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The Smell of Young America: Posy-clutching UCSC grad Jordan Morris (l) hosts KZSC's May 14 Laugh Riot, which includes the likes of comedian Jesse Thorn (r) who'll doubtless subject his particular posy to the withering heights of humor.

Nüz

Tanning the Tannery

Not everyone is thrilled with the impending TANNERY ARTS CENTER, the industrial renewal project headed by the SANTA CRUZ REDEVELOPMENT AGENCY in partnership with ARTSPACE, a nonprofit dedicated to creating affordable space for artists, that would convert the old tannery into an artist live/work space. At a Planning Commission meeting last Thursday night, brothers RICK and RUSTY SANTEE--owners of CENTRAL HOME SUPPLY, the landscaping and building supply outfit located right next to the Tannery site--expressed their support for almost all aspects of the project, except for (a) the part about housing people in an industrial zone, and (b) the part where the city buys CalTrans' Park and Ride lot out from under CHS, which currently leases the property.

In a memo to the Planning Department, project director GEORGE NEWELL wrote that the Park and Ride lot purchase idea has been dropped. All of which leaves the housing concern dangling.

"We are in an industrial zone," says Rusty Santee, "and that's not usually a very good place to live. It floods along the river; that's not usually a very good place to live. There are no schools in the area; that's not usually a very good place to live. We have one of the most impacted traffic intersections at Highway 1 and Highway 9; that's not usually a very good place to live." In concrete terms, Rusty points out that CHS uses diesel trucks and loaders with backup alarms that are out and about at what Nüz groggily considers an ungodly hour: 6:30am, to be exact.

But Newell feels that "reasonable and responsible" adjustments have been made to the proposal.

"By positioning the residential buildings further north as proposed in "Alternative A," writes Newell, "we will move residents further from the operations of Central Home Supply. Proper insulation will be part of the design of the housing units to diminish the potential for sound intrusion. And, finally, proper notice will be part of all lease documents to advise future residents of the fact that this is an industrial area and of the attendant conditions that accompany such an area."

For our part, Nüz plans to donate a pound of delicious, organic, free-trade coffee to the future residents of the Tannery, who, at 6:30am sometime in the distant future, will probably need it.

Preaching to the Choir

Hundreds nestled snugly into the Vets Hall last Wednesday night to hear CAMILO MEJIA--one of the first returning vets to speak out against the war in Iraq--discuss his conscientious objection to the war. The event (sponsored by the RESOURCE CENTER FOR NONVIOLENCE, among others) was not a forum to discuss the pros and cons of enlisting in the military. What Mayor MIKE ROTKIN proclaimed "Camilo Mejia Day in the City of Santa Cruz" turned out to be a spirited gathering of antiwar activists who rallied around the idea of Santa Cruz becoming a bastion of anti-recruitment and C.O. resources--and a haven for C.O.s themselves.

Mejia's story was long on compelling narrative and short on didactic rhetoric, but spotted with familiar loaded terms like "illegal and immoral war," "socioeconomic draft," "mercenary," "collateral damage," "mainstream media" and that primordial can of worms, "Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder."

In his humble acceptance speech of the mayor's proclamation, Mejia told the audience "this is not about me, this is about an entire city coming together to support the resistance. We need to support the troops that are coming forward and saying, 'No, we're not going to support this immoral war.'"

During the Q&A session there were still no signs of dissenting voices, although most of the questions were pre-allotted from groups like UCSC STUDENTS AGAINST WAR, HARBOR HIGH STUDENTS FOR PEACE & JUSTICE, the YOUTH COALITION OF SANTA CRUZ, and FREE RADIO SANTA CRUZ, all of whom maintain an explicit antiwar stance.

Nüz is usually pretty level-headed, but spending an evening in the belly of the antiwar nest leaves us with the paranoid suspicion that somewhere, somehow, our beastly mug is on some spook's list of security risks to the United States. But at least we won't be alone--right, Rotkin?

Barn Obit

THE BARN--the longstanding alternative venue located on High Street near the West Entrance of UCSC; generally populated by student believers who nurtured the culture of their college by hosting live performance art, concerts and workshops; oft-visited by anyone who happened to drive by when the lights were on (the universal sign that the barn was hosting a show); forever besieged by the looming threat of eminent destruction--has, to a town's funky and lively artistic pursuits, finally and forever closed its doors.

Or so says former Barn resident JORDAN ZELL, who notes that Barn residents were given 30 days' notice last month by their landlord TOM FRENCH, and that the Barn, two houses also on the property, horse trailers and two horses will be demolished or relocated from the premises, which will be promptly stacked with "25 or so condos." French did not return Nüz's calls as of presstime, nor did DIONYSUS, the Greek god closest to theater, to whom Nüz normally turns in times of tragedy.

KZSC Laughs

For the humor deficient, KZSC'S SECOND ANNUAL LAUGH RIOT on May 14 promises more hilarity than a fart in a yoga class. Brought to you by The Sound of Young America and the San Francisco Sketchfest, the Laugh Riot features the comedy music duo HARD N PHIRM (CHRIS HARDWICK and MIKE PHIRMAN), S.F. standup comics JASPER REDD and BRENT WEINBACH and local sketch comedy team PRANK THE DEAN and is hosted by UCSC grad JORDAN MORRIS. Saturday, Kresge Town Hall; $8-$9; 7pm.

Craft-tastic

With the popularity of home decorating shows on the rise, craft websites popping up weekly and knitting clubs taking over local coffee shops, it should come as no surprise that Santa Cruz is hosting its very own do-it-yourself (DIY) craft fair. Appropriately dubbed CRAFTALICIOUS: A MODERN CRAFT BAZAAR, the May 15 event showcases over 50 vendors from all over the Bay Area teeming with alternative crafts, demonstrations, craft-offs and organic food for sale. This edgy fair brings together all of the coolest crafters to reinvent the art and culture of homespun ingenuity. So dust off your mom's old sewing prints, grab some paint and come see a new vision for crafting. Sunday, Louden Nelson Center, 301 Center St.; donations accepted; 11am-4pm.

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From the May 11-18, 2005 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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