Blog Archives

July 10 – 16, 2019

Highlights this week:

BRATTON…Save the Herriman House, Sad shape of the Octagon,.GREENSITE…on the Recall Campaign against Krohn and Glover. KROHN…Chicago and Socialism 2019, progressive history of Santa Cruz, Progressives struggle. STEINBRUNER…Fire insurance in burn areas, Civil grand jury and Soquel Creek Water district, Other water solutions, plant 1 trillion trees. PATTON…new world leaders. EAGAN…Subconscious Matters JENSEN…getting ready for Shakespeare. BRATTON…I critique Midsommar and The Fall of The American Empire. UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE GUEST LINEUP. QUOTES…”Heroes”



 RAIL PLUS TRAILS IN DAVENPORT. 1948. The exact date on this was April 25, 1948. Trains were enjoyed and used daily. There’ll come a day…                                                      

photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.


TARZAN AND HIS MATE (1934) Jungle nudity!!


SAVE THE MERRIMAN HOUSE. Hopefully you read Becky Steinbruner’s plea here last week to save the Historic and valuable Merriman House. Becky wrote…” There is a large development planned for that spot at 1438 Capitola Road, (near the Live Oak Super market) and Mid Peninsula Housing wants to bulldoze the historic house where Robert Merriman spent part of his life. Robert Merriman became a significant volunteer to fight fascism in the Spanish Civil War, and was the role model for Ernest Hemingway’s protagonist Robert Jordan in “For Whom the Bell Tolls”. 

She talked to and used some of Joe Michalak’s historical wisdom. Joe is chair of the Historic Preservation Commission. Joe, being concerned, wrote to me (wanting to clarify some points) saying…  

“I read Bratton Online (July 1)  regarding Becky Steinbruner’s commentary on the Merriman house discussion at the July 1, County, Historic Resources Commission (HRC) meeting. I want to clarify that while I am a member of the City of Santa Cruz, Historic Preservation Commission, I never represented myself as such. I was asked by the Chair of the HRC to address the commission and my comments were given as a county resident, and stated as such for the record. The City of Santa Cruz, Historic Preservation Commission has no jurisdiction since the Merriman house is located about a mile beyond the city limits. The County Redevelopment Agency purchased the property in 1994. It is currently vacant.

My comments were the result of research that Judith Steen and I did in 2017 that were presented to the HRC in January 2018. Our comments were in response to an inaccurate and incomplete evaluation of the property prepared in 2004. 

John Kenneth Galbraith, classmate of Merriman’s at Berkeley, and later Harvard professor of economics, adviser to President John Kennedy, and U.S. Ambassador to India, commented that Merriman was, “the first hero of World War II.” Robert Hale Merriman, a 1925 graduate of Santa Cruz High School lived at 1438 Capitola Road from 1923 through 1928. He left the area in 1928 to attend college at the University of Nevada, Reno, graduating in 1932. That same year he became a graduate student at UC Berkeley studying economics. He often visited his friends in Santa Cruz while attending the university. In 1935 he received a fellowship to study agricultural economics in the Soviet Union. When civil war broke out in Spain in late 1936, Merriman seized the opportunity to join the anti-fascist International Brigades fighting to restore the democratically elected republic. With his college R. O. T. C. training, he quickly rose to command the volunteer Abraham Lincoln Battalion. While recuperating from war injuries in Madrid in 1937, he met with Ernest Hemingway, who was covering the war as a journalist. Hemingway was so impressed by Merriman that he later immortalized him as the fictionalized, heroic Robert Jordan, in his novel For Whom The Bell Tolls. Local, national, and international newspapers would later report on Merriman’s capture and death in April 1938. 

As a young man, the late Senator John McCain became mesmerized by the heroic character of Robert Jordan. At the end of McCain’s life, he remarked that Jordan was his lodestone.  “Jordan was his hero when he was young and his hero today. Nothing is better than the story of someone who sacrifices for causes greater then themselves and Robert Jordan was that.”

I think the Merriman house should be preserved as there is no other building associated with Merriman that is being considered for preservation in the United States at this time. The apartment building in Berkeley is not designated as a historic site and thus it has no protection and none is being considered. The proposed mural as mitigation is insufficient and impermanent. The late California historian Kevin Starr wrote, “Like his fictional counterpart [Robert Jordan], Robert Hale Merriman lost his life to fascism on the field of battle. Because he was so +must be given the first position in any roll call of Californians in battle against the ultra-Right.”

I recommend that people send an email to John Leopold, Supervisor, 1st District: Indicate that comments should be part of the administrative record for CEQA purposes. Comments submitted after the CEQA review process begins won’t be considered. However, when the CEQA review is scheduled to begin is the great unknown, so any comments should be sent immediately. The Merriman house served as the Live Oak Family Resource Center for many years before the current project was proposed.

OCTAGON LOOKS TERRIBLE. The weather and my schedules have been lousy so I haven’t been able to maintain my almost weekly vigil/outpost for quite some time. Howsoever, my stop there a week ago was really depressing. Plaster or stucco or whatever cheap crap the county covered the front of the Octagon with has fallen or chipped off nearly everywhere they painted it. Doesn’t it seem like Nina Simon or Simon Sibley should be responsible for the upkeep to one of few remaining historical landmarks?  Do note too that the entire Abbott Square property is County Property…not the City of Santa Cruz’s. So I’m guessing that makes it all Supervisor Ryan Coonerty’s responsibility.  Then after completely destroying any and all traces of our unique and octagonal County Hall of Records a Roux Dat Cajun restaurant is slated to open in the Octagon sometime. It’s been years in the making. Roux Dat was going to open in front of Bookshop Santa Cruz but now it’s planning on the Octagon and continuing to operate next to Trader Joe’s in Capitola.  It’ll probably serve the same quick food.

July 8, 2019

“What do you think about the recall?” a voice behind me asked. Without looking back to see who was asking, I gave as complete an answer as I could manage on the steep downhill miles at the end of a daylong Sierra Club hike in Butano State Park. With a few ripe trailside thimbleberries to sweeten the tale, I launched into my take on the recall effort against Council members Glover and Krohn. 

0I don’t personally know any of the recall petition signers so I won’t speculate on their motivations or character but I do know that few expected Christopher Krohn and Sandy Brown to win two years ago and even fewer that Drew Glover could beat out top fundraiser Greg Larson and incumbent Richelle Noroyan this time around, forming a potential new majority with newcomer and top vote-getter Justin Cummings. Some still can’t quite believe it to be real. Predictably fingers are pointed at the influence of the student vote, perhaps forgetting it was the student vote that helped usher in the sea change in local politics with the 1979 election of Bruce Van Allen and Mike Rotkin, followed by Mardi Wormhoudt and John Laird in 1981, overturning a century of conservative rule at City Hall and beginning the loosely defined Progressive era of local politics. 

Back in 1979 and 1981 it was easier to distinguish progressives from conservatives. Progressives stood for environmental and neighborhood protection and a distrust of anything to do with the Chamber of Commerce. Conservatives stood for development and represented business interests. These days it seems everyone who runs for council self-labels as a progressive; believes in climate change and “affordable” housing, quality of life and neighborhood protection, so it is hard to spot the wolves in sheep’s clothing. Voting records help if they have been on council before. Those of us who regularly attend or watch city council meetings are aware that for the past two decades, the same people who pass as progressive also vote for every new high rise development (pick your favorite example), have no problem urbanizing our fast disappearing sweet spots of rural character (Ocean St. Extension), had no problem supporting the hugely unpopular Wharf Master Plan that promised to “upscale” the historic wharf with three 45 feet buildings and retail infilling, ignored repeated public requests to televise Planning Commission meetings like every other city in the county does, had no problem with the Corridors Plan that threatened to overwhelm established neighborhoods with out of scale development and they never ever voted to save a tree. But they pass as progressives and generate little controversy save from among those who pay attention. Then real change happened at the last election and those who had expected a seamless transition to the “business as usual” candidates got a wake up call and cried foul. 

A recall campaign is not undemocratic. But it does not require a serious transgression by a sitting council member to be initiated. The worst offences that the recall proponents can dredge up against Krohn and Glover are misleading, minor or hyperbolic. Glover is being charged with “introducing a culture of chaos, bullying and disruption to public meetings” and Krohn, with “refusing to treat fellow council members with respect.” Many who might be persuaded to sign the recall petition have probably never attended a city council meeting. I have attended or watched them all. I’ve never seen Krohn be disrespectful to anyone. He asks pointed questions and follows through to get answers. He doesn’t interrupt. He represents what he stands for and what he campaigned for. Glover is well-prepared, makes lengthy motions to get his agenda accomplished, frequently references Martin Luther King Jnr. and expresses his concern when others fail to support his attempts on behalf of the houseless and marginalized. If I had to be critical, I’d say he displays a newcomer’s impatience with how slowly government works and ignores the need to build alliances “across the aisle.” Yes, I was annoyed when both left the room during budget discussions but consider the context and turn our attention to the Mayor, who could also be accused of “introducing a culture of chaos, bullying and disruption to public meetings.”  In my 40 years of attending city council meetings, I have never heard a colder shut down of public comment than from the current Mayor. “Your time is up!” is snapped at every speaker who is not allowed to finish a word, let alone a sentence once the buzzer sounds at the two-minute or sometimes one minute Mayor-imposed public speaking time limit. At the last meeting, Mayor Watkins unilaterally imposed a 15-minute limit on discussion of consent agenda items.  If more time than 15 minutes is needed, it will be at the end of business, she declared. Consent agenda items sometimes number over 20 and often need discussion by council members and the public. Sometimes that takes a half-hour or longer and sometimes controversial issues are placed on the consent agenda as a way to push them through. Now, under Mayoral decree, democracy is further eroded.

The occasion for the walkout by Krohn and Glover was in the context of the Mayor’s stopping a council meeting, clearing the chambers, then locking the doors because she was unable to get an irate member of the public to stop interrupting the meeting by calling out. Not to condone such disruptive behavior (I have occasionally been guilty of the same thing) but a skilled Mayor would have handled the situation more effectively and brought order without aggravating the volatility of the moment. Chaos was allowed to continue and Glover and Krohn left the chambers.

If the fragile truly progressive majority is fractured as a result of the recall campaign then you should not be surprised to see a resurrection of the Wharf Master Plan, a re-emergence of the Corridors Plan, an end to televising Planning Commission meetings, a fast track for any and all large developments with the loss of local, small businesses and as for saving a heritage tree…forget it.

Gillian Greensite is a long time local activist, a 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.

July 8.

In the old days, certain Lefties would go somewhere, perhaps clandestinely, during their summer vacation to “pick up orders from Moscow” and proceed accordingly. Now with Putin in bed with his own 45 caliber brand of a President, and other pro-Trump authoritarian-friends like Duterte, Orban, and Kim gaining political ground each day, all self-respecting lefties had to go to the Heartland this year to receive “marching orders.” Chicago, Illinois was the place to be for those who fancy themselves to be “agents of social change” in 2019. The politics were hot, but the heat in City with Broad Shoulders was even hotter.

“Community Accountability is a process in which a community–group, friends, family, organization, workplace…

In Chicago last week more than 1700 registered for

Socialism 2019
It was quite a leftward intellectual and political social space(s) created within the bowels of one of capitalism’s mighty temples, the Chicago Hyatt Regency. How ironic. I was expecting maybe four or five hundred socialist souls to be out looking for any kind of relief in the dystopic unreality of the Trump presidency. The announced gathering, over 1700 conference-goers, blew everyone away. Socialism, Democratic Socialism, the DSA (especially in Santa Cruz),along with Bernie, AOC, and the “Chicago City Council 6,” although still finding its way in a free-for-all DNC-less world, it is still quite the uphill climb. But what is it about that “arc of justice” Dr. King spoke of? It is bending. With the election of the great socialist-progressive-feminine Firepower Four to Congress–Alexandria Octavio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ayanna Pressley, and Ilhan Omar–it is clear that a shared vision of sharing is still on the minds of many. Could a new political dawn be at hand? If judged by the usually cynical and psyched-out socialist mob attending this conference, the answer is a cautious, yes!

“…work together to commit to ongoing development of all members of the community, for the community itself, to transform the political conditions that reinforce oppression and violence.”

The Journey
What drew me to “Socialism 2019?” I’ve been following Bernie Sanders since he was mayor of Burlington, and Mike Rotkin at the same time was the self-identified “socialist-feminist” mayor of the People’s Republic of Santa Cruz. Municipal issues looked hopeful back then, around 1981. But Bernie himself was nowhere to be seen during these sultry–91 degrees and 100% humidity when the conference opened–politically-charged days of organizing haze (rage?). What took place here was four days of information exchange, facilitated conversations sometimes among groups of as many as 250, and shared visions of a more just political and economic way forward.

Provide safety and support to community members harmed that respects their self-determination and create and affirm values and practices that resist abuse and oppression and encourage safety, support and accountability. (This statement was developed by the “Women of Color Against Violence” group at the Socialism 2019 conference)

The Presenters
Several journalists of lefty note offered impassioned analyses of a Trumpian and post-Trumpian world. Amy Goodman, Naomi Klein, and David Barsamian all drew huge crowds. But what really raised the roof was Friday night’s announced center stage presentation of the six newly minted socialist Chicago city councilmembers. Yes, there are SIX. Okay, out of 50 city councilmembers, but there are six, and they’ve already been having an effect in reshaping the former Daley and Daley Jr. political machine of the Windy City. Also present were writers like Bhaskar Sunkara (The Socialist Manifesto) and super-intellect, David Harvey. They both easily filled large rooms filled to the brim with both the thoughtful and the wild-eyed. And in case you might think Socialists do not have any interest in sports, columnist and pod-caster Dave Zirin was present to discuss what must be a burning question for many, “What Would Sports Look Like in a Socialist World?”

Do not be deceived that the rich will allow us to vote away their money.
–Lucy Parsons, labor organizer (1853-1942)

Three of the six Chicago socialist city councilmembers
Rossana Rodriguez (ward 35), Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (ward 33), Jesse Sharkey
is President of the Chicago Teacher’s Union, and Jeanette Taylor (ward 20)

The Chicago 6 (Socialist Councilmembers)
Rossana Rodriguez and Carlos Ramirez-Rosa were elected to the Chicago city council running as self-proclaimed Socialists. They offered a wide-ranging, but intimate portrait of Chicago politics during a 2-hour give-and-take with over 100 conference attendees. What struck this Santa Cruz councilmember was their focus on tenants, migrants, and standing up to market-rate developers who are displacing residents by charging sky-rocket rents. Sound familiar? Ramirez-Rosa, the first openly gay man on the Chicago council was just reelected while Puerto Rican-born Ramirez won by fewer than 50 votes. Each Alder-person represents between 50,000-60,000 residents. Along with their four other comrades they’re choosing to focus not on serving downtown corporations, bankers, and for-profit developers like their predecessors, but instead  they’ve set their sights on 1) community-driven planning complete with town hall meeting “oversight,” 2) they’re demanding “CBAs” (Community Benefit Agreements, that is, extracting public benefits from developers) before approving developments, and 3) directing the $1.3 million each Alder-person receives to the economically depressed areas of their wards. They’ve already focused some of that money towards supporting tenants in court; organized a “deportation response network;” and opened city hall to all community groups seeking meeting space. In addition, their offices have sponsored “participatory budget” hearings, and civil disobedience trainings for those community members wishing to confront ICE.

Power of Green New Deal
The 4-day conference ended in the main Ballroom with over 700 in attendance. They came to listen to a conversation between Naomi Klein and Astra Taylor. Both are writers and film-makers. Canadian-born Klein focuses her energy on critiquing climate change and alerting people about the “eleven years we have left” to address the warming of planet earth. She not only interviews and critiques what climate change scientists say, but the claims of climate change deniers as well. Her book, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate, was a New York Times bestseller. Taylor’s busy too. Her recent documentary film, What is Democracy? and a book, Democracy May Not Exist, But We’ll Miss It When It’s Gone have both become important in the climate change and climate “barbarism” debate. Klein said FDR’s New Deal “was a way to rescue capitalism,” but the Green New Deal is out to rescue the planet. While Klein discussed the concept of “climate apartheid” with respect to the absence of federal help in aftermath of New Orleans flooding and the hurricane in Puerto Rico, Taylor addressed the questions of people wanting “to change without changing.” Can we “live the same life [style] and just sub out fossil fuels for renewables?” The answer to both questions was, probably not. Later the conversation turned to the children, and adults, locked up in ICE detention centers along the US border. Throughout these four days’ conversations often turned to the deplorable situation at ICE detention camps. What can we do? Both Klein and Taylor agreed on a “freedom of movement” and “freedom to stay” policies. In other words, Taylor said she’d support a “right to stay” policy as earnestly as a “right to move” program. In the final moments of the conference, Klein the activist pleaded with the large group, “None of us have the luxury of sitting back and critiquing (any longer). We are all in this together. Build a big tent? The (earth’s) atmosphere is our big tent…the more truth we tell, the harder it will be to change the subject.”

“It was 115 degrees Fahrenheit in France last week – the highest temperature they have ever recorded. Still think climate change is a hoax, @realDonaldTrump? You are delusional.” (July 5)
(Chris Krohn is a father, writer, activist, and was on the Santa Cruz City Councilmember from 1998-2002. Krohn was Mayor in 2001-2002. He’s been running the Environmental Studies Internship program at UC Santa Cruz for the past 14 years. He was elected the the city council again in November of 2016, after his kids went off to college. His current term ends in 2020.

Email Chris at

July 8

Some rural property owners in this County have begun to receive notice from their insurance carriers that they will soon be dropped from coverage.  If you or someone you know is in that floating ember, read on because the Santa Cruz Fire Safe Council and RCD will host Mr. Peter Meza, Associate Insurance Compliance Officer with the State of California Department of Insurance for four FREE presentations on July 23 and July 24.

Mr. Meza will present various aspects of homeowners insurance with a special focus on high risk areas, especially those that are fire prone. These events are free to the public and will have ample time for Q & A.   Please see the schedule below:

  • July 23  Highlands Park Senior Center  2pm-3:30pm  (San Lorenzo Valley)
  • July 23  Santa Cruz County Government Building, 5th Floor Supervisor Chambers  7pm-8:30pm (Santa Cruz/North County areas)
  • July 24  Corralitos Padres Hall/Community Center 2pm-3:30pm (Corralitos) 
  • July 24  Capitola City Hall  7pm-8:30pm (Capitola)

Registration is required as each location has capacity limits. 

Understanding Homeowners Insurance – Ben Lomond 

Information is also available on the FSSCC Facebook page. Please click the following link and share all the events: Fire Safe Santa Cruz County 

Phone 831-464-2950 ext. 28 with questions.

Given the recent increased seismic activity on the west coast, we should all be looking at our policy coverages and scheduling an appointment with our agents to review things.

In reading some of the recent Civil Grand Jury Reports, which focus mostly on law enforcement related matters, I wondered if Soquel Creek Water District has ever been investigated.  That sure needs to be done.

I found two Reports relative. 

click here to continue (link expands, click again to collapse)

That positive recommendation came out in the media last week as a simple solution to battling climate change.  Trees not only inhale carbon dioxide and exhale oxygen, thereby reducing greenhouse gas levels, they cool the planet, create habitat for all manner of birds and beneficial insects, produce edible fruits and nuts, and just make the world a beautiful and pleasant place.

Read more about that here: Want to Fight Climate Change? Plant 1 Trillion Trees.

There are plenty of songs about the world needing love. But according to a new study, what the world really needs…

So, along with planting a trillion new trees, how about saving the venerable heritage trees as well?  Many thanks to City Councilman Chris Krohn and his push to protect the urban canopy.  As reported in last week’s Good Times, the City has no inventory of its Heritage Trees, and only gives lip service to preserving them. Read about that here:  Chris Krohn’s Urban Canopy Crusade – Good Times Santa Cruz City councilmember part of push for Santa Cruz tree census

I personally have observed this before the City Planning Commission whenever a property owner pleads “unfeasibility” of saving a large healthy tree when revenue-enhancing developments come to the City’s table.  Many thanks to Sierra Club leader Gillian Greensite and others for always speaking up for the trees….the City just won’t listen unless there is a law suit involved.

Here is a link to the City’s Heritage Tree Ordinance…:  you can cut one down if you get a permit (easy to do and often free) 

Here is a link to the City’s Codes on the matter  

The County of Santa Cruz is even worse.  The County itself recently paid thousands of dollars to cut down over 100 trees on various publicly-owned locations, which included not only Simpkins Swim Center, the Sheriff Center on Chanticleer Avenue but also the 701 Ocean Street County Government Building, and no new trees have been planted to replace those lungs of the planet.  Why doesn’t the County have to follow its own laws??

Here is the County Code regarding Significant Trees

Please write a letter to the Santa Cruz City Council and support the Heritage Tree Count and preservation:  Santa Cruz City Council

Please write the County Board of Supervisors and Parks Director Jeff Gaffney and ask that the County’s Significant Tree Ordinance be better enforced and that the County itself replant trees in the areas where the 100+ were destroyed for solar panel projects, parking lot expansions, and reasons unknown to the public.  


Cheers and Happy Summer,

Becky Steinbruner  

Becky Steinbruner is a 30+ year resident of Aptos. She has fought for water, fire, emergency preparedness, and for road repair. She ran for Second District County Supervisor in 2016 on a shoestring and got nearly 20% of the votes.

Email Becky at

July 6

#187 / World Leaders Pictured Below 

The Guardian has published an article that is nothing more than a discussion between Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Greta Thunberg. If you don’t know who these women are, you should definitely click those links. Even more, you should read that article. The article is about global warming, and here’s the theme: 

Hope is contagious!

Gary Patton is a former Santa Cruz County Supervisor (20 years) and an attorney for individuals and community groups on land use and environmental issues. The opinions expressed are Mr. Patton’s. You can read and subscribe to his daily blog at

Email Gary at


EAGAN’S SUBCONSCIOUS COMICS. The weekly rear view of those driving forces…we hope!! See downwards a bit.

EAGAN’S DEEP COVER. See Eagan’s ” U.S. Border Patrol” ” down a few pages. As always, at you will find his most recent  Deep Cover, the latest installment from the archives of Subconscious Comics, and the ever entertaining Eaganblog

Boomeria returns! Santa Cruz Baroque Festival’s yearly celebration of music, science, food and fun will take place Saturday July 13, from 1-5 pm. The Kingdom of Boomeria is a monument to physics and whimsy located in the redwood forest of Bonny Doon, and a treasure of our region. Containing a multitude of delights for all ages, it has been built and maintained by San Lorenzo Valley High science teacher Preston Boomer, AKA “Boom”, whose delight in aesthetics, physics, and fun is evident around every corner. A centerpiece of the festivities is the magnificent Baroque-style tracker organ built into a charming chapel. Santa Cruz Baroque Festival favorites Vlada Moran, William Visscher and others will perform on this unique instrument. Interested visitors will be invited to observe the workings of the organ, peering below the surfaceto see how its manuals and bellows work to create its glorious sound. A few brave individuals may be allowed to play after the official program. 

Tickets available at .

MUSICAL SAW FESTIVAL. Festival of the Saws was started Sept. 1, 1978. Marghe McMahon, the young woman/student who created the statue of Tom Scribner, did most of the organizing. The International Musical Sawplayers Association established their website in 1994. They publish the sawplayer’s newsletter and also present the annual “Saw Player’s Picnic and Music Festival” on the 2nd full weekend in August, with a Saturday afternoon jam in Santa Cruz and the evening potluck/jam as well as the Sunday festival at Roaring Camp in Felton, California

Here are the details:

42nd Annual Saw Festival August 10-11, 2019

August 10, 2019

2:00 pm Open jam at the Scribner Statue, 1520 Pacific Avenue, Santa Cruz, CA
6:30 pm Potluck and jam at Roaring Camp outer parking lot in Felton, CA.

August 11, 2018

10:00 am – 5:00 pm Festival and contest at Roaring Camp in Felton, CA.
11:00 am Musical Saw Contest on the Main Stage.

The 42nd annual Saw Contest, the longest running saw contest in the world, will crown our 2019 champion.

LISA JENSEN LINKS. Lisa writes: ” Sorry, folks, but I have nothing to declare this week. I opted for some down time before the launch of the new Santa Cruz Shakespeare season (opening with Pride and Prejudice on Friday) and next week’s new movies. But I’ll be back on the beat next week at Lisa Jensen Online Express ( )!” Lisa has been writing film reviews and columns for Good Times since 1975. 

MIDSOMMAR. Maybe devout Scientologists would like this horror movie, or folks who think sex and death dealing cults are really cool but forget you’ve ever even heard of this mess. Beautifully filmed in Sweden featuring almost all Swedes, it is beyond creepy. American tourists visit a cult and get very involved…but you shouldn’t!!

THE FALL OF THE AMERICAN EMPIRE. A French film about a mob burglary  and a delivery man that goes very wrong for 2 hours and 8 minutes. There are clever moments in it and you’ll become your own director as you work through the last half figuring how you would have directed it. It isn’t a terrible movie…it just could have been a lot better. Only go IF you’ve seen almost all, the other movies. CLOSES THURSDAY JULY 11

YESTERDAY. Imagine if the entire world forgot who the Beatles were except for one pretty good mguitarist and singer of Indian heritage. An excellent feel good movie that has a fun plot, the grestest Beatle songs and good acting. Go see it especially if you have forgotten how much those songs affected you when their albums were first released.

ECHO IN THE CANYON. Grand memories of the 1960’s popular music scene. Jakob Dylan (Bob’s son) and singer with the Wallflowers produced this documentary but is a full dud on screen. It’s also a huge tribute to the Beachboys and what they added to our culture. See it quickly.

THE LAST BLACK MAN IN SAN FRANCISCO. An excellent, touching film about two close buddys who face the changing city…and the world. Great footage of THE CITY and a story that will have you thinking about it for days or longer. It’s the story of love of an old San Francisco house, and everything that surrounds it. Don’t miss it.   ps.Lisa Jensen tells me that the director Joe Talbot is 1940’s-50’s movie star bad guy Lyle Talbot’s grandson. 

LATE NIGHT. Don’t believe the “dramatic comedy” label the distributers put on this no-laugh drama with Emma Thompson as a failing late night tv host, and the always dependable John Lithgow as her husband and protector. Predictable, unrewarding, lack of direction. Emma is a favorite of mine but she just mugs her way through this one. CLOSES THURSDAY JULY 11

THE DEAD DON’T DIE. Jim Jarmusch has always been talked about as some sort of great director but not by me. Somebody could make a hilarious zombie comedy…the world needs one, and this isn’t it. Too much killing going on in our real world, is it because violence is too present now?  I’m not sure but even when you add a cast like Bill Murray, Adam Driver, Chloë Sevigny, Tilda Swinton, Iggy Pop, Steve Buscemi, and Tom Waits you have barely a few snickers. CLOSES THURSDAY JULY 11 



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. July 9 has Ken Koenig and Maryanne Campbell   talking about Santa Cruz Indivisible’s 7/12 rally “Lights for Liberty”. Then activist John Aird deals with UCSC, water, population, rent and other issues. John Sears returns on July 16 to update us on the devastating proposed development of the Garfield Park Errett Church Circle and the threat to the community. OR…if you just happen to miss 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. 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 

Eva Kor died last Thursday in hotel in Krakow, Poland. She was there conducting one of her annual summer tours of Auschwitz, talking to young people about Auschwitz and what she and others went through there. Eva, along with her twin sister Miriam, was one of Dr. Mengele’s twins. She did a lot of education on the subject of the Holocaust, and on the topic of forgiveness. Watch her documentary, “Forgiving Dr Mengele“, if you get a chance.

Here’s a link to her obituary in the New York Times

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, UCSC Chancellor George Blumenthal, Anita Monga, Mark Wainer, Judy Johnson, 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. “Heroes”
“I think of a hero as someone who understands the degree of responsibility that comes with his freedom”.   Bob Dylan
“What has violence ever accomplished? What has it ever created? No martyr’s cause has ever been stilled by an assassin’s bullet. No wrongs have ever been righted by riots and civil disorders. A sniper is only a coward, not a hero; and an uncontrolled or uncontrollable mob is only the voice of madness, not the voice of the people”. Robert Kennedy 
 “Luck is everything… My good luck in life was to be a really frightened person. I’m fortunate to be a coward, to have a low threshold of fear, because a hero couldn’t make a good suspense film”.  Alfred Hitchcock   

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