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Pacific and Lincoln and Soquel, 5:45pm, 1953: On the right is the Bank of America--it once was the Bank of Italy, then the Bank of California, then it became the Bank of America; now it's the New Leaf Market. The Pep Fountain is now Cotton Tales at the corner of Lincoln and Pacific.

Bruce Bratton

LOCAL LOCKHEED LOGISTICS. The rumor I printed two weeks ago about Lockheed selling property to Yahoo was almost true. Lockheed did sell property to Yahoo, but according to Dave Waller, director of communications at Lockheed Martin Missiles & Space in Sunnyvale, the property was in Sunnyvale and was not part of the 3,700 acres it owns up on Empire Grade. But you gotta admit it was pretty close, especially for a rumor! Dave and I had a nice talk. He said there are about 85 employees left working up there now. I think it used to have somewhere between 500 and 800 at its peak. Dave says, "We develop and test components of missile systems, and the Navy is our main customer." He went on to say Lockheed has no plans to sell that property. Having this great opportunity, I asked Dave about the state of storing years worth of testing of propellants and rocket fuels. He replied, "I can only say that we operate in compliance with state, county and federal regulations." That sure made me feel better so I asked him, How much cleaning up have you done of those toxic poisons, and if you do ever sell the property how clean will you leave it? He replied, I can only say that we operate in compliance with [you know what] and etc., etc. So as previously mentioned, those horror stories of pools of poisons, rotting drums and similar waste disposal on that locked property over the last 40 years must be just rumors. I feel relieved, don't you ?

DARK PLEASURES. I enjoyed All the Pretty Horses. I also agree with everybody who couldn't figure out the plot, but it's well-acted, beautifully photographed and worth seeing. It reminded me of a much better film called Lonely Are the Brave, which was adapted from Ed Abbey's book The Brave Cowboy. It starred Kirk Douglas and is Douglas' favorite film of his entire career. Rent the video if you can. Even Wes Craven fans have a tough time loving Dracula 2000. It has some of Craven's touches in it, but it's a lousy film. Which leads us to Traffic. The one word I kept thinking of all through the film was "intelligent." The plot, the photography, the acting--everything about this film is intelligent. You never know what's coming up, you remain glued to the screen the entire 2 1/2 hours and you get to watch Benicio Del Toro, Luis Guzman, Miguel Ferrer and Don Cheadle. Director Steven Soderbergh proves that his first big hit, sex, lies and videotape, was no fluke.

ABOUT COLUMNS AND RUMORS. It's a good idea about every 10 years to remind some readers that this column is really an opinion column. It's not a news report; I'm not now and never want to be a reporter; they deal, or should deal, only with facts. Like a regular restaurant- or theater-review column, this column contains attitudes, angles, peeves, praises and other things like that. So rumors, or hints, especially when I name them as such, are just rumors. As someone said, I hate spreading rumors, but what else can you do with them?

FAREWELL AAA VIDEO EXPRESS. As Blockbuster, Wherehouse and Hollywood Video rental chains grow, independents bite the dust. AAA Video Express at 4641 Soquel in Soquel was one of the best in our tricounty area for the last 18 years. Owners Pete and Josie Mazzuca had been thinking about going to Mendocino County for a while. Now that the block where the store was is about to be redeveloped, they're hanging it up. Little-known foreign films, great independents, real classics, odd cult films, AAA crammed them all in that little shop somehow. Peter says, no blaming of anything, but traffic is jammed in downtown Soquel and there's no place for customers to park. They're selling all videos and have about 1,200 of the original 5,500 left. Check out Westside Video on Mission, they've got a large supply of quality videos. Flick Stop on Brommer and 17th is developing quite a good bunch of titles too. Let me know of other independents that you think have a worthwhile inventory. Film enthusiasts and cinema addicts are already lamenting AAA's closing.

SILICON BEACH FORUM. It was my error last week in not getting the date included in talking about the panel sponsored by Cruzio and Bookshop Santa Cruz titled "Community Survival In Silicon Beach." It happens Thursday, Jan. 11 (tomorrow) at 5pm in the Conference room at the Museum of Art & History. It's free, panelists are listed elsewhere and I'm guessing it'll be a mite controversial. Contact Kelsey Ramage at [email protected] or Kathy Bisbee at [email protected] for latebreaking news.

SAUL ALINSKY AND SANTA CRUZ. It isn't generally known, but back in the early '70s a group of about 10 locals known as the Ombudsmen wanted to organize to stop Wilder Ranch from being developed into homes for more than 30,000 people. They specifically searched for and found a Saul Alinsky Institute-trained organizer, Shirley Zimmerman. Shirley not only organized the group but strategically planned the entire opposition to the development and won. Her tactics and skills were not lost on area politics or politicians. SCAN is sponsoring a screening of the video The Democratic Promise--Saul Alinsky and His Legacy. It's happening Wednesday (Jan. 17) at 7:30pm at SEIU Local 415 at 517 Mission St. The one-hour video will be followed by a one-hour panel discussion on "The Role of Community Organizing in Santa Cruz." The video is narrated by Alec Baldwin. It would be nice to get the progressive community organized again, and this would be as good a time as any to start. Call 458.9425 for info and to see who the panelists are.

MUSICAL MUTTERINGS. Five evenings of serious music you shouldn't miss: The Santa Cruz Chamber Players perform Saturday (Jan. 13) at Light and Life Church on Brommer at 8pm, and on Sunday at 2pm at Kuumbwa; they play Mozart, Glinka, Strauss, Barber and Poulenc. Call 425.3149 about that. Brian Staufenbiel and Michael McGushin perform works by Britten, Barber, Schubert and Bowles at UCSC Music Recital hall Wednesday, Jan. 17 at 8pm. The next Wednesday (Jan. 24) in the same place at the same time, pianist Mary Jane Cope plays Debussy, Fauré, Messiaen, Poulenc and Ravel. The New Music Works also plays that same hall on Sunday, Feb. 4 at 7pm. They'll be presenting KOREAMERICA featuring the Contemporary Music Ensemble Korea and the New Music Works Ensemble, performing the "mysterious musical realms of Korea through a variety of perspectives." Tickets and information at 464.7453.

SUMMING UP. Susan Martinez was the first to send me that Nostradamus prediction made back in 1555, "Come the millennium, month 12, In the home of the greatest power, the village idiot will come forth to be acclaimed the leader." I know that seems obvious unless you consider this to be the millennium year, which means maybe they'll finish the Florida count next December?? ... Many excellent bumper stickers, and keep them coming. Jeff Berg saw "Life begins when you get one." Judith Feinman saw this one in Port Townsend Wash.: "We're all together here 'cause we're not altogether there." Which is very deep. Claudia Jennings of Cabrillo College deserves prizes for her sightings. She saw "God was my co-pilot but we crashed in the mountains and I had to eat him." That's way deep. Her real winner was "The way to a fisherman's heart is through his fly." That's more than enough for right now.

Bruce critiques films every other Thursday on KUSP-FM (88.9) at 12:50pm. Reach Bruce at [email protected] or call 457.5814, ext.400.

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From the January 10-17, 2001 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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