ARTS AND MUSIC
YUJI TOJO Tokyo guitar master Yuji Tojo says he “always writes or plays with energy, love and peace. I try to make people happy. It’s my destination.” Tojo has been in Santa Cruz since the 1970s, where he’s recorded, produced, taught and performed. The self-proclaimed “nice guy from the east” isn’t an exaggeration. The musician is in his element, grooving with locals at his longstanding Crow’s Nest residency and other Santa Cruz spots. Tojo performs covers of musicians like Ben Harper, but he employs his unique, evolving style. “I have a lot of influences from traditional Japanese music to Indian, European and American music,” he says. Tojo’s live shows are guitar acrobatics featuring harmonics, slaps and tapping—he often plays behind his back and upside down—adding to his Keller Williams-like looping that can make a solo act sound like a full band. $3. Wednesday, Nov. 9, 7pm. Crow’s Nest, 2218 E. Cliff Drive, Santa Cruz. crowsnest-santacruz.com.
A TRIBUTE TO NANCI GRIFFITH “Gulf Coast Highway” is one of many of Nanci Griffith’s classics that is rife with the blue-collar poetry of her Texas roots: “Highway 90, the jobs are gone/ We tend our garden, we set the sun.” 11 of Santa Cruz’s most dynamic vocalists, including Ginny Mitchell, Patti Maxine, Christie McCarthy, Diana Donnelly, Bonny June, Sunshine Jackson and Linsey Wall, will come together to celebrate the legend. In addition to paying tribute to the acclaimed singer-songwriter, the event will also raise funds for local guitar aficionado Yuji Tojo (he has a longstanding residency at the Crow’s Nest), who lost his house and belongings in the CZU fire. It takes a village. $27/$40 plus fees. Friday, Nov. 11, 7:30pm. Kuumbwa Jazz, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. kuumbwajazz.org.
MELVIN SEALS AND JGB Melvin Seals first met Jerry Garcia in 1980 when a mutual friend invited him to audition for a “project.” “I only knew the name Grateful Dead from living in San Francisco,” Seals says. “I didn’t know when I got called to do this semi-rehearsal that Jerry would be there; I didn’t know who he was anyway, so it didn’t matter.” After three gigs as the Jerry Garcia Band’s new keyboardist, the significance of Garcia, his music and the scene hit Seals like a VW Microbus. He went on to play with Garcia and the JGB for 18 years. Seals continues to carry the JGB torch with John Kadlecik on guitar/vocals, John-Paul McLean on bass and Jeremy Hoenig on drums. From Eric Clapton’s “After Midnight” to the Miracles’ “Second That Emotion,” the outfit’s interpretations are played as Garcia originally arranged them—always leaving room for improvisation. $47.50 plus fees. Friday, Nov. 11, and Saturday, Nov. 12, 8pm. Felton Music Hall, 6275 Hwy 9, Felton. feltonmusichall.com.
SEIZED UP WITH PULLEY AND NUISANCE IN PUBLIC “I’ve always written about mistrust of the government,” Clifford Dinsmore told GT ahead of Seized Up’s 2021 debut record release show at Moe’s. Since forming Bl’ast in 1983, Dinsmore has been known as the definitive voice of Santa Cruz’s early punk scene, channeling his beliefs and philosophies into now-classic albums like The Power of Expression. Nearly 40 years later, the rocker continues to wave his nonconformity flag with Santa Cruz punk supergroup Seized Up, featuring All You Can Eat guitarist Danny Buzzard, the Distillers drummer Andy Granelli and Good Riddance bassist Chuck Platt, who suffered significant injuries this year after being hit by a car. The group’s 2019 debut Brace Yourself and their 2021 follow-up EP Marching Down the Spiral explode with the themes that have been fueling Dinsmore’s songs since he started; his premises are as relevant as ever. “If you’re just working a normal job, how do you even think about paying rent in [Santa Cruz]?” he exclaimed. Read more. $17/$22 plus fees. Saturday, Nov. 12, 8:30pm. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. moesalley.com.
‘BAY OF LIFE: FROM WIND TO WHALES’ Frans Lanting and Chris Eckstrom’s “Bay of Life” mixed-media project celebrates Monterey Bay as one of the world’s most distinct ecoregions that connect land, sea and people with nature. The prominent National Geographic photographer and writer will share images, videos and stories from their new book, Bay of Life: From Wind to Whales. The pair’s work, produced around the Monterey Bay region, highlights Maverick’s renowned surf break to the stunning Big Sur coast to images of the area’s notoriously elusive mountain lions and resplendent blue whales. Additionally, the presentation will showcase images from the colossal 2020 fires and behind-the-scenes coverage of Big Basin’s ongoing recovery efforts. Read story. $25/$50. Saturday, Nov. 12, 3pm and 7pm. Rio Theatre, 1205 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. riotheatre.com.
LA LUZ WITH NAKED GIANTS La Luz’s Shana Cleveland is adamant about being open to change musically. The singer-songwriter says that fearlessness, which the entire band also embraces, is one of the secrets behind La Luz’s longevity. Throughout the L.A. trio’s decade-long career, they bounce in, out and around the surf, garage and psych rock sound without fully committing to any particular genre—their latest self-titled record includes an electric sitar solo. Cleveland says the Beach Boys’ transcendental acapella version of “Our Prayer” has inspired her to write an acapella song for La Luz’s next record. Meanwhile, through a haze of catchy surf-punk riffs, Naked Giants’ Grant Mullen was dubbed by The Seattle Times as “one of the best young guitarists in town.” Now, that’s a bold statement. Read story. $28/$32 plus fees. Sunday, Nov. 13, 8:30pm. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. moesalley.com.
SECOND HARVEST’S HOLIDAY FOOD AND FUND DRIVE KICKOFF RALLY Join Second Harvest co-chairs Cynthia Larive and Susan True for an “old-fashioned” outdoor rally. Mix, mingle, pick up some fundraising ideas from experienced guest speakers, and, most importantly, have fun. “Let’s feed hope together!” To-go boxed lunches will be provided at the end of the event. $15. Thursday, Nov. 10, 11:30am-12:45pm. The Village Green, 161 Aptos Village Way, Aptos. give.thefoodbank.org.
TILQUIN FRUIT EXTRAVAGANZA Lúpulo Craft Beer House is one of 20 locations in the U.S.—the only in California—hosting the Tilquin Fruit Extravaganza, a project hatched by the renowned Gueuzerie Tilquin. Enjoy a variety of 10 killer lambics exclusively on draft, including white currant, elderberry, gooseberry and quince. The “one-off kegs” were produced solely to be served at the Santa Cruz locale. Special bottles of Tilquin lambic and other Belgian producers will also be available. Read more. Free (VIP sold out). Saturday, Nov. 12, 11:30am. Lúpulo Craft Beer House, 233 Cathcart St., Santa Cruz. lupulosc.com.
DOWNTOWN SANTA CRUZ FALL WINE WALK Sip while strolling through downtown Santa Cruz. At check-in, receive your glass and a map of the pouring locations, and enjoy an afternoon of tasting and discovery. El Vaquero Winery, Windy Oaks Estate, Random Ridge and Burrell School Vineyards represent just a handful of the participating wineries. $40/$45. Sunday, Nov. 13, 2-5pm. Soif, 105 Walnut Ave., Santa Cruz. downtownsantacruz.com.
WOMENCARE ARM-IN-ARM Led by Sally Jones and Shirley Marcus every Monday, the longtime group for women with advanced, recurrent or metastatic cancer is a safe place for those going through similar hardships to find support in one another. Free (registration required). Monday, Nov. 14, 12:30pm. WomenCare, 2901 Park Ave., A1, Soquel. 831-457-2273. womencaresantacruz.org.
BIRD AND BLOOMS TOUR Get to know the UCSC Arboretum through the incredible winged creatures and amazing plants that live in the beautiful space. Meet your guide(s) by the big tree in the middle of the visitor parking lot. Walks will be led by bird and bloom enthusiasts. $10; Free/members. Thursday, Nov. 10, 9:15-10:45am. UCSC Arboretum,120 Arboretum Road, Santa Cruz. calendar.ucsc.edu.
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