Weekender: a first local novel, festivals galore and the return of the county fair

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Weekend with Wallace Baine

Hi friends,

Who me ? Oh, I’m just sitting in a bathtub filled with ice, dreaming of sleigh rides, woolen scarves, and a quiet blanket of snow covering everything in sight. I hope you do the same.

September 11 is an important day for many Americans. This year, on the local scene, it’s a day of breathtaking cultural riches: songwriters at Moe’s, folklorico at the Boardwalk, art and wine at Capitola, stand-up at Crow’s Nest. Be part of it.

Now, on to the show:

Housing Matters PROMOTED ROADBLOCK CONTENT (5 Principles for Solving Homelessness)

It just happened!

A devastating fire in the early hours of September 1 forced Michael is on Main in Soquel to cancel all of its upcoming shows and concerts. No one at Michael yet knows how long it will be before he can reopen. Hopefully it’s not too long. Michael’s has always provided a fun and relaxed venue for local audiences and bands. We will keep an eye on the club’s plans for the future. Elsewhere, we have already set new dates for next May as the Set of white albums falls into the Rio in the evening on May 26 and 27. The great folk troubadour Tom Russel visits Felton Music Hall April 1, and the greats of jazz Charlie Hunter and Jeff Amendola forthcoming Kuumbwa during their annual visit on December 12.

Check out my carefully curated and constantly updated planning guide, all along the line, for the staggering riches and incredible choices that await Santa Cruz audiences. It’s our rundown of the best shows, concerts and events from the rest of the year at clubs, stages and venues across the county.

The Baine's Nine logo


Here they are, nine pieces of information needed for the week ahead. Welcome to B9:

  1. Two of my favorite things – comedy and competitions – collide headlong at the Crow’s Nest on Sunday. It could get messy.
  2. For downtown residents, the Santa Cruz Greek Festival seems to date back to the days of ancient Greece. Thank God it comes back.
  3. Uh, “Fabulous” is right there in their name. What else should you know about The Fabulous Thunderbirds, other than they arrive in our part of the country?
  4. Joy, color and boundless energy all come to the Boardwalk on Sunday in a beautiful package called Fiesta en la Playa.
  5. An under-the-radar guitar genius, Bill Friselle is known throughout the music world for its shifting versatility and one of the most distinctive tones in the jazz world.
  6. If you love Capitola – and we all love it – then you love the glorious Capitola Art & Wine Festival.
  7. Four truly talented young singer-songwriters come together on Sunday to share notes and songs in Moe’s Alley in “bring it all home.”
  8. Buzz Osborne des Melvins has had the best hair in punk rock for years. He is always bring itwith the haircut and the guitar.
  9. Wait, what is it? Is it really time for the Santa Cruz County Fair Again. He is!

WANT MORE B9 CHOICES? Find recommendations from the BOLO team – Wallace, Max Chun and Will McCahill – here

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Three-point Gazette

Another reminder that the local actors and directors who make up the Actors’ Theater are back in service. The long-standing showcase of the company “8 Tens @ 8” gets a big new reboot starting this weekend at the Actors’ Theater in downtown Santa Cruz. You may recall that “8 Tens” was stalled last January, beset by the novel COVID strain. And it seemed for a moment that the Actors’ Theater would not survive. But here they are, picking up in September where they left off in January, and planning to continue with a slate of new plays next January. Until October 2, you have a chance to show the artists and performers of the Actors’ Theater that you appreciate their courage and commitment. And also enjoy the great local theatre…

Quick, what’s the best movie to see on the biggest screen possible? “Bridesmaids 2”? Bad. It could very well be “Lawrence of Arabia”, the magnificent 1962 epic with breathtaking views filmed on location in Morocco, Syria and Jordan. On Saturday, September 17, for a single screening, the Santa Cruz Theater on Pacific Avenue downtown will screen “Lawrence” on the big screen. Screening at 2 p.m. And yes, the Santa Cruz cinema is air-conditioned…

Chamber of Commerce PROMOTED CONTENT ROADBLOCK (Empowering local businesses: annual trade show)

Tuesday is the day a new novel hits bookstores that Santa Cruzans might want to try their luck on. It’s called “A Very Typical Family” (Landmark Sourcebooks) by Sierra Godfrey. The author is originally from Santa Cruz, and she uses her hometown as the setting for her first novel, a comic novel about a woman who returns to Santa Cruz after helping send her older brother and sister to prison. Now she and her estranged siblings must come together to claim their late mother’s estate. If you like dark humor and books that aim to reveal something about the character of Santa Cruz, check it out. And share your thoughts…

There simply can’t be a more relevant literary event than Thursday’s event at Bookshop Santa Cruz, which invites the journalist Catherine Blunt to talk about his new book, “California Burning: The Fall of Pacific Gas & Electric – And What It Means for America’s Power Grid” (Portfolio). I mean, right? She will be in conversation with the beautiful local radio journalist Nikki Silva Thursday at 7 p.m. The only question is whether the power outages will affect the event. This is freebut register before coming.

Earworm of the week

So, maybe not everyone these days is eager to hear a song called “California’s Burning.” But it’s from David Alvin, and when Dave Alvin sings about California, I listen. Alvin is the country rocker who teamed up with his brother Phil Alvin to form the great neo-rockabilly band The Blastersplayed for a time in the Los Angeles band archetype X, and created a monumental body of work as a solo artist in a razor-sharp country sound with true Central Valley grit. He spoke about California and its places throughout his long career. To borrow from one of his albums, Dave Alvin is essentially the king of California, at least musically speaking. (FYI: The Blasters with Phil are coming to Moe’s Alley on September 16, and Dave performs with Jimmie Dale Gilmore at Felton Music Hall Nov. 19.) In this song from his album “Dave Alvin & The Guilty Women,” Alvin crackles with a smoldering rocker that directly tackles California’s number one environmental threat, fire. Although he intones “There’s trouble in the Promised Land”, later with electrifying ferocity and defiance to hear, he says that whatever the fires, “we’ll just rebuild it”. Hard to believe it’s from 2009. It looks like it was written last Tuesday.

Where am I in Santa Cruz County?

So how well do you notice the little things when you walk around Santa Cruz County? We will be posting images of publicly accessible locations somewhere in Santa Cruz County. You tell us where it is, as accurately as you can…or better yet, send us your own picture of the same.

a pig in a race

Now, where have you seen the little guy above?

A close up of an insect on a wall painting

Last week’s response: If you are a regular visitor to the Soquel Quality Meat Market in the village of Soquel, perhaps the colorful image above has caught your eye.

It’s one of the huge caterpillars in the monarch butterfly mural painted on an adjacent building, best viewed from the small parking lot in front of Soquel Meats.

a mural of monarch caterpillars on the side of a building in the village of Soquel

It is the work of Santa Cruz artist Mario Guizar.

Click for details on Lookout trivia night

That’s all I got, my friends. Come to me with comments, ideas, complaints or amazing ideas. Thank you to all Lookout members for your faith and support, and please, make known on what we do.

Irene B. Bowles