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Vinho e ritmo! 

The Wine Classic bring Brazil's Airto Moreira

The Central Coast Wine Classic, the brainchild of local bon vivant Archie McLaren, is already one of the most beloved events in SLO County. Started in 1984, it eventually became, in 2004, the Central Coast Wine Classic Foundation, which has conferred grants totaling $1,615,943 to 76 nonprofit organizations on the Central Coast. Quite a legacy!

click to enlarge HE’S GOT RHYTHM! :  World-renowned percussionist Airto Moreira will headline a show at Avila Beach Golf Resort on July 8. - PHOTO COURTESY OF AIRTO MOREIRA
  • HE’S GOT RHYTHM! : World-renowned percussionist Airto Moreira will headline a show at Avila Beach Golf Resort on July 8.

It returns again July 7 through 10, and this year it includes a new musical event featuring the sounds of world-renowned percussionist Airto Moreira and his group of stellar percussionists at the VIP Outdoor Dinner and Concert at the Avila Beach Golf Resort, Friday, July 8, at 6 p.m.

Moreira was born in the small village of Italiopolis, in southern Brazil, where he drove his mother crazy by banging the floor in time with radio songs before he could even walk. Luckily his grandmother recognized and encouraged his potential, and by age 6 he was winning music contests by singing and playing percussion. By 13 he was playing professionally, and at 16 he moved to Sao Paulo, playing nightclubs and TV appearances. A move to New York in his mid 20s set a course of worldwide stardom as he began to play with musicians such as Reggie Workman, JJ Johnson, Cedar Walton, and Walter Booker. He later rose into the jazz stratosphere with the likes of Cannonball Adderley, Lee Morgan, Paul Desmond, and Joe Zawinul,
 the latter of whom recommended Airto to Miles Davis for a recording session in 1970 for Bitches Brew. Davis invited Airto to join his group, which included such jazz icons as Wayne Shorter, Dave Holland, Jack DeJohnette, Chick Corea, and later John McLaughlin and Keith Jarrett.

Opening acts will include the Ashé Ensemble, which combines rhythm, melody, and dance into performances drawing from African, Brazilian, Cuban, American soul, and Afro-Cuban jazz. Also performing is Isupo Irawo, a trio from Havana, Cuba, weaving traditional and contemporary concepts of Afro-Cuban percussion and choreography.

The Friday event is a dinner and concert that will, according to organizers, rejuvenate Avila Beach through rhythm. Tickets cost $125 with dinner, or $25 for music only. To see a full list of Central Coast Wine Classic events or to purchase tickets, visit

SLO Brew for you

See Tomorrows Bad Seeds—which plays a high-energy mix of reggae, rock, punk, soul, and hip-hop—on Thursday, July 7, at SLO Brew (7:30 p.m.; all ages; $14 presale or $16 at the door). Supervillains will open.

I had to look up the music genre “hyphy,” which is apparently shorthand for “hyperactive” and attributed to Bay Area rapper Keak Da Sneak. It’s sort of the equivalent to the G-Funk genre particular to L.A. In any case, I had to look it up because along with punk rock, it’s a style that Dead to Me plays, and they’re hitting the Brew on Saturday, July 9 (7:30 p.m.; all ages; $12), with opening act Off With Their Heads.

Finally, on Wednesday, July 13, Mat McHugh, founder of The Beautiful Girls, will bring his solo acoustic, alt-rock, and reggae sounds to the stage (8 p.m.; all ages; $12 presale or $13 at the door). Mishka will open.

Centenarian celebration!

Guess who’s turning 100? It’s Arroyo Grande, and the little South County hamlet has been celebrating all summer long, continuing July 8 through 10 with a ton of entertainment.

On Friday, July 8, head to the Regional Center for a 6 p.m. Centennial Gala with music by Unfinished Business, or go to the IOOF Hall’s Big White Tent at 7 p.m. for a good old-fashioned square dance with caller John Ryan from Ventura.

click to enlarge CELEBRATE 100! :  The Appellation Bluegrass Band plays Heritage Square Park’s Rotary Bandstand on July 9 as part of Arroyo Grande’s centennial celebration. - PHOTO COURTESY OF APPELLATION BLUEGRASS BAND
  • CELEBRATE 100! : The Appellation Bluegrass Band plays Heritage Square Park’s Rotary Bandstand on July 9 as part of Arroyo Grande’s centennial celebration.

On Saturday, July 9, hit Heritage Square Park’s Rotary Bandstand from 1 to 3 p.m. for the Village Summer Concert Series’ next installment, “The Birth of Bluegrass,” with Wildwood and the Appellation Bluegrass Band. This series has been moving decade by decade though the last century. Meanwhile, at the IOOF Hall & Big White Tent on Bridge Street, hear at 1 p.m. the Central Coast Brass (under the tent); at 2 p.m. “100 Years of People” in the Historical Theatre (in the hall); at 3 p.m. another set by Central Coast Brass; and at 7 p.m. a western dance with the Throneberrys. Also, at the Centennial Park Gazebo from noon to 2:30 p.m. there’s music by The Night Run Trio with Les Beck, Mike Thibault, and Dave Becker.

On Sunday, July 10, Heritage Square Park’s Rotary Bandstand will start with a 7 a.m. Sunday Sunrise Service featuring a combined church choir. There’ll be rides and games for kids between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., and watch for an 11 a.m. surprise guest. See “A Woolly Little Town” (a lighthearted musical spoof of old Arroyo Grande) by the Studio of Performing Arts, and from 1 to 3 p.m. check out the Village Summer Concert Series’ ’50s Sock Hop with the Mighty Croon Dogs. Meanwhile at the Centennial Park Gazebo, there’s an 11 a.m. official opening ceremony and 1986 time capsule opening, a performance from 11 a.m. till 2 p.m. by the historic Rose Garden Dance Band, and more, more, more! There’s too much to list, but find performances by Burnin’ James and the Flames, Guy Budd and the Gypsy Souls, The Cinders Blues Band, Soul Sauce Band, Monte Mills & the Lucky Horseshoe Band, and The Crisptones.

Basically, head to AG and wander around. You’ll find something to do in every nook and cranny.

Pride, baby, pride!

It’s only a matter of time before the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community reaches full equality. I know this because when I ask my college students their position on gay marriage, about 95 percent have no objection to it. Eventually the haters will evolve or die off, leaving a new generation that embraces equality for all.

click to enlarge DANCING QUEEN :  Dance song hit maker Taylor Dayne headlines the free SLO Pride Festival on July 10 in Mission Plaza. - PHOTO COURTESY OF TAYLOR DAYNE
  • DANCING QUEEN : Dance song hit maker Taylor Dayne headlines the free SLO Pride Festival on July 10 in Mission Plaza.

Part of this education process is thanks to events like the SLO Pride Celebration, now in its 15th year, which takes place Sunday, July 10, in the SLO Mission Plaza from noon to 6 p.m. with headliner Taylor Dayne, the multi-platinum recording artist who in her career has scored 17 Top Ten hits on Billboard’s charts, including, most recently, 2008’s “Beautiful.”

The family-friendly event also features a bounce house and obstacle course, carnival games, face painting, an adult beverage garden, and an eclectic lineup of dynamic performers. All are welcome to attend an After Pride Party at Novo Restaurant.

Songwriters at Play

On Thursday, July 7, Steve Key’s Songwriters at Play singer-songwriter showcase features Maia Sharp at The Porch at 6:30 p.m. Her songs have been recorded by Bonnie Raitt, The Dixie Chicks, Cher, Art Garfunkel, Keb’ Mo’, Lisa Loeb, David Wilcox, and others.

On Sunday, July 10, Kat Devlin headlines the Sculpterra showcase beginning at 1 p.m. She’s got a Celtic-country sound, and fans of Ani DiFranco, Dar Williams, and Neko Case will find much to like here.

HUSKY-VOICED BUSKER:  Kate Gaffney headlines Steve Key’s Songwriters at Play showcase on July 12 at Kreuzberg. - PHOTO COURTESY OF KATE GAFFNEY
  • HUSKY-VOICED BUSKER: Kate Gaffney headlines Steve Key’s Songwriters at Play showcase on July 12 at Kreuzberg.

Kate Gaffney headlines the Tuesday, July 12, showcase at Kreuzberg. A native of Philadelphia, she now lives in the Bay Area and is a festival fave whose husky voice recalls Grace Slick and Chrissie Hynde.

More music…

On Thursday, July 7, Atascadero’s Main Street program presents country pickers Hayburner during a free concert in the historic downtown Colony Districts on Entrada Avenue starting at 7 p.m.

Folk rock singer-songwriter Christina Bailey plays Linnaea’s Café at 8 p.m. on Thursday, July 7. She’s gearing up to launch a new self-produced independent record in mid-2012.

The Painted Sky Concert series presents an evening of outstanding Hawaiian ukulele and slack key guitar with Herb Ohta Jr. and Patrick Landeza in intimate acoustic concert on Friday, July 8, at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $18, available at Boo Boo Records, Cambria Business Center, or by calling 927-8330.

On Saturday, July 9, Chamisal Vineyards will be host to a benefit concert for the SLO County Food Bank Coalition from 2 to 7 p.m. with two of our finest local bands, Still Time and Sparrows Gate. Bring blankets or low-back chairs and feast on food from Full of Life Flatbreads pizza and salads, Jose’s Famous tacos, and Doc Bernstein’s Ice Cream … or bring your own lunch. Tickets cost $25 and include entry and three tickets, each valid for a 1-ounce taste of wine. If you donate $5 or more to the Food Bank, you’ll receive an additional taste ticket. Call Brette, assistant hospitality manager, for tickets at 1-866-808-9463 or visit

The Mark Pietri Trio will bring their NYC-style jazz to the SLO Jazz Festival’s Court Street Concert Series on Saturday, July 9, from noon to 3 p.m. They’ll appear on the second floor of the Court Street Center.

Saxophonist Aaron Wolf presents a unique trio, featuring local bass star Dylan Johnson and L.A.-based master drummer Jason Harnell, performing jazz and improvised music “with spacious texture and imagination,” at 8 p.m. on Saturday, July 9, at Kreuzberg ($5 suggested donation).

Local world music act Up in the Air is featured at the next Castoro Cellars Lazy Locals Free Outdoor Concert on Sunday, July 10, from 1 to 4 p.m. Enjoy this eclectic and versatile local band with a picnic with friends. Wine will be available for purchase.

On Sunday, July 10, check out “Jews and Jazz,” an event at Congregation Beth David with local jazz aficionado and radio host Fred Friedman, who’ll tell the history of early jazz, focusing on Jewish jazz musicians, songwriters, and composers. The event runs from 3 to 5 p.m. and costs $10 ($7 for students with ID).

The Grover Beach Sizzlin’ Summer Concert Series continues this Sunday, July 10, with blues heroes the Dr. Danger Band from 3 to 6 p.m. in Ramona Garden Park.

On Sunday, July 10, the Famous Jazz Artist Series at the Hamlet welcomes the most honored and admired jazz accordionist worldwide, Frank Marocco. Known as a jazz virtuoso, he’s been the most recorded accordionist in Hollywood recording studio history with movie credits such as Henry Mancini, John Williams, Elmer Bernstein, Quincy Jones, and Michele Legrand to name but a few. Luther Hughes and Paul Kreibich, along with series co-producers Charlie and Sandi Shoemake, will join the fun. See them at 4 p.m. for $15, 7:15 p.m. for $12, or see both shows for $20. Call 927-0567 for reservations.

On Sunday, July 10, at 7 p.m., the Pewter Plough Playhouse presents “Sonnets and Strings,” an experimental, one-night show, where attendees will be treated to a variety of exquisite poems, classical guitar compositions, and Arabic folk songs performed by Samuel Shalhoub and Martha Raymond. Donations of $5 to $10 will be accepted at the door.

Full Blown Stone brings its high-octane rock’n’roll to Frog and Peach on Monday, July 11. “We’ll be releasing our second music video, which will once again be directed by up-and-coming filmmaker Kyle Krauss,” said band member Ben Palmer.

The Painted Sky Concert series presents the indie folk pop of Shelby Earl on Thursday, July 14, at 8 p.m. in Painted Sky Recording Studios. Don’t let her countrified name fool you. “She’s a city girl with a ‘world-class voice’ and a universe of stories to tell,” said promoter Steve Crimmel. “I first heard about Shelby from her mom Sharon, who lives right here in Cambria. After listening to her debut album Burn the Boats, I felt that we needed to have her in concert and show support for this gifted artist.” Tickets cost $10, available at Cambria Business Center, Boo Boo Records, or by calling 927-8330.

And to those who sent submissions that didn’t make it in, sorry, but I ran out of room this week!

Keep up with Glen Starkey via twitter at, friend him at, or contact him at


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