ARTS AND MUSIC
TOP DOG FILM FESTIVAL It’s precisely the kind of medicine we could use right now: two hours of short films about dogs! Each selection features its heartwarming tale, from dancing poodles to award-winning New Zealand sheepdogs. A Canadian outdoorsman embarks on a journey to find the perfect guide dog and meet the last sled dogs in Greenland and the women committed to keeping their legacy alive. Learn about a prison program that transforms inmates’ lives with rescue dogs—inspirational and entertaining stories about dogs and their human companions from independent filmmakers around the globe. Yes, please! $18. Thursday, May 19, 7pm. Rio Theatre, 1205 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. Proof of vaccination or negative Covid test required. riotheatre.com.
ALICE DIMICELE Alice DiMicele’s 16th album, Every Seed We Plant, is an emotional roller-coaster with gut-wrenching twists, optimistic turns and vulnerable loops that moves at a powerful velocity. Known for sharp prose and a rich acoustic groove, DiMicele continues to deliver music independently, and those in the know are hooked for life. The singer-songwriter has performed with everyone from Joan Baez and Richie Havens to Bob Weir and Mickey Hart. “Alice’s music has that great combination of earthiness and groove that keeps it funky from the inside out,” Bonnie Raitt said. “She’s for real.” $20. Thursday, May 19, 7:30pm. Michael’s on Main, 2591 South Main St., Soquel. michaelsonmainmusic.com.
CHRIS RUEDIGER Chaminade kicks off its “Nashville Nights” series with up-and-coming singer-songwriter Chris Ruediger, whose debut EP Kid Anymore hit the streets less than a year ago. The courtyard venue boasts panoramic views of the Monterey Bay, an ideal backdrop for a wise-beyond-his-years storyteller to unleash memories through songs about his father, the girl who got away and debauchery-filled nights with his buddies. Cash bar available. $25/$30. Friday, May 20, 8pm. Chaminade Resort & Spa, One Chaminade Lane, Santa Cruz. chaminade.com.
ROBYN HITCHCOCK Robyn Hitchcock’s made over 20 records spanning more than 40 years, and the inspiration keeps on coming. The Brit describes his self-titled 2017 gem—his 21st solo album—produced by the Raconteurs’ Brendan Benson as an “ecstatic work of negativity with nary a dreary groove.” Even the musician’s descriptions of his work are poetic. Jonathan Demme made a concert film, Storefront Hitchcock, showcasing the rocker, and his work has been covered by Uncle Tupelo, the Circle Jerks, Liz Phair and other notables. Whatever comes next for the prolific silver-maned rocker is icing on the cake. $25/$30 plus fees. Friday, May 20, 9pm. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. Proof of vaccination or negative Covid test required. moesalley.com.
UC SANTA CRUZ FESTIVAL OF MONSTERS Presented by the UC Santa Cruz Center for Monster Studies—yes, that’s a thing—monsters and their hidden meanings are the focus of this free weekend of social events and art. Scholarly presentations are framed by a screening of the 1920 film Der Golem, a staged reading of Kristen Brandt’s Grendel’s Mother, a Monsters’ Masquerade Ball and a special performance of the multi-media show Amduat. Most festivities take place on campus. The ball will be held at The Tannery World Dance & Cultural Center. Friday, May 20-Sunday, May 22. All events, except Amduat, are free and open to the public. The Monsters’ Ball requires an RSVP. $5 parking. Complete schedule: monsterstudies.ucsc.edu/festival.
REEL ROCK 16 Absorb the adrenaline dripping from the Rio’s screen—Reel Rock features four intense climbing films. One of the odder selections, Charles Albert’s Barefoot Charles, is about an opera-singing, cave-dwelling, animal-skinning minimalist tackling futuristic boulder problems in the Fontainebleau Forest. Meanwhile, Pete Whittaker’s and Tom Randall’s Bridge Boys features a “horizontal big-wall adventure on the longest, hardest and most ridiculous crack climb ever attempted.” $22. Saturday, May 21, 7pm. Rio Theatre, 1205 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. Proof of vaccination or negative Covid test required. riotheatre.com.
MIGHTY MIKE SCHERMER Moe’s Sunday Blues Series features a special afternoon show outside in “The Yard” with local favorite—now living in Austin—Mighty Mike Schermer, who celebrates the release of his eighth record, Just Gettin’ Good. Schermer has earned street cred for the multiple decades he’s put in as a go-to sideman for Elvin Bishop, Bonnie Raitt, Charlie Musselwhite and Sista Monica, to name a few. But the Bay Area bluesman has the skills to deliver as a solo musician. “It ain’t gettin’ old; it’s just gettin’ good,” says the 55-year-old award-winning guitarist. Recently, Bruce Springsteen featured Schermer’s “My Big Sister’s Radio” to play on his Sirius XM channel, and it’s now in regular rotation. $18/$22 plus fees. Sunday, May 22, 4pm. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. Proof of vaccination or negative Covid test required. moesalley.com.
RAMBLIN’ JACK ELLIOTT WITH RAINY EYES AND ELLIOTT OK At 90 years old, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott seems just as comfortable on stage as his comfy living room chair. He’s the type of person who’d never admit a known truth that Bob Dylan may have never been Bob Dylan without his older mentor, Ramblin’ Jack. After nearly 60 LPs, reissues, rare 78s, EPs, 45s, contributions, compilations, soundtracks, festival recordings, the singer-songwriter finally received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Folk Alliance—in 1998, he was awarded the National Medal of Arts from President Bill Clinton. The rambler still rambles and would still rather be out sailing the open seas than doing anything else. Norwegian-born Rainy Eyes (Irena Eide), who now lives in Louisiana, is one of the most extraordinary talents in the neo-Americana, singer-songwriter scene. $35/$40 plus fees. Sunday, May 22, 8pm. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. Proof of vaccination or negative Covid test required. moesalley.com.
ADRIAN MCKINTY This week, the best-selling author of City on Fire released what’s sure to be another hit—Hulu is already making it into an original series. McKinty’s thriller The Island centers around a vacation meant to bring a family closer. Instead, it goes horribly wrong. Free. Tuesday, May 24, 7-8pm. Bookshop Santa Cruz, 1520 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. bookshopsantacruz.com.
MARCUS KING Marcus King wasn’t the average blues guitar teenage phenom. He studied jazz theory and jazz performance at the Greenville Fine Arts Center before a YouTube video of King noodling on an ax at Norman’s Rare Guitars broke the Internet. Suddenly, the 18-year-old was in demand, especially within the jam band circuit. The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach produced King’s solo debut, El Dorado, at his Easy Eye Studio in Nashville. The 2020 record earned a Grammy nod for Best Americana Album. Now 26, King is only getting better. His forthcoming record, Young Blood, comes out in August. It may earn the talented musician more than just a nomination. $25/$30 plus fees. Tuesday, May 24, 9pm. Felton Music Hall, 6275 Highway 9, Felton. Proof of vaccination or negative Covid test required. feltonmusichall.com.
MAY DAY LABOR FILM FESTIVAL The event is in honor of Daniel Young. The 20-year Reel Work volunteer who recently passed away helped organize the event. Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution has gained a lot of notoriety on Netflix. The documentary’s focus: a revolution that flowered in a dilapidated summer camp for disabled teens. Located just down the road from Woodstock in upstate New York, the lives of many of the youngsters featured were transformed at this camp, igniting a landmark movement. A discussion with one of the filmmakers, activist Jim LeBrecht, follows the screening. Free (with registration). Tuesday, May 24, 7pm. Santa Cruz Vets Hall, 846 Front St., Santa Cruz. reelwork.org.
MARCHFOURTH MARCHING BAND The self-described “kaleidoscope of musical and visual energy that inspires unabashed dancing and an atmosphere of celebration” is more like a circus than a band. The mobile big band—a 12-piece horn section, a 10-piece drum/percussion corps and a battery-powered electric bass—is an ambrosia salad of Eastern European gypsy, funk, afro-beat, jazz and rock music. That’s just the music. There are also stilt-walkers, unicycles, fire eaters, burlesque dancers, clowns and acrobatics. Don’t expect any time for a bathroom break. $22/$25 plus fees. Tuesday, May 24, 9pm. The Catalyst Atrium, 1101 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. catalystclub.com.
GOOD NEIGHBOR SOCIAL Housing Matters’—a nonprofit that serves Santa Cruz’s homeless population—first-ever Good Neighbor Social is more like a block party than a fundraiser. A slew of popular food trucks and local restaurant popups will offer an array of tasty dinner options—local beer and wine will be available, and the Penny Ice Creamery will be dishing out dessert. The Coffee Zombie Collective will provide live music. $60 plus fees. (Includes a drink, dinner and an ice cream cone dessert). Friday, May 20, 6-9pm. The Clubhouse at Harvey West Park, 326 Evergreen St., Santa Cruz. housingmatterssc.org.
SANTA CRUZ ASIAN AMERICAN PACIFIC ISLANDER HERITAGE FESTIVAL The inaugural annual event celebrates Asian American Pacific Islanders, “those who sustain us.” The all-day festivities include speakers, music, workshops and AAPI popup food vendors. There will also be art displays and exhibits at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History. Free. Saturday, May 21, 11am-5pm. The 418 Project and Galleria Plaza, 55 South River St., Santa Cruz. [email protected].
WOMENCARE ARM-IN-ARM This cancer support group is for women with advanced, recurrent or metastatic cancer. Meets every Monday on Zoom. Free. Registration required. Monday, May 23, 12:30pm. 831-457-2273. womencaresantacruz.org.
LAUGHTER YOGA Having fun, feeling good and relaxing. That’s what Laughter Yoga is all about. Laughing is a form of stress relief. The group laughs as a form of exercise, and through eye contact and childlike playfulness—fake laughter becomes genuine and contagious. The body doesn’t know the difference between fake laughter and the real thing, so chemicals (dopamine, serotonin) are released, easing our minds and bodies. Free. Tuesday, May 24, 3:30-4:30pm. Inner Light Ministries (Fireside Room), 5630 Soquel Drive, Soquel. sa-cc.org.
SEACLIFF STATE BEACH: HISTORY WALK During the mile-long constitutional to the Aptos Creek Bridge and back, learn about Rafael Castro, Claus Spreckels, the development of Aptos, Seacliff Park, the “Madman of Seacliff” and the story of the “concrete ship.” $10 (day-use parking fee). Friday, May 20, 11am. Seacliff State Beach, State Park Drive, Aptos. santacruzstateparks.as.me/historywalk.
GARDEN DAYS Give back to the community while getting an education in native plant landscaping—also help maintain the Reserve’s new native gardens. Every third Saturday, explore a different topic within native plant gardening, then apply that knowledge by working on a project in the gardens. All ages are welcome (a parent or guardian must accompany those under 18). Rain cancels. Free (RSVP not required). Saturday, May 21, 9:30-11:30am. Elkhorn Slough, 1700 Elkhorn Road, Watsonville. elkhornslough.org.