AND SHE'S MICHELE NORRIS: The treble voice of NPR's 'All Things Considered' comes to Bookshop Santa Cruz in November to read from 'The Grace of Silence,' her forthcoming book on race relations in the United States.
The muses of dance, literature and classical music conspire against boredom
By Traci Hukill
FIRE UP the iCal—it's going to be a busy autumn, not least for lovers of dance. In their 40th anniversary season, Tandy Beal and Company kick things off, you might say, with the premiere of HereafterHere: A Self Guided Tour of Eternity. A multimedia exploration of people's perceptions of the afterlife, the piece includes original compositions by Beal's partner John Scoville and incorporates the efforts of two dozen dancers and actors. Beal's distinctive fingerprints are all over this piece, which runs at the Cabrillo Crocker Theater Sept. 10–12.
Mere weeks later, Santa Cruz Dance presents the Second Annual Ethnic Dance Festival (Sept. 25–26), with free performances at Mission Plaza Park and a day of workshops. Spanish ensemble Noche Flamenca breezes through the World Theater at CSUMB on Oct. 21, with the Paul Taylor Dance Company not far behind; that august pioneer of modern dance (he turns 80 this year) is presenting Brief Encounters on Nov. 11.
Which brings us to the holiday season and another Beal endeavor, the back-by-popular-demand Mixed Nutz!: The Nutcracker Re-mixed, with its jugglers, acrobats, a cappella music by SoVoSo, marvelous costumes and, yes, Beal's choreography. The show runs Nov. 19–Dec. 5 at UCSC and serves as a whimsical counterpoint to the venerable tights-'n'-tutus version of The Nutcracker mounted by Santa Cruz Ballet Dec. 17–19 at the Civic Auditorium.
Anchored by Bookshop Santa Cruz and Capitola Book Café, the literary scene in our neck of the woods just gets better and better. This fall a staggeringly talented lineup of authors are getting ready to parade through town in their rumpled clothes and interesting glasses.
Setting their GPS devices for Capitola Book Café are Jonathan Franzen (Sept. 1), who arrives lugging Freedom, his hefty followup to The Corrections. The fabulous Mary Roach (Sept. 7), the Tina Fey of nerdtaining inquiries into subjects like corpses and people who study sex, turns her gimlet eye to the wacky side of astronaut training in Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void. Monterey Peninsula author Brad Herzog (Sept. 9) takes his own epic trip in Turn Left at the Trojan Horse: A Would-Be Hero's American Odyssey. Bestselling author Joyce Maynard (Sept. 23), short story master Yiyun Li (Sept. 27), KQED host Michael Krasny (Oct. 21) and the quirky Sark (Dec. 2) wait in the wings with evidence of their latest obsessions and industry.
Not to be outdone, Bookshop Santa Cruz is readying the reading room for a handful of stars, including National Book Award winner Julia Glass (Sept. 13) toting her latest, The Widower's Tale. Leslie Marmon Silko (Oct. 21), best known for her widely acclaimed novel Ceremony, has turned her attention to nonfiction and presents the memoirish The Turquoise Ledge, her first book in a decade. Michele Norris (Nov. 14), co-host of All Things Considered, arrives with her new book on race in post-November 2008 America, The Grace of Silence.
Two brief days later it's Amy Sedaris (Nov. 16), reading from Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People, in which the sardonic sibling asserts that ugly people do crafts; attractive people have sex. We'll be there, knitting some hot lingerie. And in case Monterey Bay audiences haven't had enough of quirky, widely emulated gals with funny voices, there's always the Sunset Center appearance of This American Life alumna Sarah Vowell (Nov. 19), the voice that launched a thousand radio reports in the key of monotone.
Meanwhile, the poetry scene in Santa Cruz continues to flourish. It's Keith Ekiss, C.J. Sage and J.P. Dancing Bear (Sept. 14), then local poet Stephen Nightingale (Sept. 15), both at Bookshop Santa Cruz. Carol Muske-Dukes (Oct. 2) reads in the Second Annual Maude Meehan Memorial Poetry Reading at Cabrillo Music Recital Hall. And Robert Hass (Nov. 6) will be the guest reader for the first annual Morton Marcus Annual Memorial Poetry Reading, also in the Recital Hall, which serves as a launch for Marcus' last book, The Dark Figure in the Doorway.
Classical music lovers are already primping for the first concert of the Santa Cruz County Symphony season Oct. 2–3, which features works by Fernandez and Gershwin. New Music Works presents New Music Quirks (Oct. 23), with pieces by Frank Zappa, Philip Glass, John Cage, John Scoville and choreography by Tandy Beal. The UCSC Chamber Singers perform A Ceremony of Carols (Dec. 19) and the Cabrillo Symphonic Chorus performs Music for the Feast of Christmas Dec. 3–5.
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