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Secret Developer Training School: Just kidding. This is the filling in of the old plunge at the Boardwalk back in April 25,1963. It is now the site of Neptune's Kingdom and a miniature golf course. In the old days (circa 1970) the Boardwalk had a marvelous old fun house with long wooden slides and a spinning wheel and a wobbly sidewalk with sort of a do-it-yourself feeling. That's gone in today's amusement centers.


Bruce Bratton

DOWNTOWN WALK AROUND. I was invited to go on a walk downtown with Bob Odermatt, a consultant to the City on downtown improvements, Mayor Keith Sugar, Vice-Mayor Tim Fitzmaurice, Councilmember Christopher Krohn and Anne Easley, staunch supporter of the Downtown Plaza at Pacific and Cooper streets. We went to look at the proposed two-story Lutris building on the George Wilson property at North Pacific, River Street and Bulkhead Street. Then we walked down to look at George Ow's proposed five-story building at Pacific Avenue and Cathcart Street where Gateway Books is now. Both of these plans will make enormous changes in our downtown. Right after the walk, I saw Ron Lau's plan for a seven-floor building next to Lulu Carpenters' where the hole is. Rather than get into all that, a few neat ideas did come out of that walk. Odermatt pointed out how the huge posters in the Wherehouse windows cheapen the entire appearance of the finest corner of our downtown. Those Wherehouse posters and the huge graphics in Pacific Wave windows just don't add anything and remind the people I've talked to since of Fisherman's Wharf. If anybody knows anybody at those places, maybe a polite suggestion about neighborliness or taste would help. The window photos at O'Neill's, we assume, will vanish as soon as they get open, right?

MORE ABOUT CUBA. The Cuba Study Group of Santa Cruz and KUSP are presenting the third and last film in their summer videofest Saturday night at 6pm--yes, 6pm. They are showing Lucia, a classic film by Cuban director Humberto Solas. The film is about Cuban women in three different periods in Cuban history. UCSC professor of film studies Julianne Burton-Carvajal will host a discussion after the film, which is almost three hours long. Morton Marcus packed the house for the last Cuban film night, so this night will be well attended, too. Bring a pillow because the sillas are duro on the culata, as we say. The video-fest is at the Live Oak Grange, 1900 17th Ave. Call 425-3231 or email yogi@cruzio.com.

MOVIE TIME. There is absolutely no reason to discuss the new Godzilla 2000. You could say it's as good as any of the other Toho Studio Godzilla films. It's way better than the billion-dollar Hollywood version a year or two ago. If you liked the old ones or have never seen a traditional Godzilla film on the big screen, go see this one. Bring It On is the greatest cheerleading film in cinema history! Unless somebody made another one, in which case this is the worst cheerleading film in cinema history. Of course, on the other hand, there may be people who like cheerleading films--never mind. The film's distributors describe Girl on the Bridge as an "erotic fairy tale" and a romantic comedy. That's helpful to remember, because it'll probably grab everybody who sees it in a different way. I've been completely unable to decipher the interview at the very beginning of the film. I've gone all over the Internet trying to see if any other critics were concerned about it and have found nada. If anyone has a brilliant interpretation or explanation of the beginning, let me know. But never mind that; it's an excellent film and you shouldn't miss it.

ANTHROPOLOGIE, THE STORE. I was told on that walk around downtown that Anthropologie was planning on or looking into opening a store at the old Cat 'N' Canary building. I've been in their store on Third Avenue in Santa Monica. They have 21 stores in the U.S., plus some in Canada and the U.K.. They're owned by Urban Outfitters, and you can read all about them at www.anthropologie.com. Just for a change I'm not going to go into a big diatribe on this one. I won't talk about competition to our locally owned businesses. No mention of the sameness of our downtown with so many chain operations--I've said all that many times before. Just realize that Anthropologie sells shoes, jewelry, handbags, tables, chairs, candles, lighting, beds and lots of apparel like dresses, jackets and sweaters. The company is headquartered in Philadelphia and sends scouts to foreign lands to find goodies, which it then reproduces and sells, some retail, and a lot wholesale and on the Internet. They are opening stores in Scottsdale, Cincinnati, Tices Corner in N.J., and Edina, Maine. They have stores in big places like New York, Beverly Hills and Santa Barbara and little places like Wayne, Pa., Rockville, Md,, and Chestnut Hill, Mass. I have no idea what square footage the company plans or what it plans on doing to the existing building. But like I said, go to the website. I would certainly imagine that the folks who go to Borders would certainly go to Anthropologie. It's all about the character and integrity and uniqueness of our downtown and how much we need a store like this.

ABOUT CAFFEINE & ESPRESSO. After consulting four books on coffee, especially The Coffee Book by Dicum and Luttinger and The Complete Coffee Book by Sara Perry, I came to several conclusions. Arabica beans are better than robusta beans. Robusta beans are found in Folgers, Maxwell House, etc. Robusta beans have more caffeine than arabica. The longer you roast beans the more caffeine you take out of them. Espresso beans are roasted longer than beans used for regular blends for regular cups of coffee. However, you use a finer grind for espresso, so there's more coffee used in making espresso. But, you don't drink 6 or 8 ounces of espresso, either--more like two or three ounces. So there you are, the final word on caffeine and espresso. Those books are at Bookshop Santa Cruz, by the way, and if you have any more definitive words on that topic, let me know. Also let me know if you ever find a coffeehouse in this county that serves a zest (strip) of lemon with espresso. I've tried coffeehouses here, L.A., Catalina, and only in Italy, not Austria or Vienna, did I get a lemon zest. Most so-called baristas haven't a clue about lemon strips, and those books all mention lemon zests with espresso.

DISTRICT ELECTIONS. The folks who are talking about how district elections are fair are also the people who drew a district line right through the middle of the Beach Flats neighborhood. This, of course, places one district under East Cliff representation and the other half with whoever represents downtown. There aren't that many folks who live in Beach Flats, and if there's any neighborhood that deserves concentrated attention, splitting it into two districts sure won't do it. Every single councilperson now shares responsibility for working to solve Beach Flats issues. Downtown interests coupled with Boardwalk interests? You figure out what that would mean to Beach Flats' future.

EFFLUVIUM AND ERRATA. More books your children shouldn't read? How about Curious George and the High Voltage Fence, The Kid's Guide to Hitchhiking, Strangers Have the Best Candy, You Were an Accident, and Things Rich Kids Have and You Never Will. Karl Bechtel sent in great license plates almost a year ago. I just found them. Here're the thoughtful ones: 4EVRTRU, LMBRJAQ, CR8D EQL, 4JCLVSU (work on it), NWBGNIN, IH8FOG, and a Santa Cruz special, DI2SURF.


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

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From the September 6-13, 2000 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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