Blog Archives

December 8 – 14, 2015

December 1946. Another favorite repeat…The St. George Hotel (one time site of the Hip Pocket Bookstore) and the future site of Bookshop Santa Cruz.

photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.

Additional information always welcome: email

WHAT ACID TEST? Reporter/ author Lee Quarnstrom’s book signing at Bookshop Santa Cruz and the other new history events were succesful beyond everyone’s dreams. After the booksigning I got to wondering, why call it a “TEST”?? We’d all tried LSD before in many places, with many friends. I asked Lee he said, “yes, we’d been using LSD for a long time before that party that’s now called the First Acid Test.

When we took the Kesey bus out to a number of parties around the Bay Area with the Grateful Dead and had LSD (often) available in big tubs of Kool-Aid and LSD wads being called acid it just occurred to some wit that we could call these Acid Tests. We never thought about actually “passing” it but it became our slogan, “Can you pass the Acid Test?”

The dinner in Felton Friday night and party afterwards at Don Quixote where the archivist of the Grateful Dead collection at UCSC spoke, as did Mountain Girl, George Walker, Ken Babbs and others, plus the group of Pranksters at the Bookshop, were, in my opinion, a historical event that will make the bohemian history books — old Pranksters coming out of the woods to gather for what could be their final time in their mid-70s. It was a great success and I am just ecstatic about the whole event, both nights. Can you pass the Acid Test? Not much to it!

BEARCAT REDUX. Lots of the conversations around our town since San Bernadino had folks asking (or thinking) maybe, just maybe that our Bearcat might not have been such a bad idea. And does our local police force really train for such events???

FAREWELL GORDON PUSSER. Susan Martinez and Bill Malone sent this note…” Very sad news…. Gordon Pusser passed away peacefully at home Monday morning (November 30th). He’d had Parkinson’s for a few years. Such a nice friend…kind and generous. His wife Teresa will have a small private family memorial. We’ll all miss him….”. Gordon was a good friend and very involved in our local politics for decades. We had our S.C.R.A.P. (Santa Cruzans for Responsible Planning) year after year.

AVILA. A trailer for HBO’s sensational series “Senor Avila”.

HBO LATIN AMERICA ORIGINALS. If you are subsbribed to HBO one way or the other, and you haven’t been watching the absolutely excellent HBO Latin America Series you are wasting some fabulous viewing. These subtitled adventure series are about the best and most exciting TV watching I’ve experienced, since forever. The series I’m totally addicted to right now is Sr. Avila (Senior). It’s from Mexico and stars Tony Dalton as Avila. It makes The Sopranos look like Mary Poppins. Killings and killers for hire, crooked cops, sex, crooked politicians, family, sex, it’s wonderful. Other series such as Epitafios which I began watching at least 5 years ago, Filhos deCarnaval, Capadocia (just watch the first two seasons, it deteriorates after that) Profugos, Preamer, they are all excellent. And beautiful to watch. They are filmed in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and Chile. Great viewing, trust me.

KUSP DUMPS OPERA. Jim Emdy host of KUSP’s “The Opera Show” for many, many years emailed to tell us… “effective december 7th all weekday classical block has been deleted, replaced by local jazz from 8 to 11pm. classical is relegated to sunday 7 to 10 am and evening 7-9pm.”. Jim says, “I will continue on KKUP and expand my exposure there”. This makes one wonder what is happening at KUSP. Santa Cruzans flock to The Cinema 9 to see/hear the live telecasts of The Metropolitan Operas, Miriam Ellis’s S.C.O.S.I. (Santa Cruz Opera Society Inc.) has an amazing loyal following yet, KUSP’s killing of opera doesn’t seem too community minded…what is somebody trying to prove??


The two issues covered in this column recently, that of the par course equipment proposed to be built on West Cliff Drive, and the Seaside Company’s application to build a concrete retaining wall at Cowell Beach, were heard and voted on at last week’s Planning Commission. The results were predictable. Both were approved. The former by a 3-2 vote, the latter by a unanimous vote. The par course issue will be appealed and head to council. The latter cannot be appealed since the city granted the Seaside Company an emergency permit to construct their wall. The deliberations were revealing.

The par course structure, an eight-foot high, pull up dip combo, looks like a giant chair. The Planning Department staff report claimed that this structure will “protect views.” They rival Donald Trump with their bogus claims. They also conveniently omitted half the sentence under the Principal Permitted Uses for an OF-R (Ocean Front Recreational) District. The part they left out states, “but not including the use of any building or structure.” This should disallow an eight- foot high piece of par course equipment that requires a building permit. What part of “not” do they not understand? It gets worse. The Commission was presented with a petition bearing the signatures of 60 people opposed to the par course structure. Six people spoke against the structure, plus the appellant. Besides the Parks and Recreation planner, only one letter supported it and no one spoke in favor. Despite the clear indication that this structure will at best be controversial, planning commissioners Mark Primack, Peter Kennedy and Julie Conway all strongly supported it. Their reasoning suggested they lack awareness of their appointed role to represent the wishes of the community, not just their personal interests. Conway said she wants to do chin-ups and doesn’t want to travel far to do them. Primack said he’d give it a go at chin-ups, a sight that should scare both dogs and children.

The Seaside Company once again flexed its privileged muscle and got its way. I spoke and asked that the record reflect that the reason the cliff is failing is a result of the Seaside Company’s prior removal of the 100 year old heritage trees from the site, for which it was also granted an emergency permit, even though it took a month to get around to the task of tree removal. I also raised concern regarding the annual visit of a breeding pair of pigeon guillemots, a member of the puffin family, who fly from Puget Sound and return to the same nest each year. As a year-round swimmer at Cowell’s, I am delighted when the pair returns, watch from the water as their fledgling practices crash landings, and wish them well on their return journey as they depart for Puget Sound in the fall. Their nest is in the same cliff at Cowell’s that will be ripped apart for the concrete wall construction. The city’s response? They are not mapped in the General Plan so they don’t exist.

These two issues pale in comparison to the third issue on the meeting’s agenda that night: the presentation and discussion of the so-called Downtown Recovery Plan. Yet another set of outside consultants, the Odermatt Group, created computer modeling to showcase what could be constructed in the lower Pacific area and Front Street between Soquel and Laurel if additional heights are allowed. The proposal is for buildings of five to eight stories in height extending to the sidewalk. Think of the new PAMF building on Mission St. That building is two stories high. Now imagine it as eight stories high and you get some idea of the future of this area of downtown if we sit idly by.

(Gillian Greensite is a long time local activist, member of Save Our Big Trees and the Santa Cruz chapter of IDA, International Dark Sky Association. Plus she’s an avid ocean swimmer, hiker and lover of all things wild).

PATTON’S PROGRAM. Gary’s shortened KUSP report this week includes…News that the California Coastal Commission is meeting in Monterey on Wednesday 12/09.

The Commission will consider the issue of “takings.” The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution not only gives citizens the right to avoid self-incrimination, it also says that “private property [shall not] be taken for public use, without just compensation.” There is a very interesting discussion relating to the “takings clause” on the Commission’s agenda. The question posed is whether the Commission has the authority to decide that the denial or conditional approval of a permit application would constitute a taking of private property for public use without just compensation, and, if the Commission found that it would, then grant a permit that the Commission would otherwise deny. An attorney is claiming that the Commission cannot give permit approval based on the Commission’s decision that to do otherwise would be a taking. The claim is that the Commission should just say “no” to the permit, and let the courts decide. This is a fascinating argument, with some real consequences for coastal protection. Gary goes on to say,

“On December 3rd, the Santa Cruz County Transportation Commission made some important decisions. Most significantly, the Commission approved an “Expenditure Plan,” related to a proposed sales tax measure. The proposal is for a thirty year, one-half cent sales tax that would appear on the November 2016 ballot. There would be five priorities for expenditures:

FIRST: Thirty percent of the proceeds would go to Neighborhood Projects
SECOND: Twenty-five percent of the proceeds would go for Highway Corridors
THIRD: Sixteen percent would go to Mobility Access
FOURTH:Fifteen percent would go to the proposed Coastal Trail
FIFTH: Fourteen percent would to to the Rail Corridor

KRAMPUS. Here’s a clip of local Adam Scott’s latest film Krampus. Watch this and forget the movie!!!

Commissioners believe that this package of projects is fair and balanced, and represents the diverse transportation needs in Santa Cruz County, and that the priorities established will provide an opportunity to invest not only in localtransportation infrastructure, but to invest in the environment, and the localeconomy, too. Ultimately, the voters of Santa Cruz County are going to decide whether or not to make these investments. It’s not too early to start thinking about this question, either. Those skeptical of highway widening might not like that part of the package, but those skeptical of the value of the rail corridor might also have reservations.

Read the complete scripts of the above at Gary Patton’s KUSP Land Use site . 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” –

CLASSICAL DeCINZO. Widening Highway 1?? One small advantage…scroll below

EAGAN’S DEEP COVER. Echoes abound…shout with care…see downwards

LISA JENSEN LINKS.Lisa emailed to say she’s really busy editing and will connect later. She saw Spike Lee’s film Chi-Raq and I can’t wait to see how she reacted.

WARNING!!! The Nickelodeon, Del Mar and Aptos theatres will be closed Wednesday, December 16 and 17. They will open again under the Landmark banner on Friday Dec. 18.


HEART OF A DOG. You’ll have to see this film/poem/saga/ meditation if you are a fan and follower of Laurie Anderson’s works. She tells a story in home movies about her family, death, music, and plenty of her personal artwork. She wowed and stunned us here in Santa Cruz years ago when she appeared and performed with the Cabrillo Music Festival under Dennis Russell Davies, when she was almost unknown. See this one and see it quickly.

CHI-RAQ. It took me 10 minutes to catch on that the title of this Spike Lee film is really “Chicago-Iraq”. Jennifer Hudson, D.B.Sweeney, Wesley Snipes and especially Samuel. L. Jackson do great jobs as players/actors in Lee’s adaptation of the Greek tragedy Aristophanes’ “Lysistrata,” which was first performed in 411 B.C. It’s mixed up, hard to follow, and suddenly you get the message about Chicago and our world today. It becomes powerful, meaningful and a proud adition to Spike Lee’s growing list of important films. Go see it.

KRAMPUS.This is a genuine mess of an attempt at a horror film. Poor local Harbor High graduate Adam Scott. He once again was given a script that gives him zero chances to use his acting skills. Krampus is a bad Christmas spirit and a fine serious tradition if you believe in that stuff but this cheap effects, poorer animation in spots, it’s a waste of you time…and money, Save both.


BROOKLYN. Whew…I knew I loved this film 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.

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%!!!

TRUMBO. Bryan Cranston, Helen Mirren, Diane Lane, John Goodman and even Elle Fanning all work nicely together to make this Hollywood Black List- anti HUAC extravaganza.

It’s fun seeing look alikes for John Wayne, Edward G. Robinson, and Kirk Douglas. There’s no mention of Walt Disney’s part, or Adolph Menjou, or Alvah Bessie and Sterling Hayden (both of whom had children living in Santa Cruz) and how Hayden regretted turning stoolie. It is a very complex and sad story. It’s very much worth seeing.

CREED. Even though it’sthe 7th Rocky film with Sylvester Stallone it’s many levels above all the earlier numb trite boxing flicks. Stallone is sincere, the plot (yes there’s a plot) is touching and the acting is completely believable all the way through. It’s almost entirely due to the direction by Ryan Coogler (he directed Frutivale Station) and the acting by Michael B. Jordan.

Even the boxing scenes are just a tiny bit Hollywood, and the ending is surprising too. I don’t agree with many critics saying Stallone should get an Oscar, but it’s not a bad film.

BRIDGE OF SPIES. Tom Hanks is the big draw for this Russian – German – American spy story. The Nick was packed all opening weekend. Mark Rylance (from Wolf Hall on PBS) plays a Russian “Spy” and is great. It’s all about the cold war,1957-1962, Berlin, USA spy pilot Gary Powers, secret negotians and it’s all directed by Steven Speilberg. That means it’s fast paced, not too demanding/shallow/easy to follow/ some jokes/some tears/ and a happy ending of course. You’ll like it, everybody does.

SUFFRAGETTE. Carey Mulligan is almost too cute with those dimples to play the role she does here, and she’s great. Helen Bonham and Brenden Gleeson are at their best and Meryl Streep plays an almost cameo role. Seeing this film about women’s voting rights and also seeing “MissYou Already” has got to make you think deeply how deep the prejudice against women has gone and will women ever be treated as equals…here or anywhere. See this film, and think about Hillary Clinton and Carly Fiorina.

THE SECRET IN THEIR EYES. Not a Santa Cruz film..right now. It’s about a young girl who’s body is found in a dumpster. Even Julia Roberts (her mom), Chiwetel Ejiofor (the cop), and Nicole Kidman ( their boss) doesn’t make this worth seeing. See it in maybe five years, if then.

THE MARTIAN. This Hollywood Matt Damon-starring film is like George Clooney and Sandra Bullock 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.

VICTOR FRANKENSTEIN. Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) plays Igor Strausman the hunchback to James McAvoy’s Doctor Frankenstein. Talk about bizarre… Dr. Frankenstein, being very kind, stabs Igor right in the Hunch!!! It turns out the hunch was just full of pus which we watch drain out, then Igor can stand up straight!!! I’m not kidding. This is a big million dollar saga and it’s impossible to follow. There’s no rhyme, reason, logic, charm, or perceived plot. Go only IF you’ve seen every other Frankenstein film.

SPHINCTER 007. It’s nearly weird that there have been 24 James Bonds movies in the 53 years since they began. Remember that Pres. John F. Kennedy was a fan of Ian Fleming’s books. That kicked off the entire Bond Wagon. This Sphincter movie has Daniel Craig playing James Bond for the fourth time!!! Daniel Craig is terrible, this movie is terrible. It would take a book to discuss the differences between Daniel Craig and Sean Connery…you can easily think about those diffrerences and stay away from this disaster of a movie.

KZSC 88.1 FM or live online at

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. UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE. Booked so far are… Patrick Meyer talking about airplane noise and “Save Our Skies Santa Cruz” on Dec. 8. Patrick is followed by James Mockoski and Ross Gibson talking about their restoration of the 1917 Santa Cruz movie “Mothers Of Men”. UCSC Chancellor George Blumenthal talks about being Chancellor on December 15, followed by ex- newspaper man and area benefactor Rowland Rebele. December 22 has Amy White ex. dir. of Landwatch Monterey talking about all the land use projects they have in the works. After Amy, Michel Singher talks about the Espressivo Orchestra Concert on Jan. 7th. Then on Jan. 5th Alexandra Kennedy talks about life and suicide. Do remember, any and all suggestions for future programs are more than welcome so tune in, and keep listening. Email me always at

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 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. “Writers fish for the right words like fishermen fish for, um, whatever those aquatic creatures with fins and gills are called”, Jarod Kintz. “What would an ocean be without a monster lurking in the dark? It would be like sleep without dreams”, Werner Herzog. “There’s nothing wrong with enjoying looking at the surface of the ocean itself, except that when you finally see what goes on underwater, you realize that you’ve been missing the whole point of the ocean. Staying on the surface all the time is like going to the circus and staring at the outside of the tent”. Dave Barry. “There was a magic about the sea. People were drawn to it. People wanted to love by it, swim in it, play in it, look at it. It was a living thing that as as unpredictable as a great stage actor: it could be calm and welcoming, opening its arms to embrace it’s audience one moment, but then could explode with its stormy tempers, flinging people around, wanting them out, attacking coastlines, breaking down islands. It had a playful side too, as it enjoyed the crowd, tossed the children about, knocked limos over, tipped over windsurfers, occasionally gave sailors helping hands; all done with a secret little chuckle”, Cecelia Ahern.


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Deep Cover by Tim Eagan.

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