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Covello & Covello Historical Photo Collection

Lovely Camp Capitola After 1875: Frederick Hihn developed this barren stretch of beach frontage into the Camp Capitola campground circa 1869. It later became Capitola-by-the-Sea and finally, in 1889, when the post office was opened, it was plain Capitola. Some folks planned on it being the capital of the state (hence the name), other folks think it was named after a heroine in two novels. Hopefully, we'll hear later breaking news on the latest name theory soon.

Bruce Bratton

PESKY POLITICAL DEADLINES. I have to write all of this Sunday night before the elections. As I've said many elections before, no one looks forward to that cursed dinner of humble pie, sour grapes, crow, spilt milk and just desserts, followed by those bitter pills that are so hard to swallow. Frankly, I wouldn't bet a nickel on the outcome of our district election problem, our City Council race, the county supervisor battle or even the presidency. I can't remember as unpredictable an election year as this one. But I do want to get it clear that I am burying all hatchets first thing Wednesday morning, no matter who wins. We all need to start with a clean plate (I almost said slate). We've had too many years of bickering on the Santa Cruz City Council, so now that the winners are known and Tim Fitzmaurice is about ready to take the mayoral reins, let's get it together. There are too many big, big problems facing our community. Yes, I know everybody has pledged to be nice, but you better believe that this City Council will be more carefully scrutinized then any in recent history.

DARK AND BAD PLEASURES. Blair Witch 2 is one miserable excuse of a movie. It was one of two I walked out on this week. I liked the original Blair Witch, it had much creativity going for it; the sequel has nada. Jackie Chan's 1994 Hong Kong kicker The Legend of Drunken Master has Chan doing some of his best choreography, but the plot is even worse than his usual drivel. Besides that, this was just after he began his attempt at cuteness and lost me completely. Don't go--and anyway, it's dubbed. John Travolta and Lisa Kudrow are in Lucky Numbers, but they shouldn't be. My guess is that this is another of the many films that was taken over by the suits and is the result of test-group surveys. No real director would let this happen to his work. Avoid it; it's worse than the critics say, trust me. The other film I walked out on, for obvious reasons, was Charlie's Angels. Naturally, the theater was packed, and I'll bet new box-office records were established, but I couldn't stand it. I left it to go see Robert Redford's The Legend of Bagger Vance. It has probably been called A Golf Ball Runs Through It by too many critics, so I'll resist. This sloppy film is corny, hokey and blah Hollywood material. Makes you wonder about that Sundance Film School--what's he teaching up there anyway?

ABOUT ENDORSEMENTS. Yes, I was surprised that my Sentinel endorsement predictions were off by one; they didn't go with Michael Hernandez. I was more surprised that our Metro Santa Cruz endorsed Primack and assume it was a leftover from ex-news editor John Yewell's pandering puff piece with him a few months back. I was amazed that Metro Santa Cruz went no on 33 (legislators' pensions), yes on 35 (Caltrans contracting) and no on 36 (diversion of drug offenders). That differs from endorsements by The Bay Guardian, People's Democratic Committee, SEIU and SCAN, and they actually agreed with the Sentinel on 35 and 36--will wonders never cease and what more can I say?

DARK AND GOOD PLEASURES II. Carlos Saura's newest film is Goya in Bordeaux. Saura did Blood Wedding, Carmen, Tango and Flamenco, and this too is a visual delight. Many of Goya's most famous engravings are "tableauxed" while you watch. Makes you want to run right out and go to an art museum--don't miss it. Spike Lee's Bamboozled has caused as many arguments in the African American community as it will with you and your friends. There are as many messages in this film as there are people who care about identity in our larger community. It's confusing, disturbing and overdone but worth seeing. Longtime readers may remember me saying I was mightily involved with the San Francisco Mime troupe back in the early '60s. Director Ronnie Davis, Saul Landau and yours truly staged an almost traditional minstrel show with both black and white cast members all in blackface. We sang and danced and threw all the race material we could create at each other. It was as painful back then as it is to recall it when watching this film. Let me know what you think. Probably my favorite film of the year is Darren Aronofsky's Requiem for a Dream. I was surprised to learn that Hubert Selby, who wrote the book, cried when the movie was over. So did I. It's tragic, depressing, destructive and all about addiction. I brought Dick Bender, who is a substance-abuse counselor, with me to see it. As he said, the real tragedy is that our society offers no hope, no real way out for people with this problem. Aside from being sad, it is a magnificent motion picture, and Ellen Burstyn does deserve at least one Oscar for her role in it.

BOOKSHOP SANTA CRUZ BIRTHDAY PARTY. Every year for 34 years now, the Bookshop has celebrated each year with a grand party, cake and all. Along with that, for the last 19 years, our nearly perfect Hot Damn String Band has played for these extravaganzas. This year, Jim Reynolds (guitar), Annie Steinhart (fiddle), Dick Hough (banjo), Hugh Johnston (mandolin), Karen Quick (string bass) and your obedient servant on washboard will be playing, starting at 7:30pm on Friday (Nov. 10). Jim Houston will not be playing and singing his usual material--he's in Hawaii, or at least that's the excuse he gave. I'll meet you there.

OUR CURRENT CITY COUNCIL. Now that everybody's voted, and we got the message about where our city is headed for the next two years, here are a few more accomplishments that happened during the last two years under this council. They increased the Parks and Recreation budget, established a 15 percent three-year contract with the Service Employees International Union, took out the parking meters in Harvey West Park, worked with South Pacific (get it?) businesses to revamp and vitalize the area south of Cathcart, worked with PG&E and CalTrans to keep Mission street alive and well during the widening process, reworked the timber harvest program near Loch Lomond Reservoir to insure the city's water quality, established a task force to get Santa Cruz to a zero-use pesticide/herbicide policy, created two homeless-resource officer positions to work with the homeless community and, what I think is great, added television monitors, email, a laser pointer and a visual time clock to City Council chambers. It's been all too easy to point and jab fingers these last two years because so much was attempted--think about all of that.

SUMMING UP. I think that the city council's idea of closing Pacific Avenue for Halloween afternoon was brilliant. More than that, lots of folks told me how the feeling or atmosphere was just like the plaza would be, if we had one. Next year we need to shut down Pacific all of Halloween and have some unorganized parade and costume contest. We also need to award accordionist Julio Morgani a special certificate, or something nice, for his continual wonderful comic presence playing in those magnificent costumes that he personally creates and plays in downtown. He originally called the last one Turning Points and changed it to Making a Point. ... I didn't get to the opening of the Kinkade Gallery, but I did see Kinkade himself on the QVC channel, hawking prints of his newest heavenly staircase painting, whew!


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

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From the November 8-15, 2000 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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