Weekender: Get your Hitchcock on, Cabrillo’s ‘Empathy Project’ and savoring the little stuff
Your correspondent is out of town on vacation this week, seeking warmth in points south after a chilly gray winter, and as a silent protest that adults don’t get to enjoy spring break. Anybody remember how to make margaritas?
Now, on with the show.
This Just In!
On Aug. 5, the Scotts Valley-based Christian Youth Theater will present a revue of the best of Stephen Sondheim at the Rio Theatre. The fine Santa Cruz jazz singer Claudia Villela returns to the Kuumbwa Jazz Center stage June 26. And the schedule has been released for the 2023 summer season at Santa Cruz Shakespeare, with Shakepeare’s “Taming of the Shrew” and Lauren Gunderson’s “Book of Will” opening in mid-July, and Shakespeare’s great tragedy “King Lear” opening in early August, all at the Audrey Stanley Grove at DeLaveaga. Tickets expected to go on sale soon.
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.
B9: What’s what in the week ahead
Here they are, nine necessary know-abouts for the week ahead. It’s the winter-weary version of the B9:
- Bay Area artist Tom Shimura brings fire and light to the Asian American experience as rapper Lyrics Born. We’re lucky to have him come to Moe’s.
- One year on and the war in Ukraine still rages. You can help alleviate the suffering of the people there by buying tickets to a benefit show at El Vaquero in Corralitos.
- Don’t you love it when you discover those artists who are simply like no one else you’ve seen before? The brilliant guitarist Bill Kirchen is one of those people.
- One thing destined to outlive us all is the amazing popularity of ABBA. Straight outta London comes the latest ABBA tribute, called “Mania.”
- Our own homegrown but nationally celebrated novelist Elizabeth McKenzie is ready to unveil her new book on the world. And Santa Cruz audiences get first crack.
- Bluesy rockers North Mississippi Allstars are bringing that delicious Memphis sound to Felton Music Hall.
- If you know about the Indian tabla, you probably already know all about Zakir Hussain. If not, consider this a moment for self-discovery.
- One of the most inventive and insightful writers alive, Jennifer Egan of “Visit from the Goon Squad” fame, is coming to a venue near you.
- Does chillin’ on a Sunday afternoon with live blues music sound like living your best life? Meet Mr. Albert Cummings at Moe’s Alley.
Screenings of “Shadow of a Doubt” and “Vertigo” are just the tip of the iceberg as Scotts Valley celebrates its famous former resident, iconic filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock, with a two-day festival Friday and Saturday. Read more here.
In the name of empathy
Inspired by the work of writer Jamil Zaki, “The Empathy Project: Art, Compassion & Connection” brings together works by students, faculty and staff at the Cabrillo Gallery and the Cabrillo Library Gallery, opening Monday and running through April 14. Read more here.
Earworm of the Week
If you’re reading this now, the only judgment I feel fairly confident I can make about you is that you’re alive — or at least, if you’re like me before coffee, alive-ish. It’s a good habit to get into, for the sake of your mental health, to remind yourself of that (albeit temporary) fact daily, if you can manage it. That lungful of fresh air you just inhaled, that lovely view out the window, that piece of dark chocolate after lunch, all those micro-pleasures you take for granted — think of all those souls on the other side who can no longer experience them. One of our duties in this life is to learn how to savor good stuff. Like so many others, when I feel I could use a surge of well-being and gratitude, I turn toward music. And one of my favorite all-time feel-good songs comes from Texas singer-songwriter Kevin Welch, specifically from his 1995 album, “Life Down Here on Earth.” There’s a great song on that record that Garth Brooks made into a hit some years later on the theme of feeling glad to be alive, titled “Pushing Up Daisies.” But another song on that album I like even better is titled “I Feel Fine Today,” an energetic burst of exhilaration fueled by Irish-flavored fiddle and pennywhistle. “This ol’ world is a Tilt o’ Whirl/And I love the way she spins,” sings Welch in a way that makes me wanna holler from mountaintops. Yep, the old brain can produce some pretty bleak scenarios for many of us, but at least if you’re relatively in fine health, to quote Kevin Welch, sometimes it’s best to embrace one fundamental truth: “All I know worth knowing is I feel fine today.”
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
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:
Crinigerous (adj.) Hairy; overgrown with hair.
I’d love to get a tattoo, if only I were not so crinigerous.
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.
Last week’s answer
It’s painted on the side of the Cedar Street building that houses the bookstore/restaurant Bad Animal, one of the finest and most idiosyncratic new-ish businesses in town, with Santa Cruz personality to burn.
To quote the store’s FAQ page, “Is it okay to sleep with someone who doesn’t read books?” Let’s just say the answer is terse and emphatic.
Santa Cruz County Trivia
There are several small businesses in downtown Santa Cruz whose names reference or directly quote from 1960s-era hit pop/classic rock songs. How many can you name? Text me the answers.
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.