Best of A.E. & Nightlife 2011

bo_aeSo many votes, but how did it all play out? Felix Kulpa Gallery, once again, takes best honors for Best Gallery. Back take note of stellar wins for All About Theatre and The Crepe Place. .

Art Gallery

Felix Kulpa Gallery

Home to your favorite art exhibits, Felix Kulpa Gallery features unique pieces such as ceramic sculptures and abstract paintings. The entrance of the gallery houses astounding sculptures in metals, rock and water. A permanent fixture of the gallery is the collection of fascinating guitars fashioned from skateboards, vacuums and shovels. Thing To Know: Many events are held in the gallery such as poetry readings and exhibition openings. The current exhibit is ceramic sculptures from the studio of Coeleen Kiebert. Artists including Peggy Snider, Sharon Bosley and Kathleen Pouls will be showcasing their work along with a few others. The exhibit deputed on a First Friday, the city’s effort to make Santa Cruz art culture more accessible to all residents. All of the sculptures revolve around a common theme and the title of the exhibit, One’s Own Voice. Each piece focuses on translating the artist’s personal imagery and manners of self expression into artwork made of clay. 107 Elm St., Santa Cruz, (408) 373-2854, felixkulpa.com. | Christina Kharbertyan

Runners-up MichaelAngelo, Artisan’s

Artist of the Year

bo_ae2011artistEd Dickie

Ed Dickie can do it all: survive a car accident after swerving off a 200-foot cliff in Big Sur, teach after-school photography classes at elementary schools, docent for Ano Nuevo State Park, play guitar, carpentry, make films, and—what he is best known for—take one hell of a photograph. A master of angles, the Davenport resident has an undisputable talent for capturing droplets of ocean spray as waves hit the rocks, rays of sunlight upon children’s ringlets and beauty in the most unlikely of places. His breathtaking repertoire includes landscape, animals, portraits and Santa Cruz life as the locals know it. Thing To Know: Dickie’s main camera is a Nikon D700, with a Nikkor 24-70 f2.8 FX lens. eddickie.com, 458-2170. | Jenna Brogan

Band of the Year

Extra Large

Because your booty was meant to bounce, Extra Large wins again for your pick as Best Local Band. Splicing together funk gyrations, Latin spice, fun-in-the-sun reggae, and classic California rock vigor, this veteran six-piece ensemble has become a local staple adept at heating up Santa Cruz sands. Bursting with screaming horns and steaming strings, with drums and bass bulldozing any listener’s attempt to stand still, this band continues to reign as the ultimate party starter for any upbeat occasion. Sometimes size does matter, and Extra Large dutifully fills every musical gap.

Thing To Know: When the band performs a mellower set with less members it books itself as Extra Lounge. Extra-large.net. | Evelyn Shafer
Runners-up Audiafauna, Hurricane Rose / Ribsy’s Nickel (Tie)


Fast Eddy’s

You know how a lot of bars have only one pool table with the same group of territorial locals stalking around it and not letting anyone else play? Well, you can take your turn at the table at Fast Eddy’s, the biggest billiard parlor on the coast between Pacifica and Monterey. With 19 regulation-sized tables, Fast Eddy’s makes it easy to get in a few good rounds of pool or challenge your friends to a game or two of nine-ball. And for all of you wanting to test your skills against the best pool players in town, Fast Eddy’s hosts nine-ball tournaments on Monday nights. The vibe is great for amateurs and youngsters, too. Even though Fast Eddy’s serves beer and wine, it’s friendly to people of all ages and caters to a fun, laid-back crowd. Thing To Know: Fast Eddy’s Billiards has 500 pool balls. 4300 Capitola Rd., Capitola, 462-1882, fasteddysbilliards.com. | Jessi Hamel

Runners-up Surf City Billiards, The Catalyst

Dance Club


From its drink specials to its cool spinning djs, Motiv grabs the top spot for dance club once again. You can often see a line outside the door on Friday and Saturday nights, a good thing in Downtown Santa Cruz, especially during an economy whose financial mood continues to swing. Great service—and bartenders—here make Motiv stand out. Thing To Know: Daily happy hours 4-7 p.m. Drink/draft/wine specials as well as two-for-one appetizers. Happy hours extended all day on Tuesdays. 1209 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, 429-8070, motivsc.com. | Charlie Price

Runners-up Blue Lagoon, Cypress Lounge

Dance Studio

bo_ae2011_danceMotion Pacific

After 12 years of uniting traditional studio dance—specifically jazz, tap and ballet—with street and ethnic dance, Motion Pacific continues to thrive. Dance classes here are for all ages and experience levels in all genres, from folk and street to traditional and contemporary. Kudos go for being smart, too. It’s collaboration with Santa Cruz Dance allows locals to experience weekend workshops, master classes and weekend performances for local and visiting dancers, on a stage where all dancers can share the spotlight. Thing To Know: Take note of Flex, the high-energy, “rock-the-rafters tour de force” that calls Motion Pacific home. The nine members of the dance troupe are known to flip, leap, roll and toss one another into each others arms. Impressive. But there’s more than dance at Motion Pacific, though, as is evident in this portal’s deep commitment to local art and artists. Learn more at motionpacific.com. | CP

Runners-up Dancenter, Santa Cruz Dance Company

Drum Circle

West Cliff

The “circle” is out there. You dig it. And you know where to find it apparently. Thing To Know: Just keep getting your groove on, let happiness do the rest. | CP

Improv Troupe

Loose Cannon Theater

A divergence from the typical dinner and a movie night, seeing an improvisation show entices laughter while releasing feel-good hormones. Loose Cannon Theater has perfected the improv show by creating unique characters, exciting actions, hilarious dialogue, sensational sound effects and original songs spontaneously. Dixie Cox and Clifford Henderson founded the Fun Institute in 1997, which is stationed at the Broadway Playhouse. The troupe provides entertaining shows like their most recent Night Falls which cajoled a never ending amount of laughter and fun, helping to relieve stress and improve moods. The Fun Institute spreads laughter by teaching regular people how to improvise and become funny. Upcoming workshops include a weekend workshop at the Esalen Institute at Big Sur which focuses on teaching its adult students to break out of their narrow-minded “adult” thinking and stretch their sense of self through play and improvisation. Participants will have the chance to break out of their daily routine and try on bigger than life personas and other improv exercises. Thing To Know: Check its Facebook page for updates on upcoming events. | CK
Loose Cannon Theater at funinstitute.com

Runners-up Six Wheel Drive, Um Gee Um


Capitola Art & Wine

Art, wine, music and food? The 2011 festival is held in early September and features 20 different Santa Cruz Mountain wineries. It is by far the best place to pick up a glass of some top-notch pinot noir and find some inspiration as you chat with talented local artists. While enjoying your libations you can also pick up some tasty, gourmet eats from local restaurants and caterers. The best part? The Art & Wine Festival is held in the heart of quaint Capitola Village, which means your wine tastings come with an oceanfront view. Thing To Know: Get your wine vocabulary straight before hitting the festival. “Legs” refers to the drops of wine on the side of the glass when the wine is swirled, “finish” refers to the aftertaste, and “oenophile” means “a lover of wine.” 475-6522, capitolachamber.com/artwine. | JH

Runners-up Greek Festival, Blues Festival


Boardwalk Bowl

Santa Cruz’s next American Idol contenders can be seen five nights a week at the Boardwalk Bowl. The Journey covers will get you believing again, the punk rock anthems will wake up your inner delinquent, and the awkwardly sung ballads will have you on the floor laughing while you cheer the singers on. Karaoke nights are family friendly until 9 p.m., so you can sing a duet with your kids, and the best part of Boardwalk Bowl’s karaoke is the dance floor in front of the microphone where you can get your boogie on while waiting to sing “Hotel California.” For all of you karaoke rookies, Boardwalk Bowl karaoke DJ Moses McCluer has some tips for you: Make sure you pick a song that you know well, so you don’t end up mumbling through the chorus. One song he says to leave to the pros is “Sweet Home Alabama” because the lyrics are more complicated than people expect and the chorus can seem repetitive. Thing To Know: A performer not-to-be-missed is 86-year-old Tom Floyd, who sings karaoke several days a week. He often performs the number he is most known for: “Baby Got Back.” 115 Cliff St., Santa Cruz, 426-3324, boardwalkbowl.com. | JH

Runners-up I Love Sushi, Malone’s

Live Performance

Moe’s Alley

With its stage bursting with the instrumental riffs and wailing pipes of all-star performers, its doors are flooded with locals looking for the hottest blues musician, danceable world music convulsions, noodling jam bands, or reggae toasting. Moe’s Alley is your local gem where you seek top quality live performances, and it’s where the bar is filled with welcoming drinks and friendly staff to warm your heart. Off the beaten path and removed from the Downtown Santa Cruz scene, Moe’s wrangles in sold-out crowds with its outdoor patio that houses late night eats, and a double-level front room that’s got sitting and dancing areas for your picking. More than anything, it’s all about the tunes, and a stellar stage and sound system continue to espouse music to your ears. Thing To Know: In addition to music, owner Bill Welch is well-versed in the art of cooking and could be a chef. 1535 Commercial Way, Santa Cruz, 479-1854, moesalley.com. | LK

Runners-up The Catalyst, Kuumbwa

(Local) Solo Musician

Joe Ferrara

A familiar face to anyone who has dined at Shadowbrook in the last year, guitarist Joe Ferrara has held a stake in the local music scene since the late ’60s, starting with a 13-year run at The Grapesteak in Capitola. His rich baritone voice and renditions of more than 500 songs by the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, and many more classic rock, folk, and show tunes, have made him a Santa Cruz favorite year after year. Armed with nothing more than a stool and a nylon string guitar, Ferrara has earned a Gail Rich Award and a yearly invitation to sing the national anthem at the Giants stadium. Thing To Know: In 1976, Joe, a full-time musician, moved to Santa Cruz and opened Atlantis Fantasyworld comic book store as a hobby. Eventually Joe’s two vocations switched roles. | JB

Runners-up Asher Stern, James Durbin

Movie Theatre

Del Mar Theatre

Santa Cruz’s favorite indie movie hub nabs another win here. A pleasant escape from the crowds, the Pacific Avenue theater beckons locals with film festivals—the recent Secret Film Fest, an all-night marathon caught our attention—midnight movies, and all those lesser known films that end up on top come awards season. Take note of special deals, like Wednesday night discounts for students and The Nick Film Club. Things To Know: Before being converted to a movie theater, the Del Mar hosted live shows into the ’70s with concerts by Lionel Hamption, Duke Ellington, Jerry Garcia, Tom Waits, Emmylou Harris, and the Tubes. 1124 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz; 469-3220; thenick.com. | JB

Runners-up Nickelodeon, Cinema 9

Music Venue (Dedicated)

Kuumbwa Jazz Center

A world-class West Coast jazz institution, it’s no surprise that Kuumbwa Jazz has once again garnered your vote for Best Music Venue. Hosting a vast assortment of elite veterans and commanding newcomers, this intimate venue with state-of-the-art sound lures both the history and future of jazz to town. From elder pianist McCoy Tyner to this year’s Grammy-winner for Best New Artist, Esperanza Spalding, Kuumbwa Jazz has its finger on the pulse. Thursday’s Cookin’ at Kuumbwa series introduces smaller acts alongside sturdy meals, while the nonprofit remains a staunch provider of music education through free workshops and the Kuumbwa Honor Jazz Band. Expanding to present myriad genres, the Downtown Santa Cruz spot with ample seating and a bar also features folk, world music, and cabaret. Thing To Know: At the first Kuumbwa Jazz concert, featuring Joe Henderson in 1975, the average donation was .35 cents. 320 Cedar St. #2, Santa Cruz, 427-2227, kuumbwajazz.org. | LK

Runners-up The Rio

Music Venue (Bar/Restaurant)

The Crepe Place

J Mascis. Frank Black. Black Mountain. Like the Little Venue That Could, this restaurant, bar and music hub has been able to book the aforementioned big names. Securing a fleet of local acts and touring bands at a rate that’s grown exponentially since this midtown fave first surprised everyone and started hosting live shows, The Crepe Place has all the ingredients for a readily stocked full night out. Continuing to reign as your preferred spot to catch howling rock (The Jim Jones Revue infamously blew out a speaker), tempered Americana (a sold-out crowd during Dawes was pleased by a sudden guest appearance by Dave Rawlings), string metal (the boys of Judgement Day continue to wow this town of their origins), and more—all while you post up at the friendly bar that’s ready to tempt you with everything from an IPA to Absinthe—this multi-faceted music-and-mingle arena takes the phrase “up close and personal” seriously. When it comes to presenting numero uno bands in a DIY intimate locale, The Crepe Place has it dialed. Looking for an affordable show that puts you right in front of the artist you love? You know where to go. Thing To Know: Fun co-owner Adam Bergeron started out as a busboy at The Crepe Place in his early twenties. 1134 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz, 429-6994, thecrepeplace.com. | LK

Runners-up Moes Alley, Don Quixote’s

Music Venue, (Coffeehouse, Wifi)

bo_aecoffee_abbeyThe Abbey

When you want to let loose with a latte in hand, you’ve gotten to know The Abbey well. Because sometimes it’s nice to head out to see live music without envisioning being slumped over and bewildered during a taxi drive home, this coffeehouse provides safe and sober shows for audiences of all ages. Comfortable catering to the needs of college students cramming for exams, locals out for mellow entertainment, or a tourist seeking well-made coffee and a cool vibe, The Abbey is a relaxing, Wi-Fi-equipped getaway located on Mission Street. Hosting performers amongst a warm, intimate environment, the stage is flanked by colorful walls and artfully vintage décor encased in dim lighting that makes for a hip and funky ambiance. Something for everyone, the seating arrangement features a miscellaneous array of plush couches, two-person tables, group tables and more, while friendly baristas and fine folk musicians are the backbone of this venue. To witness solo singer-songwriters or more elaborate ensembles, all amongst the alluring smell of ground coffee beans, you’ve made The Abbey your haven. Thing To Know: The Abbey slogan is, “Made with love.” 350 Mission St., Santa Cruz, 429-1058, abbeylounge.org. | LK

Runners-up: (Coffeehouse) Asana, The Ugly Mug
(Wifi) Lulu Carpenter’s, Verve

Nightclub DJ

bo_ae2011djDJ AD

It’s not very often that four letters represent so much. A local editor once called her “a force of nature.” Truer words have never been said. Oakland born and an ’80s transplant to Santa Cruz, A.D. has spent the last 20 years making Santa Cruz clubgoers sweat. From the very beginning she has garnered acclaim as one of our city’s finest in a profession where longevity is often fleeting. The explanation for this feat is twofold. She has an uncanny ability to “know” her crowd, to change and grow with them, and more importantly, she has heart. If you’ve ever found yourself fighting for space on her dancefloor, you understand. Get her out from behind the tables and she is an infectious ambassador for the LBGT community, producing many charity events under that umbrella. Through her “Get Funked Up,” she turns the spotlight on aspiring performers, giving guidance, support and the chance to shine. Approximately 30,700 pairs of feet dance with DJ AD annually. Thing To Know: DJ AD spins at Motiv (Tuesdays), Rainbow Room at Mad House (Thursdays), Rosie McCann’s (Fridays). Bookings: dj-ad.webs.com.  | Eric Sassaman

Runners-up DJ Tom LG, Tech Minds

Place to Take The Kids

The Beach

Coastal California kids have the best backyard, like, ever. And here in Santa Cruz, there is an especially awesome array of beaches to entertain the kiddos. Cowell’s is the place to be for local families on a hot summer day, and, just steps away, Main Beach is the place for a cool ocean dip or some boogie boarding after a busy day riding Boardwalk rides. And let’s not forget family-friendly Seabright, with its killer snack stand, and Twin Lakes—both perfect settings for birthdays, bonfires, family outings and so much more. Thing To Know: Need a way to keep your surf and sand-loving kid busy all summer long? Sign them up for Junior Lifeguards, a day camp where six to 16 year olds learn beach safety skills and more. Visit scsla.org for more info. | Elizabeth Limbach

Runners-up Boardwalk / Seymour Center (Tie)

Radio Station

KPIG (107.5)

Santa Cruz squeals in delight for this pig-themed, old school radio station, dubbing them Best Radio Station year after year. The djs are real radio pros, picking the tunes (from beloved to obscure to forgotten) by hand and keeping it fresh and original day in and day out. From Robert Earl Keen to the Rolling Stones, Amos Lee to Jimmy Buffet, 107.5 on the dial is the best place for folk, bluegrass, classic rock and so much more. Our favorite part (besides the great tunes and djs, of course) are the KPIG commercials—these hilarious spoofs and skits sandwiched in with the “real” ads make the commercial breaks on this station actually worth listening to. Thing To Know:  KPIG was the first station in the world to webcast their audio, and have been webcasting continuously since Aug. 2, 1995. | EL

Runners-up KZSC (88.1), KUSP (88.9)

Street Performer

Great Morgani

OK, OK, you like him—you really, really like him. But what’s not to like? There is his fashion sense—spandex never looked so becoming. There’s that accordion—such a throwback to Polka tunes, I tell you! But overall, this performance artist has one trait that some others don’t: he’s actually interesting. Better still, he’s entertaining. Wander around Pacific Avenue. You’ll spot him. Thing To Know:  Be sure to check out his book, “The Great Morgani: The Creative Madness of a Middle-Aged Stockbroker Turned Street Musician.”  thegreatmorgani.com.  | CP

Runners-up Roxanne Krempa, Balloon Man

Theater Company

All About Theater

The locally-owned theatre company delivers theatre you seem to really dig. Going strong for nearly seven years now, it also offer classes for children, teens and adults (check out the theater camps.) The company puts on several youth and teen productions each season as well. Thing To Know: This is truly unique youth community theatre company that works with young children focusing on training students in all the areas of performing arts; dance, acting and singing in the hopes of “Bringing Everyone into the Limelight …” Overall, it has produced nearly 50 full-scale productions with up to 12-piece orchestrations. 325 Washington St., Santa Cruz, allabouttheatre.org. | DB

Runners-up Shakespeare Santa Cruz, Cabrillo Stage

Best of Arts, Entertainment & Nightlife 2011 Photo Captions
Dance Studio Motion Pacific
Artist of the Year Ed Dickie
Music Venue (coffeehouse)/ Wifi The Abbey Photo: Kelly Vaillancourt
Nightclub DJ DJ AD Photo: Kelly Vaillancourt

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