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Weekender with Wallace Baine

Hi friends,

Being a father and getting an education have one primary thing in common — the experience of pouring blood, sweat and tears into an expensive proposition of questionable material value. But, like the best things in life, the journey getting there changes you forever and the end product is precious and sacred anyway.

Maybe you’re a dad with a grad. Maybe you’re a grad with a dad. Maybe you’re neither, but have one or both in your life. Either way, the season of honor and appreciation is upon us. You know what to do.

Now, on with the show:

This Just In!

In these parts, geologist and UC Santa Cruz professor Gary Griggs is the person to turn to about the ocean. He’s ready to drop his brand-new book, “The Ominous Ocean,” and he’s due to talk about it at Bookshop Santa Cruz on July 13. The great Todd Snider — let’s make the guy an honorary Santa Cruzan already — returns to town for a date at the Rio on Oct. 16. Other new bookings in town this week include a couple of top-shelf jazz guitarists, Mimi Fox and Bill Frisell (Sept. 1 and 13, respectively) at Kuumbwa; bluesman Tab Benoit, Sept. 5 at Felton Music Hall; Santa Cruz’s own Brazilian vocalist Claudia Villela, Sept. 7 at Kuumbwa; roots reggae faves Groundation at on Moe’s Sept. 4; folkie Bonnie Prince Billy at Kuumbwa on Sept. 16; and Grace Kelly (that’s the jazz saxophonist, not the princess) on Sept. 28 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. Wait, you’ve never seen “The Goonies”? What kind of Gen Xer/movie lover/American are you?
  2. Just sayin’, Santa Cruz was hip to celebrating Juneteenth long before the mainstream suddenly got hip to it.
  3. In just seven days, the greatest songwriter to ever walk the face of this unworthy planet arrives in Santa Cruz.
  4. The Santa Cruz Symphony presents the images of Frans Lanting the way they’re supposed to be experienced: big, majestic, and with a live score written exactly for them.
  5. You can’t see the Beatles live in this or any other known universe. But you can see the next-best thing.
  6. California and Texas don’t often see eye-to-eye, but when one of the Golden State’s greatest country artists plays alongside one of the Lone Star State’s greatest, you take notice.
  7. Close to 40 years after emerging from the streets of the French Quarter as high school kids, the Rebirth Brass Band is still channeling the distinctive sound of New Orleans.
  8. Midtown Block Party, y’all!
  9. For fans of the great John Prine, the father is gone, but the son is ready to carry on.

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

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Three-Dot Gazette

Live summer entertainment at the Boardwalk is upon us, beginning right about … now! Thursday, the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk debuts its Evenings on the Colonnade series with live music from Extra Large on the Colonnade stage. That’s followed Friday night with an on-the-beach screening of “The Goonies.” Yes, folks, this is happening. The weekly Friday movie series is going to look and feel a lot like it has been in recent years, in the sand in a slightly different location on Main Beach, beginning at 9 p.m. every Friday. Get there early to get your spot. The Thursday night music series will, however, be different. Gone, at least for this year, is the big stage on the beach. In its place is the Colonnade stage up on the Boardwalk itself, near the entrance to the Casino arcade. The stage will be positioned facing the Pirate Ship ride, so you can dig the sounds from the Boardwalk, or down on the beach. There will be a designated spot for dancing, too. It all starts at 8:30 p.m., and it’s all free. Check your watch and make your plans …

Santa Cruz Actors’ Theatre appears to be on the way back with new leadership and new plans. You might remember a few months ago the announcement that “8 Tens @ 8” founder Wilma Marcus Chandler, newly named artistic director Andrew Ceglio and marketing director Jana Marcus all resigned from the company — mostly from post-pandemic exhaustion and frustration after the cancellation of January’s “8 Tens” festival. The company has since convened a (mostly) new board of directors and is planning a comeback that includes a remounting of about half the plays from this year’s “8 Tens” that never got to audiences, in a kind of mini-festival. Expect that to come in September. Board president Suzanne Schrag also said that the company is moving ahead with “8 Tens” for 2023, and it’s making some improvements to the intimate downtown theater space at the Art Center. The board is now actively looking for rentals of the space, and it is taking submissions for 10-minute plays to be included in the ’23 festival. Deadline is June 30, so get those playwright chops sharpened. We’ll keep you posted as Actors’ Theatre comes back to life …

Pre-COVID, Bookshop Santa Cruz was the scene for a lively local poetry-reading subculture, with regular readings of local writers presented by Poetry Santa Cruz going back many years. This summer, live poetry readings return to Bookshop, this time from the group The Hive Poetry Collective, known for its weekly radio show on KSQD, led by former Santa Cruz County Poet Laureate Danusha Lameris. The Hive’s first big live and in-person poetry reading at Bookshop happens July 5 with celebrated local poets Dion O’Reilly and Amanda Moore. The Hive plans on a bimonthly event at Bookshop going forward after July 5, to reestablish the signature event on the Santa Cruz poetry calendar. The event is free …

Ask anyone who’s been there, and they’ll tell you that the Henry Miller Library in Big Sur represents a sublime concert experience. The modest little grove in the redwoods, just off Highway 1 in Big Sur, has attracted an impressive roster of artists over the years — Lucinda Williams, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Arcade Fire, Fleet Foxes. The HML is open this summer for more intimate shows under the redwoods — of course, you can also stop by any day (except Tuesdays when it’s closed) to check out the library itself, a shrine to the legacy of the famously bohemian 20th-century novelist. Big music events this summer include Valerie June (July 10), the Shins (July 13) and Mac DeMarco (Aug. 15). But the most intriguing date might be a literary one. OnAug. 28, the library hosts “Jack Kerouac’s 100th Birthday Celebration,” which includes a panel discussion of Kerouac’s legacy in Big Sur, and a screening of the film “Big Sur,” a drama about Kerouac’s time in the area. See you there? …

The new monthly video of live musical performances at Tomboy on Soquel Avenue is now out. The latest features the neo-bluegrass/Americana band Lil Smokies out of Missoula, Montana. Check out the Smokies, and then all the other great performance videos in the series. …

Looking for a great scene on Saturday? Word has it that there’s a great DJ party on the Westside, afternoon into the night, at Apero Club, 402 Ingalls St.

Earworm of the Week

With the summer solstice bearing down upon us, now’s as good a time as any to remind those of us who live in California about the enduring appeal of this amazing place to people from all over the country and all over the world. You’re never going to hear me complaining about newbies to California, be they from other states or other countries. This exhilarating song comes from the fine indie rock band O.A.R., out of — we kid you not — Maryland. From their 2019 album “The Might O.A.R.,” it remains for my money one of the most seductive “come to California” songs in a long line of such songs, presenting California as the place to “dance with the angels, dress like you wanna.” The official state song, in case you’re wondering, is “I Love You, California,” written more than 100 years ago now, and it’s really showing its age. Who do I see about junking that one for this one?

YouTube video

Where in Santa Cruz County Am I?

So how well do you notice the little things when you’re out and about across Santa Cruz County? We’ll post images from places that are accessible to the public somewhere in Santa Cruz County. You tell us where it is, as specifically as you can … or, better yet, send us your own photo of the same thing.

A marquee sign featuring a frog in a top hat

Charming or creepy, this bizarre creature is sure to catch your eye. Have you seen him?


Last week’s answer: Who is that mysterious mustachioed man with the seductive look in his eyes? He gazes down upon passersby on Walker Street in Watsonville, as one of several giant fruit-label murals on the Pajaro Valley Cold Storage building. The fruit-label murals are on Walker just after turning right off of Highway 129, coming from Highway 1 on the way to downtown Watsonville. Walker Street, by the way, is also the site for a famous series of trompe l’oeil facade paintings on the building at Walker and West Beach Street. While you’re in town, check them all out.

A mural on the side of the Pajaro Valley Cold Storage building in Watsonville

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...