“Your Body is Not a Shark” — Six movements, six dancers, six manifestations of physical limitation. It might seem disease and its surrounding fears are the be-all and end-all of an artist’s great leap forward, but this performance piece strikes that notion down with the style and elegance of a performer’s art. Armed with a creative arsenal of original scoring, choreography and poetic text, Shark celebrates the human form’s constraints as the artist’s passionate appeal, a cri de coeur, reminding the audience that our bodies are not something to be afraid of.
Jan. 17–20, show at 8 p.m., Motion at the Mill
York — Swelling aural harmonics coupled with long-sustained riffage make for the cleanest covalent bond of indie rock and alt-country since The Devil Makes Three. Galloping guitar grooves meld with folksy reliefs for a melancholy excursion into heavily stratified prog-rock soundscapes. In the airy timbre cloister and café known to emanate soft ephemera of the acoustic variety, York’s sonically smooth sophomore effort may very well shake its foundation.
Listen: “Sweet Whiskey,” “Tommy and the Wolves”
Jan. 20, show at 8:30 p.m., the Abbey
“The Undiscovered Tour” — Rap revivalist and hip-hop impresario Sellassie makes a go for the history books with a nationwide showcase tour designed to market and promote independent emcees. In an amplified rejection of the genre’s ever-touted “swag” and violence, the tour hosts up-and-coming artists in a unified front against the crass commercialism of mainstream rap. $5 at door.
Jan. 23, doors at 8 p.m., show at 8:30 p.m., Moe’s Alley, 21+
The 6th Annual UCSC Women’s Club Chocolate Festival — Treat yourself to Santa Cruz tradition with a taste of exquisite desserts, crafted from the crème de la crème of confectioner chocolate. Artisans from far and wide will come in heart-shaped, box-bearing swaths to meet and greet Santa Cruz fans in a day of indulgence and sweet camaraderie. Advance tasting tickets for the true chocolate connoisseur can be purchased online at womensclub.ucsc.edu.
Jan. 20, runs from 1–4 p.m., Cocoanut Grove
“The Power of Songs for Social Change” — The NAACP and the Resource Center for Nonviolence host a celebratory weekend in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr., with a repertoire to match. Join folk troubadour John McCutcheon, underground rap soothsayer Abstract Rude and gospel singer Tammi Brown & the Inner Light Choir as they take their music to new heights for three nightly shows. This oasis of freedom additionally harbors Saturday workshops for the creative soul seeking an outlet for their lyrical and social sensibilities.
For workshop times and ticketing information, call 831-423-1626 or go to www.rcnv.org. Jan. 18-20, shows at 7 p.m.,the Resource Center for Nonviolence
“The House I Live In” — Benefit for Santa Cruz County Community Coalition to Overcome Racism. See what lies beyond the concrete exterior of today’s prison system in a cinematographic challenge to the war on drugs. This award-winning new documentary chips away at the unabiding political blockade surrounding the “The New Jim Crow” agenda that targets and subverts prisoners of color within the penal system. A post-film discussion will be led by UCSC professor Craig Reinarman, coauthor of “Crack in America: Demon Drugs and Social Justice.”
Tickets are available on a sliding scale $5–15. Reserve your spot online at www.wepay.com/events/the-house-i-live-in-sccccor-benefit. Jan. 21, screening at 7 p.m., The Nickelodeon