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Covello & Covello Historical Photo Collection

The Lost Sound, Circa 1970: This is a very rare photo featuring (left to right) Tom Scribner, Arlene Sutton and Herman Olson. Tom is the subject of the Musical Saw Statue in front of Bookshop Santa Cruz. These three musicians played all over the county calling themselves The Lost Sound. It's because of Tom and the statue that we have the annual world-famous Musical Saw Festival here this weekend.

Bruce Bratton

SCAN GOOD GOVT. FORUM. About 60 people attended SCAN's Good Govt. Forum last Saturday at the Vets Hall. City Council candidates Dick Doubrava, Ed Porter, Scott Bugental, Arnie Leff and Pat Clark were there. Scott Kennedy got there late and left early--and told me Monday morning that he's not a candidate. I didn't get a chance to give my advice to the candidates. I was merely going to say that in Santa Cruz all our neighborhoods, even without district elections, have a very active role in decision-making and control over their backyards. Think of MetroBase, Arana Gulch, the Fish Hook Curve, etc. The only area that lacks local care and protection (because so few live there) is our downtown. We have allowed developers, Realtors and businesses to dictate what happens to our downtown. We need to realize that it should contain businesses that are necessary to our community--that keep our downtown alive and thriving. Any City Council candidates need to pay attention to any-size businesses wanting to open on Pacific and the few other blocks in the downtown area. What issues were covered at the forum? Oh, things like the city's relation to the university, water shortages and growth, THE PLAZA, the living wage, the homeless, transportation, affordable housing and a very meaningful question: Are we a community that welcomes the unwealthy? It was an excellent meeting, and we need many more of them.

ONE GREAT RERUN. The last time you saw Blood Simple on the big screen was 1984, and if you think you remember it pretty well, you're wrong. It's way darker, funnier and more complex than anybody could recall. This was the Coen brothers' first film. They went on to do Fargo, Raising Arizona, Barton Fink, The Big Lebowski and The Hudsucker Proxy. Frances McDormand, star of Blood Simple, won an Academy Award for Fargo, married Joel Coen and starred in Darkman, Lone Star, Short Cuts and The Butcher's Wife. I said all that to convince you to see Blood Simple again, because it makes so much difference seeing it on the big screen. On the other hand, you are better off remembering Rocky and Bullwinkle on the small screen; the live-action Robert De Niro version is a bomb in any dimension. Human Traffic is an excellent film about coming of age in Britain. It is surprisingly good, and it won't be at the Nick much longer.

ONE MORE CORRECTION. In my effort to show there are a lot of funny links behind the business interests supporting district elections two weeks ago, this column read as if Norm Lezin was somehow connected to Coast Commercial Bank. It was an editorial error, and I acknowledged that last week. I also just got a handwritten note from Norm; he wants to make it even more clear that "I am not an official of Coast Commercial Bank, don't own any of their stock, don't even have an account there." He goes on to say his kids now own 90 percent of Salz Leathers, Inc., etc. Norm didn't mention how he feels about the living wage; I'll ask him when I see him.

NICK II. It's going slower than anybody wants, but the paperwork on the new Nickelodeon II over at Front and Laurel is "on track," according to Nick owner Jim Schwenterly. The car lot is outta there, the city will create a temporary parking lot at that corner and the New Nick will be open six months after they (Barry Swenson) start the internal work. I think I mentioned that they are completely gutting the insides of the old movie house there and creating three new auditoriums, plus a couple of businesses as yet undetermined.

BORDERS WEBSITE AND OTHER ITEMS. Several readers called it to my attention, and it probably isn't part of a sneaky plot. The Borders website lists Santa Cruz as a Southern California city--talk about relating to your community and out-of-town corporations! John Robinson, who was at The Sentinel when I wrote there, has now taken Ann Parker's old job as public relations manager for the Seaside Corporation. John used to work at the White House, so maybe he can straighten things out in Beach Flats, because the Boardwalk is such a powerful owner of so much of the property in contention. Calvin and Hobbes fans should check out www.calvinandhobbes.com--the site prints a "new" 13-year-old strip every day.

CULTURAL COUNCIL NEWS. According to their press release last Monday morning, Lynn Magruder, executive director of the Cultural Council of Santa Cruz County, "is departing to pursue her commitment to social services." Who outside the council can guess what that means? Liz Lindsley, former arts education director of the council, will take over for two to six months. For a nonprofit, community-based organization, the Cultural Council sure has been a very secret group. The good old council has been getting lots of internal flack over the last few years for not doing enough for the arts as in artists and for centering too much on SPECTRA and Open Studios--and for not pursuing big-time funding more actively. Then, too, there's that mysterious Cultural Action Plan the council created. Nobody understands this plan; it's nearly a year old and hasn't exactly taken the world by storm yet. Maybe, just maybe, a new director and some new leadership could change all that.

TWENTY-FIRST ANNUAL MUSICAL SAW FESTIVAL. It was back in 1978 that we first held a fundraiser to pay for the bronze in Marghe McMahon's statue of Tom Scribner, activist and musical saw player. Try to be at the statue in front of BookShop Santa Cruz and next to Concha's Flower Gazebo this Saturday at 1pm. Musical saw players from China and the Czech Republic--and Los Angeles too--will be playing. Then on Sunday, starting at 10am, probably 30 to 50 saw players from the rest of the world will enter contests, perform and picnic up at Roaring Camp until 6pm. It's a sight and sound to behold. As Scribner used to say, "The musical saw may not sound heavenly, but it sure sounds unearthly." I always try to point out that it wasn't because Tom was a saw player that Marghe did the statue but because he was such an activist, a strong union believer and organizer--and just an incredible human. The saw playing was merely a hobby. He didn't ask for donations or spare change; he just liked to play.

THOSE DARNED SMOKE STACKS. Duke Energy of North America (and doesn't that sound intimidating?), which owns the Moss Landing Power Plant, wants to expand. The company's plans to expand call for sucking up to 28 percent of the waters of Elkhorn Slough to cool its expanded systems. Folks around other power plants like Morro Bay are rising up against similar expansion. It would create an incredible threat to the area's marine life. Duke sez it'll pay $7 million to help "mitigate" that impact. The Duke plant is already one of the largest in the country, and now it wants more! The Center for Marine Conservation urges everybody to get to the Moss Landing plant for the hearing and input time on Monday (July 17) at 10am. Take the Dolan Road entrance or call 800.822.6228 for information.

METROBASE SOME MORE. The board of directors of our bus company is holding a meeting to hear what the community thinks about two possible sites over in Harvey West Park. The meeting is tonight. The board will take input and suggestions and is probably anxious to avoid what happened last time. Call Metro, the bus company, at 426.6080 if you have questions--but do hurry.

BUMPER STICKER. I still love bumper stickers. The trouble is, folks keep sending me those Internet reprints. The humor of our community is worth repeating, such as Michael Beattie's sighting of "My Other Car Is a Pair of Boots" on an old Toyota.


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

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From the July 12-19, 2000 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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