Weekender: Striking somber notes, voices from Ukraine & listening parties at Streetlight
Sometimes it’s Labor Day and sometimes it’s a labor to get through the day. Here’s hoping for a wonderful and relaxing late-summer respite from all your worries.
Now, on with the show.
This Just In!
The enduring indie rock band Built To Spill plays live at Moe’s Alley on Nov. 19. Canadian-born singer and rapper Roy Woods will play The Catalyst on Nov. 13. Versatile multi-instrumentalist Keller Williams will take the stage at Felton Music Hall on Feb. 16. Irish artist and illustrator Oliver Jeffers comes to Bookshop Santa Cruz to talk about his new book Oct. 8.
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. Presenting this week’s B9:
- OK, so “Fire in the Sky” sounds a little Book of Revelations, but there’s no denying the possible cool factor that might come with a drone light show at the Watsonville airport.
- Want a blast of roots-reggae history? It’s Duckie Simpson and Black Uhuru, live and up close at Moe’s.
- Well known in Santa Cruz arts circles as former director of the MAH, Nina Simon emerges at an event at Bookshop as a mystery writer.
- Downtown Watsonville is hopping these days with performance and creativity, thanks in good part to the Watsonville Center for the Arts.
- Laconic L.A. funny guy Kiry Shabazz is the headliner at this weekend’s outdoor comedy show “Laughternoon” at London Nelson.
- Another lifetime ago, Tim Flannery was a big-league ballplayer and coach, but now he swings a guitar instead of a bat, and music fans are all the better for it.
- Nothing more down-home than Sharon Allen and her fine country band Dusty Boots playing El Vaquero out in Corralitos.
- September is often the golden season in Santa Cruz County, and it’s a great time for a train ride through the redwoods and dinner and dancing in the mountains.
- With a name like Alabaster DePlume, no one is expecting a run-of-the-mill musician, and with this English-born jazz man and spoken-word artist, nothing is ordinary.
Mourning for Amy
In a personal essay in the Washington Post, longtime Santa Cruz journalist and author Amy Ettinger, 49, revealed her terminal cancer diagnosis. It’s “one of the bravest and most forthright things I’ve ever read about the experience of facing death at a young age,” Wallace Baine writes. Read more here.
There’s an intriguing concert coming to town next week as well-known guitarist Nina Gerber and veteran singer Chris Webster team up with Pam Delgado and Jeri Jones of the band Blame Sally for a new supergroup of sorts called the Duo Quartet.
What’s particularly interesting about this show has to do with Gerber’s continuing support for Ukrainians since the beginning of the ongoing Ukraine war with Russia. Gerber, one of the great musical treasures of Northern California, has been taken to performing the Ukrainian national anthem regularly at her shows. And on Sept. 8 at the Kuumbwa, Gerber is bringing in a duo known as the Bezhenar Sisters, refugees from Ukraine, who will sing the Ukrainian national anthem to open the show.
It’ll likely be a memorable moment. Don’t miss it.
Linda Burman-Hall, founder of the Santa Cruz Baroque Festival and a professor emerita at UCSC, “was an intellectual voracious mind and lover of an astonishing range of musical traditions,” Wallace Baine writes. Read more here.
Downtown Santa Cruz’s Streetlight Records is hosting a listening party for Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours Live” album on its release day next Friday, and you can hear Mitski’s latest, “The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We,” there, too, before it hits shelves. Read more here.
Earworm of the Week
I don’t know exactly what the great film critic Roger Ebert was thinking on his deathbed. But I can only hope it was something close to what the songwriter Eef Barzelay says it was. Barzelay is something of an eccentric genius recording under the name Clem Snide (you would think if your name was “Eef Barzelay” you wouldn’t have to come up with a stage name). In 2020, Clem Snide released a lovely single titled “Roger Ebert” that claimed the titan of film criticism, who died in 2013, achieved something like mystical enlightenment as he lay dying, proclaiming that this sweet and maddening life that we all know is nothing more than “an elaborate hoax” and that something more vast and infinite awaits on the other side. Did Ebert actually feel that way? His widow, Chaz Ebert, says so, and she has praised the song for being pretty much right-on about Roger’s final days. I’ve always been a Roger Ebert superfan, not only because of his great writing and powerful insights regarding the movies, but because he consistently used his celebrity platform to speak the truth, even when thyroid cancer robbed him of the ability to speak. But even if you’ve never heard of him, “Roger Ebert” is a comfort and another testimonial of something we all need to hear: that love outlasts even death.
Santa Cruz County Trivia
In the first year of UC Santa Cruz, the rustic accommodations on campus and the sense of isolation that many students felt from the rest of the city earned the university a not-always-affectionate nickname, based on its initials. What was that nickname?
Last week: If you’ve been around Santa Cruz for a while, perhaps you’ve heard the term “Um…Gee…Um.” That was, of course, the name of the most prominent improv comedy troupe, from the 1990s to the 2010s. There was a period when Santa Cruz was gaga for improv comedy, and several theater groups came and went. Um Gee Um, however, remained the main event. Begun in 1989 as part of Wilma Marcus Chandler’s theater class at Cabrillo College, the group underwent a few personnel changes. But performers like Suzanne Schrag and Todd Phillips remained a constant.
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.