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Weekender with Wallace Baine

Hi friends,

Next Tuesday, your Lookout live entertainment team will bring you our second Trivia Night at Abbott Square in downtown Santa Cruz. We learned a lot our first time around in July, and we’ve made some changes to make it more fun and snappy (and even enlightening, we hope) for everyone. Aug. 30, 6:30 p.m. It’s free, but please register. What else do you need to know (other than the totality of the world’s knowledge to win the contest, of course)?

Wanna taste of what to expect? Here goes: Which local land feature shares a name with a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame icon? Answer at the end.

Now, on with the show:

This Just In!

Big news coming out of Bookshop Santa Cruz, as it welcomes a number of big literary names for high-profile events in venues all around town. The biggest one is probably the great rock ’n’ roller-turned-literary superstar Patti Smith, who comes to the Rio on Nov. 29 to talk about her latest project, “A Book of Days.” Also, the star fiction writer (and part-time Santa Cruz County resident) George Saunders who comes to the Santa Cruz Vets Hall on Nov. 1 to debut his new book of stories. Elsewhere, the fine singer-songwriter Tish Hinojosa is slated for a Michael’s on Main show Nov. 10, the great Bob James (remember the theme from “Taxi”?) comes to the Kuumbwa Jazz Center on Oct. 24, and comedian Michelle Wolf plays the Rio on Oct. 22.

County Bank PROMOTED CONTENT ROADBLOCK (Farm Discovery welcomes students)

Check out the entire landscape of upcoming shows at venues across Santa Cruz County in our “Down the Line” listings.

The logo for Baine's Nine


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

  1. Adieu, Santa Cruz Shakespeare, for yet another glorious summer. One last weekend, and then, we’ll see thee anon on the morrow (or, actually, next summer).
  2. Is there anything more glorious than a farmers market in the middle of tomato season?
  3. Get out to Cabrillo College and peek into the creative lives of its amazing arts faculty at a new art show opening Monday.
  4. “Blue water, blue skies, blue summer” — check out the shimmering chill vibes of Soul Majestic at Moe’s.
  5. Ambitious new exhibit at the MAH explores the mythic connections between food and culture in California and Mexico.
  6. Painted Mandolin brings a unique flavor to the music of the beloved Jerry Garcia to Michael’s on Main.
  7. Texas honky-tonker Summer Dean is bringing her down-home style to Felton Music Hall, where it’ll fit in just fine.
  8. They’re not really sisters, but musically speaking, vocalist Pamela Rose and guitarist Mimi Fox are certainly “Acoustic Sisters.”
  9. Sad to say it, but the back-to-back shows of the great Booker T. Jones have been canceled.

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

Button CTA to become a Lookout member

SPECIAL OFFER: The first person to purchase an annual Lookout memberships will receive two wristbands to the Santa Cruz Boardwalk! Just click this link or the image above, choose annual membership and use promo code BOARDWALK.

Change at Cabrillo Stage

Let us take a moment to raise a toast to Jon Nordgren, who announced on Facebook this week that he is resigning as artistic director at Cabrillo Stage after 24 years at the company. Cabrillo Stage recently completed its 2022 season with productions of “Grease” and “Candide,” and while both were fine shows that maintained this company’s high standards for musical theater, the audiences were small and the final week of “Candide” was canceled because of a COVID outbreak in the cast.

In his post, Nordgren cited both the financial shortfall of the season and the increasing pressures of costs and budget cuts in producing theater as the primary reasons he’s stepping down. In short, he said, he felt he wasn’t the person to guide the company in what will surely be a reimagining of its mission. “I don’t have the energy, interest, or sensibilities to guide Cabrillo Stage into this new era of theater while trying to reimagine and rebuild the company financially,” he said.

UCSC PROMOTED CONTENT ROADBLOCK (Campus + Community, to facilitate social justice scholarships)

Cabrillo Stage’s dire straits aside, it’s appropriate to take a moment to look back at Nordgren’s accomplishments and hard work leading this amazing organization and filling the shoes of the redoubtable Lile Cruse, Cabrillo Stage’s founder and Nordgren’s mentor. Supported by a crew of fine theater pros like set designer Skip Epperson, costumer Maria Crush and managing director Dustin Leonard, Nordgren has staged many of the finest musical productions ever brought to Santa Cruz County audiences, including classics like “Hairspray,” “A Chorus Line” and “West Side Story,” along with debuts of new works like “Lunch, the Musical” and local playwright Joe Ortiz’s “Escaping Queens.” Nordgren shepherded the company through its transition to the new Crocker Theater, which opened in 2009, as well as through some rather operatic ups and downs at Cabrillo College. And he guided the company through the moment-of-truth challenges of the COVID pandemic.

This week, Nordgren might be feeling exhausted and defeated, but in fact he’s triumphed for decades in producing memorable theater. Congratulations to him for an unmatched record of excellence in musical theater.

Happy Trails to Sleepy John (and Pat)

Santa Cruz singer/songwriter Mira Goto was one of more than a dozen acts that performed last weekend at
Credit: Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz

What a wonderful weekend out at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds. The two-day “Locals Only” music festival marked the swan song of local legend “Sleepy John” Sandidge as a music promoter. Sleepy John got a lot of love from performers throughout the weekend. But also retiring from running Snazzy Productions was John’s ex-wife, Pat Sandidge, a crucial piece of the Snazzy teams for decades. Because Pat has been doing a lot of the heavy lifting behind the scenes at Snazzy, she hasn’t gotten the attention that John has gotten as the voice and frontman of the organization.

But the highlight of the weekend came on Sunday afternoon when Ernie Sandidge, John and Pat’s son, paid a tearful tribute to his parents. He referred to Pat as the backbone and the workhorse of Snazzy for many years.

“I am utterly overwhelmed and grateful,” said Ernie, struggling with his composure, “that I am fortunate enough to be the son of two uniquely special and amazing people. Thank you Mom and Dad, I’m forever in awe of both of you.”

Congratulations to John and Pat for 40-plus years of a magnificent run, and thanks for a wonderful weekend festival. You guys are Santa Cruz Hall of Famers.

Click for more details on Lookout trivia night

Earworm of the Week

If there were a Musical Satire Hall of Fame, it wouldn’t be huge. Creating both great music and great comedy at the same time is a tough calling and the ones who’ve mastered it form an exclusive club — Weird Al Yankovic, the great Tom Lehrer obviously, Roy Zimmerman, Tenacious D, Garfunkel and Oates, They Might Be Giants, maybe a few others. The millennial generation’s answer to great musical satire comes in the person of the brilliant Bo Burnham. To mark Burnham’s 32nd birthday this week, our EWW revisits one of his finest moments, a scorching and hilarious takedown of the soullessness of “stadium country music,” which could be repurposed as an indictment of all kinds of “panderin’.” Spoiler alert: This might ruin Keith Urban for you forever. Happy Birthday, Bo!

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 mural of a smiling cartoon character with headphones

Where have you seen the contented music lover above?

Last week’s answer: If you regularly hang out near the beach volleyball courts on Main Beach, you’ve seen the structure below.

A cupola on a building

It is, of course, the bell tower from the La Bahia Apartments, now being rebuilt as a new luxury hotel on Beach Street in a partnership between the companies that own the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and the Dream Inn, respectively. Most of the old apartment building has been leveled, but the old bell tower will be preserved and integrated into the new hotel, which is expected to open sometime late in 2024.

What remains of the La Bahia Apartments on Beach Street in Santa Cruz, topped by its signature cupola.

Trivia answer: Mount Madonna!

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...