly showcase, bringing humor she describes as “mostly dumb but sometimes smart, dirty but not gross.” She has also performed at the New York and Boston Comedy Festivals, and was recently selected as a New Face at the Just For Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal.
— Lucille Tepperman
Hummingbird Day: The UC Santa Cruz Arboretum celebrates hummingbird migration season with a morning of events dedicated to one of our area’s tiniest gems. There will be four guided bird walks — plus one for kids — and photography tips, and the younger crowd can also build bird feeders and do some coloring. Doors open at 7 a.m.
World Water Day Event for Clean Water: Join a river walk and Main Beach cleanup hosted by Gravity Water and the Surfrider Foundation. Afterward, participants can meet up at the Tannery on River Street for a nonprofit fair, which will include live music, short films, food and drinks, with libations provided by Shanty Shack. Get some community service in and enjoy the fair as spring begins.
— Will McCahill and Max Chun
KIDS & FAMILY
Downtown Santa Cruz Makers Market: Visit the makers market in downtown Santa Cruz on Sunday to pick up handmade crafts from some of your favorite local artisans. Art, jewelry, locally sourced ingredients and more will be available, with Nelson Metal Works, Mama V’s CBD, California Jam Queen and Barnwood Birdhouses among the vendors this Sunday.
Jurassic Empire: Capitola Mall goes back in time with a visit from more than 50 life-size animatronic dinosaurs that we can say from experience will thrill (and/or throw a bit of a scare into) dino lovers of all ages. The drive-thru event is going on daily through Sunday in the mall parking lot, with weekend extended hours.
— Max Chun and Will McCahill
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