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Bruce Bratton

[whitespace] historical parade
Covello & Covello Historical Photo Collection

Another Parade on Pacific Avenue: Once again I don't have a clue about the date, or reason for this parade, but that's always been the fun behind printing some of these historical photos, just to get the feedback. I'd guess it was taken about where Cinema 9 is on Pacific Avenue and maybe circa 1920. Any data would be more than welcome.

WHERE'S THE CHAIRS? If I remember correctly, the city spent some big bucks trying to make Plaza Lane look nice. Plaza Lane is the lane behind the ID building; it runs past Corbin Gallery, Rhythm Fusion, Giltwood Studios and the back end of Chefworks. It's a nice place to visit, but there are no chairs there. The businesses were supposed to set out chairs every day and take them in every night, but they aren't. Sometimes there are two or three haphazardly around, but something like about 40 or 50 would be very nice--and we would have a fine place to meet until we get the Plaza planted.

MOVING RIGHT ALONG. Matt Thompson of Thacher & Thompson Architects tells me that if we'll promise to have Warmth back playing at the new Plaza, he'll be there. Matt also supplied the Plaza Committee with a website full of photos and drawings of internationally known plazas, which we'll be showing soon. None of the Santa Cruz City Council spoke against the Plaza idea at the budget meeting last week, plus they provided many new ideas of how the Plaza can be created. More than 400 signatures were collected in just two sessions, and many, many of the signers want public toilets in the Plaza. Former Mayor John Mahaney, Realtor Harriet Deck, Museum of Art and History director Chuck Hilger, Ceil Benedetto, Bill Fieberling, Tony Livoti, Tom Bihn, Tom Karwin, Graciella Hernandez, Hugh Carter and hundreds of other believers in our Downtown have added their names to our rapidly growing group of concerned citizens for beautifying the corner of Pacific and Church streets. Watch for and sign the petition and call Carli Stevens at 475-9172 to help make the Plaza a reality.

JUST ONE MOVIE. I saw almost all of The Loss of Sexual Innocence but missed the ending, which was unfortunate because I haven't a clue what that film was attempting to accomplish, except maybe as a study in hand-held camera techniques or how to confuse a story by some mystifying cutting and editing. I was busy last week being enthralled by the four operas in Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen as produced by the San Francisco Opera. Before and after those operas, we went to San Francisco's Gay Pride parade, the current Bill Viola show at the SFMOMA and the newest production of the Kinsey Sicks, an a cappella drag quartet. We also visited San Francisco's great new plaza between Metreon, SFMOMA and the Yerba Buena Center. Their plaza has a magnificent waterfall more or less dedicated to Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. We could have a version of that waterfall in our Plaza too. Go see it, if you're up that way.

WHAT'S IN A NAME? There are many historical as well as cultural reasons to name the new plaza Plaza. In 1918 the Plaza Land Office used to be where Louie Rittenhouse's Bear Building now sits. After that, we had the Plaza Bakery, Plaza Books and other Plaza things, which I'm sure I'll hear about very soon. In addition, plaza has a fine early Mexican flavor to it. Most of the folks I've talked to think plaza is friendlier than park or square.

THE SILENT-FILM FESTIVAL. Former UCSC student Stephen Salmons now heads the Fourth Annual San Francisco Silent Film Festival. The Festival happens Sunday, July 11, at the Castro Theatre in S.F. They'll be screening some animation rarities plus hosting some live people from UCLA's Film & Television Archives at 11am. MGM's lavish 1927 silent classic Love, with Greta Garbo and John Gilbert, screens at 1:30 with Dennis James accompanying on the Mighty Castro Wurlitzer organ. The Russian thriller Po Zakonu (By the Law) shows at 4pm, and Michael Mortilla will debut his original piano score. Closing the all-day festival is the first Academy Award winner, Wings, starring Clara Bow, Buddy Rogers and Richard Arlen. This will be a brand-new print of Wings made by the Library of Congress. You can purchase tickets at the theater that day starting at 10am. Call 415/552-2075 for more information. P.S. I've always believed silent films were a completely different art form than talkies and even superior to sound films in many ways.

JOHN HOYT DAY. John Hoyt starred in films, stage, radio and lots of TV shows. He was a member of Orson Welles Mercury Theatre and appeared in such classic films as Julius Caesar, Brute Force, Spartacus and When Worlds Collide, with Barbara Rush and Richard Derr. John was a longtime Santa Cruz resident, and the Nickelodeon Theatre is presenting a free screening of When Worlds Collide at 11am Saturday, July 10, followed by a discussion with Kurt Havemann, co-owner of Mr. Goodie's and John Hoyt's stepson. Next month, the Nick will be saluting actor John Beal with one of his features and a discussion with his daughter Tandy.

DAVENPORT BAR-B-QUE. Now's a perfectly good time to plan driving north to celebrate the sixth annual Davenport Bar-B-Que at the St. Vincent De Paul Catholic Church. It goes from 11am to only 3pm. They're having an Astro Jump, live music, food and a raffle. All monies will go to the ongoing restoration of the cement church built with donated cement and donated labor way back in 1914, so it's obviously a good cause. Call 461-1653 for information.

CAROL SUMMERS SHOW. That's Mister Carol Summers, in case you just got here. Carol is arguably one of the finest woodcut artists in the world today. He's been a longtime Santa Cruz County resident, and the Museum of Art and History is exhibiting a 50-year retrospective of his works July 10 through Sept. 19. I last saw a few of Carol's works in Pittsburgh, PA., quite some years ago, and believe me, this is a rare opportunity to see what you've been missing. MAH will also be showing a turn-of-the-century photo exhibit and artwork by Lisa Dale Miller. Be sure to take your summer visitors, they'll be impressed.

SHAKESPEARE AT THE NICK. Starting Friday and for the next five Friday noons, the Nickelodeon Theatre and Shakespeare Santa Cruz present their free lunch-time lectures on the featured attractions of the Shakespeare season. They'll do Two Gentlemen of Verona this Friday, followed by Romeo and What's Her Name on July 16, George Bernard Shaw's Arms and the Man on July 23 and two more after that. You can ask questions, find out which periods they're doing them in and all that behind-the-scenes stuff. Call 459-2121 for information.

PALINDROMES REVISITED. Jon Govsky gave me this one at Cruzio's big open-house celebration last week, but he gave Tom Noddy credit for writing it: "Did rats pop a one-lb. bubble? No, a pop star did." If you haven't anything else to do, try writing one of these palindromes, it'll drive you crazy. I realize that doesn't say much for either Noddy or Govsky but then again ...


Bruce critiques films on KUSP-FM (89) every other Thursday at 12:50pm.

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From the July 7-14, 1999 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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