Members of Oakland's Bandaloop dance troupe practice in downtown Santa Cruz ahead of the MAH's CommonGround festival.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)
Wallace Baine

Weekender: Sol rising, MAH goes airborne and Newton Harrison’s legacy

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Weekender with Wallace Baine

Hi friends,

I’m not ready to say goodbye to summer just yet. Luckily we live in a part of the world where the fall comes dressed as a summer’s encore. Savor these golden days.

Now, on with the show:

This Just In!

The fine Northern California band The Mother Hips has always attracted a devoted audience in Santa Cruz. The Hips are coming back to play at Moe’s Alley on Nov. 26. Another local fave, SambaDa, returns to Moe’s on Oct. 7. The annual Morton Marcus Poetry Reading, this year featuring ex-U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey, will take place at Merrill College on the UC Santa Cruz campus Nov. 3. Melvin Seals and the Jerry Garcia Band (minus Jerry, of course) play back-to-back shows at Felton Music Hall on Nov. 11 and 12. And the Sin Sisters present their Halloween burlesque show Oct. 8 at Kuumbwa.

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.

The logo for Baine's Nine


Here they are, nine necessary know-abouts for the week ahead. Welcome to the B9:

  1. The most awesome summer music festival locally takes place on the official last weekend of summer. Get thee to Roaring Camp to soak up the Sol.
  2. The queen is gone, but there is a prince coming to Santa Cruz. At least, he’s royalty to folk/Americana fans.
  3. The MAH spreads its wings throughout the community with the diverse and ambitious CommonGround arts festival
  4. In the don’t-see-that-every-day department, the 418 Project is hosting a queer-themed fantasy show with circus, drag, burlesque and the art of shibari suspension.
  5. There’s a giant roasted turkey leg with your name written all over it at the county fair.
  6. The Santa Cruz Symphony opens its 2022-23 season in a high-stepping mood, with “Symphonic Dances.”
  7. Lera Lynn probably isn’t a household name in your household. But her haunting, seductive style makes her a potentially big discovery for music fans.
  8. Itching for a little nostalgic shout-out to the great Nat King Cole? The Santa Cruz Follies has you covered.
  9. Former NASA scientist-turned-cartoonist Randall Munroe has made his name answering wacky questions about science and physics. He comes to Hotel Paradox to celebrate his latest book.

WANT MORE B9 PICKS? Find recommendations from Team BOLO — Wallace, Max Chun and Will McCahill — here

Three-Dot Gazette

The pioneering UC Santa Cruz artist Newton Harrison died Sept. 4 at 89. Harrison and his late wife, Helen Mayer Harrison, were among the first artists to focus their work primarily on the ecology movement and environmentalism. For more than 50 years, the Harrisons brought into their art the research and work of biologists, urban planners, ecologists and environmental activists. They focused their work on such subjects as watershed restoration, agriculture, forestry and government environmental policy through drawings, paintings, photography, collages and installations. The Harrisons were both professors emeritus at UCSC …

The Kuumbwa Jazz Center and the Del Mar Theatre are starting something extremely cool come October. On every other Wednesday night from Oct. 5 to Nov. 16, the Kuumbwa will bring a classic jazz-oriented film to the big screen at the Del Mar. The series opens Oct. 5 with “Jazz on a Summer’s Day,” a documentary account of the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival featuring Thelonious Monk, Louis Armstrong, Dinah Washington and Chuck Berry (!). Other films include a doc on the fabulous career and strange death of trumpeter Lee Morgan, a history of female musicians in the big-band era, and a profile of the one-and-only New Orleans Jazz Festival. Clear your Wednesdays this fall …

You might remember the late Morton Marcus as a charismatic force of nature on the Santa Cruz poetry/literary scene for decades. The late poet and film critic is memorialized by the annual Morton Marcus Poetry Reading and this year, the featured poet is none other than Natasha Trethewey, two-term poet laureate of the United States. The evening will be hosted by the fine poet and book artist Gary Young, on Thursday, Nov. 3, at Merrill College on the campus of UC Santa Cruz …

The Be Natural Music School in Santa Cruz, specializing in jazz and rock for children of all ages, will be showcasing its finest young talent in various venues throughout the fall, from Woodstock Pizza, Abbott Square, Urbani Cellar and more. If you know a kid who you think has the heart of a rock star (or even a solid session player), turn them on to Be Natural. It could change their life …

Earworm of the Week

It’s not my place to advise the Democratic Party on political messaging leading up to a do-or-die midterm election. But if the donkey party has a prayer of upending the headlong rush to madness that Trumpism represents, it’s going to need millennial and Zoomer women to really step up and deliver. And, just in case you’re wondering if there’s some kind of musical anthem that might activate that key demographic and get them to the polls, there’s good news. Lana Del Rey is there for you. The sultry singer recorded and released the stunning “God Bless America — And All the Beautiful Women In It” back in 2017, the year of the epic Women’s March. But it has never sounded more relevant or more stirring than now. In the context of the fall of Roe, the song’s dreamy chorus is downright galvanizing. It reminds us that Lady Liberty is the ultimate American Woman, and that all American women have a little bit of her inside them. Frankly, if you’re a progressive woman under 40, I don’t see how you can remain unmoved by this beautiful ode to American-style feminism — and there’s even some space for us non-women at the end. Maybe as an older white man I’m out of my depth here. But to my ears, this is the song of the sisterhood.


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.

A close-up of a bronze thumb

Sure, it’s a thumb. But who — or what — is the above attached to?

Last week’s answer: OK, this one was a bit too easy, especially considering the time of year.

a pig in a race

It is, of course, one of the fabulous racing pigs, an attraction you can experience only at the fabulous Santa Cruz County Fair out at the fairgrounds east of Watsonville. This is the fair’s big weekend that runs through Sunday at 10 p.m. Get out there and cheer on your favorite porcine athlete!

A piglet on a sawdust racetrack

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.