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That's Entertainment


Face it, Santa Cruz is not a town for the faint of wallet. The rents are astronomical, the jobs (the few that are available) pay close to nil, blah, blah, blah. So after the bills are paid, the groceries are in the fridge and the rent check's in the mail, just how can you scrape together enough extra cash for a few hours of frivolous entertainment? Well, for all its money-sucking faults, Santa Cruz does have its fair share of ways to have without having to clang every last penny out of the piggy bank.

This town is, of course, famous is for its, uh, eccentrics, and they make for a premier cheapo excursion. It may not be the top answer to "Hey, what do you want to do tonight?" but it will allow for a few brief moments of fun, laughs and--who knows?--maybe even the discovery of some good ol' fashioned talent. There's a street performer practically on every corner, from the violin-playing guy on the corner of Pacific and Church, to the jesterlike juggler in front of the old Woolworth's building to the surprisingly happening bluegrassers who set up musical camp in front of Bookshop Santa Cruz. The cost? Just throw a handful of change into their cup.

For those more literate of mind but as equally scant of greenbacks, practically all of the local bookshops offer readings by nationally known and area authors for almost nothing. Diversity reigns--authors like local heroes Robert Anton Wilson and Jeanne Watasuki Houston, and the prestigious Gary Webb and Nicholson Baker have read in the last year--and there's almost always a chance to pick the creative minds of these literary figures. Best of all, these bookshop readings rarely cost more than a small donation--most are even free.

For those interested in the burgeoning talent in the area--those who don't play the streets--open mics are the name of the game. There are at least two or three weekly open-mic events in town, catering to those wishing to strut their own stuff as well as the folks who prefer just to watch. Music, poetry, dance, monologues--these evenings are known to cover it all--and then some, usually at the bargain price of a few dollars donation.

And of course, there's a plethora of other Santa Cruz ways to get your entertainment fix without breaking the bank. From cafe art shows, and live music at happy hours and house parties, to wine tasting at area wineries (the tastings are free, though etiquette does suggest buying a bottle is a polite idea), it's fairly easy to navigate through Santa Cruz entertainment options without spending a fortune.
--Karen Reardanz

Bookshop Santa Cruz--Readings held a few times a month.
1520 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz (831/423-0900)

36 Rancho Del Mar Shopping Center, Aptos (831/688-4554)

Capitola Book Cafe--Readings weekly from national and local writers. Schedule comes out monthly.
1475 41st Ave., Capitola (831/462-4415)

1018 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz (831/429-9600)

Mockingbird Books
8045 Soquel Dr., Aptos (831/689-9113)

Atelier--Open mic on Sundays.
320 Cedar St., Santa Cruz (831/429-9005)

Brookdale Lodge--Open mic on Thursdays.
11570 Hwy 9, Brookdale (831/338-6433)

Washrock--Open mic on Fridays.
135 Laurel St., Santa Cruz (831/471-0555)

What Is Art?--Open mic on Wednesdays.
2044 N. Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz (831/458-9508)

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From the September 24-30, 1998 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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