Celebrating Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass Roots

Peter Rowan plays the Digital Media Factory this Sunday for Bill Monroe Day. Photo by Ronald Reitman.

If bluegrass music were a family-run company, mandolin-picker Bill Monroe would be founding CEO. That’s why Ginny Mitchell of Santa Cruz Live TV is bringing guitar maven Peter Rowan, who played with Monroe as one of his “Bluegrass Boys,” to the Digital Media Factory. The honorary day is set for Sunday. Dec. 4 for Bill Monroe Day in Santa Cruz. Mayor Ryan Coonerty proclaimed it so.

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Santa Cruz Poet Releases Career Collection

Robert Sward, Santa Cruz Weekly poetry editor, with Toby

When Robert Sward arrived in Santa Cruz in 1985, he instantly became the area’s most nationally famous resident poet.  Thanks to his much-anthologized poem “Uncle Dog: The Poet at 9,” the first he ever published and one that remains a classic 50 years later, local writers knew Sward’s name and welcomed him as a borderline celebrity.  Ever since then he has thrived here as a prolific poet, novelist, journalist, teacher and, in recent years, poetry editor of the Santa Cruz Weekly.

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The Heavy Metal Perfection of Mammatus

Mammatus plays 105 Pioneer Street on Saturday, Nov. 26.

The members of Santa Cruz experimental metal band Mammatus have a time-tested method to ensure that all their music reaches a high standard. They look for what they call the Yes Factor—that moment during practice when a song comes together and everyone knows it. “That’s what we’re always looking for, the part of the song that gives you goosebumps. It’s all about finding that magical moment,” says guitarist Nicky Emmert. He adds, “It takes us a really long time to write a song.”

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‘A Year With Frog and Toad,’ a Creature Feature for All Ages

Toad (Mike Ryan) and Frog (Nick Gabriel) go sledding in SSC's holiday show. Photo by r.r. jones.

When it comes down to it, Frog shouldn’t really even need Toad. The congenial amphibian could just as easily pal around with the mice and birds that hang around the swamps if he wanted. But he doesn’t. He prefers his slower-moving, socially inept foil. This year’s winter Shakespeare Santa Cruz play, A Year With Frog and Toad—the group’s first holiday production in two years—is an all-ages tale of friendship based on the children’s books by Arnold Lobel.

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The Pixies Mystique

Old frenemies unite, and fans rejoice.

Charles Michael Kittredge Thompson IV has been a solo artist for three times as long as he was originally with the Pixies. He’s released three times as many albums as he did with the band, under three different stage names—his original Pixies moniker Black Francis, the solo change-up Frank Black and even the combination Frank Black Francis.

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Shakespeare Santa Cruz Winter Show Returns With Style

Deep into rehearsals for the new holiday production of A Year With Frog And Toad, director and choreographer Art Manke provides a nugget of insight into his work mode. Drawing a vivid comparison between directing for TV and for theater, Manke allows that “in TV everything is instant—it’s like microwaving pizza. Theater requires time, time for the process. It’s a gourmet meal.”

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