Chris Mosley's "Blue Bird" from the Radius Gallery's "Melanated Expressions" group show.
(Via Radius Gallery)
Wallace Baine

Weekender: Santa Cruz Shakespeare revs up, a vibrant First Friday and who’s remiss about reading

Hi friends,

Maybe you haven’t priced Taylor Swift concert tickets recently, but the cheapest tix for Tay’s shows at the 49ers’ stadium at the end of the month are going for four figures. And, if you happen to have a preference for Section C, Row 11, you’re going to have to cough up more than $21,000! For a single concert! I don’t think I would pay that to see my ancestors raised from the dead.

And there’s your latest reminder that the world has gone mad.

Now, on with the show.

This Just In!

They performed often locally before the pandemic, and now the Cambodian/Californian band Dengue Fever returns to Santa Cruz on Sept. 21 at Moe’s Alley. Underrated country troubadour Jim Lauderdale is set to play Felton Music Hall on Aug. 11. The Bay Area dance-floor demon known as The Polish Ambassador also plays Felton on Aug. 5. English-born saxophonist and musical adventurer Alabaster DePlume comes to Kuumbwa on Sept. 3. And the veteran ska band The Slackers have a date booked for Moe’s Alley on Dec. 3.

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 Shakespearean B9:

  1. It’s one amazing night with many of Santa Cruz’s brightest young women musicians, and it’s all to benefit those displaced by last winter’s storms.
  2. Author and activist Leah Rothstein discusses social justice and housing policy in a big event sponsored by Bookshop Santa Cruz next week.
  3. Holy Smokes, is it Shakespeare season already? Santa Cruz Shakespeare is ready to unveil its new production of “The Book of Will”
  4. And, let’s not forget, Mr. Shakespeare’s own work, with a preview performance of “The Taming of the Shrew.”
  5. Free music alert! Longtime local faves the Joint Chiefs play live outdoors at the Santa Cruz Wharf on Tuesday night.
  6. The gifted and popular jazz vocalist Jane Monheit brings her warm interpretations of songbook standards to the Kuumbwa Jazz Center.
  7. Cabrillo Stage rolls out its boffo new production of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” at the Crocker Theater. Opening night is Friday, with shows all weekend.
  8. You’re wearing out those Pink Floyd records. Why not listen to all those great songs live with the tribute band Pete Floyd?
  9. C.J. Chenier is one of the living legends of the great American musical form known as zydeco. And he’s coming to Moe’s, with his accordion.

First Friday fun

From the Westside to the Tannery and beyond, Wallace Baine notes just a few of the spots you should consider for this First Friday’s arts bonanza. Read more here.

Winds of change

The experimental performance and music organization known as Indexical has new leadership. Indexical’s Andrew Smith has left his position to take a similar job at The Lab in San Francisco. In a farewell message to supporters, Smith praised the curiosity of Santa Cruz audiences: “I’ve seen overlapping crowds at chamber music concerts and techno performances; noise shows and community conversations; meditative walks through a cemetery and queer film screenings.” Indexical will soon announce a schedule of events for fall 2023, and presumably Smith’s replacement as its leader. We’ll keep you up to date.

Why doesn’t Johnny read?

The upcoming slate of events at Bookshop Santa Cruz reflects a recent trend: Men aren’t reading in the numbers that women are, especially in the realm of fiction and literature. Read more here.

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(The Catalyst Club)

Earworm of the Week

This week, we take a spin on a fun throwaway for all you sports fans out there. It’s a song that’s likely to tickle a little nostalgia, even if you’ve never heard it before … and, trust me, you’ve never heard it before. Last week, the sports broadcasting behemoth ESPN laid off a substantial portion of its on-air personalities, suggesting a crisis at the network and triggering memories of when “The Sports Leader” ruled the sports world. Way back in 2005, a SoCal country band called Zachariah & the Lobos Riders released a goofy but infectious tune inspired by ESPN’s iconic six-note theme song (you know: dat-uh-DAT dat-uh-DAT). The song is called “My Favorite Notes in the World” and it’s an ode to an obsession to catching game highlights on ESPN’s flagship show, “SportsCenter.” The nostalgic part is all the sports figures it name-checks in a wild, whirligig rap, from half-forgotten star players like Mo Vaughn, Sebastian Janikowski and Earl Boykins to ESPN’s own celebrities like Tom Mees, Stuart Scott and Peter Gammons. If you’re not a sports fan, this is mostly gibberish. But if you are, references to Agassi’s mullet, Shawn Kemp’s paternity suits and a bunch of other inside jokes will keep you amused all day long, and remind you when sports was actually fun. Remember those 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

He is one of the leaders of the Emerging Church movement which seeks to return Christianity to the progressive roots of the teachings of Jesus Christ, and he’s from Santa Cruz. Who is he?

Neil Armstrong on the moon in July 1969.
(Via NASA)

Last week: What Santa Cruz-based company played a crucial role in the historic Apollo 11 moon landing? Several people got this one right: It was Plantronics, now known as Poly, one of the industry leaders in the production of two-way electronic headsets. Plantronics was founded, coincidentally, the same month that President John F. Kennedy announced the commitment to put an American on the moon. When that moment came in 1969, the astronauts of Apollo 11 were outfitted with Plantronics headsets, with which they communicated with Mission Control in Houston. It was on Plantronics headsets that Neil Armstrong uttered two of the most famous quotes of the 20th century: “The Eagle has landed,” and “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

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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.