a scene from the opening performances of Santa Cruz Dance Week 2023
(Alison Gamel / Lookout Santa Cruz)
Wallace Baine

Weekender: A novel mother-daughter experience, a brilliant B9 and Dance Week delivers

Hi friends,

Let’s see a show of hands. Who says May/June is the finest time of year? Yep, me too! Aren’t the mornings a bit more divine, the fruit a little sweeter this time of year? The summer is coming right at us, like a steaming beautiful plate coming out of the kitchen and headed right to your table. Enjoy these golden days.

Now, on with the show.

This Just In!

A couple of fine underrated veteran singer-songwriters join forces as Shawn Colvin and Marc Cohn play together at the Rio on June 16. Just as the great local Beatles tribute band White Album Ensemble steps away from performing, here comes another Beatles band, this one a bit more staged: The Fab Four, which features costume changes from each Beatles era, comes to the Rio on Sept. 15. The Sin Sisters Burlesque show returns to the Kuumbwa on May 13. Good Riddance, the epic punk band that began in Santa Cruz, comes back to town with a show at Moe’s Alley on June 2. And the great salsa percussionist Poncho Sanchez is booked to come to the Kuumbwa on Sept. 17.

Small Business Summit 2023

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 spangly and sunshiny B9:

  1. Prediction: There will be quite a bit “floating on” next week when punky popsters Modest Mouse move into the Civic Auditorium.
  2. How’s this sound? A lovely Sunday afternoon, live blues from a former Santa Cruz guitar Jedi master, all outdoors at Moe’s?
  3. Have some crazy, colorfully weird pants you can’t wear just anywhere? Here’s your Saturday night.
  4. Talk about a fresh breath of air in the Americana genre — you gotta check out country/old-timey chanteuse Sierra Ferrell.
  5. Curious about psychedelics and therapy for anxiety/addiction/depression? Aren’t we all? This could be a turning-point event in your life.
  6. If you got a thing for the Lumineers/Decemberists/Fleet Foxes vibe, then it’s time you open your life to The National Parks.
  7. Another magnificent season with the Santa Cruz Symphony comes to an end, with help from the Cabrillo Symphonic Chorus, at the Civic and at the Mello
  8. The joyous, contemplative and exquisitely nuanced sound of the great jazz pianist Billy Childs is right there for anyone with a ticket to Kuumbwa to experience.
  9. If your eyes light up at the word “pie,” and you want to help people, then it’s time for “Pie for the People.”

Molly and Mom

Author Molly Prentiss returns to Santa Cruz County on May 4 to talk about her latest novel, “Old Flame.” She’ll be in conversation at Bookshop Santa Cruz with someone who knows her well: radio journalist Nikki Silva, her mom. Read more here.

Graphic arts alert!

Shepard Fairey — he of the iconic Barack Obama “Hope” poster — joins fellow artists Frank Abe and Andrew Aydin on May 22 for a virtual discussion on the role of visual artists in social activism. Read more here.

The day of dancing

a scene from the opening performances of Santa Cruz Dance Week 2023
(Alison Gamel / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Dancers of a multitude of disciplines wowed audiences along Pacific Avenue last week, delivering everything from ballet and classical dance to hip-hop and folk styles on a gorgeous April evening. Read more here.

The Catalyst Club
(The Catalyst Club)

Earworm of the Week

If you have a mother, or if you are a mother, you know what’s coming. It’s that one Sunday each year we all pay proper tribute to the only person we all want to say hi to whenever a TV camera is pointed at us. Mother’s Day is on the horizon, and if you haven’t booked your Sunday brunch date yet for May 14, well, you’re probably screwed at this point. But at least, you can share with Mom a bright little burst of sunshine whose title kinda says it all: “I Love My Mom.” It comes to us from The Roches, the delightfully weird New York sister-trio act. Songs about mothers can get gloppy and overwrought pretty quickly. That’s not something to worry about with this sweet little piece of ear candy, dating back to the group’s 1989 album “Speak.” Maggie, Terre and Suzzy Roche (yep, rhymes with “fuzzy”) not only share a mom, they share a uniquely quirky outlook reflected in their deliciously singable music. This song works best dancing around the living room with your 6-year-old, but whatever the age of mother and child, it’s going to bring a smile to everyone. It’s not an overpriced omelet, or a perfunctory box of chocolates. But it might be remembered long after those other things are forgotten.

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:

Fopdoodle (noun) A fool; an insignificant wretch.

Why would anyone elect such a fopdoodle as (insert name of most loathed politician) to Congress?

Spring Art Market newsletter ad
(Arts Council Santa Cruz County)

Santa Cruz County Trivia

Watsonville is the home of many food-processing facilities, many of them featuring berries and apples. Among the food manufacturers is a processing plant of many types of vinegar for an international food conglomerate. What’s the name of the world-famous company that produces vinegar in Watsonville?

Last week: What was that famously mystical grove of redwoods on the UC Santa Cruz campus called?

Yep, we’re thinking of “Elfland,” an especially gorgeous glade on the UCSC campus that, shortly after the university’s founding in the mid-1960s, became a site for a number of student-built shrines and structures, assembled from branches and other forest detritus. This was an era, remember, when just about every college kid was reading Tolkien and, at least in Santa Cruz, discovering the otherworldly vibe of the redwood forest.

Alas, the university’s expansion doomed Elfland, and soon Colleges 9 and 10 were built where hobbits once dwelt. There were many protests to save Elfland, but by the early ’90s, it was a memory.


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.