Tuesday, May 15, 2012


It was almost exactly one year ago today that Santa Cruz's own James Durbin came home to rock the Boardwalk with a vengeance after finishing fourth on American Idol.

30,000 fans thronged the Boardwalk for the first concert of the rest of James' career. If you weren't one of them (or even if you were), now's your chance to catch up.  This Saturday, James returns to the band shell to kick off the Boardwalk's summer season.

Once again, the concert is free to the public, so get in line now to snag a good spot on the beach! But unlike last year, this time James won't be limited to three songs. He'll be performing with his new band, so be prepared to hear your favorite songs from his first CD, Memories of a Beautiful Disaster, as well as a sprinkling of classic rockers. They take the stage at 5:30 pm.

James is even more fun live than he was on the tube, so don't you dare miss him!

And speaking of the Santa Cruz music scene, check out  Under the Boardwalk: a Ukulele Love Story, coming back to town Saturday afternoon, on the last day of the Santa Cruz Film Festival.

Starting out as an informal monthly gathering in the home of local book artists Peter and Donna Thomas, the Ukulele Club of Santa Cruz has morphed into a 2000-member cult, as documented in Nina Koocher's entertaining film. It's full of music, uke lore, and interviews with founders Thomas and Andy Andrews, and members like Rick 'Ukulele Dick' McKee, Jayme Kelly Curtis (showing of her custom Hawaiian Koa wood uke with Santa Cruz redwood top), Ian Whitcomb, and many others.

The late James Houston notes the "big-time connection" between Santa Cruz and Hawaii, and everyone celebrates the easiness of uke-playing in democratizing the making of music—"a participatory event, not a spectator sport," says member Dave Egan. Peter Thomas calls the Uke Club "a place where people make bonds of friendship that weave their way out into the community."

Koocher's film captures that fun and magical Santa Cruz vibe. It screens at 4:45 pm, Saturday, May 19, at the Del Mar Theatre) Tix available here.

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