Weekender: Back to ‘Junior High,’ men and violence, a new theater collective & celebrating Emmylou
Can we all now please finally retire this “In like a lion, out like a lamb” nonsense about the month of March? Looking forward to more lamb-like days in April.
Now, on with the show.
This Just In!
The indie pop duo made up of twin sisters Tegan & Sara are coming to Santa Cruz, but not as a musical group. Tegan and Sara Quin have, in fact, co-authored a book titled “Junior High,” a young-adult graphic novel about growing up and coming out. They’ll appear at the Rio on June 2, in an event co-presented by Bookshop Santa Cruz. Also co-presented by Bookshop will be Ocean Vuong, to chat about his upcoming collection, June 8 at UCSC’s Cowell Ranch Hay Barn. And, the actors and directors of Santa Cruz Shakespeare will appear at Bookshop for a season preview June 11. The Del Mar Theatre will host a screening of the film “Omar Sosa’s 88 Well-Tuned Drums,” presented by the Kuumbwa Jazz Center on May 10.
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:
- He’s transcended artist status to become something of an American shaman. Bob Dylan just keeps revealing new levels. A collection of Santa Cruz musicians gathers Saturday to explore his staggering legacy.
- What’s next in Santa Cruz arts, culture and business? The NEXTies has the answers.
- Don’t even try to tell the story of West Coast punk rock without beginning it with Black Flag.
- The Santa Cruz Symphony’s double bill of concerts, “A Hero’s Journey,” throws a spotlight on two towering names: Beethoven and Gandhi.
- Jewel Theatre is set to open a clever sequel to a classic. It’s “A Doll’s House,” but it’s also “Part 2.”
- Check out an insightful art show of mostly Santa Cruz women artists at the Radius Gallery, at the Tannery. “Glimpse” is worth more than a glimpse.
- He’s no yodeling glittery cowboy, but a more authentic voice of the American West, filtered through the California experience. Now’s the time to discover Tom Russell.
- Santa Cruz’s fearless and brash Musician of the Year, Mak Nova, burns up the stage at Moe’s Alley with her swingin’ band, The Kings.
- Psychedelia slams up against cumbia, and something new is born in the process, all in the sound of East L.A.’s Tropa Magica.
Men speaking out
An April gathering called “Imagine a World Without Violence: Men Speak Out” will feature prominent Santa Cruz men, including schools superintendent Faris Sabbah and Santa Cruz Warriors president Chris Murphy, speaking on topics involving masculinity in modern culture. Read more here.
Script-in-hand theater on the way
The 36 North collective kicks off a series of staged readings at Actors’ Theater Center Stage in May, featuring new plays by Santa Cruz playwrights. Read more here.
Bootleg recordings of Santa Cruz gigs of 1970s supergroup the Ducks, featuring Neil Young, are coming out April 14 in a three-LP or two-CD set. Read more here.
Time to dance, baby
Santa Cruz Dance Week — during which you can expect to find people breaking out in choreographed dance in unlikely venues all over town — is set to return. Motion Pacific in Santa Cruz will bring back Dance Week this year on April 20-28, sure to dance away both the wet-winter blues and all that pandemic anxiety. Thursday, April 20, the event kicks off with its “Dancing in the Streets” event, and maybe then we’ll know we’ve all turned the page from the dreary winter. Keep an eye on us for more coverage.
Earworm of the Week
Like me, I’m sure that you must have something planned to celebrate the birthday of that magnificent American Emmylou Harris, who turns 76 on Sunday. It’s not easy to choose just one song from the many jewels in the crown of the luminous Ms. Emmylou. But this year, I’m veering toward a collaboration, which is something that has been at the core of Emmylou’s career since her early years alongside Gram Parsons. This one is from the movies; specifically, it’s probably the most watchable scene in a movie filled with them, the Coen brothers’ incomparable 2000 film “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” Just as the protagonist trio in the movie, the Foggy Bottom Boys, did throughout the film, the lovely actresses playing the Sirens in this clip are lip-synching to the gorgeously seductive song “Didn’t Leave Nobody But the Baby.” The real voices belong to Emmylou and a couple of other amazing singers, Alison Kraus and (former Santa Cruzan) Gillian Welch. Performed live in concert, the harmonies here are nothing short of magic. But, if the film clip gets you to hunt down “O Brother” to experience it all over again, well, that’s a pretty good way to honor Emmylou and her amazing legacy as well.
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:
Backfriend (noun) A friend backwards; that is, an enemy in secret.
Elon Musk is really a backfriend to freedom of speech.
Santa Cruz County Trivia
Local lore has it that Santa Cruz’s legendary The Crepe Place — celebrating its 50th anniversary this year — earned its name because no one could remember its original name, and just began referring to it as “the crepe place.” What was that original name? Text me the answer.
Last week: Which Santa Cruz County news organization once won the Pulitzer Prize? It was, indeed, the Watsonville Register-Pajaronian, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in 1956. That year, the R-P, as it used to be called, was awarded a gold medal for public service for an explosive story that led to the resignation of Santa Cruz County district attorney Charles L. Moore Jr., and the conviction of an associate of Moore on charges of bribery and conspiracy.
The newspaper, under the direction of editor Frank Orr, was determined to find a connection between Moore and a local vice ring of gamblers. Acting on a tip, reporter William Kennedy and photographer Sam Vestal went to the home of a known gambler and criminal. It was there they found the DA’s car, its license plate covered with a newspaper (which newspaper remains a mystery). The reporter and photographer had to flee the gambler’s irate henchmen, who destroyed the photographer’s camera. He was, however, able to save the exposed role of film, images of which were published the following day in the R-P.
The Register-Pajaronian’s 1956 Pulitzer ranks up there alongside the same award won by the tiny weekly The Point Reyes Light in 1979 as the only instances when small newspapers in Northern California won journalism’s top prize. Given the sad state of the newspaper industry, will we ever see the like of them again?
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.