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Bruce Bratton

[whitespace] Pacific & Cooper Streets
Covello & Covello Historical Photo Collection

Pacific and Cooper Streets 35 Years Ago: This was Jan. 4, 1965. You can barely make out the Leonard Building where Metro Santa Cruz is now at that far corner under the overhang. The major building in front was the County Bank, another locally owned bank of yesteryear, which was bought out and bought out, etc. Next to the bank on Pacific was the catalog store for Montgomery Ward, which moved several times around our downtown. The first building to the right of the bank was probably Logos bookstore's first location, just about this time, or shortly thereafter.

SCAN DINNER PARTY, PART II. Borders promoter and landlord Doug Ley got the "If You Build It They Will Come, but Where Will They Park?" award. Friends of the North Coast (namely Paul Hostetter and Celia and Peter Scott) got the Environmental Cause of the Year award for their work on the Biotech goat battle on Back Ranch Road. Emily Reilly and Debbie Bulger got awards for their work on the Mission Street widening project and for the saving and planting of trees along the route. Ruth Hunter got awarded for the most arrests in the name of liberty, and Tom Shaver won one for being the official police punching bag. Suzanne Martinez got an award; Gary Patton and Mardi Wormhoudt got awards; Bernice Belton got one, and so did Jane Yett. It was a very celebratory night, and considering SCAN pulled off three major forums during the year, you can bet next year will be even more active. You can find out more about SCAN and how to join by calling 458.9425.

COMMUNITY TV WEEK. I hope you've been watching all the local video history on channels 73 and 72 this last week. Maddalena Z will be on Thursday night. On Friday night, which we are calling Last Night, you can watch a bunch of First Night talent and surprise guests from 6 to 9pm live in the studio. Geoffrey Dunn, Joyce Anderson and I will be hosting the three-hour special. On channel 71, also from 6 to 9pm, Open Mic '99 hosted by Bruce Kelly will happen. Helen Giffrow's Juneteenth will be shown after that, so don't miss any of it.

FIRST NIGHT SECRETS. The big secret hits of this year will be the J. Gamble Puppets in the Vets Hall doing three shows between 3 and 4:30pm. Also don't miss Mud Pudding, a Celtic group that insiders tell me is fabulous. I resigned from the First Night board several months ago, so I'm not telling you this first-hand. They also need volunteers for the late shifts, and what better way to ring out the old millennium than to help your community? Call First Night quickly at 425.7277.

SHOPPING TIP. It's a little late now, but if you ever need just one or two special envelopes, Paper Vision keeps a box under the counter and will sell them individually. Besides that, they do a great job on framing or matting posters. I just had them do a Venice one for me. Actually, it was a rare Venice poster I'd seen just once that they searched for and found for me.

COAST VERY COMMERCIAL. Whilst standing in line the other day, I made a pledge with another customer and an official to all meet one year from Friday the 17th at 1pm in the Front Street branch, just to see what changes took place. The official claimed the usual, "Oh, there won't be any changes" and "You won't notice a thing." Has anyone ever seen a major takeover--especially in the last 10 years, and especially in banks--that didn't result in major changes? I'll bet it won't be long before one of those new, probably blue plastic baggies with the new corporate name gets slipped over the old Coast Commercial cement sign. See you on Dec. 17.

THE NEW DOWNTOWN RETAIL STUDY. Let's hope those real estate brokers don't have much to say about what our downtown needs in the future. They've been living very fat in these last years off all their transactions that we have to live with long after they decide to move elsewhere. I'm afraid they'll try to destroy the Del Mar for office buildings, and we don't need office buildings as much as we need apartments, all at affordable levels, or as badly as we need a fully utilized performing arts space. The Del Mar is a dump right now and needs plenty of money and work to make it usable, but let's think of a quality downtown, a unique downtown. Other cities spend fortunes refurbishing art deco theatres, and they flourish. Other cities hang their civic heads in shame after tearing down their 1930s palaces. Keep those realtors outta there!

TWO FORGETTABLE FILMS. Don't take your kids to see Stuart Little--send them in by themselves. It's worse than the usual Hollywood butchering of classic material into pure pap. Go see Princess Mononoke instead. Jodie Foster's version of Anna and the King is boring, but at least it looks like the National Geographic--save your money. Speaking of the Rio Theater, that place is going straight to hell fast. Audiences for Man on the Moon were turned away because the manager overslept again and forgot the key; the projection of Mononoke is miserable. Maybe we should chip in and buy that place and the Del Mar. We have the chance at two theaters, and we sure could use them. It was great, however, that Star management let First Night use all four of the Del Mar theater spaces; it's possible that may be our last night in that palace, if we're not careful.

RETAIL STUDY PART 2. The folks at Cruzio have convinced me that "geek" is an honorable word, as well as being an honorable way of life. With that in mind, I'm prepared to state that even "geeks" like quality. When it comes to planning our downtown's future, I'm assuming the newly arrived and arriving geeks who are taking up all those office spaces multiply and divide in the physical sense. I believe they, too, want places to shop, eat and browse that are unique to Santa Cruz. They, too, want stores like Mr. Goodies, Zoccoli's, Plaza Lane Optical, Game-Alot, Many Hands Gallery and so on down the street. Geeks and the rest of us around the country are rebelling against Lenscrafters, Wendy's, Eddie Bauer and all those other cookie-cutter franchises. We are near the point with this proposed study to offer tourists and locals a highly individual, carefully structured, well-balanced variety of businesses or just another repetition of Anytown USA. Let's hope this study considers the tradition of our sometimes quirky business mix that has kept our downtown alive. As of now and with Borders coming in, this mix is seriously threatened.

PSYCHIC PREDICTIONS. I'm sorry to say not one of our area psychics responded to my plea to alert us in advance to year 2000 disasters. No astrologer, psychic, seer or any semblance of future predictor is willing to step forward and warn us about anything. Now watch when we get an earthquake, flood, huge fire, tidal wave or something like that--one of these well-meaning forecasters will claim to have predicted it. Or to make it easy--how about predicting an assassination? Every notable since Hitler had charts showing they were going to get rubbed out on that very date. How about letting us in on the secret now and being of some use? I'll wait here. In the meantime have an excellent Last Night, First Night and a Happy New Year. It's been a wonderful year column-wise and yes, I'm very happy in this new location. Thanks very much for all the response.


Bruce critiques films every other Thursday at 12:50pm on KUSP (88.9FM). Reach Bruce at bratton@cruzio.com or 457-9000 #400.

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From the December 29, 1999 - January 5, 2000 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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