Boardwalk Home Companion?

To those who might think that the hoary old radio show “Prairie Home Companion” is way past its period of influence, there’s this: Not one, but two new projects are in the works in Santa Cruz that both point to “PHC” as a model and an inspiration.

One of those projects is called “Planet Cruz,” a soon-to-be-launched comedy, music and variety show to be hosted by Santa Cruz stand-up comic Richard Stockton. Stockton has struck a deal with KUSP to broadcast the monthly show beginning in October. It will be staged as part of the First Friday Art Tour at the Dead Cow Gallery on the grounds of the future Tannery Arts Center. Rick McKee, aka “Ukulele Dick,” is on board as the musical director.

The other project is being called “Santa Cruz Live,” not to be confused with, the Sentinel’s arts/entertainment Web site. “SCL” is an ambitious idea, fostered by Marty Collins and Ginny Mitchell of Santa Cruz’s Digital Media Lab, an “Austin City Limits” style musical show recorded in front of a live audience as well.

Behind both of these projects is the idea that Santa Cruz culture — surfers, granola crunchers, lefties, creative types, eccentrics — can be marketed to a larger audiences. After all, Garrison Keillor of “Prairie Home Companion” essentially sells the culture of the upper Midwest in his show, and that culture is a lot more homogeneous and less interesting than the rag-tag West Coast culture that Santa Cruz represents.

But Keillor is also a unique talent, and to get these two separate but equally ambitious projects off the ground, it’ll have to offer something other than “only in Santa Cruz” philosophizing. Are there compelling talents out there that can bring Santa Cruz to a larger audience? We’ll keep an eye out.


2 thoughts on “Boardwalk Home Companion?

  1. Now, there is a thought! Two of them!

    When you think about it, toss out the progressive whiners, the U yuppies, the city council activists, and the like… and what you have left is a great place. Go for it.

    Bring back the Miss California pageant, and then the good times will really be rolling. But I’d settle for 2 out of 3.

  2. As usual, Wallace, good work. A nice segway for local productions.

    “Prairie Home Companion” is a little like the Grand Ole Opry. It pokes fun at itself, but presents some good entertainment.
    Nostalgia for the “Good Old Days” (and these ARE the Good Old Days, too) makes us warm and fuzzy.

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