Redwood forest, Molino Creek in Santa Cruz County.
Redwood forest, Molino Creek in Santa Cruz County.
(Via Frans Lanting /
Wallace Baine

Weekender: Post-election pastimes! ‘Bay of Life,’ folklorico, Mountain Theater ... and always Weird Al

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Weekender with Wallace Baine

Hi friends,

If you’re like me, you’re just coming out of the bunkers after Election Day with a deep desire to think about anything other than politics. Please be a decent American and take down your yard signs.

Now, on with the show.

This Just In!

At age 18, Mexican American singer-songwriter Ivan Cornejo is already a big-time star in the realm of Mexican regional music, a genuine sensation in the TIkTok generation. The good news is that the young native Californian is coming to the Catalyst for a show Jan. 31. The bad news is that the show is already sold out. Wow, that was fast. Also, for a Christmas celebration of a dark variety, the great horror-punk band The Misfits are playing a holiday show at the Catalyst on Dec. 17. A more elevated concert comes that day and the next, Dec. 17-18, from the Santa Cruz Chorale at Holy Cross Church. The fine SoCal DJ Cut Chemist is at Felton Music Hall on Jan. 27.

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. Sure, we all love Santa Cruz, but “Bay of Life” is a photography experience that’ll get us all thinking of our home in grander ecological terms.
  2. It’s still crushing to think of a world without Nanci Griffith, but a star-studded tribute show to benefit a beloved local musician will evoke the spirit of Miss Nanci.
  3. November’s an ideal time for live theater, and Mountain Community Theater is opening an intriguing new show it’s bringing to Actors’ Theatre in downtown Santa Cruz.
  4. Sipping wine and wandering through Capitola Village? Now that sounds like a productive Saturday.
  5. The wonderful homegrown folklorico dance group Esperanza del Valle takes over the Crocker at Cabrillo this weekend.
  6. The sweet, saucy, swingin’ singer-songwriter Carsie Blanton returns to Moe’s Alley next week.
  7. Journalist Patrick Radden Keefe goes after grifters, cons and criminals, and he’s ready to spill.
  8. Country star Lacy J. Dalton was once a Santa Cruzan. She returns to her old stomping grounds to benefit KSQD.
  9. The Seattle all-female band La Luz plays indie rock with an unmistakable surf vibe. They were built for rooms like Moe’s Alley.

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

Three-dot gazette

On Nov. 20, Temple Beth El in Aptos is presenting a free community viewing of the film “Repairing the World: Stories from The Tree of Life” at The 418 Project in downtown Santa Cruz. The new film depicts the aftermath of the horrific 2018 synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh that killed 11 people. With the rise of antisemitic rhetoric in the mainstream, most recently demonstrated by rapper Kanye West, TBE finds it necessary to remind the public of the ongoing threat against Jewish communities and to present a vivid and moving example of one community’s courageous response to hatred. It’s a great opportunity to stand against hate …

On Nov. 26, Santa Cruz’s Lucas Lawson will take the stage with his band the Unturned Stone at the Catalyst. The show is an album release event for his new recording, titled “This Dirt.”Lucas grew up on an organic farm just outside Santa Cruz, and he began playing music as a boy, learning bluegrass on the guitar. That eventually led to the release of his first recording, “Revisited Harbor.” But a turning point in his life as a young musician was the ruinous CZU fires in the summer of 2020. His experience evacuating his home led him to write songs about his community and the response to the fires, many of which ended up as part of “This Dirt.” Let’s keep an eye on this emerging talent …

A lucky Santa Cruz County visual artist will be chosen to create a site-specific work of public art that will complete the Heart of Soquel public walkway. You might know the Heart of Soquel trail that connects Porter Street to Main Street, via Soquel Elementary School and the Heart of Soquel County Park. The county has now set aside a budget of $27,000 for a public art element to add to the trail. If you’re a creative type, go out to Soquel and check out the site, and read up on what the county is looking for. The deadline for proposals is Dec. 16.

Dirty Girl Produce display ad

Earworm of the Week

With a new biopic now streaming, Weird Al Yankovic is having a moment. And I’m here for all of it. I flat-out adore Weird Al because (1) I’ve interviewed him twice, and he’s the most amiable, mellow and courteous guy you ever could imagine; (2) he’s created a career that is one of a kind, a novelty act who’s no novelty, an enduring creative genius going back close to 40 years who has no imitators; and (3) if you look past the myriad parodies of hits and big artists that have made him a household name, you’ll find a catalog of original songs that are like little comic jewels. Weird Al’s gift is that he’s always been able to access the 11-year-old boy inside himself as a muse. Snobby sorts certainly think of his music as juvenile and goofy, but if you look closely, they’re kinda brilliant. And they’re just what we all need after a bruising and demoralizing election season. One of my favorites is “When I Was Your Age,” a funny take on old grumps and their absurd complaints about how soft young people are: “Nobody ever drove me to school when it was 90 degrees below / We had to walk buck-naked through 40 miles of snow …”


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 clock

OK, it’s time for an easy one. Is the above the second-most famous timepiece in Santa Cruz (behind only the town clock, of course)? I would vote yes.

A close-up of a man with a beard on a mural

Last week’s answer: Who is the wistful-looking old-timer above?

A mural in downtown Santa Cruz

He’s part of what has to be one of the most nostalgic murals in all of Santa Cruz County, the portrait of a bygone era painted on the former Andy’s Auto Supply building on Pacific Avenue at Maple Street in downtown Santa Cruz. That’s him sitting in the cab of the truck on the far left side, gazing out at the hot rods gathered in a Santa Cruz that doesn’t exist anymore.

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.