Companion Bakeshop, Coke Farm, and mid-county restaurants featured in Spring 2017 SANTA CRUZ STYLE

You may want to have a hearty snack before reading my articles in the latest Santa Cruz Style. Page 9’s “Hidden Gems” profiles two classic mid-county restaurants, and their owners’ perspectives on long careers in the industry. Cafe Rio’s Jeanne Harrison tells how the restaurant bounced back from a lengthy closure to become a local fixture, while Cafe Sparrow’s Bob Montague details his evolution as a chef. (Montague began with no culinary experience whatsoever, so it’s an intriguing story!) Page 46’s “Bread Winners” will introduce you to Companion Bakeshop’s Erin Lampel, who reveals her unusual path to creating the Santa Cruz Westside’s most beloved bakery. (As we speak, one of Companion’s scrumptious Light and Fluffy loaves calls to me from my kitchen counter. Metaphorically, that is, since I know that bread can’t talk.) Meanwhile, Cat & Cloud Coffee’s Jared Truby discusses how Companion Bakeshop helped jump-start that buzzing establishment (and a forthcoming new venture). Finally, Coke Farm’s Dale Coke talks about his organic field-to-mill artisanal flour in the “Flour Power” sidebar. In Santa Cruz County, you can find free print copies here. The online version is here.

On the Ides of March…

…my thoughts turn to one of the greatest Sesame Street sketches ever, the second installment of Monsterpiece Theater (written by Tony Geiss). From 1979, here is Alistair Cookie’s presentation of “Me Claudius”:

(Yes, all you historians out there: I am aware that the I, Claudius  TV series is set long after Julius Caesar’s death. Next, you’ll be chastising me for the monsters’ grammar. By all means, relax and enjoy some Muppets!)

1,000 career assists for Joe Thornton!

Patrick Marleau’s career milestones have been a frequent topic on this blog. His equally accomplished San Jose Sharks teammate Joe Thornton was not to be outdone last night. In a 3-2 Sharks victory over the Winnipeg Jets, Thornton assisted on Joe Pavelski’s game-winning empty-net goal. Thus, he became only the 13th player (over 100 years of NHL history) to notch 1,000 assists in his career. (Yet, somehow, the NHL didn’t see fit to place Thornton or Marleau on the list of 100 all-time NHL greats announced earlier this year. Don’t get me started…)

Benefit fund for Santa Cruz artist Robbie Schoen’s stroke recovery and rehab

Going Coastal readers will remember the book’s “One Man’s Trash Is Another Man’s…Guitar?” chapter, featuring Robbie Schoen’s gorgeously clever (and fully functional) electric guitars made from found objects. Schoen is the longtime director of Santa Cruz’s Felix Kulpa Gallery, and curates the art installations at Santa Cruz County Bank locations. Whenever I’ve walked into Santa Cruz’s Museum of Art and History, I’ve spotted Schoen setting up or taking down exhibitions. In other words, it’s impossible for me to imagine the Santa Cruz art scene without Robbie Schoen. So, I was stunned to learn that Schoen is recovering from a massive stroke he suffered on February 10th at the MAH. Schoen’s Medi-Cal coverage will not be enough to cover the amount and quality of rehab that he’ll need, so his daughter Nikita has created a fundraising website. Those who are more comfortable writing checks may send them to the following address:

Robbert Schoen Rehab Fund
Santa Cruz County Bank
720 Front Street
Santa Cruz CA 95060
Attn: Mary Anne Carson

To coincide with Santa Cruz’s First Friday arts activities, a living tribute to and appreciation of Schoen will take place on March 3rd from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Felix Kulpa Gallery, 107 Elm Street in downtown Santa Cruz.

Song In My Head #74: “Valentine’s Day” by Three Hour Tour

While I’m squarely in the “Valentine’s Day is a manufactured holiday” camp, I could never object to a brilliant tune. “Valentine’s Day” is the brainchild of Champaign, Illinois’ Three Hour Tour, led by longtime indiepop titan Darren Cooper. Originally released in 1996, it’s equally suited to the spotlight dance at your power-pop prom, or forlorn anticipation of candy clearance sales on the 15th. Luckily, Three Hour Tour is having a much better time than the song’s lovelorn protagonist. The band released a new album in 2015 on its own Martian Record Corp, and still plays to enthusiastic crowds. Happy Valentine’s Day (or, if you prefer, Jack Benny’s birthday)…

Song In My Head #73: “Love Stepped Out” by Ronnie D’Addario

While the Lemon Twigs have a fine oeuvre of original songs in their fledgling career, their live show sprinkles in a few covers. (This Big Star fanatic was thrilled to hear their version of Alex Chilton’s “All of the Time” in concert, featuring Michael D’Addario’s note-perfect Chilton homage and guest jamming by opening act Savoy Motel. But that’s another post entirely.) The band frequently plays “Love Stepped Out,” originally written and recorded in 1976 by…Ronnie D’Addario, father of the Twigs’ Brian and Michael. (The elder D’Addario has continued to perform throughout the years, releasing 2015’s A Very Short Dream on Homburg Records.) If you want to hear the younger D’Addarios’ Redd Kross-inflected take on the song, you’ll have to see them live. However, Ronnie D’Addario’s original (which will please fans of Emitt Rhodes or the Left Banke) appears below. Either way, you’ll get an appealingly dramatic lyrical storyline, a nifty fuzz-guitar solo, and some addictive “ba ba ba ba” harmonies.