The best of the Santa Cruz County arts and cultural experience, as chosen by our staff.

The Lost Poet’s Saloon
Things that go together: Poetry readings, caffeinated beverages and bagels. You can get all three with the Lost Poet’s Saloon, a group that gathers at the Bagelry in Santa Cruz every first Saturday of the month. They’ve been doing it for quite a while now. Everyone takes turns reading their poems, and they give each other feedback—in-between bites of slathered bagels. 320 Cedar Street, Ste A, Santa Cruz, 831.429.8049. (AC)

Secret Film Festival
Its name is almost too apt, as eight years in, many people still don’t know about this unique little gem of Santa Cruz film culture. Featuring 12 hours of as-yet-unreleased films, cult gems and more at the Del Mar, this is one instance where the use of “Secret” is not just hype—the films to be screened are not revealed until the event. This provides an extra rush for film geeks in particular, but really I’ve seen films at the festival that appeal to film lovers of all types. It was the first place I saw Oldboy on the big screen, which is probably my favorite SFF moment, but it’s also where I saw the gentle Ryan Gosling art gem Lars and the Real Girl, before it was released. The festival returns at midnight on Saturday, April 13, running until noon on Sunday. Will this be the first year I actually stay awake all the way to noon (my previous record being 10am?) Probably not. But to my amazement, most of the audience does. (SP)

Lompico Water Board Meeting.html
Most government meetings are a hotbed of passive-aggressive activity, even to the untrained eye. But deep in the Santa Cruz Mountains, one water district has cut out the “passive” altogether. Here you’ll find heavy sighs, piercing insults and sometimes even a little yelling as board members argue about how they’re going to pay the $1.2 million they owe CalPERS, and whether or not they should dissolve and merge with the neighboring San Lorenzo Water District. What, and spoil all our fun? 11255 Lompico Rd, Felton. 831.335.5200. (JP)

Riverside Lighting
Ooohhhhhhh. Aaaaaaahhh. I think it just changed colors from red to blue. Did you miss it? Don’t worry. It’ll change to purple in a second. 300 Soquel Ave, Santa Cruz. 831.423.7424. (JP)

The Santa Cruz Warriors
Locals have always had to go to Oakland for their basketball jones, but despite the distance (not to mention countless garbage seasons under their old management), there is huge and passionate contingent of Golden State Warriors fans in Santa Cruz. So in a weird way, our new D-League team kinda seems like a reward for time served. Games at the new arena are a kick, and unlike those of the ever-more-expensive NBA, Santa Cruz Warriors games still provide a remarkably affordable night out for local families. The audiences are as diverse a cross-section of our area’s demographic as one could hope for, and people are seriously into it. It doesn’t hurt that these Warriors are making the playoffs in their first season, something their big-league namesake did only once in almost two decades of exasperating basketball. (SP)