Webmistress Video Pick of the Week
DATELINE January 18, 2016
VIOLENCE IN MOVIES. I’ve talked to many folks who have been shying away from Quentin Tarantino’s “Hateful 8” because of the violence. There certainly is a lot of violence in that film. Bloody, visceral, cruel and gooey violence. We get far too much senseless violence in our films and on TV. Violence has become a guaranteed box office money maker for films, especially in the last decade. Yet violence has been an important part of theatrical productions since Greek and Roman theatre. We need to think of Medea, The Iliad, Oedipus, and more tradegies such as Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Macbeth, Ibsen’s The Doll’s House, Death of A Salesman, The Misfits, and on and on. I tried many justifications for the uses and purposes of watching a theatrical tradegy….Aristotle won out. He said, “The aim of tragedy, is to bring about a “catharsis” of the spectators — to arouse in them sensations of pity and fear, and to purge them of these emotions so that they leave the theater feeling cleansed and uplifted, with a heightened understanding of the ways of gods and men”. “Hateful 8” for example is Tarantino’s way of exposing us to the horrors and torturous results of racial hatred. Tragedy also helps prepare us for those real tragedies that happen to us.
|LUCIANO PAVAROTTI MOSCOW 1964. La Donna e Mobile. A young Pavarotti.
ANOMALISA & SYNECDOCHE & CHARLIE KAUFMAN. Anomalisa hasn’t hit Santa Cruz yet but I want to give a head’s up so that none of us miss it. I just re-watched Synecdoche Charlie’s 2008 magnificent film and was struck all over again about how much Kaufman can put into one film plot. Philip Seymour Hoffman and Catherine Keener go beyond acting on many levels and have left us with a masterpiece that will be re-discovered many, many times over the decades to follow. His “Being John Malcovich” film is another example of the depth and intelligence Kaufman can transfer from his original ideas to the screen. Few directors have the ability or independence or reputation to fight off the financial powers that rule cinema today. Let’s not miss Anomalisa, coming soon to the Nickelodeon.
NEWS IN OUR COMMUNITY. Ex-mayor Chris Krohn wrote a letter to the Sentinel Monday January 18. He expressed some important news items we’ve been missing. He wrote… “Just a note of concern about four stories of concern that somehow missed being chronicled in the Sentinel. I am assuming, given the state of most news outlets these days, newspapers in particular, you are stretched to the max on resources…The four stories I am thinking about without a doubt affect the potential paying customer base, i.e. folks who might, or already buy the paper.
|LUCIANO PAVAROTTI 1987. La donna è mobile. Madison Square Garden. New York. 20 years after his very early appearance as seen above.
|DEBRA PAGET DOING A BELLY DANCE. 1959. From the nearly bizzarre “The Indian Tomb”
- construction workers throwing up a picket at Pacific Collegiate School (all last week) Somebody has not paid somebody?
- Santa Cruz City council meeting in closed session (last Tuesday) and basically voting to evict gardeners from 23-year community gardening effort, returning almost half of the present garden to the Seaside company while leaving the rest up to parks and rec to deal with. The plan will take out a row of fruit trees and the current plot of the longest serving community garden member, Emilio Martinez. You might remember that in the Sentinel’s previous coverage it was noted that the group cleaned up a derelict property and that there exists no real green space or public park in a neighborhood of 2800 residents.
- CFST—Campaign for Sensible Transportation has decided not to support a sales tax measure for widening hwy 1, but would support an existing package of measures that would fund rail and trail and fix local roadways…many members of this group have previously spoke out on the grave consequences of widening and helped defeat two (or 3) past efforts to widen hwy. 1.
- (probably my reason for writing…or thinking of the Sentinel) There was an amazing memorial service (Sun.) for long-time professor, Marge Frantz at the UCSC music recital Hall Sunday…present was a veritable who’s who in Santa Cruz political, academic, and social history. It was quite an amazing gathering of a couple of hundred people—former supervisors and mayors, academics, music (folksinger Holly Near for example sang a few songs). Marge was a Santa Cruz version of the Berkeley Free Speech movement’s spokesperson, Mario Savio. (Marge began her work at Berkeley during the FSM movement.)
Again, seems like these are issues the SC Sentinel might be reporting on, and I believe, they are places where people who read, at least the hardcopy version of the paper, can be found…ones who have money to buy the paper. I am not sure where the newspaper industry is headed, but I do think the local version of the paper has a good chance of staying around for awhile longer if it continues to cover the significant local issues…I have found you at your best when you stay away from reprints of national stories and stay focussed on the local (hyperlocal?)…Seems like the larger papers that do national news are in fact going away because the market can only support a few—LA Times, NY Times, Wash Post—to tell the national stories. They will never be able to tell the local stories though. There is a place for the Sentinel.
TRANSPORTATION BALLOT IS MOVING AHEAD
As of now, the REGIONAL TRANSPORTATION COMMISSION (RTC), SANTA CRUZ COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS and several organizations including the SANTA CRUZ BUSINESS COUNCIL, and The SANTA CRUZ CHAMBER OF COMMERCE are on record as endorsing the current ballot measure proposal’s expenditure plan. So have I ( Paul Elerick, the author of this column). While the precise percentages of what each of the five categories receive will be on the final measure, my opinion is that this first cut is a pretty good balance.
There is an issue with some people on the funds being allocated to “highway widening”. This is not the widening that was proposed in 2004, which was auxiliary lanes and HOV lanes all the way from the fishhook to San Andreas Road. What is being proposed here are three auxiliary lane projects from Morrissey Ave. to State Park Drive. These are lanes that run between freeway entrances and the next off ramp. They are just that, extra long entrance and exit lanes, and will allow Capitola and Aptos residents to get on and off the highway sooner and easier. You may be getting a call from a professional polling consultant asking probing questions about transportation. Keep in mind what the “widening” actually is. Read the entire ballot measure proposal here. This is the most important ballot measure you will have to vote on in November.
Consider that 30% of the measure (the largest allocation) goes towards neighborhood projects like repair and maintenance of local streets and roads, school traffic safety, bicycle and pedestrian safety throughout the county.
The other four categories break down as follows.
25% – Highway Corridors, the aux lanes, two bicycle/pedestrian highway overpasses, etc.
16% – Mobility Access. Metro improvements, meets needs for elderly and disabled.
15% – Coastal Rail Trail – Funding for creating and to maintain the Monterey Bay Sanctuary Scenic Trail
14% – Rail Corridor. Funding to maintain the track and bridge infrastructure, environmental analysis of passenger rail transit options, Watsonville/Pajaro Valley train station connection with the Capitol Corridor and Coast Daylight train services, improvement, upgrade and installation of signals at railroad crossings and underground conduit and/or pipes to facilitate utilities including Internet services.
(Paul Elerick is co-chair with Jack Nelson of the Campaign for Sensible Transportation, http://sensibletransportation.org , and he’s a member of Nisene 2 Sea, a group of open space advocates).
DOLLARS: NO SENSE
Historic structures give a sense of place and connection to past generations. In a throwaway society they become increasingly scarce unless respected and preserved. With each loss we physically cut ourselves adrift from those who came before. Such were my thoughts as I learned that the only cottage on the ocean side of West Cliff Drive (1307 WCD) has been sold and will be “remodeled” in a more contemporary style, bearing faint resemblance to the original. While the mass and footprint cannot be enlarged as per the legal non-conforming structure ordinance, the features that give this cottage its historical identity will disappear.
The cottage is perhaps best known as “Jennifer’s house” in the 1983 Clint Eastwood movie, Sudden Impact. Local historian Ross Gibson shared its more interesting history. According to Ross, “the cottage was built by the talented cellist Mrs. Bessie Boyd Miller in 1937 and named “Tide Cliff Studio.” The main Cotswald cottage overlooks the secluded Philbrick Cove to the east and the detached Music Studio small cottage, with its grand piano, has a western view of what used to be the Pendelton Bros. flower fields, fronting the cliffs for 50 years. Bessie’s later marriage to her childhood sweetheart, Thomas Douglass Frazer, a well-known California School landscape artist long associated with the ‘Bohemian Club,’ was held in the cliff cottage in 1938 with Metropolitan Opera singer Madame Sophia Sumorukova accompanied by Wilda Leiner Reed.” You don’t have to be a history buff to love this iconic landmark along West Cliff Drive with its Cotswald style and pastel colors harmonizing with sea and sky. Postcards over the decades have captured its charm.
The cottage and property were bought for a few dollars shy of 4 million from a buyer working in the Silicon Valley tech industry, according to the estate agent who sold the property. The website promoting its sale shows the interior rooms that are stunningly beautiful with high gloss hardwood floors, pristine white walls and stone fireplaces. All of this will be torn down with only the studs of two walls remaining. I guess anyone with money is entitled to their dream home from scratch but I couldn’t help dwelling on the waste of resources involved. The architect’s blurb on the side of the plans struck me as disingenuous. Based on that summary, the real estate agent should have described it as a run-down fixer-upper!
At the public hearing before the Zoning Administrator, who approved the “remodel” over Coastal Commission concerns, those of us who expressed dismay at this loss were dismissed as “nostalgic” by the new owners’ land use consultant. She understood why we might feel this way but the message was clear: get over it. In this mind-set, a connection to the past, to history and a love of its tangible forms is an emotional weakness, an inability to accept change, as though all change is for the better. Those who fight to save the familiar, the small scale, the low density in Santa Cruz are told to get with the program. You like the historic wharf the way it is? Get over it. We have an expensive Wharf Master Plan to implement. You like the old single story local businesses? Get over it. We have high-rise mixed-use, dense new buildings coming your way under the Corridors Plan. You like the single story older homes on the eastside? Get over it. We’re building 40 feet tall, market-rate, multi-story developments next door. And if you complain too much we’ll throw in a few epithets such as elitism and NIMBY’ism. And whom does all this development benefit besides the developers and speculators? According to the promotional brochure for 555 Pacific, which I wrote about last week, “the property boasts an ideal location for students, high tech workers and second homers.” The Delaware Live/Work development is marketed nation-wide. In its promotional materials Santa Cruz is described as “an ideal place to live if you are young, single and rich.” Move over locals, here comes a tidal wave of gentrification.
( Gillian Greensite is a long time local activist, member of Save Our Big Trees and the Santa Cruz chapter of International Dark Sky Association IDA, Plus she’s an avid ocean swimmer, hiker and lover of all things wild).
“To be, or not to be?” These famous words, perhaps the most famous of all the words that Shakespeare penned, can be placed in a land use context this week. Wednesday (1/21) the lanning Commission of the City of Santa Cruz will decide whether or not Santa Cruz Shakespeare will be able to move their theatrical productions to the upper reaches of the City’s DeLaveaga Park. Information can be found at kusp.org/landuse. There is a public hearing scheduled, for Thursday 1/22, beginning at 7:00 p.m. The City is anticipating a big crowd, with both supporters and opponents coming out in large numbers, so the Planning Commission will hold its meeting at the Civic Auditorium. If you’d like to get personally involved (always something that I suggest), you should plan your evening accordingly.
Folks around the Monterey Bay probably know that the University of California at Santa Cruz kicked Santa Cruz Shakespeare out of their traditional location on the campus, without any good reason that anyone can figure out. That move by the University has Santa Cruz Shakespeare looking for a new home. You can have your say tomorrow evening at the Planning Commission, and you should mark your calendar for a City Council meeting on Tuesday, February 9th. That’s when the Council is likely to make a final decision on whether a new location for Santa Cruz Shakespeare is “to be, or not to be.” 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. Another traffic facilitator preview??? Scroll down a few pages.
EAGAN’S DEEP COVER. The correct side of Mr. Trump. See below.
MUNCHING WITH MOZART THURSDAY. This is a great and free live performance that happens in the upstairs meeting room of the Santa Cruz Public Library on the third Thursday of every month. Carol Panofsky (oboe, baroque oboe, recorder) organizes these noon to 1 p.m. concerts and they are sponsored by the Friends of the Santa Cruz Public Libraries. This Thursday (Jan. 21) features pianist Heather Thompson playing Chopin, Scarletti, Liszt, Grieg and Sibelius. Because it’s wonderful and free, you better get there early if you want to sit down.
JEWEL THEATRE’S “FALLEN ANGELS”. Noel Coward’s comedy “Fallen Angels” has been making audiences laugh since it opened way back in the “20’s. Two women minus and plus two husbands and wild complications.
(note; Santa Cruz Shakespeare’s Mike Ryan played one of the husbands in the Pasadena Playhouse version back in 2013 and Art Manke directed that production and is directing this one too. It plays at the new Colligan Theatre Jan. 28-Feb. 21. Info at www.JewelTheatre.net
LISA JENSEN LINKS. Lisa writes: “Join me in celebrating the extraordinary career of the late, great Alan Rickman, an actor of extreme talent and bracing wit, this week at Lisa Jensen Online Express (http://ljo-express.blogspot.com). Also, this year’s Oscar nominations: what were they thinking?” Lisa has been writing film reviews and columns for Good Times since 1975.
THAT IS THE QUESTION
(THE NEWEST FILMS IN ORDER OF PERFECTION)
13 HOURS: THE SECRET SOLDIERS OF BENGHAZI. It’s the story of the C.I.A. men stationed in Libya and how they failed to defend the USA embassy during an attack on September 11, 2012. It’s 2 1/2 hours of poorly edited combat scenes, and we are provided with almost no back story or explanation of what’s happening. Just blood, violence, and the sadness of losing.
STILL PLAYING AT A THEATRE NEAR US
FROM BEST TO REALLY BAD
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, agonizing, torturous, moving film. Brie Larson as the teen age mother and Jacob Trembly as her son deserve special acting awards. Kidnapping the young teenager 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.
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 HATEFUL 8. Quentin Tarantino is BACK! A beautiful film. A plot, a tragedy as intriguing as Agatha Christies “Ten Little Indians”and acting as great as any we’ve ever seen. With a cast consisting of Samuel Jackson, Kurt Russell, Tim Roth, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Bruce Dern, Michael Madsen, and Channing Tatum and written and directed by Quentin hisself, how can we miss? It’s in the Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs vein. It’s bloody, beyond violent, extremely funny, thought provoking and mystifying. Go see it on some big screen.
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 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!!! Go figure, and you need to see it on a big screen.
CAROL. Many big nominations and awards for this poignant, touching, sad, pertinent story of women’s love. Rooney Mara reminded me of Audrey Hepburn and does a perfect acting job here. Cate Blanchett is the lead and does all she can, and will continue to win more prizes. Yet there is/was something cold, removed and stiff, stage play-like that kept me from really getting inside the emotions they played on screen. Go see it by all means.
THE DANISH GIRL. Eddie Redmayne as one of the world’s first transgendered males is of course the main attraction. But Alicia Vikander as his wife and main support, actually does a better job of acting. The script stalls and sleeps part way through, and the pacing is eccentric but you’ll watch it all the way just to see how it ends. Redmayne (who is 33) won an Oscar nomination for his body-bending role as Stephen Hawking in “The Theory of Everything” last year, is being touted for it again this year. Remember him in “My Week with Marilyn”? He’s an excellent actor and will probably play a tree or a screwdriver or a python next, but I’m not betting on him winning anything for this film.
THE MARTIAN. This Hollywood Matt Damon-starring film is cute, humorous , Hollywoody like George Clooney in Gravity. It’s about Damon being left behind on Mars by his team mates (Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, and Michael Pena). Chiwetal Ejiofor and Jeff Daniels are the NASA, Pasadena JPL business men in charge. It drags in spots and the FX look like they stole them from “2001”. Matt Damon is just too cute and funny and extraordinary to be real, But go see it. You’ll stay awake just to see how it all works out. It’s tense near the end but the ending itself is corny.
SPOTLIGHT. Lots of Oscar buzz around this excellent film. When you have a cast like Mark Ruffalo, Michale Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Billy Crudup, Stanley Tucci and Live Schreiber and a plot involving the Roman Catholic church’s child molesting priests and the “official cover-up” you got a winner. It’s shocking, even though you think you know all there is to know. When you add in the current troubles the Vatican is having…you’ve got a very sick institution. It’s newspaper business at its best. It’s also reporting such as no newspaper can afford today…you’ll see how important that is/was. Rotten Tomatoes gives it a 97%!!!
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.
JOY. Jennifer Lewis outshines every star ever in Hollywood in this nearly true story of a young woman who invents a mop and after some failures, makes (and still is making) vast fortunes on QVC and online sales. Bradley Cooper is in this mess of a film and so is Robert DeNiro, Virginia Madsen, Dianne Ladd and even Isabella Rossellini. They shouldn’t have been and aside from watching Jennifer Lewis one more time, there’s absolutely no reason to waste your $$ on this one.
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 re viewed 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 dull. Read the critique above. This is not a movie, it’s a product placement showcase for Disney productions and world wide toy manufacturers.
SISTERS. This is an almost perfect example of a trash movie. Amy Poehler and Tina Fey outdo each other with crotch, sex, poop and pee jokes that aren’t funny. It’s a shame to see these obviously brilliant, smart, tasteful women sink so low that they have to take roles in movies this low class. Don’t go and don’t let anyone you care for go either.
|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.ORG. January 19 has Tisha Nusbaum from the Pacific Arts Complex talking about her dance classes and other programs. Bob Taren Worker’s Comp attorney, returns to talk about local issues. Veterans Advocate Dean Kaufman and Veteran Buzz Gray discuss Journey for Change and The Veterans Court on Jan. 26, then Gillian Greensite brings us up to date on more local challenges and concerns. Linda Burman-Hall reveals the Santa Cruz Baroque Festival’s new season on February 2. On February 9 Barry Phillips talks about his Dolcissime Suite premiering at the Santa Cruz Chamber Players on Feb. 13 & 14. Then on Feb. 16th Josef Sekon talks about pianist Theodora Serbanesou-Martin who performs on Feb. 21st as part of his Aptos Keyboard Series. After Josef, Jacob Martinez follows and tells us of the huge progress that The Digital Nest has been enjoying. 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 email@example.com
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, 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.
QUOTES. “Once you learn to quit, it becomes a habit”. Vince Lombardi Jr. “If a man watches three football games in a row, he should be declared legally dead”, Erma Bombeck. “The same boys who got detention in elementary school for beating the crap out of people are now rewarded for it. They call it football”, Laurie Halse Anderson. “In football everything is complicated by the presence of the opposite team”, Jean-Paul Sartre.
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BEST OF VINTAGE STEVEN DeCINZO.
Deep Cover by Tim Eagan.