Blog Archives

January 19 – February 2, 2015

LEASKS DEPARTMENT STORE AT PACIFIC AND CHURCH STREETS January 1952 at 11:10 am. This is now Urban Outfitters and Regal Cinema 9. This grand and traditional Department store went through many iterations from 1892 when Samuel Leask from Scotland opened it until Gottschalks bought it in the 1980’s and it was there until the quake of 1989.
photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.

Additional information always welcome: email


DATELINE January 19, 2015

DATELINE January 26, 2015

ARANA GULCH, THE RIBBON CUTTING. At least two hundred or more locals and lots of bicyclers attended Wednesday’s (1/14) Arana Gulch ribbon cutting. This “bike path” which in reality must be 20 feet wide with two new bridges cuts a huge highway through our Green Belt to provide a short cut for bicyclists who must not like to bicycle. Last week’s S.F. Chronicle (1/18) had a big piece apologizing to author Ed Abbey (“Desert Solitaire”,”Monkey Wrench Gang”) for his pointing out over a lifetime that cutting a highway through Arches National Park in UTAH so more people “nature lurkers”could enjoy nature was a terrible contradiction. Abbey called it “Industrial Tourism”. Will we now pave a road through The Pogonip so students will save yardage from their bike commute? Will we build a bridge over Twin Lakes so we don’t have to drive around that gas – wasting bend? At what point do we stop proclaiming that our comfort and convenience is more important than nature? One ribbon cutting speaker even noted that taggers have already painted the “Path”. We can probably guess just how our Park and Rec. Dept will clean and maintain this new attraction. To apply all of Ed Abbey’s lifelong battle and his principles to the onward race to create the Santa Cruz Redwoods National Monument State Park. More, much more on the park in future weeks.

PIANO MAN. Ralph Davila sent this musical gem. It stars Billy Joel, Kevin Spacey…..doing Piano man.

UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE WEEKLY NEWS. I’ve been remissfor nine years (since June of 2006 when I started my Universal Grapevine radio program) of not reporting/repeating the news that listeners and I learn from those Tuesday night programs. For example, Bruce Jaffe newly re-elected director of The Soquel Creek Water District said Tuesday night (1/13) that yes, there are existing pipes that could carry water from Santa Cruz to Soquel. He also stated and many folks wanted to know this…yes, the Soquel Creek Water District will be happy to collaborate with Santa Cruz on water transfers. Another little gem of news from Jaffe was that the Soquel voters have been very careful and elected only board members with science backgrounds and credentials. They completely rejected the Aptos Chamber of Commerce (with help from Bill Tyselling of the Santa Cruz Chamber) slate of development/business candidates. Earlier in the Grapevine program environmental attorney Bill Parkin stated that it’s true P.G.& E. has pulled back on its plan to erect huge monster power lines and support structures clouding the Day Valley, Freedom landscape for at least ten years. He also said it looks like Barry Swenson’s Aptos Village Development will get underway in this late summer. That’s complete with water, traffic, and the influx of all those new residents moving in. Parkin also talked about the nearly infamous CAL-AM’s de-sal proposal in Marina and how frustrated the locals are. I need to apologize that KZSC hasn’t yet been able to add my programs to their podcasts. So right now it’s listen on Tuesdays 7-8p.m.88.1fm or live online at or never!!

WORLD’S LARGEST VACUUM CHAMBER. Watch a bowling ball and feather fall when there’s no air!!!
CRAZY RUSSIAN PENCIL GUY. You really need to try this at home!!!

SANDY LYDON’S SANTA CRUZ HISTORY CLASS CANCELLED.Last weekI gave as big a shout out and urging everyone to enroll in Sandy Lydon’s History 25A Santa Cruz County and the Monterey Bay Region to 1880 class. Sandy announced Sunday (1/18) that he had to cancel it. He said, “ It’s been just too difficult for folks to register — many have given up and turned away. And, there are a gazillion of folks who want to take it again and the computer won’t let them. So I’m going to shut it down and cancel it. A lot of this has to do with the re-focusing of the college to transfer students and occupational programs”. “Folks who are registered will get refunds, etc and we’ll re-format it and do it on the Extension side and make it easier to register, hopefully in the Fall”.

WORLD’S LARGEST VACUUM CHAMBER. Watch a bowling ball and feather fall when there’s no air!!!

HISTORICAL PHOTO COMMENT. Triton H. wrote to say this about last week’s historic Eastside Post Office Photo…. “What struck me as remarkable about this week’s fabulous historic photo is not that the Eastside U.S. Post Office is no longer there, it’s that the Roller Palladium still is ! Relatively unchanged. That weird old dingy cavern of a roller skating rink has hosted generations of Santa Cruz 6th graders at roller skating parties. (I believe it was run by a couple, Denny & wife Heddy, who also operated a tiny little coffee shop counter at the corner where Pacific Avenue meets Front Street). I for one sure the heck remember going there and having a lot of fun back in the early-60’s, probably because it was one of the first places a kid could go to without tag-long Mom & Dad. And here’s what else is remarkable: The sign, see arrow. That Roller Palladium sign on the corner is gone, but look what survives: The round neon “winged roller skate” which evidently is now affixed to the corner of the building itself. Probably most people wouldn’t really notice or care, but as two aficionados of Old Santa Cruz, I hope you’ll also get a kick out of coming to the realization that a 65+ year-old relic survives, and quite nicely at that ! Anyway take care”.Triton H.

A READER WRITES. Ted “Shadowbrook” Burke writes to say, “As one of our communities notable film critics I thought you might enjoy this line delivered the other night by David Letterman: The Late Show With David Letterman….” This morning the Academy Award nominations were announced. Meryl Streep once again was nominated. I thought she did a tremendous job as the Olympic wrestler”. Happy New Year to you!

ELERICK’S INPUT. Mr. Paul Elerick of Aptos writes…


The armored military surplus vehicle has to be the most opposed Santa Cruz Police action ever brought before the public. After watching the well-moderated hearing (thank you Mayor Lane), it was clear where the public stood. It was simple, they didn’t want the vehicle, send it back, don’t even think about accepting it. Council voted to go ahead with what their police department wanted.

This hearing was followed by still another anti-homeless ordinance that continued the attack on poor people who have no place to sleep by issuing “stay away” tickets for those found sleeping in city parks. This also passed on a 7-1 vote with only Council Member Posner listening to the public; and voting accordingly. For the voters in Santa Cruz who didn’t vote last November, you better get ready for another two years of living with what TBSC (Take Back Santa Cruz) wants for you..

(Paul Elerick is co-chair with Peter Scott of the Campaign for Sensible Transportation, , and he’s a member of Nisene 2 Sea, a group of open space advocates).

ELERICK REMEMBERS MARY WAX. Paul sent this in early Monday. (8:45 a.m.)

Mary WaxMary Wax was one of those rare people. Everybody who knew her would put her in the “nicest person they ever knew” category. Both Mary, and husband Elliot who passed away not long ago were that kind of people and I feel honored to have been their friends. We met in the early days of Aptos Neighbors Association, back in the early 1970’s. Mary’s life is well written about in her Sentinel obit; if you knew her or didn’t you’ll enjoy reading what a remarkable woman she was. Mary was a person you think of when somebody asks why you live in Aptos.


PATTON’S PROGRAM. Gary talks about our County Supervisors and their Facebook pages

Check them out, frequently. Also try to imagine (BrattonOnline question) what’s the Supervisor’s Board going to be like with Greg Kaput as the next chair???? This week Gary says the Board of Supervisors will deal with vacation rentals, affordable housing rules and medical marijuana. The Santa Cruz City Council handles some water supply options and will hear a report from the Water Supply Advisory Committee. Watsonville City tells residents about Cell Towers and their regulations and just what power the people have in dealing with those towers.

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 opions expressed are Mr. Patton’s \. Gary has his own website, Two Worlds/365” –


CLASSICAL DeCINZO. A comment on UCSC professors….back in the day??? See downwards.


EAGAN’S DEEP COVER. Last week’s was about God and cartoonists…a special case??? This week’s Eagan clarify’s everything!!! Scroll below for both.

LISA JENSEN LINKS. Lisa writes: “I don’t know about you, but last year was full of big changes for me. And for Santa Cruz. I don’t know what’s in store for our burgh in the future, but the New Year is off to an interesting start for me this week at Lisa Jensen Online Express (” Lisa has been writing film reviews and columns for Good Times since 1975.



MR. TURNER starring Timothy Spall as painter J.M.W.Turner at the Nick.

MR. TURNER. Mike Leigh the director of this partial biography, doesn’t make simple films. Secrets & Lies, Life is Sweet, and High Hopes among others. Mr. Turner is famed ‘action” painter J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851). Timothy Spall plays Turner and is so kinky and erractic that you can’t stop watching him. But the story line is so pointless, jumpy, erractic and odd that you constantly keep wide awake just trying to piece it together for your own sake. It’s a curious film, not a great film, and you’ll wonder what point Mike Leigh was trying to make when he directed this beautifully photographed attempt.


CAKE.The big talk about this saga is Jennifer Anniston’s not wearing her usual amount of makeup, and it works. The script isn’t great, it’s slow, and has some odd-unrelated scenes but it still remains an interesting story of a woman dealing with some serious tragedies in her life. She uses pills like water and thinks about suicide quite a bit…it’s like I said, a very “interesting” film.


AMERICAN SNIPER. Director Clint Eastwood downplays the bar fighting, cruder aspects of this Navy Seal sniper who killed 160 humans and maybe another 95 not confiirmed. Brad Cooper got all big and tubby for the part, and does a great job as an actor. We see a bit of complexity and thoughtfulness from this killing machine, but untimately its’ another Eastwood product. Only go if you like killing, war, and surprise endings, or if you want to see Brad Cooper acting like it’s really a baby and not a doll he holds in one scene!!!


MORTDECAI. To watch a cast such as Johnny Depp, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ewan McGregor, Jeff Goldblum, Paul Bettany and Olivia Munn camp and ham theirroles in this sad excuse for a comedy is not just embarrassing, it’s a waste of your money.There’s not a clever or intelligent moment in it. Actually it’s closer to a Jeff Apatow/Seth Rogen/Adam Sandler type gross out than any British comedy they might have been trying to copy.Don’t go, by any means.

BLACKHAT.Australian Chris Hemsworth noted mostly for playing Thor brings the same stupidity to this worst movie of 2015. He tries to play someone who can read and write and use a computer. Even if you can believe that…you still shouldn’t see this movie. It’s about hacking, nuclear power plants and lots of bloody chase scenes. It’s a terrible film, and I left before it ended.



BIRDMAN. Great cast with Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, Zach Galifianakis, and Lindsay Duncan. Keaton is always good and here he plays an ex Batman/Birdman who tries to make it back to fame in a Broadway play. This is not a simple Hollywood flick!!! Don’t expect some cheap laughs, and takeoffs on Batman movies. It’s a complicated psychological look at egos, fame, friendship, family. It’s a very fine film, worth your going to see by all means. It’s just deeper than the previews make you think. I’m betting on this to take the best film Oscar!!!

THE IMITATION GAME.Excellent film, and if you care a lot about authenticity look it up on Wikipedia (much artistic license) but it doesn’t matter, it’s still a fine film. Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing and Keira Knightly as his best friend are nearly perfect. It’s all about breaking the code that the Germans were using during WW2. Turing invents a machine, and in spite of his extra odd personality, the Germans are defeated. The sub theme of Turing’s then illegal homosexuality, and the deathly consequences he paid for it are strangly underplayed, but significent. See this fine film asap.

THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING.Stephen Hawking is played by Eddie Redmayne who did Les Miserables. Felicity Jones from Spider Man 2 and Emily Watson is in it too but you’ll hardly recognize her. David Thewlis is also perfect and downplays his role nicely. It’s a heart rending- tear jerker- feel very good- movie. Redmayne will be near the top for an Oscar because they always go for handicapped roles (My Left Foot, Rainman etc.). There’s very little of Hawkings actual scientific genius in the film. It’s more about how later he split from his long suffering and eternally supportive wife and went for his beautiful sexy caretaker and how his wife paired up with her choir director!!! Hawkings book A BRIEF HISTORY OF TIME sold more than 10 million copies in twenty years (but only 8 people read it!!). It was translated into 35 languages sez Wikipedia.The Met has commissioned an opera based on the book which should happen in 2015. Wikipedia also says, “the theory of everything, is a physicists’ jargon term for a theory in physics which unifies the four fundamental forces of nature: gravity, the strong force, the weak force, and the electromagnetic force”, but recently Hawking says that theory will probably never happen. Go see it, and bring a hankie.

SELMA. Given the state of racial affairs in the USA and the world today, this movie should be seen by every thinking human.It’s a powerful document of a shameful historic period in our history that should never be forgotten. There are many facts, lessons, and messages here that need repeating over and over again, no matter how well you think you remember or understand our Civil Rights issues. It gives us a real picture of Martin Luther King and David Oyelowo portrays him beautifully. Tom Wilkinson isn’t a great LBJ but he tries hard and Rotten Tomatoes gives it a 99, so there you are. Go see it.

INHERENT VICE. I can’t review this film fairly. I can’t “get into” Thomas Pynchon’s books and this film is an excellent adaptation of his 2009 Los Angeles themed novel. Like his books the film’s plot weaves and staggers leaps ahead and falls back. Here’s what a friend of mine who knows Pynchon as a friend said of the film…” Upon further reflection, I realize now that when I said the movie was schizophrenic, what I was feeling was that there was no coherent thematic feel (despite a cinematic unity/style) but that THAT is precisely the nature of Tom’s writing. His stock in trade is the mixture of high and low culture, profane/sacred, slapstick/goofiness with high art/glorious writing. This and his (consistent) paranoid/anti-authoritarian/pro-individual themes contributes to his status as a primary source of “postmodern” literature. We like our stories to be linear and with a consistent theme or tone, whether books or movies, despite our own experience that real life is a hodgepodge of conflicting occurrences and desires, successes and failures, punches out of left field, transcendent grace, whacky/strange/unpleasant thoughts, wistful memories of lost loves/opportunities, etc. creating a general posture of “Huh?” This befuddlement and all of society’s attempts to “explain” or provide coherency/context (religion, morality, philosophy, politics, etc.) at the expense of individual spontaneous expression and our general turning away from looking at the usually disastrous, and evil consequences and actions of these (corporate/fascist) control mechanisms is a central theme of Tom’s writing. That Yin/Yang “chaotic” nature is, I think, what I was feeling and it perfectly captures Tom’s writing style. So I think this movie is a resounding success not only in presenting the primary story line but in somehow capturing the quality of the writing in the film. It is not a film for everybody, nor are the books”. A complex review , a complex film, and a very complex writer.

UNBROKEN.More than a few critics have remarked about director Angelina Jolie’s focus on male torture in this near-true saga. It’s a Hollywood product, all heroism, suffering, payoff at the end, and unless you need to feel bad, think twice before you see this one.

BIG EYES. Thomas Kinkade must have picked up all his marketing of kitsch art from Walter Keane (and from Margaret Keane) Most of us who’ve lived in Nor Cal any amount of time remember the invasion of the Big Eyes paintings back in the 1950’s and 60’s centering in San Francisco’s North Beach and spreading all over the world. Both Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz play odd roles and do it well. It’s an absolutely fascinating story, well worth seeing.

INTO THE WOODS. By now we all know the cast, Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, James Corden Johnny Depp, Chris Pine and Anna Kendrick.We know too that Stephen Sondheim wrote the music, and yet it misses. It’s a clever mixing of Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Rapunzel, and still it doesn’t hang together. The plot is crazy and lacks cleverness, the singing is what you’d expect fom that lineup of non-singing stars, and you’ll just sit there and watch the screen and leave unimpressed.

WILD. Any Santa Cruzan will be totally sucked in when Reese Witherspoon starts hiking the Pacific Crest Trail and starts reading a copy of one of Adrienne Rich’s books. Somebody mentions Adrienne later in the film too. Cheryl Strayed did hike the PCT and wrote the book.Thomas Sadoski from HBO’s The Newsroom is in it too. Good acting, a few award nominations are already happening and it’s a very good feel-good movie. Not a great movie but a good feel good thing….especially for women. And it wasn’t filmed in California!!!

FOXCATCHER. This is one of the most odd movies I’ve ever seen. You’ll spend almost the entire time just watching Steve Carell’s eagle beak fake nose. Mark Ruffalo and Channing Tatum look and act like a sequel to Planet of The Apes. It’s creepy, non- focussed and I’m not sure why they made the film. Carell will be nominated for sure for something.du Pont was a real psycho and thought he was Jesus Christ, the Dalai Lama and a Russian czar according to Wikipedia

INTERSTELLAR. This over hyped piece-of- crap movie starring Mathew McConaughey, Michael Caine and Anne Hathway should refund every admsssion dollar it takes in. It’s pretentious, full of phoney intelligence, and uses such concepts as black holes, three dimensions and even five dimensions, singularity, string theory and voices from “them” who exist beyond Saturn. It’s not as bad as UCSC’s recent production of Birth Of Stars ..but almost. Once in a great while I’ll look up other critics to see who’s with me in disliking (or seeing) a film the way I do. Here’s what Critic David Thomson of the New Republic wrote…check it out

HUNGER GAMES, Mockingjay Part 1. A stunning cast, plus what has to be Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s really, really last role–forever. He’s joined by Julienne Moore, Donald Sutherland, Woody Harleson, Stanley Tucci, and Elizabeth Banks….and it’s a waste of your time and money. That is unless you’ve read the Hunger Games trilogy. Ashlyn Adams of Westside Video read the books, saw this movie, and even then said this new film is puzzling. I could not follow the plot, who’s good, who’s evil…and what is it all about anyways. And Jennifer Lawrence the star of the Games carries a bow and arrow while everyone around her shoots and kills things with future zap and zing future type weapons. I repeat DO NOT GO unless you’ve read all three books and even then Ashlyn says you can’t always trust anybody in the story.


THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES. This is supposed to end the Hobbit trilogies, but considering the huge opening weekend they’ll probably squeeze another dwarf flick and go for four. Yes, Martin Freeman is still in it as Bilbo Baggins, the titular lead of the little people. So is Ian McKellen, Elijah Wood, and good old Ian Holm for two minutes at the end. Like Exodus it’s all done with pixels, and it’s impossible to tell one army fromanother. It’s very bloody and violent as all these billion dollar money makers are. So if you want to support more of these torture scenes , just go.


THE INTERVIEW. Yes, I saw that desperate, anti-North Korea gross-out attempt at a comedy. More than that, I saw it Christmas night with daughter Jennifer at famed Hollywood theatre, The Crest.The Crest was built in 1940 and has been named a cultural landmark. Three TV Stations were there to cover any and all action as this indy theatre defied the SONY ban on distribution. James Franco and Seth Rogen should be very ashamed to appear in as ignorant, vile, unclever film like this. The only funny line in it was when Rogen said about North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, “he’s gone to bed with more women than Ellen De Generes“.



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 sometimes old programs are archived… (See next paragraph) and go to WWW.KZSC.ORG. On January 27 Marilyn Citron O’Rourke former mayor of Benicia and Linda Bixby once councilperson in Benicia discuss some ideas and alternatives to our present form of City Government. They are followed by Phil Collins of New Music Works describing their up-coming three concerts. February 3 has UCSC Professor Linda Burman Hall talking about the new season of The Santa Cruz Baroque Festival. February 10 John Orlando gives details on the remaining two concerts in The Distinguished Artists Series. On Feb. 17 Good Times film reviewer Lisa Jensen and I talk about the Oscars. Then cardiologist Dr. Neil Sawhney discusses current news and recent methods of maintaining heart health. 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!!!


“January, month of empty pockets! … let us endure this evil month, anxious as a theatrical producer’s forehead,” Colette . “To read a poem in January is as lovely as to go for a walk in June,” Jean-Paul Sartre. “”Time has no divisions to mark its passage, there is never a thunder-storm or blare of trumpets to announce the beginning of a new month or year. Even when a new century begins it is only we mortals who ring bells and fire off pistols,”
Thomas Mann, The Magic Mountain .

And a special poem…

“The sun came out,
And the snowman cried.
His tears ran down
on every side.
His tears ran down
Till the spot was cleared.
He cried so hard
That he disappeared.”

– Margaret Hillert, January Thaw

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Deep Cover by Tim Eagan.