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[whitespace] House Knight's Opera House: This early performing arts center opened in 1877. It was at the corner of Union and Center streets where the Goodwill Store is now. Santa Cruz High had graduations here, and Paderewski played piano on its stage. Boxing champ John L. Sullivan, author Jack London plus touring opera companies, minstrel shows, and all kinds of performances entertained our citizens. It was hauled to Capitola in 1921, and burned in 1961.

Covello & Covello Historical Photo Collection

Bruce Bratton

TONIGHT'S THE NIGHT. The Rural Bonny Doon Association is holding its monthly meeting tonight. It's invited the three candidates running for the Third District County Board of Supervisors seat to speak. The RBDA is the county's oldest environmental organization. It was started in the 1950s by Roy Rydell, Page Smith and a few other stalwarts. The RBDA has successfully stopped many development schemes over the years, and has resisted plots and coups to take it over and make it more friendly to greedy developers. I spoke with Ted Benhari, the current RBDA chair, about tonight's meeting. He tells me new bylaws have been written and the casual but loose rules that allowed joining and voting on endorsements or new board members the same night you join have been tightened. As former chairman of the RBDA, I can tell you endorsement and new board member nights are always exciting and full of suspense. It starts at 7:30pm in the new school auditorium. I'll save you a seat.

DARK PLEASURES. Somehow I missed saying that A Beautiful Mind is an excellent film. Leaving out Nash's gay explorations, his mistress and her child doesn't spoil the plot at all. I used to have three Nobel prize winners as bosses and they were much nicer, but duller. For a mainstream film, The Royal Tenenbaums is very witty and quirky and funny. Gene Hackman and Danny Glover are perfect. Nobody should see Gary Sinise and Madeleine Stowe in The Impostor. It's a sci-fi film about aliens who want to kill the woman chancellor, which of course is ridiculous right there. Sissy Spacek and Marisa Tomei rip the screen apart in In The Bedroom. It's a nervous, tight, heavy drama about love, family and relationships; do see it before it wins too many awards.

9/11 IN HAWAI'I. One letter to the editor in the November 2001 issue of Ka Wai 'Ola OHA (the monthly newspaper of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs) said we should be aware that our United States committed these same crimes. The writer said Sept. 11 made her see what happened to Queen Lili'uokalani in a new light. We took over the Hawaiian lawful government and our terrorists took their queen at gunpoint. "They didn't just destroy property and lives, they destroyed an entire sovereign, independent nation. ...They took the lawful Hawaiian nation with the backing of U.S. Minister Stevens and a U.S. warship. After 108 years, this act still goes unpunished." The letter writer, Donna Hanohano-Medeiros, said that if the Sept. 11 destruction of buildings and thousands of lives was wrong then what we did was worse. It's another viewpoint that doesn't get heard very much, that's all.

JUMPIN JERRY. Jerry Kaufmann of JH12SPORTS, who produces the Riot at the Hyatt boxing matches, agrees something was missing in Ali. He and I both think it lacks depth and there are just too many shallow characters in it. Jerry's had Jose Celaya fight on his boxing card in Monterey I think three times, so he's going to see Celaya and Shane Mosely fight at Madison Square Garden. Right after that he's announcing the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am for his 28th straight year. After that he's covering the Olympics at Deer Valley and Park City. Other than that, he's just sitting around figuring out his next Riot, which happens July 3.

JOHN McCUTCHEON WILL BE HERE. The Resource Center for Nonviolence is sponsoring two concerts by storyteller and hammer dulcimerist John McCutcheon. He'll be at the First Congregational Church, 900 High St., at 7:30pm Jan. 18 and again the next morning in a special children's concert at 9:30am. John's recorded 25 albums and he tells very funny stories. Call 423.1626 or get tickets at the Resource Center or Bookshop Santa Cruz. Or you can get them online at www.rcnv.org.

MORE ABOUT FILMS AND TV. Movies are making more money than ever before and a higher percentage of folks are attending the various awards and becoming more prominent, and there are more of them. This is the time of year to check the critics you read regularly and see if you agree with their list of favorites. I was happy to see that the National Society of Film Critics gave In the Mood for Love best cinematography and best foreign film. It gave Mulholland Drive best picture of 2001 and Gosford Park (which opens this Friday at the Nick) best director and best screenplay. The American Film Institute gave Lord of the Rings best picture, and Altman again got best director for Gosford Park. It gave The Sopranos best drama series, and Band of Brothers best miniseries, but then it gave Curb Your Enthusiasm best comedy series and it's the least funny show I've ever seen, but you can't win them all.

Bruce critiques films every other Thursday on KUSP-FM (88.9). Reach Bruce at [email protected] or 457.5814, ext. 400.

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From the January 9-16, 2002 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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