Choreographer and performance artist Tom Brady
Choreographer and performance artist Tom Brady.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)
Wallace Baine

Weekender: Pride weekend, First Friday, our own Tom Brady & beer and ‘La Bohème’

Hi friends,

Happy Pride weekend. Considering what’s happening in states like Texas, Tennessee and Florida, the struggles of LGBTQ+ — particularly trans — people to live in freedom and peace is the civil rights issue of our age. Is it time for another Freedom Ride of idealistic young allies to arrive in red states by the busload to attend outlawed drag shows? Can’t say I’d be shocked if it happens.

Now, on with the show.

This Just In!

Among the newly booked shows coming to Santa Cruz County venues is the innovative Mexican-born performer Lila Downs, to play live at the Cocoanut Grove on Oct. 17. Singer/songwriter M. Ward (you might know him from the duo She & Him) will play Aug. 18 at Felton Music Hall. The wonderful jazz singer Kim Nalley will perform the music of the late Burt Bacharach on Aug. 28 at Kuumbwa. The award-winning novelist C Pam Zhang will appear at Bookshop Santa Cruz on Sept. 28. Perhaps the world’s premier journalist when it comes to themes of the marine world, Susan Casey, will share her new book on the deepest parts of the ocean at Bookshop Aug. 8. And the Santa Cruz-based Sound Tribe Sector 9 returns to the Quarry Amphitheater at UC Santa Cruz for two live shows Aug. 4 and 5.

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 rainbow-tinted B9:

  1. Is there a bigger voting-rights rock star in America right now than Stacey Abrams? If you’re lucky enough to have a ticket to her sold-out appearance at the Rio, you’ll hear all about her new book, “Rogue Justice.”
  2. There are few musicians alive who are more adventurous and downright weird — in a good way — than the Brazilian legend Hermeto Pascoal.
  3. The Midtown Summer Block Party is back! The weekly free outdoor bash on Soquel Avenue returns Friday and will be jamming every Friday until the end of September.
  4. The San Lorenzo Valley’s premier summer event, the Redwood Mountain Faire, comes to Roaring Camp on Saturday and Sunday with 25 bands and three stages.
  5. It’s rainbows all weekend as part of Santa Cruz’s 48th (!) annual Pride Parade and Festival.
  6. Women’s unrecognized heroism during World War II is the theme of Luis Alberto Urrea’s new novel. He’ll be talking about it with Santa Cruz’s own Karen Joy Fowler on Tuesday.
  7. Discover the wry humor and oddball sensibility of singer-songwriter Eric Hutchinson at Felton Music Hall.
  8. You know them as an accomplished musical duo, but twin sisters Tegan & Sara come to the Rio on Friday to talk about their new book, “Junior High.”
  9. Yugoslavian-born guitarist Ana Popovic brings energy and authority to the blues with her blistering guitar work and passionate songs.

The O.G. Tom Brady

Choreographer and performance artist Tom Brady
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

As he puts his latest work on display at his Westside Santa Cruz art space this First Friday, Tom Brady says he’s in the moment in a career that once went dormant for two decades. “There’s a level of understanding and urgency about who I am as a person and about this work that I didn’t have 20 years ago,” he says. Read more here.

Arias and IPAs

Three sold-out shows beginning Wednesday at Woodhouse Blending and Brewing underline the thirst for what Santa Cruz Opera Project is doing, in this case a production of Puccini’s “La Bohème.” Read more here.

Pride weekend arrives

From a drag story time Friday to the 48th annual parade Sunday on Pacific Avenue, the celebration of Santa Cruz’s LGBTQ+ community will be in full swing this weekend. Read more here.

First Friday of the summer

There’s much to explore around Santa Cruz County this June First Friday, including a retrospective of work by painter Myra Eastman at downtown gallery Curated By the Sea. Read more here.

Earworm of the Week

Anyone who’s sat through an uninspired night of karaoke knows that your voice isn’t supposed to crack when you’re singing, that a voice crack is the telltale sign of someone who shouldn’t be behind a microphone. But sometimes, a crack in the voice is the sign of high vocal artistry, and no I’m not talking about yodeling. An artist who has mastered this quirk of singing is Holly Macve, a 28-year-old country singer from Ireland. She’s a real original; her music contains strains of old-timey honky-tonk but with a melancholic mystique that Lana Del Rey would envy. What carries it all is the amazing control and expressiveness of her vocal technique, hiccups and all. Sure, some ears are going to hear an annoying affectation. But mine are smitten by a vocal style that fits its material so well, it borders on spooky. If you’re a sucker for this kind of stuff like I am, I would suggest exploring Macve’s catalog to find your personal favorite song, but a good starter is the gorgeous “Heartbreak Blues,” which I’ll always want to stop and listen to … except maybe on karaoke night.

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.

Santa Cruz County Trivia

Which of the following official records in the Guinness Book of World Records did not come from Santa Cruz?

  1. The longest granola bar
  2. The longest eyelash on a dog
  3. Longest time aloft for a thrown flying disc, female
  4. The largest intact undivided leaf

Last week’s answer: What well-known landmark in Santa Cruz County is named for a once-wealthy Canadian who died penniless and is buried in an unmarked grave south of San Francisco? It is the eccentric and mysterious Rispin Mansion along Soquel Creek in Capitola. The perpetually closed old mansion is named for the man who built it, Henry Allen Rispin, who, a little more than a hundred years ago, bought the entire village of Capitola and set about to give it a facelift, hoping to make it a year-round resort. He invested heavily in the area, and even built an adjoining golf course. But within a decade, he was putting large swaths of the town up for auction, and he soon found himself deeply in debt. By 1929, Rispin had sold even more, and later the remaining properties fell into foreclosure. He spent his final days in a hospital for the indigent in San Francisco, and he died in 1947. He is buried in an unmarked grave in Colma.


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.