A movie on the beach by the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
(Via Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk)
Wallace Baine

Weekender: Boardwalk’s summer slate, dancing in the streets and trouble at Oregon Shakespeare

Hi friends,

For the flower-illiterate, just keep in mind during this superbloom season: That saffron shade of orange is California poppies, that noble shade of bluish purple is lupine. As for the rest, well, sometimes apps can help. Happy flower hunting!

Now, on with the show.

This Just In!

It’s the great Steve Earle, about to ramble into Santa Cruz for a show at Felton Music Hall on July 26. Also, the brilliant standup comic (and the man behind the immortal Tobias Fünke from “Arrested Development” ) David Cross is coming to town to entertain at the Rio on Oct. 26. The powerful blues guitarist Ana Popovic returns to the area, coming to Felton on June 8, and if you’ve never experienced the cult classic “The Lost Boys,” screened on Main Beach in the shadow of the Boardwalk, you’re in luck. That happens this year on June 16.

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 lupines-and-poppies-superbloom B9:

  1. She sure ain’t your grandpa’s chanteuse. Her musical sensibilities, her personality, her politics — Nellie McKay has created her own unique world, and you can pay that world a visit on Monday.
  2. Jewel Theatre continues to produce intriguing and provocative theater, this time with the clever contemporary Ibsen sendup “A Doll’s House, Part 2.”
  3. One is a master of Venezuelan llanera music, the other steeped in an Appalachian and old-timey sound. Together, they are the one-of-a-kind Larry & Joe.
  4. A remarkable forum in Santa Cruz reflects on the complicated relationship between men and violence.
  5. One of hip-hop’s most forward-looking and fearlessly aggressive artists, Tech N9ne, has made The Catalyst a regular fly-by spot for years. This weekend, he’s back.
  6. There’s a whole lotta shakin’ going on all over town with Santa Cruz Dance Week.
  7. An inspiring and visionary novel starring … baby trees? Acclaimed novelist Brian Selznick drops into town to talk about his latest book, “Big Tree.”
  8. The thoroughly entertaining Infamous Stringdusters take bluegrass instrumentation to places it’s never been before.
  9. Texas singer-songwriter Slaid Cleaves is no stranger to Santa Cruz, but we haven’t seen him around in a few years. Thankfully, he couldn’t stay away long.

The Boardwalk’s summer plans

Kicking off in mid-June, the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk’s free summer entertainment offerings feature bands on the Colonnade stage on Thursday nights and movies on the beach on Fridays. Read more here.

Small Business Summit 2023

The dancing has begun

Three Pacific Avenue stages will hosts dozens of performances Thursday, and then it’s time for everyone to get their dancing shoes on. For just $20, you can sample any of Santa Cruz Dance Week’s classes, from dance therapy to Balinese, capoeira and bellydance, to name just a few of the offerings through Friday, April 28. Read more here.

Ominous Oregon

Santa Cruz Shakespeare flourished with a comeback season in 2022, but the effects of the pandemic and inflation that have rippled through other local organizations are being felt at the West Coast’s live-theater crown jewel. The Oregon Shakespeare Festival says it needs $1.5 million by June for its 2023 season to continue, and it’s put a hold on planning for 2024. Read more here.

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(The Catalyst Club)

Earworm of the Week

The world is often brutal and cruel and is filled to the brim with heartbreaking stories. But the great singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile zeroes in on a story especially breathtaking in its sense of tragedy and loss. It’s called “Fulton County Jane Doe,” and it’s an ode to a woman who not only lost her life to violence, but lost her identity as well. She was found near a freeway offramp in Atlanta in January of 1988, still alive but beaten into unconsciousness. She died a few days later, but was never identified, though the word “Jesus” was tattooed on the back of her right hand.

The Carlile song, written by her longtime collaborator Phil Hanseroth, is an attempt to restore the humanity of a person who died without a name and without a loved one to remember her. She is one of about 40,000 people who have died in the U.S. unidentified. Certainly, with advances in DNA testing and dental records, such a thing might not happen nearly as frequently as it used to. But “Fulton County Jane Doe” is not about forensic technology. It’s a more a prayer, a deeply moving wail into the cosmos, pointing a finger at God for allowing something so shameful to happen, and a tribute to a lost soul from a stranger: “Your mother called you something sweet once / It was more than ‘Fulton County Jane.’” Listen to it with an open heart, and say your own prayer to a stranger.

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:

Pulicose (adj.) Abounding with fleas

Sorry, I have no interest in visiting your pulicose apartment.

Santa Cruz County Trivia

For more than 25 years after it opened, the UC Santa Cruz campus featured a particularly beautiful and surreal grove of redwoods which came to be considered a magical and mystical site for generations of UCSC students. What was the name of this now-legendary spot on campus? Text me the answer.

Last week: Well-known Santa Cruz surfer, artist and surfboard glasser Vince Broglio has a family connection in the highest level of national sports.

Vince’s father was Ernie Broglio, a major league pitcher in the 1960s. At the age of 24, in 1960, Ernie led the National League in wins (21), pitching for the St. Louis Cardinals. But he’s probably most famous for ending up on the wrong side of a lopsided trade, going from the Cardinals to the Chicago Cubs in exchange for future Hall of Famer Lou Brock. A native of Berkeley, Ernie lived in San Jose for close to 60 years until his death in 2019.


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.