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Geoffrey Dunn Historical Photo Collection

Parade on Pacific, 1928: Parades went south and north on Pacific Avenue in those days. The closest float is a veterans' tribute, the second one celebrates Columbus' landing in Santa Cruz so he could help Chuck Abbott plant that tree from the April Fool's historic photo. This parade view looks like it was taken about in front of Dell Williams jewelers or Marini's Downtown candy shoppe.

Bruce Bratton

DOWNTOWN ECONOMICS. According to a recent retail market assessment done by Hovee & Company for the city of Santa Cruz, rents for retail space per square foot per month are: Capitola Village $1.75, Capitola Mall $2.25 and Pacific Avenue $1.90. The report also says that 66 percent of Pacific Avenue businesses have been there between 11 to more than 20 years; 35 percent have been in business for more than 20 years. Seventy-eight percent of the Pacific Avenue said they were not planning to relocate outside of downtown. Fifty-five percent of the Santa Cruz Downtown Business Community reported a higher volume of business this year than in prior years. There's going to be another meeting of the City Council­appointed members of the Plaza Panel on April 28. In the aforementioned Downtown Retail Program-Research Phase findings, it was suggested that the city could consider a design competition for the design of the plaza "to identify a broad range of design alternatives and to create community interest and input." Our Downtown Plaza Committee agrees with that, and also hopes that soon the city will talk with plaza experts to learn what is necessary to make a plaza work. The Downtown Plaza Committee meets at Palookaville on Wednesday (April 26) at 7pm. We'll go through all the reasons why the corner of Pacific and Church has to be the first plaza in the downtown area. The other sites that Cynthia Mathews and Michael Hernandez keep talking about are fine, too, but there's a time priority on the Pacific and Church property or else we'll lose it just as we did the Cooper House Corner. Call 475.9172 or 460.1553 if you want to help. We should be getting the info tables started up again; that's how we got the 3,000 signatures of support in such a short time.

A MATTER OF PRIDE. It was recently announced (as I was writing this column) that Ms. Hillary Bratton (oldest daughter and mother to grandson Henry) has left Sony Columbia Music, where she produced children's CDs featuring John Denver, John Lithgow, Tony Bennett and others. Next week, she joins Rhino Records as director of A&R, which means artists and repertoire--and a big move up. Not only that, but she's a nice person, too.

MORE WASHINGTON, D.C., HOT NEWS. Congressman Sam Farr invited Teresa Thomae, who runs the Central Coast Small Business Development Center at Cabrilho, and Bill Gates to address the Congressional Committee on Small Business. I even saw the letter from Farr and another one from Richard Gephardt, Democratic leader, extending the invitation. Teresa will probably open with something from Verdi and close with a little Puccini. It's nice to have local talent recognized, and you can bet that Teresa will have plenty to tell them.

A COUPLE OF QUESTIONS. The boycott against Amazon.com for selling Elders of Zion is growing, and folks are now asking if Borders did, does or will sell this anti-Semitic propaganda. Don't you think it would be a good idea when the first big-box chain store pulls out of Gateway Plaza, due to "corporate decisions" like the ones that the head offices of J.C. Penney and McWhorter's made, that we turn that space into a performing-arts center? Think of the parking, the accessibility and the really ugly buildings that only artists could love and make lookable and usable.

CABRILHO, THE MAN BEHIND THE NAME. Louise Alves English wrote me a letter with some enclosures in March that deserves half a book to report on and respond to. I'll try to give you some of the more interesting and important things. The Cabrillo Civic Clubs of California have existed since 1934, and Louise has been a member of the Cabrillo Civic Club #34 of Santa Cruz since its inauguration on June 27, 1959. It was the Cabrillo Civic Clubs that are responsible for naming Highway One Cabrillo Highway. The Santa Cruz Club also commissioned a Portuguese sculptor to do a bust of Joao Rodrigues Cabrilho and gave it to Cabrillo College in June 1966. Louis translated an article by Arthur Ribeiro in Mundo Portugues (Portuguese World) titled "Cabrillo or Cabrilho? Spanish or Portuguese? The Doubts and the Uncertainties About the Identity of the Discoverer of California." The article tells about the original home of Joao Rodrigues Cabrilho being in the village of Cabril, Portugal. It tells of other famous Portuguese navigators such as Dias, da Gama, Cabral and Magellan. Magellan's real name was Magalhaes, and like Cabrilho, he was employed by Spain as a navigator. Our man helped Cortez conquer Mexico and was an archer with Narvaez's troops in Cuba. Harry Kelsey wrote a biography about Joao, which has often been cited as final word that it was Cabrillo, but Ribeiro says in Mundo Portugues that Kelsey never offers any proof for Cabrilho being Spanish. Cabrilho added greatly to early history and deserves to be properly recognized.

SOME VERY GOOD FILMS. Even Sandra Bullock's 28 Days isn't all bad. Sandra does her cute thing, and there are at least four plots that ended up on the cutting-room floor, but it's a fair movie. Judy Berlin proves that Edie Falco of HBO's The Sopranos and Oz is one helluva actress (or actor as the case may be). I thought Keeping the Faith was one of the funniest feel-good major releases of the year. It's worth seeing just for Jenna Elfman's handling of the role of the beautiful blonde with lots of power. Titus, the movie, is an incredible adaptation of Shakespeare's most confusing play. If you think of Fellini meeting Shakespeare--and you will think of Fellini in this one--you end up with a film that requires at least two viewings. Be sure to go see Orphans knowing that it's full of very black, dark humor--and you'll love it. Black and White really stars Mike Tyson; he's the only thing people talk about after seeing this film. It has some fine scenes but no coherent script or direction. Me Myself I is a well-done Australian comedy. It's one of those "living your life over what if" films--go for it. Ebony Magazine film authority Elza Minor has always claimed Samuel L. Jackson makes too many films and should give other black actors a chance. After seeing Rules of Engagement, I agree. Jackson is excellent as usual, but as usual, he goes over the top and outshouts himself.

NOTES IN CLOSING. Nancy Benney of Judi Wyant Antiques made me an offer I couldn't refuse on the new Sacagawea gold dollar. It's pretty and very politically correct, but I still miss the really big silver dollars. ...Carolyn Swift, author, columnist, historian and director of the Capitola museum, is giving a talk titled "Soquel: Where Life Is a Bowl of Cherries" on Tuesday (April 25) at 7:30pm at the Porter Memorial Library. She's the first speaker in the local history series that runs monthly. Call 475.3326. When you go, ask Carolyn what Aptos means and see what she says. ... Anybody else agree that the new vineyards along Highway 101 near San Ardo and growing all the way to Santa Barbara are terribly ugly? I've always thought of everything associated with grapes and wines as romantic, but these vineyards are completely inhuman. They are so precisely and mechanically laid out that you see moiré patterns when you drive by. Those vineyards also make you appreciate just how beautiful even the government-subsidized cows on the green and brown rolling hills used to be. How much wine can we drink anyway?


Bruce critiques films every other Thursday at 12:50pm on KUSP (88.9FM). Reach Bruce at bratton@cruzio.com or leave messages at 457.9000, ext. 400.

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From the April 19-26, 2000 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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