.Things to Do in Santa Cruz: April 26-May 2

The Skatalites, Billy Childs Quartet, Kids Day Downtown and More

ARTS AND MUSIC

NICKY DAWIDOFF IN CONVERSATION WITH JONATHAN FRANZEN Pulitzer Prize finalist and Art for Justice Fellow Nicky Dawidoff has penned five books, including The Catcher Was a Spy and In the Country of a Country. His latest, 2022’s The Other Side of Prospect: A Story of Violence, Injustice, and the American City, couldn’t be more relevant. The book is described as a “sweeping account of how the injustices of racism and inequality reverberate through the generations, and a portrait of American city life told through a group of unforgettable people and their intertwined experiences.” Santa Cruz’s own—and one of the country’s greatest contemporary writers—Jonathan Franzen, will lead what will be a stimulating discussion with Dawidoff. Free (registration required). Thursday, April 27, 9pm. Bookshop Santa Cruz, 1520 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. bookshopsantacruz.com/dawidoff-franzen

THE SKATALITES WITH MONKEY AND DJ ARCHIVE 65 “We hope you will enjoy listening to our music as much as we enjoy performing it for you,” the Skatalites say. 2023 marks the 59th Anniversary of the Skatalites. The original members played on hundreds of recording sessions before forming the band in 1964. Backing most of the vocalists in Jamaica then, including Bob Marley, Toots and the Maytals, Jimmy Cliff, Alton Ellis, Ken Boothe and many more, the Skatalites secured their place in musical history early on. After disbanding in 1965, the individual members continued playing in various groups as the music evolved from ska to rocksteady to reggae. Meanwhile, Money has four full-length albums and has been featured on over 25 compilations, video games and film soundtracks, including Pervert the Movie, a tribute to the legendary director of Faster Pussy Cat Kill Kill, Russ Meyer. The quintet’s high-energy ska-reggae outfit’s live shows are packed with rocksteady, organ-driven rhythms impossible not to dance to. $25/$30 plus fees. Thursday, April 27, 9pm. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. moesalley.com

THE CHINA CATS Matt Hartle (lead guitar and vocals), Scott Cooper (rhythm guitar and vocals), Steve Sofranko (keyboards and vocals), Rockin’ Roger (bass and vocals) and Michael Owens (drums) have been doing what they do with the same lineup for a dozen years. Enjoy the show from the all-ages dance floor or the 21-and-up mezzanine. There’s even a courtyard with enough room for twirling and tall windows that allow the Dead’s timeless music to drift through the night air as if it was meant to be. As I say to anyone who asks, the Santa Cruz band is not a Dead tribute band or a cover act; they’re great musicians who happen to dig the Grateful Dead—a lot. Yes, they play the music of the Dead, but not note for note. That would go against the Dead’s mission. Whether it’s the raunchy Pigpen-saturated “Viola Lee Blues,” Jerry’s visceral San Francisco lament “Wharf Rat” or the psychedelic rabbit hole that is “Dark Star,” the China Cats capture the soul of the Dead’s music, allowing the songs to guide them. $20. Friday, April 28, 8pm. Veterans Memorial Hall, 846 Front St., Santa Cruz. mountainmusicproductions.com

‘HEAP IS FULL’ A “viscerally immersive exhibition offering alternative orientations to our mediated worlds,” “Heap is Full” features the work of Ian Costello, Nicki Duval, Carl Erez, Angela Fan, Rose Klein, Livia Perez, Patrick Stephenson and Rory Willats. All eight artists will present new works of media art “developed through concentrated inquiry over two years.” Curated by Yolande Harris, in collaboration with the artists of the DANM (Digital Arts and New Media) 2023 cohort, the exhibition features an open-source game engine tool for modeling forest dynamics; an audiovisual performance on queer temporality in baseball; a media theater performance on bureaucracy surrounding the CZU forest fires; a virtual reality installation of Applied Cuteness Research, a series of performance experiments on the manipulation of masculinity in virtual communities and more. It sounds like a convoluted premise without a throughline, but these creative collaborations and experiments completely reorientate thinking and looking toward the future. Free. Friday, April 28 and Saturday, April 29, noon-4pm. UCSC Digital Arts Research Center, 1156 High St., Santa Cruz. danmmfa.ucsc.edu

BILLY CHILDS QUARTET WITH SEAN JONES Jazz pianist/composer Billy Childs remains one of the most diversely prolific and acclaimed artists working in music today. Childs’ originals and arrangements earned a 2013 Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship (2009), a composers award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (2015) and two Chamber Music America grants. Childs has had sixteen Grammy nominations, and five Grammy awards, most recently for Best Jazz Instrumental Album (Rebirth). He won Best Arrangement, Instrumental & Vocal (featuring Renée Fleming and Yo-Yo Ma) in 2015 for “New York Tendaberry,” from his acclaimed Map to the Treasure: Reimagining Laura Nyro. Other Grammy wins include Best Instrumental Composition for “The Path Among the Trees” (2011) and “Into The Light” (2005), from his much-heralded jazz/chamber releases, Autumn: In Moving Pictures and Lyric. “Childs’ jazz/chamber group has taken the jazz-meets-classical format to a new summit,” Downbeat magazine wrote. The Billy Childs Quartet on this concert date will also feature bassist Hans Glawischnig, drummer Christian Euman and notable guest trumpeter Sean Jones. $42/$47.25; $23.50/students. Monday, May 1, 7pm. Kuumbwa Jazz, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. kuumbwajazz.org

secure document shredding

‘DOSED: THE TRIP OF A LIFETIME’ The Oscar-qualifying theatrical tour of DOSED: The Trip of a Lifetime is coming to Santa Cruz for a special event screening and Q&A led by Dr. Sandra Dreisbach with Dr. Lisa Black, William “Mycelium” Goss and special guests. Come early to meet with members of the local psychedelic organizations. The film features Dr. Gabor Maté, Paul Stamets, Dennis McKenna, Dave Phillips, Sharan Sidhu, Ben Lightburn, Dr. Reg Peters, Chino Julian, Garyth Moxey, Dr. Rob Sealey, Dana Larsen, Tyler Chandler, Nicholas Meyers and Laurie and Glenn Brooks. $12.55. Saturday, April 29, 7pm. Rio Theatre, 1205 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. riotheatre.com

COMMUNITY

KIDS DAY DOWNTOWN The Downtown Association of Santa Cruz is excited to present the return of Kids Day Downtown in partnership with Growing Up In Santa Cruz and the Santa Cruz MAH. Kids Day Downtown is a festival of activities, events and entertainment for families and kids. Meet an array of community groups with excellent youth programming. Exhibitors will include education, sports, arts, science, dance and other youth groups. There will also be performances by Santa Cruz youth organizations and in-store activities and specials at your favorite downtown businesses. Performances and demonstrations by Be Natural Music, the Climbing Trees, CYT Santa Cruz, Circus Family on the Road, Joe Ferrara and the International Academy of Dance. Free. Saturday, April 29, noon-4pm, Cooper Street and Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. downtownsantacruz.com


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Adam Joseph
Before Delaware native Adam Joseph was brought on as managing editor for Good Times Santa Cruz in 2021, he spent several years with the Monterey County Weekly as a music writer and calendar editor. In addition to music, he has covered film, people, food, places and everything in between. Adam’s work has appeared in Relix Magazine, 65 Degrees, the Salinas Californian and Gayot. From January to May 2023, Adam served as Good Times’ interim editor.
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