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Covello & Covello Historical Photograph

Mr. Pacific Avenue of the '70s and '80s: This photo was taken on June 3, 1965. The fellow with the checkered hat and plaid shirt is Chuck Abbott, shown planting a tree at his home on Lincoln Street. The others shown here are SCOPE volunteers. SCOPE staunchly stands for Santa Cruz Organization for Progress and Euthenics, and they don't stand for any nonsense either. That tree is now more than 800 years old and stands 113 feet high.

Bruce Bratton

WHAT VACANCIES? It's hard to track these kind of things down due to unsigned documents (plus Realtors and developers being what they are), but in various meetings last week, word was passed around that there's a big new development about to be announced for the Wilson property bounded by Bulkhead Street, Front Street and North Pacific Avenue. I've heard that Kelly's French Pastries is moving into the Museum of Art and History building's restaurant space. Not only that, but the former Crown Books' space has an occupant; the main floor of the Cooper House is filled up; the ground floor of the new University Town Center has filled all its retail spaces; and Cat N' Canary's old building has somebody moving in. In addition to that, Palace Art & Office Supply is moving someplace else on Pacific. I don't personally believe it, but even Randall Kane sez he's going to clean up his toiletlike frontage between the Catalyst and Johnny's Sport Shop on Pacific. This city has really come alive lately. It almost goes without saying that since the downtown has succeeded so beautifully without any business or structure at Pacific and Church street, why not beautify the community with a plaza right there?

MURMURMOUS MOVIES. Jim Jarmusch fans will have to see Ghost Dog, starring Forrest Whitaker. It's probably Jarmusch's funniest and most easily understood film. Newcomers need a warning that it's a very dark humor, but it is humor. The only Shakespeare in Romeo Must Die is in that title. The movie is another in the karate-drug-gang-territory-warfare genre. This one's supposed to be set in Oakland, and the title scenes were done there, but most of it was filmed in Vancouver for some reason. Mifune is a Danish comedy. That means it has people named Kresten, Rud, Liva and Bjarke who are all deep, complex characters interacting in ways that really aren't funny until you step way back and think about it. Go see it, but be patient--the humor takes a while to catch on. Murmurous means producing murmurs, I looked it up.

WHAT'S 1.5 MILLION? Maynard Manson's now asking the city for a $1.5 million subsidy for his oft-threatened project of housing and some retail space at Laurel and Chestnut streets. The housing consists of a mix of rent categories. If Manson doesn't build there, who will? Do we wait for UCSC to grab it? They've become the big land grabber, but as far as much-needed city revenue from taxes, UCSC doesn't help much.

DOUG RAND'S REAL LEGACY. We've heard lately about E.A. Chase's Collateral Damage sculpture being Doug Rand's legacy to the community. One longtime Santa Cruzan and many others have been more vocal on the topic by saying Doug's real legacy to the community was his successful stopping of Scott Kennedy's political power. When Kennedy's maneuvering of the ill-conceived Beach Plan was defeated many political plans were changed. Now we've got Carol Fuller rumored to be running for City Council to take up where Cynthia Mathews left off, and Kennedy and Michael Hernandez are beginning to make appearances together at the politically correct functions. This should be a wild City Council race.

PAN TADEUSZ, A SPECIAL MOVIE. If you watched the Oscars last Sunday--and who didn't--you saw the special tribute paid in the form of a Lifetime Achievement award presented to 74-year-old Polish director Andrzej Wajda. Wajda directed such films as The Wedding and Canal. Santa Cruzans have a unique and exclusive chance to see his latest and, according to reports, greatest film, Pan Tadeusz. It'll be shown once only at 10:15am at Cinema 9 on Saturday (April 1). Pan Tadeusz is based on an epic poem and is described as a historical romantic saga. It's 21/2 hours long, in case you're also planning on going to the Civic Birthday party at noon that day. Check out both the film and Wajda at http://www.mediagalleries.com. You can get tickets at the door if you get there early--or try calling 662.0612.

BOARDWALK SAFETY. Don't you secretly wish the Boardwalk would have taken a more positive stand on the state's wanting to enforce a ride-safety law at amusement parks? Instead, we got the Boardwalk's predictable response stating how its standards are higher than the state's and--as Ann Parker, PR director for the Boardwalk, was quoted in the Sentinel--saying that the public probably doesn't want the Boardwalk to have to do too much paperwork in reporting "every scraped knuckle"! Ann even brought up confidentiality as a reason why the Boardwalk doesn't want to do "unnecessary reporting" of injuries. She said if you hurt yourself and you didn't want anybody to know you were at the Boardwalk, the newly required reports might ruin confidentiality. How great it would have been if the Boardwalk would have taken a position like "Our safety standards are so much higher and so much better than the state's, we not only welcome safety experts, but we'll even teach them how we do it." But no such thing. So now we have the curious situation where portable rides like those at the county fair are more legally controlled and safer than the permanent rides at our growing amusement parks around the country--go figure.

DOWNTOWN PLAZA MEETING TOMORROW NIGHT. What the Sentinel left out of its report on the recent consumer and retail business surveys and market assessments of our downtown (as performed by Hovee & Co. and other consultants under the direction of the City Council) is that our downtown is financially very healthy. Bob Odermatt of the Odermatt Group stated that downtown Santa Cruz is not only healthy, attractive and vital but that other cities would die to have this downtown even without the department store. Another problem was raised about what the competition from a department store would do to existing clothing and many other stores on Pacific. We'll be discussing all of that and more about why we need a plaza--specifically on the corner of Pacific and Church streets--tomorrow (March 30) at 7pm in the London Nelson Community Center. Please call 475.9172 or 460.1553 to get involved with the Downtown Plaza Committee.

MATTERS CULTURAL. The Civic was packed for the Santa Cruz Symphony's playing of Vivaldi and Stravinsky, and it should have been--it was a fine performance. The City Council chambers were packed, too, for Claire Schneeberger's preperformance talk. Advance word on the Cabrilho College Mainstage production of The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade is that it's very good. It opens Friday and runs through April 16 at the Cabrilho College Theatre. Call 423.9808 for more info about the play or call the Cabrilho Ticket office at 479.6331. Don Monkerud's book Free Land--Free Love: Tales of a Wilderness Commune is just about a primer on the '60s. It also tells more about Michael Tierra than you've probably ever known. Go hear them at Bookshop Santa Cruz tonight (March 29) at 7:30pm. Anybody remember the Pogonip-area commune Rancho Retardo? I won't name names, so don't worry.


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

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From the March 29-April 5, 2000 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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