Blog Archives

January 13 – 19, 2016

BEFORE ABBOTT SQUARE. Here’s the corner of Cooper Street and Front Street after 1866 when the Hall of Records was built and 1882 when they built The Octagon.

photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.

Additional information always welcome: email

DATELINE January 11, 2016

ARTIS THE SPOONMAN ROCKS ROSSINI. Artis played the spoons on Pacific Avenue for many years. Now he’s a grandfather. Watch his stuff about 1:48 into the clip.

2014 Nanjing Youth Olympic trailer,500 people dancing in the sky. Mark Bernhard and Anne Steyaert found this gem,


The Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History’s Nina Simon has new plans for developing Abbott Square. Those plans are changing and moving ahead rapidly. They’ll be presented to our City Council this week or next. Partnering with San Jose real estate developer and owner of the San Pedro Square John McEnery, read Twitter about McEnery or see

Somebody needs to ask that because Santa Cruz Mayor Cynthia Mathews and Council member David Terrazas and County Supervisor Ryan Coonerty are either on the MAH board or as MAH donors, why hasn’t a feasibility study been done on this project? We also need to take a very careful look (or have professionals do it) at the now approved budget of 5 (FIVE) million dollars. Take a look at the proposed Abbott Square development on the MAH website. then try to remember when, if ever, you’ve heard of a development of that scope coming in even close to the opening promises.

Maybe more than anything, and I’ve said this before, because it’s off the Pacific Avenue path of locals and tourists, will the absolutely necessary crowds of customers go to this hidden plaza? The businesses in the much touted arcade between Pacific Avenue and MAH have failed left and right over the years.

Then too how come McEnery got to bring all San Jose (over the hill ) restaurants here and none of our local restaurants were given the chance. Will McEnery be the owner of the “low risk” bar? I’ll bet yes, that’s because that’s where the big money and profits come in. Of course all that profit money will leave Santa Cruz and go to San Jose. Abbott Square plaza if it does succeed, will hurt our locally owned businesses, especially resturants. Also you probably won’t be able to bring your lunch or any food from outside into Nina’s Plaza because you can’t at McEnery’s San Pedro Square in San Jose. You can bet he’ll stop us from doing that in his and Nina’s Plaza.

Besides all that, what ever happened to a once popular belief that Santa Cruz was unique and special and that we hoped we would never become like San Jose…now we’re welcoming the very essence of San Jose into the heart of our downtown.

DEMOCRACY NOW TO KZSC. Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez’s Democracy Now is already running on KZSC (88.1 fm) 5 to 6 am. on weekdays. Of course you can get it online at If you would like to hear Democracy Now at a prominent (better) time on KZSC email or call 831 459-4726.


Headlines can be manipulated to give a false impression as was evident in the Sentinel’s recent headline, “Project seeking home sales mandate.” The article beneath the headline described developer Barry Swenson’s request before the Planning Commission to change his already-approved permit for building 94 small residential units for sale (plus retail stores) at 555 Pacific, to building the units for rent for up to 15 years. The reasons for seeking such a change after ground has already been broken? Insurance against a housing market slowdown and lenders who feel uncomfortable with the city’s rules and a fluctuating housing market. What market slowdown? Every day we are reminded of the housing shortage crisis. These units were approved under the city’s Small Ownership Unit Ordinance, which was developed to fill a need. Having secured approval for the project under that ordinance, the developer now wants to follow a more lucrative path. Why are his lenders uncomfortable? Maybe they’ve noticed that the for-sale market in Santa Cruz is hot but the rental market is sizzling. More student rental housing? Never mind agreements and conditions of approval. Just pesky city rules. Staff worked to help “modify” the agreement to suit the developer. Commissioners voted unanimously to support the new agreement although Mark Mesiti-Miller and Mari Tustin voiced concerns. It’s now up to council for the final decision.

The project itself is out-of-scale and out-of-character with Santa Cruz. Four stories of glass and steel in that quiet part of south Pacific as the road curves towards the first roundabout and the wharf. A harbinger of future development in our town under the Corridors Plan. This project was initially approved also because it was viewed as “linking” dowtown with the beach area. This concept of “linking” downtown with the beach area for commercial gain, a long-standing city and developers’ goal, in my opinion shows a lack of careful analysis. No amount of “branding” and “wayfaring signs” will change the fact that folks who want to shop and stroll downtown, go to the movies, have coffee or a bite to eat probably have no desire to go to the beach. And beach-goers, in sandy swimsuits with coolers and wet feet probably don’t want to go to a movie or shop downtown. Different groups, different interests. It’s also a class issue. Most of the visitors who go to the beach with families and coolers of food are working class folks from over the hill. They come to enjoy the beach and a respite from the heat. Other than at the Boardwalk, they tend not to buy food in restaurants nor shop at over-priced boutiques. This fact has long been a source of frustration for the tourist industry, which has made no apologies for working to change the class nature of visitors to Santa Cruz.

It would be a breath of fresh air if the city council majority told the developer that in the current housing economic climate his project is still a sound investment as originally approved and that for the common good, no changes to that agreement will be made. I’m not holding my breath.

(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).



Back in 2008, a community group in Santa Cruz called “CLUE,” the “Coalition to Limit University Expansion,” was part of a settlement that ended several lawsuits that challenged the Long Range Development Plan of the University of California at Santa Cruz. It is undeniable that the growth of the UCSC campus, over the years, has had negative impacts on the City of Santa Cruz, and, in fact, on Santa Cruz County. How many of the cars in that traffic jam on Highway One, going north every weekday morning,are transporting a worker at the UCSC campus to his or her job? Well, lots of them! In fact, the growth-related impacts of UCSC not only affect traffic, they affect water and housing, too.

There are definitely lots of positive impacts that come from UCSC, including significant positive impacts on the local economy. CLUE, however, was formed to make sure that the negative impacts were not overlooked, and that they were addressed with real mitigation measures.

Because of the legal settlement in 2008, the City, the County, the University, and CLUE now have a process in place to measure the housing, traffic, and related impacts of UCSC growth.

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” –

LOCAL BOY MAKING VERY GOOD. Diane Grunes, well known and much loved area personality has a son named Danny. She says, “My son, Danny Grunes, along with some close friends, shot a commercial this year called “Doritos Dogs”, and submitted it to the final year of the “Doritos Crash The Super Bowl contest”. Out of over 4,500 entries, Good Morning America just announced…THEIR COMMERCIAL MADE THE TOP THREE!!! Now they need your help to win. If they get the most fan votes, “Doritos Dogs” will win $1 Million & it’ll air during Super Bowl 50!!! You can view the spot and vote once per day, per device Jan. 4 – 31 at this link: and vote for “Doritos Dogs” (on the far right of the three commercials). If you want to stay updated on how they’re doing, follow their Facebook and Twitter pages for updates and exclusive content. I can’t thank you enough for helping Danny and his friends, by taking the time to vote, and for encouraging your friends and family to do the same. It would be so cool if “Doritos Dogs” won!!! PLEASE help by voting once per day, per device Jan. 4 – 31!!! Thank you so much, Diane D., a proud Mom.

CLASSICAL DeCINZO. DeCinzo and the Super Bowl see below!!!

EAGAN’S DEEP COVER. Tim assures us that the good old boys will live up to their name see downwards.

SANTA CRUZ CHAMBER PLAYERS. January 16, 17. The Chamber Players perform music by Albéniz, Tárrega, Manuel de Falla, Luys de Narváez and Chris Pratorius-Gómez in concerts titled ” Legends of Grenada:Musical Confections from the Heart of Andalusia” on

Saturday, January 16, 7:30 pm and Sunday, January 17, 3 pm. Featuring C.A. Jordon: soprano
Andrew Scott Carter: tenor, Jennifer Cass: harp, Kristin Garbeff: cello, Rob Watson: guitar, and David Long, piano. Chris Pratorius-Gómez, is the artistic director, piano player, and composer. Tickets at the door or online at . It’s at The Christ Lutheran Church 10707 Soquel Drive in Aptos by the Freedom Blvd. turnoff from Hwy1.

SHAKESPEARE’S THE WINTERS TALE. THE KENNETH BRANAGH THEATRE COMPANY presents Judi Dench and Kenneth Branagh in Shakespeare’s the Winter’s Tale at the Del Mar Theatre Thursday Jan. 14 at 7:30pm & Sunday Jan. 17 at 11am. That’s the one with the great nutsy line “Exit, pursued by a bear”. It’s one of his “problem” plays it’s a bit romantic and a bit comedy, but with those two’ll be great.

8 TENS @ 8. The “B” plays. I’ve seen just about every 10 minute play ever produced by the Eight Tens group. This year there are two nights of eight plays each. I saw Group B last Saturday and must tell you they comprised just about the best evening of Eight Tens I’ve ever seen. I’d guess that the Group A might be just as good. As usual the plays range from deeply serious and unfathomable to nutsy and hilarious. Go see them.

LISA JENSEN LINKS. Lisa writes: “It’s been quiet over at Lisa Jensen Online Express ( so far in the new year, as I slog through the final edits for my next book. I should be in Virgo Heaven, but it’s…so…much…work. Will I ever make it to the finish line? Stay tuned…” Lisa has been writing film reviews and columns for Good Times since 1975.


THE REVENANT. 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.


THE HATEFUL EIGHT. Quentin Tarantino is BACK! A beautiful film. A plot 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, extremly funny, thought provoking and mystfying. Go see it on some big screen.

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 reviewed 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.

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 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.

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%!!!

YOUTH. Do go prepared for a meditation on old age, death, love, marriage, fame, and acting.

It’s impressionistic, symbolic, intellectual, dream-like…and not easy to follow. Michael Caine

shows how much better an actor he is than co-star Harvey Keitel, and It’s also an excellent film. If you saw “The Great Beauty” a few years ago by the same director, Paolo Sorrentino you’ll have a clue about his approach to life and aging. “Youth” doesn’t compare with “The Great Beauty”, which was/is a masterpiece.

CONCUSSION.This could have been a contender for the much deserved revealing of the role the NFL plays in the maiming and killing of football players. Will Smith does the best he can with a sanitized script as a Doctor from Nigeria tries to stop the 28% or more players develop long term brain/mental problems. Alec Baldwin and Albert Brooks add some drama but the movie is too soft, too Hollywood, too cute to be the driving force necessary to change the way the NFL plays ball. Read today’s issue (Jan. 4) of the Huffington Post to see reactions to concussions and the National Football League.

IN THE HEART OF THE SEA. It’s about this whale, sort of an early Jaws, look- a- like movie. Supposedly it’s like a prequel to Moby Dick. It’s got some great scenes and interesting moments but it isn’t put together in any logical or interesting way. You can skip this one too.

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.

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. . On January 12 actors Scott Kravitz and Mar Nae Taylor discuss this years “8 TENS @ 8″ plays playing Jan. 8- Feb. 7, they’re followed by Cesario Ruiz telling us all about “My Mom’s Mole’ “ his new culinary food start-up. 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. Linda Burman-Hall reveals the Santa Cruz Baroque Festival’s new season on February 2. 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

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.


“The flood of money that gushes into politics today is a pollution of democracy” Theodore White. “The flood of print has turned reading into a process of gulping rather than savoring” Raymond Chandler. “We must build dikes of courage to hold back the flood of fear”, Martin Luther King, Jr.


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Deep Cover by Tim Eagan.

Posted in Weekly Articles | Comments Off on January 13 – 19, 2016

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