Wallace Baine

Weekender: Cabrillo Stage uptick, DNA’s Laughternoon and Santa Cruz Skateboards’ big 5-0

Hi friends,

One of the most popular songs from the great Texas trio Khruangbin is titled “August 10.” And, in a related story, would you look at Thursday’s date? Happy Khru Day!

Now, on with the show.

This Just In!

The king of Los Angeles noir fiction, the great James Ellroy, is coming to Bookshop Santa Cruz for a date Sept. 19, to talk about his latest novel, a look into the dark wormhole of L.A. in the 1960s. The luminous Memphis-born singer Valerie June drops into the Rio on Oct. 3. The accomplished R&B artist Meshell Ndegeocello is set for two shows at the Kuumbwa on Oct. 26. The popular local group the Coffis Brothers take the stage in a tribute to Tom Petty called “Coffis Plays Petty” on Oct. 21, also at Kuumbwa. And on Nov. 16, the Rio is the stage for a tribute-band showdown called “Beatles vs. Stones.”

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 dog-days B9:

  1. The Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music reaches a historic crescendo Sunday with a concert featuring a dedication to a departing icon of the festival.
  2. One of Santa Cruz’s hottest hometown bands, Superblume, blooms Friday at Moe’s Alley.
  3. Actors’ Theatre is the place for the latest staged reading from a local playwright, this time a moving new story from writer Spike Wong.
  4. The commanding Paul Whitworth plays the title character in the immortal Shakespeare monument to megalomania, “King Lear.”
  5. The fine Santa Cruz-born-and-raised jazz pianist Pascal Le Boeuf visits his hometown with his quartet, with a new recording in his pocket.
  6. Did someone say “pie”? Yep, pie is served in a Saturday afternoon fundraiser aimed at a worthy goal: to beautify Felton.
  7. The hit live-theater show of the season is Santa Cruz Shakespeare’s stirring soon-to-be-classic “The Book of Will.”
  8. The Cabrillo Festival honors one of its recently deceased co-founders with a stirring concert that also features new work from in-the-moment composers Gabriella Smith and Julia Wolfe.
  9. Singer-songwriter Jim Lauderdale is one of those super-talented pros who defines the best of country music.

Cabrillo Stage wraps up

"The Hunchback of Notre Dame" was this summer's Cabrillo Stage production.
(Jana Marcus)

“Compared to the last post-COVID audience numbers, we’re still increasing,” artistic director Andrea L. Hart after musical-theater company Cabrillo Stage wrapped up its first season with her at the helm. No word yet on 2024, but Hart has her eye on “things that feel magical.” Read more here.

Comedy coming downtown

Santa Cruz comedian DNA
Local comedy impresario DNA is bringing a stand-up series to Laurel Park.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Comic Amy Miller headlines the first of three Saturday afternoon shows on an outdoor stage at London Nelson Community Center in downtown Santa Cruz. Laughternoon kicks off Aug. 26. Read more here.

NHS planning for big 50th

This summer marks the 50th anniversary of Santa Cruz Skateboards, the company that has not only changed the skateboarding industry, but has given us those ubiquitous graphic symbols, the Santa Cruz dot logo and the Screaming Hand.

The anniversary will be marked by a big day on Saturday, Sept. 23, with three skateboarding skills displays at various skateparks around the county, culminating in a huge free concert on the beach from none other than the great neo-psychedelic band Dinosaur Jr. at Main Beach.

We’ll certainly have more on this as we get closer.

The Catalyst weekender ad 8/10
(The Catalyst Club)

Other names changes

The Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium, the venue for the yearly Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

As Cabrillo College navigates the process of changing its name, the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music and Cabrillo Stage are keeping an eye on developments. Though it’s not tied to the college, the music festival is “committed to a thoughtful and thorough process for evaluating our name,” while the musical-theater company appears headed for a name change of its own. Read more here.

Earworm of the Week

It’s the middle of August and I’m picturing you, dear reader, somewhere blissful — a tropical beach, a mountain lakeshore, somewhere with sweet drinks, lots of pillows, and ready access to serenity. For all those who are experiencing that restorative vacay and for all those who are not but wishing they were, let’s take a spin on a song that evokes how a great vacation can bring freshness and vitality to our long-term relationships. It’s from Gerry Rafferty, the 1970s-era singer/songwriter who had a big hit with the sexy and sax-y “Baker Street,” now playing in a Trader Joe’s near you. From that same album, Rafferty recorded a song called “Island,” which begins with the dreamy incantation “Wake up, my love.” From there, it sways like a hammock in a soft breeze and becomes a different kind of love song, an irresistible ode to rediscovering the joys of a relationship that has some history to it. If you have a low tolerance for saxophone, “Island” might not be your cup of margarita. But if you’re still romantic enough to believe that you can come back from a shared holiday closer and happier with your special someone than when you left, this song is a big fruit basket of love and sweetness. If the sax is a deal-breaker, it’s not too big a task to learn it on a guitar and to sing it at the bedside of your slumbering loved one. Now, wouldn’t that be a fine way to cap a memorable vacation?

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

More than 200 years ago, Congress officially divided the country into free and slave territory by drawing a line across the entire continent, as part of the Missouri Compromise. California was still several decades away from joining the U.S. so it had no legal force on the West Coast. But where does that free/slave line cross the Central Coast today?

The image of the Virgin of Guadalupe on the tree at Pinto Lake.
Spectators would often shine a mirror to direct sunlight on the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe on the tree at Pinto Lake.
(Via Mary Altier)

Last week: What happened in Santa Cruz County in 1992 that many religious pilgrims consider a miracle? In June of that year, a woman claimed that the Virgin Mary appeared to her on the shores of Pinto Lake, just outside Watsonville. And, in the wake of that revelation, an image of the Virgin was discovered on the bark of a nearby tree. That image attracted tens of thousands of visitors from all over the world in the following months, and the site became a shrine that still exists to this day at Pinto Lake, even though the tree with the Virgin’s likeness was toppled in a winter storm about a decade ago.


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.