Weekender: Jazz aplenty, royal recognition, the sweetness of summer — and my B9
Raise a toast this weekend to all those recycling workers in Santa Cruz County who are having to deal with a deluge of suddenly irrelevant yard signs. Can’t be easy. Exciting weekend as summer begins to ripen in front of our eyes.
Now, on with the show:
This Just In!
The Kuumbwa Jazz Center’s August shows are out, and the big news is a double show from the great Booker T. Jones on Aug. 25. Other exciting Kuumbwa shows include blues man Chris Cain (Aug.19), blues woman Marcia Ball (Aug. 1), the eccentric but talented vocalist Nellie McKay (Aug. 3), and legendary jazz trumpeter Terence Blanchard paying tribute to another legend, Wayne Shorter, in a collaborative show with the Turtle Island String Quartet (Aug. 8). Wow! Other new bookings include reggae star Mykal Rose at Moe’s (July 20), influential PNW band the Melvins at Felton Music Hall (Sept. 9), and the fabulous Fabulous Thunderbirds, also in Felton (Sept. 10).
Check out my carefully curated and constantly updated planning guide, Down the Line, for the staggering riches and amazing choices awaiting Santa Cruz audiences. It’s our look ahead at the best shows, concerts and events through the rest of the year at clubs, stages and venues all over the county.
Here they are, nine necessary know-abouts for the week ahead. Welcome to the B9:
- Free live music at the Beach Boardwalk is going to look a bit different. But, hey, it’s still free live music at the beach.
- Know a thing or two about the Black & Tan Baseball League? Your moment has arrived with this special Juneteenth-themed trivia game.
- Looking for a little sun-dappled Left Coast psychedelia with a garage-band funkiness? Do you know about the Allah Las?
- In the literary genre of wild comic fantasy, Christopher Moore pretty much stands by himself. And Santa Cruz grooves to what he’s laying down.
- It continues to astonish me that we Santa Cruzans can see jazz giants like Christian McBride in the intimate setting of Kuumbwa, and it’s not considered some extraordinary event.
- OK, it’s not what it sounds like, but The Nude Party at Moe’s Alley next week is going to be a fun time.
- It’s a big weekend for the folk dance band AZA, with a gig at Michael’s on Main and another in local parks as part of the Keep on Truckin’ series.
- He’s never going to be a star, but for 25 years, Damien Jurado has been a singer-songwriter for the thinking fan.
- If you want to show out-of-town family and friends what it means to live in California in 2022, might we suggest a cannabis farm tour?
➤ WANT MORE B9 PICKS? Find recommendations from Team BOLO — Wallace, Max Chun and Will McCahill — here
In the God-I-love-summer-in-Santa-Cruz category, we bring this fun news. The Midtown Fridays Block Party is back, thanks to the good vibes and hard work of the folks at Off the Lip radio, the popular surf/skate-oriented local podcast hosted by Neil Pearlberg and Terry Campion. Every Friday through the end of September, there will be a different local band playing live music over at the parking lot next to the fire station on Soquel Avenue (address is 1111 Soquel Ave.). There will also be food, art, good company, just lots of summertime fun. The Beach Cowboys provide the tunes Friday. It all starts at 5 p.m. …
Intriguing piece from SFGate on the Cotoni-Coast Dairies National Monument, that’s the enormous chunk of Santa Cruz County that President Barack Obama designated as a national monument just days from the end of his term in office. The piece reports on efforts to build trails in the area, and says that a 9-mile-long loop near Davenport could be open for public use by the end of the summer. We’ll certainly keep an eye on that …
UC Santa Cruz professor and filmmaker and installation artist Isaac Julien can now certainly spice up just about any dinner-party conversation. Earlier this month, Julien had an experience that, it’s safe to say, you and I will never have. He was knighted by the queen. Julien is an accomplished British-born filmmaker and installation artist who had already received the CBE (that’s Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) honor bestowed in 2017. On June 1, he was among those receiving a knighthood as part of Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee, celebrating her 70th year on the British throne …
There might be no more meaningful cultural icon in Mexican culture than La Virgen de Guadalupe, and a group of artists, writers and academics will be exploring how and why in a fascinating event in Watsonville on July 9. Scholars Jeanette Rodriguez from Seattle University and Jennifer Colby from CSU Monterey Bay will be leading a discussion about the history of the visual representation of La Virgen in a daylong event that will also include various workshops in art and writing, all at Watsonville’s downtown Cabrillo College center. More details to come …
Streetlight Records in Santa Cruz is not only your go-to place for recorded music, but sometimes for the live variety as well. On Sunday afternoon, Streetlight will open its doors for a live performance from Santa Cruz singer-songwriter Ian Cudney. The show begins at 4 p.m. as part of the “Live at the ’Light” series. It’s free, but I’m sure someone will sell you a CD or LP if you want one …
“Dreamland,” Kimberly Ford’s stage show honoring the work of the great Joni Mitchell, has been canceled. The show was originally set for Saturday night at the Kuumbwa Jazz Center …
Earworm of the Week
School’s out, the summer’s ahead, the strawberries are sweet, the daylight lasts almost to bedtime. Let’s not even argue this point: June is the finest month of the year. It’s the belt-loosening season, the take-your-shoes-off time. It’s hammocks and Adirondack chairs, margaritas and long magazine articles. As a kid, it’s sleeping late and having Cap’n Crunch for lunch. As a young person, it’s evenings at the lake or the beach, drinking, skinny-dipping, laughing. As an adult, it’s eternal evenings on the patio, cocktails with the neighbors, watching the baby eat ice cream with her fingers, slipping the dog something special not usually part of his diet. And as you grow older, it’s enjoying the bounty of the produce markets, the drone of a ballgame on TV, reading in natural light until close to 9 p.m. And, honestly, has your garden ever looked better?
To celebrate my favorite month, I turn every June to one of my favorite Santa Cruz singer-songwriters, Bryn Loosley. I first met Bryn when he was my daughter’s teacher at Mission Hill Middle School many years ago. Since then, I’ve been consistently floored by his talent as a singer and a songwriter. In 2013, he released an album called “Blood Year,” devoting one song to each month of the year. Naturally, he saved his best for June.
Where in Santa Cruz County Am I?
So how well do you notice the little things when you’re out and about across Santa Cruz County? We’ll post images from places that are accessible to the public somewhere in Santa Cruz County. You tell us where it is, as specifically as you can … or, better yet, send us your own photo of the same thing.
Have you met this gentleman?
Last week’s answer: It certainly ranks as one of the most obscure pieces of mini-art in all of Santa Cruz County. This hypnotic little image is actually painted upon the rusty rail of the long rail line that runs across Santa Cruz County and was at the center of the much-talked-about and highly contentious Measure D. Where to find it? That’s the interesting part. Whoever decided to grace the world with this small painting did so in one of the most remote parts of the trail. The best way to access it is to park at the Manresa State Beach lot and follow the rail south. Cross the trestle that spans San Andreas Road, and about a quarter-mile in (roughly 500 paces), just beyond where a section of the rail splits off to the right, and, if you’re paying attention, you’ll see it. And, apparently, it’ll see you, too.
That’s all I got, friends. Come at me with comments, ideas, complaints, or thundering insights. Thanks to all Lookout members for your faith and support, and please, spread the word on what we’re doing.