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The Real Cooper House: For folks who just got here, this is the original Cooper House . I'm guessing this was taken during the mid-'80s. It was the county courthouse and was built in 1894. It was going to be demolished until local entrepreneur Max Walden purchased it and opened a bar, restaurant and several locally owned businesses. It was retro-fitted before the earthquake and, according to many experts, could have been rehabbed after the 1989 quake, but the present owner tore it down and left the lot vacant for nearly 10 years before building the present Stucco Station, or the "Not Cooper House," as one regular reader wants to call it.

Bruce Bratton

DEPOT REVISITED. The county Planning Department gave Home Depot until July 5 to respond to some "missing information" in its application to build at the corner of Soquel and 41st. One of the many "interesting points" covered was how many current Home Depot employees would be relocated here and how many locals would be employed. The Redevelopment Agency stated that the building design submitted "consists of little more than a tilt-up structure" and needs to set the character for this community corridor. The agency said, "Franchise-type architecture may not achieve an appropriate level of compatibility and is not encouraged." The proposed signage isn't consistent with our sign ordinance, and they've got drainage problems and need to include some bus turnouts. But don't you figure that Home Depot's high-priced flack people and expert planners have chewed up counties like ours many times in the past? Don't you think they'll meet all these meager requests and even surpass them, because they've got so many fall-back plans and so many millions of dollars to be made? Let's all take bets on how Jeff Almquist will vote on Home Depot. Maybe he's already taken a stand--I haven't heard yet.

CONTROVERSY IN L.A. One of the weekly papers in L.A. has aroused all sorts of reactions by publishing www.dancesafe.org and bayarea@dancesafe.org. These are websites for the Dance Safe organization, a nonprofit group founded in Berkeley last year that believes in making rave dosing less risky. These websites detail information about current drugs and what dosages can be lethal. As the paper stated, "These groups cleave to the same principles that birthed needle-exchange programs and helped reduce the spread of AIDS." Even anti-drug groups such as Partnership for a Drug Free America are opposed to Dance Safe's information approach and the fact that they will also test your drugs for you and tell you if they're safe. T'would be interesting to know how opinions run on this topic in forward-thinking, progressive Santa Cruz.

BOOKSHOP WEEKEND. As you probably know, Bookshop Santa Cruz is giving a 20 percent discount this Friday and Saturday. You've probably also heard that B------s opens for real this weekend. The website to sign up for that boycott against B------s is www.roguecom./no2borders.html. Check out the site and see if your name doesn't belong there. Riane Eisler, author of The Chalice and the Blade, will be at the Bookshop Thursday (June 16). Pat Arnold, local activist and practioner of World Peace, will be there on June 28 to sign her new autobiography. The real Michael Warren will be talking about this year's Shakespeare Santa Cruz plays on July 10.

AVENUE NEWS. After Palace Stationers moves into the empty former Crown space on Pacific Avenue, the Pacific Trading Company will be opening an expansion of its business in the present Palace Stationery Store. Pacific Trading will continue operating its present business, so this will be a huge expansion for the store.

A PUZZLEMENT. If you've been wondering why Almquist has been siding with Tony Campos and Walt Symons on recent issues such as the biotech goat disaster on our north coast, you have a lot of company. Some wonder about his seeking a larger support base for future political aims, while others just figure he's lost it in general. The next few months will provide more clues.

THAT SCAN MEETING. The SCAN meeting on May 31 produced voices, opinions and exchanges that hadn't been heard at SCAN meetings since the very early years. What was new about this meeting, but is rapidly becoming expected, was the huge attendance. There were 85 or more folks there, if you include Rod Quartararo, Mike Schmidt, Vic Marani and Norm Lezin. Those guys were there to push district elections, test the waters, gauge the competition and figure out what, if anything, they could do to get SCAN's support. They learned that SCAN was overwhelmingly opposed to this attempt to create district elections as a way of removing progressives from the City Council. What should now be obvious is that even with all the open discussions, the tempered exchanges and the seemingly laid-back organization, SCAN is growing even stronger. If you'd like to join SCAN and find out how you can become an active part of some very exciting political times, and help defeat district elections one more time, call 458.9425.

SEABRIGHT CIRCUS SOLSTICE PARADE. Don't miss the world's first Seabright Community Parade. It begins at 11am at what used to be the Rio Theatre and marches and floats down Seabright to end in the parking lot of Day's Market. As was true with our last two parades downtown, everybody's welcome. If you want to do a float, a flatbed or a wheelchair juggle or you want to dance--or whatever--just be at the Rio at 10am. Seabright is a fine and historic community, and this parade should be at least unforgettable. Call Adam Taylor at 469.4464 to get specifics.

WATSONVILLE, I APOLOGIZE. I've received more than the reaction I expected from Watsonville this week. South county artists and book lovers have asked me never again to wish either a Kinkade Gallery or a Borders on them. They feel blighted enough with Target and already have Crossroads Bookstore on Main Street, so maybe that leaves San Luis Obispo or some other jerkwater town as a repository for these mega monsters. Who could care about San Luis Obispo?

ABOUT DIGITAL CABLE. I know it costs extra to get channels 501 through 593, but I tell you there are some fine films we've never seen hereabouts (that I remember). Channels like the International Film Channel that comes from various foreign lands, the Independent Film channel, six Encore channels, two Starz channels, three HBO and four Showtime--then, of course, Bravo, regular HBO, Cinemax and more. What do you see? Well, such marvels as Léolo (1992), Jean-Claude Lauzon, director; Medea (1997), Lars von Trier, director; Hollow Reed (1996); Darkman 3; On the Ropes; The Man in the Moon (1991), with Reese Witherspoon; Walk on the Moon (1999), starring Diane Lane and Anna Paquin. Those were all great films. Then there was Picking Up the Pieces (2000), with Woody Allen, Sharon Stone, Kiefer Sutherland and David Schwimmer, which was the least funny and most embarrassing film I've ever seen Woody or Kiefer or even Sharon in. Other films include The Little Heaven (Le Petit Ciel), Maladie d'Amour, John Turturro's Mac, Harvey Keitel's Shadrach and more.

GREENER THAN THOU. Medea Benjamin, the Green Party candidate for the U.S. Senate, will be speaking at a fundraising dinner for the Green Party on Saturday (June 17). Medea was here with Ralph Nader and spoke at the Santa Cruz Civic; she's very sharp. Call 471.6202 for details about the dinner or the Green Party.

S.F'S FIFTH ANNUAL SILENT FILM FESTIVAL. I've been to a few silent film screenings and festivals, including some in L.A., and none compare to the one-day San Francisco Silent Film Festival. The festival, which takes play July 9, is held in the elegant Castro Theatre using their mighty organ as accompaniment. They'll show Rin Tin Tin in The Clash of the Wolves at 11am, The Peach Girl, a rare Chinese silent film made in 1931, at 1:20pm; Fay Wray stars in Erich von Stroheim's The Wedding March at 4pm--and Fay will be there in person! Buster Keaton's Steamboat Bill, Jr. will be screened at 8:30pm. Most of the screenings were sold out last year, so call 415.777.4908 or check online at www.silentfilm.org. I'll meet you there.


Bruce critiques films every other Thursday on KUSP (88.9FM) at 12:50pm. Reach Bruce at bratton@cruzio.com or at 457.5814, ext. 400.

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From the June 14-21, 2000 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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