ARTS AND MUSIC
‘THE LANGUAGE OF BIRDS’ Part of MAH’s inaugural CommonGround Festival, ‘The Language of Birds’ “seeks to uncover hidden and imaginary histories of Evergreen Cemetery and the surrounding Harvey West Park area.” Composer Carolyn Chen aims to introduce audiences to an alternate perception of the landscape and soundscape. Artist Natalie Jenkins’ sculptural installations obscure the environment through acoustic illusion and mystification while unseen speakers tell stories of natural and human history. Ticketed performances include a docent-led tour and Chen’s new composition for voices and strings, “taking a nod from early music and transcriptions of birdsong.” Chen has made music for “supermarket, demolition district and the dark.” In addition to a bevy of fellowships and lofty reviews, the multitalented artist’s work has been supported by the Fulbright Program. Free (RSVP required). Thursday, Sept. 22–Saturday, Sept. 24, 5pm (guided tour and performance). Evergreen Cemetery and Wagner’s Grove, 261 Evergreen St., Santa Cruz. santacruzmah.org/commonground.
BOOKSHOP SANTA CRUZ PRESENTS: RANDALL MUNROE In 2014, former NASA contract programmer and roboticist Randall Munroe launched xkcd.com, a webcomic featuring now-iconic stick-figure drawings about science, technology, language and love. Munroe’s knack for using simple explanations to answer esoteric math or physics-related questions is addictive. With millions of fervent followers, a book deal was the natural progression: The quirky Pennsylvanian’s What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions skyrocketed to the top of the New York Times bestsellers list and featured as the “Amazon Best Book of the Month.” The book led to a monthly column in the New York Times, “Good Question,” in which Munroe answers user-submitted questions in the same ilk as his best-selling book. Now, there’s a sequel, What If? 2: Additional Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions. One more question: Why did it take eight years to get out the second book? $35-40. Thursday, Sept. 22, 7pm. Hotel Paradox, 611 Ocean St., Santa Cruz. bookshopsantacruz.com.
SUPERBLUME WITH THE RUNAWAY GROOMS The Santa Cruz quartet has been quickly gaining traction locally, drawing inspiration from jam band vets like Phish and blues legends such as Muddy Waters. The outfit intertwines improvised soundscapes with original grooves that emit tightly knit bouts of funk, R&B and ’70s rock. Like any good psychedelic experience, the Blume moves from sunny spaces to darker places and takes a few side trips on the way. The band’s ultimate goal: deliver a different musical experience each time they perform. Godspeed, young bucks. $18/$23 plus fees. Thursday, Sept. 22, 8pm. Moe’s Alley, 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz. moesalley.com.
LOCAL H During a time when record labels were throwing millions at any group from Seattle who could write songs with simple hooks, wore flannel shirts and suffered from perpetual seasonal disorder, Illinois rockers Local H was churning out tunes like “Eddie Vedder,” which asks, “If I was Eddie Vedder, would you like me any better?” The rhetorical question might as well have been major label repellent, but Scott Lucas, Matt Garcia, Joe Daniels and John Sparkman made music on their own terms. In addition to a fervent cult following and favorable reviews from every venerable music critic in the country, Local H eventually scored largescale gigs opening for some of those bands they were opposites of, including Stone Temple Pilots. In 2013, the original lineup dissolved into the current iteration, featuring Lucas and Ryan Harding. Since, they’ve opened for Metallica, performed NFL playoff game halftime shows and worked with music producer/engineer powerhouse Steve Albini. That’s a pretty good resume. $22/$24 plus fees. Friday, Sept. 23, 8pm. Felton Music Hall, 6275 Hwy 9, Felton. feltonmusichall.com.
SHAME WITH THE VIAGRA BOYS If you can only attend one more show in 2022, Shame with the Viagra Boys should be that show. While the U.S. has only recently caught on to the post-punk anthems that have fueled Shame’s international success since their visceral 2018 release, Songs of Praise, the outfit’s energetic, “let’s get into a bar fight, then gulp pints with the blokes who broke our noses” sensibility has garnered regular comparisons to the likes of Fontaines DC and Idles. Most likely, this will be the last tour you’ll be able to experience the London rockers with any kind of intimacy. The same might be said for co-headliners, the Viagra Boys. It’s easy to embrace the wacky and wild Swedish punk outfit’s antics, even with their godawful forehead tats. The Stockholm force is loaded with musical talent with a side of political satire and straight-up weirdness—forget the Hives. Their latest, Cave World, is irresistibly catchy, strange and laden in Beastie Boys humor. Now that’s a winning combination. $20/$25 plus fees. Monday, Sept. 26, 7:30pm. The Catalyst, 1101 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. catalystclub.com.
CASTRO ADOBE OPEN HOUSE Explore the interior rooms of the two-story adobe, including the famous fandango room, one of the last remaining indoor cocinas in California, and the lush gardens. Learn about the adobe’s ongoing restoration and the meticulous creation of 2,400 adobe bricks. Tours also include the history of the Castro family, the vaqueros who worked the rancho and plenty of background on the Rancho period. Free (registration required). Saturday, Sept. 24, 10:30am-3:30pm. Rancho San Andres Castro Adobe, 184 Old Adobe Road, Watsonville. santacruzstateparks.as.me.
CAPITOLA BEACH FESTIVAL The popular two-day event returns to the way it had been, pre-pandemic. That means the sand sculpture contest, fishing derby, rowboat races, horseshoe tournaments, chalk and children’s art and the lighted boat nautical parade will be in full effect. Don’t forget to register for the Little Wharf Fun Run. The scenic three-mile run, sponsored by Wharf to Wharf, kicks off on Saturday at 8am. Free. Saturday, Sept. 24, 8am and Sunday, Sept. 25, 7am. Esplanade Ave., Capitola. capitolabeachfestival.com.
COMMONGROUND: A FESTIVAL OF PLACE-INSPIRED, OUTDOOR WORK The new biennial festival of place-inspired, outdoor work will be hosted throughout Santa Cruz County, from forested hillsides and historical landmarks. Focused on temporary and performative public art projects in rural, urban, and architectural spaces, the 10-day event features site-responsive installations and interventions across the area’s natural and built environments, connecting people, stories and landscapes. Most events are free. Runs through Sunday, Sept. 25. santacruzmah.org for exhibits, locations and times.
WOMENCARE ARM-IN-ARM This cancer support group is for women with advanced, recurrent or metastatic cancer. The group meets every Monday and is led by Sally Jones and Shirley Marcus. Free (registration required). Monday, Sept. 26, 12:30pm. WomenCare, 2901 Park Ave., A1, Soquel. 831-457-2273. womencaresantacruz.org.
FALL CREEK AFTER THE FIRE 2022 After 18 months of recovery work in the wake of the CZU fires, the Fall Creek Unit of Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park has reopened and wants to share it with you. See how the landscape and wildlife have responded to the fire, from redwood trees to wildflowers and banana slugs to birds, and how community members can help monitor the fire’s impacts. Free with park admission. Saturday, Sept. 24, 10am-noon. Fall Creek Unit Trailhead, Felton Empire Road, Felton. santacruzmuseum.org/fall-creek-after-fire-2022.
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