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Secrets of Asymmetric War

Back in the fall ("California Invasion," Nüz, Oct. 13, 2004), local resident and Academy Award–nominated filmmaker ERIC THIERMANN made an ad that MOVEON.ORG picked up and aired in key battleground states in the 2004 presidential election. The ad, which also ran on DAN RATHER's nightly news show, as well as on ABC and CBS, featured 47-year-old Vacaville resident CINDY SHEEHAN whose son CASEY was killed in Iraq in April 2004.

So began Sheehan's ascent from unknown mother of a dead soldier to the face of increasing American disenchantment and questioning of the war on Iraq. Sheehan's rise to international fame culminated last week in her driving to Crawford, Texas, in an old red white and blue "Impeachment Tour" bus to hold a vigil outside the ranch of a vacationing PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH.

With Sheehan vowing to remain until Bush meets with her and gives her an explanation for her son's death--his dove-shooting neighbors notwithstanding--Nüz asked Thierman what he thinks is the secret to Sheehan's success in face of a huge and hawkish political and media machine.

"Cindy is a very courageous mother of one of the soldiers who died," said Thiermann, recalling how she impressed him when he was shooting her spot for REALVOICES.ORG.

"She doesn't feel she has anything to lose beyond what she already has lost, which makes her very persistent, and she has always been able to bring the emotions of losing her son to the forefront."

Starting Wednesday, Aug. 17, folks across the country will be holding vigils for Sheehan and all military families. As Sheehan told moveon.org recently, "I invite mothers everywhere to stand up with me so that no more of our sons and daughters lose their lives for a war based on lies and deception. Join me in demanding the truth--and an end to the war--by organizing vigils across the country, before one more mother's child is lost." See moveon.org for details.

Living Herstory

Speaking of courageous women, Santa Cruz political activist and photographer SEEMA WEATHERWAX celebrates her 100th birthday, noon, Aug. 27, at Frederick Street Park. A week earlier (3pm, Aug. 20), Ms. Weatherwax's biography, Seema's Show: A Life on the Left, will be launched at UCSC's Special Collections in the McHenry Library, giving the public the chance to hear details about the life of Weatherwax, who has witnessed all the important social and political milestones of her century. (There will be free parking at the Hahn Student Services lot.) There'll also be a reading Monday, Aug. 22, at 7:30pm at the Capitola Book Café, 1475 41st Ave. Call 831.462.4415 for information. Don't miss it.

Art Patriarch

Last time we wrote about Weatherwax, her photos and those of JASON WESTON were on display thanks to space donated by local art patriarch MANNY SANTANA. And now Manny, who pals like DICK BENDER describe as a "very unassuming, extremely generous and iconic guy," has joined talents with AL JOHNSEN and HILDY BERNSTEIN to form THE KETEL THREE, who are exhibiting more than 60 paintings in a seven-day show at Manuel's studio at 2586 Mission St. extension, Santa Cruz. All three artists make bold controversial political statements. Those seeking food for thought can visit their opening reception, Saturday, Aug. 20, 4–9pm.

Universal Design Conference

In 1972, doctors told a cancer-stricken Scott Rains that they needed to operate--and that the operation would leave him paralyzed.

"I didn't die, which is the bright side," says Rains, who has since pursued issues related to his ensuing disability. Those pursuits led him to research universally inclusive design, which means products and buildings accessible and usable by everyone and which acknowledge disability, aging and other differences as a part of every day life.

"My interest is in universally inclusive design as used by the travel and hospitality industry. It's the cutting edge for spreading design that's accessible and moves the disabled and seniors into the limelight, rather than treating them as objects of pity, says Rains, who will be at the UCSC conference center on Ocean Street to report on a baseline study of universally designed infrastructure in our county.

Hosted by FOSTER ANDERSEN's SHARED ADVENTURES, the Universal Design Conference happens Friday, Aug. 19, at the UCSC Inn & Conference Center. 611 Ocean St. Call 831.457.7116.

Waxing Expansive

They gathered at the doorway, lined the walls, peeped through windows, squeezed into every bench and sat on the floor. One woman even knelt behind a bench in a prayer position, as a throng of seniors, middle-aged people and even a few young 'uns crowded into City Hall to witness ALDO'S try to get a liquor license and extended hours each summer.

"Why's Aldo's the only one that can't do this?" pleaded Aldo's owner ALDO OLIVIERI, noting that unlike other restaurants down by the Yacht Harbor, his can't serve liquor and stay open until 9pm. Next up to speak was an unkempt, grizzle-bearded MIKE TOMASI, who heckled Olivieri with a loud "blah blah!", then told the crowd, "I am the king of marijuana. And alcohol is bad. I know because my grandma made liquor for AL CAPONE, and once a drunk driver hit me and I flew 280 feet through the air. I think the owners of Aldo's need to quit drinking and just smoke a joint once in a while. It's really hard to love a drunk because they'll kick you and stomp you and afterwards they'll call you their brother."

Despite Tomasi's soul-baring and the protests of Aldo's "family safety first"--button-wearing neighbors, who also fear their already scarce parking spaces will disappear, the City Council approved the expansion with a 5-2 vote, with TIM FITZMAURICE and TONY MADRIGAL voting against it.

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From the August 17-24, 2005 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

Copyright © 2005 Metro Publishing Inc. Maintained by Boulevards New Media.

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