Brazilian-born singer-songwriter Claudia Villela has made her home in Santa Cruz County for decades.
Wallace Baine

Weekender: One local’s letters to the wind, go for Baroque at Boomeria and time for trivia

Hi friends,

These incredibly long evening daylight hours make for great exercising or gardening, but once nightfall finally does arrive, here’s an appropriate film recommendation for this time of year, 2002’s “Insomnia” featuring Al Pacino as an out-of-town detective who arrives in a small town in Alaska to investigate a murder and can’t quite get used to the far north’s perpetual daylight. It’ll also make you mourn Robin Williams, who is terrific in a dramatic role, all the more.

Now, on with the show.

This Just In!

Among the newly booked shows across the county this week is a tribute to the recently deceased rock goddess Tina Turner, coming to the Rio Theatre on Nov. 17. Country singer Easton Corbin will play Sept. 13 at The Catalyst. The well-known smooth-jazz combo Acoustic Alchemy drops into Kuumbwa on Oct. 23. The SoCal psychedelic band Chicano Batman comes to The Catalyst on Aug. 4. Brand developer Sandy Skees will discuss her new book at Bookshop Santa Cruz on July 27. And Los Angeles punk godfather-turned-literary voice Henry Rollins is set to perform at Felton Music Hall on Nov. 4.

And be sure to check out Lookout’s 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. She is one of Santa Cruz’s great artistic jewels, and now Tammi Brown is singing the songs of one of America’s greatest, Ella Fitzgerald.
  2. One of the West Coast’s most culturally rich musical acts, L.A.’s Ozomatli, pays a visit to The Catalyst.
  3. Santa Cruz County’s own Brazilian jazz powerhouse Claudia Villela has some new songs she wants to share.
  4. Can you name one event that is more quintessentially Santa Cruz than Woodies on the Wharf? Me, neither.
  5. An all-day summertime live-music festival at beautiful Roaring Camp? That’s the good life.
  6. The Black Lives Matter street mural at city hall is being repainted and the community will gather to mark the occasion and rededicate to the cause.
  7. Few guitarists are more innovative and inventive as “lap guitar” virtuoso Yasmin Williams.
  8. On Saturday, all roads lead to the Pleasure Point Street Fair, maybe Santa Cruz County’s grooviest neighborhood block party.
  9. Blues/rock singer-songwriter Paul Thorn simply cannot stay away from Santa Cruz. He catches up with his fiercely loyal local audience again Friday.

A very Villela summer

Brazil native turned longtime Santa Cruz County resident Claudia Villela has a new album, “Cartas Ao Vento (Letters to the Wind),” and she brings it the stage Monday at Kuumbwa Jazz. Read more here.

Boomeria returns!

Preston Boomer with his pipe organ at Boomeria, his Bonny Doon fairyland
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

The Santa Cruz Baroque Festival is slated for July 8, and while it features master musicians aplenty, the real star is Preston Boomer’s hand-made organ, the beating heart of his Bonny Doon estate. Read more here.

Weekender ad Catalyst 6/22
(The Catalyst Club)

The Squid’s new power

Inside the Santa Cruz offices of KSQD-FM
Inside the Santa Cruz offices of KSQD-FM.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Last week, I reported on KSQD’s powerful new signal that will reach into just about every corner of the Monterey Bay in Santa Cruz, San Benito and Monterey counties. The station can now be found on the FM dial in three spots — 90.7 (its original frequency) and new frequencies at 89.5 and 89.7, depending on where you happen to be while tuning in. The new K-Squid can now reach a potential audience of 645,000 people, from Santa Cruz all the way to Salinas and Carmel. And, of course, the station is airing live as well on And be sure to check out my colleague Christopher Neely’s story on where it all fits in the local media picture.

Lookout Trivia is back!

Wallace Baine will reprise his role as host of Lookout trivia night beginning Tuesday at Abbott Square.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

And, a last reminder that our monthly Trivia Night is set to return on Tuesday, at Abbott Square in downtown Santa Cruz. As the host of the event, which we did last summer from June to October, I had a blast running through trivia on everything from science to movies to politics to all things Santa Cruz County.

We’re going to do it the last Tuesday of each month, probably up to Halloween, and now that we’ve worked out those first-year kinks, it’s going to be a great ride.

Put it on your calendar, 6:30 p.m. on June 27. And, yep, it’s free.

Earworm of the Week

You might have heard that pianist George Winston died at the age of 74 earlier this month. Winston achieved an enormous level of fame in the 1980s for his serene piano recordings, but in Santa Cruz, he was known as the founder and visionary behind the local recording label Dancing Cat. That company’s purpose was to expose a broader audience to the Hawaiian folk tradition known as kī hōʻalu — slack-key guitar. This week, we stick a toe into the rich Dancing Cat tradition with a song from guitarist and singer Keola Beamer from his 1994 release “Wooden Boat.” The song, titled “Shells,” is not typical of Dancing Cat products; most were purely unornamented guitar from masters of the form who had been performing for decades. Beamer is a generation younger than those old masters, and his “Wooden Boat” album reflected a more produced, mainstream-oriented approach to Hawaiian music. But, my oh my, other than maybe a glass of POG or a hula dancer on the beach at sunset, I can’t fathom anything that evokes the mystical luxuriance of Hawaii more than Beamer’s “Shells,” which builds on a sleepy rhythm and a hypnotic guitar line that leaves you feeling like you’re floating in the balmy Pacific, with the entire universe smiling at you. Listen to it and float away.

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

Who was the most recent Republican presidential candidate to get more than 50% of the vote in Santa Cruz County?

Last week’s answer: Who was the prominent local media figure who called for Donald Trump to run for president years before it actually happened? In 2011, five years before Trump’s election, Kay Zwerling of Santa Cruz’s KSCO (1080 AM) announced that Trump was exactly what the country needed in the White House. Zwerling and her son Michael owned and operated KSCO for decades, and as an on-air personality, she was famous (or infamous) for her ferociously right-wing views. Kay Zwerling’s endorsement of Trump in 2011 coincided with an on-air “debate” with KGO host Ray Taliaferro, as doctrinaire in his left-wing views as Zwerling in her conservatism. She died about two weeks before Trump’s inauguration in 2017.


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.