In Search of Herps
Herpetologist Paul Haskins will lead a group in search of herps—reptiles and amphibians, that is—at Quail Hollow Ranch County Park. Peruse the pond and muse over the meadow as hikers learn about the reptile and amphibian backyard, their favorite hangouts and resting places. Sign up to reserve a spot, group size is limited.
Info: 1-3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4. Quail Hollow Ranch, 800 Quail Hollow Road, Felton. 335-9348. Free.
Monarch Craft Fair Fundraiser
Make crafts, shop crafts—enjoy an afternoon of live music performances, food, and more to lessen the stress of holiday shopping with a benefit for Monarch Community School. Impress your kids with a stellar gingerbread house, your parents with some beeswax candles or friends with lavender sachets. Enjoy all that and more after celebrating with the holiday parade.
Info: Noon-4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3. 840 North Branciforte Ave., Santa Cruz. Free.
Elissa Altman ‘Treyf’
A person can eat treyf, and a person can be treyf. It’s unkosher, prohibited, and according to Leviticus and Elissa Altman’s grandmother, it’s illicit rule-breaking. Altman’s memoir tells the story of tradition, expectations, religion and rule-breaking that defined her childhood from the synagogue to her bedroom. According to Publishers Weekly, “Her decades-long struggle to regain the happiness and comfort she felt in her beloved maternal grandmother’s home is depicted lovingly, with many moments of heartbreak and disappointment but also joy and contentment. Altman’s path to living authentically is hard won, but she demonstrates there’s reward to be found in the fight.”
Info: 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 30. Bookshop Santa Cruz, 1520 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. bookshopsantacruz.com. Free.
Have you ever wondered why people refer to things that are boring as “so vanilla” when, in reality, the flavor itself can have so many nuances, profiles, and complexities? Weird. Treat your beloveds to a holiday gift unlike any other in town with an evening beginning at the Museum of Art & History where Vanilla Queen Patricia Rain and Chocolate Restaurant owner-chef David Jackman (yes, they get the irony) will take you on a visual journey through vanilla’s origin from Mesoamerican rain forests to its worldwide reach as a favorite flavor and fragrance. Later in the evening, savor a three-course meal at Chocolate crafted to highlight the exceptional and versatile flavors that can only come together between vanilla and chocolate.
Info: 6 p.m. Chocolate, 1522 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. 427-9900.
Friday 12/2 – Sunday 12/4
It’s the craziest, sensory-overloading-in-the-best-possible-way show of the season. Don’t miss 30 world-class singers, dancers and circus artists remixing Nutcracker to new heights with Mexican folklorico dancers, hip-hoppers, Mongolian contortionists, gymnasts, ballroom dancers, and award-winning a capella group SoVoSó performing modern world beats to Tchaikovsky’s holiday music. Wang Hong, gold medal-winner in the world’s top circus competition in Paris and former soloist for Cirque du Soleil, is just one of the many top-tier performers in Tandy Beal’s annual classic.
Info: 2 and 7 p.m. Hammer Theatre Center, 101 Paseo De San Antonio Walk, San Jose. nutzremixed.com. $25-$65.