Hot Picks 06.02.22

Above: Calpulli Tonalehqueh is one of the many performance groups featured at the sixth annual Palenke Arts Festival, celebrating mediums from dance to music to visual art.

Curtain Rising

Youth Orchestra Salinas is not just a youth music program. It’s a way of life. The nonprofit has a mission of broad social change at a community scale. It’s inspired by El Sistema, a publicly funded music education program that started in Venezuela in 1975, and that delivers on a concept that expands from musical training for young people who cannot otherwise afford it – lessons, instruments – to teach life skills that apply well beyond the stage. Think discipline, collaboration, accountability to your peers. That’s the big picture, but most of it happens in small ways – practicing scales, rehearsing a song again and again. The big picture for those smaller exercises is this spring concert, which is open to the public, and is themed “Music From Around the World.” Expect folk music from the Americas, and works by classical giants like Mozart, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky and Dvorák. And expect that the children on stage are equipped not just to make music, but to change the world. [SR]

7pm Thursday, June 2. Fox Theater, 241 S Main St, Salinas. Free; donations appreciated. RSVP required at 756-5335.


Ready to roll up your sleeves and let someone else get to work? Ink at the Bay Tattoo Festival is back at Monterey Fairgrounds. More than 100 of the best tattoo artists in the world are on hand for almost nonstop tattooing. Men and women with skin art to show grin and bare it. But if you think this three-day festival is just for those who have a blank space somewhere on their bodies or for timid tat wannabes taking that first step, consider everything else on offer. There are bands, Aztec dancers, face painting, a youth art contest, food vendors, crafts, a Sunday car show and more. Don’t miss performers like Lujan & Militia of Love or La Creacion. Don’t miss the pin-up contest, especially if you’re yearning for the glory days of Glenn Miller and bomber nose art. So go for the party or for the art. Either way, you can get tatted up to fit in. [DF]

3-5pm Friday, June 3; 11am-10pm Saturday, June 4; 11am-7pm Sunday, June 5. Monterey County Fair & Event Center, 2004 Fairground Road, Monterey. $22-$70; free/ages 10 and under. 444-8910,

Laugh It Off

They say laughter is the best medicine. With everything the way it is (*gestures broadly at national and international news*) it can feel hard, and maybe indulgent, to laugh. But we recommend that you try it anyway – it’ll be refreshing and energizing. Monterey Comedy Improv is teaming up with the Forest Theater Guild for Comedy in the Forest – think Whose Line is it Anyway, with local talent. The improv masters on stage will use suggestions from the audience, and a volunteer or two, to create entertaining, funny scenes for all (ages 16 and up). Laugh a little. [TCL]

7pm Saturday, June 4. Forest Theater, Mountain View and Santa Rita, Carmel. $22/general admission; $12/students.

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For those who like to push their bodies to their physical limits, the Spartan Race is built for you, and this weekend, it’s swinging through Toro Park. On Saturday, the racing series will host the Spartan Super (10 kilometers) starting in the morning and going through the afternoon. On Sunday it’s time for the signature race: the Spartan Sprint, a 5-kilometer challenge. Those braving the Super will have to overcome 25 obstacles in their path, while on the Sprint there will be 20. In either case, the trails at Toro will present the challenge of steep climbs in elevation, and the obstacles ahead will keep the racers guessing and, perhaps, humbled. Prices vary with each race depending on starting time – the earlier, the more expensive (and competitive) – and there are also races both days for kids ages 4-14 where they can, per Spartan’s website, “run, jump and crush their way through obstacles, just like the adults.” Sounds like good training for the future. [DS]

7:30am-2pm, Saturday, June 4 and Sunday, June 5. Toro Park, 501 Highway 68, Salinas. $96-$147.

Drum and Dance

The sixth annual Palenke Arts Festival is coming back in person to Laguna Grande Park in Seaside to celebrate local creativity and community. Palenke, a local multicultural arts organization, is inviting all attendees to experience student and professional performances, children’s art activities, live art demos by local artist Paul Richmond, MY Museum’s Wheelie Mobilee, food vendors and community booths. Featured performers this year are the Orquesta Rumba Café band with cumbia, salsa and merengue music, directed by Hugo Barragán; Aztec dancers Calpulli Tonalehqueh; and Congolese singer-songwriter Elie Mabanza. Palenke will also feature its Afro Caribbean drumming program, directed by Javier Muniz; Danza Folklórica Nueva Estampa; Palenke Arts Dance Crew and Chorus; and the Latin Jazz Combo directed by Paul Contos. Bring your family and your friends and groove to some new, or very familiar, music. [AP]

Noon-4pm Sunday, June 5. Laguna Grande Park, Canyon Del Rey Boulavard across the street from City Hall, Seaside. Free.

Jazz Flute Flaunt

Kenny Stahl may not pull out his jazz flute from his suit sleeve and parade atop bar tables and proclaim “Aqualung!” as Ron Burgundy did in Anchorman, offering arguably the most famous display of the instrument in the last 20 years. However, Stahl will sustain a remarkable tempo with his band, string together complex phrasings and extended solos, stirring up memories of another famous jazz flutist – perhaps the pre-eminent jazz flutist – Herbie Mann. Stahl’s playing has earned him reviews in DownBeat Magazine and features in the San Francisco Examiner. Now, he brings his talents to Seaside’s Deja Blue, which has offered its stage to many local and longtime jazz talents since its opening. [CN]

6-9pm Wednesday, June 8. No cover. Deja Blue, 500 Broadway Ave., Seaside. 383-2553.

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