Welcoming readers to a new email newsletter is a lot like greeting those first customers in a new retail business. You hope they like the decor and the vibe you’re laying down, and trust they’ll stick around a bit and come back again. Maybe — dare we to dream? — they’ll tell their friends.
This is Weekender, our new guide to arts & entertainment (you know, the fun stuff) that replaces the weekly Best Bets newsletter. I wish I could hire a kickin’ band and hand out margaritas and hors d’oeuvres at the door. But in lieu of all that, let me lay out what I see this becoming. As Santa Cruz County shakes off two years of chaos and trauma, we want to keep an eye on the region’s creative spirit as it reemerges from the cave of COVID.
In this weekly offering, you can expect:
- This just in: News on the cultural front, most notably newly booked shows and events, announcements of festivals, exhibitions, big names coming through the area.
- The Three-Dot Gazette: Quick takes and reminders of big dates coming up, and reports on local folks doing creative/artistic work.
- B9: We’re calling it Baine’s Nine, or B9 for short, a brief — I mean, super brief — rundown on what’s happening in Santa Cruz County. Suggestions and recommendations of intriguing or pertinent films, music, art, books or performances.
- Trivia: Weekly trivia relevant to Santa Cruz County or something coming up locally this week.
- It’s all built around my recommendations for buzzy or can’t-miss shows and events in the week ahead, drawn from our BOLO calendar. BOLO should be your first destination for things to do. We’ve placed hundreds of listings in it and it’s searchable and browsable.
Now, I’m glad to tell you, I can send you text alerts for this newsletter and all of my stories by subscribing to my new Subtext channel. Be sure to join soon.
With Weekender, you’ll certainly get to know me better and, if I’m lucky, I’ll get to know you better as well. Let’s make this a two-way street. You see or hear something worth knowing, gimme a shout. That way, we can build this together. After all, you can’t spell Weekender without starting with “We.”
Now, on to the show:
This just in!
Big news out of Santa Cruz Actors’ Theater, the theater company that presents the beloved “8 Tens @ 8” short-play festival every year. Andrew Ceglio, named the company’s artistic director in November, has resigned. Also stepping down is board president Wilma Marcus Chandler, who served as artistic director for 26 years and was the founder of “8 Tens,” and Jana Marcus, who served as marketing and creative director. Besides having to survive two years of pandemic closures, Actors’ Theatre was recently hit by two major body blows: the 2020 death of its managing director Bonnie Ronzio, and the sudden cancellation of the “8 Tens” festival in January in response to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant. What happens now with Actors’ Theatre and the “8 Tens” festival is unclear, but we’ll be following up on this as we learn more.
Many in Santa Cruz County like to make the trip over to Saratoga’s beautiful Mountain Winery one or twice (or more) every summer to see some super-cool live entertainment. The Mountain Winery has just announced its 2022 season and it’s a peach, including classic musical acts like Tom Jones, Van Morrison, Smokey Robinson and ZZ Top, as well as more contemporary artists such as the Decemberists, She & Him and Jose Gonzalez, plus top-flight standup comedy from Chelsea Handler, David Spade, Jim Gaffigan and many more. Tickets go on sale Friday, and some of these shows will probably sell out in minutes. The season kicks off May 13 with country star Dustin Lynch.
Closer to home, newly booked shows feature the quintessential groovy, psychedelic-soaked California band the Allah-Las at the Rio Theatre in Santa Cruz on June 10, Texas singer-songwriter Robert Earl Keen, on June 20 at the Rio, reggae giants Black Uhuru on May 15 at Moe’s, and the always adventurous Scottish folk band Old Blind Dogs June 22 at Kuumbwa.
Map out your summer and beyond with our ever-expanding Down the Line guide of upcoming events. With more than 150 selected events stretching out over the next six months, it’s the most comprehensive planning guide of notable local shows you’ll find anywhere.
Our new guide to the best or most promising shows and events of the week ahead debuts this week, and it’s not about throwing a bunch of dates and names at you. Baine’s Nine is my cafeteria-style array of choices for the best of the week, laid out in a beguiling, tantalizing fashion to tease you to investigate further.
Here it is, your nine necessary know-abouts for the week ahead. Welcome to the B9:
- The Venn diagram space where “former ‘SNL’ regulars” and “former U.S. senators” intersect contains only one person, and no, it’s not Chris Farley.
- The list of eminent rock bands that best embody and capture the spirit of Los Angeles is a long one, but it begins with these guys (sorry, Beach Boys fans).
- Wait, can this be right? A 1980s indie-rock post-punk demigod? Live and performing solo in Felton?
- Ray Charles has no plans to return from the Hereafter. But on Sunday afternoon at Moe’s Alley, it’ll feel like he’s in the room.
- A certain virus that shall not be named ruined a long-standing Valentine’s Day tradition, but love will not be denied, at least at Kuumbwa.
- New art exhibit goes out in hunt of the “Alma Sagrada,” or “Sacred Soul,” of Monterey Bay.
- In the ongoing debate on climate change, is anyone listening to artists? The MAH is allowing a platform.
- A Latina writer returns to UC Santa Cruz, where her grand adventure in the writer’s life began.
- He transformed his hardscrabble life in the San Lorenzo Valley into a promising career as a country music troubadour.
➤ Want more B9 Picks? Find recommendations from Team BOLO — Wallace, Max Chun and Lucille Tepperman — here
The Three-Dot Gazette
… Our warmest congratulations to the magnificent Ann Morhauser, the glass artist who became a visionary and national name in her field. The woman behind Annieglass is Santa Cruz County’s 2022 Artist of the Year. The County Arts Commission will present a celebratory event later this year to honor Ann, but in its long list of her achievements and her impact in the community, the commission failed to mention one of her major contributions, as a mom. Her son Taylor Reinhold, through his work with Sea Walls mural projects and other murals around the county (including the glorious Annieglass building in Watsonville) has enormously influenced the look of Santa Cruz. Suggestion for commission: Maybe the first two-generation Artists of the Year in some future year? Just sayin’ …
One of downtown Santa Cruz’s signature small businesses has moved a few blocks north on Pacific Avenue. Pipeline has been supplying Santa Cruz with what we might euphemistically call “counterculture keepsakes” or “tools for herb-infused mind expansion” for years. Now the well-known smoke shop has moved from its old spot (818 Pacific) to its new location (1130 Pacific), which isn’t exactly a new spot after all. The shop spent 27 years at its spot in the 800 block. But before that, in the immediate aftermath of the Loma Prieta earthquake, Pipeline was at 1130 Pacific, exactly where it reopened last month. It’s between the Del Mar and New Leaf market, or follow the scent of incense. Your nose will take you there …
The wonderful series of locally produced music videos known as The Tomboy Sessions continues with a new video, shot on location at Tomboy, the chic country-girl boutique on Soquel Avenue in Santa Cruz. This month’s offering comes to us from the gifted and soulful Taylor Rae, the Austin singer-songwriter who grew up in the San Lorenzo Valley …
Longtime Santa Cruz political cartoonist Tim Eagan is set to publish his first graphic novel, to be titled “Head First.” And he’s started a Kickstarter campaign to make that happen. To learn more about Tim’s amazing story, check our piece on him published in March, and to contribute to his Kickstarter, you know what to do …
A lovely sign of the season returns with the Santa Cruz Beach Train, the beautiful sojourn from Roaring Camp in Felton to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk (and back again). Don’t get through this life without experiencing this at least once …
One of my favorite people in the world, musician and comic-book entrepreneur Joe Ferrara, celebrates his 15th anniversary of playing live at the Shadowbrook in Capitola. Joe plays Friday in three separate sessions at the Shadowbrook’s Rock Room, and all donations go to the Santa Cruz County Prostate Cancer Support Group …
Sure, Apple Music and Spotify are great and all that, but they are no substitutes for the neighborhood record story. April 23 is Record Store Day, and Santa Cruz’s Streetlight Records is the place to be to celebrate the ultimate safe space for all music nerds …
Good news for those who missed the screening of “Foodie for the People,” the terrific locally produced documentary about India Joze guru Jozseph Schultz, when it first showed at the Del Mar last fall. “Foodie” is set to return to the Del Mar on April 21. Don’t miss it this time!
Earworm of the Week
To mark the annual rite of spring we all know as baseball’s Opening Day, the EWW this week is “3rd Base, Dodger Stadium,” a beautifully wistful tune by the great Ry Cooder. It’s sung from the point of view of a Mexican American baseball fan reconciling his love for “the greatest game in this great land” with the fact his childhood home and community were destroyed to make way for the construction of Dodger Stadium in L.A.’s Chavez Ravine. And, yep, that really happened. Perhaps because of its ambivalence, this sweet and poignant song touches the baseball-loving hearts of both those who love the Dodgers and those who, well, not so much.
Trivia: A Serious (and sometimes not-so-Serious) Man
Comedian, former U.S. senator and progressive icon Al Franken visits Santa Cruz this week. Franken grew up in St. Louis Park, Minnesota, a mid-sized town (population 49K) just west of Minneapolis. What famous brother duo were born and raised in the same town?
If you know this one, shoot me a text with your answer. Then, text me the word TRIVIA to see if you’re right. We’ll choose a random reader with the correct answer to receive a free T-shirt.
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.