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Holiday Time, Downtown Santa Cruz, Dec. 26, 1951: This was at the corner of Pacific and Water streets, where the Town Clock now stands. I hope you can make out the name Spike Jones Tire Service, on the station's roof, but he was no relation. Way off on the right margin is Pines Coffee Shop, which must have been near where Zoccoli's back door is now. Anyone know about Pines Coffee Shop?

Bruce Bratton

ABOUT THAT SUPERVISOR'S RACE. Now that Pat Pfremmer has dropped out of the Third District supervisor's race and we have two men running against Mardi Wormhoudt, it'll be more interesting than ever to see how the campaigns handle it. Before Mark Primack started running for City Council there were rumors he'd run for supervisor, so this wasn't a complete surprise. It wasn't a surprise last week either that Primack asked Michael Schmidt to drop out of the supervisor's race, and got a no for an answer. In a Metro Santa Cruz interview in June 2000, Primack made some interesting statements: "If a developer wants something good, I'll work with him." "I'm an architect, I'm involved with building projects." And about City Council matters, he stated, "The City Council is too much work." "The City Council is completely incompetent." "The defeat of the Beach Area Plan was a real setback." "The City Council has no advisory bodies worth listening to." "City ordinances are not the place to fight corporate America." At that time Primack supported district elections in Santa Cruz city, and since much of his present support comes from district election believers I'd imagine he still holds that position. As Dick Little used to say, "There's more and we'll get to it."

DARK PLEASURES. Assuming you like good foreign films with subtitles, hurry to Cinema 9 and see the Italian film Bread and Tulips. Even Ben Rawe, the manager of Cinema 9, said it's more of a Nickelodeon Theater-type film. It's played N.Y., L.A. and S.F. and Roger Ebert gave it 3 1/2 stars. Italy gave it every award it had and still, if you don't hurry to see it, they'll have to shove it out quick to make room for the holiday blockbusters. It's another film about a middle-aged woman who leaves her family and responsibilities and has a good time doing it. She goes to Venice, and we see a very different view of that fabled place as this interesting woman's story develops. It stars Bruno Ganz, the angel from Wender's Wings of Desire. Ocean's Eleven is one of those perfect Hollywood films, assuming you like perfect Hollywood films. Lots of star glitter, beautiful people doing cute things and a plot that won't be a challenge to any more of your brain cells than you can spare. Go see it, it's great fun. The Business of Strangers stars Stockard Channing and Julia Stiles and is about a hostile young businesswoman challenging an older businesswoman. Also definitely worth seeing.

FREE BICYCLE REPAIR--A CRIME? What's with the police giving a ticket to the folks who were doing free bicycle repairs on Pacific? They were told it was the Downtown Association who pressed charges. I watched the ticketing and really, the repair people weren't blocking traffic. They obviously weren't doing any business involving money, so no problem there either. We have about two more weeks of the heaviest Pacific Avenue traffic of the year, so somebody should figure out the rules and regulations pretty quick.

CABLE TV FANS. Whilst waiting for the new season of The Sopranos, Oz, Sex and the City and Six Feet Under (all on HBO), do check out the amazing contributions to culture on both Channel 69 (the International Channel), and Channel 503 (the Independent Film Channel). On Saturday mornings at 11am the Independent Film Channel is showing the original Zatoichi films from 1964-70. Zatoichi, as played by Shintaro Katsu, is also known as the Blind Swordsman. Lots of blood gushes, faster-than-the-speed-of-light sword moves and a film style combined with music that has yet to be properly appreciated. Recent films on Channel 503 include Jean Marais in Fantomas, Peter Firth in The Laughter of God, Kaputt Mundi (1998), Jean Gabin in Le President (1961), Ardena (1997), directed by Luca Barbareschi, David's Summer (1998) directed by Carlo Mazzacurati, a weird one called Envy, and Vince Vaughn, Ed Harris and Wallace Shawn in The Prime Gig (2000).

UCSC ARTS & LECTURES SERIES. Speaking of holiday presents, think about tickets to some of the events in the UCSC Arts & Lectures series that are coming up just in January of 2002. First off is the Arden Trio on Jan. 11 at 8pm at Holy Cross Church. The Ardens are a piano trio and there aren't many of them around nowadays. They'll be playing Beethoven, Ravel and Ziporyn's new work, Typical Music. Most of the Pacific Coast knows that the Buena Vista Social Club with Orquesta Ibrahim Ferrer will be at the Civic Jan. 14 at 8pm. Ruben Gonzalez won't be here but they'll still swing. Yes, some tickets are still available. The Urban Bush Women will be here dancing at UCSC's Mainstage Theater on Saturday, Jan. 26, at 8pm. They'll be dancing their new full evening work, called "Hair Stories." You can get tickets at the UCSC Ticket Office 459.2159--except for the Buena Vistans, which you get at the Civic Box Office or charge by phone at 420.5260. We're lucky to have this top-quality entertainment performing here, and by supporting UCSC's Arts and Lectures series we make sure we'll have more of the same in the future.

MORE HOLIDAY MAGIC. The Santa Cruz Chorale conducted by Paul Vorwerk is performing Handel's Messiah once only on Friday, Dec. 21, at 8pm at Holy Cross Church. The Chorale will be joined by the Monterey Bay Sinfonietta in its first-ever performance of The Messiah. Magdalena Zschokke, publicist for the chorale, adds that in these confusing times music is more important than ever and that Handel's archetypal celebration of the victory of light over destruction and darkness is particularly apt. I agree. You can get tickets at Streetlight Records or by phone at 427.8023 or we.got.net/scc or maybe at the door, if there are any left.

CITY ON THE HILL. Because it's run by students who come and go, this weekly UCSC newspaper is sometimes good and other times sort of blah. Right now I think it's very good. For instance, in its Nov. 29 issue it had a story on how UCSC is developing its sciences at a very expensive and expansive pace and at the same time closing down its more humanitarian side. (Coincidentally, there's an exhibit at the McHenry Library now through Jan. 13 titled "Dean E. McHenry and UC Santa Cruz: An Experiment in Higher Education, 1963 to 1974.") Professors and most staff are too worried about their jobs to say much about this noticeable shift in priorities, but even we townies notice a shift not just on campus but arguably in UCSC Extension's offerings. Humanities offerings are being downplayed, most classes and presentations are now in Silicon Valley, and long gone are the days when Santa Cruz would be the site for some very important humanitarian visitors giving workshops and lectures.

BUMPER STICKER. At least Alberto Lopez-Rothwell is still out there looking for good bumper stickers. He saw this one in Zanotto's parking lot: "Modesto Sucks." This obviously has several levels of interpretation and must be a tourist's car, because locals wouldn't be so incorrect, maybe.


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

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From the December 12-19, 2001 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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