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Stay in Vietnam Protest, Nov. 27, 1965: Before the Town Clock went up in 1975 the post office was the scene of protests. These anti-pacifists were outnumbered by all the early peace marchers. The cigarette-smoking fellow on the left, dressed in black, carrying the Stay in Vietnam sign must have been sent by central casting; he's perfectly dressed for the part and probably now owns a car dealership someplace.

Bruce Bratton

WATCH THIS SPACE. In an all-too-rare instance, the Santa Cruz City Council voted unanimously last week. Wait, there's more news! They voted to have Ceil Cirillo begin negotiations with United Artists for the city to buy the Del Mar Theatre. It's a complex arrangement--if it works. Developers Barry Swenson and George Ow will form a nonprofit thing together and rent or lease either the two upstairs theaters to the Nickelodeon (and the Nick will begin showing good films as soon as they can clean up those two auditoriums). After a big-time overhaul and restoration of the downstairs, including the necessary handicap features (they may not invite Clint Eastwood to the opening!), the downstairs will be used either as is, with two screens. Eventually, the center wall be ripped down, making one large auditorium as in days of yore. With luck, the space will also be used as a performing-arts theater for those community-based organizations that could actually fill it. I've probably gotten a few details messed up, but you can get the general drift. See, United Artists has filed bankruptcy, so everybody's hoping they'll accept the city's offer, and we can go forward. According to Nickelodeon owner Jim Schwenterly, Mayor Keith Sugar has been a major supporter on this one.

ON OTHER MATTERS. Longtime local Barbara Gerry wrote to ask if anyone knows what happened to the guy who used to sit with his lion in front of the Mission Street County Bank (now Comerica). I've never heard of him, or the lion. I remember the sculptor who created a larger-than-life bronze lion in front of the Octagon. Barbara also sez the artistic tribute to Michael Bebak at Emily's Bakery is moving and touching. Michael was one of a kind, and I miss him too.

DEMOCRAT HEADQUARTERS OPENING. The opening at the Veterans Memorial Building last weekend was not only jammed full, it was energized like I haven't seen in years. Congressman Sam Farr said that not only aren't Nader's campaign issues not new but that every one of them has been introduced by Democrats for years and been blocked by Republicans. He also said if Bush is planning on drilling for oil in Alaska, then watch for Monterey Bay to be next. Ron Ruiz stated that the DA's campaign is the nastiest race in the county, and added that he hopes folks see through what he called the big-money campaign his opponent is running. Sheriff Mark Tracy talked about how the crime issue for Republicans means tougher sentences and more prisons and how Clinton's many programs have been about alleviating the causes for crime. John Laird said that Bush has stated that he would never knowingly appoint a gay man or woman to a federal office. Laird also said that Nader hasn't talked much about the gay or gonadal politics issue. What was surprising to me was to see and feel all the enthusiasm in the room, and as you can tell, a fun time was had by all.

DARK PLEASURES. I think that's a nice title for a movie-review section. Many folks tell me all they really want out of a film is to be entertained, no heavy drama, no think piece, no problems, etc. If that's you, go see Woman on Top. That's the Penelope Cruz-as-sexy-chef comedy set in S.F. It's exactly what the director wanted to make: a frilly no-brainer puff piece, and for what it is, it's excellent. You could say the same about Disney's football feel-good hokum, Remember the Titans, starring Denzel Washington. It makes you want to run out and buy a Kinkade reproduction or wish you were more like Martha Stewart. If you like really good films, the kind that make you think, the kind that push the creative edge or, heaven forbid, might even cause an emotional reaction like depression, go see Dancer in the Dark. It's Lars von Trier's newest work (Breaking the Waves). It's one of those hand-held camera films and stars Catherine Deneuve and Icelandic recording star Björk, who won best actress at Cannes for this role.

PEOPLE'S DEMOCRATIC CLUB. The Sentinel forgot to mention a lot of things in its "staff report" in Monday's edition re the People's Democratic Club forum that ended up endorsing Ed Porter and Emily Reilly. It didn't say for example that the club did not endorse Scott Kennedy this time. The club did endorse him in both his previous council campaigns ('90 and '94). Scott, after stating something about running against John Laird for higher office, came in fourth (out of 10) after Dick Doubrava. Michael Hernandez, using his tired old racial pitch, told the Democrats how he was doing God's work, how he was the Latino Santa Claus and how many children's lives he's saved. Hernandez came in sixth after write-in candidate Scott Bugental, who has been creating considerable new support everywhere. Mark Primack is against the Transient Occupancy Tax; he's for district elections and he nearly bottomed out with Bonnie Morr for eighth place (out of 10). The PDC policy of allowing only the members present to vote showed what happens when proxy votes can't be manipulated, as happened at the Democratic Women's Club the week before. What was almost funny was how Kennedy/Hernandez/Primack supporters like Mike Rotkin, Cynthia Mathews, Carol Fuller, Rachel and Gordon Haskell, Karen Darling, Art Pearl and others were out the door so very quickly after this obvious defeat. Other longtime Democrats hung out and celebrated.

RENAMING THE FISH HOOK. Jeanne Bower wrote to ask if any of us had an idea for renaming Fish Hook curve now that it's so jammed all the time. The only one I could come up with was "Intestinal Track," but maybe you have better ideas?

SMALL BUSINESS FAIR. If you have a small business or want to meet small business owners and are interested in what this high-tech stuff can do for you, then go to the Small Business Internet & Technology Fair at the Veterans Memorial Building on Oct. 12, 11am-7pm. There'll be workshops (including Mayor Keith Sugar and Michael Schmidt discussing small business) and all kinds of resources and vendors. It's an easy way to find out how to work with other businesses your size. Cruzio's putting it on, along with the Central Coast Small Business Center, Metro Santa Cruz, the Chamber of Commerce and other well-meaning organizations. Call Cruzio at 459.6301. (Full disclosure: I'll meet you at one or more of the above booths).

MACHINE POLITICS. It strange how candidates like Hernandez, Kennedy and Primack are using terms like "political machine" and "slate" candidates. They're obviously talking about SCAN and SCAN endorsements. What's odd (other than how hard they tried to get that very same endorsement) is that in no way does the SCAN organization match the kinds of moneyed support behind those very same three candidates. I won't name them here--I've done that many times--but look at the developers, Realtors, planners and big-business bucks who support those guys. The way I see it, that money and those interests are banking heavily on those candidates making a difference that will open development doors. Kennedy actually spoke about his pride in bringing Costco within our city limits at the PDC meeting. The belief that encouraging development like Costcos and Gateway Plazas and growth in general is the answer to funding our social problems is most of what separates those liberals from the progressives and SCAN, I think.

OTHER FUNNY MATERIAL. Gregory Tarsy sent in the results of the Washington Post contest to give better meanings for various words. Some of Greg's winners: Abdicate = to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach. Carcinoma = a valley in California notable for its heavy fog. Esplanade = to attempt an explanation while drunk. Willy-nilly = impotent. Lymph = to walk with a lisp. Coffee = a person who is coughed upon. Testicle = a humorous question on an exam. Rectitude = the formal, dignified demeanor assumed by a proctologist immediately before he examines you. Oyster = a person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddish expressions, and Circumvent = the opening in front of boxer shorts.


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 October 4-11, 2000 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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