.Things to do in Santa Cruz for the week of 8.2

ARTS & MUSIC

Trivia with a local celebrity. Michael Gaither is all over the Santa Cruz area, playing his distinct style of Americana with a strong emphasis on storytelling. He plays shows as a solo performer or as a duo, trio or an entire band. You never know what you’re going to get! It’s always a treat to hear him sprinkle in covers to his set as well. He can even be heard on legendary local radio station KPIG. Their website refers to him as a “music nerd,” which is a good thing for a radio DJ. It also supports his other big gig around town: he hosts trivia nights at Cruz Kitchen & Taps every Wednesday. The topics range from pop culture to science to geography and more. The winning team can expect glorious prizes every round! The fun starts at 6:30pm Wednesday at Cruz Kitchen and Taps, 145 Laurel St. Santa Cruz. Free admission.

Lady Wray has been promoting her excellent, soulful third solo record, Piece of Me. She sounds as confident as ever. The single “Under The Sun” is a little psychedelic, full of life and grooves really hard. It also feels like Wray is fully embracing her unique self in a totally new way. She first got signed in the ’90s under the name Nicole Wray by none other than Missy Elliott. Wray’s 1998 R&B single “Make it Hot” is a banger and was certified gold. But Wray always felt like she was following someone else’s script. Lady Wray emerged in 2016 with her sophomore solo release, Queen Alone, a great record that hinted at the magnificent beauty that would appear on 2022’s Piece of Me. The show begins at 8pm Thursday at Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door.

Chicano Batman’s “Color of My Life” has the unbothered coolness of Gorillaz. Laid-back funky grooves that beckon people to dance but not show too much excitement. And the vocals have enough detached restraint to keep everyone in the club feeling cool as dried ice. But this is just one song of many from the ultrahip L.A. group. They toss around genres—soul, tropical, psych, prog rock—with the easy-going grace of someone dropping change in the tip jar. And they are masterful at whatever they play. If it takes them any effort to perform, you’d never know by looking at them. The music begins at 9pm Friday at the Catalyst, 1101 Pacific Ave. Santa Cruz. Tickets are $40 in advance and $45 at the door.

Musical theater is cool again now that the Hulu show Schmigadoon! has given the genre a loving wink and tongue-in-cheek homage. The second season of the show pays tribute to musical theater from the ’60s and ’70s. It’s not hard to see references to Sweeney Todd, the macabre play composed by Stephen Sondheim, who is now viewed as one of the most important Broadway lyricists and composers of the past 50 years. CYT Santa Cruz, fully aware of how cool musical theater is now, is throwing a Sondheim Tribute Revue, highlighting a selection of Sondheim’s most beloved work. The song and dance begin at 7pm Saturday at the Rio Theatre, 1205 Soquel Ave. Santa Cruz. Tickets are $35 or $50 for Gold Circle.

Everyone loves live music, but listening to records with friends is a particularly special experience. S.C.U.M. x Free Skool Presents brings “record shares and listening lounge” to SubRosa. The best part of the experience is the conversation encouraged by listening to records in a group setting. Ben, Jacín and some other friends will bring records and maybe some other forms of media. It’s all about sharing and having honest and engaging conversations. A kind of fun that can also be enlightening as well, which is exactly the kind of experience you’d expect at SubRosa. It all begins at 6pm Tuesday at SubRosa Community Space, 703 Pacific Ave. Santa Cruz. Free admission.

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COMMUNITY

Strawberry Fields Forever. Watsonville may or may not be the official strawberry capital of the world, but there’s no denying that they produce a lot of delicious, juicy berries. In fact, strawberries are the largest crop in the Pajaro Valley. The Watsonville Strawberry Festival is a lot of great family fun. It goes back to 1994, in the wake of the Loma Prieta Earthquake, then known as the Watsonville Strawberry Dessert Festival. These days, the festival includes live music, carnival rides, a strawberry pie eating contest, arts and crafts, food vendors and tons of strawberry-based foods to enjoy. There’s even a Strawberry Jam Fun Run to help people work off all the fun festival food calories. The festival kicks off at 5pm Friday in Historic Downtown Watsonville, Main Street and E. Beach St. Watsonville. Also goes from 11am-8pm on Saturday and 11am-7pm on Sunday. Free admission.

1 COMMENT

  1. Always great to get a summary of the latest goings on around town, but just for the record Schmigadoon is an Apple TV+ and not Hulu show 🙂

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