The villainous 10-headed King Ravana is one of the central characters of Mount Madonna School's "Ramayana!"
(Via Mount Madonna School)
Wallace Baine

Weekender: An epic tradition, pops goes the symphony and get your trivia brain back in gear

Hi friends,

Canada is burning, the Pacific Northwest is caught in a heat wave and millions of us in California are forgetting what sunshine looks like. Ho hum, another June in the surreal 21st century. What climate surprises are in store for us this summer? I shiver to think … or maybe I’m shivering for other reasons.

Now, on with the show.

This Just In!

We can’t confirm the veracity of his claim, but the singer-songwriter who goes by the name The Tallest Man on Earth has been booked for a show at the Rio on Sept. 28. The British rock duo Royal Blood will drop into The Catalyst on Nov. 11. Look for the virtuoso guitarist Albert Lee to play live July 23 at Hallcrest Vineyards in Felton. The great ska band The English Beat comes to the Rio on July 28. Don’t forget the upcoming production of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” brought to you by Cabrillo Stage, opening July 7. And Moe’s Alley is hosting a fundraiser for the Santa Cruz County Disaster Fund titled “Singin’ for Santa Cruz” on July 13.

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 June-gloom B9:

  1. A wonderful Santa Cruz tradition, the always swank and delightful Avant Garden Party mixes stimulating music and lovely surroundings.
  2. The monthly Tuesday Night Live series of concerts at the Santa Cruz Wharf returns next week with the irresistible Extra Large.
  3. One of the great under-the-radar Americana bands of all time, Southern Culture on the Skids, comes skidding into Moe’s next week.
  4. Another boffo season at Santa Cruz Shakespeare is upon us. Get a big taste of what’s to come with a season preview at Bookshop.
  5. It’s free live music on the Boardwalk every Thursday all summer long, and it kicks off next week with San Francisco band Sang Matiz.
  6. Cris Williamson and Barbara Higbie have been performing regularly in Santa Cruz going back decades. They return this weekend with new material and old faves.
  7. Love Vietnamese food? Would you like to eat more plants and less meat? Do you know that Andrea Nguyen is speaking your language?
  8. Scottish-born rocker KT Tunstall is now a Californian, which means we’ll probably be seeing her come through town once a year. Her latest visit is Monday in Felton.
  9. You don’t see swaggering, red-meat contemporary country music in Santa Cruz County very often, but Creed Fisher brings it next week at Felton Music Hall.

Lookout Trivia is back!

Wallace Baine hosted the inaugural Lookout trivia night last July at Abbott Square in downtown Santa Cruz.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Rev up that big brain and get a team together as Lookout’s trivia night returns to Abbott Square. It’s happening Tuesday nights starting June 27 and running into October, and it’s free. Read more.

Mount Madonna’s immortal epic

A screengrab from Mount Madonna School's production of the musical 'Ramayana!'
(Via Mount Madonna School)

Mount Madonna School near Watsonville has long used the musical “Ramayana!” as an educational tool and a community-building experience for its students, and this year’s production of the theater epic based on a Sanskrit story from ancient India takes place Thursday through Sunday at the Mexican Heritage Theater in San Jose. Read more.

The movies, in music

The Santa Cruz Symphony will play the beloved themes of movies from “Lawrence of Arabia” to “The Godfather” to “Gone With the Wind” to “Pink Panther” and more Saturday in its annual pops concert at the Civic Auditorium, and it’s all preceded by food trucks, beverages and popcorn out front on a closed-off Church Street. Read more.

The Catalyst weekender ad 6/8
(The Catalyst Club)

Earworm of the Week

If you haven’t been paying attention to the latest melodrama in the romantic life of megastar Taylor Swift, then congratulations. You have better things to think about. I am privileged then to inform you that Tay Tay’s latest effort to find love has run aground with the news that she’s broken it off with Matty Healy of the charismatic English pop band The 1975. Though the optics of Matty & Tay might make for the ultimate in hetero cuteness, our EWW this week lands on a song from The 1975 that seems to distill everything the red-pilled right wing fears and despises about the emerging Gen Z. Even in its title — “Jesus Christ 2005 God Bless America” — you can feel MAGA’s buttons being pushed. The song is, in fact, a dreamy, even gorgeous love ballad, albeit one that defies the kind of heteronormative longing that has been the dominant theme of pop music since forever. Healy opens the track with a sarcastic swipe at Christianity before admitting “I’m in love with a boy I know/ But that’s a feeling I can never show.” A bit later, guest collaborator Phoebe Bridgers chimes in on a similar theme, “I’m in love with the girl next door.” Back in my miserable youth, we used punk or heavy metal to enrage our parents. At least in the red states, this otherwise lovely song is more likely to do the trick these days.

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

What early, pre-Beatles rock ’n’ roll star has a family history in Watsonville?

past editions of the Guinness World Records book
(Via Guinness World Records)

Last week’s question was a multiple-choice having to do with Santa Cruz’s role in the Guinness Book of World Records. Which of the following official records in the Guinness Book of World Records did not come from Santa Cruz?

  1. The longest granola bar. (This was created at UC Santa Cruz in 2015.)
  2. The longest eyelash on a dog. (This one too came out of Santa Cruz County, from a dog with 7-inch eyelashes.)
  3. Longest time aloft for a thrown flying disc, female. (This record comes from a local as well, established in 1991.)
  4. The largest intact undivided leaf. (Here’s your correct answer. The world’s largest leaf was a lily pad that measured more than 10 feet in diameter. And it came from Santa Cruz, Bolivia.)


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.