BOLO Best Bets: Santa Cruz Shakespeare returns, a history scavenger hunt and your last chance at some art
Big weekend in local theater with back-to-back opening-night performances at Santa Cruz Shakespeare. Theater professionals everywhere have endured a lot the past year and a half, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a lot of emotion with audiences and casts as outdoor Shakespeare resumes at the Grove in DeLaveaga.
Also, this weekend is another chance to see a moving exhibit of photographs of artifacts rescued from last summer’s CZU fires, courtesy of curator Nikki Silva and photographer Shmuel Thaler. Their “Out of the Ashes” show is on display at the Museum of Art & History. Plus, uke maestro Jake Shimabukuro, Cabrillo Stage’s “Tomfoolery” and tons more in our BOLO calendar of events.
And, for a look into the deep future (OK, a few months), check out our own crystal ball, the Down the Line calendar.
Now, here’s what Team BOLO thinks you should know for the weekend and beyond:
“The Agitators” opening night: Santa Cruz Shakespeare comes roaring back with live, in-person theater at the Grove at DeLaveaga Park for the first time since 2019. Mat Smart’s two-character play “The Agitators” is an evocative historical dramatization of the real-life decades-long, up-and-down friendship between 19th-century civil-rights icons Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony, starring, respectively, SCS vets Allen Gilmore and Patty Gallagher. Opening night at the Grove is Saturday, with following performances July 28, 30 and 31. The show runs periodically through Aug. 29.
“RII” opening night: Santa Cruz Shakespeare heads forthrightly into the post-pandemic live theater world with its first in-person performances in two years. The Shakespearean offering at SCS this summer is Jessica Kubzansky’s smart adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Richard II,” titled “RII.” The play, using Shakespeare’s own words, converts the Bard’s play into a three-actor showcase, highlighting today’s relevance of the story of the ill-fated King Richard. Opening night performance takes place Sunday, with following performances taking place periodically through Aug. 29
“Tomfoolery”: Cabrillo Stage continues to reveal more surprises up its sleeve with this third consecutive weekend of live musical theater at the Cabrillo College outdoor amphitheater. This time, it’s a fun and witty musical revue based on the impressive catalog of Tom Lehrer, once a nationally beloved musical showman and master political satirist who put it all aside to become a math professor (at UC Santa Cruz, it turns out). All the favorite Lehrer classics are part of this cascade of songs that serve as an incisive look into the political world and entertainment values of the 1960s. “Tomfoolery” plays for five performances: Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 6 p.m. and Saturday/Sunday matinees at 2 p.m.
— Wallace Baine
Race Through Time — 25th Anniversary Edition: Test your Santa Cruz historical knowledge in a part-scavenger-hunt-part-race put on by the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History. Each team will receive a series of clues that will eventually reveal historically significant sites. Teams can earn additional points for things such as fastest team, best name, and best dressed.
Work Out to Save Lives: In a partnership with Toadal Fitness Westside, Solid Ground for Africa is hosting a day of various workout classes loaded with activities from boot camp to Pilates to West Cliff runs. Registration is donation-based, with $15 getting you a spot in one class of your choice and $25 allowing you to enter as many as you please. The funds will go toward empowering women and orphaned children in Africa.
— Max Chun
THURSDAY AND SUNDAY
Greeninger/Kai: Nobody does tough-yet-tender quite like the fine Santa Cruz singer/songwriter Keith Greeninger, who has quietly become the godfather of the local folk music scene. For all his success as a solo act, Greeninger has enjoyed some fruitful collaborations, none more so than with Dayan Kai, the wizard multi-instrumentalist with a natural instinct for harmonizing with his old friend. The two play together on two separate dates at Michael’s on Main in Soquel: Thursday, with a full band, and Sunday, in an acoustic show.
THURSDAY AND FRIDAY
The Mattson 2: Jonathan and Jared Mattson are brothers — identical twins, to be exact. And their shared DNA takes the form of both musical talent and a taste for artistic adventure. The two play shimmering, intricate, wide-open music adjacent to jazz but tending toward indie psychedelia. The Mattsons hail from San Diego, but they have a song called “Pleasure Point” that bends into surf guitar territory. It’s either a weird coincidence, or they know something about Santa Cruz. They play live back-to-back nights, Thursday and Friday, at The Yard at Moe’s Alley.
National Park Radio: Yes, it sounds like some kind of odd left-of-the-dial broadcaster, but the folk/mountain music band National Park Radio is serious about its blend of Americana idioms, including bluegrass and folk. Known primarily as a vehicle for husband/wife duo Stefan and Kerrie Szabo emerged from Arkansas a decade ago and built a sound sure to appeal to fans of The Lumineers and Avett Brothers. They play live Saturday at Felton Music Hall.
THURSDAY, JULY 29
Jake Shimabukuro: Ukulele-mad Santa Cruz has always been a welcoming landing spot for Jake Shimabukuro, the Hawaiian-born virtuoso who has matured into perhaps the world’s most gifted and popular uke player. He has, in fact, attained a kind of mainstream recognition probably never afforded a player of the lowly ukulele: a nomination to the National Council of the Arts by President Joe Biden. He comes to the Rio Theatre in Santa Cruz as part of his new national tour on July 29.
— Wallace Baine
FOOD & DRINK
Food Truck Friday at Skypark: Nestled off Mount Hermon Road in Scotts Valley, Skypark has seen a multitude of transformations over the past year. The park that was filled with firetrucks during the CZU complex fire now hosts a sea of food trucks multiple times through the summer. This Friday’s event will also include a wine and beer garden and live music by locals The Gravity.
— Haneen Zain
Movie Night + Food: “Good Burger”: If you like cult classic movies and food, particularly burgers, come to the Diversity Center of Santa Cruz at 7 p.m. for a showing of Good Burger and a meal from an appropriately themed burger pop-up. Burgers are available on a donation-based sliding scale for $5-10.
— Max Chun
ENDING THIS WEEKEND
“Hats Off Santa Cruz Grads” at the Santa Cruz Art League: The graduating seniors of Santa Cruz High School didn’t get a typical graduation in 2020, much less their traditional annual art exhibition at the Santa Cruz Art League. Alumnus Nick Morris helped fill the gap by photographing the graduates and collecting stories of their experiences during the pandemic. The exhibition — which runs through Saturday — pays tribute to graduates as they faced nearly unprecedented challenges in a historic moment. The Art League is open Wednesday through Saturday from 1-4 p.m.
“Out of the Ashes: Stories from the CZU Lightning Complex Fires” at the Santa Cruz MAH: The anniversary of the CZU Lightning Complex Fires is weeks away, and with memories in Santa Cruz County still raw, the MAH has assembled an exhibition commemorating the impact on the community with a collection of stories, artifacts, photographs and artwork, with the help of photojournalist Shmuel Thaler and NPR radio producer and former history curator Nikki Silva. The museum is open Thursday to Sunday, noon-6 p.m.
— Laurel Bushman
Irene Tu headlines Greater Purpose Brewing Company Comedy Night: Stand-up comedian, actor and writer Irene Tu has made waves across the Bay Area in recent years, and now brings her act to Santa Cruz to headline Greater Purpose Brewing Company’s weekly comedy night event.
— Haneen Zain
KIDS & FAMILY
Santa Cruz Mountains Classic Car Show: If the pared-down Woodies on the Wharf pop-up left you wanting more, the Brookdale Lodge, on Highway 9 in Brookdale, has you covered. Classic muscle cars are the featured attraction at this 9 a.m.-5 p.m. event, and there will be live music, artists and other local vendors, and food and drink options aplenty.
— Max Chun
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly listed the end date for the “Out of the Ashes: Stories from the CZU Lightning Complex Fires” exhibit at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History as Saturday, July 24. It is July 24, 2022.
Team BOLO (Be On The Lookout) is gathering and curating all of Santa Cruz County’s biggest and best happenings from now...
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