Best Arts & Entertainment

BestOf2012 starARTS

Art Gallery:Davenport Gallery
Local Band:Extra Large
Billiards:Surf City Billiards
Dance Club:Motiv
Dance Studio:Motion Pacific
Festival:Capitola Art & Wine Festival
Karaoke:Karaoke Sound Co.
Local Solo Musician:James Durbin
Movie Theater:Del Mar Theatre

Music Venue (Dedicated):The Catalyst
Music Venue (Bar/restaurant):The Crepe Place
Music Venue (Cafe/Coffehouse):The Abbey
Nightclub DJ:Tech Minds
Public Art:Pacific Avenue, Santa Cruz
Radio Station:KPIG 107.5
Theater Company:Shakespeare Santa Cruz

Art Gallery:Davenport Gallery
Art is very personal. Where one person sees a beautiful sunset, another may see a terrible fire, or where one sees a calm ocean, someone else could see a watery grave. Thus is the beauty and endless fascination that humans have for art. Located on Highway 1 in Davenport, the gallery understands the individuality of art, and selects artwork that represents many facets. Sculpture, jewelry, photography, painting … the list is continually evolving and the rotating art collections inspire the creative energy that flows from Davenport Gallery like a raging river or maybe you see more of a babbling brook? Visit 450 Hwy 1, Davenport, davenportgallery.org. | Leslie Patrick
Runners-up Felix Kulpa, MAH, Many Hands Gallery

(Local) Band :Extra Large
Few bands embrace positive vibes as genuinely as Extra Large, and with eight “Best Local Band” awards under their belt, it’s safe to say that no one else can do it as successfully either. Their six-member group plays full original sets crafted specifically to get crowds moving with upbeat energy and infectious grooves. With enough instruments to give a full orchestra a run for its money—guitar, sax, keyboards, and spirit flute, to name a few—the band has so much musical presence that few are able to resist the urge to dance by the end of their performance. Catch them at the Crow’s Nest Beach Parties this summer for the ultimate Santa Cruz beach experience.  You can find out more about the band at extra-large.net. | Scott Morley
Runners-up Sambadá, Le Strange, Wooster/Ribsy’s Nickel

bo arts surfcityBilliards:Surf City Billiards & Cafe
The perfect date night—and even better, group date night—destination, Surf City Billiards & Café is alive with energy on the weekends, when locals put on their game faces and duke it out on all 15 of the venue’s sleek Brunswick Gold Crown tables. Sharp-shooters and locals who want to improve their game can join the in-house 8-Ball league, which plays on Monday nights—but consider yourself warned, Santa Cruz has a host of pool sharks that are thirsty for new blood. Non pool players can challenge friends to shuffleboard or darts, but whatever you do, come hungry, because this billiards hotspot cooks up some addictive appetizers and entrees to get you in the zone. Visit 931 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, 423-7665, surfcitybilliards.com. | JB
Runners-up Fast Eddy’s, Blue Lagoon

Dance Club:Motiv
Motiv has always catered to those fiending for fierce beats and a classy club experience—so it’s never a surprise when they win this award. Its drink specials keep the floor packed and wild and their endless rotation of both local and touring DJs means that you’ll always be hearing something new. Plus, every Thursday at the Libation Lab College Night visitors can expect pints and well drinks at a mere $3, as well as no cover charge. Get ready for a packed night especially around the end of finals when everyone is letting loose. With a full turntable setup, a huge sound system and enough lights to drive you wild, Motiv is a no brainer when the serious dancing needs to go down. And when you need a break from the pandemonium of the dance floor you can slip away to sip on specialty cocktails at the swanky upstairs lounge. Try the Cilantro and Lime Margarita with jalapeño peppers or the Soquel Sour with honeycomb and lavender bourbon if your taste buds are up for the excitement. Visit 1209 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, motivsc.com. | SM
Runners-up Moe’s Alley, Blue Lagoon

Dance Studio:Motion Pacific
Local Abra Allen is no stranger to the allure of dance. At the helm Motion Pacific/Motion at the Mill, she has helped manifest one of the area’s more unique dance enclaves. Now situated on Front Street near Downtown Santa Cruz, its striking studio spaces have been generating buzz. Motion Pacific offers a wide range of classes—for children and adults. Locals are also enjoying the many performances that take place here during the year. Check out Flex, a cool, groovy dance troupe that’s downright inventive. Visit 131 Front St., Ste. E, Santa Cruz, or motionpacific.com. | Charlie Price
Runners-up Santa Cruz Dance, Dancenter, Steps

Festival:Capitola Art & Wine Festival
Admiring artwork in a gallery is so last season. Why experience it indoors when you can take a beachside stroll through the Capitola Esplanade and admire some of the best paintings, photography, and other creations by 150 local artists, with a glass of wine in hand? … Santa Cruz is classy like that. Numerous Santa Cruz Mountain wineries and local restaurants offer food and libations for this two-day festival in the sun, plus kids can enjoy live music and dance performances on the Bandstand Stage. Fun for the whole family and a commemorative wine glass to take home? That’s what you call a win-win. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. September 8 and 9. Free Admission. Capitola Esplanade. | JB
Runners-up Shakespeare Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz Blues Festival

Karaoke:Karaoke Sound Co.
Never mind the thousands of songs they have to choose from, or the fun Santa Cruz County bars they pop up at (although those are great, too)—this karaoke company is your favorite because of one reason: Eve Whittaker, the KJ (that’s “karaoke jockey” for the uninitiated) with a golden singing voice and a mission to make karaoke Santa Cruz’s official pastime. karaokesoundco.com. | Elizabeth Limbach
Runners-up Boardwalk Bowl, I Love Sushi

Movie Theater:The Del Mar
The community’s favorite film haunt is also haunted by a ghost named Barney—a projectionist who theater management says had a heart attack on the job “and went to celluloid heaven on the spot.” Now, dear ‘ole Barney lets his presence be known by flickering the lights in the booths, flipping all of the seats down in the auditorium, and—in the days of 35 mm film—jamming the film in the projector. Now that the Del Mar and its sister theater, the Nickelodeon, have switched to full digital projection (as of December 2011), the theater staff anxiously waits to see what Barney will do now. Maurice Peel, the theater’s advertising and publicity manger, suspects that the ghost will make his next appearance during the premier of the fourth Paranormal Activity, which premiers Oct. 19 at the Del Mar. “Perhaps we should set up some cameras to catch him in action,” says Peel. See you at the movies: 1124 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, 469-3220, thenick.com. | EL
Runners-up Nickelodeon Theatres, Scotts Valley Cinemas, Aptos Cinema

bo ae-leadBest Music Venue (Coffeehouse):The Abbey
Who would have thought that the hippest new music locale/coffeehouse in Santa Cruz would be under the same roof as a church? Operating independently of Vintage Faith but located on the same property, The Abbey Coffee, Art & Music Lounge has quickly become a popular haunt for UC Santa Cruz students, live music lovers, and caffeine cravers. Every weekend The Abbey brings in a slew of musicians—both local and touring—to perform intimate sets that are free for the community to attend. Just close your eyes and imagine: you’re sitting on a comfy chair and sipping on a warm aromatic cappuccino while a folk musician strums ever so gently on his acoustic six-string. Now say it with me … “Ahhh.” Visit 350 Mission St., Santa Cruz. 429-1058. abbeylounge.org. | JB
Runners-up Caffe Pergolesi, The Ugly Mug

Best Music Venue (Dedicated):The Catalyst
It’s simple: At no other music venue in town can you find such diverse acts as Snoop Dogg, Stephen Stills, Shawn Colvin, Slightly Stoopid, and The Devil Makes Three, in one year. But The Catalyst somehow manages to pull it off time and time again. In 2011, locals reveled in the release of the locally-produced documentary, The Catalyst, which chronicles the history of the world-renowned venue and features performances by the Doobie Brothers, Neil Young, Huey Lewis and the News, and many more. Both a reminder of The Catalyst’s impressive history and an optimistic look ahead to its future, the documentary and the venue’s consistent ability to bring in world class artists prove we ain’t seen nothin’ yet. Visit 1011 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, 423-1336, catalystclub.com. | JB
Runners-up (Tie): Kuumbwa, Moe’s Alley. Rio Theatre (Third place)

Best Music Venue (Bar/Restaurant):The Crepe Place
It’s official … in Santa Cruz, nothing goes better together than crepes and live music. In recent years, under the leadership of owners Adam Bergeron and Eric Gifford, The Crepe Place has quickly become a staple in the local nightlife scene. Ushering in an eclectic line-up of musicians—both local and touring—night after night, the venue only gets better with age. To top it off, a hearty menu based around the irresistible French delicacy—which, let’s be honest, should really be its own food group—and tantalizing drink specials, make the tunes go down smooth. So grab a table and find out why this local haunt is a treat for the mouth and the ears. Visit 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz, 429-6994, thecrepeplace.com. | JB
Runners-up Don Quixote’s, Fog Bank

Nightclub DJ:Tech Minds
Born and raised in Santa Cruz, local DJ Tech Minds is addicted to the art of scratching. When he’s not out at a turntable battle sharpening his skills, you can find him spinning a wide mix of tracks at clubs in San Francisco and at Motiv every first Saturday of the month. As an open format turntable DJ, his mixes can include anything from electro house to old school disco, getting your ears what they want before they know they want it.  He rocks a Serato turntable, which allows him to scratch on old school vinyl and digital mp3s simultaneously. Hit up his page at Facebook.com/Tech Minds. | SM
Runners-up DJ AD, DJ Tom LG, Little John

Public Art:Pacific Avenue
Art is everywhere in Santa Cruz. Sculptures adorn city streets, mosaics beautify our bridges, and even the stoplight control boxes feature vibrant paintings by local artists, but Pacific Avenue is the place to go if you want to see a variety of stellar public art—especially if you’re a fan of murals. Through cooperation with local business owners the Santa Cruz City Arts program has helped coordinate and fund many of the stunning murals seen downtown, the most recent of which is the Jazz Alley Mural. Fashioned in the duotone style of Blue Note jazz album covers, this mural layers two colors of paint to create striking images of the legendary jazz musicians that frequent the Kuumbwa—one of the mural’s sponsors. To learn more about the city’s public art program visit santacruzpublicart.com. | SM
Runners-up Surfer Statue (West Cliff), Area Utility Boxes and Wall Murals            

Radio Station:KPIG
You never forget the first time you stumble across KPIG radio. Whether you were intrigued by a stray oink or entranced by a deep cut off of some album you’ve never heard; something in your soul cried out for you to stay just long enough to hear the end of the song—20 minutes later you found yourself idling in the parking lot just wishing you had an excuse to drive somewhere else so you could keep listening. KPIG’s focus on the community (hog calls anyone?) and dedication to creating a unique radio experience makes it a pleasure to listen to, and as one of the first radio stations to broadcast over the internet, KPIG also has an incredible online presence. They get top rated musicians to roll into the KPIG Sty for exclusive online concerts, they broadcast their program to subscribers all over the world through the net, and they even have a weekly spread of their set lists for those times that you loved what you’ve heard but just barely missed the name of the song. Visit kpig.com. | SM
Runners-up KZSC, KUSP

bo ae durbinSolo Musician:James Durbin
This has been James Durbin’s year. The 23-year-old Santa Cruz-raised wunderkind has been rocking the free world since his debut on season 10 of American Idol last year. Though he came in fourth, Durbin garnered scores of fans across the nation for his rock star talent, ability to overcome adversity related to his Tourette’s syndrome, and zest for life. His debut album, 2011’s Memories of a Beautiful Disaster, has seen tremendous success, recently skyrocketing to the Top 10 on iTunes and the Billboard charts following his recent performance on Idol. Durbin is kicking off his first national tour, which will include artists like Evanescence, and various headline shows all spring and summer. Catch him at The Boardwalk on May 19. | Jenna Brogan
Runners-up Chris Rene, Amee Chapman, Joe Ferrara

Theater Company:Shakespeare Santa Cruz
Where else can theater lovers bask in the Bard’s glory while sitting beneath majestic redwood trees? Every year since the Shakespeare Santa Cruz Festival began in 1981, people from near and far have flocked to UC Santa Cruz to cram into the outdoor Festival Glen or the Theatre Arts Mainstage hall for performances put on by this beloved professional repertory theater company. Last year, audiences enjoyed “The Three Musketeers” and “Henry IV, Part One.” This year, they will have the chance to see the sequel to the latter, “Henry IV, Part Two,” marking the first time SSC “has ever embarked on a multi-year cycle of storytelling,” as well as the first time the company has ever put on this play, according to SSC Managing Director Kyle Clausen. This summer’s season will also feature a unique, SSC-commissioned adaptation of “The Man in the Iron Mask.” Pay special bo ae muskateersattention to the music at your next SSC performance: The company’s composer, Rody Ortega, is also a commercial airline pilot, and composes music for SSC plays while soaring above the clouds. Visit 1156 High St., Santa Cruz, 459-2121, shakespearesantacruz.org. | EL
Runners-up Cabrillo Stage, All About Theatre, CYT Santa Cruz






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