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[whitespace] Downtown Covello & Covello Historical Photograph

Soquel and Pacific, Downtown: Sometime in the 1920s. The building we're looking straight at is now New Leaf Market. In the old days after this photo, it was the Bank of Italy, then the Bank of California. Once again, the beautiful building on the left was demolished and will become Borders, sooner or later.

Bruce Bratton

DANCE GALLERY SITUATION. The Dance Gallery over at 418 Front St. has been a busy successful nonprofit operation for more than six years. It's really a multi-use art facility, and the people who run it need funding to continue doing what they've been doing so well. The Dance Gallery has a new administration and even newer goals, hopes and dreams. The gallery is looking for a co-signer to take over the lease, which ends March 31! They've already raised just about half of the $30,000 they need. The lease is now on the open market, and it's being touted to office and retail folks, and you know what they're like. The gallery had a performance/party/fundraiser last Saturday, and more than 500 supporters had a fantastic night! This is too great an institution to let it shut down and then try to raise even more money to open in some other location. Some nice high-tech business should tap petty cash and make friends for life, help the community and become a good neighbor on this one. Get involved and find out the rest of the facts by calling 425.2447 or email [email protected].

MOVIES WE CAN DO WITHOUT. My Dog Skip is exactly what you think it is--no more, no less. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll ask why you spent good money and things like that. You can have secret fun by picking out all the anachronisms or mistakes the prop department made in keeping it in period, but that's about the only reason to go. Mission to Mars is really frustrating. A few fine plot ideas, a few scenes that are original, but overall, like Pitch Black, it is a waste of perfectly good film. The first new film in a while from Roman Polanski, Ninth Gate, does have Johnny Depp in it, and that's good. You probably remember that Depp's brother used to own a bookstore on the Westside next to the recently closed Linda Vista Market. Now Johnny's playing a book dealer in this latest devil-may-care film. You have to go to see Depp and to see what Polanski's been up to; I'll bet if Ninth Gate turns out to be as successful as Titanic, the government will let Polanski back in this country, but it's just not a very good film. Not One Less is the Chinese film about a 13-year-old schoolteacher. It has some finely crafted points about human behavior that sneak up on you; go see it--you'll like it.

GLOWING GOATS. If you've had any concerns or doubts about the polluting and industrial destruction of our beautiful North Coast by Santa Cruz Biotechnology and their biomedical goat factory, tonight's the night (March 15) to do something about it. Santa Cruz Biotech wants to increase the number of goats it experiments on from 1,650 to 4,000, and the public can comment on this North Coast invasion at a scoping session in the County Supervisors chambers at 7pm. The County Planning Department will hear comments, criticisms and suggestions about what should be included in the environmental impact report. Neighbors and environmentalists are worried that this industrial goat business will create what photographer Frans Lanting and Chris Eckstrom call "a mall-like cluster of huge barns, manure bunkers, silos, parking lots and a security light sight- visible from miles around the Monterey Bay, especially from Wilder Ranch State Park." Items such as water use and resources, the carrying capacity of the land and what impact will traffic have on the neighbors need to be discussed, and why wasn't there adequate notice about tonight's meeting? Peter Vissal, who represents Santa Cruz Biotech, buttonholed me at the recent Santa Cruz High-Tech Expo. After a very heated diatribe on why raising 4,000 goats for biomedicine was really agricultural in nature, he further claimed that Supervisor Mardi Wormhoudt used incorrect data in talking about Santa Cruz Biotech's impact. He also said Frans Lanting's photographs of the operation were distorted to make the fencing look bad. He concluded by saying the county's pollution statistics in general were all faulty. I assume he'll be there tonight to tell the county that stuff face to face--it should be an interesting evening. Whether you make it to the meeting or not, write a personal note to Kim Tschantz, Deputy Environmental Coordinator, 701 Ocean St., Santa Cruz, 95060, and tell him what you think should be on that EIR. Remember what that land looked like before Santa Cruz Biotechnology moved in?

CELEBRATING DOUG RAND. On Sunday (March 19) at 3pm, you can go to the Santa Cruz Vets Hall and see a display tribute to Doug Rand. At 3:30, there'll be a celebration of music, talk and remembrances by lots of friends of Doug's, and there'll be a potluck after that. Then at 6:30pm, everyone will do a candlelight walk to the Collateral Damage statue by the Town Clock and hold a memorial vigil. Be sure to bring candles and some kind of candleholders. Have you noticed that since he died, you start seeing people who look like Doug? It's going to be a very long time, most likely measured in generations, before Doug's memory and impact on our community are forgotten.

PLAZA FUNDING. There was a survey recently asking if you'd be willing to pay more for a plaza downtown, and lots of folks said they wouldn't. I don't blame them--I wouldn't either. How about a question like "If the city of Santa Cruz was able to negotiate a satisfactory deal with the property owner, and if the city of Santa Cruz promised to manage the 'social problem' and operate an exciting year-round program utilizing the plaza at Pacific and Church ... would you like a plaza there?" Then we'd have some idea of how many people think our city would be nicer with a plaza. That's what we are striving for: a way to fund the plaza by arrangement with the owner and securing some grant or land-trust money, not by asking everybody to "pay more." The Plaza Panel (or task force) met last week, and our Downtown Plaza Committee tried to communicate why we and the experts say the plaza that meets the community needs will only work in that one location. Otherwise, we'll have some designated "place" that meets no discernible purpose and will remain ineffective. The Downtown Plaza Committee will be having a meeting at Palookaville March 30. Call 475.9172 or 460.1553 for ways to help create this plaza at Church and Pacific. By the way, the owner of the property at Pacific and Church streets doesn't like publicity and has asked me not to print his name, so I'm not.

UCSC AND THE SEE MORE AQUARIUM. UCSC Prof. John Dizikes, in his Museum of Art and History talk a few weeks ago, said some surprising things. One was that universities in the United States are government-funded and are first and foremost for research. Humanities like literature, history and music are just trimming. It's colleges, which are locally controlled and funded, that focus on education and teaching. The Seymour Center at the Long Marine Lab is really impressive, and the opening day was a huge success. It's when you stop and think about the environment and ecology that was there before the lab was built (and that has been destroyed forever in the name of science) that you begin to wonder. Wouldn't it be just as nutty to cement in and drain 55 acres of ocean floor to study the ecology of the shoreline? As I've said many times, I don't want to cause any trouble, I'm just trying to straighten everything out.

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 March 15-22, 2000 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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