Blog Archives

January 14 – 20, 2014

SELECTIVE TREE HARVESTING IN THE SANTA CRUZ MOUNTAINS. As the now historic “SELECTIVE” harvesting goes they SELECT all the trees they can make big bucks from and strip the mountain sides.

Additional information always welcome: email

DATELINE January 13, 2014

WOOLIES AND SOWETO GOSPEL CHOIR. Rich Siebert found this gem. Check it out, and you’ll probably cry a little.

RAIN…10 HOURS OF LISTENING TO RAIN. Just listen to about three minutes of this rain…maybe if we all meditate???

WHAT IS SANTA CRUZ? What makes Santa Cruz such a fine place to live? Why did so many of us move here? Why do so many folks stay here? Location is a major factor but it is what’s left of the town character/ambiance/atmosphere/style/etc. that makes it so unique and special. That character is found in our Historic homes, our Historic (and vanishing) Historic buildings and as we see this week… in our Heritage trees. The proposed chain Hyatt Hotel at Ocean and Broadway brings together all the issues of preserving Santa Cruz. We have no design approval so we allow any chain to build any cookie cutter style that can be seen all over the USA. And in this Hyatt case we have absolutely no concern about saving another one of our Historic trees…and we know the City Council will allow that beautiful and certified Heritage Horse Chestnut tree on the site to be destroyed. Trees as just as important as homes and buildings in maintaining style and character of our town. At the rate Santa Cruz is allowing such changes to everything Historic (including MAH) we’ll be another San Jose almost before we know it.

RIANE EISLER IS COMING TO TOWN. She is the inspirational author of “The Chalice & the Blade”. Her talk is titled..

Toward a Caring Economy: Beyond Capitalism and Socialism, Economics as if women, men, children, and the environment actually matter”

Dr. Eisler will show that behind our most pressing individual and social problems lies the failure of economic models and policies to value and support the essential work of caring and care giving. Recognizing the powerful influence of our hidden system of gendered values, she proposes a new paradigm for a sustainable and equitable alternative to how our economy is structured. Presented by the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom it happens on Thursday, January 30, 2014 at 7 pm in thePeace United Church of Christ (aka First Congregational Church) 900 High Street. Childcare provided! Tickets sold online at and at Bookshop Santa Cruz. For further information, please go to Or visit

ELERICK’S INPUT. Paul writes…


Another of the benefits of living in Aptos is being able to go to movies without a hassle. In fact, it’s downright easy; decide which movie at the Aptos Cinema you want to see, take a five minute drive (including parking time) to Rancho Del Mar Center, get your ticket and popcorn and (another five minutes) and enjoy the movie. You’ll see a first-run movie sitting in new comfortable seats as well. No parking charges, no sketchy people asking for money, and if you go at night you can be home in the same short time it took to get there. The cry for an “updated” shopping center is puzzling? What is the meaning of “dated”? In whose eyes? The current selection of businesses serves the community well, and if new ones need to be added, there are vacant storefronts advertised all the time. Message to Safeway should be “Fix up your existing store right where it is, leave the rest of Aptos alone”.(Paul Elerick is co-chair, along with Peter Scott, of the Campaign for Sensible Transportation, and is a member of Nisene 2 Sea, a group of open space advocates).

PEOPLE ARE AWESOME 2014. Watch for the wheelchair stunts, and the avalanche skiing!!!

PATTON’S PROGRAM. Gary gives us some ammo on the City Council and the Chain Hotel proposed for Ocean Street. He talks about so called “minor” changes in permit approval. Then he talks about the proposed sale of Salinas River water to California American Water. Gary covers the importance of dealing with private wells and the drought and surface water. He ends the week with “Last Call In Capitola” and how their general plan is a big deal regarding future developments.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?

CLASSICAL DE CINZO. De Cinzo barks up our tree with a new leash on life…scroll down a few pages.

EAGANS DEEP COVER. Tim Eagan takes a cold calculating look at the climate change…see below.

LISA JENSEN LINKS. Lisa writes: “This week at Lisa Jensen Online Express (, I finally catch up with the Mandela movie, check out Richard Stockton’s new one-man show, rhapsodize about the new season of Sherlock, and no doubt will find something to say about the Golden Globes.” Lisa has been writing film reviews and columns for Good Times since 1975.


Back in the day probnably 2003 or 2004 Morton Marcus, Lisa Jensen, Wallace Baine and I began our annual Critics and the Oscars 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……

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.

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 films.

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 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.

(from BEST 2 worst)

THE WOLF OF WALL STREET. I have to say that finally, finally, finally Leonardo Di Caprio and Martin Scorsese paired tocreate 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.

INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS. Llewyn is pronounced “Lou-enn” and is the Coen Brothers newest creation. F. Murray Abraham, John Goodman, Carey Milligan, and Justin Timberlake are part of the cast, the lead is Oscar Isaac and they do magnificient acting jobs. If you know or care about the 1961 New York and Chicago folk music scene and specifically about Dave Van Ronk you’ll love this film. It’s not as crazy or funny as Oh Brother, Where Art Thou. The plot ambles as much as the folk singer guitarist lead character and the plot is as pointless as his life seems to be. You’ll get out of the film exactly as much as you put into it.

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 inplaying 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.

SAVING MR. DISNEY. This film will grab you more the older you are or in direct proportion to the amount of attachment you have to the Disney world. I have a lot of attachment to Disney. Seeing Fantasia as a young boy changed my life by introducing me to classical music. Snow White, Pinocchio, even Dumbo were some of my favorite child memories. That means I cried a lot during Saving Mr. Banks. I made sure that the first film my daughter Hillary saw in a theatre was when I took her to see Mary Poppins. Emma Thompson deserves an award for playing Mrs. P.L. Travers author of Mary Poppins. I could go on for paragraphs about this film, just go see it. Maybe you don’t know that Walt Disney was not only a chain smoker but he swore constantly, a genuine foul mouth. Somewhere I have a photo of Walt sucking on a cigarette at our very own Boardwalk when he came here to get ideas for the Autoland Ride at Disneyland.

HUNGER GAMES; CATCHING FIRE. Did you ever arrive late for something and then wonder what’s been going on before you got there? That’s how I felt about Hunger Games Catching Fire. I did see Hunger Games, the first one and it was exciting but I didn’t memorize or even remember much of it. So go warned about this sequel. Who are their friends, who will kill you…and more importantly WHY the killing?… are some questions this epic leaves you with. It’s exciting and sci-fi scenic, but I couldn’t get into it…or care much. Yes, Jennifer Lawrence is a fine actress, even in this.

THE HOBBIT: The desolation of Smaug.. Seeing This part 2 of The Hobbit the same weekend I saw The Wizard of OZ in 3D and the Saving Disney film made the Hobbits a very poor comparison to The Oz Munchkins or Snow Whites Seven Dwarves. Those charecters became icons, legends and part of our history. The Hobbits, not so much. elves, dwarves and Hobbits, no comparison. Want to bet that any of The Hobbit films aren’t remembered and revered like Wizard of Oz? Then there’s J.R.R. Tolkien’s story line of a Gold ring, a vast fortune guarded by a dragon, and the music….this film sure owes a lot to Richard Wagner and his 4 Ring Operas. Sure Benedict Cumberbatch is in it, he’s Smaug the nasty dragon, but you won’t recognize him. Don’t expect any charm, trickyness, or inventiveness if you do go. Expect instead lots of blood, rolling ,chopped off heads and lengthy amounts of fights. Dwarves vs. elves vs. Hobbits…why?

GRUDGE MATCH. This extra dumb movie features Sylvester Stallone and Robert DeNiro in a stultifying and impossible HBO geezer boxing re-match. Stallone is at his best, which is not good in this dopey phony film, and Robert De Niro is at his absolute worst. There is no reason on earth to see this mess.

THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY. Ben Stiller produced and stars in this mis- guided attempt at humor. The only reason to see it is to watch our Santa Cruz- locally born- movie star Adam Scott do a fine job of acting as a “dick head” or head dick who hounds Stiller through various adventures, some real and some are delusional. If you are old enough to remember the original Danny Kaye version, try to preserve that memory because this movie has zero relationship to it.

47 RONIN. I have as much chance to out-law Keanu Reeves from ever being allowed to appear in films again as I do fighting Girl Scout Cookies, but I’ll keep trying. This 47 Ronin movie had monumental production problems and that’s why it was released in January with all the other disasters. The genuine historical 47 Ronin were a tribute to Japan’s system of Samurai, honor, and respect. This Hollywood rip off added flying draperies, dragons, gods, devils, spirits and Keanu Reeves to top it all off. See any one of the earlier Chushingura films. They are all magnificant, and worlds apart from this tripe.

SANTA CRUZ CHAMBER PLAYERS. Their next concert is…


From the depths of Brahms’ last works for solo piano, to the youthful yearnings of Mahler at age 15, this program is designed to please and inspire at every level. This concert features the rare appearance of both Michael Tierra and his celebrated son, Chetan Tierra, as pianists on the same program. Four pieces for solo piano, Op 119, were the last solo piano pieces written by Brahms, and were premiered just three years before his death. Mahler composed his only surviving chamber work, Piano Quartet in A Minor, at the tender age of 15. This piece was used as the haunting background music for the 2010 film, Shutter Island. Tchaikovsky expressed his deep Russian and Slavic origins in his music, of which the Dumka Variations are so representative. His Dumka piano variations Op 59 are subtitled “Scenes from a Russian Village.”Antonin Dvorák’s brilliant masterpiece Piano Quintet, Op 8, regarded as one of the masterpieces of the form, will feature local young piano virtuoso Chetan Tierra. Don’t miss this extraordinary program! Michael Tierra, artistic director and pian,Cynthia Baehr, violin, Rebecca Wishnia, violin, Chad Kaltinger, viola Judy Roberts, cello Chetan Tierra, piano. The concerts are on Saturday, January 18, 8 pm. and Sunday, January 19, 3 pm. at Christ Lutheran Church 10707 Soquel Drive, Aptos (Off Highway 1 at Freedom Blvd.)

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. Tuesday, January 14 has Sandy Skees telling us about their group “100+ Women Who Care” and their good works. Deutron Kebebew follows to share news and info about “PAPAS” and how that organization helps fathers and children. On January 21 the Sentinel’s Street Smarts traffic columnist Ramona Turner tells us backstories about safety, etc. She’s followed by John Malkin and the threat of License Plate scanners that the police want to bring in. January 28 has attorney and activist Bob Taren discussing 2014 predictions on our local issues. Then Linda Burman Hall gives details on the Santa Cruz Baroque Festival’s 2014 season. 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. “I want my children to have all the things I couldn’t afford. Then I want to move in with them,” Phyllis Diller. “Living in dreams of yesterday, we find ourselves still dreaming of impossible future conquests,” Charles Lindbergh. “Nature is an infinite sphere of which the center is everywhere and the circumference nowhere”, Blaise Pascal.


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Deep Cover by Tim Eagan.

Posted in Weekly Articles | Comments Off on January 14 – 20, 2014

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