BRATTON…Miserable Oscar show, and the demise of theatres. GREENSITE…on protecting the city’s open space lands. KROHN…ICE and Homeland Security Raids here, developers thriving and renters starving. STEINBRUNER…Soquel Creek water District and those rate hikes, Printsmith leaving Aptos Village, new Live Oak development, getting Scrappy. PATTON…Green New Deal and extension of life. EAGAN…Subconscious comics plus Deep Cover. JENSEN…news on flicks. BRATTON…I critique Arctic, Never Look Away and Everybody Knows. UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE GUEST LINEUP. QUOTES… “March”
THE REAL DON SHIRLEY. The pianist isn’t Mahershala Ali, but he’s the real subject of Green Book.
FREDDIE MERCURY’S OPERA VOICE! I didn’t like Bohemian Rhapsody any more than Green Book, but Mercury’s voice here is impressive.
DATELINE February 25, 2019
DAMNED OSCARS! I’ve probably watched at least 75 years of Oscars. I cannot remember a worse year than last night. Not just the racist choice of Green Book as best picture, but the pacing, the quality of speeches, the miserable jokes and just plain dullness of the entire evening. Then too — aside from Roma — the quality of the year’s worth of movie was way below even the usual. As we read in film trade business journals and columns, the movie business is going through an enormous upheaval. Amazon, Netflix, and conglomerates are threatening the very existence of our near-hallowed theatre palaces. Admission prices nearing $18 in New York City are not exactly making movie theatres more accessible. Movies were once events that brought not just families but whole neighborhoods together. Now, with more and more of us having our own private screens, that sense of sharing has all but vanished.
THROUGH A KANGAROO’S EYE.
Mountain bikers shred down the Emma McCrary multi-use trail in Pogonip: City on a Hill 2016 by staff writer Celia Fong.
With ever increasing population pressures on Santa Cruz, protecting our open space lands from human overuse becomes even more critical. This is true not only for self-interest in having access to areas where one can find quiet sanctuaries “far from the madding crowd” but also where other species of rapidly diminishing flora and fauna can survive.
It was with that in mind, as well as concern for the homeless amongst us, that I suggested setting aside 20 of the 640 acres of Pogonip for a self-contained homeless village, separate from the rest of the open space and of sufficient size to accommodate all who are currently camping with no toilet facilities in makeshift tents throughout the city’s parks, open spaces and beaches. Until we provide such a haven, there is no solution.
Another threat to our open space lands is arguably more impactful. I am referring to the push to include more of what is politely called “active uses” such as technical downhill mountain bike trails, drone zones and off-leash dog parks, all of which have been recommended for the open space lands in the city’s Parks Master Plan (PMP), currently under environmental review with a deadline for comments by March 12th. While the document hastens to add that no specific sites have been determined and all will need further environmental review, the bias is clear. Prior to developing the draft PMP and to assess residents’ priorities for use of open space lands, the city hired a consulting firm to conduct a random sampling with hiking and walking a clear favorite at 38% and mountain biking at 11%. Apparently not satisfied with the findings, the city conducted another survey with similar results. Despite this clear message to guide decision making, the PMP and environmental review barely mention hiking but instead highlight and prioritize potential new mountain bike trails for Pogonip and DeLaveaga. The stated goal in the PMP is to “accommodate new and emerging trends and satisfy unmet needs” which is equivalent to saying, “hikers, get out of the way.”
The city’s open space lands are a modest 1,315 acres for a population of 64,000. Add a few million visitors; apply a little marketing and online promotion; invite the participation of mountain bike organizations and businesses and in no time at all hikers and bird watchers will have all but disappeared. Soon the birds and other fauna will dwindle as the “madding crowd” takes over. This is not hyperbole. It has happened in other places and is why some communities are limiting “active use” aka mountain biking in open space while our city promotes it.
The State Parks system also fails to protect open space. They court the mountain bike industry while making their own contribution to degrading the land. On a walk through Natural Bridges State Park yesterday I winced at the trail damage from their vehicle tires visible in the photo. The area is closed to other vehicles so this is in-house negligence.
I get it that “active” uses are popular, fun and marketed to young males for thrills. I understand that ignorance is bliss. I confess to going kangaroo hunting as a teenager, raised as I was as a boy and enjoying the camaraderie and excitement. Now I see the world through the kangaroo’s eyes as well as my own. If the city won’t protect the open space lands, it’s up to us. This is not one to sit on the sidelines with a tsk tsk.
|Gillian Greensite is a long time local activist, a member of Save Our Big Trees and the Santa Cruz chapter of IDA, International Dark Sky Association http://darksky.org Plus she’s an avid ocean swimmer, hiker and lover of all things wild.|
SANCTUARY CITY? NOT SO FAST
There’s real trouble in Surf City and it doesn’t stem from recent city council therapy sessions. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents raided a Santa Cruz home in the Seabright neighborhood on Friday February 15th at 4am. Various neighbors and law enforcement officials say that at least 20 agents arrived in 12 vehicles, including an MRAP military vehicle. Under the cover of darkness they broke down the front door of a middle-aged couple and ransacked their home. At least five flash-bang grenades were exploded; electricity was cut as the federal intruders used lasers mounted to their gun sights to search the house. The couple’s 10-year-old daughter and 23-year old son were also present and had guns pointed directly at them. The vehicles were unmarked and most of what the masked federal enforcers were wearing was equally non-identifiable. A few wore bullet proof vests emblazoned with the letters: POLICE. A smaller HSI logo was harder to see. The use of force in this case was aggressive and perhaps more appropriate for taking a hostile village in a war zone, than occupying the wide streets of the Windsor-Cayuga neighborhood. A door knock would likely have sufficed. Neighbors were jarred from their slumber, the families cell phones confiscated, and a table was set out on the lawn as a staging area to go through the family’s papers that were hauled out from the house. After standing outside in the buff for an hour the couple reentered the house, dressed, had their faces wrapped with sweatshirts so they could not see where they were going. They were then taken to what was later told to them was “a Sherriff’s substation on Portola Drive.”(I found no reference on the internet to a Portola substation.) It was there at our Sanctuary Santa Cruz County Sherriff “substation” that the couple was interrogated by HSI. Most of the questions, according to the couple, pertained to their immigration status. They were released at 1pm with no charges as yet filed by any law enforcement agency. This entire situation left many of us wondering if this is Santa Cruz or Tegucigalpa? San Salvador or Guatemala City? What’s driving raids like this, Trump’s border wall? Our declared Sanctuary City status? Or the federal government’s war on cannabis? All of these rumors are out there and the facts are beginning to speak loudly in favor of a federal backlash.
MRAP—Mine Resistant, Ambush Protected military vehicle came to Santa Cruz on Feb. 15th and woke up the Seabright neighborhood. Twenty men, 12 vehicles, and an MRAP…a lot of fire power for a “mission” that yielded no arrests. Could a knock on the door likely worked just as well?
Neighbors Coming Together
As a result of the raid, doors were knocked in, cars ransacked, five flash-bang grenades were exploded, and two people detained but no charges filed. Go figure. Nineteen neighbors jammed into the living room of a Seabright beach cottage this week to discuss “the raid.”People in the neighborhood to say the least, are on edge, others outright scared, but most who attended the meeting were outraged by the events that unfolded that February morning. These neighbors collectively recounted for three city councilmembers their memories of that fateful morning, and this is what they said: “I’m speechless…where were the police? Why the extreme approach, why such a dangerous approach.” “This was a threat to safety of our community.” “ICE was here and lying to the police about their activities.” “I live down the block. I couldn’t believe what was happening and how heavy-handed it was.” “The flash bangs were so loud. I grew up in Holland and it reminded me of WWII.” “I live next door…sounded like shots fired when the grenades exploded. I ran to my son’s room, he was pretty freaked out.” “So loud. What I saw were the boys using their toys.” “We went outside and asked them to identify themselves and thy said, no.” “I swear, I was standing there at the curb in my jammies and one of the agents asked, ‘Are you with us?'” “We need real clarification of who is culpable and who is accountable.””It was disturbing to see our neighbors taken away; they had been our neighbors for 20 years.” “Every time they come they are going to terrorize us because we are a sanctuary city.”
The neighbors want answers. The city council members who were present want answers. We resolved to push for another neighborhood meeting with the police chief and city manager; the city council would host a town hall meeting; and the Mayor and City Council would send letters to our Washington representative, Jimmy Panetta, another one to Governor Gavin Newsom, and also send a sharp rebuke to the Homeland Security office in San Francisco, which evidently directed the raid. Friends, stay tuned, as long as Trump is President this issue is not going away.
THERE’S MONEY ON THE TABLE, AND HEADED TOWARDS SOMEBODY’S POCKET TOO!
Swenson’s Five 55 Pacific ($22.9 million) and 1547 Pacific Avenue ($35 million) opened a new era, a floodgate of high end housing coming to a realtor near you. But even bigger ones are on the way. Recently approved are the 205 units at Laurel and Pacific ($90 million), and on the way is a proposed 333-unit mega-complex called 908 Ocean Street. And then there’s the 89-unit ($$$?) condo project at 190 West Cliff Drive across from the Dream Inn. Make no mistake, Santa Cruz is some valuable real estate and there’s some deep-pocketed developers knocking at the door. For some–real estate, banking, and construction sectors, this is welcome news. For others–baristas, mechanics, teachers, and bar tenders–this housing is not for you, unless you can get two or three others to cram into a one or two-bedroom apartment with you and are able to pay half your salary in rent. But guess what? Most of these will be studios or one-bedrooms, not many 2BR’s because that’s not where the market is at. All of this construction is not what you would call “family friendly” either. It contemplates a future that is young, up and coming wealthy, or fast-tracking their way to wealth at Google or Apple or Amazon. These are the $120,000-plus a year twenty-somethings. Because that’s where the market is. This is all fine if you’re bankrolling these projects and pulling in profits, but if you’ve lived here for years, or were born here and just lost your apartment because of a rent increase, these new housing projects are not good news. Why? Because all housing is not created equal. Santa Cruz severely lacks enough moderate and low income housing for the people who live here now and want to stay. This is where local government comes in.
FOLLOW THE MONEY.
Local government can help level the playing field by securing funds for affordable housing, boosting the minimum wage to a living wage, demanding developers build the mandatory 15% inclusionary affordable units in each project, and allow for maximum public input into all development decisions. There is big money flowing to, and through, our Surf City and it likely mirrors what’s going on nationally, less and less people own more and more of our town, state, country, and planet. I am in local government precisely to help level the playing field and include the vulnerable and those historically left out of the decision-making process. Government can be empowering and local government can be especially critical in that process and serving the needs of residents.
(Chris Krohn is a father, writer, activist, and was on the Santa Cruz City Councilmember from 1998-2002. Krohn was Mayor in 2001-2002. He’s been running the Environmental Studies Internship program at UC Santa Cruz for the past 14 years. He was elected the the city council again in November of 2016, after his kids went off to college. His current term ends in 2020.
Email Chris at email@example.com
SOQUEL CREEK WATER DISTRICT BOARD SET TO APPROVE RATE INCREASES TO FUND EXPENSIVE PROJECT TO INJECT TREATED SEWAGE WATER INTO THE MIDCOUNTY DRINKING WATER SUPPLY
The Soquel Creek Water District Board of Directors will consider approving Ordinance 19-01 at their March 5 meeting to give a green light for raising customer water rates and service fees every year for the next five years. Ratepayers need to be there March 5, 6pm at Capitola City Council Chambers and demand the Board NOT approve Ordinance 19-01.
This is all to bring in revenue necessary to fund the “Pure” Water Soquel Project that would inject millions of gallons of treated sewage water into the drinking water supply for the entire MidCounty area…not just Soquel Creek Water District customers. Ratepayers were only given an opportunity to voice opposition on this via the Prop 218 protest process on the rate and service fee increases that are necessary to fund the disgusting project. That required 51% of the 15,800 ratepayers to file written protest, and is a high hurdle.
At the February 19 Public Hearing, the public was made to sit through nearly 90 minutes of staff propaganda and Raftelis consultant speeches about why the increases were needed. It was only then that the public learned the increases are to fund Pure Water Soquel Project via the Tier 2 customers. It was only then that the public learned, thanks to the astute ratepayer Mr. Jimmy Cannizzaro, that indeed the base rate considered in the rate increases is the Stage 3 Emergency Conservation rate, which is higher than the normal operational Stage 1 rate, but that the District has charged every year since 2015. The Stage 3 Emergency rate charges necessity has become defined by revenue need, not hydraulic conditions, as the District first defined them. Thank you, Director Bruce Jaffe for going on record as opposing the current Stage 3 economic indicator definitions, rather than relating to the groundwater levels and rainfall.
It was again pointed out to the Board, thanks to rate payers Jon Cole and Michael Boyd, that the single family households with more than 2-4 people will be unfairly penalized, because any water use over 6 units/.household will pay Tier 2 rates of $20.19/unit (Tier 1 rate would be $6.43/unit) effective March 1, and by the end of the five-year annual increases, the disparity will be $9.10/unit for Tier 1 but $41.23/unit for Tier 2!
All that is just the water rate increase, but the monthly service fees are also set to escalate, regardless of whether or not a customer uses water at all. Read the article below about the Seacliff Mobile Home Park folks who will suffer nearly a 500% increase in their monthly service fee by the end of the five year planned increase in 2023, with their MONTHLY service fee reaching $2,198.45: Senior mobile home customers critical of Soquel Creek Water rate hikes
Here is the Santa Cruz Sentinel’s report on what the Board considered, and heard from the public, who was justifiably upset at not receiving full disclosure of information until the Public Hearing:
Rate payers need to contact the Board and URGE THEM NOT TO APPROVE ORDINANCE 19-01 THAT WOULD MAKE THESE RATE AND FEE INCREASE EFFECTIVE RETROACTIVELY TO MARCH 1, 2019.
Contact the Board of Directors bod@soquelcreekwater,org and copy Emma Olin firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here is why:
- The District did NOT disclose in printed information mailed to ratepayers regarding the proposed rate and fee increases that the Tier 2 increases are only to fund the Pure Water Soquel Project. In fact, nowhere in the mailer was the Project even named at all. This VIOLATES Prop. 218 law that requires the water provider to clearly state why the District needs the increase.
- The District did NOT explain in the printed information mailed to ratepayers any information about how the rate increase was calculated, as is required by Prop. 218 law. Again, the District is in VIOLATION.
- Director Rachel Lather did not even vote when the Board was approving the increases and taking further action on March 5 to approve Ordinance 19-01. Neither did she did abstain. She just said nothing. That did not become clear until a member of the public called out the matter during the Public Comment period subsequent to the Board’s actions, and asked that the record be corrected. WAS THE BOARD’S ACTION LEGAL?
- There is legal action against the Pure Water Soquel Project and the Board for alleged VIOLATIONS of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) law regarding the sham of an EIR and process the District took to shove it through. Shouldn’t any rate increase for the Project under legal question be halted, rather than pushed through? If the District loses in Court, it could mean having to refund people their money, further wasting District resources. Usually when there is litigation against a Project, all actions on the Project stop….but the District is NOT STOPPING, and is in fact rushing these rate and fee increases forward to fund the Project further.
I would urge you to call the District as well, but I cannot, in good faith, recommend doing so because I do not trust that your comments would be correctly relayed, if at all, to the Board.
ATTEND THE MARCH 5 BOARD MEETING (6pm at Capitola City Council Chambers) AND DEMAND THEY TAKE NO ACTION ON ORDINANCE 19-01. It is the final voice ratepayers will have about paying skyrocketing rates to drink treated sewage water, and impose the same health risks of pharmaceuticals and carcinogenic contaminants on their neighbors who also rely on the Purisima Aquifer.
WE ALL NEED TO GET SCRAPPY!
A friend loaned me a book by Casey Lucius, Ph.D. titled “Scrappy Campaigning – 10 Things I Learned About Leadership and Life on the Campaign Trail”. I highly recommend the book. Casey Lucius ran against Jimmy Panetta in 2016. I met her and was impressed with her clarity and courage. The beginning of her book describes what being “scrappy” means, and I will paraphrase a bit for the sake of brevity:
Scrappy means ATTITUDE.
It means not relying on a title to be a leader.
It means being willing to take risks and put yourself out there.
Scrappy means doing the right thing, even when you don’t feel like it.
It means having the steely resolve of a street fighter.
It means sticking to your guns even if you’re shaking in your boots.
Scrappy means being committed beyond reason to a purpose beyond profit and to a mission that matters.
Scrappy means being determined to make a positive difference even when you are not positive you can succeed.
Scrappy means caring about something more than you care about being comfortable, socially acceptable, or politically correct.
Scrappy means being absolutely totally committed to extraordinary results.
Scrappy means EDGY!!…and is your edge in achieving outrageous results even when they seem impossible.
GET SCRAPPY! MAKE ONE CALL. WRITE ONE LETTER. ATTEND ONE PUBLIC MEETING. MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE.
BUT JUST DO SOMETHING!
Cheers, Becky Steinbruner
Becky Steinbruner is a 30+ year resident of Aptos. She has fought for water, fire, emergency preparedness, and for road repair. She ran for Second District County Supervisor in 2016 on a shoestring and got nearly 20% of the votes.
Email Becky at KI6TKB@yahoo.com
#49 / Extinction Rebellion
I learned something from yesterday’s New York Times. Actually, I probably learned several things, but I am sharing this one! Here is what I learned: There is, in Britain, an activist group called “Extinction Rebellion.” Click the link to visit its website. Extinction Rebellion has also created a website specifically designed for those from outside Britain. Click right here to join up with the international branch.
I had never heard of Extinction Rebellion, but I am sympathetic to its message. We are facing a global crisis, caused by human activities (my apologies to those friends who disagree – and I do have a few of those). We need to take immediate, dramatic, and drastic actions, and our failure to do so puts human civilization in peril.
Any individual action will be inconsequential, so it is hard to get too enthused about lowering the setting on your thermostat during a cold snap, or walking to the drugstore, even in the rain, instead of driving. The kind of action we need, action on a national and international scale, is hard to come by. The right kind of action is particularly hard to muster in a world in which politics, in virtually every nation, is dominated by the oil companies.
The Times article, written by David Wallace Wells, is titled, “Time To Panic.” Wells suggests that “fear may be the only thing that saves us.”
Generally speaking, fear tends to have an “immobilizing” as opposed to a “mobilizing” effect, but what we do need to understand is that “business as usual” is the equivalent to rowing a bit harder, upstream, as your canoe is heading for Niagara Falls.
I think Wells got his title right. “Panic” might get us moving. Something needs to! The most recent report from the United Nations gives us twelve years to avoid a total catastrophe.
Meanwhile, back on Capitol Hill, politicians are starting to talk about a “Green New Deal.” As this concept is most typically explained, the main focus of the program is “economic stimulus.” The appeal is to those who have been left behind as the wealth of the world gravitates, almost entirely, to those in the top 1%.
We do need to address income and wealth inequality, but there is a problem with trying to deal with the global warming crisis through a program that is basically aimed at economic stimulus. Economic stimulus, typically, results in more consumer demand, which means more consumer expenditures. In fact, we need the opposite of more consumer consumption. We need less! We are burning energy to produce too many unnecessary things that we purchase, online and off, the proliferation of these things then forcing us to “declutter” our lives as a new form of human self-realization. Really! Think about how many packages were piled up under the Christmas trees in so many of our homes. We need to cut consumer consumption, radically, and our program to confront climate change needs to understand that, and not stimulate more consumption, even unintentionally.
What we actually need, it seems to me, is not so much a “New Deal” approach to our crisis, but another program from the Roosevelt era. We need to mobilize Dr. Win The War.
In World War II, in which the future of human civilization was definitely and definitively at stake, our economy was transformed, almost overnight, into an economy in which consumer consumption was ruthlessly slashed; individual efforts to “save,” actions like turning down the thermostats, were universally embraced, and the government steered almost all of the nation’s economic activity into producing (not consuming) the material needed to win the war.
Similarly now. We need to transform our economy from a consumer economy into an economy that ruthlessly cuts back on consumer consumption, and that redirects our human energies to production. We need to produce not more guns, tanks, and bombs, however, as in World War II, but more solar panels to go on every rooftop where enough sun strikes. We need to plant millions of trees. We need to transform every building we inhabit, as much as possible, into a “zero net energy” building. We need to move from individual transportation modalities to collective transportation modalities. These are the kind of projects mentioned by those promoting the Green New Deal, and these projects will lead to jobs for everyone who can work, of course. This kind of program will also lead to very high taxes, to fund the activities needed to “win the war,” with the added benefit of reducing the ability to engage in more consumption.
After Pearl Harbor, Americans turned panic into productivity. Can panic save us now? We do face “extinction.” It is a real threat. When billions lose access to water and food, which is what is in store for us, the “immigration” problems we confront today will seem small. When we realize how many nuclear bombs are ready to be launched – and some on “autorespond” settings – the total extinction of human life is not improbable.
Time to rebel against extinction! Setting aside our normal lives, we need to take action that will profoundly change the direction in which human civilization is moving now.
Gary Patton is a former Santa Cruz County Supervisor (20 years) and an attorney for individuals and community groups on land use and environmental issues. The opinions expressed are Mr. Patton’s. You can read and subscribe to his daily blog at www.gapatton.net
Email Gary at email@example.com
EAGAN’S SUBCONSCIOUS COMICS. Check a few turns below for this week’s visit to that special inner world and our special faithful friends.
EAGAN’S DEEP COVER. See Eagan’s ” Global Warming ” down a few pages. As always, at TimEagan.com you will find his most recent Deep Cover, the latest installment from the archives of Subconscious Comics, and the ever entertaining Eaganblog.
SANTA CRUZ BAROQUE FESTIVAL…Concert #II is titled “Roots of Bach & Telemann” .It features…The Virtu Ensemble: Claudia Gantivar, Recorder. Angelique Zuluaga, Soprano. Cynthia Black, Violin. Frederic Rosselet, Cello and Bernard Gordillo, Harpsichord Revel in the sensuous early and mid-Baroque Italian melodies of Frescobaldi and Corelli that Bach spent his youth emulating, along with glorious chamber works and a joyous cantata by his best friend Georg Phillip Telemann. A pre-concert talk begins 45 minutes before each concert. It’s happening on Sunday, March 3 at 3 p.m. in the UCSC Music Recital Hall.
LISA JENSEN LINKS. Lisa is probably up to her ears editing viewing and may share the world’s bafflement over the last Oscar night. Read her newest at Lisa Jensen Online Express (http://ljo-express.blogspot.com ). Lisa has been writing film reviews and columns for Good Times since 1975.
ARCTIC. We never find out where Mads Mikkelsen has been, or where he’s going, but he’s the survivor of a plane crash and carries the entire film. You will never once take your eyes from the screen…it is completely riveting. Our man Mads then finds the seriously wounded young female survivor of another plane crash, and tows her on his trek. He ties her up in her sleeping bag and attends to her wound, but apparently she never has to pee or poop for days, or at least he pays no attention. But it is a good (not great) movie…you won’t forget it.
NEVER LOOK AWAY. Warning…this film is 3 hours and 9 minutes long, and based on a still-famous German contemporary artist’s life. It’s full of Nazi politics, artistic statements, and it’ll make you think constantly. Not a great film, but I call it courageous, because it is absorbing and well made. The real artist’s name is Gerhard Richter and none of us can afford his paintings today.
EVERYBODY KNOWS. For some reason I thought this was going to be a romantic comedy starring Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz. Nope, it’s about a kidnapping, family relations, big parties, luscious landscapes and a kidnapping mystery. Whodunnit? We don’t find out for a very long time and don’t really have enough clues, but go see it anyways.
THEY SHALL NOT GROW OLD. Peter Jackson who directed The Hobbit and Lord of The Rings films took 100’s of hours of actual World War I battles and digitized it into a brilliant telling of what those soldiers went through. Using recordings of soldiers who were in those trenches he made this 3D colorized documentary to pay tribute to that war’s 100 year anniversary. You’ll see war like we’ve never seen it before, with the suffering, the humor, the blood gallons of guts on the screen. You can only see it at the Regal theatre in Capitola. It’s not being shown in 3D locally.
COLD WAR. One of the very best films I’ve seen in many YEARS!! A 1950’s love relationship between two very involved lovers that endures the Cold Wars between Germany, Poland, Yugoslavia and in Paris and Berlin. It’s perfectly acted, all in black and white and very serious. Only 1 ½ hours long, it’ll stay with you for a very long time…don’t miss it. 94 on RT. CLOSES THURSDAY FEBRUARY 28.
THE WIFE. Glenn Close, Jonathan Pryce and Christian Slater — along with a sensitive plot/script — make this another great 2018 film. Pryce wins the Nobel Prize; his wife Glen Close has a deeply involved and serious role as his lodestar. An excellent film, go see it. You’ll love it. Landmark/Cohen Media is bringing it back to the Nickelodeon. CLOSES THURSDAY FEBRUARY 28.
STAN & OLLIE. Full disclosure… I had a wonderful afternoon with Stan Laurel and his wife in their upstairs beach front apartment in Malibu in the fall of 1962.. Stan told me about their European tour in 1953 which is the focus of this new film. He said it gave both of them some much needed boosting. He also talked about their appearance on Ralph Edward’s “This Is Your Life” in 1954 and how awkward that appearance was. Stan and I sent a few Christmas cards back and forth for a few years. Stan & Ollie has a 92 on Rotten Tomatoes, and Stan died in 1965. When I find those notes from him, I’ll share. The movie is “bittersweet” well acted and does lay out the semi business-friendly relationship the two comics had all their lives together. Go see it. CLOSES THURSDAY FEBRUARY 28.
FAVOURITE. Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz, and Olivia Colman work together nicely in this costume drama that tries to be a comedy or else it’s a comedy that looks like a costume drama. Olivia Colman is Queen Elizabeth in this 18th Century and she’s been winning all sorts of awards and praise for her slap stick fun. The movie is intentionally full of out of proper time words and gestures. They say fuck a lot and make very modern gestures. Not my favorite movie but just maybe it’s yours?
GREEN BOOK. Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali (from Oakland) are getting extra-super praise for their roles in this almost-true story of a white chauffeur driving a black jazz pianist through the American south in 1962. I couldn’t buy the entire plot. Both Viggo and Mahershala play their roles way over the top…becoming caricatures. There isn’t a surprise, revelation, or any lesson to be learned from this movie. It’s a racist story we are all too familiar with, how the white race protects the Blacks. If Slumdog Millionaire got an Academy Award, this one could too. But not from me.
BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY. I should note that I’m no fan of “Queen” the band, or of Freddie Mercury, their Mick Jagger-copying lead singer. Nonetheless this Hollywood-style movie is shallow, hammy, trite, and adds nothing to film, music, or history. It’s actually boring for much of its screen time of two hours and 15 minutes.
OSCAR NOMINATED LIVE ACTION SHORTS. The true story of two 10 year old boys killing a 2 year old, an abandoned boy on the beach, racial hatred and parental murder, and more. This collection of Live action shorts is the most miserable, untalented group of shorts I’ve ever seen. They are depressing, uncreative, and hopefully forgettable.
OSCAR NOMINATED ANIMATED SHORTS. Pixar has its usual expected cutesy entry in this group of shorts. In addition there’s young girl’s menstruation, the smell of dog’s butts, elderly care, and still more depressing topics. The animation shorts aren’t any better or important than the live action.
UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE. Each and every Tuesday from 7:00-8:00 p.m. I host Universal Grapevine on KZSC 88.1 fm. or on your computer, (live only or archived for two weeks… (See next paragraph) and go to WWW.KZSC.ORG. February 26 has George Fogelson and Barry Braverman discussing the book, “Between The Redwoods and The Bay- a History of Jews In Santa Cruz”. Jean Brocklebank and Judi Grunstra discuss Santa Cruz library plans following Fogelson. Rick Longinotti will be talking about a park, a commons, and downtown on March 5th. Then author and art critic Carolyn Burke discusses her newest book, “Foursome”. It focuses on the relationship between two famous couples. March 12 has Jim Coffis Co-Founder and director of Green Trade talking about cannabis factors. Workmen’s comp. attorney Bob Taren returns to talk area politics and changes in issues following Coffis. On March 19 Maestro Michel Singher talks about the Espressivo Orchestra concert happening March 31st. Then Ellen Primack exec. dir of the Cabrillo Fest of Contemporary Music talks all about plans to upgrade the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium. May 21st has concertmaster Roy Malan discussing the Hidden Valley String Orchestra concert occurring on June 2nd. OR…if you just happen to miss either of the last two weeks of Universal Grapevine broadcasts go here… https://www.radiofreeamerica.com/schedule/kzsc You have to listen to about 4 minutes of that week’s KPFA news first, then Grapevine happens. Do remember, any and all suggestions for future programs are more than welcome so tune in, and keep listening. Email me always and only at firstname.lastname@example.org
UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE ARCHIVES. In case you missed some of the great people I’ve interviewed in the last 9 years here’s a chronological list of some past broadcasts. Such a wide range of folks such as Nikki Silva, Michael Warren, Tom Noddy, UCSC Chancellor George Blumenthal, Anita Monga, Mark Wainer, Judy Johnson, Wendy Mayer-Lochtefeld, Rachel Goodman, George Newell, Tubten Pende, Gina Marie Hayes, Rebecca Ronay-Hazleton, Miriam Ellis, Deb Mc Arthur, The Great Morgani on Street performing, and Paul Whitworth on Krapps Last Tape. Jodi McGraw on Sandhills, Bruce Daniels on area water problems. Mike Pappas on the Olive Connection, Sandy Lydon on County History. Paul Johnston on political organizing, Rick Longinotti on De-Sal. Dan Haifley on Monterey Bay Sanctuary, Dan Harder on Santa Cruz City Museum. Sara Wilbourne on Santa Cruz Ballet Theatre. Brian Spencer on SEE Theatre Co. Paula Kenyon and Karen Massaro on MAH and Big Creek Pottery. Carolyn Burke on Edith Piaf. Peggy Dolgenos on Cruzio. Julie James on Jewel Theatre Company. Then there’s Pat Matejcek on environment, Nancy Abrams and Joel Primack on the Universe plus Nina Simon from MAH, Rob Slawinski, Gary Bascou, Judge Paul Burdick, John Brown Childs, Ellen Kimmel, Don Williams, Kinan Valdez, Ellen Murtha, John Leopold, Karen Kefauver, Chip Lord, Judy Bouley, Rob Sean Wilson, Ann Simonton, Lori Rivera, Sayaka Yabuki, Chris Kinney, Celia and Peter Scott, Chris Krohn, David Swanger, Chelsea Juarez…and that’s just since January 2011.
In March the soft rains continued, and each storm waited courteously until its predecessor sunk beneath the ground. John Steinbeck
March is the month God created to show people who don’t drink what a hangover is like. Garrison Keillor
“Ring out the old, ring in the new, Ring, happy bells, across the snow: The year is going, let him go; Ring out the false, ring in the true.” Alfred Lord Tennyson
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82 Blackburn Street, Suite 216
Santa Cruz, CA 95060