Take a moment to catch your breath and reflect on all you’ve seen and done in the last year, the shows, plays, films and performances, the beautiful, the tragic and the mundane, the creative comets streaking across the consciousness. Then get ready, because here we go again.
It starts fast: Trish Sullivan’s 10-plus-year-old First Friday Art Walk shows off Oldtown Salinas in all its complexity and charm Jan. 3, the first First Friday of 2015.
The following weekend, the art only accumulates, with a pile-up of openings from the Pacific Grove Art Center, Carl Cherry Center for the Arts (both opening Jan. 9) and the Carmel Art Association (opening Jan. 10).
On Jan. 17, the Arts Council for Monterey County hands out their sparkling Champions of the Arts trophies at the 10th annual gala. Some of the recipients include the legendary classical composer Philip Glass, intrepid music gad Mac McDonald, and generous North County supporter Nancy Ausonio.
The Weekly’s Press Club opened in October. Its standing as a culture hub gets a test run Jan. 17 with the first opening reception, of rock photographer Jason DeBord, courtesy of curator Chris Winfield. Jan. 27, the Arts Habitat’s monthly Arts in Progress presentations move to there with Julianne Burton-Carvajal and John Sanderson the “art of presenting history.” Feb. 12, cartoonist Tom Tomorrow of This Modern World is a-comin. And this is just the beginning.
Our classical music presenters all start off the year on good notes, sharing, in turn, the Sunset Center stage. On Jan. 31, Chamber Music Monterey Bay brings San Jose pianist Jon Nakamatsu, performing a piece with the San Francisco Girls Chorus. Youth Music Monterey County’s Feb. 8 concert features their 2014-15 Honors Concerto Competition winners. The Carmel Music Society summons a Philharmonica Baroque Orchestra concert the following Sunday, Feb. 15. Less than a week after that, it’s theMonterey Symphony’s turn, Feb. 20-22, with a concert dubbed Charismatic Glow.
In 2014, the Salinas Valley Comic Con debuted at the Steinbeck Center with a replica of the Back to the Future DeLorean, storm troopers, Dumbledore, a Ghostbuster, and all kinds of whimsical mischief. It was a popular event and they plan to bring it in 2015, dates TBA.
Lewis Black’s jabbing finger, slicing gesticulations and sputtering rants draw the attention, but what you remember afterwards is the probing intelligence and righteous anger he grinds into funny sausage. He returns to Golden State Theatre Feb. 12 for The Rant is Due Part Deux.
Carmel Music Society gets another shout out for bringing Opera San Jose’s Afternoon of Mozart Arias March 15 to Sunset Center. I still remember their rendition of Don Giovanni when I was a whelp at San Jose State University and our Creative Arts class went to see it.
The Martha Graham Dance Company does a moving retrospective called the Essential Graham on April 22 at Sunset Center. It’s the quintessential avant-garde dance troupe, famous and influential for its energetic, severe and allegorical movements accompanied by dissonant contemporary music.
The Steinbeck Festival, May 8-10 at Steinbeck Center, will have a lot to say. Here’s why: In 2014, a newly discovered short story by John Steinbeck, “With Your Wings,” about a black WWII airman, was found and published. In 2014, James Franco and Chris O’Dowd starred on Broadway’s revival of Of Mice and Men. In 2014, The Grapes of Wrath turned 75; in 2015, a documentary about it is coming.
The Big Sur International Short Film Screening Series begins June 11, and the similarly comprehensively named Big Sur Sound & Story Outdoor Audio Listening Series begins June 14. They run for a dozen weeks, all summer, a turntable of contemporary culture every week at Henry Miller Memorial Library.
Save the date… uh, weeks… of July 18-Aug. 1. That’s when Carmel Bach Festival returns with a program called Bach, Bohemia and Beyond, spotlighting Johann’s connection to Eastern Europe.
When the end-of-summer West End Celebration comes along Aug. 21-23, I’ll be eager to dive into the heady mix of music, art, food and drink, crafts, commerce and spectacle.
The Monterey County Fair throws so much into the mix, including some culture – and not just carnie culture, either – Sept. 2-7. Then the 58th Monterey Jazz Festivalcometh Sept. 18-20. No official announcement yet on the lineup, but fingers crossed for more experimental crossovers. The Monterey County Artists Studio Tour, Sept. 26-27, can appear massive, with 60 artists and venues all over, but it’s an intimate affair.
The last Carmel International Film Festival screened several feature films ahead of their official release date: Nightcrawler, Whiplash, The Homesman, Force Majeure,Revenge of the Green Dragons. What will they get in 2015? Come Oct. 21-25, we’ll all find out.
Monterey Museum of Art-La Mirada is putting on an Armin Hansen exhibition Oct. 29-March 7, 2016. Bailando con la Muerte in Salinas is the dance of Dia de los Muertos, celebrated in conjunction with the festivities that will appear Nov. 1 in Salinas again with a colorful and macabre procession. First Night Monterey. New Year’s Eve, Dec. 31. A celebration of the cycle of life. It feels like it was just yesterday. ;)