Weekender: Trivia ahoy, a winning ‘Formula’ and B9 is abuzz
Leave behind the bad vibes on Facebook, or Twitter, or Nextdoor, or just about everywhere else these days. Consider the following your good-vibes zone for the weekend ahead.
Now, on with the show:
Our first-ever Trivia Night event is upon us, scheduled for Tuesday, July 26, at 6:30 p.m., live and in person at Abbott Square in downtown Santa Cruz. I’ll be your host, alongside my friend, the brilliant comedian Richard Stockton. It’s a free thing, but we’re encouraging people to register for preferred seating.
We’re looking to create a vibrant new social event in Santa Cruz (we’re scheduled for other Trivia Nights in August and September), and I’m excited to be part of it. Please come out and don’t forget to bring your impressive trivia-laden brains.
If you caught my piece last Sunday, I cruelly and wantonly laid down some trivia questions without providing the answers. If you’re keeping score, here they are:
1. The European Limax cinereoniger is the largest species of its kind in the world. But the second-largest is a common sight in the coastal ecosystem all along the Northern California coast. That is, of course, the banana slug, aka Ariolimax columbianus. But you knew that already.
2. The world’s most famous Seattle-based coffee chain almost went by a very different name, before deciding on a reference from Herman Melville’s “Moby-Dick.” The original name of Starbucks was actually Cargo House, though reportedly the chain’s founders did consider “Pequod,” which was the whaling ship in “Moby-Dick.” More rational heads prevailed when someone suggested ordering a “cup of Pequod” fell kinda funny on the ear, to say the least.
3. What No. 1 pop hit and classic Baby Boomer wedding song began as an ad jingle for a bank commercial in 1970? That would be the Carpenters’ “We’ve Only Just Begun,” which was originally a jingle for the San Francisco-based bank Crocker. The commercial was popular, but it largely attracted young couples with no collateral for loans, which wasn’t exactly what the bank had in mind.
4. What “Bad” actor once spent a summer as a performer at Shakespeare Santa Cruz? Bryan Cranston of “Breaking Bad” (and so many other things) appeared at SSC in the summer of 1992 in a production of “The Taming of the Shrew.”
5. Finally, The Catalyst nightclub, which was first opened in 1966, has been in three locations on or near Pacific Avenue. What kind of business was in its current location before it became the present-day Catalyst? It was a bowling alley.
Now that you’re limbered up, come and see us on Tuesday.
Sign up (it’s free) here.
This Just In!
New bookings this week include an unusual date: a high-profile singer-songwriter coming not to sing but to talk about her new memoir. Country star Margo Price will come to Bookshop Santa Cruz on Nov. 2 to talk about her new memoir about her struggles to make it in the country biz, titled “Maybe We’ll Make It.” Also, look for singer-songwriter David Ramirez (Sept. 21, Moe’s), multi-instrumentalist Kurt Rosenwinkel (Oct. 10, Kuumbwa), and a big Michael-apalooza featuring guitarist Michael Gulezian and bassist Michael Manring, playing Aug. 16 at — where else? — Michael’s on Main.
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.
My Two Cents
There is at least one dramatic theme that audiences will simply return to again and again: the mysteries of love. William Shakespeare knew it better than anyone. What exactly happens when someone comes under the spell of love is at the core of many of Shakespeare’s comedies, not to mention every play, show or movie that could conceivably be labeled “romantic comedy” ever since.
This summer, Santa Cruz Shakespeare is presenting a new play — a world premiere, in fact — that brings a fresh new take on romantic attraction. My beloved and I got to see “The Formula,” written by Santa Cruz’s Kathryn Chetkovich, on its opening weekend and, gotta admit it, the play’s smart, contemporary vibe, relatable characters and vivacious humor completely seduced me.
Inspired by the magical love potion at the heart of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “The Formula” quite plausibly asks the question: What would happen if modern science were to create some kind of neurochemical agent that would work like a love potion?
The action revolves around the upcoming wedding of one of the two scientists working on the breakthrough love drug (available in a handy spray), and sure enough, the families of the bride and the groom feature a variety of characters in many different contexts of in-love and out-of-love. The highly secret and experimental spray makes it to the wedding and, well, you can guess what kind of chaos ensues.
The script cracks with funny lines, enhanced by big comic performances, and while it’s fun to guess who might get paired up with whom, “The Formula” is also asking anew, in the context of our more neuroscience-savvy age: What is exactly going on when we feel the attraction of crush-y love?
I hate to single out any single performer, but Allie Pratt’s heartfelt and magnetic take on Suzy, the bride and one of the scientists steeped in the biochemical aspects of love, really gave the play a dramatic center around which all the other great performances could soar.
“The Formula” is funny and brightly entertaining. Go see it, paired with one of the two Shakespeare plays also playing at The Audrey Stanley Grove up at DeLaveaga Park. Bring someone you love, or want to love you back, or used to love, or want to love again.
Here they are, nine necessary know-abouts for the week ahead. Welcome to the B9:
- What’s better than one night with the sweet soul music of the great Bay Area band the California Honeydrops? Easy: two nights.
- The Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music opens with a concert featuring the works of up-and-coming young composers. And, this is not a typo, it’s free.
- Sisters Donna Mekis and Kathryn Mekis Miller come together to chat about their wonderful history book about the Croatians in the Pajaro Valley.
- What happens when two brilliant minds like Voltaire and Leonard Bernstein connect over the centuries? The magnificent musical “Candide.”
- OK, I might have mentioned this already, but look out for Lookout Trivia Night, y’all, free at Abbott Square.
- Fifty years ago, he sang “Love is but a song we sing.” Is Jesse Colin Young still singing it?
- Shakespeare’s trippiest play, “The Tempest,” opens for a summerlong run at Santa Cruz Shakespeare.
- Rock music’s grunge era is long gone, but for one special night at The Catalyst, you can load up on your Stone Temple Pilots, Pearl Jam, et. al.
- His name is Ben Williams, and for fans who like their jazz hip-hop-infused and forward-thinking, he’s a discovery.
➤ WANT MORE B9 PICKS? Find recommendations from Team BOLO — Wallace, Max Chun and Will McCahill — here
Earworm of the Week
To mark the great and venerable Wharf To Wharf race this weekend from Santa Cruz to Capitola, our EWW harkens back to what I’ve for years believed to be one of the great running songs of all time, Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m On Fire.” And I know exactly where I got that association, the beautiful 1989 film “In Country,” in which the film’s star Emily Lloyd hits the pavement with The Boss on her Walkman. On Sunday, when you need that extra jolt to get you through that last mile, you might find that telling yourself that you’re on fire just might do the trick. Good luck to all, and see you at the finish line.
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.
This bobblehead of onetime Hollywood starlet Anna Nicole Smith — kids, ask your parents — checks out the passersby in a very public place. Where is it?
Last week’s answer: The Santa Cruz logo, courtesy of NHS Skateboards, can be found in every corner of Santa Cruz County (and well beyond), but where is it immortalized in bronze, above?
It’s part of an impressive plaque embedded in the sidewalk at the entrance of the holiest shrine of all skateboard shops, The Boardroom on 41st Avenue in Pleasure Point. The plaque marks the site of NHS’s original factory, which first introduced Santa Cruz Skateboards, OJ Wheels, and Independent trucks to the world back in 1973.
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.