Fish and wildlife officials attempt to catch the surfboard-stealing otter known as Otter 841.
(Kevin Painchaud/Lookout Santa Cruz)
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Morning Lookout: The problem with otter selfies, Ellen Primack’s influence, and five star dive bars

Good morning and happy Friday, friends,

Max Chun here one more time. I hope this week breezed by for you as quickly as it did for me, and that the weekend is full of good stuff.

It’s Friday, July 28, and it’s poised to be another beautiful day (surprise, surprise.) We’re looking at a high of 77F in the mid- to late afternoon.

Now, without further ado, let’s hop into Friday’s rundown. Use the links below to skip ahead, if you so wish.

JUMP TO ... Latest News | Opinion | Events | Guides | Puzzles

Otter 841 is still out and about, and the entire debacle has raised fascinating questions about the lasting impacts of human behavior on marine animals. I talked to both a local sea otter researcher and the owner of a kayak rental business to discuss the issues and how people can be mindful of the animals’ wellbeing.

Meanwhile, Wallace Baine writes about Ellen Primack, the executive director of the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, who is stepping down after this summer’s season. However, she’ll still remain active in the community, hoping to help nonprofits with logistics and vision.

Lily Belli caught up with Max Turigliatto, who converted Ye Olde Watering Hole on Mission Street into a speakeasy-style cocktail bar called Mission West. Now, he’s working on opening a new cocktail bar in the former Poet & Patriot Pub in downtown Santa Cruz.

Time to take a look at the headlines ...

Selfies by the sea: Otter 841’s popularity renews concerns about humans encroaching on marine wildlife

(Mark Woodward / Native Santa Cruz)

As Otter 841 continues to roam free, the whole saga has prompted questions about humans encroaching on marine life and the phenomenon’s implications for the animals. One locally based researcher believes the introduction of social media and portable cameras have worsened the disturbances, and could lead to more Otter 841 situations. Read the whole story here.

MORE COVERAGE: As ‘Free Otter 841' movement grows, expert warns that officials have little choice but to capture it

The Primack imprint: How Ellen Primack built the Cabrillo Festival into an internationally celebrated showcase of new music

Ellen Primack, the executive director of the Cabrillo Music Festival is retiring after more than 30 years on the job.
(Photo by Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz

“What makes the festival special? What is about this culture? What do I believe about that? So I’ve been asked that a lot but what I’ve come down to the most is [writer and educator] bell hooks. It’s just it’s all about love.” reflects Ellen Primack, Cabrillo Festival executive director of 33 years, ahead of her retirement. Her mark on Santa Cruz and its art will be long-lasting. See the whole story from Wallace Baine here.

MORE FROM WALLACE BAINE: Last weekend to catch ‘Hunchback’ at Cabrillo stage

Five star dive bar: Max Turigliatto is breathing new life into Santa Cruz’s watering holes

Max Turiglatto
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa)

When Santa Cruz native Max Turigliatto bought the Watering Hole in 2019, he kept the sign but transformed the neglected dive bar off of Mission Street into a speakeasy-style cocktail bar for the Westside community. Now the 31-year-old is aiming to do something similar with the former Poet & Patriot Irish Pub in downtown Santa Cruz. Turigliatto took over the space in January and plans to open a cocktail bar with a New Orleans vibe called the Alley Oop. Read Lily Belli’s story here.

MORE FOOD NEWS: Trestles pop-up offers sneak peek of Cavalletta, chef Nick Sherman’s upcoming Aptos restaurant


Upcoming events in Santa Cruz County

“Ten” exhibition @Radius Gallery
Poetry Series @Boulder Creek Branch Library
Dylan Rose: Father & Son @Bargetto Winery
The Latin Dead @Felton Music Hall
Sofia Talvik @Ugly Mug Coffeehouse

Midtown Fridays @1111 Soquel Ave.
Food Truck Friday @Skypark
Mountain Film on Tour Santa Cruz @Rio Theatre
Roosevelt @The Catalyst

Out of The Darkness Santa Cruz County Walk @Skypark
Community Crafters-Basic Earring Making Workshop @Boulder Creek Branch Library
Farm Dinner @1481 San Miguel Canyon Rd.
Big Mountain @Moe’s Alley
MaMuse, WildChoir & The Feelings Parade @Rio Theatre

Halloween Pop-up Event @Little Trends
Rail & Trail Festival @Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
David Luning @Kuumbwa Jazz Center
Marc E. Bassy @The Catalyst

That just about wraps up Friday morning. Keep an eye out for Lily Belli’s Eaters Digest newsletter coming out you shortly. Sign up here for that and all of our other newsletters, plus breaking news alerts via email and text. You can also stay current on local happenings is via our social media accounts — follow Lookout on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Threads.

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Enjoy your Friday, and have a great weekend!

Max Chun
Lookout Santa Cruz