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Li'l Devils: It's him, officer. The one on the right. He's the one who busked me.

And the Children Will Lead Them

Now that school has started and everyone is back at work, Mother Nature, our greatest enemy and tormentor, decided to make last week's weather the most perfect in the history of Santa Cruz. While office workers tried desperately to ignore the B-flat buzz of the florescent lights overhead, a light breeze cooled the sun-doused afternoon, making a lazy promenade much more appealing than any meeting held within walking distance of the Clock Tower.

Thankfully the youth have more common sense than financial managers, and their music flowed freely outside while the rest of us were trapped inside. Whether it was the two brothers with violins helping to raise money for the hurricane, or the kids from GEORGIANA BRUCE KIRBY sitting on the fish statue and singing "Californiacation" 50 times in a row with a tap dancer in tow, the youth were the proverbial pied pipers, forcing hard-working professionals to slack off and bail from the office around 2.

Out in front of the COOPER HOUSE, a breakdancing team took turns defying gravity, spinning like plates to the assembled gasps of a huge crowd. Less than 100 yards away, MULE TRAIN and COOPER from the DEVIL MAKES THREE busked in front of BOOKSHOP SANTA CRUZ, spinning out tales of miners and malt liquor while families dawdled by.

Further south, the CELLIST WHO WOULD LIKE TO REMAIN NAMELESS TO INQUIRING REPORTERS bowed in front of NEW LEAF, entertaining those on a long lunch and perhaps enticing them to bail on that last conference call. Every once in a while it's a pleasure to revel in irresponsibility, unplug the cell and just enjoy the afternoon. Work will still be there tomorrow, but this weather won't hold much longer.

Distracting Flamenco

Aimlessly wandering toward a show at another location, a polyrhythmic pattern reached out and snatched me off the street and into the Kuumbwa Jazz Center. These beats falling in 12/8 time reminded me of the guitar lessons that I sat through as a kid: An oversized guitar in my lap while a patient older man tried desperately to teach me the proper way to play an ALEGRÍAS.

Apparently BENJAMIN WOOD's teachers had more of an effect than mine. Sitting at the rear of the stage, he churned out some of the most phenomenal and explosive guitar playing I have ever witnessed. But even his nylon pyrotechnics were overshadowed by the dancing happening six feet in front of him. Taking turns, the two dancers in EL HOMBRE Y EL FLAMENCO, JUANAIRE and Timo Núñez, projected both raw sensuality and timeless grace in their movements, their stomps and claps punctuating Wood's guitar work and the phrasing of singer Félix de Lola. Men should not be allowed to move so elegantly. It makes the rest of us look really bad.

Katrina Relief Continues

On Oct. 9, GINNY MITCHELL and SNAZZY PRODUCTIONS will be organizing the KATRINA-A-THON at the DIGITAL MEDIA FACTORY. Proceed will go toward general relief, displaced NOLA musicians and stranded animals. Artists slated to perform include MARY McCASLIN, the HARMONY GRITS and NOLA harmonica master ANDY FOREST. The five-hour event, which commences at 2:30pm, will also feature a silent auction.

Peter Koht

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From the October 5-12, 2005 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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