DATELINE February 29, 2106
CITY COUNCIL CAROUSEL. Secret meetings, pledges, pleas, quesses, denials, “and much, much more” all happening around and in Santa Cruz City limits as the merry-go–round keeps spinng to see who gets the brass ring and a seat or two at our City Council. Right now these names are best known as rumors…and subject to change, denial, or pleas for campaign funds.
One of the earliest names is J.M. Brown, formerly of the Santa Cruz Sentinel. He’s well liked and no one is sure of whether he’ll be on the Cynthia Mathews right side of politics or Micah Posners left progressive side. Robert Singleton is another oft-mentioned candidate. He’s a co-founder of Civinomics. He’s also an office holder of the Santa Cruz County Business Council a well known pro-growth, to hell with the environment, establishment club. Then too he’s a member of the Association of Realtors…so we know where he’s at. Gloria Nieto is mulling it over. A forceful feminist-activist, her online credits list her as a garden consultant and house sitter. Dru Glover is mulling things over. He was born in Santa Cruz and, contrary to rumors, is no relation to actor Danny Glover. Dru would be the most progressive council candidate so far and is the director/founder of Project: Pollinate Santa Cruz go to www.projectpollinate.org to learn about their quarterly event on March 19 in San Lorenzo Park. All of above will change weekly, let me know if you hear of anything!!!
UCSC STUDENT THEATRE ACTION. On the boards right now (through March 6) is the UCSC Theatre Arts department’s production of “Marques: a narco Macbeth“. It’s Macbeth goes to Baja fights to control the drug trade and forgets Shakespeare. There are some brilliant creative and thought provoking moments in this production and some odd additions like the 10 minute scene of 6 or 8 G-stringed male strippers/dancers dancing for the Marques in a Gay Bar. Maybe that was when “Birnam Wood came to …”??? But if you like adventuresome theatre and want just occasional reminders of the original Macbeth, go see it. Not having heard a word or a press release or any references to UCSC’s Barn Theatre in years I was amazed when Adrien Centeno, the Barn’s managing director told us on the Universal Grapevine program that the Barn is very much alive and quite well and has all kinds of student productions happening nearly constantly. Go to the very out of date website http://barnstorm.ucsc.edu and get some idea of their scope or better yet, go to this Facebook group page for weekly updates on Barnstorm productions. They also have a new website: www.ucscbarnstorm.weebly.com
If we called UCSC’s “Marques” “Macbeth in Mexico” we could call the just finished Barn Theatre play “WOYZECK IN COMPLETE”. I’ve seen Georg Buchner’s 1830 play Woyzeck done as an opera by Alban Berg about three times, I’ve watched Werner Herzog’s Woyzeck film many times, I’ve missed Tom Waits musical version, and on it goes. The Barnstorm Theatre version had an all female cast. (Remember a copule of seasons ago when we saw an all female cast do Hamlet at the Jewel theatre?? whew!). Lots of running, posing and way too much shouting instead of some deep dialogue, but still an adventuresome and creative student product. Watch the Barnstorm Theatre notices for plays we won’t see anywhere else.
GIRL SCOUT COOKIE RIPOFF…REVISITED. Yes I watched the Oscars when Chris Rock’s daughter and her G.S.Troop sold over $65,000 worth of that junk food to the millionaires seated at Dolby Centre last night. New readers should be aware that I’ve been campaigning against Girl Scouts selling cookies for decades. My main points are 1. The competitive internal bickering within the troops. 2. The amount of thievery it encourages from Moms being jailed for stealing $$$ in the drives (proof & data, upon request). 3. The cookies are junk food and why, IF it’s necessary to sell something, why not sell organic and/or useful or educational items? 4. Lastly, the vast profit that the Girls take on go to the corporate bakers/cookie manufacturers. Ah well. Check out this religious take about Girl Scouts…(From Daily Kos 2/22/16) In an article about how the Archbishop tells believers that their Girls shouldn’t go into Girl Scouts and churches should be cafreful about letting troops use facilities then comes the part about Girl Scout Cookies…it says…”There is a licensing fee attached to each box of Girl Scout cookies produced, paid to GSUSA. Licensing fees paid to GSUSA on all trademarked Girl Scout items (cookies, Girl Scout curriculum books and badges, ice creams, coffee creamers, etc.) amounts to millions of dollars every year. (See: Does any of the money from cookie sales go to Girl Scouts of the USA?) On average, only 10-20% of the total cookie revenue remains with the troop selling the cookies. (See: How can I be sure that Girl Scout Cookie Program revenue supports the local Girl Scouts in my community?) We echo the statement of Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri, that it is important not to debate these issues with individual girls who are selling cookies. These conversations must “remain among adults”.
It’s no secret that the Sentinel’s headlines are often skewed to mislead the reader. A good example was the recent “Long-term planning addresses growth” headlining the article on the Corridors Plan, which is the proposed re-zoning of Mission, Water and Ocean Streets and Soquel Avenue to allow for a far higher density of housing and retail than is permitted under current zoning. A more accurate headline would have read, “Long-term planning accelerates growth.” Reporters don’t choose headlines and the accompanying article of the public forum on the eastside by reporter Jessica York did a good job of covering the issue from the city planning staff and neighborhood perspectives.
It is understandable that staff is pushing the re-zoning and increased density, both from a General Plan perspective and the fact that the Planning Department relies on ever-increasing growth to keep paying substantial salaries and hiring new staff. A less obvious influence may be that the city Planning Director lives outside the city. How many other senior planners live outside our city? It’s easy to favor growth and crowding us in like sardines if you live somewhere else. A sort of WINIMBY effect. (well it’s not in my back yard).
At the neighborhood forum, city principal planner Ron Powers downplayed the impact of high density by assuring the large eastside neighborhood turnout that the growth will be all market-driven and, ” If the property owner doesn’t want to develop, they don’t have to.” That’s true on the face of it and also highly misleading. The urban consultants hired by the city to develop the Corridors Plan noted that there is little vacant land in the corridors (the Sentinel photos were only of the rare vacant land) and most land is already developed, making it necessary they wrote, to “incentivize” the higher density development. It’s likely that owners of properties along the four corridor streets are already being approached by developers offering large sums of money to sell for the windfall that will accompany re-zoning. Local long-time businesses that currently rent will be forced out if they cannot afford the new in-fill rents that will be far higher than current rents. This happened on Pacific Avenue. New construction is expensive.
The city has a Corridors website which is finely tuned to promote the plan. (santacruzcorridors.com). It contains a number of articles on housing that justify high density as producing lower housing costs based on “supply and demand.” The site excludes articles readily available which are critical of supply and demand and increased density as a means to a more affordable housing future. On a national and state level, infilling is already being criticized as not delivering on its promises. Feel good phrases such as, “walk-able streets” have not materialized. Traffic has increased. Housing costs and rents have risen.
I readily admit to a long-time preference for the already existing small- scale local businesses and low density neighborhoods which give Santa Cruz its character and sense of place in a rapidly urbanizing, homogenized world. I understand that many younger new arrivals in Santa Cruz favor high density and have little desire to protect the small-scale familiar businesses and livable neighborhoods in our town. To these newcomers I’d say, if you like high density, choose to live in a high-density area. Don’t annihilate what’s left of our town in the pursuit of your urban lifestyle.
( 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).
CHRIS KROHN Questions…
Attached is the budget report from UCSC 2015-16 if you haven’t seen it…lots of interesting tidbits like this one…they estimate that it is about $5,200 less to live off-campus than on-campus. (page 17). I have to ask why that is…just makes no sense at all…I keep hearing too that there is a tidal wave of new students coming this fall. In addition the legitimate bed space has only increased by 376 in 8 years…(which I would predict is around how many beds the “Rental Inspection Ordinance” alone has taken out of circulation in town.) I say “legitimate” because “overflow bed-space” (on page 20 in the budget report) indicates that they’ve added 1520 beds not in any new buildings but in existing spaces…It’s been by doubling and tripling rooms and taking out any study lounges that used to exist. I spend a lot of time in the library and McHenry Library is a giant study lounge…it’s getting to the point of overcrowding—just packed–because, I conclude there are no places to study in the dorms any longer. It has an effect on the quality of education and student life. The report is here http://planning.ucsc.edu/budget/reports/birdseye (Chris is a former City Council member and Mayor of Santa Cruz. He sent this timely question…).
PATTON’S PROGRAM. From Gary’s thrice weekly KUSP Program…
IS GROWTH ALWAYS GOOD? LET’S THINK ABOUT IT!
In general, we tend to think that growth is “good.” Parents want their children to grow and thrive, and “thrive” and “grow” are almost synonyms in that context. We want our bank accounts to grow. That’s always a good sign. Presidents are always trying to get the economy growing, and I have always loved Bob Dylan’s take on that issue. Do you remember these lyrics?
Well, my telephone rang it would not stop
It’s President Kennedy callin’ me up
He said, “My friend, Bob, what do we need to make the country grow?”
I said, “My friend, John, Brigitte Bardot, Anita Ekberg, Sophia Loren.
Land use and growth are very distinctly related, and one of the premises of land use planning is that all growth is not good. Growth needs to be managed, and sometimes it even needs to be discouraged. Growing traffic goes along with job growth and new high-density development. Global warming impacts grow as the economy heats up. If you care about crops growing, and that’s a big thing around the Monterey Bay, then all sorts of new development and new growth put that agricultural economy at risk. Check out today’s Land Use Report blog posting, found at kusp.org/landuse, and think about that question: “Is growth always good?”
Check it out at Gary Patton’s Two Worlds Blog or Two Worlds – Is Growth Always Good? Read the complete scripts of the above at Gary Patton’s KUSP Land Use site http://blogs.kusp.org/landuse . Gary is a former Santa Cruz County Supervisor (20 years) and an attorney who represents indivuduals and community groups on land use and environmenatl issues. The opinions expressed are Mr. Patton’s. Gary has his own website, Two Worlds/365” – www.gapatton.net
CLASSICAL DeCINZO. DeCinzo looks at Student loans scroll below
EAGAN’S DEEP COVER. The Bully Pulpit updated see downwards…
LISA JENSEN LINKS. Lisa writes: “I was 12 for 13 in my Oscar predictions this year. But as few surprises as there were in the show, we still have the “Return of the Oscar Barbies” to amuse us this week at Lisa Jensen Online Express (http://ljo-express.blogspot.com).” Lisa has been writing film reviews and columns for Good Times since 1975.
TO SEE OR NOT TO SEE
THAT IS THE QUESTION
(THE NEWEST FILMS IN ORDER OF PERFECTION)
2015 OSCAR AWARDS. I made no predictions this year, I watched the damned Red Carpet and the awards for almost 6 hours straight. About a half hour into the first Red Carpet stuff it dawned on me…I couldn’t name last years Oscar winner for best picture!!! NOW without peeking…Can YOU name any winners from last year? Does it really matter much? Is Spotlight any better or different from any/all Hollywood newspaper movies??? Well yes, there’s the Catholic- molesting plot thing instead of bootleg booze or illegal drugs as the story. But what’s new, different, memorable ??…and I’ll bet we all forget Spotlight’s Oscar next year at this time as well. Please remember that I plugged and touted Mad Max a lot last year…and it got six (6) Oscars!!!
TRIPLE 9. What a cast…Woody Harrelson, Chiwetal Ejiofor, Kate Winslet, with Casey Affleck as the only honest cop. This bloody movie will definitely fill your need for buckets of blood and vans of violence. A group of crooked cops plan and execute a robbery. There are some surprises, but you won’t care. There are some smirks (not quite laughs), and you’ll leave the theatre wondering why they make movies like this. Box office reports aren’t in yet.
EDDIE THE EAGLE. This movie claims it was based on a true heart tugging story. Hugh Jackman plays a big role as Eddie’s coach/friend and now we find out none of that was true.It doesn’t matter if any of this gross, manipulating, saccharine, dulcet, mellifluous, sugar coated movie is true…it should be made illegal. It’s that sappy. Why Jackman and nasty ol’ Christopher Walken (only at the end) showed up for filming can only be attributed to a need for money. Don’t go…ever. It’s about psychologically challenged Eddie becoming a British ski jumper in the Olympics.
STILL PLAYING AT A THEATRE NEAR US
FROM BEST TO REALLY BAD
SON OF SAUL. This great film won the best Foreign Film Oscar last night and Landmark killed it the day after….so rent it or something. There will always be more stories about the holocaust. This is an excellent film and just won the best foreign film award at the Oscars.(Hungary). Saul, the Jewish hero of the film is forced to work at Auschwitz as part of the Sonderkommando work crew. They had the job of making sure the killing of the Jews was as fast, clean and profitable as possible. Saul see the body of his son and goes beyond human limits to have a traditional Jewish burial instead of the furnaces for him. It starts sad and tormenting and ends the same way. It’s somber, stark, and again another reminder of what hatred and prejudice can do. See this film.
THE VVITCH. That’s not a “w” in “Witch”, for some unexplained reason the film always uses 2 capital v’s in the title. This completely deadily serious film does a fine job of creating and keeping a very scary mood throughout the whole piece. It’s set in 1630 New England centering on a family just off the boat from the old country. Perfect acting, perfect sets, the Brit/New England accents are hard to follow at times. There isn’t a familiar “ghost” idea in this film. No chainsaws, cellar stairs, hockey masks, or more importantly not one previously used scene in it.
WHERE TO INVADE NEXT. We liberals/progressives tend to think we know everything that Michael Moore has to say in his films…we sure don’t. His Invade film is full of very well thought out political concepts that we overlook constantly. He takes on women’s rights, slavery, college tuition, pregnancy leaves, bankers going to jail, decrominalizing drugs, prison sentences, school lunches, and many more. Moore is way too heavy handed and sinplistic but there are some very tearful and relevant points he makes in this documentary. He delivers the fact that so many great steps in human legal prigress were started way back when in the good ol’ USA!!! See this film. And vote accordingly! (that would be Bernie, naturally).
BROOKLYN. Whew…I knew I loved this film and now I see that Rotten Tomatoes gives it 100% Saoirse Ronan plays the lead Irish (very Irish) girl who comes to New York City in the 1950’s. She adjusts then falls in love with an Italian (very Italian) young man. That seems to be ok but she has to return to Ireland on a visit and falls in love with a young Irish (very) young man. It’s not too funny, it’s deep, profound, wrenching and perfect acting. You could easily loose your heart in this film. See it, if you like wonderful films. It also stars (in a smaller role) Jessica Pare who you’ll for sure remember as Megan Draper, Don Draper’s dark- haired sexy wife in Mad Men.
THE REVENANT. What’s odd about The Revenant is that hardly anyone I know, knew what the word meant. Looking it up (I had to) in Wictionary you’ll find… Someone who returns from a long absence. A person or thing reborn. A supernatural being that returns from the dead; a zombie or ghost. The film is a Big Golden Globes and Oscar winner for best Drama film and for Leonardo DiCaprio’s best acting and Alejandro Inarritu for best Director. Set in the 1820’s its about Leonardo and his fellow fur trappers being attacked or occasionally helped by Indian tribes such as the Ree, the Ankara,the Pawnee and the Sioux. DeCaprio almost dies from a bear attack and spends the rest of the film crawling and freezing his way to revenge the trappers who left him to die. DeCaprio has only 15 lines in English, he takes off his clothes and sleeps inside a dead horse (after removing the guts) and then he wins the Golden Globes and the OSCAR !!! Go figure, but you do need to see it on a big screen.
ROOM. There is some discussion on whether or not this film is based on a novel or reality. Either way it is a well done, angonizing, torturous, moving film. Brie Larson as the teen age mother and Jacob Trembly as her son deserve special acting awards. Kidnapping the young teen ager and raping her in a locked shed for years while she somehow manages to raise her son and maintain a sense of humanity will have you completely fixed to the screen. See this film.
THE LADY IN THE VANMaggie Smith is now 81 years old. She’s played everything from Desdomona in the 1965 Othello to Exotic Hotels and Harry Potter roles. Her real acting strength has saved many dull minutes in Dowmnton Abbey, as we all know. She’s just as good in this one as the cranky, haunted, funny, brittle, homeless old lady living in a van…obviously. You’ll laugh a bunch of times, the plot does get bogged down, but if you’re a fan of Maggies, it’s well worth seeing.
THE BIG SHORT.The cast is very well known by now. Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Christian Bale, Marisa Tomei, and Brad Pitt. This is a Hollywood version of what should have been a Michael Moore documentary of the bankers, real estate brokers, and the rest of the crooks behind the Wall Street explosion of 2008. It bored me to a snooze because I haven’t the foggiest idea , or any knowledge of all those financial dealings. Go only if you’re up on all those money market concepts.
HAIL CAESAR. Let’s face it…the Coen Brothers just can’t get it together to direct great films anymore. Think back to Blood Simple, Raising Arizona, Fargo, Oh Brother Where art thou, and more. Hail Caesar stars Goerge Clooney, Tilda Swinton, Josh Brolin, Scarlett Johanessen, Channing Tatum, and Ralph Fiennes and it still will provide you with about two half laughs. It’s a very polite, condescending, wholesome satire on the Hollywood of MGM, Esther Williams, Ben Hur, Charlton Heston, Gary Cooper et al. Its sophmoric, easy, nearly stupid attempts at humor are embarrassing. Wait and rent it.
STAR WARS The Force Awakens STINKS & MORE. I was actually stunned when I left the theatre after viewing Star Wars: The Force Awakens. My sister and friends immediately asked what I thought about the film, I couldn’t even think about it as I would have with any other film I’ve critiqued in the last 40 plus years. Then I read Michael Hiltzik’s business column in the 12/30/15 edition of the L.A. Times. Michael’s new book is titled Big Science. His column is titled, “Why Star Wars Stinks”. In it he tells how the film is unimaginative, dull in long stretches, and is a poor copy of the original 1977 Star Wars. He says and I agree that it’s not a movie. “It’s the anchoring element of a vast commercial program”. He goes on to say that this film will bring in nearly 5 Billion dollars and that because of the related product sales it wouldn’t matter if NO ONE SAW the film, it still would make those profits. The plot is obscure, the art work is wonderful, and it’s cold, impersonal, and dullRead the critique above. This is not a movie, it’s a product placement showcase for Disney productions and world wide toy manufacturers.
BATTLING FOR BOTTOM = DEADPOOL & ZOOLANDER 2. To be fair Deadpool is a better movie, because if you’ve followed the Deadpool comic book character for its many years (since 1991) you might relate to this meaningless , pointless, extra violent mess. Deadpool is a reluctant, foul mouthed superhero. If you like superhero/Marvel type graphic heroes, you could like this movie. Zoolander 2 for some reason attracted Benedict Cumberbatch to play a maybe trans gendered monster in a few scenes and scads of other stars cameoing to blink on screen. Neil deGrasse Tyson does a thing too, so does Willy NelsonBen Stiller must accept all the blame for this sequel to a film that sucked its first time around. I could continue but you can imagine where this is going.
|UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE RADIO PROGRAM
KZSC 88.1 FM or live online at
www.KZSC.ORG TUESDAYS 7-8 P.M.
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.ORGStuart Thornton and Eric Henze discuss their Monterey Bay travel books, “Monterey & Carmel” (it includes Santa Cruz) and ” Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park” and Wilder Ranch State Park on March 1. They’re followed by M. Sophia Santiago talking about her show of ” The Long View” being shown 3/4 -3/30. On March 8 Julie James discusses Jewel Theatre’s “Master Class” production, that’s the Maria Callas sessions on stage. Then also on the 8th David Foster from Habitat For Humanity tells us about their new Senior Home Project. March !5 has Dru Glover talking about the aims and goals of Project: Pollinate Santa Cruz Then Michael Tierra talks about the music of “The Northwest Passage” happening March 20. Brian Ragunan tells us about the UCSC Veterans programs and benefits on March 22. Michel Singher talks about the next concert of the Espressivo Orchestra on March 29. He’s followed by Jack Nelson relating the purposes and achievements of the Committee For Sensible Transportation. Do remember, any and all suggestions for future programs are more than welcome so tune in, and keep listening. Email me always at email@example.com
My stepfather was an opera singer, and he even looked a little like Pavarotti. Watch this thing all the way to the end; it’s hysterical!
NEW UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE ARCHIVE FEATURE. Stuff changes at KZSC a lot. If you missed either of the last two weeks of Universal Grapevine broadcasts go here… http://www.radiofreeamerica.com/dj/bruce-bratton You have to listen to about 4 minutes of that week’s KPFA news first, then Grapevine happens.
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-Darrow, 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.
“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade”, Charles Dickens, Great Expectations
“Joy is not in things; it is in us”,Richard Wagner
“In March the soft rains continued, and each storm waited courteously until its predecessor sunk beneath the ground”,John Steinbeck, East of Eden
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BEST OF VINTAGE STEVEN DeCINZO.
Deep Cover by Tim Eagan.