Weekender: Sedaris sighting, a ‘Shrew’d summer move, Sleepy John signing off & trivia night
Apparently, the whole country is melting like cheese toast under the broiler, except for a thin band along the Pacific coast. Years ago, it might have been fun to gloat at such a ridiculous situation, but no more. We are witnessing another slow-motion tragedy. Enjoy the mild summer, but think of those who can’t.
Now, on with the show.
This Just In!
One of America’s greatest living comic writers, David Sedaris, has been dropping in on his fans in Santa Cruz for many years. He’s set to visit town again, this time at the Civic on May 6, 2024. Put it on your calendar (if you even have a 2024 calendar yet). Great double bill of two great and underappreciated singer-songwriters — Patty Griffin and Todd Snider together on Oct. 22 at the Rio. Somehow, the wild musical entity known as the Brian Jonestown Massacre has survived 30 years now. The band comes to the Rio on Oct. 9. The great American poet and essayist Jane Hirshfield will be at Bookshop Santa Cruz on Sept. 18. And if you want something a bit far out, check out the Sun Ra Arkestra at the Rio on Sept. 17. The man who inspired the group, the visionary Sun Ra, died many years ago. But if anyone from the beyond is able to be there in spirit, it’s him.
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.
B9: What’s what in the week ahead
Here they are, nine necessary know-abouts for the week ahead. It’s the Shakespearean B9:
- Have you seen “Hunchback” yet? Cabrillo Stage is drawing attention with a big new production.
- Daffy, high-energy, campy, rockin’ — The Aquabats are all those things, and proof that some bands still know what fun is.
- Talk about an American original, the cantankerous, soulful, brazen and insightful Steve Earle is still making relevant, passionate music.
- Call it the original rom-com, Shakespeare’s wild and untamed “The Taming of the Shrew” is entertaining audiences at The Grove all summer.
- Santa Cruz-based marketing guru Sandy Skees shares the insights from her new book at Bookshop next week.
- British-born guitarist Albert Lee is a living legend. From the moment he was inspired by Buddy Holly, he’s been celebrated as one of the great virtuosi of rock guitar.
- In the realm of the dobro, the name Jerry Douglas is inescapable. He might be the world’s finest dobro player and if you want to argue, talk to his 14 Grammys.
- New York jazz pianist Benny Green is nowhere more comfortable than on the stage at the Kuumbwa Jazz Center, where he’s recorded two live albums.
- How did Shakespeare become Shakespeare? Two actors who decided to immortalize his work played a huge role. Their story is told in “The Book of Will.”
A ‘Shrew’ for you
Santa Cruz Shakespeare’s 2023 season is in full swing, but with high-profile productions of “King Lear” and “The Book of Will” also on the slate, it would be easy to overlook “The Taming of the Shrew.” That would be a mistake. Read more here.
A fond farewell to ‘Please Stand By’
KPIG’s “Please Stand By” has brought touring and local musicians to perform live on the two-hour Sunday morning radio show dating back 35 years, and Sleepy John Sandidge has big things in store for Aug. 6, his last turn behind the mic at 107.5 FM. Read more here.
Santa Cruz’s murals, in one place
Santa Cruz’s mural scene has blossomed in recent years, and local Greg Rose has taken it upon himself to catalog and map them out in all their glory at a website dedicated to the county’s bounty. Read more here.
Flynn Creek to return
You might remember the amazing acrobatic traveling troupe the Flynn Creek Circus, which brought its big top to Capitola back at the end of 2022. Well, Flynn Creek is returning to Capitola for the holiday season this year.
The Mendocino-based small circus spent a few weeks performing live in the parking lot of the Capitola Mall, and the show was a real eye opener. It returns Dec. 21 for an engagement that will bleed into 2024 with a show it’s called “Desert Myth.”
Tickets are now on sale.
Come out for Trivia Night
OK, this one’s a bit in-house, but still, if you’re looking for a free bit of fun next Tuesday, check out our monthly Trivia Night. On July 25, we at Lookout will return to Abbott Square with our second Trivia Night event live and in-person. I’ll be hosting, but I’m bringing in a friend to play co-host, the brilliant Santa Cruz writer and gadfly Sven Davis. It’s all free. Things get started around 6:30 p.m.
Sign up, bring a team, and win some cool swag. We might even give away Taylor Swift tickets — probably not, but you never know.
Earworm of the Week
This year marks the 90th trip around the sun for the immortal (so far!) Willie Nelson. But instead of diving into Willie’s prodigious back catalog to honor the moment, for this week’s Earworm, let’s turn instead to the next-gen Nelson. That would be Willie’s son Lukas, the frontman for the fine Southern California band Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real. One song from Lukas and his band that I can’t get enough of is the lovely and anguished “Forget About Georgia,” which on the surface is about a particularly charismatic woman named Georgia and the devastating effect she had on the song’s narrator. But it’s impossible to overlook that one of Willie’s most enduring songs is his version of Hoagy Carmichael’s “Georgia on My Mind,” and this song works as a kind of meta commentary on the Nelson family’s relationship with the Carmichael song. “When she told me her name/ I knew I would die slowly,” Lukas sings, then referencing all those times he accompanied his dad on stage for “Georgia on My Mind”: “We cry out her name/ And her memory under the lights.” He also mentions Ray Charles and his long association with the same song. “Georgia on My Mind,” of course, is an ode to the Peach State, though curiously the only place that Lukas name-checks in his song is San Francisco. Still, this gorgeous and plaintive song is a stunner which will be bittersweet for anyone who pines for the One Who Got Away. But it ensures that we will never forget about “Georgia,” no matter which Nelson is singing.
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
In the summer of 1981, a visiting production of “The Taming of the Shrew” inspired the creation of Shakespeare Santa Cruz, the forerunner of today’s Santa Cruz Shakespeare. What was the first production that the newly established SSC produced the following summer?
Last week: That term “classic dot” in the vernacular of Santa Cruz is a reference to graphic arts. More precisely, it’s the name given to the famous logo of Santa Cruz Skateboards designed by the great Jim Phillips, that distinctive font over a giant red circle. The “classic dot” is classic, because it’s been the subject of endless variations and different takes. But some folks like to come back to the original.
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.