|MORGAN FREEMAN & OUR DECLARATION.Apparently this was filmed in 2006 and has Mel Gibson in it, but it’s still worth watching.
|A FAIRFIELD INN COMMERCIAL. Is this what we want?
RYAN COONERTY’S SUPERVISOR CAMPAIGN.Ryan did admit to me last week that my early announcement of his running for County Supervisor “speeded up his timeline”. Other reactions say it really flummoxed his campaign. Folks now wonder if Papa Neal Coonerty’s wheelings and dealings had a long time plan. First we have Daddy Neal in as our City Mayor followed by little Mayor Ryan. Now we have Pops leaving his Supervisor job early and plotting to get boy Neal in his seat. Fred Keeley also told me in no uncertain terms that “Yes” I’m supporting Ryan for Supervisor. Now we can do some deep wondering about Keeley’s heavy involvement in Bruce McPherson’s very recent Supervisor campaign and his equally serious work now on behalf of Ryan. Makes some of us wonder just what Keeley is up to? Yes as you can imagine it really does weaken Neal’s power, commitment, and influence on the Board of Supervisors being a lame duck. By the way Don Lane isn’t running for Supervisor in case you heard those rumors.
FAIRFIELD INN & A DESIGN REVIEW…WHAT’S THAT?? As you probably read The Santa Cruz City Planning Commission not only approved a new 86 room FAIRFIELD INN out on Mission Street near Moore Creek & Western Drive. Not only that but they said this cookie cutter Best Western-Holiday Inn-Super 8 copy was “well designed”!!! If anyone has ever wondered why the entrances to Santa Cruz are so ugly and why Ocean Street’s structures are so terrible looking it’s because Santa Cruz has no design committee. No-one in our city structure ever says no to developers…it’s as if we want to look like San Jose. This 3 story hotel was proposed and approved years ago. Then it had 103 parking spaces now the city allowed Lotus Management of San Jose to cut that back to 83. Go here to see what and how the Fairfield Inn will look like.
|A VERY TALENTED PUPPET. Again, cousin Dean Hagen sent this absolutely amazing Little Richard puppet.(Actually it’s a marionette).
SANTA CRUZ COMMUNITY CREDIT UNION’S GREEDY “POLICY“. Our once friendly “community centered”, “community owned” now charges $15 each time they verify a low income senior’s bank account. Mindy Gardner, the branch manager of the Santa Cruz Community Credit Union Front Street office told me it’s their “policy”. It seems greedy, mean, corporation like, and not at all in the spirit of folks like Margaret Cheap who was a key creator of our Credit Union back in the day. I checked around about Verification of Deposit “policies”. Bay Federal Credit Union doesn’t do it, Dientes Community Dental Care doesn’t do it, even CVS and the Palo Alto Medical Foundation doesn’t charge when they too have to verify charges or account info, only our Santa Cruz Community Credit Union thinks it’s important to charge that $15. Boo!
MOTORCYCLE MENACING & NOISY NEANDERTHALS. Eric Rice emailed to say, “Hi: Enjoy the column every week. I’m with you on the need to silence loud, obnoxious motorcycles. I don’t understand why the City Council doesn’t order the police to make citing them more of a priority. I suspect Mr. Lee Quarnstrom’s assessment of law enforcement’s point of view is correct. Ever try working a guide dog anywhere near some of those noisy Neanderthals? My wife has, and it about scares the dog out of its harness”. Eric.
Michigan Trip Report
Returned from a great trip to Michigan last Tuesday. Had the enjoyment of attending a class reunion in Rockford, no longer a small town where I grew up, but a huge bedroom community for the City of Grand Rapids. Politics in that part of the state are old-time conservative, best to stay away for these discussions with relatives. But Michiganders continue to be a considerate, friendly people, their current state government not withstanding. I can recommend the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum as a place to visit in Grand Rapids. Very tastefully done for Grand Rapids’ native son. I can also recommend spending some time at a Grand Rapids west side Polish Social Club that’s open to the public two days a week. Great prices! Great burgers and drinks to go with them. Public education in the town of Rockford has reached the highest level I’ve seen. They have new high school, just graduating over 600 students. Curriculum is too large to cover but their language program includes Chinese, Japanese and Russian. Their new building also includes a performing arts theater, a TV station and an attached, lighted athletic stadium. When I asked how they pay for such a facility, nobody blinked, they just said they wanted the best education for their kids. Things have changed since 1955, the year I graduated along with 64 others. They consolidate their high school reunions with a lunch for everybody that graduated over 50 years ago. This even drew over 300 alumnae. It was fun.
Returned to Aptos in time for the July 4th parade that was bigger than ever (as usual). But it was sad to see one entry near the front of the parade sponsored by a Boy Scout troop. It was a mock-up of an army tank, complete with a cannon belching real fire, bringing back memories of napalm in Viet Nam. I have no idea why they drew such applause. It doesn’t speak well for the scout leader who let it happen, or the parade watchers who thought it was neat. But the parade was great, and well covered by the local media.
(Paul Elerick is co-chair, along with Peter Scott, of the Campaign for Sensible Transportation, http://sensibletransportation.org , and is a member of Nisene 2 Sea, a group of open space advocates).
|PETER THE ELEPHANT PLAYS RAG TIME!!!
PATTON’S PROGRAM. Gary reports on his KUSP program, “The land use decisions we make, though our local government process, will have a big impact on the future of our local economy, on our ability to achieve our social equity goals, and of course on the natural environment that sustains our human civilization and everything else. To me, our self-government system is really a three-layer cake. The “people” are the ultimate source of political power, but our system has the people delegating their power to elected representatives. Those elected officials, then, hire staff people who actually do most of the work involved in government. In this way of looking at the governmental process, it is vital that the elected officials forcefully and effectively transmit to the staff the demands, and the questions, and the concerns of the public. The elected officials are supposed to require the staff to be responsive to whatever concerns are uppermost in the public’s mind’. Read the rest of Gary’s weekly report at his KUSP Land Use scripts http://blogs.kusp.org/landuse (Gary Patton is “Of Counsel” to the Santa Cruz law firm of Wittwer & Parkin, which specializes in land use and environmental law. The opinions expressed are Mr. Patton’s. Gary has his own website, “Two Worlds / 365” – www.gapatton.net)
VINTAGE DE CINZO. DeCinzo visits Big Sur…with a point to make. Look below a few pages.
EAGANS DEEP COVER. Tim shows us four versions of Democracy….scroll down a bit.
LANDAU’S PROGRES. Bob Taren, a close friend of Saul Landau’s told me that Saul Landau has cancer of the bladder. We probably won’t be reading his columns any more. Saul Landau is an Institute for Policy Studies fellow whose films are on DVD from email@example.com
LISA JENSEN LINKS. Lisa writes: “How bad can The Lone Ranger really be? What new twist can the great Neil Jordan bring to the vampire movie? Find out 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.
FILL THE VOID. An Israeli filmabout very orthodox traditions, arranged marriages, love, religion, rabbis, bris ceremonies, and you leave thinking about women’s rights, the existence of God and things like that. Heavy, serious, debatable.
TWENTY FEET FROM STARDOM.This documentary makes Stars out of the faceless, nameless back-up singers on hit pop albums. I suppose there’s a point to it, but how about documentaries featuring the recording engineers, the producers, and the musicians who also make a song a hit? Making hits is a very collaborative, sharing process…it ain’t just the back-up singing. But it’s a fun film.
THE LONE RANGER.The SF Chronicle’s film critic Mick LaSalle called this mess “the worst film of the year”. It’s bombing terribly and Mick’s right, no-one should spend a dime, or their time to see this FLOP. Johnny Depp plays Tonto as another insanely odd character, and the Lone Ranger is portrayed and played as a jerk and doofus who hates guns!!! It’s got horse manure jokes, and racist American attitudes. Here’s a quote from Marley Brown of PolicyMic.com….”While the relationship between the ranger and Tonto was supposedly one of mutual respect, the stereotypical portrayal of Indians in The Lone Ranger has been a source of anger and disappointment to many Native people, including the writer and filmmaker Sherman Alexie, who told the Los Angeles Times: “In the movies, Indians are always accompanied by ominous music. I always feel that something bad is about to happen. I am always aware of how my whole life is shaped by my hatred of Tonto. Whenever I think of Tonto, I hear ominous music.” p.s. I just learned that when Columbus landed in America they didn’t name them “Indians” after the country of India! There wasn’t any country that was named “India” in 1492!!!
Still playing at a theatre near us!! ……………..
DIRTY WARS.An amazing and very upsetting film that reveals a lot of the secret wars that the USA is fighting all over the world. It’s painful to realize just how much of a role we all play in this. And how much we are now, and have been lied to by Obama and our past presidents. I almost forgot to mention that the music in “Dirty Wars” is by and from The Kronos Quartet…and is brilliant.
KINGS OF SUMMER.This film could have been great, but it’s lacking focus, direction, a point….something. It’s about three boys escaping their crappy home lives and building a house of their own in the woods. It’s almost trite and cute, but it isn’t. It’s almost deep, moving and very personal, but it isn’t. You could rent it later and it wouldn’t be so bad.
WHITE HOUSE DOWN.If you can believe Jamie Foxx as President Barack. H. Obama, then this action flick isn’t too bad. Bad spies, secret troops, storm the White House, they kill lots of people, they hold hostages and things like that. Now if you can believe that Tatum Channing (who was also the producer) can rescue our non-smoking president you could actually enjoy this dumb summer flick. It certainly shouldn’t be on anyone’s must see list.
THE BLING RING.I believe Sofia Coppola has directed much more of a film than most viewers and critics are seeing. The film is based on a true story of young Hollywood teens robbing celebrity homes. They rob Paris Hilton’s palace and Lindsay Lohan’s place and have a great time doing it. They fool their parents, the police, and have created an exciting and very unique, illegal, thrilling and creative life style. The audience of young teens that I saw the film with, I’m sure watched it as a “How To” lesson and envied how much fun the real life young thieves were having. It’s a deep and well done comment on part of our culture, go for it by all means; it’s a very good movie.
MUD.Mathew McConaughey has never been better than he is inMud. So are the two kids who lead and steal the film from vets like Sam Shepard and Reese Witherspoon. It’s a fine film, with a story that doesn’t stop, about life in Arkansas along the Mississippi. Kids coming of age, adults living a very tough life, and the music, the photography all make it one of my favorite films of the year. Just go see it.
MONSTERS UNIVERSITY.It was cool to see my old UC Berkeley campus buildings in this latest Pixar flick. It has Stanford scenes too but it certainly isn’t up to Pixar’s high standards of film making. It’s boring, but Pixar has succeeded in that computer generated challenge of how to make hair or fur look real…it may be overdone but it’s clever. The plot of teaching ways to scare kids runs very thin in minutes but damn, Pixar animation techniques especially in 3D look more real than real does!!!
WORLD WAR Z.As luck would have it, I had an echo cardiogram and saw this movie on the same day. Believe me, the echo cardiogram was more interesting and more fun than this “Brad Pitt saves the world” mess. Not that it matters, but there are more and larger plot holes in this film than you could possibly count. Zombies that run, gnaw, puke a lot and bash their heads into windshields do not a good film make. Save your money.
MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING.This is just about the absolute worst Much Ado I’ve ever seen…on screen or on stage. These Hollywood television fools have absolutely no sense of Shakespeare’s words. They have no sense of the rhythm, the love, the depth and the wry humor that this play contains. No timing, no appreciation or understanding of what Shakespeare achieves when his works are performed properly. It’s as if these Hollywood second string actors said, “let’s stop snorting for an afternoon and film some Shakespeare. Don’t go by any means.
SUPERMAN (MAN OF STEEL).Super hero films can really only be critiqued by comparing them to other super hero films. It’s a special genre. The plots, the acting, the visuals, direction, editing etc. are like no other film types. This Superman is not funny, no cutesy Clark Kent-“changing in a phone booth” stuff. No funny Gene Hackman or Marlon Brando villain/dad figures. Man of Steel starts and ends dark. Henry Cavill makes a great Superman. The rest of the cast is strange. Kevin Costner and Diane Ladd as Supe’s earth parents, Laurence Fishburne as Perry White!!, Russell Crowe as Jor-el ??? And of course Michael Shannon as General Zod.Don’t pay extra for 3D glasses there aren’t that many special effects. Plus we learn that the “S” on Supe’s shirt doesn’t stand for Superman it stands for hope. I could go on for pages talking about the religious stuff in this film. Like Clark in church praying with a background shot of Jesus kneeling before he was crucified, etc, etc. Go see it (big screen only) and only if you really like superhero films.
BEFORE MIDNIGHT.I definitely see too many action films. About 30 minutes into this part 3 of this Julie Delpy-Ethan Hawke piece of precious, boring fluff I was hoping Hawke would shoot Julie Delpy right between the eyes, or at least cut her throat so she couldn’t talk anymore. (Speaking cinematically of course). All the two of them do in this tedious, meaningless, piece of tripe is argue…and not well either. If you’ve seen their previous junk… Before Sunrise, Before Sunset or 2 Days in New York and 2 Days in Paris, you know what I mean. Besides that Julie Delpy is even worse when she’s topless. And she’s topless a lot in this Midnight flick.
NOW YOU SEE ME. Woody Harrelson, plus Mark Ruffalo, Jesse Eisenberg, and Morgan Freeman try hardto make this “magicians rob a bank” movie into a film worth buying tickets for, especially at today’s box-office prices. The idea is silly; none of these actors can convince anybody that they are magicians. Don’t go.
UNICYCLYING & JUGGLING. They’d get busted if they tried this on Pacific Avenue. I can’t embed the video, but it’s worth a click to check it out. Here’s where to click.
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 sometimes old programs are archived…(see next paragraph) and go to WWW.KZSC.ORG. Audrey Stanley talks about Shakespeare Santa Cruz season on July 16, followed by Carolyn Swift discussing the brand new Capitola Picture book by Arcadia. Assemblyman Mark Stone will be on July 23 bringing us up to date on Sacramento and his job He’s followed by Attorney Bob Taren rapping on local issues. Ed Holmes talks about The San Francisco Mime Troupe’s annual visit on August 6. Do remember, any and all suggestions for future programs are more than welcome so tune in, and keep listening. Email me always at firstname.lastname@example.org
UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE ARCHIVES.In case you missed some of the great people I’ve interviewed in the last 5 years here’s a chronological list of just this year’s podcasts. Click herehttp://kzsc.org/blog/tag/universal-grapevine then tap on “listen here” to hear any or all of them… all over again. The update includes 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, 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 Conpany. 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. Hear them all!!!
BEST OF VINTAGE STEVEN DeCINZO.
QUOTES. “A dead atheist is someone who’s all dressed up with nowhere to go“, James Duffecy. “What he lacked in depth as a preacher he made up for in length“, Mark Twain. “What do people say when God sneezes?”, Henny Youngman
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BEST OF VINTAGE STEVEN DeCINZO.
Deep Cover by Tim Eagan.