pianist Brianna Conrey
Santa Cruzan Brianna Conrey devotes her Friday show at Kuumbwa — “Piano: An All-Woman Show” — to bringing forgotten women composers to a contemporary audience.
(Via Brianna Conrey)
Wallace Baine

Weekender: An all-woman piano show, a Nina Simone classic and a blast from vocabulary past

Hi friends,

So, I don’t know about you, but in my California Resident’s Contract, it states explicitly than everyone is welcome here “except for Ol’ Man Winter.” Can we get a class-action suit going here? Bundle up, and try not to complain too much. Someone from Minnesota or New England might overhear.

Now, on with the show.

This Just In!

Fascinating show newly booked at the Kuumbwa for the last day of May. Peter Asher of the 1960s duo Peter & Gordon comes to the stage for a multimedia show about his experience at the top of the pop world in the shagadelic ’60s. The British-born Asher was also a music producer for James Taylor and Linda Ronstadt, among others. So he’s got some stories to tell, and he’ll tell them in “A Musical Memoir of the ’60s and Beyond.” Elsewhere, novelist and native Santa Cruzan Molly Prentiss drops in at Bookshop Santa Cruz on May 4. Jazzy hip-hopper José James performs live at Kuumbwa on June 18. Visionary novelist Brian Selznick comes to the London Nelson Center on April 25. And a band of Santa Cruz luminaries come together to honor Bob Dylan in a benefit for the Arhoolie Foundation on April 1.

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 scarves-and-wooly-mittens version of the B9:

  1. Yeah, we get the irony of gathering in a cozy theater to watch other people adventuring, but the Banff Centre Mountain Film Festival is a blast, and it’s cold outside!
  2. California’s greatest psychedelic band? If you know me, you know my vote. The indomitable Mermen are going to blow minds at the Crepe.
  3. Sure, you’ve seen a lot of guitarists, but I’m betting you’ve never seen one quite like “lap-tapping” guitarist Yasmin Williams.
  4. UCSC’s long-standing African American Theater Arts Troupe, directed by the indomitable Don Williams, opens its latest new production this weekend.
  5. Rock ’n’ roll true believer James Durbin brings his band The Lost Boys into the Cocoanut Grove for a hard rockin’ fundraiser for the Fallen Officer Foundation.
  6. Pianist Brianna Conrey has a story to tell about the great women composers in history. And she’ll tell that story at her keyboard.
  7. The quintessential California roots rocker meets the quintessential Texas country singer when Dave Alvin and Jimmie Dale Gilmore come together.
  8. Maybe the best way to inspire a child to love symphonic music? Prokofiev’s exhilarating “Peter and the Wolf.
  9. OMG, is there a better weekend than this one to dive into the yumminess and variety of clam chowder? The Boardwalk’s Chowder Cook-Off is here.
Shows coming to the Catalyst

Reviving women composers

Santa Cruzan Brianna Conrey has devoted herself to exposing largely forgotten or overlooked female composers from the past to a contemporary audience, and that’s what the pianist has in store Friday night at the Kuumbwa Jazz Center. Read more here.

MAHsquerade Event

Earworm of the Week

Here we are in the last days of Black History Month, on the brink of Women’s History Month in March. And if there is one song that can smoothly make that transition, it’s gotta be the moving jazzy spiritual “I Wish I Knew How it Would Feel to be Free,” made popular by the luminous Nina Simone in 1967. Written (and originally recorded) by Billy Taylor in 1963 as an instrumental, “I Wish I Knew” was one of many inspiring songs that were central to the civil rights movement and quickly became one of Simone’s signature moments and a highlight of her live performances, when she often turned it into a rousing improv of fire-breathing passion and rawness. Besides her fame as a vocalist of power and magnetism, Simone — who died in 2003 at the age of 70 — was also a brilliant pianist, and she often used the song as a showcase for her piano skills. “I Wish I Knew” is most powerful in the context of its time, but for women, people of color, and most especially women of color, it’s never stopped being relevant.


All the Earworms in one place

For those who’ve been following my Earworm of the Week, I’ve assembled a playlist that contains them all.

Thank You, Mr. Johnson

You want a new regular feature? You get a new regular feature!

For all you writers, readers and other lovers of language, we offer up a forgotten or archaic word from Samuel Johnson’s 1755 Dictionary in hopes that it might find a new life in today’s popular vocabulary. The definitions are Mr. Johnson’s; the usage suggestions are mine. This week’s word:

Malapert (adj.) Saucy; quick with impudence; sprightly without respect or decency.

Well, you have quite the malapert tongue. Come sit by me.

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 blue-painted metal sculpture of a woman's head

Excuse the impertinence, Madam, but don’t I know you?

Last week’s answer

a string of outdoor lights against blue sky

The lights here shine constantly, even against the pale blue of a bright sunny day in this famously picturesque spot.

benches and a string of outdoor lights on a lawn overlooking Monterey Bay at Seascape Resort in Aptos

There aren’t many, if any, more lovely and serene places in Santa Cruz County to have a wedding than the back lawn at the Seascape Beach Resort, right next to Sanderlings. Of course, in between weddings, you can always visit to sit and ponder the majesty of the Pacific Ocean.

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.