Celebrate the Carmel Plaza's 50th anniversary tonight with the kick-off of one of the summer's best weekly events! The "Jazz at the Plaza" series starts tonight with music by the smooth-voiced Neal Banks, wine from Ventana Vineyards, and great food from Bistro Beaujolais. 5-7pm, Ocean Avenue and Mission Street, Carmel. $15.
Warm up for the California Rodeo Salinas with "Cowboys and Cabernet." At 5pm, taste wine and enjoy barbecue; starting at 6pm, poet Baxter Black and guitarist Dave Stamey provide the backbone for an evening of great Western poetry. Sherwood Hall, 940 N. Main Street, Salinas. Wine tasting is $10 and includes a souvenir glass; $40 for poetry event.
Shoegazey LA band Satellite Crush have been compared to The Cure and the Dandy Warhols; we'd describe them as what Slowdive would have sounded like with vocals by the Charlatans. They play Jose's tonight; local melodic electro-acoustic charmers The Dreamer and the Sleeper open. 9pm, 638 Wave Street, Monterey. $5.
See one of the most important exhibits of photography to appear on the Central Coast in many years as "Ansel Adams: Portrait of America" opens at the Monterey Museum of Art. Landscape photographer Ansel Adams selected over 70 of his images to be made available to museums and art institutions, but died before he could finish printing the sets. This exhibit displays one of the only complete sets. The exhibition runs through October 3. 11am-5pm, 720 Via Mirada, Monterey. $5.
The California Rodeo Salinas Big Week kicks off with two great parades! The Kiddie Kapers Parade features local children dressed in Western-themed costumes pulling kid-sized floats. The legendary Colmo del Rodeo Parade, once the greatest night-lighted parade west of the Mississippi, returns in what is sure to be a fun event for the whole family. The Kiddie Kapers Parade is open to all children; the line-up starts at 5pm and the parade starts at 6:30pm at the Salinas Recreation Center, 230 Lincoln Avenue. The Colmo del Rodeo Parade starts at West Acacia and South Main Streets at 8pm and continues down Main Street in Oldtown Salinas to the Steinbeck Center. Both events are free.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium and the Monterey Jazz Festival have partnered to create a stellar line-up for this year's Evenings by the Bay events at the Aquarium. Tonight, catch jazz pianist Bill Spencer. Wine and beer is available for purchase from the bar in the Marine Mammal Hall, and appetizers are available at the espresso cart. 6pm-8pm, 886 Cannery Row, Monterey. Event included in admission fee.
Get "lei'd" at the Hawaiian-themed Monterey Pride party tonight at the Monterey County Fairgrounds. The event includes a performance by Indigo Girls-esque locals Trusting Lucy, dancers, and music from D.J. AD. 6pm-midnight, King City Room at Monterey County Fairgrounds, 2004 Fairgrounds Road, Monterey. $20.
This week's winner of the BlogMonterey trophy for "most unusual event of the weekend" is the Monterey Concours de Fromage at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The Concours de Fromage uses the latest in innovative technology to combine an artisan wine and cheese tasting with cutting edge electric cars and motorcycles. Attend and you'll get a free pass to see the electric cars and motorcycles on the track the next day at the ReFuel event. Proceeds from the event benefit Heifer International. 6:30pm, paddock at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, 1021 Monterey-Salinas Highway, Salinas. $45/person.
Catch up on the biggest Internet viral videos of the past year at the Henry Miller Library's "Viral Videos in the Redwoods." Your hosts are Eddie Codel, who founded Geek Entertainment TV and runs production services for Ustream, and Jamie Wilkinson, formerly of Rocketboom and currently a member of the copyleft FAT Lab. If those bonafides don't mean anything to you, then consider this event your Internet cultural literacy course. 8pm, Henry Miller Library, Highway One in Big Sur. Free.
Pack a picnic and dress in your best retro gear for a free showing of the Elvis classic "Viva Las Vegas" in Scholze Park. To get free tickets to the movie, just stop in any participating shop on Lighthouse Avenue in Monterey. Sunset, Scholze Park (corner of Lighthouse Avenue and Dickman Avenue), Monterey.
New York indie folksters Big Tree have a bit of showtune spice like Nellie McKay and the throaty vocals and ethereal elements of Hanne Hukkelberg. Portland's Papagaiyo are a jam band that's 50% Grateful Dead, 40% James Brown and 10% Bob Dylan, while raspy-voiced Oregonians Volifonix play hooky funk rock that, refreshingly, owes far less to the Red Hot Chili Peppers than The Mars Volta. The three blow the roof off of Jose's tonight. 9pm, 638 Wave Street, Monterey. $5.
Sweet-voiced Oakland indie act The Hot Toddies sound like New Young Pony Club meets Uncle Bonsai. They play what is sure to be a much-talked-about show tonight at Fernwood in Big Sur. 9pm, Highway One, Big Sur. No cover.
It's time to break that Tesla out of the garage and drive it on the track at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca! Refuel is the first on-and-off-track showcase for electric cars and motorcycles. Owners of electric cars will have the chance to drive their cars on the track. Both mass-produced and home-brewed electric vehicles will be on exhibit, and many will race to see which is the fastest (we're betting on Tesla). The electric vehicle showcase runs 10am-5pm; the track sessions start at 2:30pm. Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, 1021 Monterey-Salinas Highway, Salinas. $10.
Local surf zydeco band The Cachagua Playboys play what is bound to be a fun set today on the deck at the Big Sur River Inn Restaurant. 1pm-5pm, Highway One in Big Sur. No cover.
Central Coast singer/songwriters Lauren Shera, Andrea Blunt, Christina Bailey and Sara Bollwinkel have joined forces as the band honeymoon. The four blend their voices and musical styles to create something truly unique. They'll open for Mary Chapin Carpenter next month; today they play at the Henry Miller Library in Big Sur, an ethereal setting befitting their music. 2pm, Henry Miller Library, Highway One, Big Sur. Tickets are $20 at the door or $15 plus fees in advance via Eventbrite.
Tonight, catch jazz saxophonist Garry Meek at the Monterey Bay Aquarium's "Evenings by the Bay," and enjoy a glass of wine and light food as you browse the galleries. 6pm-8pm, 886 Cannery Row, Monterey. Event included in admission fee.