.Things to do in Santa Cruz

Aug 10: An evening with The Bad Plus at Kuumbwa

The Bad Plus are the perfect band for someone curious about jazz, but not deep into the genre. (They’re also the perfect band for someone deep into jazz!)

They mix avant-garde jazz with rock and pop elements and even play some nifty covers of popular songs like Queen’s “We Are The Champions” and Radiohead’s “Karma Police.”

Having formed in 2000, one key defining trait was how much sound they could create as a stripped-down trio. They revealed a new 4-piece lineup in 2021 (drums, guitar, sax, bass), and still managed to create that simple yet full sound that fans from all over the jazz spectrum have been digging on for over two decades.

The music begins THURSDAY at 7pm at Kuumbwa Jazz Center, 320 Cedar St. Ste 2. Santa Cruz. Tickets are $42 in advance and $47.25 at the door.

Drag shows can be fun, sexy, weird and wild. The Cherry Pit, a monthly party at Blue Lagoon, is usually all of those things at the same time. It’s also a very local event, so you can learn all about the great drag and burlesque talent right here in your own backyard. Hell, if it’s something you love, you can get to know the community in no time.

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The heart of Cherry Pit is its hosts Cherry Cola, Franzia Rose and DJ AyumiPlease. The only warning I offer is don’t go if you hate fun. If fun makes you mad, then maybe The Cherry Pit isn’t for you.

The fun starts FRIDAY at 9pm at The Blue Lagoon, 923 Pacific Ave. Santa Cruz. Tickets are $10.

The world of Boulder Creek psych metal band Heavy Blazer is an elaborate one. They sing about zombie strippers, government checks and (as a treat for locals) Highway 9. They also bring huge, sludgy riffs that both groove and bang hard. It’s exactly what you want in a stoner metal band. And fortunate for us, they call Boulder Creek home. Heavy Blazer is the perfect bridge between classic ’70s Sabbath-style metal and the newer evolving sound of metal that gets everyone vibing and head-banging at the same time. The metal starts SATURDAY at 8pm at Crepe Place, 1134 Soquel Ave. Santa Cruz. Tickets are $10.

Comedian Ryan O’Flanagan wins over audiences with his total commitment to enthusiastic absurdity. Whether he’s amping up his excitement to the nth degree on his Funny or Die produced series “Overly Excited Tourist” or when he’s playing the fun-loving emotional basket case in sketches for his troop Dead Kevin, or just telling silly-but-relatable stories on stage about going to church as an adult or failing to succeed at flirting with his next door neighbor, it’s always a good time with Ryan. And it’ll be even more special this week as he performs in Moe’s Alley’s Yard, an underrated but delightful spot for live comedy. The laughs begin SUNDAY at 8pm at Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way. Santa Cruz, Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. 

At the heart of Lucian Mattison’s poetry are simple, descriptive stories that evoke the essence and beauty of being alive. He uses accessible language that anyone, regardless of their familiarity with poetry, can understand. And if people sit with the poems, the layers of Mattison’s words will unravel in their mind over time. There’s also a restlessness in his work. Having lived all over the US, in Singapore and having family/roots in Argentina, he naturally moves through the world as a visitor with so much insight into the human condition. It shows in his poetry. Mattison performs TUESDAY at 7pm at Abbott Square, 725 Front St. Santa Cruz.


As important as Cesar Chavez is with regards to the labor movement in the US, we can’t forget Dolores Huerta, who co-founded the United Farm Workers Association with Chavez. She also helped organize the Delano grape strike in 1965 and she was the originator of the potent phrase “Sí se puede.” She remains an important and involved figure in the continuing, evolving labor movement and civil rights activism inherently associated with labor rights. This Saturday, Huerta and other presenters will speak in Watsonville about harvesting equity, sustainability, economic justice and organic farming. There will be food and dance as well, so it’ll be fun but also an inspiring and enlightening experience. It all begins SATURDAY at 4pm at Henry J. Mello Center for the Performing Arts, 250 East Beach St. Watsonville. Tickets range between $20-$50.

The Point Kitchen and Bar is celebrating its fourth year under new owners—and surviving COVID—by going back in time to 2020, with an old menu and old prices until Aug. 13. Items include Chicken Tortilla Soup, Spicy Artichokes, Burger & Brew (you get a free local beer with your burger), Creamy Pesto Pasta and Sweet & Spicy BBQ Ribs (old school recipe). 3326 Portola Dr. Santa Cruz.


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