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[whitespace] The Last Supper
Covello & Covello Historical Photo Collection

The Last Haircut: I don't remember where in Santa Cruz this wax version of the Lord's Last Supper is now on display, but for decades it sat in the Art League theater on Broadway near Ocean Street. These kindly women are giving a hand--and new robes--to the group back in April 1954. I'm not sure this is what da Vinci had in mind when he did the original, but we'll never know, will we?

Bruce Bratton

BUTTERFLIES AND PARKING LOTS. One of the first challenging topics the new Santa Cruz City Council will be dealing with is the Oblates of St. Joseph plans for enlarging their parking lot from 90 to 147 spaces. It's a complex issue, and we'll probably be reading about it soon. The Oblates of St. Joseph is that church out on West Cliff Drive next to Lighthouse Field. It's a Roman Catholic church, but they don't belong to the area diocese. And they are the landlords of the Gateway School on Eucalyptus Street, which is the west side of their property--and this is where the plot thickens. If they enlarge the parking lot, and if they go ahead and build some kind of social hall or program hall or conference center, which some concerned neighbors are worried about, then a great and very sensitive monarch butterfly habitat will be seriously threatened. It has to do with increased traffic, urban impact, parking lot night lights, protecting our California coast and concerns too numerous to mention. As you may have read in the local daily last Sunday, the monarch habitat at Lighthouse Field is more popular with the monarchs now than Natural Bridges. This is about development, environment and one more battle to protect one of the very last lots along the California Coast.

TWO WEEKS NEAR CHICO. It was a great vacation in that mountain cabin about 20 miles north of Chico. I went to Chico once for groceries and to see former Santa Cruzan Paul Dragavon. Paul insisted we see the National Yo-Yo Museum, so we did. It's in the back of a gift store, but the world's biggest yo-yo was on loan to Japan, so we missed that. The yo-yo weighs 256 pounds and is 50 inches high. Which reminds me, we didn't see Dick Little either--he bought property up in Paradise. Even little Paradise has another of those Thomas Kinkade Galleries. But we didn't go in. Chico also has towns with strange names nearby. How about Thremolito, Chrome, Zenia, Termo, Bieber and New Bieber, Knob, Likely, Uno, Peanut, Ruth, Pulga, Samoa, Verdi and three towns that remind me of Slim Gaillard songs: Fluornoy, Fruto and Floristan. (If you don't know about Slim Gaillard you should.) My cabin landlords were the ever-amazing Lorenzo Thatcher and Susie Lawing. They own and produce Tehama Gold Olive Oil, a nearly miraculous tasting oil that won a bronze medal this year at the L.A. County Olive Oil Tastings. Locally, all New Leaf Markets carry Tehama Gold; it's at the top end of the price charts and comes in three varieties: Ascolino, Manzanillo and Mission. It's very pure, no cholesterol, certified organic and extra virgin--and instead of cold pressing, which creates heat, they get the oil out by a special press they brought from Italy that does it centrifugally. You can also check out--and buy from--their website at www.4oliveus.com.

DARK PLEASURES. I'm guessing that everybody's seen The Grinch by now. I also assume that everybody was as disappointed as I was. Amazing when you think that even with Jim Carrey doing Dr. Seuss material you can still turn out a blah film. If seeing two Arnold Schwarzeneggers in the same film is your idea of true happiness, you'll love The 6th Day, because he's cloned in this one. I think Arnold's cinema career has definitely gone downhill since Conan. Well, Twins was pretty funny, but he does need some kind of day job. Unbreakable is not so bad, if you go knowing that both Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson are comic-book characters. The film does have a certain bit of tasty directing but don't expect too much, and it's sure not as good as Willis' last one. Charlie's Angels is precisely what you think it is and exactly what the movie corporation wanted to produce. It's funny, mindless and plotless. Ben Affleck is about one step above Keanu Reeves, but Bounce isn't a bad film. Gwyneth P. acts well, even with dark hair, and I'd call this one a good Hollywood drama--not a foreign film drama or an independent film drama, just a Hollywood-type drama. You Can Count on Me and Two Family House are excellent independent film dramas. Beyond that, they are two of the finest films I've seen all year.

THE DEL MAR THEATRE. Bruce Van Allen reminded me of the 1976 New Year's Eve party that Max Waldon, who developed the original Cooperhouse into a collection of shops, put on to raise funds and interest in buying the Del Mar to create a performing arts center. Dennis Russell Davies, then conductor and director of the Cabrillo Music Festival, Manuel Santana, president of CMF, plus John Tuck and yours truly crawled around that stage trying to determine just how viable an idea it was as a place for an orchestra to play. Now 24 years later, it's happened. Just about everybody involved with acquiring the theater thanks former Mayor Keith Sugar for making it possible, and it's great. I missed the Sentinel editorial that apparently opposed the idea, but what else is new? Now everybody needs to get together and decide what's going to happen and who's in charge of running the downstairs theater when the dividing wall is removed. How many screen events, how many live performances, who makes the decisions? All those kind of things need to be worked out. But at least we got it, or rather the Nickelodeon will have the two screens upstairs, and our community will have a new venue to do something in. Congratulations to all involved.

41ST AND SOQUEL. Jennifer Brager tells me after checking out many rumors about that location that Safeway has an application to build a new store there. That would leave the existing one vacant. There are no plans right now for a Wal-Mart/Walgreens there, and Santa Cruz County Planner Cathy Graves, according to Jennifer, sez she thinks Kmart will be around for a while.

COMPUTERS WITH COMPASSION. Susy Gans of PC Mentor Services has organized a very successful program that gives used computers, printers, monitors, upgraded modems, training software, Internet access fees, etc., to needy families and nonprofits in our area. Donors get a choice of local groups to donate to, such as Above the Line, Walnut Avenue Women's Center, Pajaro Valley Shelters and many more. You can write it off as a tax deduction, too. Susy will pick up and deliver the equipment and set it up at its destination. Call 479.1242 or email at [email protected]. That should guarantee your feeling good about the holidays.

LATE-BREAKING NEWS. Earthquake veterans will remember Lily Wong's and Margaret Wilson with fondness. That store, where Morris Abrams was and Graffix Pleasure is now, carried an amazing array of stuff. Margaret went into wholesale big-time after that, specializing in originally designed gifts and home décor items from everyplace. Lily's is having a four-day sale of more than 25,000- square-feet of goodies with 50-90 percent off prices Dec. 9-10 and Dec. 16-17, 9am-4pm, at 411 Swift St., Santa Cruz. Old-timers know there'll be some real deals out there.

Bruce critiques films every other Thursday on KUSP-FM (88.9) at 12:50pm. Reach Bruce at [email protected] or call 457.5814, ext.400.

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

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