Weekender with Wallace Baine

Those chilly spring Monterey Bay winds aren’t cooling down the excitement of the approaching summer. Too cold for swimsuits and tank tops? Maybe. But to paraphrase Ned Stark from an HBO show hardly anyone watched: “Summer Is Coming.”

To help you get your bearings on the upcoming weekend and beyond, check out Baine’s Nine (we call it the “B9” for short), our hand-selected, Grade-A choice cuts on the entertainment calendar.

Now, on with the show:

This Just In!

The Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music hits a milestone birthday this year. The festival’s 60th season coincides with its return to live performance after two years of virtual programming in pandemic limbo. The festival recently announced its new season — consecutive weekends in late July and early August — and the highlights include a couple of performances from the New England-based vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth, one of which is a musical expression of the trauma and loss of 2020, particularly in Santa Cruz County, titled “The End of Rain.” The 2022 season is on the horizon and tickets are now on sale.

Other notable newly announced dates includes dueling comedy shows: a baby boomer-friendly show at the Rio that pays homage to the late Allen Funt, the host of “Candid Camera,” and the smart stand-up comedian Carmen Lynch at Kuumbwa, both on June 25. The legendary swing-jazz band Hot Club of San Francisco is set to perform June 20, also at Kuumbwa.

Check out my 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


Here they are, nine necessary know-abouts for the week ahead. Welcome to the B9:

  1. There is singing, and then there is whatever kind of ethereal, haunting, magical, dreamlike thing Pamela Z does combining human voice and electronics.
  2. In 1972, a trio rose out of Kingston, Jamaica, calling themselves Black Uhuru. Half a century later, they’re still recording, touring, and headed to Santa Cruz.
  3. What does an ancient Greek epic poem written almost 3,000 years ago have to do with the world of 2022? This.
  4. Looking for drama to end its season, the Santa Cruz Chorale goes for Schubert and J.S. Bach.
  5. This is what readers really want: a gathering of other readers to meet the author of a book they’re all reading, in a beautiful environment.
  6. Felton Music Hall is hosting the second generation of one of the greatest contemporary musical families to ever come out of West Africa.
  7. Two vocal choirs and a chamber orchestra combine forces for an uplifting concert in the sacred space of Peace United Church.
  8. Is the activist/environmental spirit still strong in West Coast folk music? Alice DiMicele answers with a powerful new album.
  9. Lady Satan? Starlet O’Hara? Cyanide Cyn? Yep, the sexy and kinda menacing Sin Sisters are back on stage. Heaven help us all.

WANT MORE B9 PICKS? Find recommendations from Team BOLO — Wallace, Max Chun and Lucille Tepperman — here

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Three-Dot Gazette

Dancers from Raices Mestizas at Watsonville Plaza
Credit: Wallace Baine / Lookout Santa Cruz

Wonderful vibe last Friday afternoon at the Cinco de Mayo celebration at the plaza in downtown Watsonville. The fabulous folklorico dance troupe Raices Mestizas entertained a laid-back crowd of a few hundred people with sprightly and passionate live mariachi music and with dancers from all age levels. The group performed while the Watsonville farmers market was happening, making for a buzzing scene of great music, fantastic food, and family fun. Friday afternoons in downtown Watsonville are always a blast, a different feel than other farmers markets in the county — maybe it’s all that grass to flop on, or maybe it’s the pupusas. It’s worth the trip, every Friday from 2 to 7 p.m. …

The Del Mar’s “Midnight Madness” film series is happening through May, and my goodness what a treat is ahead for film lovers of a certain stripe. David Lynch’s beautiful and completely unnerving 2001 masterpiece “Mulholland Drive” will be the midnight feature on the evenings of May 20 and 21. Lynch is certainly one of those love-him-or-hate-him filmmakers, but count me among the throngs who consider “Mulholland Drive” the most convincing depiction of the unique nightmare-under-the-sunshiny-dream vibe of Southern California. Greatest L.A. movie ever? “Chinatown”? “Sunset Boulevard”? “Double Indemnity”? I think “Mulholland Drive” belongs in that conversation. See you there at midnight. Other movies in the series this month are Wes Craven’s “A Nightmare on Elm Street” this Friday and Saturday, and Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” on May 27 and 28. Advance tickets are available

Lovers of all things Santa Cruz County might want to take note of the upcoming exhibition at the Santa Cruz Art League, which welcomes a solo show of landscapes from accomplished Capitola-based painter Ed Penniman. Ed’s artwork consists mostly of dreamlike and transcendent landscapes, all drawn from local spots. His story is amazing. The 80-year-old painter grew up in Santa Cruz with a high picture window that showed the Westside in all its glory. He became a successful Silicon Valley exec until he was struck down by a mysterious illness in the 1980s that left him quadriplegic for a time. He fought back to regain his mobility but is still permanently disabled by what was diagnosed as Guillain-Barre syndrome. It was a feverish and full devotion to art that brought him back. His “Grounded In Nature” show opens May 27 at the Santa Cruz Art League (which Ed’s grandmother co-founded). Meet the man himself on June 3 during the First Friday reception.

And, finally, a potentially amazing show comes to the Mello Center in Watsonville on May 28. It’s a double bill called “Mariachi Women Warriors 2022,” and it features the all-female band Mariachi Divas de Cindy Shea and the vocal trio Ellas. A big red-letter date for fans of traditional mariachi music.

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Earworm of the Week

Summer’s not quite here yet, but the new song “Highway One” by Santa Cruz band Smoke Chaser sure feels like a dreamy summer afternoon drenched in California sunshine. Smoke Chaser vocalist/guitarist/songwriter Ryan Masters says the band’s new song is about “Henry Miller and sex” — the former was the legendary writer and bohemian who was a pillar of the Big Sur counterculture in the 1950s and ’60s, and the latter was one of Miller’s favorites pastimes. Look for lots more from this new Santa Cruz band. Masters & Co. are planning more releases and a big West Coast tour beginning in the fall.

YouTube video

Trivia heads south

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Esalen Institute, the iconic Big Sur retreat thjat served as a kind of laboratory for social, sexual and psychic experimentation in the 1960s. In 1961, the year before Esalen opened, the cliffside property featured a lodge for a failed resort called Slates Hot Springs. The caretaker of the lodge paid $15 a month to live there and serve as security guard and groundskeeper. He later became one of America’s most well-known writers and counterculture figures. Who was Esalen’s original caretaker?

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.

Last week’s trivia answer: The fictional mom who said “Black is such a happy color” and “Hearts are wild creatures, that’s why our ribs are cages” is Morticia Addams, of course, of the infamous Addams Family, mother of Wednesday and Pugsley (Addams purists will add three more kids to Morticia’s brood, Pubert, Wednesday Jr., and Pugsley Jr.). Catherine Zeta-Jones will squeeze into Morticia’s form-fitting long black dress in the upcoming Netflix mystery/comedy series “Wednesday,” to be directed by Tim Burton. Among the other actresses who have played Morticia in other productions over the years are Carolyn Jones, Anjelica Huston, Daryl Hannah, Bebe Neuwirth, Brooke Shields, and Charlize Theron.

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.

Wallace reports and writes not only across his familiar areas of deep interest — including arts, entertainment and culture — but also is chronicling for Lookout the challenges the people of Santa Cruz...