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Remember the Del Mar? This was Aug. 11, 1965. Note the absolutely authentic '60s costumes. 'Help' was, of course, the Beatles' second great film. It was about Ringo's ruby ring and featured songs such as 'Ticket to Ride," You're Going to Lose That Girl' and 'Help,' and Richard Lester directed it. Arizona Raiders, on the other hand, starred Buster Crabbe, who was the second-greatest Tarzan in the world, in spite of the fact that he was from Oakland. We don't know who the young fans in the photo are, but I'm hoping we find out soon. In spite of current thinking I hope we can at least save the wonderful, beautiful and historic neon sign.

Bruce Bratton

DOWNTOWN DICTUM. Part of the proposed Downtown Survey, or Plaza Task Force, or redoing of the Vision Plan, ought to be a formula or ratio for the occupants of new buildings. How about one floor of retail, one floor of offices and one floor of residences? All the experts on urban planning say that successful downtowns need more people living there than we've got. That means all income levels, all ages, all occupations, of course. That's a reaction to those daily articles and the strong-arm hinting that we need more office space immediately. People seem to forget that offices downtown without apartments to live in create commuters and traffic. We have enough of that already.

LOTUS LAND, U.S.A. Driving back to L.A. last week and getting there just in time to greet my brand-new grandson, George John Boulanger, caused some wild and crazy thoughts. Seeing the oil rigs off Gaviota beach and wondering just how big a deal that was that let the oil companies leave them there forever, even though there're no longer in use. TV crews and groups all around Port Hueneme waiting for more Alaska Airlines reminders to wash ashore; hearing that even Beverly Hills' Rodeo Drive now has the homeless and derelicts hanging out, as does the Santa Monica City Hall steps. It's still hard to visualize that Alaskan Airliner spinning and going in nose down. I overheard one local say to a friend, while I was having an espresso on Santa Monica's Third Street Promenade, that "this place sucks now, it used to have lots of community-serving businesses, now it's all franchises." He's right; they got them all on Third Street: Borders, Barnes and Noble, J. Crew, Restoration Hardware, Pottery Barn, Victoria's Secret, Discovery Channel (the store!), Banana Republic, Urban Outfitters--you name it they got it, every box store you've ever heard of. The odd thing is that Santa Monica and L.A. have these same named stores everywhere; so does every town along Highway 101. What I still think would draw more people, and more shopping money, to Santa Cruz would be the attraction of being the one city in the United States that defied the big and little franchise operations, closed down the ones that snuck in and instead has locally owned, brilliantly conceived and imaginatively stocked stores, found nowhere else. If folks want that mass-market merchandise, there's always the Internet and catalogs.

MOVIETIME. Seeing Scream 3 in Beverly Hills on opening night was a treat. Everyone in the audience except me knew all the Hollywood in-jokes in this last of the Scream trilogy, and the theater rocked with laughs. Wes Craven directed it with wit and humor and threw in all sorts of slasher clichés, and so if you saw the first two Screams, and liked them, see this one too--otherwise forget about it. Nick Nolte and Sharon Stones' new film, Simpatico, even with a script by Sam Shepard isn't worth the popcorn. The acting isn't anything like you expect from Nick, Sharon or Jeff Bridges--don't go. I finally saw Milos Forman's Man on the Moon, starring Jim Carrey, here in L.A. land. I never knew who Andy Kaufman was prior to reading about this film, so I was prepared for anything. It's an impossible task to make a film about as wild a character as Kaufman, and I liked this film a lot. It made me sorry I missed the real Andy K. Liberty Heights must be opening soon at the Nick--go see it, it's well-written and funny.

HOME DEPOT GETTING MORE SERIOUS. Monique Waining and others have told me about mailers that Home Depot is sending out asking for support. They want you to fill out their card, and then they'll do something with it. Home Depot developers are experts and longtime veterans on deflecting public opinion. Allowing them to build a 130,000-square-foot monstrosity at 41st and Soquel will forever change our county and the way business is done here. At least, let Jan Beautz know how you feel. She needs to know there's serious opposition afoot.

CULTURAL THINGS. Maybe the forces behind the new Cultural Action Plan can show Cabrilho College the wisdom in saving the existing 550-seat theater as a theater and still build their new auditorium. Any other geezers out there think about Jimmy Durante finally finding Mrs. Calabash when the Cultural Council and the Ethnic Arts Network gave out the Calabash Awards last week? Sylvia Jenkins and Roy Malan are back together to perform Schubert and Debussy at UCSC's Recital Hall on Wednesday (Feb. 16); call 459.2159 for tix and info. The Yazoo Blues Revue, an acoustic quintet, has a new CD out, and it will also be playing a Valentine's Show Feb. 14 at 8pm up at Henflings in Ben Lomond. Call 335.1642 if you need to know any more. Eden Gallery in Davenport is having a Valentine's reception on Sunday (Feb. 13) at 12:30pm. Vocalist Ariel (part of the trio Mayim) will be singing there, and she has a new CD out too. Eden Gallery specializes in local artists in both glass and prints and paintings. Call them at 429.5307.

SAVE FEB. 19. The Friends of the North Coast have created one of the most interesting, creative, entertaining evenings I've heard of. On Feb. 19 at 7pm, the group will present an evening of guitar and songs by the nearly legendary Martin Simpson; noted photographer Frank Balthis will be sharing his images of our North Coast; and for the first time in California, Frans Lanting will be presenting a special program of slides on biodiversity from his worldly point of view. If you've ever seen and heard any of these three people, you know how special this night will be. Assemblymember and Speaker Pro Tem Fred Keeley, North Coast Supervisor Mardi Wormhoudt, former county Supervisor Gary Patton; Celia and Peter Scott, the founders of F.O.N.C.; and other surprise guests will all be doing something. Most recently, our North Coast is being threatened by the biotech goat ranch, and all of above are actively involved in protecting it. This evening will be an art and entertainment gala to be remembered, and the North Coast is, as usual, an area under attack. It all happens at the aforementioned Cabrilho College Theater. Get tickets right away and don't miss any of this once-in-a-lifetime event. Tickets are available at Bookshop Santa Cruz, the New Davenport Cash Store, Patagonia on River Street or the Cabrilho Community Education Office 479.6331. I'll meet you there.

SCREENWRITING CLASS. My old friend Dan Bessie is holding his Introduction to Screenwriting class starting Feb. 25 at Georgiana Bruce Kirby School on Union Street. Dan's not only an experienced teacher in screenwriting but also a veteran writer, producer, director and animator who has spent more than 40 years making over 125 films. His films have been on CBS, HBO, the Disney Channel and lots of places--he knows how to make films. So if you've ever wanted to create works for films or TV, or if you're seriously interested in teaching or learning any aspect of the film business, this is the big chance to do it! Email Dan at [email protected] or call 427.2650.

BUMPER STICKERS AGAIN. David Brick sent this one. He swears he saw it near Santa Cruz High School. "MILITANT AGNOSTIC ... I don't know, and You Don't Either!"

Bruce critiques films every other Thursday at 12:50pm on KUSP (88.9FM). Reach Bruce at [email protected] or 457.9000, ext. 400.

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From the February 9-16, 2000 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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