MMA fighter Daniel Compton, a Soquel High School and Cabrillo College grad
Daniel Compton, a Soquel High School and Cabrillo College grad, headlines Friday’s MMA fight at Kaiser Permanente Arena downtown.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)
Wallace Baine

Weekender: Watsonville happenings, Sol on the horizon, Symphony’s new season & Friday night fights

Hi friends,

Prayers for Maui. There are so many ways to help, including here, here, here and here.

Now, on with the show.

This Just In!

Tons of newly booked shows and appearances this week. Remember the gonzo SoCal band The Beat Farmers who played Santa Cruz a lot back in the 1990s? They return to the local scene with a date at Moe’s Alley on Sept. 27. The wonderful Watsonville-based folklorico troupe Esperanza del Valle presents its annual show at the Crocker Theater at Cabrillo on Nov. 19. The great jazz guitarist Charlie Hunter makes his annual trek to Kuumbwa, this time with the band Victoria Victoria on Dec. 18. Also at Kuumbwa, the Cuban legend Eliades Ochoa will perform two shows March 1. The brilliant Santa Cruz artist and musician Tom Ralston will bring his band to the Rio on Dec. 2. Longtime Santa Cruz journalist and novelist Peggy Townsend introduces her new book at Bookshop Santa Cruz on Nov. 7. Also at Bookshop, journalist Rosanna Xia talks about California’s relationship with its vanishing coastline with local oceanographer Gary Griggs on Oct. 24. And “Music for the Feast of Christmas,” yes, Christmas, has been booked for Holy Cross Church on Dec. 1.

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. Art? Wine? Beer? Interested? Hie thee to Scotts Valley for the two-day AWB Festival this weekend.
  2. Straight outta Finland — that’s right, Finland — comes remarkably wide-ranging soul/R&B singer Bobby Oroza, landing at Moe’s Alley on Friday.
  3. Bookshop Santa Cruz hosts a sure-to-be insightful evening with local writer and psychotherapist Lauren Crux on her new book, “Difficult Beauty.”
  4. Don’t we all need to take a moment to appreciate the noble dulcimer? You can do it on Redwood Dulcimer Day.
  5. With his intuitive grasp of the swingin’ sound of the old days, the sophisticated jazz guitarist John Pizzarelli might have been born in the wrong era.
  6. The best thing you can get to Shakespeare that isn’t by Shakespeare? May we suggest Lauren Gunderson’s charming and inventive “Book of Will” ?
  7. At the risk of sounding like a New Yorker from the ’50s: Are you going to the fights Friday? Local guy Daniel Compton’s the main card, at KP Arena.
  8. Well before personal pronouns were a cultural flashpoint, singer/songwriter M. Ward and actress/singer Zooey Deschanel were She & Him. Now, “Him” is touring solo, including Friday in Felton.
  9. Onetime Santa Cruzan Brett Dennen returns to his old haunts after putting together an impressive career as an amiable pop singer-songwriter.

Here comes the Sol

Roaring Camp will be the scene Sept. 15-17 for the Santa Cruz Mountain Sol Festival, where the big names include Jewel, Ben Harper and Burning Spear. And you can even take the train there from Santa Cruz. Read more here.

Weekend in Watsonville

From free, family-friendly activities to strolling downtown and sampling the goods from Santa Cruz County wineries and breweries, it’s a good time to get yourself to Watsonville. Read more here.

Upcoming shows at the catalyst

A first for Santa Cruz

a flyer for the 2023 Afro Latine Festival
(Via Mi Gente)

Celebrating the cultural heritage of the Latine and African cultural diasporas and put on by Mi Gente, the AfroLatine Festival comes Sept. 16 to Santa Cruz’s Woodhouse Blending & Brewing. Read more here.

Symphony’s new season

The Santa Cruz Symphony
Daniel Stewart directing the Santa Cruz Symphony.
(Via Santa Cruz Symphony)

Kicking off Sept. 23 at the Civic Auditorium and also playing at the Henry J. Mello Center in Watsonville, the Santa Cruz Symphony’s upcoming season promises variety. Read more here.

Earworm of the Week

As a semi-regular visitor to Hawaii, I, like millions of others, have been wrestling with the psychic horror and grief of what happened in Lahaina and on the island of Maui last week. The only way I know how to mourn the pain of all those affected by the fires is to invoke that magical and deeply seductive Hawaiian-ness that is part of every sight, sound and breath you take when you’re in Hawaii. And for that, I always return to Hapa. I’m astonished that it’s been almost 30 years since the amazing duo of Barry Flanagan and Keli’i Kaneali’i released their self-titled debut album. But it’s still a jewel, a collection of songs that captures how Hawaii settles on your soul when you’re there, with stunning vocal harmonies, sung mostly in the Hawaiian language, and melodies that are simply unforgettable. The song I’ve returned to this week to conjure up a sense of healing for the people of Maui is called “Lei Pikake.” It’s a hymn of almost mystical longing, and it might be one of the most beautiful expressions in music I’ve ever heard, all the more so because it’s sung in Hawaiian and, unless you know that language, the song’s emotional power is all in the sound of its singing. Find a quiet place, spend time with “Lei Pikake,” and dream of Maui how it used to be, and how it will be again.

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

Santa Cruz is one of the settings for what generation-spanning Pulitzer Prize-winning historical novel that was on the Modern Library’s list of 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century?

Last week: In 1820, 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 in the last throes of Spanish colonization at the time and was not subject to whatever the slavery-addled country to its east was doing. Still, for the sake of argument, it might be interesting to know whether Santa Cruz County would have been in the free (northern) half or the slave (southern) half. The dividing line was the 36th parallel, which does indeed bisect Central California. It comes in well south of Big Sur, near Limekiln State Park, meaning that Santa Cruz County, and the entire Monterey Bay, would have been declared free territory.


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.