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We Are the Undead: Scooter the Happy Metro Santa Cruz Skull says: 'Congratulations on surviving another Halloween in downtown Santa Cruz!'


We Are the Dead

HALLOWEEN rocked the Cruz, as usual, with crowds spilling out of practically every bar and restaurant downtown, even in the freezing cold. Fave costumes spotted on our midnight stroll along Pacific Avenue included the starfish spread-eagled across a shop window, the ketchup dispenser that got all over everybody (what could be safer than sex with a condiment?) and the man having an out-of-body experience as he dragged around his "corpse."

But the most chilling costume on an already freezing night was the military angel or vulture (depending on your point of view), dressed in Army duds and black wings, presumably looking after--or for--U.S. soldiers. Indeed, this angel of death haunted us over the weekend as the latest grim statistics rolled in from Iraq, with the downing of a U.S. military helicopter making Nov. 2 the deadliest day for U.S. soldiers since March.

With all of the turmoil abroad, it was even more unnerving to have a bit of our own civil unrest around 9pm, when the drunken tough-guy element appeared to go off the scale among Halloweeners on Pacific Avenue. A huge crowd swirled around a fight in front of Cinema 9, just moments after an escalating testosterone situation held up traffic at Cooper and Pacific. And speaking of holding up traffic, can we just agree to close off Pacific Avenue in advance next year, before the swarming crowds bring traffic to a complete standstill? That'd be great, thanks.

Red, White and Purple

The grim news from Iraq should make for a poignant Veterans Day, which traditionally has been commemorated in Europe by wearing red poppies on Nov. 11--a tradition that began post-World War I in memory of the thousands of young men who died on the battlefields of Flanders, churned-up fields that subsequently proved to be the ideal place for masses of blood-red poppies to bloom in the years following this blood bath on the Western Front.

In Canada and the United Kingdom, people are beginning to wear white poppies instead, as a rejection of the notion that peace is best maintained through war.

Meanwhile, here in the Cruz, local WomenRisers for Peace will sport poppies that are purple. It's their way of asserting their "fierce commitment to love of all of the children of our species for all time" and their ongoing support for H.R. 1673 --a bill to create a cabinet-level Department of Peace.

As it happens, Democratic presidential Dennis Kucinich, the man who authored H.R. 1673, will be in the Cruz on Nov. 9 for two events at the Rio--a 4pm introduction to his presidential candidacy and a 7pm gala fundraiser with Michelle Shocked. Last time Kucinich was in town, he was unable to speak about politics, so this will be a great opportunity to hear his platform, before you decide whether to support him or Dean or anyone but Lieberman and Bush. Call the Rio at 831.423.8209 or the Civic Auditorium at 831.420.5240 for details.

Vegan Violence

One lesser-known fact about Kucinich is that he's a vegan, which makes us wonder what he'd think of a recent riot on the UCSC campus that apparently involved a few of them.

According to Nüz tipster Ickibod, a riot occurred on UCSC campus Oct. 24 at a 30 Years War concert attended not just by your average punk rockers but also by straight-edge kids, a group whose lifestyle involves veganism and abstinence from alcohol and drugs.

Contacted on Halloween, UCSC spokesperson Jim Burns said, yes, there was a report of an incident at Porter College, "where some kind of dance was held in the dining room."

Burns says that, according to police reports, a male nonstudent alleged that the incident was prompted by one person after someone had punched and pepper- sprayed him.

From what we hear, it got way more nuts than that. Boy Scoutish as these straight-edge kids sound, notes Ickibod, "they are notoriously intolerant of drunks and can turn violent at times." Which is apparently what happened when two drunk jocks allegedly came into the sound box during the 30 Years War set.

"They, I guess, thought this was a Slayer show and began dancing very violently," writes Ickibod, who claims to have been knocked over and witnessed the wreckage of merchandise tables just before things erupted.

"A notoriously militant straight-edge kid jumped onto the table and into the crowd, grabbing the most egregious of the jocks and attempting to drag him outside, but the jock's friend got him in a headlock."

The straight-edge kid supposedly beat the drunks bloody and threw them outside, after which the jocks returned with pepper spray. At which point, "a full-on straight-edge vs. jock riot" ensued.

According to Ickibod, "Kids were picking up anything not nailed down and beating each other mercilessly. I'd estimate there were about 20-30 people involved and when it was over there were five cop cars, a fire engine and blood everywhere--most of it belonging to the jocks."

Geez, it's enough to make Ian MacKaye faint! Burns' description is a little more low-key.

"The college proctor responded by requesting medical attention, hence the fire engine and an ambulance," said Burns, adding that he did not know how many cop cars were dispatched, and that the victim declined to go to hospital, but did have his eyes washed.

As for the assailant, according to a description filed by the victim's girlfriend, he is 6 feet tall, thin, with red hair, a thin beard, a flannel shirt and glasses.

Nüz just loves juicy tips: Drop a line to 115 Cooper St, Santa Cruz, 95060, email us at , or call our hotline at 457.9000, ext 214.

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From the November 5-12, 2003 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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