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[whitespace] Historical Photo
Downtown Santa Cruz, 1860: The street on the left was called Main Street, it's now Front Street. The street going off to the right was Willow Street, it's now Pacific Avenue. The almost-triangle-shaped building was Hugo Hihn's Flatiron Building, later it became the Plaza Bakery. The Tea Cup Restaurant was upstairs, and now it's Jamba Juice. Oh, the horror!

Bruce Bratton

WHAT A WEEKEND. Geez, I go to L.A. for five days to see the grandchildren and miss a jewelry heist, the opening of Blue Crush, Rodent (our usual City Council candidate) leaving town, and Rotkin and Mathews being challenged as maybe not being legal candidates. And what's up with that gang war in front of Cinema 9 with no arrests being made? Who is Aldo Giacchino--or more importantly, where (as in the political sense) is Aldo Giacchino?

VICIOUS RUMOR. There is absolutely no contest being created to determine whether the Santa Cruz Sentinel or the 1989 earthquake caused the most damage to Downtown Santa Cruz. Besides that, the tens of thousands of visitors and locals who have such a happy time shopping downtown, especially during the summer, probably wouldn't enter it anyways.

NEW POSTCARDS. Famed photographer Frank Balthis, whose work should be familiar to all of us, has just released four new beautiful Santa Cruz postcards. One is the gala reopening of the Del Mar that we did last March, another is the gorgeous interior of the Del Mar. The other two are of the new Walton Lighthouse down at the Yacht Harbor. In addition to the great photography, Frank has designed the backs of his cards to be as functional and good-looking as the fronts. They're probably for sale everywhere, or at least they should be.

HIGHWAY 101 THOUGHTS WHILE DRIVING. Folks love shopping in Cambria because there are no franchise or megachain stores there. Remember when Santa Cruz was almost like that? The Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica (which is closed to traffic) is no success, if you ask any local. It drove away all locally owned businesses and has only chains. Do we really want that? Cherry's Jubilee is a great name for a car show in Salinas in September. One of the nicest California routes I've driven in years was taking 126 from Highway 5 to 101. It goes through real orange groves, dozens of produce stands and real farm land. It takes you through towns like Piru and Fillmore and you get to experience Saticoy at sunset. Try it. It's better than Interstate 5, but then most things are better than Interstate 5. At first glance those acres of fields covered with plastic sheets seem almost like a Christo construction. They make for interesting waterlike reflections until you realize that they're there to keep the pesticides contained. The shortcut through Prunedale to Highway 101 is still under construction, and the detour around Oxnard is getting even more complicated. I didn't do a lot of research on this, but I believe Oxnard's name came from noted Portuguese explorer Joao Rodrigues Cabrilho's quote, "Kick an ox in his nards and he'll never be your friend." Cabrilho apparently said it after swimming ashore from an accident on Santa Cruz Island. He never made it any farther north after that.

HOLLYWOOD'S MAGIC CASTLE. Thanks to magician Steve Blencoe, my two daughters, my sons-in-law and I had a great evening last Saturday in the members-only Magic Castle. Close up magic, stage illusions, a ventriloquist--they do it all. Plus W.C. Fields' trick pool table, tons of magician's paraphernalia and fine food all in this old Victorian mansion. There's no place like it. But you do have to be a magician or know one to be admitted. Check it out at www.magiccastle.com. I've known Steve Blencoe for years, and if you want some startling and excellently performed magic give him a call at 462.2809.

DATES TO SAVE. The Red Cross and the city of Santa Cruz are doing a big memorial event on Wednesday, Sept. 11, at the Civic. There'll be bagpipes, a drum corps, a children's choir, a slide show and a recognition of all the local folks who helped out during and after the Sept. 11 attacks. It's all a benefit for the American Red Cross; call 462.2881 for more info. The Distinguished Artists Concert and Lecture Series at Cabrilho College and the Santa Cruz Cancer Benefit Group are sponsoring a special event called "Encounters Along the Silk Road." Chitresh Das will perform East Indian Classical Kathak dancing, Mesut Mozgen will play and there'll be food and a silent auction. Sandy Lydon will emcee the whole affair. It's on Sunday, Sept. 15, from 4 to 8pm at the Holy Cross Parish Hall. Call 426.5958 for tickets and information.

WATSONVILLE PLACE NAMES. No one actually expected Watsonville to name anything after Cesar Chavez, did they? They haven't named anything civic after any other member of any ethnic group that worked their fields and made them their fortunes besides Caucasians, that I know of. On a related note, I remember back in the early '80s when some North County members of the Santa Cruz County Fair board (namely Manny Santana, Denise Holbert, John Tuck and yours truly) suggested the fairgrounds add bilingual signage--what an uproar. Of course it was defeated, and no, the fairgrounds still don't have bilingual signage. Just ask them why sometime.

STOCK MARKET MERGERS. Ever-vigilant Simon Kelly thought we should share the possible merging and potential acquisitions of these businesses as soon as possible. Motorola and Enron will be called Moron; Knott's Berry Farm and the National Organization For Women will be called Knott Now; Grey Poupon and Dockers Pants to be known as Poupon Pants. Fairchild Electronics and Honeywell Computers will be called Fairwell Honeychild; Polygram Records, Warner Brothers and Keebler will be called Poly-Warner-Cracker; and lastly but not leastly, W.R. Grace Co., Fuller Brush, Mary Kay Cosmetics and Hale Business Systems will be called Hale, Mary, Fuller, Grace.

Bruce critiques films every other Thursday on KUSP-FM (88.9). Reach Bruce at [email protected]

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From the August 21-28, 2002 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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