.Opinion: May 20, 2020


I went to several of Neil Young’s Bridge School Benefits at Shoreline, but near the end of their run a few years ago there was one that I didn’t have tickets for that was being streamed live online. I considered watching it, but then I thought, “Eh, if I can’t be there in person, what’s the point?”

Oh, what a difference a pandemic makes. Back in March, I started watching the live performances that musicians began doing online after club shows of all types were shut down. By the end of the month, they had been dubbed “quaranstreams.”

At this point, I’ve watched a ridiculous number of them. What gave me the idea for this week’s cover story was noticing that while musicians started doing them, often begrudgingly, out of creative and economic necessity, these online performances have grown into their own art form. For the most part, I chose who to interview for this story based on who I had seen doing the most entertaining and creative quaranstreams—some of them from Santa Cruz, some not. There are a countless number of Facebook Live concerts out there now—as one musician I interviewed put it, “every two-bit piker with a guitar” has one—but if you’re looking for some great ones, I highly recommend you start with the artists and producers I talked with.

I still miss in-person live music like crazy, but after a few weeks of organizing my Friday and Saturday nights around which quaranstreams I want to see, I will never again say, “If I can’t be there in person, what’s the point?”




Read the latest letters to the editor here.

The Mayor of Germophobia

As the self-appointed Mayor of Germophobia and a socially functioning germophobe, I’d like to offer a few helpful hints I’ve learned over the years. This advice is free and it applies to all sexes, especially in times of global pandemics!

We’re all in the same petri dish, so wash your hands with soap often, especially after touching anything. I know, not always possible, so carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer for these occasions, and don’t worry about it drying out your hands, just use some moisturizing cream when you get home.

When out and about, do not touch your face. Keep your hands out of your mouth!

When leaving a bathroom (unless it’s yours) grab the knob with a kleenex and after opening the door toss it in the can. (Two points if you make it.)

Never touch the toilet lid. Use toilet paper to lift and use 2 ass gaskets, one forward, one reverse. (Make sure they are not hanging out of your pants when you leave the facility.)

Don’t let your pants touch the floor if sitting on the can.

At all times make sure your shoe strings are not touching the ground!

Remove your shoes and have others do the same when entering the house, leave them by the front door—better yet, leave them outside! Then wash your hands. You never know where those shoes have been, and you don’t even want to know what’s on the bottom of them!

If wearing sandals, don’t touch your feet. Especially if you’re the cook.

When pumping gas, use a napkin from the (empty) dispenser they keep near the pumps. Actually, carry a few of your own napkins in the car for this very reason. While you’re at it, carry a small bottle of rubbing alcohol in the car to sanitize things when necessary (new to me, but heck of an idea).

Before opening a can of soup or veggies, wipe off the lid with alcohol so when the lid falls in, it has been sanitized.

Eat organic as often as possible. Costs a little more, because more care is taken. Lettuce and all fruits and vegetables are handled by many people before you get them home, so compost a few of the cover leafs of lettuce from the produce department. And when possible, sanitize all fruits and vegies with alcohol-soaked paper towel, then rinse with clean water before serving or eating.

Google this: use a diluted bleach solution for sanitizing raw fruit and vegetables.

At the deli, make sure the money handler isn’t making your sandwich. If so, make sure they change gloves!

Be nice to them, but avoid sick people. Keep your distance and give them air hugs.

When entering the grocery store, wipe off the handle of the cart with one of those handy towelette dispensers that often times have some in them.

Not a fan of self-checkout (takes jobs), so when checking out at the cash register, especially at grocery stores where the clerk touches every item you purchase, bag your own when you can and when you get home wipe down all items with alcohol-soaked paper towel before putting away.

After you’ve removed your credit card from the card reader, put it in your pocket, not your wallet, and wipe down with alcohol when you get back to your car.

If you feel a sneeze or cough coming on, excuse yourself and step away from people and cover your face! Then wash your hands. If you are around someone who coughs or sneezes, get as far away as possible.

Wipe down your cell phone (your most handled device) at least daily, if not more, with alcohol. Also your computer keyboard.

During this uncertain time of a world pandemic, follow the suggestions from the health experts and keep your distance. Wear a mask when going out where you’re going to be around other people.

Take care of yourself and your family!

Dan O’Bannon | Watsonville


This surfer did a backflip off a cliff at Steamer Lane, landed in the Punch Bowl by his board, and took off for the Its Beach break. Photograph by Ross Levoy.

Submit to ph****@go*******.sc. Include information (location, etc.) and your name. Photos may be cropped. Preferably, photos should be 4 inches by 4 inches and minimum 250dpi.

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When Bill Murray was a guest on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! on Wednesday, May 13, Murray did the interview while taking a bubble bath and wearing a T-shirt for the Watsonville-based Americana radio station KPIG. Murray mused about baseball, quarantine life and some of his favorite Michael Jordan memories. Kimmel did not ask about Murray’s awesome shirt.



The Homeless Action Partnership has launched a new website with resources available for people who need help, those who want to give help, and also service providers. The partnership is a collaboration between Santa Cruz County and each local city, along with homelessness service providers. The new site aims to make crucial county resources and updates accessible to all. Learn more at homelessactionpartnership.org. 


“One good thing about music: when it hits you, you feel no pain.”

-Bob Marley


  1. As the photographer who shot this cover image of Chris Rene with Matthew Swinnerton of Event Santa Cruz I have some thoughts. I have shot and attended thousands of events in my career and this one was an interesting one. It felt more like shooting a demo or recorded music video event, and the artist in this case, Chris Rene, did quite well. It is so hard to keep the energy of a performer up when playing live as there was so little feedback for them to keep energy high. In future if the artist can see the comments and ‘likes & hearts’ it can help them but also could be distracting. As a media creator who is often on live Zooms now, we focus on the recording. Documenting any event now is even more important than live and audiences, as it creates a media record to work from.
    Keep streaming live, keep playing music live and keep documenting our experiences in these times.


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