Popular globetrotting pop collective Adventures in Helsinki transforms Santa Cruz’s historic Rio Theatre into a throbbing, futuristic discotheque as its latest tour storms American shores. Formed in Melbourne, the ambidextrous dance band stirs fans with a tornado of flamboyant sounds, infectious anthems, and commitment-free instrument swapping. With hits such as “Do the Whirlwind” and latest single “Contact High,” lead crooner Cameron Bird and his cakewalking team of tunesmiths tickle ear bones and rehabilitate ankles in support of its latest album, Moment Bends. During the kaleidoscopic performance, the band lures in dance floors with 10-foot hooks and sounds culled from hypnotic synths, romantic glockenspiels, and strummed chest hairs. Filling out the bill, girl-group garage rockers The Sandwitches enchant with sardonically lovelorn themes and harmonies.
Every week, The Palomar Ballroom's 80-year-old space reverberates with a DJ's Latin beats and synchronized salsa shimmies. Beneath a baroque chandelier, couples twirl passionately enough for the New York Times to deem this salsa party the "spiciest spot downtown." Owner and award-winning ballroom dancer Jeremy Pilling prizes the supportive atmosphere that allows his students to commingle at these parties, whose themes can also cover Argentine tango and swing.
To lead up to its festivities, The Palomar Ballroom hosts drop-in classes, weekly series, rehearsals for routines, and private lessons for dancers that range from beginner to expert. During these sessions, seasoned instructors stress the social aspects of dance while teaching the techniques, rotating partners often so that they can learn different ways to twirl, dip, and ceremoniously lacerate a rug. Visiting dance champions also lead workshops on their specialties, showcasing advanced steps in cha cha, samba, swing, rumba, and other styles.
"The Nick" showcases alternative, foreign, and art-house films in a theater steeped in the stylings of Hollywood. Beyond the elegant marquee lights, in a smoothly styled lobby, the walls are accented with stained-glass detailing comedy and tragedy masks. The retro chic movie house boasts two intimate and two large screens, which will soon play host to a bevy of upcoming shows. Current features include Academy Award nominees Black Swan, Another Year, The Illusionist, and Biutiful, the story of a crime boss who is diagnosed with a serious illness which forces him to reconcile his good intentions with his lawless lifestyle.
Guided by the wand of maestro John Larry Granger, the Santa Cruz County Symphony tickles concert connoisseurs’ eardrums with classical performances at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium. Before each of five distinct Classic Evenings performances, audiences get to witness the symphony’s customary warm-ups, wherein musicians tweak instrument tones while taking windsprints through auditorium aisles. This season’s offerings include an evening of classic pieces by Mozart, Beethoven, and Tchaikovsky as well as a concert dedicated to the poetic songs of Nielsen, Mendelssohn, and Vaughan Williams. Season tickets situate guests in the premium dress-circle seating area, allowing for both optimal views of masterful musicians and just enough distance in case a percussionist accidentally smashes a melon. Groupon customers who would like to receive tickets by mail should call by Friday, September 23, and those who want to pick up tickets at will-call should call by Thursday, September 29. The 2011–12 season marks the end of a 20-year career for maestro Granger, though he will advise the orchestra in picking his successor through a cutthroat Connect Four battle. Since 1958, the Santa Cruz County Symphony has delighted audiences with elegant arrangements, and it has worked to broaden the horizons of local elementary students with regular outreach programs.
Located right off Mission Street, Parish sports an extensive selection of domestic and European drinks, from ales to stouts and drafts, as well as a menu packed with pub staples including fish and chips, shepherd's pie, and eight different burgers. Channeling the dark woods, cozy decorative accents, and neighborly atmosphere of a classic English alehouse, Parish's fraternal founders based their brainchild on a collage of amber-tinted memories from their own 15-day tour of Britain, the original Australia. Stop by this homey hoppery to catch a game, celebrate with friends, or get reacquainted with the magic of beer.
Award-winning dancer Hans Schmitt founded Dance Boulevard back in 1997 as "The Floor." Since then, he has coached students of all sashaying abilities, enlisting the expertise of several instructors and the gravity-reducing power of NASA wallpaper to hold group and private lessons. The studio comes alive every weeknight with styles ranging from tango to swing, and regularly scheduled dance parties give guests and teachers the chance to schmooze between spins. Promoting educational outreach through rhythm, youth programs instill a passion for ballet, jazz and tap among newer generations.