the "Dancing Waters" stained glass art installment on the River Front Garage in downtown Santa Cruz
Detail of the river-facing “Dancing Waters” installation in downtown Santa Cruz.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)
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Morning Lookout: Senate hopefuls converge, PV Pride celebrates and new public art downtown

Greetings, brave souls. It is Thursday, Aug. 17, and it’s another clouds-to-sun day around Santa Cruz County, with temperatures headed into the low 90s in the hills and topping out in the 70s at the coast.

Politics, community, culture, opinion — it’s all among what’s new on Lookout, if you’re looking to just dive right in.
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It’s been a while since a California U.S. Senate race has been wide open, and two of the Democratic candidates are headed our way, Christopher Neely reports. He takes a look at how Santa Cruz County politicos see things shaping up with Rep. Katie Porter coming to town Sunday and Rep. Adam Schiff on her heels Tuesday.

Pajaro Valley Pride festivities are on, and with the culminating march and celebration set for Sunday in Watsonville, Hillary Ojeda checks in with organizers. This year’s focus is on drag queens, celebrating their contributions to LGBTQ+ history and culture even as they’re under attack locally and nationally.

Wallace Baine and photojournalist Kevin Painchaud were on hand Wednesday for the unveiling of downtown Santa Cruz’s latest public art installation, with the stained glass “Dancing Waters” now brightening what had been a visually boring stretch along the San Lorenzo River.

From Lookout’s Community Voices opinion section, meanwhile, comes an appreciation of the staff at Santa Cruz’s Dominican Hospital. The “humankindness” we’ve heard in its advertising is more than just a slick motto, Linda Bookout writes.

The Thursday headlines also include the story of a volunteer army being organized by big-wave surfer Archie Kalepa that’s helping relief efforts on fire-ravaged Maui, so please, read along.

California’s U.S. Senate contest is on — and it’s coming to Santa Cruz next week

Reps. Barbara Lee, Adam B. Schiff and Katie Porter, from left.
(Los Angeles Times)

After more than 30 years, Dianne Feinstein’s Senate seat is opening up. Over the next week, the spirited battle to win the Democratic primary comes to Santa Cruz, with appearances by House members Katie Porter and Adam Schiff; Rep. Barbara Lee is expected by year’s end. It’s an unusual stretch for Santa Cruz as Schiff and Porter converge for fundraisers — and the voter appraisal of who can best represent California going forward. Christopher Neely digs in.

IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST: Click here to subscribe to Christopher Neely’s weekly newsletter covering Santa Cruz County politics and policy

‘Don’t be a Drag, just be a Queen!’: Pajaro Valley Pride gears up for annual march and celebration Sunday

Raudel Covarrubias, Pajaro Valley Pride board vice president, sits outside their home on August 16, 2023, in Watsonville.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Pride week is underway in the Pajaro Valley, with festivities culminating in Sunday’s march and celebration in Watsonville. With drag performers under attack across the United States, Pajaro Valley Pride organizers are putting special focus this year on drag’s contributions to LGBTQ+ history and culture. Read more from Hillary Ojeda.

FROM MAY: Drag Story Time organizers denounce anonymous transphobic letter


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

A good mix of stories as we pop the cork on Thursday. I know I’m looking forward to the weekend, and I’m not alone: Weekender, Wallace Baine’s newsletter covering Santa Cruz County arts and entertainment and delivering a bushel of recommendations for things to do all over, is coming later from Lookout, and you can sign up here for that and all our other newsletters, plus breaking news alerts via text and email. Of course, you can keep abreast of everything we offer by following Lookout on social media — find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Threads.

Our content isn’t possible without community support, so if you’re not already, please consider becoming a Lookout member.

Off to wrestle with reality’s nuances — stay frosty, friends.

Will McCahill
Lookout Santa Cruz