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Covello & Covello Historical Photo Collection.

Downtown Santa Cruz, Maybe 1866: This is a view of the intersection of Front and Pacific--Pacific was known as Willow Street, and Front was called Main Street back then. Front only went down to about where Cooper Street is today. Hugo Hihn owned the Flatiron building at the time. The second floor of the Flatiron building was our official County Courthouse for awhile.

Bruce Bratton

RETURNING TO THE RIVER: I'm not naming names because it's too bitter a battle, but not since the Beach Area Plan have I seen such a divisive battle. The progressive segment of Santa Cruz area residents has come down what looks like evenly divided on Camp Paradise. The let-'em-stay side says, "We love the river, but where else are they going to go?" and the throw-'em-out side says, "There are limits to everything" and "The city has just now begun to clean up the river after 50 years of neglect" and for the health of the environment and the campers' own health they should be removed. Questions about the city's liability when the fall and winter rains wash out the site, the breaking of zoning laws, endangering endangered species, and having no supervision, no assistance and no professional help of any kind and more are being shouted at more and more meetings. Why doesn't the City Council support police actions? (or at least give the police clearly defined rules of enforcement) is one major question being asked. This has got to be a problem in more and more cities all over the world--and in California. We need some leadership, some decisions or at least some hearings, so it can be worked out. Fortunately, it probably won't become an election issue--look what happened last time.

DARK PLEASURES. I knew better, but I went to see Antonio Banderas and Angelina Jolie in Original Sin. Just believe everybody and don't go, no matter how much you like either of those people. The same goes for the all-star chase comedy Rat Race. All of the film's humor is either mean-spirited or based on cruelty. Oddly enough, there's little or no bodily function humor (or sex jokes), but it's just overworked and overwritten. Nicolas Cage's accent and acting are really bad in Captain Corelli's Mandolin. Penelope Cruz is OK, but friends who've read the book and liked it say stay away from the film and preserve your memories. I really liked The Others, starring Nicole Kidman. It began by setting an eerie mood and held it all the way through. It's curious and well written--and Nicole is, once again, perfect for the part. One of my two favorite films out now is Brother. It was written and directed by and stars Beat Takeshi. If you don't like samurai films and bloody, violent films, you won't like this one either, but it has enormous style and some innovative camerawork that are worth seeing. My other favorite is Hedwig and the Angry Inch. It's uneven and even boring at the beginning, but the STAR--and that deserves to be in capital letters--is John Cameron Mitchell. His performance and the lyrics are worth all the praises that critics have been lavishing on him. Go see it!

CHEERS FOR CHARLES. Charles Wolters, who taught art at Soquel High School for decades, is going in for an exploratory operation Thursday (Aug. 23). They're mucking about in his pancreas. So if we all burn incense, send good wishes, light crucifixes or email 1,000 recipients, he'll be all better in a day or two.

UCSC ARTS & LECTURES EVENTS 01-02. One of the area's greatest cultural attractions (after the tourists leave) is the yearly series of performances presented and sponsored by UCSC's Arts & Lectures. This season, Arts & Lectures is bringing Molly Ivins and Laurie Anderson here. Molly was supposed to be here before, but she got sick. I'll just give you the names and dates so you can keep your dates free: Takács Quartet, famed 26-year-old string quartet, Oct. 20. Concert pianist Awadagin Pratt, Nov. 3. Molly Ivins, Nov. 9. Percussionist/composer Glen Velez & Handance, Nov. 11. War of the Worlds, presented by the SITI Company, Dec. 3-4. The Arden Piano Trio, Jan. 11. Urban Bush Women, a dance troupe, Jan. 26. David Krakauer & Klezmer Madness, Feb. 5. Soprano Julianne Baird, Feb. 8. Smuin Ballet, a modern ballet company, Feb. 9-10. Marcus Roberts Jazz Trio, Feb. 16. Laurie Anderson doing new solo work, March 10 (remember when the Cabrillo Music Festival brought her here long before she became famous?). The Collective: Unconscious presents Charlie, Victor, Romeo, a dramatic work, March 26-27. The Gyuto Monks, March 27-28. A Traveling Jewish Theatre, April 6-7. Teatro Hugo & Ines April 10-11. Global African Music Festival, April 12-14. Doug Varone and Dancers, April 14-15. Korean Musical Ceremony, April 17. And the series closes with the all-male singing group Chanticleer, May 9-10. It would take two more colms to give you the descriptions you may need for some of these attractions. So for now just write down the dates, and for real details, brochures, locations, prices etc. call the UCSC Ticket Office at 459.2159. The best deal is to subscribe to the entire series; then you get the best seats.

GREAT FLUORIDE NEWS. The Honolulu Star-Bulletin headlines on Aug. 15 stated, "Lana'i water to get fluoride." According to the story, Hawai'i "state officials are moving to make Lana'i the first civilian population in recent history to have fluoride in drinking water," and they hope to have it by next spring. Maunaloa on Moloka'i had fluoride in its public water between 1961 and 1972 and decreased tooth decay 62 percent. Tooth decay increased by 95 percent after fluoridation ended in 1972. Meanwhile, on the mainland, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have released their document recommending using fluoride to prevent and control dental caries in the United States. You can, and should, read the report at www.cdc.gov. The report reinforces the safety and efficiency of using fluoride in community water, and it includes more data on fluoride and its benefits and why it's better to add it to community water than to hope children will get proper amounts in any other way. The report goes on to tell why fluoride is equally beneficial for adults of all ages. That material can be found at the American Dental Association site www.ada.org.

SEVENTH SENSE. This performance art, a.k.a. fashion show, for the terminally creative has been going on for years at the 418 Project on Front Street. This year, it will take place Oct. 19-21. If you plan way ahead, you might be able to get one of the very limited tickets at Madame Sidecar Fashions at 907 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. This here item is really a notice to all previous participants to get in touch with Chip or David Jackman and get your act together. Or, if your act is together, tell them about it and find out what else you can do to help out. I'd heard about Seventh Sense for years, but I didn't really get it until Madame Sidecar gave me a video of last year's extravaganza. Call 457.9774 for more news.

DEL MAR PROGRESS. Lisa Jensen, Jim Aschbacher and I got a sneak preview of the inside of the Del Mar Theatre. The center dividing wall came down with no problems, and the auditorium space is going to be excellent. Jim Schwenterly of the Nickelodeon sez the new screen will be near Cinemascope proportions. Some folks were hoping it would be open in time for First Night, but it now looks more like some time in January. We'll be able to have goodies just down the block at Hoffman's Deli and Bakery, a very nice place. It doesn't look at all the same, but I kept thinking of the old Bubble Bakery as I had a coffee and croissant there between movies last Friday.

MAD SCIENCE, THE COMIC. Jon Bean Hastings has finished Santa Cruz, which is number one of six planned comic books in his proposed series. It's full of grand drawings of local hot spots like the Mystery Spot, the Boardwalk and the Surfing Museum, and it's got a story line that has to be seen to be believed. Find Mad Science at all the local comic stores. You could also go to www.beantoons.com and find out other things.


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

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From the August 22-29, 2001 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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