I’m Wallace Baine, Lookout’s City Life Correspondent and Santa Cruz County’s longest-serving journalist, and, like you, I’m ready to get out and enjoy the best of Santa Cruz County’s arts and culture scene this summer. To help you reorient yourself to the dazzling performances and events that are starting to sprout up post-pandemic, we are thrilled to announce the debut of BOLO, our arts, entertainment and culture guide that we’ve been working on for months.
BOLO is the always-on, continuously updated things-to-do calendar that so many of you told us you wanted to see, once things got back to (near) normal. It’s both searchable and browsable — by date, or by themes such as Live Music, Theater, Food & Drink, Kids & Family and more. And, we’ll also use our editorial judgment and experience to point out and highlight the best cultural stuff out there with our weekly Best Bets newsletter.
As a Lookout subscriber, you’ve been automatically opted in to receive Best Bets every week. However, you can easily manage your email preferences here — and scroll to the bottom to learn how to make the most of BOLO.
I’ll be anchoring our Best Bets coverage, and working with our dedicated BOLO team: Will McCahill, Haneen Zain, Laurel Bushman and Max Chun. We hope you find it of use in planning your social life and following your cultural curiosities.
So let’s get started, looking at the weekend ahead:
If summer were a ballgame, we’d be right around the second inning, just settling in. And the best part is that there’s plenty of game still ahead. If you’re looking to get out with people and experience the summer the way it was BP (Before Pandemic), you have some options from live theater outdoors with “Circus: Knives, Blood and Water” at Cabrillo to a mini Burning Man-style festival at the Fairgrounds in Day on the Green, Night on the Screen. Or get to know your once-favorite live-music venue again with the likes of SambaDa at Felton Music Hall and Marty O’Reilly at The Yard at Moe’s Alley. Scroll down for the best of a promising early July.
And as if that all isn’t enough, we have you covered for all the MAJOR events coming up into the next year. To make your plans for Down The Line, click here.
Now, to Team BOLO’s recs:
Edge of the West: Santa Cruz musical veteran Jim Lewin leads his latest band into Moe’s Alley’s comfortable outdoor space, The Yard. The guitarist has played in a number of incarnations over the years and says that Edge of the West is a “Left Coast hippie country band with a lot of rock, and funky dance music, too.” Tickets are $15, and showtime is 7 p.m.
SambaDa: One of Santa Cruz’s most versatile and highest-profile dance bands is back on stage post-pandemic and picking up the groove again, this time jamming at Felton Music Hall before hopping off on a tour across California. Showtime is 8 p.m.
Sam Morrow: Texas-born Los Angeles singer/songwriter Sam Morrow plays a muscular, hard-bitten country rock that mixes solid grooves with greasy guitars and an ornery vocal style that wanders somewhere between Steve Earle and ZZ Top, though he’s capable of the stirring ballad as well. Morrow comes to town on the strength of his 2020 album “Gettin’ By on Gettin’ Down.” Opening is Jade Jackson, at Felton Music Hall. Showtime is 8 p.m.
Boomeria Organ & Brass Extravaganza: The Santa Cruz Baroque Festival returns to its familiar haunts up at Boomeria, the fantastical Bonny Doon site that is home to the magnificent pipe organ lovingly built and maintained by Preston Boomer. Last year, obviously, the Boomeria event couldn’t happen. So the Baroque Fest is grateful that the pandemic is past, Boomeria was spared from last August’s devastating fires and Baroque can go on as before in the mountains. The event takes place at 1 p.m. at 60 Verde Way in Bonny Doon.
Marty O’Reilly: One of the busiest and most popular musicians on the local scene in the 2010s is ready to embark into the Roaring ‘20s with a solo show at The Yard at Moe’s Alley. Marty O’Reilly has seduced audiences for years throughout the Bay Area fronting his fine band, The Old Soul Orchestra. This time he’s playing solo, though if he were to bring his various Americana influences along — Kottke, Waits, Cash, Hooker, Howlin’ Wolf — it would be a crowded stage indeed. Showtime is 7 p.m.
Bon Bon Vivant: The Yard at Moe’s Alley transforms into a New Orleans club, at least for one evening, as Bon Bon Vivant, straight outta NOLA, come to town to get people dancing. The BBVs are known throughout Louisiana for their deft mix of New Orleans blues/jazz, funk, country balladry, and dance music. Showtime is 6 p.m.
— Wallace Baine
“Circus: Knives, Blood and Water”: Celebrated composer/baker Joe Ortiz is at it again. The co-owner of Capitola’s iconic Gayle’s Bakery has pulled a new creation out of the oven, this one a big staged musical production presented in five performances as part of Cabrillo Stage’s new summer season. Ortiz is a seasoned songwriter, having staged such memorable shows as “Escaping Queens,” “Bread! The Musical,” and “Smoke.” This time, he imagines a beautiful young trapeze artist invited to join an eccentric circus only to get ensnared in its behind-the-scenes dramas. Presented in Cabrillo’s outdoor amphitheater (instead of Cabrillo Stage’s customary home, the Crocker Theater). “Circus” opens Friday at 6 p.m., with a livestreaming option for those who want to experience at home. It will be performed twice on Saturday, with a 2 p.m. matinee and the 6 p.m. evening show; the final performances will take place Sunday, a 2 p.m. matinee and a 6 p.m. evening show. The matinee will be available as a livestreaming event for those who want to see the show from home.
— Wallace Baine
“Brave New World” at Curated by the Sea: Towering columns bedecked with intricate and colorful cardboard flowers, leaves and insects filling up the window of pop-up gallery Curated by the Sea are hard to miss. These sculptures are the work of Dag Wieser, and are only part of a seven-artist show at the gallery on Front Street in downtown Santa Cruz featuring all local talent. Curated by Dee Hooker, the gallery is showing paintings by Chris Miroyan and F. J. Anderson, assemblage by Rich O’Rielly and Jack Howe, dartboard sculpture by Will Marino and digital collage, sculpture and wearable art by Rose Sellery. The show runs through Aug. 9. Gallery hours are Thursday through Saturday, noon-4 p.m.
“Conexiones” at the Santa Cruz MAH: The Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History is open to visitors again without a reservation, making it easier than ever to visit its vibrant exhibition of Latinx art, “Conexiones.” The show features artwork chosen by Santa Cruz community activists, artists and leaders from the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach. Their personal stories appear alongside the diverse works of art — including drawings, prints, photography and sculpture — connecting art to life in the county. The museum is open Thursday through Sunday from noon-6 p.m.; “Conexiones” runs through Sept. 5.
“Pencas del Corazón/Heart of the Cactus” at Pajaro Valley Arts: This exhibition in Watsonville is a chance for community artists to show off artwork they created during a series of virtual pop-up events held by five local artists over the past year. Inspired by the cactus plant that symbolizes resilience and sustenance for many Latinx cultures, the show is curated by PVA’s artists in residence, Yesenia Molina and Irene Juárez O’Connell, who will also show their artwork. The show runs through Aug. 1.
— Laurel Bushman
“Chateau Liberté”: Experience a niche piece of Central Coast history at the Rio Theatre with a screening of a documentary about the Chateau Liberte, a now-defunct rock ‘n’ roll bar in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Brought to life by W.J. McKay of Goth Mountain Films, the film has been researched and filmed over 10 years. With McKay having spent time at the bar himself, the film is an enlightening, personal work showcasing the offbeat charm of the area.
Cinema Chaminade: Outdoor screenings are a Wine Down Wednesday happening at Chaminade Resort & Spa throughout the summer, with movies on the property overlooking Santa Cruz and Monterey Bay starting at sundown. Wednesday’s offering in the series that runs through Sept 1. is “The Goonies,” with “ET” and “Jaws” among the other classics still on tap.
— Max Chun
Grapes of Laugh Outdoor Comedy: Hosted by DNA’s Comedy Lab and held at Skov Winery, the Grapes of Laugh outdoor comedy event brings seasoned comedian Tom Clark to Scotts Valley. Clark, who has appearances on the likes of TBS’ “Conan” and CBS’ “The Late Late Show with James Corden,” has a stand-up special, “Outraged,” currently streaming on Amazon.
— Haneen Zain
Day on the Green, Night on the Screen: The two-part, day-and-night event brings entertainment during the day at the Santa Cruz Fairgrounds, followed at dark with movies on the big screen. Put on by Santa Cruz Burners and Santa Cruz DJs, the festivities feature food vendors, local artists and a lineup of DJs on the main stage.
— Haneen Zain
BOOKS & LECTURES
Steve Kettmann: Author and journalist Steve Kettmann, the co-director of the Wellstone Center in the Redwoods writers retreat near Soquel, welcomes fellow sportswriters Mark Kreidler and Sarina Morales, all to talk about the new book “Remember Who You Are: What Pedro Gomez Showed Us About Baseball and Life.” Gomez, the popular ESPN baseball journalist, died in February and Kettmann, one of his closest friends, went to work on this tribute collection of 62 essays, many from the biggest names in baseball and journalism. This free virtual event is sponsored by Bookshop Santa Cruz. Things get started at 6 p.m.
— Wallace Baine
KIDS & FAMILY
Family Farm Walk: Hens, pygmy goats and a cow named Bella are just a couple of the animals spread around Farm Discovery. The 150-acre Live Earth Farm is committed to education, organic farming and empowering youth and families to build and sustain healthy food. Families are able to stroll around the farm on a self-guided tour and have access to fruit picking, picnic platforms and a garden in the all-organic farm.
— Haneen Zain
Basketball Jones: With many years under their belts, the Basketball Jones staff has been committed to the development of soft and hard basketball skills in players ages 6-15. The camp runs at Shoreline Middle School from July 12-16, with sessions held at other locations throughout the summer.
— Max Chun
FOOD & DRINK
Edith’s Pies x Venus Spirits: Venus Spirits welcomes Oakland favorite Edith’s Pies to its Westside distillery for an afternoon of cocktails and slices, with a pair of DJs providing the tunes. Edith’s brings a combination of sweet and savory pastries including strawberry key lime pie, s’more pie and savory hand pies to go with drinks crafted with Venus’ whiskey, gin, aquavit, rum and agave spirits.
— Haneen Zain
HOW TO MAKE THE MOST OF BOLO
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