Blog Archives

February 19 – 25, 2014

SOQUEL AND DAKOTA STREETS. February 11, 1961. Back then it was John’s Hof Brau where the Hind Quarter now sits. That’s across the street from Riverside Lighting & Electric.

photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.

DATELINE February 17, 2014

LICENSE PLATE SCANNERS. Steve Pleich did a good job emceeing the ACLU forum on Security in our Community last week at the London Nelson Center. John Malkin repeated many of the important points from his cover article in a recent Good Times. City Council member Micah Posner apologized many times for not objecting to our city purchasing License Plate Scanners. Posner also stated that if the ACLU and concerned citizens wrote a letter to the City Council he’d back it up with postive action…or something. Here’s a link to a petition and letter that the ACLU is circulating to get the council to stop the Police from spending money on License plate scanners. Sign it asap and hopefully we’ll watch Posner carry it on and do something about it.

THE TOP SEXIEST WORKS OF ART EVER. The Guardian “printed” this article by Jonathan Jones and Rick Kuhn sent it onward. Beware very much…it really is sexy.
Click on all the ones that aren’t pictured.

MEGA SAFEWAY ON MORRISSEY. One of the clerks at the Morrissey Safeway agreed with me and said, yes he’d been hearing about Safeway wanting to build ANOTHER mega Safeway store at Morrissey and Soquel. Their plans were held up by the landlady who owned the property that Staff of Life and Safeway occupied. Now she and the Staff of Life settled out of court because “StaffO” moved to their new location before their lease was up. She still wants a fortune for that property so we’ll just have to wait and see if Safeway still pushes for another mega store across from the soon-to-appear-Grocery Outlet. With “StaffO” just across the street from these other operations I say we re-name Morrisey as “BROCCOLI BOULEVARD” or maybe “CARROT CORNERS” ??

SLOW MOTION. Always fascinating.

RENOVATING THE CIVIC. Back in the day our Civic Auditorium was really the place to go. We’d see Victor Borge, Michael Redgrave and lots of premium entertainment. Then the City got greedy, they upped the rent to promoters, the union got more restrictive and expensive and we were mostly left with school basketball games and some graduations. Now there’s a project to renovate it led mostly by the needs of the Cabnrillo Festival of Contemporary Music. An email last week stated “Project Manager Jim Brown conducted the user needs assessment that suggests a wide range of improvements that would make the facility more comfortable for patrons, accessible for performers, desirable to potential producers and cost efficient for the City, which owns and operates the Civic Auditorium. Because a number of sports and floor-focused events have moved, or are considering moving, to the new Kaiser Permanente Arena, the Leadership Team felt there was an opportunity to focus renovation planning on performing arts and cultural activities”.

Another attempt to re-design the guts of the Civic happened way back in the 80’s with ideas such as movable double decker box seats that would be swung around to the sides of the stage. Obviously, it never happened. Let’s hope they at least install railings in the aisles so we can go up and down those treacherous cement steps to the seats closer to heaven. (UCSC’s Mainstage theatre did it!!) Stay tuned to this one.

FUNNIEST TALKING ANIMAL SHORT I’VE EVER SEEN. It’s been around a long time but it still cracks me up.

PATTON’S PROGRAM. Gary reminds us that we make the laws. He provides the formula Politics > Law > Government and then asks, “Who Cares?”. Then he talks about the proposed Grocery Outlet coming into the Morrissey Post Office and a meeting about it next week. He then admits to making a mistake. He closes by giving details on our local water status and a National Geographic article about our drought lasting 200 years. Read all of above scripts at Gary Patton’s KUSP Land Use site Gary is a former Santa Cruz County Supervisor, and an attorney who represents individuals and community groups on land use and environmental issues. The opinions expressed are Mr. Patton’s. Gary has his own website, “Two Worlds / 365?

TWIN BABY BATH. Annette March found this French clip of brand new babies.

CLASSICAL DE CINZO. DeCinzo posts a version of our Postal problem…see downwards about 5 pages

EAGANS DEEP COVER. See Eagan’s take on the Olympics in 2084. Remember rain and snow ?? Scroll below

LISA JENSEN LINKS: Lisa writes: “Find out why Winter’s Tale turns to slush, despite moments of atmospheric charm (and fabulous period clothes!) this week at Lisa Jensen Online Express ( And fasten your seatbelts for our annual best-of-the-year, pre-Oscars Critics’ Smackdown this Sunday at the Nickelodeon.” Lisa has been writing film reviews and columns for Good Times since 1975.

RETURN OF THE FILM CRITICS, (a repeating). Back in 2004 Morton Marcus, Lisa Jensen, Wallace Baine and I began our annual Critics and the Oscars Smackdowns at the Nick. Morton passed on to heaven (where there are no bad movies) and Wallace doesn’t get to see very many movies anymore. So this year on Sunday February 23 Lisa Jensen from Good Times, Christina Waters from The Santa Cruz Weekly and I will hold forth. We’ll give our own best ten, predict what “THEE ACADEMY” will do and give everyone attending a chance to tell us your opinions and choices. It’ll be at NICK at 11 am and yes, it’s free!!!.

……In order of perfection……

GLORIA. This “foreign” film from Chile should sweep the Oscars. Paulina Garcia (age 54) creates a performance that goes far beyond words and images as she show us the deep insides of a mid life, courageous, gutsy approach to the world. It’s one of the finest women’s roles I’ve ever seen on screen. Do not miss it.

THE PAST. Berenice Bejo who co-starred in “The Artist” gives another perfect performance as a mother of two daughters who is divorcing her husband and has taken another man into her life. It’s her kids vs.the new guy and his son, while living in working class Paris. It will be here only a few more days, hurry.

ROBO COP. I liked the earlier original Robo Cop (Peter Weller 1987) and was almost reluctant to see this version. I was way wrong. This is one fine super-hero type film. Set in 2028 this nice, efficient, loving husband cop is turned into a machine and shows us where all this security issue we face today could lead. Exciting, nearly believable, nicely acted. Go see it if you like Batman, Superman, Iron Man and things like that.

(from BEST 2 worst)

HER. “Her” got the Golden Globe award for screenplay, it deserved it and many, many more.

Joaquin Phoenix’s brilliance and Scarlett Johansson as the voice in his computer make an unsettling and endlessly fascinating team. Amy Adams plays exactly the opposite role from her American Hustle babe and is still great. It may unnerve some folks because it hits closer to home than is comfortable…it’s one of the most original films of the decade, go see it.

THE WOLF OF WALL STREET. I have to say that finally, finally, finally Leonardo Di Caprio and Martin Scorsese paired to create a superb and excellent film that fully utilizes their talents. Di Caprio proves that his brief moments in earlier films was no accident…he is awesome in this lewd, vulgar, cocaine extravaganza. Based on the book by the films supreme con artist hero, you’ll sit on the edge of your seat for the full three plus hours. It’s what we all believed goes on behind Wall Street’s doors and even more than that.The action never stops and it is as completely breathtaking in every sense of the word. Go see it, unless you have scruples or a vestige of decency or get jealous easily.

THE AMERICAN HUSTLE. Clever, smart, twisted, greatly acted, and even more clever. What more can you ask from a film? Seeing Amy Adams as a very sexy babe is a long ways from her princess role in Enchanted. Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner and even Robert DeNiro keep the level of who’s conning whom at a fever and funny pitch. It’s a circus version of the real ABSCAM scandal that took down a bunch of politicians. I really meant the word clever. See it asap.

12 YEARS A SLAVE. This film has received dozens of nominations for Awards, and well deserved. It’s a hard hitting, brutal, honest, surprising film. It is also beautifully acted, well cast, and a film you won’t forget for a very long time. Chiwetel Ejiofor is a magnificient actor and carries the film. Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, and Paul Giamatti do good jobs but it’s Ejiofor you’ll think about a lot. It’s a true story written by the central character in the pre-civil war days. Just see this film…now.

NEBRASKA. Bruce Dern plays an almost 80 year old geezer who gets suckered by a million dollar Publishers Warehouse type con and goes on this father/son road movie through Nebraska to collect it. It’s funny at times but it’s also mean, ageist, and cruel. Alexander Payne makes films like that. Dern plays a character named Woody Grant, that’s Grant Wood spelled differently. See it but be prepared.

PHILOMENA. I saw this beautifully touching film again a few weeks ago just to make sure it was/is that good…it is. Judi Dench is never less than wonderful in her wide ranging roles. How she pulls off this true story of a human, less than brilliant mother looking for her orphaned son is magnificient. In case you wonder…Steve Coogan does NOT turn out to be her son. Go see it asap.

DALLAS BUYERS CLUB. No doubt about it Mathew McConaughey stars in and steals most, but not all of this film. What’s odd is that I ended up thinking more about and reacting to Jared Leto’s superb job in playing the transvestite role. Jennifer Garner and Steve Zahn are perfect in their roles too. It’s a fine film, but it is such a tour de force , so completely laid out, so perfectly designed that I never “got into” the film. It’s a spectacle, so in your face, no subtlety. And it’s an award winner for sure.

MONUMENTS MEN. As mentioned above this movie is boring. It is terribly miscast with George Clooney, Bill Murray, Matt Damon, John Goodman, Hugh Bonneville (from Downton Abbey) Jean Dujardin and Cate Blanchett. This is spupposed to be about art experts seeking masterpieces of art that Hitler’s troops had hidden. What’s funny about that?? Yet, the music, those funny actors, just weird that’s all. No continuity, little empathy, a few killings…not a bit of cleverness in it. Absolutely no reason to see this film. You might get something out of renting for a rainy night!!

AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY. It’s an over the top version of the stage play and deals with so much nastiness, hatred, jealousy, fear and miserable people that you’ll leave the theatre feeling a lot better about your own life…whatever it is!!! Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts battle it out for Queen of Suffering, and the rest of the cast is perfect. See it only if you like great, but melodramatic, films.

THE LEGO MOVIE. Check it out Rotten Tomatoes gives it a 95 % (Monuments Men got 34%!!!). It’s not THAT great but its clever, sort of Pixar clever. Yes it’s all animated with those little Lego people doing all the acting”. Voices like Morgan Freeman, Elizabeth Banks, and Chris Pratt are just fine, but there are dozens of almost secret throwaway lines that will really grab you. Many product take offs, huge slaps at our commercial lives, and it ends up with what you might even call a moral lesson!!! The 3D version is extra cute…but you could rent it in a year and still enjoy!!

OSCAR NOMINATED ANIMATED SHORTS. Someday, somehow I’ll find out where and when these animated and live action short films are shown throughout the year. As always some are stunning and have touches of cinematic greatness and some are boring, bad and pointless. Mr. Hublot is one of the great ones and opens the animated program. The digitally animated giraffe and duck who act as emcees for all this animated program are vulgar, gross, unfunny…and require enormous patience just to sit through their miserable bits. Possessions is a Japanese meditation on keeping possessions and isn’t worth mentioning. Feral is supposed to be profound but fails. However Room on The Broom is cute, traditional, and doesn’t set any new artistic standards. Get a Horse is a Disney product and combines 1930’s style animation with current talent, but it’s also sort of brutal, go warned.

OSCAR NOMINATED LIVE ACTION SHORTS. Helium is touching, poignant, and deals with a young boy dying in a hospital. The Voorman Problem is also well worth watching, and centers on a guy who claims to be God (maybe he is!!!) An African short That Wasn’t Me is brutal, anti-war and mystifying. Just Before Losing Everything tells us about a battered woman and her kids who are trying to get away from her husband. It’s fast, nervous, and well done but I’m not sure of the point it tries to make. Do I Have to Take Care of Everything is sort of funny but to spend that much time filming, directing, financing it just for a one line joke was way beyond my understanding.

LONE SURVIVOR. It’s actually an old time “War Movie” only it’s based on fact and a book all about Navy Seals fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan. Mark Wahlberg financed it and is of course the Lone Survivor. I kept thinking of John Wayne in the Sands of Iwo Jima (1949). It’s an excellent war movie, if you like them.

JACK RYAN, SHADOW RECRUIT.. Just another film and another actor in the Jack Ryan franchise. Chris Pine is very cute as Ryan and he does as good a job as you can expect. The plot isn’t from a Tom Clancy book this time. It’s about Russia destroying our financial system and somehow Kiera Knightly is Jack Ryan’s love partner. She shouldn’t have been because she just doesn’t fit in somehow. You keep thinking gee, that’s Keira Knightly playing that role. Kevin Costner plays Jack’s boss and he’s ok, just ok. BUT the plot is tight and complex enough that it will hold you all the way through. Go if you like spy type thrillers.

THAT AWKWARD MOMENT. Zac Efron and Miles Teller are two parts of a trio of GUYS (that’s “GUY” all in caps!!) It’s about how guys fear commitment, want to drink a lot, and have little or no clue about relating to women. Lots of body part jokes and unconvincing acting and I wouldn’t even suggest renting it.

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 W WW.KZSC.ORG February 18 has retired UCSC Professor Lincoln Taiz discussing his New Yorker interview on plant ” neurobiology”. Then Lisa Jensen and I will talk about this years movies and The Oscars Smackdown we’re doing 2/23 at the Nick.. On February 25 Anastasia Torres-Gil will inform us about the status of local foster parenting. She’s followed by David Wright, owner of The Hidden Peak Teahouse talking about the world of tea. Historian, tour guide Sandy Lydon returns March 2 to help support the KZSC Pledge Drive. Kathleen Crocetti guests on March 11 to talk about developments of art in public schools. Patricia Castagnola will bring us up to date on The Santa Cruz Aids Project on March 18.Do remember, any and all suggestions for future programs are more than welcome so tune in, and keep listening. Email me always at

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 here 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, 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. Hear them all!!!


QUOTES. “The difference between a drunk and an alcoholic is that a drunk doesn’t have to attend all those meetings”, Arthur J.Lewis. “Perfection is such a nuisance that I often regret having cured myself of using tobacco”, Emile Zola. “I never smoked a cigarette until I was nine”, H.L. Mencken.


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Deep Cover by Tim Eagan.

Posted in Weekly Articles | Comments Off on February 19 – 25, 2014

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