Santa Cruzan Sam Meehan on "Jeopardy!" on Jan. 30
Santa Cruzan Sam Meehan on “Jeopardy!” on Jan. 30.
Wallace Baine

Weekender: Getting artsy, a new poet laureate and a local’s ‘Jeopardy!’ near miss

Hi friends,

Big weekend to go out and see art. First Friday for February promises to be fab. The MAH’s great “Bay of Life” show is happening, and the new Institute of the Arts & Sciences opens on the Westside. Get out and see what Santa Cruz has to offer in the visual arts.

Now, on with the show.

This Just In!

One of America’s finest fiction writers and the author of “A Visit From the Goon Squad,” Jennifer Egan, visits the Cowell Ranch Hay Barn at UC Santa Cruz on March 15 in an event presented by Bookshop Santa Cruz. Seattle-based singer-songwriter Damien Jurado performs live at the Kuumbwa Jazz Center on March 17. Cuban-born pianist Omar Sosa returns to Kuumbwa alongside Senegalese kora player Seckou Keita on April 22. Dumpstaphunk returns to Moe’s Alley for a show June 30. The Boardwalk’s annual Chili Cook-off will take place Oct. 28 this year. And don’t miss Santa Cruz’s legendary surf-psychedelic masters The Mermen at The Crepe Place on Feb. 25.

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

B9: What’s what in the week ahead

Here they are, nine necessary know-abouts for the week ahead. It’s the versatile and unbreakable B9:

  1. It’s a remarkable collaboration, addressing the next generation on the prevailing societal issue of our time. The K-P Arena is the site for “How to Be a (Young) Anti-Racist.”
  2. Yes, jazz fans, giants still roam the earth. The latest to visit the Kuumbwa Jazz Center is the legendary pianist Kenny Barron, with his trio.
  3. Taking part in the library’s “Community Reads” program with the novel “Mary Coin”? Sunday, local folk musicians play the songs of the Great Depression.
  4. The astounding story of Corita Kent, a nun turned 1960s pop artist, is told in Jewel’s latest production, “Little Heart.”
  5. The fine trio The Wood Brothers has been quietly producing gorgeous songs touching on folk, gospel, blues and country for more than 15 years. You can see them live Monday.
  6. A fabulous new arts center/museum space opens up on the Westside of Santa Cruz. The official opening is Sunday. See you there?
  7. Among the beguiling possibilities at First Friday this month is an Avant Garde Fashion Show inspired by the legendary Elsa Schiaparelli.
  8. The fun tasting menu of local theater known as “8 Tens @ 8” is now in full swing. Go find your favorite 10-minute play.
  9. Colombian American novelist Patricia Engel is visiting Santa Cruz to chat about her latest short story collection.

Farnaz Fatemi county’s new poet laureate

Iranian American writer and poet Farnaz Fatemi, a member of the popular The Hive Poetry Collective at KSQD-FM and who most recently published a collection of her poems titled “Sister Tongue” in September 2022, takes over as Santa Cruz County’s poet laureate from David Sullivan. Read more here.

Catalyst newsletter ad 2-2-23

Tim Jackson stepping down at Monterey Jazz

After three decades at the influential Monterey Jazz Festival, Tim Jackson is calling it quits, though he says he’ll remain with the venue he co-founded in his hometown of Santa Cruz, the Kuumbwa Jazz Center. Read more here.

Santa Cruzan gets “Jeopardy!” spotlight

“Originally relating to a story of suffering, this word now commonly refers to strong emotion of any kind”: That’s the clue that tripped up Sam Meehan of Santa Cruz on popular game show “Jeopardy!” Read more here.

RIP Lenny Calandrino

The Santa Cruz Latin-music scene lost a familiar face last week with the death of drummer Lenny Calandrino. Lenny was a Santa Cruz lifer, who was a part of the San Francisco Mime Troupe and the latter-day version of Harper’s Bizarre. He might be most well known for his work in Sofrito, a favorite Latin-jazz band in town in the 1970s and ’80s.

Those who knew Lenny also knew that he was a bon vivant, a lover of great music, good food, and bad jokes. Rest in power.

Earworm of the Week

In the wake of yet another killing of an unarmed Black man at the hands of police during a traffic stop, there is precious little that frustrated Americans can turn to for solace and hope. In the long arc of the civil rights struggle, music has played a central role in helping with the mourning process of these seemingly endless tragedies. And one of the most ennobling songs of the movement still carries immediacy and power though it was recorded more almost 60 years ago. It is, of course, Sam Cooke’s immortal “A Change is Gonna Come,” recorded in the winter of 1964 and released later that year, just a couple weeks after Cooke’s death by gunshot. “Change” is so deeply familiar that it’s probably a cinch for anyone’s top 10 list of greatest American songs of the 20th century. But Cooke himself might still be a hazy figure for younger fans. Thankfully, he’s the subject of two films of recent years — the drama “One Night in Miami,” and the documentary “ReMastered: The Two Killings of Sam Cooke.” Both position Cooke where he belongs in the public imagination, as a revolutionary figure on the verge of social and political prominence when he was murdered under bizarre circumstances at the age of 33. “A Change is Gonna Come” remains his greatest legacy, and its long perspective and its unshakeable faith will never fail to galvanize and inspire generations. Just imagine what Cooke was on the verge of producing. It’s almost too painful to contemplate.


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 brick with a plaque on it reading "Guardian II: Steadfast"

It’s the unfamiliar official name of a very familiar public artifact in a prominent place somewhere in the county. Can you ID this one?

Last week’s answer

The words "Archie I love you" scrawled into a sidewalk

We don’t know who Archie is — maybe it’s a reference to the hit song “Archie, Marry Me” by the Canadian band Alvvays — but he’s immortalized in the sidewalk in downtown Santa Cruz.

A section of sidewalk in front of Flower Bar in Santa Cruz, with "Archie I love you" scratched into the sidewalk

You can find it right out front of Flower Bar on Cedar Street. Congratulations, Archie, wherever you are.

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.