Indian-born rapper, singer and social activist Arivu is coming to UC Santa Cruz's Quarry Amphitheater.
Wallace Baine

Weekender: Talking book bans, Baroque Fest’s road ahead and Arivu landing at Quarry

Hi friends,

I was the sixth person in line at the market the other day, and I noticed that not a single person waiting in front of me was looking at a cellphone. Records show that hadn’t happened since *checks notes* April of 2011. I would have taken a photo to capture this rare occurrence but that would have required me pulling out … well, you get the picture.

Now, on with the show.

This Just In!

Seussians, get your calendars. Bookshop Santa Cruz will welcome the world’s most famous furry green thing The Grinch at a special family event and reading of “How The Grinch Lost Christmas,” Dec. 10 at the bookstore that we hope they’ll rename, just for that day, Bookshop Who-Ville. A holiday classic of a different kind happens Dec. 19, with a singalong of Handel’s “Messiah” at Peace United Church. Guitarist Duane Betts, the son of Southern rock legend Dickie Betts, comes to Moe’s Alley on Nov. 15. And Oct. 21 is the date for a local screening of the hopeful documentary “Common Ground,” about regenerative farming, at the Rio.

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 wait-it’s-football-season-already? B9:

  1. Corn dogs. Racing Pigs. Live music. Cinnamon buns. Monster trucks. Surely, you can find something to love at the Santa Cruz County Fair.
  2. It’s historic: The first-ever local festival celebrating the cultural commonality of Black and Latine artists — the Santa Cruz AfroLatine Festival.
  3. If there’s a writer who has a deeper feel for the dark side of Los Angeles and its history than James Ellroy, then I’ve never heard of them.
  4. Show of hands: Who loves pie? Who wants to help the Black Health Matters initiative? Who’s free on Sunday afternoon?
  5. Three full days of smokin’ live music in the beautiful sunny surroundings of Roaring Camp. It’s time, y’all, for Santa Cruz Mountain Sol Festival.
  6. He’s funny, talented, delightfully unpredictable, and a born entertainer. Isn’t it time you discovered folkie singer-songwriter Steve Poltz?
  7. One of Kuumbwa’s most popular draws is the soulful and charismatic saxophone master Joshua Redman, back with his group in Santa Cruz for two shows.
  8. Beatles fans, you can mainline a big dose of “Rubber Soul” live with the internationally popular tribute act The Fab Four at the Rio.
  9. Before the pandemic, the band Dengue Fever regularly visited town with their Cambodian-flavored rock sound. Guess who’s back and ready to rock.

Censorship American-style

a library cart with books labeled as banned
Several local educators will convene Oct. 6 to discuss the rise of book banning and censorship in America at the downtown branch of the Santa Cruz County Library.
(Via Creative Commons)

With book bans having been enacted in 37 U.S. states — the vast majority of them having to do with the lives of people of color and LGBTQ+ people — a group including educators and advocates will convene Oct. 6 at the downtown Santa Cruz public library to attempt to address the rising threat. Read more here.

Baroque Fest continues on

The Boomeria concert in Bonny Doon, part of the annual Santa Cruz Baroque Festival
The Santa Cruz Baroque Festival, which hosts the delightful Boomeria concert each summer in Bonny Doon, is looking to continue on in the wake of the death of founding director Linda Burman-Hall.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

The Santa Cruz Baroque Festival was just finishing up its 50th anniversary season when its luminous founding director, Linda Burman-Hall, died suddenly in August while traveling in Malaysia. Linda’s musical vision was so deeply entwined in the Baroque Fest that it was hard to imagine it going on without her. But continue on it will.

The festival’s board recently announced that it will go on with a 51st season in 2024, dedicated to the music of J.S. Bach, presented in the historically accurate style that the SCBF has become famous for. Then it’s on to a search for a new artistic director in 2025, to prove that 50 years of Linda’s hard work and vision at this festival will indeed have a long tail after she’s gone.

If you’d like to help the SCBF shape its post-Linda future, you can donate to the cause. Regardless, we’ll let you know the new festival’s plans once we hear about them.

Arivu arrives

Indian rapper and singer Arivu is set to perform Oct. 7 at UCSC's Quarry Amphitheater.
Indian rapper and singer Arivu, a political activist whose music takes aim at India’s caste system, is set to perform Oct. 7 at UCSC’s Quarry Amphitheater.

There’s a fascinating newly booked show coming to the UC Santa Cruz campus. It will feature the hugely popular Indian-born rapper, singer and social activist Arivu in a show at the Quarry Amphitheater, sponsored by the university’s Center for South Asian Studies. The show will take place on Saturday, Oct. 7, and, amazingly, it’s free.

Arivu has achieved a high profile in India for his powerful music aimed at, among other things, destroying the country’s rigid caste system. To learn more about this intriguing artist and his appearance in Santa Cruz, go here.

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(The Catalyst Club)

Earworm of the Week

The Santa Cruz Mountain Sol Festival takes place this weekend with three days of live music at the beautiful meadow at Roaring Camp near Felton. And there are a lot of fine acts on the schedule. But draw a big red circle around the headliner on Sunday, Burning Spear. For decades, Santa Cruz has been a welcoming spot for the legends of Jamaican reggae, including the immortal Bob Marley, who headlined the Civic back in 1979. But Burning Spear, the performance name of the master musician Winston Rodney, is among the greatest of Jamaican stars to have ever played Santa Cruz. Spear’s landmark 1975 album “Marcus Garvey” was the first non-Marley roots reggae record I ever heard and it was an eye-opener. The album features none of the sunny Three Little Birds sweetness that made Marley such a mainstream icon. Instead, it’s a lament, a strongly political testament of the struggle to hold strong to faith in the face of a painful history. For a taste of the album, let’s go to “Resting Place,” a song that, when I first heard it, had limited resonance to a white suburban kid from the States, but now I can see it as a window into the rich and painful history of Jamaica. At 78, Burning Spear is still shining brightly.

Santa Cruz County Trivia

Santa Cruz Mayor Fred Keeley will soon be entering his second year in office, which will be historic. In 2022, voters in Santa Cruz adopted a measure to elect an at-large mayor for a four-year term, and Keeley was the first mayor elected under that new system. Before that, the mayor of Santa Cruz was an office held by a member of the city council and it changed every year, going back to the 19th century. Though many people served multiple terms as mayor, no one served back-to-back terms, except one person. Who was the only mayor in Santa Cruz history who served in consecutive years?

Last week: Of all the surf breaks name-checked in the Beach Boys’ 1963 hit “Surfin’ USA,” which one is geographically closest to Santa Cruz? Well, if you mapped out all those surf breaks, you’ll know that Santa Cruz is pretty lonely, the only one in Northern California, in fact. (Though the single surf spots named in Hawaii and Australia would be lonelier still.) That means the one closest to Santa Cruz, in case you wanted to try them all, is “Ventura County Line,” which exists (duh!) at the border of Ventura and Los Angeles counties, but is considered, by many locals anyway, a part of Malibu. If you’re wondering, “Why no mention of Mavericks in ‘Surfin’ USA,’” at the time the Beach Boys wrote the song that now-legendary break near Half Moon Bay was still many years away from being discovered by anyone on a surfboard.


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.