Weekender: Radius Gallery’s ‘all Korean’ focus, Boardwalk cooks up a favorite and Halloween approaches
Beginning with “Bikini Werewolf Massacre” this weekend, Santa Cruz is about to get weird, in what we hope is a very fun, Halloween-y way. Of course, Halloween office parties are going to be weird in another cringe-y way. Have fun wherever you might be.
Now, on with the show.
This Just In!
For the second time in as many months, the legendary folk singer Judy Collins has postponed a concert in Santa Cruz due to a long, slow heal from a broken arm. Her show, which was scheduled to take place this week, has been bumped back to Jan. 11, at the Rio Theatre. Also newly scheduled is the annual performance of “The Nutcracker” at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium on Dec. 10-11, brought to you by Santa Cruz Ballet Theatre. The man who made sputtering rage into a comedy routine, Lewis Black, visits the Rio on Jan. 21. And the fine Santa Cruz singer-songwriter Marty O’Reilly welcomes in the new year at Moe’s Alley on Dec. 31.
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:
- Carve out a space for lunchtime Saturday when you can taste some of the finest examples of local chili at the Beach Boardwalk’s Chili Cook-off.
- One of the masters of 1970s-style smooth jazz, Bob James of “Taxi” fame, brings his cool vibe to Kuumbwa on Monday.
- The always provocative and free-thinking essayist Rebecca Solnit has a new theme to explore in her book “Orwell’s Roses.”
- Second-generation Korean American and SoCal native Jennifer Lee is a remarkable DJ and club goddess you might know as TOKiMONSTA. She comes to town.
- It’s called “Bikini Werewolf Massacre!”, and it promises to be exactly as campy and cheesy and bizarre as its title suggests. Live at The 418 Project.
- The star of “Karate Kid” — yep, the wildly popular 1984 coming-of-age film — is now 60, and Ralph Macchio is ready to talk about the role that shaped his life.
- Watsonville’s ready for a lovely “Saturday in the Park” with B-Side Players live in Romo Park, in the shadow of the county’s coolest mural.
- Bettina Aptheker, a historic figure at UC Santa Cruz, has written a new book about closeted Communists. Hear her discuss her research and her own personal story.
- It’s close to Halloween. Don’t you owe yourself a visit to the great old Brookdale Lodge? Anthony Arya’s there to entertain you.
➤ WANT MORE B9 PICKS? Find recommendations from Team BOLO — Wallace, Max Chun and Will McCahill — here
To be (downtown) or not to be (downtown)
Yes, Halloween is upon us and generally people who live in Santa Cruz County will fall into one of two tribes, each according to their inner monologue, which is either (1) “OMG, it’s Halloween. I have to stay away from downtown,” or (2) “OMG, it’s Halloween, I have to get to downtown.” For years, Pacific Avenue in downtown Santa Cruz has been the site for the busiest and craziest of Halloween celebrations, all with the active participation of the police department and the city staff. The pandemic put a big damper on the party the past two years, but this year is expected to be as big as ever.
This year, as in past years, the city will close down Pacific Avenue and many of the streets that come into it from about 9 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 31, until 10 a.m. Nov. 1. Other roads, or portions of other roads, will be closed off by 5 p.m.
Last year, the first official Halloween celebration since the pandemic shutdown, police did not close off Pacific Avenues, choosing only to manage the sidewalks. So this year is expected to look more like 2019 and before, when literally thousands of people find a way to get downtown. (The Downtown Association said it expects no disruptions for Halloween plans because of the recent city workers strike.)
The daylight hours are, of course, for families, with many downtown merchants setting up spots to hand out candy to little trick-or-treaters, beginning at 2 p.m. As the sun goes down, the crowds turn over to teens and young adults and by nightfall, all of Pacific Avenue can turn into a kind of costume runway competition, with exhibitionists and gawkers alike. Obviously, many of the revelers have spent weeks, if not months, working on their costumes and it shows. If you’ve never seen it, you owe yourself the experience. Just remember to walk, carpool or bike downtown, because despite all the monsters and ghosts about, the scariest part of the evening will be parking.
The Radius Gallery at the Tannery in Santa Cruz is the site for what it claims is the first ever “all Korean” exhibition in Santa Cruz. The art show is called “US Korea” and features more than 50 works of art by six artists, including Tannery artist Heejin Lee. Many of the art works illuminate the Korean experience in the United States. The exhibit will feature an artists talk on Sunday (2 p.m.), and the Radius is planning Korean cultural events for the next First Friday, Nov. 4. As someone lucky enough to have visited South Korea a couple of times, I’m eager to see the show …
With Michael’s on Main in Soquel still closed due to a ruinous fire on Sept. 1, Tom Miller, the ingenious booker of shows at Michael’s, is now booking some of his more familiar acts at Joe’s Bar up in Boulder Creek. Sharon Allen & Dusty Boots, for example, will play at Joe’s on Thursday, along with Juice of the Barley. Keep an eye on who comes to Joe’s here …
The celebrated local painter Frank Galuszka is publishing a new book called “Cafe Vernacular: The Art of Tom Bottoms.” He’ll read from the book at an event at Bad Animal in downtown Santa Cruz on Sunday, Nov. 6, from 3 to 5 p.m. It’s free …
Friends of longtime Santa Cruz guitarist Yuji Tojo and fans of the late Texas singer-songwriter Nanci Griffith will converge at the Kuumbwa Jazz Center on Nov. 11. On that date, several local musicians will gather to sing from the beautiful Ms. Nanci’s catalog and to raise money for Tojo, who lost his house during the CZU fires. Among those slated to perform are Ginny Mitchell, Lisa Thompson, Eliza James, Patti Maxine, Diana Donnelly, Bonny June, Lindsey Wall, Alison Steele, Christie McCarthy, Sunshine Jackson, Lizzy Smith and more. Request: Someone, please do “More Than a Whisper” …
A celebration of the life of founding Cabrillo College faculty member and central figure in the local dance community Roberta Bristol, who died in 2020, has been canceled because of the now-settled city workers strike. The event had been scheduled for Saturday at Harvey West Park, but organizers were told the park would be closed on Saturday, even if the strike was over. Stay tuned for a celebration for sometime in the summer of 2023 …
On Tuesday, I’ll be hosting Lookout’s final trivia night of the year, live and in person (and totally free) at beautiful Abbott Square in downtown Santa Cruz. Since this one is near Halloween, we’d love to see some people out in costume, of full-on cosplay, or even in something just a bit unusual. (And, no, my costume is not Jeff Bridges in “The Big Lebowski.” That’s how I always look.)
Earworm of the Week
I was quite moved recently by a broadcast on the CBS show “Saturday Morning” about the late, great John Prine, chronicling Nashville’s weeklong celebration of Prine’s music more than two years after his death from COVID-19. The old troubadour would have turned 76 earlier this month. And it’s only since his death that his deep influence across American music is finally beginning to emerge. There are those musical artists who go beyond great, and move into one-of-a-kind territory — Bob Dylan, Prince, Joni Mitchell — who stand alone in their unique ability to inspire not only fans but other songwriters. I’m convinced Prine, with his gift for unfussy, unpretentious sweetness, belongs in that company. To celebrate John Prine Month, I would turn to my favorite Prine tune, the exuberant, upbeat, almost gospel-flavored “New Train,” which, now that he’s gone, sounds more and more like a joyful celebration of the afterlife. Wherever the old “Singing Mailman” is these days, he’s “far away from this world of pain.”
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.
Do you recognize the joyous face above? Perhaps you’ll see it this weekend.
Last week’s answer: Wait, is that a car? How can a car be associated with a particular place in Santa Cruz County?
When we are referring to the famous taxi cab at Capitola’s landmark Shadowbrook restaurant. The glorious old Dodge can be seen motoring around town, providing Shadowbrook patrons a ride, but mostly you can find it in the parking lot near the restaurant’s other landmark icon, its hillside funicular.
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.