Open studios: South County Oct. 6–7, North County Oct. 13–14, Encore Weekend Oct. 20–21.
Ceram-A-Rama at Mountain Art Center
If three days of squishing your hands through potter’s clay sounds like heaven, this is the weekend event for you. Hands-on workshops, including with master potter Arthur Gonzales, will make everyone’s ashtrays, bowls and coffee mugs really, really good. Bonus: Your December self will thank you dodging last-minute holiday gift freak-outs. Sep. 14–16 at Mountain Art Center. $40 general/$30 students.
Former Grateful Dead lyricist and recovering hippie John Perry Barlow is as interesting and intellectual as they come. The “cyber-libertarian,” who founded the Electronic Frontier Foundation, will be speaking at the second annual TEDx Santa Cruz alongside the likes of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Martha Mendoza and rope artist Allie Cooper. Sep. 15 at Cabrillo College. $75-$100.
Weekly midnight movies are raucous good fun, provided you drink enough Red Bull to keep up with the energetic crowds that roar into the wee hours of morning. (Once overheard during aBig Lebowski showing: a glass bong shattering, followed by gasps, followed by uncontrollable giggling.) One not to be missed is Quentin Tarrinto’s spin on WW2 movies, Inglorious Basterds. A final scene takes place in an old cinema that pairs perfectly with the 76-year old gem that is Pacific Avenue’s one and only Del Mar Theater. Sep. 14–15 at the Del Mar. $6.50.
Joe's Garage on KZSC
This quintessential college radio show hosted by the station’s student rock director is the place to hear this fall’s newest rock music first. With tunes sent directly from promoters and record labels, listening to this show will guarantee you’re at the top of your “Name That Tune” game. Plus, you can seamlessly blend in when crashing undergraduate keg parties this fall. Mondays, 8:30-10:30pm on 88.1 FM.
Max will give a reading of this first-ever biography of the late great writer David Foster Wallace, Every Love Story is a Ghost Story. The tale charts Wallace’s journey towards becoming a one of our generation’s most acclaimed novelists while struggling with the depression and addiction that ultimately consumed him. Plus, you can seamlessly blend in when crashing undergraduate book club meetings this fall. Book available Aug. 30. Reading Sep. 21 at Capitola Book Café. Free.
Tribute Shows at Don Quixote’s
Don Quixote’s is hosting six tribute shows this fall, including ones paying homage to the Grateful Dead, Jimmy Buffett and The Allman Brothers. Two bastions of 1970s nostalgia not to be missed will be the House of Floyd on Oct. 20 and Petty Theft on Sep. 22. While none of the members of the latter wannabe group bear any visual resemblance to the real buck-toothed, blond-haired rocker, they sure do nail the sound and put on a fun show. Sep. 21–Oct. 20. Ticket prices vary.
Monterey Jazz Festival
It’s been happening just down the street in Monterey every year since 1958, bringing some of jazz’s biggest stars to our humble coast. This year jazz lovers can see Tony Bennett, Esperanza Spalding, Bill Frisell and other luminaries in the Arena. Or get a cheaper Grounds pass and see up-and-coming innovators—and maybe Clint Eastwood too, since his kid’s playing. Sept. 21–23 at the Monterey Fairgrounds. $40–335.
Lewis Watts: New Orleans Suite
New Orleans: Despite suffering one of the most devastating natural disasters in our nation’s history, this is a town known for its relentless celebration of life. UCSC Art professor Watts boldly presents vibrant images of New Orleans life post–Katrina in stark black-and-white. Oct. 3 – Nov. 21 at the UCSC Sesnon Gallery. Free.