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Putting Out Fires

There's no doubt about it--UCSC is under fire. First, the Coalition for Limiting University Expansion is pulling out all the stops to affect UCSC'S LONG RANGE DEVELOPMENT PLAN. But student and worker activism is also giving the UCSC administration a run for its money, both literally (UC Service Workers strike on April 14) and figuratively speaking. As Nüz goes to press, students are gathering at the base of campus to form a Tent University, which organizers say will provide an alternative to a university with skewed priorities. A press release states that the alt uni will espouse "principles of solidarity, community and creativity," and that "UCSC professors, students, community members and career activists will lead classes, workshops and teach-ins on a wide variety of subjects concerning the marginalization of higher education." While the original plan was to camp out at the base of campus for a week, the UC administration promises serious consequences for violators of UC's no-camping policy.

Tent Uni organizers forwarded Nüz an email sent by Student Judicial Affairs director Doug Zuidema, who wrote that "consequences for violations of the Code of Student Conduct may include, but are not limited to: fines, restitution for damages or expenses incurred by the University, disciplinary probation, and/or suspension or dismissal."

Edelmann says that assistant Vice-Chancellor GAIL HEIT offered organizers the use of the Upper Quarry for camping purposes last Friday morning, but withdrew the offer on Friday afternoon. Heit was unavailable for comment at presstime, but campus spokeswoman LIZ IRWIN says she believes such an offer was made.

"I believe it was," says Irwin, "but it was never something that anybody said, 'That's it, we'll do it.'" Irwin also says it would be inaccurate to say that the university "reneged" on any offers made to the students, a statement that still has Nüz scratching its beastly little head.

Tideland Legalese

While the negotiations of what will become of the former tidelands--now a SEASIDE COMPANY parking lot--remain behind closed doors, Nüz got wind last week of a bill which appears to circumvent the ownership dispute and which was sponsored by state Senator JOE SIMITIAN, reportedly at the request of City Manager DICK WILSON. Asked to describe the function of SB 960, Simitian says the Santa Cruz­specific bill is "excruciatingly technical and not substantive--it's all about process and not substance. It lays out the process path by which Santa Cruz and the state and the Seaside Company could come to an agreement, if that seems possible and desirable. The bill itself is just a process issue to accommodate the conversation."

Nüz hates deciphering legalese, but we noticed the word "exchange" cropping up in the bill a lot--23 times to be exact--and the more specific phrase "land exchange" appears three times in the opening digest. It also points out that any land exchange between the city and the Seaside Company would be subject to approval by the CALIFORNIA STATE LANDS COMMISSION, which Simitian says also helped negotiate settlements at Treasure Island, Vallejo and Hunter's point.

Self-Made Men

Some of the subcultures of local photographer Jana Marcus' photo documentaries--vampires, NYC punk rockers and S&M enthusiasts, for instance--don't exactly require a keen eye to see what makes them unusual. Like Baudelaire and the rest of the dandies, Marcus' subjects wear their differences on the outside, presenting the voyeuristic yin plenty of exhibitionist yang.

Marcus' award-winning thesis work, titled Transfigurations: The Making of a Man, on display at the SJSU Transgender Symposium May 2­5, works in exactly the opposite direction, gently exposing dramatic questions of gender and sexual identity beneath the rather plain and unambiguously masculine exteriors of transsexual men. Marcus says some viewers don't notice anything unusual about the 30- by 30-foot portraits until they read the accompanying text, which Marcus distilled from intimate interviews with the subjects.

"When they realize they're women," says Marcus, "they go back and look at the whole show again."

Not that the whole show is subtle--the title is sufficiently descriptive, and post-surgery nudes explicitly convey the physical truth of the matter. But the majority of the show is intentionally nonsensationalist.

"What gets asked a lot is, 'What do your genitals look like?'" says Marcus. "I really wanted to kind of take the focus off of that, and put the focus on the thought process of what kind of men they wanted to be."

The sympathetic sociological dimension in her Transfigurations makes it significant to participants, curators and magazine editors alike--Photo District News has included photographs from Transfigurations among its "Best Photos of the Year" for 2004 and 2005.

The transgendered men's ability to pass as men is particularly interesting to Marcus, who was inspired by a former renter who lived with her for eight months before he revealed--to her complete surprise--that he had been a woman seven years prior.

"I realized that transgender men look so much like men that we don't realize they are part of our society--they really pass in society," says Marcus. "I had never met a transgender man before, and I realized this was a secret, mysterious world of transformation not often talked about in everyday society."

Marcus's show also inspired the Transgender Awareness Week and Symposium, an event peopled with artists, speakers and writers dealing with the transgender experience, which happens at the SJSU Art Building at 1 Washington Square in San Jose May 3­6. Visit www.sjsu.edu/transweek for more information.

The Future Is Now

While stem cell therapy may be widely performed in California in the future, the diseases it may one day cure aren't waiting, and neither is local glass-blowing artist STEVEN LUNDBERG. He's been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, better known as LOU GEHRIG's disease, and is already seeking stem cell therapy in Bejing, China, where, according to a recent CBS News story, a clinic has helped ALS patients improve their speech.

LARRY H. SELMAN will sponsor a live auction of over 150 glass art objects donated from around the world. The proceeds of the auction will benefit Lundberg's expensive medical costs. The auction will take place on May 7 at the Vets Hall, 846 Front St., Santa Cruz; objects for auction can be previewed on the web at www.theglassgallery.com, at the Glass Gallery at 123 Locust St., or at the Vets Hall at 11:30am on the day of the auction.

Still Cruzin'

The second installment of "Cruz to the Future," the city's community outreach effort to involve y'all in the writing of the new general plan, featuring performances, entertainment and interactive educational exhibits, happens Saturday, April 23, Bay View Elementary School, 1241 Bay View St., Santa Cruz, from noon to 4pm.

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From the April 20-27, 2005 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

Copyright © Metro Publishing Inc. Maintained by Boulevards New Media.

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