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Alfred Hitchcock always enjoyed making unexpected appearances in his films. Now, he's shown up at the Del Mar. Friends of the Del Mar president Catherine Graham shows off the plaque his daughter purchased in his memory as part of the group's drive to raise money for renovation of the Del Mar.

Have a Seat

Not only is it a great way to enjoy reading our last-minute gift ideas, it is one of our last-minute gift ideas. Bonus round: Downtown shopping on the cheap.

Teresa Carrubba has great memories of her grandfather taking her to the Del Mar. Years ago, as now, the Del Mar was an incredible place to see a movie, and childhood outings like that with Gramps are the kind of thing you never forget.

"That's a wonderful memory for anyone," says Friends of the Del Mar president Catherine Graham. "Especially if your grandfather is Alfred Hitchcock."

Of course, Carrubba's actually was. And as a memorial to the time she spent sitting in the dark on Pacific Avenue--and, no doubt, to the mark her grandfather left on the consciousness of moviegoers in this and every other town--she bought a $500 plaque at the Del Mar. Patricia O'Connell, Hitchcock's daughter, bought a $2,500 "hero"-level plaque. It's all part of an innovative new program the Friends of the Del Mar are promoting to raise money to complete the theater's renovation. And the best part is that at the $100 level, it offers a chance to get your name and favorite film on a badge on one of the seats in the theater's main auditorium.

By the way, Carrubba's favorite Hitchcock film is Notorious. That made Graham even happier.

"I told her, 'That's my favorite Hitchcock movie, too," she says.

Surely the participation of the Hitchcock clan--the late director's estate also purchased a badge--is the jewel in the crown of the program so far. As for the seat badges, it doesn't take a genius to figure out that space is quite limited, so anyone who wants to get on this had better hurry. At $100 per chair, the idea of staking out name recognition in one of this city's top historic sites has a lot of appeal, especially since Santa Cruz culture is so cinema savvy.

Now, having your name on the seat doesn't mean anyone's going to save it for you--if you want to park your butt in the chair that bears your name, you'll have to arrive early enough to snag it on your own. Come to think of it, for a true ego boost one should probably sit directly behind that seat--since the badges are on the back, you can stare at all through the entire movie, and when the lights come up you can say stuff like "Hey, have you ever met the guy whose name is on this plaque? I hear he's the world's most fantastic lover."

By the way, the money goes toward the Friends of the Del Mar's goal of raising $50,000 to complete the theater's renovation. The nonprofit group isn't affiliated with Nickelodeon Theaters, which runs the theater, or with the Swenson/Ow landlords, or with the city, which actually owns the building (though all money for the group does go through the city's Parks and Recreation Department). Rather, the Friends is made up of volunteers who, led by Graham, want to restore the building to its former glory.

Specifically, they want to restore the mezzanine ceiling mural--which, if they've raised the money in time, will be done in April. Technically, this is more of a recreation than a restoration, since the original mural was too damaged to restore. But the microscopic imaging they're using to re-create it exactly shows the vision and attention to detail that the group has put into this project. The group also needs to hit their fundraising goal to renovate the ladies' powder room, and restore and install the original chandeliers, one of which Graham tracked down in a local garage.

"It was very cool having it in the trunk of my car," she says.


Catherine Graham gestures to the mezzanine ceiling in the Del Mar that the Friends of the Del Mar are working to restore.

The group borrowed this intriguing approach to fundraising from the Sonoma Theater. Jesse Nickell, vice president of Swenson, discovered that theater's program while visiting family in the area. That the Friends of the Del Mar snapped it up was no surprise, as the efforts surrounding the Del Mar's renaissance have been pretty cutting edge all the way around. Graham still considers it a miracle that the Del Mar was reopened in 2000.

"I get mail from people all over the country asking, 'How did you do it?'" she says. "It's amazing that it happened."

Graham's excited that local cineastes are turning on to the idea of supporting the renovation by making themselves a part of Del Mar history.

"I am in love with this building," she says. "When it gets tough, when there are stressful times, I keep thinking, 'It's for the building."


To get your name and favorite movie on a main auditorium badge in the Del Mar ($100), call 831.359.2212.

Last-Minute Gift Guide Bonus Round

Santa Cruz, Cheap and Easy!

A hundred bucks is certainly cheap for real estate these days, especially in prime downtown space! And speaking of that, here are some even cheaper ideas for the last-minute gifts that you've got to have an hour ago. Our elves have been pounding the pavement in and around downtown Santa Cruz to find this stuff. Their work for this season is done, and it's back into their cages for the lot of them.


Alma Gifts

1705 Mission St., 831.425.2562

'THE NIGHT OF LAS POSADAS' ($6.99) One of several bilingual books for kids in this store full of gifts from Mexico, Peru, Ecuador, Nepal and beyond, at the site of the former Mexican bakery

RUSTIC STYLE TREE TRIMMINGS ($5.75) These come in angel, snowflake and star and are really, really cute.

CALI OLIVIA CORPO LOTIONS AND SOAPS ($18.75) Our favorite was the tarroco-red orange, but all the products in this line are heavenly scented and rich in skin-friendly olive oil.

Bookshop Santa Cruz

1520 Pacific Ave., 831.423.0900

'DON'T THINK OF AN ELEPHANT' ($10.00) George Lakoff's primer offers hope for all your friends who are struggling to define their values post-election and have no idea how to take on the conservative right.

'RIVERS AND TIDES' COLLECTOR'S EDITION DVD ($26.95) This sublime film documents the British naturist artist Andy Goldsworthy in action, creating dramatic yet ephemeral works of art from the landscapes he visits. It was a favorite of Santa Cruzans when it was in the theater, and is now the perfect gift for frustrated Democrats, who might feel a certain kinship watching Goldsworthy toil away for hours constructing a giant cairn, only to see it crumble before completion, and then begin again ...

Bunny's Too

1349 Pacific Ave., 831.426.2926

OUTRAGEOUS FISH ORNAMENTS ($13.95) If you're looking for a flamboyant ornament, it doesn't get any better than these lipsticked, tiara-wearing, purse-carrying fish--unless you're into frogs, in which case, check out the ones that are dancing and carrying umbrellas ($9.95).

Camouflage

1329 Pacific Ave., 831.423.7613

FURRY HANDCUFFS ($20) Trying to open your partner's mind to new games in the sack? Think of furry handcuffs as a cute "gateway" gift into a whole new world of kink.

Chocolate

1522 Pacific Ave., 831.427.9900

A DOZEN MOUSSE TRUFFLES ($20) Choose from mocha, Amaretto, cherry-vanilla, Mexican chocolate, rose cream, coconut, hazelnut, lavender and classic bittersweet flavors. For $35, you get your truffles packed into an elegant gift tin. Mmmmmmm, truffles.

Crystal Kaleidoscope

1528 Pacific Ave., 831.425.1217

SPACE AGE CRYSTAL GROWING KIT ($7.95) Sure, it's fun to watch a kitten, a baby or black mold grow, but what about crystals? We guarantee they will never scratch your furniture, throw baby food at you or destroy your lungs.

Game-A-Lot

1526 Pacific Ave., 831.429.9009

OUIJA BOARD ($22.99) Let's face it--Christmas just isn't the same since Grandpa passed away, so why not invite him to dinner? While you're shopping, check out Dog Monopoly ($35.99); it's way too cute to pass up.

The Garden Company

2188 Mission St., 831.429.842

PITCHER PLANT ($9.99) Vigorously growing and carnivorous, these plants attract bugs to their water-filled pitchers and then digest them. Perfect for the bug zapper on your list.

STILL LIFE REAL LEAF ($9.99-$19.99) Some are made semitransparent through an intricate filigree process, others are left solid. Either way, these leaves, which are covered in copper, make amazing ornaments all year round.

ETCHED STONES/ENGRAVED SEA GLASS ($9.99) Recent events left you speechless? Let these stones and pieces of glass do the talking with their messages of "Peace," "Hope," "Trust."

Gateways Books & Gifts

1531 Pacific Ave., 831.429.9600

THE YOGA OF TIME TRAVEL: HOW THE MIND CAN DEFEAT TIME ($17.95) For your friends who just couldn't get enough of What the Bleep Do We Know!?, the author, Fred Alan Wolf, Ph.D., has just released his newest foray into the New Age rabbit hole.

Graphfix Gallery

1229 Pacific Ave., 831.425.8086

VELVET MOTHER MARY AND BABY JESUS BANK ($25) This gift should come with an advisory note that it might not be such a good idea to keep your valuables inside Mary, because this baby-blue velvet-covered conversation piece is sure to catch the eye of any would-be thieves. On the bright side, if someone steals it, they'll have more than just $25 worth of guilt to contend with.

Holiday Craft Fair

1515 Pacific Ave. (in the old ID Building)

PEARL BRACELETS ($10.00) You'll find these freshwater cultured pearl bracelets at , the kiosk belonging to Ann and Rick Walter, who make the jewelry on display there, all of which is highly affordable and highly tempting, along with the crystal and copper earring trees ($20).

WYLDE WELLES SOAP ($5) All the products in this line look and smell wonderful and with $8 lotions, $5 bath salts and $2.50 lip balms, it's stocking stuffer central.

Papervision

1345 Pacific Ave., 831.458.1345

POTATO GUN ($2.50) Capable of harvesting 300 shots from a single potato, this plastic wonder gives incredible bang for the buck. There is also a large selection of celebrity action figures ($9.95) at Papervision, including Edgar Allen Poe, Annie Oakley and William Shakespeare.

Pipeline

818 Pacific Ave., 831.425.7473

IRON MAIDEN SHOT GLASS SET ($14.95) Their undead poster boy Eddy never looked better. There's also a key chain single-shot flask for $14.95, but be sure to check out the Cheech & Chong Decorative Light set for $23.95. 'Tis the season for green (buds) and red (eyes), after all.

Red Poppy

1360 Pacific Ave., 831.466.0140

ACORN TREE DECORATIONS ($2.75) Green, gold and russett-topped, they look like they were fashioned by elves. While you're there, check out the flute-playing fairies ($9.99) and the adorable glass dimpled orbs ($9.99).

Rhythm Fusion

1541 Pacific Ave., 831.423.2048

'HOW TO PLAY THE BLUES HARMONICA' ($23.95) Sure, Don Baker is an Irishman, but he still plays a mean harp. His instructional package features a book, a CD and a harmonica--everything an aspiring hobo needs to get started. Rhythm Fusion also carries a huge variety of flutes, shakers, djimbes, whistles, rattles and more, all for under $20.

The Santa Cruz Pottery

1642 Mission St., 831.426.8711

EARTHENWARE MUGS ($12.50) If you've tasted water from these mugs you'll know why they make classic gifts. If you haven't yet, buy one for yourself and pretend it's from your secret Santa.

CHOPSTICK PILLOWS ($4.95) Everything in this 30-year-old space shared by Joel Magen and Kevin and Nina Wahl is a classic, but these pillows come in bunny, cat and sea lion shapes, and are cute, original and brilliantly priced.

CARRY ON BAG ($10.00) Roomy, washable, foldable and printed with a picture of the brick old building in which the Santa Cruz Pottery has been housed for 30 years, this bag is a fashion statement that says, "I've been to a town where they still have potters, thanks."

Scentsations

Swift Street Courtyard, 402 Ingalls St. Suite 16, 831.423.8900

ANTIQUE MINIATURE FLOWERED PORCELAIN BATHTUBS ($16.50) Besides being adorable as stand-alone items, these minibathtubs are the perfect way to give one of Scentsations' many, many types of soap, ranging from Pré de Provence hearts to cucumber and passion-flower-scented soaps that fit nicely in the palm of your hand.

FRENCH SOAP PAIRS IN EMBROIDERED PEARL BAGS ($12.50) Exquisitely packaged, these bags are just one of many classy items lurking in this West Side jewel where storekeeper Prince will delight you with his tales of music and life's sweet experience.

SNICKELDOODLES ($16.95) Bodice-shaped sachets, complete with garter belt straps and filled with sweet fragrance, add a debonair flavor to your bro's sports car or your sweetie's lingerie drawers.

Sockshop & Shoe Co.

1125 Pacific Ave., 831.429.6101

SOCKS (various prices) Let's get one thing straight: we ain't talkin' no six pack of tube socks here, folks. A nice, comfortable pair of socks is a great creeper gift. The recipient may have to feign delight at first, but don't be surprised when, the next time they see you, they can't stop gushing about how great their feet feel in their new Wigwams or SmartWools. Booyah, nonbelievers!

Velvet Underground

1543 Pacific Ave., 831.469.9401

'THE SPY'S GUIDE TO OFFICE ESPIONAGE' ($13.46) Don't let office intrigues take you by surprise--keep your finger on the pulse of your office by knowing everything there is to know about your co-workers. The V.U. has a whole shelf of this type of books; we also liked The Hipster Handbook ($8.96), which tells you everything you need to know to fit in comfortably at Caffe Pergolesi.

Women's Organic Flower Enterprise

1515 Pacific Ave. (old ID building)

BEESWAX CANDLES WITH DRIED FLOWERS ($14) All the items in this store are made by homeless/low-income women trained by the Homeless Garden Project, which was founded in 1999, and the candles are one great result of this community-based project.

WOFE'S HEALING FLOWER SALVE ($5.95) Comes in a cute tin, decorated with dried flowers and scented with lavender, this salve is perfect for those prone to insect stings, scraped knees and weather-seasoned skin.

GOURD VASES ($16.00) Hand-carved, stylish and original, they look great with some dried flowers, also available at WOFE.

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From the December 8-15, 2004 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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For more information about Santa Cruz, visit santacruz.com.




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