Weekender: Shakespeare szn, Patti Smith’s Santa Cruz dream and a bronze idol
Your correspondent is indulging in a little summer vacay this week, so we have an abbreviated run in your inbox this week. But the cultural cornucopia stops for no one.
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.
Now, on with the show:
Here they are, nine necessary know-abouts for the week ahead. Welcome to the B9:
- Can you believe it? Finally, Santa Cruz Shakespeare season is upon us, in its full glory for the first time since 2019. “Twelfth Night” has never sounded so beguiling.
- But not everything at Santa Cruz Shakespeare is Shakespeare. Local playwright Kathryn Chetkovich’s “The Formula” might be the hit of the season.
- Not many still around who can say they played Monterey Pop. Barry “The Fish” Melton is one of those.
- Live music and intriguing conversation. Both are part of the ambitious “Speak for Change” event at the Kuumbwa.
- Call Bryan McPherson punk rock acoustic style. Call former Good Riddance singer Russ Rankin political punk. Call them both on one show a deal.
- Well, you have to admit that “Crying in the Bathroom” is a very intriguing title for a memoir.
- You like that indie rock band Real Estate? Their frontman is Martin Courtney, and he’s pretty Real, too.
- Seabright is always a great place for a walk. Imagine it with a tour guide who knows a thing or two about the long-gone but well-remembered Castle Beach.
- Movies about baseball are better these days than actual baseball games, especially if they’re free, and on the beach.
➤ WANT MORE B9 PICKS? Find recommendations from Team BOLO — Wallace, Max Chun and Will McCahill — here
Summer Beach Reads
It’s beach-reading season and we’re passing along recommendations of great books that, centrally or just tangentially, have something to do with Santa Cruz County. Last week, it was Nick Offerman’s wry and insightful travelogue “Where the Deer and Antelope Play,” and this week, we’re turning to rock legend Patti Smith’s 2019 memoir “Year of the Monkey.”
Smith is a lioness of the punk rock world who is also one of the most elegant and revelatory memoirists around. “Year of the Monkey” is a kind of year-in-the-life of the author, in this case the year 2016.
Weirdly enough, the book begins in Santa Cruz, with Smith stumbling around on New Year’s Day looking for some food or coffee and finding neither at the closed Ideal Bar & Grill. She woke up alone at the Dream Inn, and calls it in the book “the Dream Hotel.”
The book doesn’t stick around Santa Cruz for long, but that’s where the journey starts, which makes this book the ideal first experience with Patti Smith for local readers. This is a weighty memoir, just like everything Smith releases into the world. It comes from a remarkably self-reflective woman as she steams past her 75th birthday, and tries to make sense of exactly what art, music, and her many friends and influences have left behind for her. A tremendous book. Let me know how you like it.
Earworm of the Week
Turn inland from the coast, away from the high-rent areas of the fog belt, and you’ll quickly discover there’s a whole lot of California out there that doesn’t fit the Beach Boys stereotype. The great country band Cracker has an anthem for all those Californians who proudly call the less glamorous parts of the state home. It’s called “California Country Boy” and from its opening line “Ain’t no palm trees/where I come from” to its shoutouts to the Central Valley, the Mojave, and the Salinas Valley, this song proudly waves a flag for the California not included in tourism commercials. Cracker comes to us, proudly and defiantly, from beautiful Bakersfield, but its lead country boy, David Lowery, was a co-founder of Camper Van Beethoven right here in Santa Cruz. And there are plenty of folks in Santa Cruz County who would find a whole lot to identify with in this song.
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.
Yep, you’ve seen this famous logo above everywhere in these parts. But engraved in bronze? Where can we find this NHS monument?
Last week’s answer: Where have you seen that swimmer above, forever caught in a swan dive? You wouldn’t notice her if you didn’t look up once in a while. She’s part of the big painted banner on the back of the beautiful Del Mar Theatre in downtown Santa Cruz. You can see her from Front Street looking up at the back of the old movie house. The grand art-deco movie palace first opened back in 1936.
Stay tuned ...
I’m excited to be hosting a new trivia night event, the first to take place Tuesday evening, July 26, at Abbott Square. We’re going to have a lot of fun. Register today and get more event details here.
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.