Weekender: Coffis Brothers’ brewhaha, Indexical’s full slate and getting hip to local history
We’ve all made it this far through this dismal and lingering winter. But a brighter (and dryer) day is coming. In the meantime, make plans on how you’re going to welcome the better weather, keep your spirits up, and help out the folks of Pajaro.
Now, on with the show.
This Just In!
The local appearance of the prominent voting-rights advocate Stacey Abrams, slated for June 4 at the Rio, is now sold out. The fine Scottish singer-songwriter KT Tunstall will perform live at the Felton Music Hall on June 12. Santa Cruz’s own Keith Greeninger plays a big show at the Rio on May 6. Americana artist Slaid Cleaves, who’s played Santa Cruz many times over the years, returns to town, this time at Felton Music Hall on April 21. And an intriguing date at the Rio on July 8, with the premiere of a new documentary on activists who create surfboards from discarded cigarette butts picked up along California’s beaches. The film is called, you guessed it, “The Cigarette Surfboard.”
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 welcome-to-springtime B9:
- Jewel Theatre at the Colligan Theater is back in action, this time with a smartly contemporary sequel to a classic play.
- Can’t repeat the title of the biggest hit from Sarah Shook & the Disarmers, but there’s a lot to like about this band’s snarly, witty, DGAF country rock.
- Lee Fields belongs back in the era of Al Green and Curtis Mayfield, but alas, the great soul singer was born much too late for that.
- Talk about a party: The Coffis Brothers host a big event at Moe’s Alley with live music, stand-up comedy, great cocktails, paella, even ice cream.
- Don’t miss “Glimpse,” the group show at the Radius Gallery at the Tannery, featuring more than a dozen visionary women artists, from near and far.
- “Wednesday” is a hit on Netflix, and somehow “The Addams Family” keeps on going and going, including as a new staged musical production in Scotts Valley.
- You’re certainly a Santa Cruz graybeard if you danced to the music of Los Schleppos Tipicos back in the ’80s. The reunion show is here and everyone is invited, graying or otherwise.
- Attention, all dog lovers. The Rio is hosting a collection of short films, all about our canine friends. Come check it out, though leave your dogs at home.
- The big bash this weekend happens at the creepy yet grand old Brookdale Lodge, with the three-day experience known in the mountains as the Brookdale Bluegrass Festival.
Big weekend at Indexical
Avant-garde musical organization Indexical kicks off an ambitious stretch Friday, with a blend of classical music and art rock at the Tannery; Saturday brings an offsite with Santa Cruz Underground Music and an “algorave”; and Monday marks the start of a weekly series of improvisational workshops for musicians. Read more here.
“Hip Santa Cruz, Vol. 6” is out now, and you can commune with the OG hipsters and immerse yourself in the local 1960s vibes with the writers at the Santa Cruz Art League on April 8. Read more here.
The return of Brew Cruz
Annie Pautsch and the Brew Cruz brewery tour haven’t been as frequent a sight as pre-pandemic, but she’s bringing the bus back this weekend as part of “Coffis Space,” hitting Woodhouse and Humble Sea on the way to Saturday night’s happening at Moe’s Alley. Read more here.
The end comes for Jewel Theatre
A reminder, if you missed our story Wednesday, Santa Cruz’s Jewel Theatre Company has decided to close up shop, following its 2023-24 season. Jewel’s demise is really a long echo left over from the trauma of the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown of 2020.
Julie James, Jewel’s artistic director since its inception back in 2005, is clearly one of the most respected and admired arts professionals in the community, and I think she has Jewel’s legacy in mind with her decision to shut down after one more year, rather than linger on and face an existential crisis every year, in the process of becoming a fundraising operation rather than an arts organization.
Jewel has two shows left in its current season, and then another year of shows, to culminate sometime in the late spring of 2024. Then it fades into Santa Cruz’s cultural history. It’s a sad moment, but we have a gift of more than a year to appreciate what Julie and her crew have given the community.
Earworm of the Week
Certainly one of the most surprising elements in the world of popular music in 2022 was the sudden second life afforded to Kate Bush’s 1985 single “Running Up That Hill,” thanks to its inclusion in the Netflix series “Stranger Things.” The British singer/songwriter was one of the most inventive and distinctive voices (literally and figuratively) of the 1980s, and now she has millions of new fans that weren’t around in her heyday. But if you’re new to Kate Bush and are looking for a “stranger thing,” here’s the moment you can discover “Cloudbusting,” also featured on “Hounds of Love,” the same 1985 album that spawned “Running Up That Hill.” “Cloudbusting” is something of a historical rabbit hole, as well as a captivating tune in its own right. The song was based on a memoir by the son of Wilhelm Reich, an Austrian psychotherapist who remains one of the most radical freethinkers of the 20th century. Reich’s life story is begging for a Hollywood biopic of some kind. A protégé of Sigmund Freud, he fled his native land during the rise of Nazi Germany, settled in the U.S., met Albert Einstein, was arrested by the FBI under dubious circumstances and ended up dying in federal prison. All the while, he was furiously pursuing his research into sexual energy and orgasm, and even built a machine that he claimed collected sexual energy from the atmosphere. Kate Bush’s song focuses on a memory of Reich’s young son, Peter, of the day when the feds came to take his father away from the family’s Maine estate known as “Orgonon,” referenced in the elegant opening line of “Cloudbusting.” Enjoy the song for its dreamy, childlike enchantment, or go deeper and learn more about the astonishing life and unique madness of Wilhelm Reich. Either way, it’s a rewarding experience.
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 examples are mine. This week’s word:
Sciolist (noun. sigh-OH-list) One who knows many things superficially.
Playing Trivial Pursuit with a sciolist can be a lot of fun; marrying one is another story.
Santa Cruz County Trivia
Which Santa Cruz County news organization once won the Pulitzer Prize? Text me the answer.
Last week’s answer: Who was the Santa Cruz native who went on to earn a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for a long career as an actor, and then became the namesake of a iconic, distinctively retro Hollywood hotel?
It was Beverly Garland, born in Santa Cruz in 1926, who went on to a prominent career, mostly in television, in the 1960s and ’70s, most notably in recurring roles in “My Three Sons,” “Scarecrow and Mrs. King” and “7th Heaven.”
Beverly’s legacy might, however, be strongest as the namesake for The Garland, a fun, retro-themed hotel in North Hollywood. Until 2014, the hotel was in fact called Beverly Garland’s Holiday Inn. She and her then-husband bought the property 50 years ago as a kind of local hideaway and it has evolved into a lovingly restored hotel steeped in a psychedelic ’70s vibe (expect a whole lot of orange in the decor). She died in 2008.
If you want to see Beverly Garland in action, the gloriously cheesy 1959 sci-fi film “The Alligator People,” in which she plays a starring role, is available on YouTube. You’re welcome.
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.