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[whitespace] Pacific Avenue Plaza Fountain
Covello & Covello Historical Photo Collection

Pacific Avenue Plaza Fountain: This was taken on Aug. 23, 1967. It's the site of our present Town Clock structure.

Bruce Bratton

THEATRE DEL MAR, THE BACKSTORY. It's a small but important note that the name has always been TheatRE not TheatER. You can check that out by looking at the back of the building from Front Street. There's a lot of excitement happening around the grand opening on March 2. There's the movie star coming up from L.A., the Santa Cruz High School Band, the parade of woodies, the movie star lookalike contest and plenty more. There's so much going on that the real reason Theatre Del Mar is being restored, refurbished, or even still exists may be overlooked. Three very important elements are involved in this successful Del Mar project: the City of Santa Cruz, the builders-developers and the owners of the Nickelodeon Theater. Ceil Cirillo and the Redevelopment Agency worked hard with former Mayor Keith Sugar and the City Council to get the city to buy the theater from United Artists. George Ow teamed with Jesse Nickell and Barry Swenson Builders to do the restoration. Jim Schwenterley and Chuck Volwieler, who own the Nickelodeon, are leasing the property from Ow and Swenson. The challenges and real problems that came up throughout the entire project were worked out and the theater is not just going to open but will open with a splendid look that's only possible because of the dedication of those people involved. Without their devotion and care the theater would have been destroyed and vanished like the Cooper House.

FRIENDS OF THE DEL MAR. You can now go to www.friendsofthedelmar.com and find out the name of the movie star who will be at the gala opening on March 2. You can also get all the details on the projects planned for the ongoing restoration of the Del Mar. The website was created by Lynn Sestak and is being donated by Cruzio.com, which is very nice of those people. FODM is looking for some members who care about our downtown and old theaters, and who'd like to work and have fun on the big gala opening night. Go online and find out those details too. You'll see that the Sentinel's film reviewer Catherine Graham is president of FODM (I'm vice president). You'll also see the perks and plans for members (like advance screenings).

DARK PLEASURES. Black Hawk Down, as directed by Ridley Scott, turns the corner on war films. There's almost zero personalities and total chaos and blood. It's like the first 20 minutes of relentless action in Saving Private Ryan, expanded to the entire length of the film. It takes somebody like Scott to make this much action and tragedy work and keep flowing and hang together, and it does. It would be wonderful if everyone who sees this film would come away realizing what the price of war is. Don't plan on having a fun evening the night you see this film. The Shipping News is a very nice film. Kevin Spacey certainly plays Kevin Spacey and you never quite forget that he's acting. The photography and Julianne Moore are beautiful, Judi Dench is fine and you should see it on the big screen. Newfoundland never looked better.

URBAN BUSH WOMEN. From all reports, this traveling troupe of women shake the walls and ceiling with their dances. They'll be dancing their new creation, Hair Stories, with music by James Brown, George Clinton and the Funkedelics. Their dances and singing combine humor, politics and African traditions from all over the world. They'll be at the UCSC Mainstage on Saturday, Jan. 26 at 8pm. Tickets at 459.2159 or www.events.ucsc.edu/artslecs.

RESTAURANTS AND CLEANLINESS. Last week on KUSP's Prime Time, Roger Houston, the environmental health inspector for Santa Cruz County, talked with Phyllis Levine about restaurants and cleanliness. I also asked him a few things while he was waiting to go on the air. He said that right now, restaurants have to show you the results of their last county health inspection. In a couple of months we'll be able to go online and get cleanliness ratings for any restaurant before we go there. I asked him why our restaurants aren't required to display their cleanliness grades in their windows but I forgot what he said.

WISHING YOU WERE HERE. Get over to the Capitola Historical Museum to see the current exhibit, titled Wishing You Were Here: Postcards From the Coast. Hundreds of postcards covering the funny, beautiful, historical and commercial aspects of our Monterey Bay Area are on display. Postcard-collecting isn't only addictive, it's affordable and obviously educational. The exhibit is being sponsored by the Santa Cruz County Postcard Club and the Capitola Historical Museum and is up through April. The Museum is at 415 Capitola Ave. by the City Hall and it's open noon to 4pm Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

END OF DAYS. UCSC alumnus Gershom Gorenberg wrote a book about the current issues in the Middle East titled End of Days: Fundamentalism and the Struggle for the Temple Mount. The Temple Mount refers to the mountain/hill where the control of the mosques is so fiercely fought over. Gorenberg is the senior editor of the Jerusalem Report, a left-wing English language magazine published in Israel. He'll be speaking at UCSC's Kresge College, Room 321, on Wednesday, Jan. 30, at 8pm. He'll also be on Marilyn Rigler's program on KUSP Thursday at noon Jan. 31. Call 476.4740 for more information.

MOVIE STAR LOOK-ALIKE CONTEST. As another part of the gala Del Mar opening on March 2 we are going to have a movie star lookalike contest. Cynthia Mathews, a Zasu Pitts expert among many other things, has agreed to supervise the actual event. Details to follow, but being Santa Cruz and seeing as how there will be plenty of cameras, media crews and spotlights on hand, this should be great fun, so plan ahead.

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From the January 23-30, 2002 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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