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[whitespace] Moe's Alley Not So Silent Night: 'Twas the night after Christmas, and all over town the clubs were jumping for a post-holiday cool-down.

Photograph by George Sakkestad

Leaving Home For the Holidays

After a daytime family affair, the holidays make a good time for a night on the town

By Rob Pratt

LIKE A DUTIFUL son, I had done the holidays with Mom and Dad, flying north to Portland, Ore., during an especially cold Christmastime a few years ago. I shopped with them, stuffed stockings the night before and a turkey the day of--and my perma-smile hadn't drooped all day as a parade of relatives and neighbors marched through my parents' rural Mt. Hood home.

But I had to get out. I talked my sister into letting me stay at her apartment in the city, and on Christmas night I hit the town. Surprisingly, I found a bustling scene on what I had thought would be an off night. In Santa Cruz for the holidays the next year, I made a point to check the local club scene at Christmas. Here, too, the clubs were busy--but not with the angry crush of Saturday night. The spirit was more bonhomie than big-time party as everyone let go of pent-up stress from a day spent with family.

Locally, the night-after phenomenon is confined to dance and social clubs. The Blue Lagoon and Club Dakota on Pacific Avenue in Santa Cruz both draw amiable post-holiday crowds while live music venues like the Catalyst, Palookaville and Moe's Alley remain dark.

All of that changes, however, on New Year's Eve. In addition to First Night Santa Cruz--this year, with an expected 40,000 hitting the downtown streets to witness the turn of the millennium, it's potentially the largest single gathering in the city's history--virtually every club has a holiday offering. The Blue Lagoon, for instance, boasts a millennium bash with DJs, champagne and a laser light show ($30/$40, 423.7117). Following is a guide to over-the-top get-togethers.

First Night Santa Cruz

Performance events beginning at 3pm on New Year's Eve and running a little past midnight offer up a broad survey of Santa Cruz's arts community. Bands and musical groups from ska-pop heroes Slow Gherkin to folk wit Keith Greeninger to Santa Cruz Bay City Opera Co. take the stage, as do dancers like hip-hoppers the Boom Squad and the classical Santa Cruz Ballet Theater, artists and even experimental projects like Lisa Dale Miller's "Millennium Burn," an installation and performance art piece that has run in conjunction with the Museum of Art and History since May. Admission to First Night events comes with purchase of a button, $10 general/$5 youth (18 or under) in advance, $15 general/$5 youth on New Year's Eve. Button sales locations and program information are available by calling 425.7277 or on the Web at www.firstnightsc.com.

Millennium Eve at the Cocoanut Grove

The historic Cocoanut Grove offers up an old-school New Year's Eve, a tux-and-black-tie celebration complete with dinner, dessert and dancing to oldies and big band swing. Topping the bill is Sha-Boom in the grand ballroom, joined by the Robin Anderson Big Band with Ruby Rudman in the Sunroom. Tickets for 9pm dessert and dancing (the 7pm dinner is sold out) are $99 in advance/$109 at the door. Call 423.2053.


Perhaps the largest rave to land in Santa Cruz County since DJ Garth made Rolling Stone for spinning at a North Coast beach massive in the early '90s, "Harmogeddon" offers up a blockbuster lineup of turntable champs, including techno master John Selway, progressive house sensation Joshua Ryan, Bay Area favorites from the Spundae and Harmony collectives and local DJ heroes from Octane. Tickets are $40 pre-sale (available locally at Pacific Wave, Pipeline, S.C.A.B. and Streetlight Records), and the location is the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds, 2601 E. Lake Ave., Watsonville. For other ticket locations or information, call 408.486.9591 or visit www.harmonyproductions.com.

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From the December 15-22, 1999 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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