Cover Stories

Best Of Santa Cruz County 2016 Arts & Culture

Arts & Culture

Best Festival (Music)

Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music

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1 The Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music got its start in a small bohemian coffee shop in 1963.

2 This year, Marin Alsop steps down after 25 years as the festival’s conductor. Alsop studied under Leonard Bernstein, attended Yale and Juilliard, and since her beginnings with the festival has become world-famous as conductor for a number of prestigious orchestras: Philadelphia, Cleveland, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Orchestre de Paris and others.

3 This year also marks the 25th anniversary of the Church Street Fair, which is produced by the festival and the Civic Auditorium, in celebration of local art, music, food, and wine.

4 Each season, the cello section stages an elaborate prank. In the past, they’ve dressed up in biohazard gear, bejeweled bolero jackets (“à la Liberace,” as the festival’s executive director, Ellen Primack, puts it), tie-dye, clown costumes, and more.

5 This year’s festival runs from Aug. 5-13 and includes 11 composers-in-residence, Lola Montez Does The Spider Dance by John Adams, a symphonic ballet, and the West Coast premiere of Kevin Puts’ The City. AMH

Best Movie Theater

The Nickelodeon

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1 Bill and JoAnne Walker Raney opened the Nick as a single-screen art-house movie theater in 1969.

2 Regularly playing non-mainstream American independents and subtitled (never dubbed) foreign-language films, the Nick served as a bastion of film education for many local film reviewers and professors.

3 Bill’s second wife, Nancy Raney, made a name for herself as the consummate hostess. For instance, in 1987, with help from the Casablanca Restaurant, she recreated the entire feast from the Danish film Babette’s Feast to promote its release.

4 In December of 2015, ownership of the Nick (along with Del Mar and the recently closed Aptos Cinemas) changed hands from the theater’s second pair of owners, Jim Schwenterley and Paul Gottlober, to Landmark Theatres, a theater chain out of Los Angeles specializing in art-house and independent films.

5 The Nick and Del Mar serve concessions from the Penny Ice Creamery, the Buttery, Black China Bakery, Nut Kreations, Sweet Earth Burritos, SunRidge Farms, and Alta Coffee. AMH

Best Poet

Kevin Devaney

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1 Kevin Devaney is that friendly fellow with the typewriter on Pacific Avenue.

2 For a donation, he will write you a poem on the spot.

3 Devaney founded Santa Cruz’s only Weekly Poetry Open Mic

4 He’s a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College.

5 Devaney sells handmade street poetry books on Etsy. CJ

Best Theater Company

Jewel Theatre Company

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1 Founded by artistic director Julie James in 2005, Jewel is the only year-round professional theater company in Santa Cruz.

2 Last November, Jewel became the arts company in residence at the new $5.8 million Colligan Theater at the Tannery Arts Center.

3 With the move from the Center Street Theater to the Colligan Theater, Jewel doubled the seating capacity at its shows from 89 to 182.

4 James says Jewel’s subscriber base has been growing by about 35 percent every year.

5 Their current production is Master Class (above), which runs through April 3. SP


Art Event

First Friday

RUNNERS-UP Capitola Art & Wine Festival, Open Studios Art Tour


Art Gallery

Museum of Art & History

705 Front St., Santa Cruz,


RUNNERS-UP Felix Kulpa, R. Blitzer


Artist (local)

Marie Gabrielle

RUNNERS-UP Doug Ross, Maia Negre


Author (local)

K.M. Rice

RUNNERS-UP Geoffrey Dunn, Laurie King


Dance Studio

Pacific Arts Complex

1122 Soquel Ave ., Santa Cruz,


RUNNERS-UP Motion Pacific, Tannery World Dance


Festival (art/film)

Capitola Art & Wine Festival

RUNNERS-UP Banff Mountain Film Festival, Watsonville Film Festival


Festival (music)

Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music

RUNNERS-UP American Music Festival, Santa Cruz Music Festival


Festival (street)

Greek Festival

RUNNERS-UP Capitola Art & Wine Festival, Earth Day Festival


Kids’ Art Program

Studio Sprout  


RUNNERS-UP Drawn 2 Art, Seven Directions    


Movie Theater


210 Lincoln St., Santa Cruz,


RUNNERS-UP Cinelux Scotts Valley, Del Mar


Mural/Public Art

Shopper’s Corner

62 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz

RUNNERS-UP Bill’s Wheels, Whales at Seabright Beach



Museum of Art & History

705 Front St., Santa Cruz


RUNNERS-UP Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History, Surfing Museum



Devi Pride

RUNNERS-UP John F. Hunter, Shmuel Thaler


Poet (local)

Kevin Devaney

RUNNERS-UP Ellen Bass, Gary Young


Radio Personality (local)

Sleepy John Sandidge

KPIG-FM, 107.5 and KZSC-FM, 88.1

RUNNERS-UP Ethan Bearman, Rosemary Chalmers


Radio Station





Television Personality (local)

Dan Green  


RUNNERS-UP Dale Julin, Lee Solomon  


Television Newscast (Local)




Theater Company

Jewel Theatre

RUNNERS-UP All About Theatre, Santa Cruz Shakespeare


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