Hot Picks June 16-22: Music for Ukraine, a local documentary and more. | Art, Theater & Culture


The delicious (pun intended) story of carnivorous, anthropomorphized plants that thrive on human blood is one of those classic musicals that still feels fresh 35 years after the movie Little Shop of Horrors first came out. It’s since become a stage play, perfect for capitalizing on the campy vibes behind the tale of Seymour Krelborn, who names his flesh-eating plant Audrey II after his coworker crush on him (that would be Audrey I). The Forest Theater Guild takes on this delightful (but be forewarned, also pretty dark) play for outdoor performances this summer. Expect epic costuming, choreography and powerful vocals. [SR]

7:30pm Thursdays-Saturdays (except June 23 and 30) and 4:30pm Sundays, June 16-July 10. Outdoor Forest Theater, Mountain View and Santa Rita, Carmel. $10-$28. 626-1681,


A native environment is a resilient environment, an especially important piece of information during patched times of extended and extreme drought. Much of California, including the Monterey Peninsula, is under tight water restrictions, limiting garden watering to only two days a week. Fortunately, our native flora is drought-resilient, so native gardens should come out at the other end of the drought and water restrictions in fine shape. If you’re wondering, after reading this, whether your garden is native, we recommend going to hang out at the Elkhorn Slough Reserve on the third Saturday of the month, where a crew of volunteers gathers to discuss native plant landscaping and how to maintain a native plant garden. It may be your best shot at keeping a healthy garden through the summer. [CN]

9:30-11:30am Saturday, June 18. Elkhorn Slough Reserve Visitor Center, 1700 Elkhorn Road, Watsonville. Free. Attendees under 18 years old must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

In Rod We Trust

What if we were to take the best of the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s… wait a minute, it’s a trap! There was nothing good about the ’70s. Well, there you’d be wrong. The Monterey Rock & Rod Festival finds some use for the decade. Muscle cars were at their peak in the early ’70s, after all. And did you know that a monster V-8 can be wedged into a Vega? The event features 150 hot rods, street rods, Detroit muscle and custom cars and trucks from 1975 and the earlier decades on display, but there’s more – food and drink vendors and a full day of live music. Wisely, the organizers reached back to the ’60s for the headline act: Big Brother and the Holding Company, with Peter Albin and Dave Getz from the classic lineup. And if that’s not enough reason to celebrate, 2022 marks the 15th year of this fun event. There’s a good old-fashioned sock hop on Friday night to kick things off. [DF]

10am-5pm Saturday, June 18. Custom House Plaza, Monterey. Free for spectators.

Dance Through the Decades

Famous entertainer Bing Crosby launched more than just his famous pro-am golf “Clambake” in Pebble Beach, he also created the Carmel Youth Center in 1949 in downtown Carmel as a private nonprofit. What better way to support the center today than with a “Dance Through the Decades” fundraiser? The current class of Leadership Carmel is hosting this festive event – ​​each room of the Youth Center will be decorated in a different decade, including a ’50s diner, a ’70s disco and an ’80s club. Guests are encouraged to dress up. Proceeds go half to the Youth Center and half to Leadership Carmel through the Carmel Chamber of Commerce Foundation for the creation of a new legacy: a Leadership Carmel Alumni Foundation with a mission of supporting local nonprofits into the coming decades. [PM]

4-7pm Saturday, June 18. Carmel Youth Center, 4th and Torres, Carmel. $50.,

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All Together Now

Join a screening of Daniel Troia’s award-winning film, We Are All In This Together. Troia, a Monterey native, sets off on a cross-country bicycle journey with no food, no money, and in search of human connection. The film captures the interactions that he has with people who help him, and shows that there is more that brings us together than what separates us. Equipped with hidden camera glasses, a GoPro and a drone, Troia crosses the Great Basin Desert, gets chased by a tornado in Kansas, tries to outrun a snowstorm in the Rocky Mountains and highlights the beauty of the people he meets along the way. The event is free, but cash donations will be accepted in support of Gathering for Women, a local nonprofit supporting homeless women. Troia holds a Q&A after the film. [AP]

7:30pm Saturday, June 18. Golden State Theatre, 417 Alvarado St., Monterey. Free with reserved ticket. 649-1070.,

Support the Arts

There are just days left to participate in the Arts Council for Monterey County’s 40-day online auction (in honor of 40 years of work supporting the arts locally). Make a bid to help support over 30,000 children, seniors, veterans and at-risk youth through the Arts Council’s Arts Education and Arts as Healing programs – plus you could win a range of items, from a whale watching trip for four to an exclusive art event in Big Sur. [TCL]

Ends at 10pm Saturday, June 18. Bid at

Music for Ukraine

After a May benefit concert at the Forest Theater in Carmel, the nonprofit Hromada USA, which formed to promote educational and cultural activities in the Ukrainian diaspora, is back in Monterey County. The organization has partnered with Carmel businessman Paul Laub to bring Ukrainian musicians together for concerts that benefit women, children and other refugees impacted by the war in Ukraine. In addition to being an opportunity to give back, these events are a great way to get to know Ukrainian culture – from traditional folk dancing to traditional instruments and high-level opera singing. [TCL]

2-4:30pm Sunday, June 19. Congregation Beth Israel, 5716 Carmel Valley Road, Carmel. $40-$60.


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