Blog Archives

March 15 – 21, 2018

Highlights this week:
BRATTON…New Leaf Markets Corporate structure, Eduardo Carrillo appreciated in Pasadena…GREENSITE on the city asleep at the PG&E switch…KROHN about City council togetherness, rent control…STEINBRUNER on affordable housing guidelines, building permits, pure water Soquel, sewage and drinking water, business permits into rural areas…PATTON and the Koch Brothers and the common good…EAGAN and King of The World…DeCINZO takes on Clint Eastwood’s movie directingJewel Theatre’s Coming Of Age play opens…JENSEN reviews The Party…I critique Wrinkle In Time, Strangers: Prey at Night, The Thoroughbreds, The Party…UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE GUESTSQUOTES on Droughts.

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VIETNAM PEACE RALLY. April 8, 1967. Loyal, active Santa Cruzans stood in front of the post office making their position on World Peace clear. That’s John Tuck — arms folded fourth from the right in the front row. Just behind John is his and our old friend Tom Scribner (wearing a hat) between the two signs. It was almost exactly 51 years ago…we’re still marching and protesting for Peace.                                                     

photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.

I loved Loving Vincent the animated murder mystery film released a few months ago. If you wondered how the 65,000 paintings were made into that film, check this out.
The erotic and legendary dance scene from Fritz Lang’s Metropolis. Still almost too sexy for us to watch?
PAUL NEWMAN HAD MANY CONNECTIONS WITH SANTA CRUZ. He visited here many times. Here’s his last interview.

DATELINE March 12, 2018

NEW LEAF MARKETS, CORPORATE STRUCTURE OF

Elizabeth Quinn was kind and involved enough to send this Santa Cruz and Aptos message.

She says — and I agree — that we should all read about the sale of and corporate takeover of New Leaf Markets in Santa Cruz: and also read about treatment of employees, and unfair union practices. Read about their executive board and Scott Roseman, too. Read about the plans for their new APTOS VILLAGE store… A new season for New Leaf

Elizabeth adds… “Now New Leaf is backed, along with the Portland New Seasons markets, by a big hedge fund, Endeavor Capital. Long-time New Leaf employees (whom I know personally) have been deliberately framed for infractions until enough was collected to fire them. The replacement employees are like automatons — they do not smile or speak or even appear to be present in their jobs. Undoubtedly they are paid less than the people they replaced.

From the article: “Endeavour has come under increased scrutiny by consumers and employees of New Seasons in the Pacific Northwest, particularly as the grocery chain vied for expansion into the Seattle area (where most grocery stores are unionized) while simultaneously pushing back against workers who expressed concerns about allegedly unsafe and unfair labor practices following Endeavour’s takeover.

Portland’s Local 555 of the United Food and Commercial Workers, or UFCW, recently launched a website, High Cost Endeavour to promote their “Endeavor Investor Watch” campaign and “raise awareness about the ethical implications and potential legal liabilities within Endeavour Capital’s investment portfolio.”

One key criticism of Endeavour (and in turn New Seasons) arises from ties to the M.J. Murdoch Charitable Trust, whose investments in various Endeavour funds brought more than $4.5 million in revenue for the trust’s grant-making operation in 2015. The trust, whose mission is “to strengthen the [Pacific Northwest] region’s educational, scientific, spiritual and cultural base in creative and sustainable ways,” has come under sharp criticism for its millions of dollars in annual charitable contributions to a wi e range of evangelical, homophobic, anti-choice, anti-union and anti-science efforts. These include The Alliance Defending Freedom (deemed a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center) that sponsored the so-called “bathroom bills”; Americans United for Life, the “legal architect of the pro-life movement“; and The Freedom Foundation, whose “number one stated focus is to defund the political left,” to name a few.”

They tried to introduce Cheerios, etc., at New Leaf: “A January (2018) petition titled “Keep New Leaf organic” expressed dismay after Santa Cruz’s Westside New Leaf began stocking conventional products such as “Karo syrup, C&H sugar, and Cheerios as required by their parent company, New Seasons.”  Staff of Life is our ONLY local natural foods market. 

EDUARDO CARRILLO ART NOW AT PASADENA
The Pasadena Museum of California Art recognizes the brilliant creative genius of our former resident, and long time UCSC professor of art, Eduardo Carrillo. He inspired hundreds of students and friends with his wild colors and subjects. The Pasadena Museum’s exhibit is titled “Testament of the Spirit: Paintings by Eduardo Carrillo”. It runs January 21, 2018–June 3, 2018. Go online here  http://pmcaonline.org/exhibitions/eduardo-carrillo and read about the artistic Chicano influence in the early 1970’s, and Eduardo’s role in it. Newcomers arriving here after 2000 have missed one of Eduardo’s masterpieces… a three dimensional Jesus-themed hallway, located in the heart of downtown Santa Cruz. City fathers, Chamber of Commerce and just about everybody allowed the business owners to paint over Eduard’s masterpiece so they could block the passageway and use it to store boxes. And still some folks think of Santa Cruz as aesthetically aware!

March 12, 2018

HOW THE CITY IS FAILING OUR TREES
“Why don’t the people of Santa Cruz care more about trees?” asked one of the Ocean Street Extension neighbors who are fighting to save the heritage trees that PG&E are cutting down at an alarming rate. Thirty-five big trees already chain-sawed in that area of town and many more on the chopping block, probably coming to a neighborhood near you.

I didn’t have an answer to her question. She has a job and children so it’s not a question of time. It’s a question of passion for trees. You either have it or you don’t. Apparently too few readers of this column have such passion. Two weeks ago I begged dear readers to contact the Zoning Administrator to encourage his efforts to save the beautiful red flowering gum tree on Washington Street, one of the countless trees that PG&E has in its crosshairs. I went to the meeting not expecting a big turnout since it’s on a weekday morning but did expect a goodly number of emails. Only one of you responded to the call to action with an email. Only one. And the only person who showed up as a result of my writing was… Becky Steinbruner. Yes, this is a bit of self-indulgent rant. However it did give me pause for thought on why I write this weekly column. I’d rather be on the wharf at Gilda’s right now. While writing is a visceral pleasure for me, the motivation is that by sharing my knowledge and insights, some activism will follow. If it’s just for armchair reading, it’s hardly worth the effort. So here’s hoping that when you read ahead how our city manager and city council have so far shirked their duty with respect to saving our heritage trees from the PGE ax, you will lift fingers to keyboard and let them know how you feel.

As you probably know from previous columns, when PGE first floated their misleadingly named, Pipeline Safety Initiative, to cut down all trees within 14 feet of both sides of their underground gas transmission lines across counties in California, many communities plus our county pushed back and said” Wait a minute! Prove with science that this is necessary and don’t you cut even one tree until you’ve conducted a thorough environmental review and adhered to local ordinances!” In those counties, including our own, PG&E has so far backed off. Not so in the city of Santa Cruz. Here, PG&E found a more nonchalant response, easy pickings and with a donation of $10,000 to the city’s tree fund it was full chain saw ahead.  The city’s urban forester has managed to back them off from some of their targets but without city attorney, city manager and city council backing she has little sway. Keep in mind that the tragic San Bruno fire had nothing to do with trees and tree roots have not been a problem for underground gas pipelines. First responder access issues are bogus claims by PG&E since gas has to be shut off in an emergency.

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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  http://darksky.org    Plus she’s an avid ocean swimmer, hiker and lover of all things wild.

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March 12, 2018

FOUR WOW ISSUES THAT PASSED A USUALLY DIVIDED CITY COUNCIL.

A Tutorial on What Can Be Done in the Minority

Bernie Tweet of the Week

“I’ve never believed in this blue-state, red-state nonsense. Yes, Lubbock voted overwhelmingly for Trump. But any county in this country, which has people who are struggling, can and must become a progressive county.”(March 10)

February was a dry month for water, but a downpour happened on the policy front. If city council actions in February were measured meteorologically, it might be called one of the wettest legislative months on record. With a slightly center-right leaning mayor, David Terrazas, presiding over a politically fractured city council, no less than four significant policy issues were passed by the Santa Cruz City Council this past February. While relatively recent councils have voted to accept a BearCat tank from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, refused to purchase land for a permanent Beach Flats Garden, would not allow for a vehicle parking area for destitute residents, and for decades city councils have repeatedly turned down safe sleeping zones for homeless residents, these current council decisions might appear out of a Cuban play book. This is not to mention that the city manager’s office has reported that Santa Cruz spends upwards to between $18 million-$20 million on combating homelessness and substance addiction issues through its police, fire, and parks and recreation departments. Given that backdrop, the Santa Cruz city council approved a dizzying array of former politically left issues: funding for a homeless camp site at 1220 River Street; voting to place a measure on the June ballot calling on the university to limit its enrollment to 19,500, which is the currently agreed upon number from the 2005 Long Range Development Plan (LRDP); and a first-ever rent freeze was enacted on February 13th, along with a just-cause eviction ordinance. Given Surf City’s progressive history versus the current “moderate” council majority, one might assume that this group of councilmembers took a leap leftward. Probably not. More likely, former left-ish causes have become mainstream issues. It makes sense to set up a place for homeless people to sleep, to tell the university enough is enough, and to protect renters given that well over half of our residents rent.

Left vs. the Mainstream
Nationally, left issues like universal college tuition and healthcare for all have been moving steadily towards the center of American politics. Partly a result of Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign, but also because so many Americans struggle to pay the always increasing health insurance costs, and student debt-servicing. Some day we will figure out how much creativity and job motivation is lost by people not changing jobs they no longer like, or grew out of long ago, simply because they do not want to lose their healthcare. Ditto with college loan payments. Graduates cannot take on a post-college internship for further career experience, but instead move into barista or restaurant jobs to pay off their loans. In the past, many young people could leave college with enthusiasm and an adventurous mindset perhaps, but now they are saddled with anxiety and find few opportunities that will pay their living expenses and debt-service payments.

The Ugly Underbelly of Rent Control Rumormongers
The rich are attempting to eat the less-rich. If you are a landlord you have received no fewer than five offers in the past two weeks to sell your property. One from Scott Webber and Aimee Dietle from Century 21 states that they “work with 3 separate investor clients that pay cash, fair market price and close escrow in 17 days.” Scott and Aimee don’t seem to get it. Seems to me the city council took an extreme action on February 13th, called for by many in this community, to pass a rent freeze and contain this disease called rent madness. Now, some realtors seem to be saying it’s a tough climate, so sell us your property, at presumably a bargain, because rent control is coming. “All 3 are seasoned property investors and would gladly assume the current tenant lease contracts you currently have.” Who are these people? Are they betting that the repeal of the Costa-Hawkins Act will not pass statewide, and that rent control goes down at the ballot box in Santa Cruz in November? “If you have any interest in discussing what your property is worth,” these realtors invite you to “please call or email us at your convenience.” (831-818-2817) Renters, it is darkest before the dawn and the vultures are indeed circling. The community must circle too around our collective survival and right to housing. The Movement for Housing Justice can be reached at: https://movementforhousingjustice.org


City council candidate, Drew Glover spoke to the council in favor of restoring funding for children’s programming at the Nueva Vista Community Center in Beach Flats…and $25k was indeed restored!
(Chris Krohn is a father, writer, activist, former Santa Cruz City Councilmember (1998-2002) and Mayor (2001-2002). He’s been running the Environmental Studies Internship program at UC Santa Cruz for the past 12 years. He was elected last November to another 4-year term on the Santa Cruz City Council).

Email Chris at ckrohn@cruzio.com

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March 12, 2018

DOUBLING THE DENSITY OF FUTURE DEVELOPMENTS IN THE COUNTY?
That is what the Board of Supervisors is most likely being lobbied to approve when they meet March 20 to consider the County’s Affordable Housing Guidelines.  The quality of life in the County is in for a huge change with this.

MAKE ONE CALL.  WRITE ONE LETTER.  ATTEND A PUBLIC HEARING.  MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE.   BUT JUST DO SOMETHING!

Last week, on March 2, the Santa Cruz County Housing Advisory Commission (HAC)  met to consider recommendations to the Board of Supervisors regarding whether to require developers to actually build the 15% affordable housing to meet Measure J requirements, or continue to allow developers to pay a relatively small ($15/SF) in-lieu fee.  This policy was created by the Board of Supervisors two years ago and is now up for review.  This policy change, “Developer’s Choice” was adopted in 2015.  Most developers have chosen to pay the in-lieu fee, but there seem to be many barriers to actually getting the affordable housing actually built.

The audience at the HAC meeting included local developer Derek Timm, and Casey Beyer, President of the Santa Cruz Chamber of Commerce.  Along with Robert Singleton, who ran unsuccessfully for Santa Cruz City Council last year, the trio lobbied the HAC as representing the Santa Cruz County Coalition of Housing Advocates.  They presented a proposal at the meeting to allow developers to reduce the size of residential units, doubling the density of new residential units, and awarding more concessions and incentives to developers for including affordable units within development projects.   They want the County to waive assessing developer fees that pay for impacts of development projects on local schools, roads, parks, and child care until after the units are sold.  (The County pretty much waived or reduced most of those impact fees for San Jose-based Barry Swenson Builder at the Aptos Village Project, so I guess the local developers want the same treatment.)

Mr. Beyer presented a study to HAC members from the Urban Land Institute (ULI), an international think tank based in Washington, D.C..  The 2016 document, entitled “The Economics of Inclusionary Development” outlines the idea of Inclusionary Zoning (IZ), and suggests that developers must be given greater financial incentives and abilities to build extremely dense housing in order to have projects “pencil out”.

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Cheers, 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 KI6TKB@yahoo.com

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Friday, March 9, 2018
#68 / Hanging On To That Common Good

The Koch bothers, Charles and David (pictured), are each worth more than $40 billion, and to say that they are “active politically” would be a massive understatement. According to Rolling Stone, Koch-affiliated organizations raised some $400 million during the 2012 election, and they haven’t slowed down since. All these contributions are having a significant impact on public policy, too, as a recent article from The Intercept makes clear.

Koch Industries is a private company, and thus the Koch Brothers don’t have to make any public accounting of how they earn that money. According to the article I am referencing, dated in September 2014, “the Koch brothers are in the oil business…but Koch Industries is not a major oil producer. Instead, the company has woven itself into every nook of the vast industrial web that transforms raw fossil fuels into usable goods. Koch-owned businesses trade, transport, refine and process fossil fuels, moving them across the world and up the value chain until they become things we forgot began with hydrocarbons: fertilizers, Lycra, the innards of our smartphones.”

I was struck by a headline on a more recent article, published by Jim Hightower’s Lowdown. Here’s what the headline said:

The Koch Klan is funding a stealthy war against the principle of the Common Good

In fact, that somewhat antiquated-sounding phrase, “the Common Good,” expresses the central and enduring question in our national politics. Are we nothing more than a collection of individuals (which is pretty much the premise upon which the Koch Brothers seem to operate). Or, to the contrary, are we “in this together?”

If it’s the latter, as our greatest leaders have always proclaimed, then a war against the “Common Good” is a war against what is best in both our history and our potential future. Whether we talk about health care, education, or land use – whatever issue we address – if our society elevates individual prerogative over collective community benefit, then we are heading for disaster. And that’s where the Kochs and their politics would apparently like to send us. 

Ben Franklin got it right, right from the start: 

“We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately”.

Robert Reich, like Jim Hightower, has also raised concerns that selfishness is prevailing, and that Americans may be losing their commitment to the Common Good. Unfortunately, dedication to the Common Good is all too uncommon. What you have to do, if you care about the Common Good, is to pay attention to your neighbor, and to what your neighbor needs. To do that, you need to take your eye off your own money, every little once in a while. 

Gary 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 www.gapatton.net

Email Gary at gapatton@mac.com

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CLASSICAL DeCINZO. Check DeCinzo’s reaction to Clint Eastwood’s movie directing. Just scroll below a ways.

EAGAN’S DEEP COVER. See Eagan’s ” King Of The World”down a few pages. As always, at TimEagan.com you will find his most recent  Deep Cover, the latest installment from the archives of Subconscious Comics, and the ever entertaining Eaganblog and his thoughts on Treason and hangings.

COMING OF AGE. Playwright, actor , local, Kate Hawley’s newest play “Coming Of Age” opens March 14 and runs through April 8th produced by the Jewel Theatre at the Colligan Theatre in the Tannery. Paul Whitworth is directing, Mike Ryan, Nancy Carlin, and J.Michael Flynn are all acting in it. Kate described it on Universal Grapevine last week as being a serious comedy about aging and maturity. Knowing Kate and her works this’ll be a play we won’t forget!!! Tickets and more info at www.jeweltheatre.net

LISA JENSEN LINKS. Lisa writes: “Big thanks to the 3516(!) readers who entered the giveaway for Beast: A Tale of Love and Revenge on Goodreads. Even if you didn’t win a copy, help me celebrate my approaching pub date with an unbelievably cool Beast of the Month from contemporary Welsh artist Clive Hicks-Jenkins, this week at Lisa Jensen Online Express (http://ljo-express.blogspot.com/). As to last week — okay, I flubbed my Best Picture prediction (hey, it was the only prediction I got wrong!), but I couldn’t be more delighted that The Shape Of Water  swam off with the gold — a movie I loved so much, I just went to see it again! Can’t say the same for Sally Potter’s bitter black comedy, The Party, which you have my permission to skip. But do try to make it to a very special edition of The Gail Rich Awards, Tuesday night at the Rio!” Lisa has been writing film reviews and columns for Good Times since 1975.  

THE STRANGERS: PREY AT NIGHT. It’s a sequel, but never mind that…it is one very well-made film. Bloody, violent, senseless, pointless and edited and expertly directed to scare the hell out of everybody. I certainly won’t say you’ll like it — I’m not sure I did — but I cannot deny the pacing, camera angles and movement combine to make it a genuine knuckle-breaker. Christina Hendricks (who starred for 8 years in Mad Men) is the only star you might recognize in this trailer park murder mess.

THOROUGHBREDS. Two very privileged teen-age rich girls try to figure out what their lives are about. It’s set in up-state Connecticut, and it is a biting, psychological peek into isolated, removed and out of touch 15 year olds. Not funny, not satire, not rewarding and definitely not for anyone seeking a fine happy time at the movies. BUT like The Strangers, a well made film.

THE PARTY. A star-studded cast with Bruno Ganz, Patricia Clarkson, Cilian Murphy, Emily Mortimer and mostly Kristin Scott Thomas. It’s a very dark comedy/satire that really bites deep. It’s also an intellectual London apartment party, where the cruelty and humor fight for top billing. Vicious, scathing, cruel zingers just about kill everybody and could get to you too, if you go. Yes, it did get an 84 on Rotten Tomatoes, and it’s only 71 minutes long.

A WRINKLE IN TIME. The much-hyped adaptaion of this hugely popular children’s book by black female director Ava DuVernay is a flop. Even with Oprah Winfrey, Chris Pine, Reese Witherspoon and Zach Galifianakis it’s still a flop, and got a 42 on Rotten Tomatoes. Many women friends have told me Wrinkle was their favorite book when they were little. It’s so far out, so otherworldly and so fantastical it becomes unwakeable while you try to watch it. Think of time world-travel children’s classics like Wizard of Oz, Harry Potter, ET, Fantasia and more. I saw it in 3D and it didn’t help, I couldn’t follow it…and there didn’t seem to be any reason to do so.

A FANTASTIC WOMAN. Daniela Vega is a transgender actor portraying a transgender lover of an older married man. The film just won the Oscar for best foreign film and it should have, it’s an amazing film. It’s in Spanish and directed by Chilean writer director Sebastian Leilo. Daniela Vega did n Oscar presentation last night at the Oscars in the same dress he wore in the film. You’ll learn a lot from this brilliant, touching, accurately acted film. Don’t miss it. I’m emailing all my close movie expert friends to see it immediately.

LADY BIRD. This film restored my faith in great films! RT gives it 100% and it’s the highest rated film in RT’s history!!! Greta Gerwig directed  Saorise Ronan and others in this sincere, well thought out movie. A teen aged daughter and her Mom have a terrible, never ending battle over clothes, religion, dating, sex, college and everything. It all happens in Sacramento in about 2003 , which is somehow appropriate. It’s sensitive, subtle, and surprising. Gerwig breaks many directing rules and creates new plot possibilities. Go see this film. Ps….as I’ve told many folks, it’s definitely not about Lady Bird Johnson!!!

CALL ME BY YOUR NAME. No matter where you’re at sexually this beautiful film deals with a young 17 year old boy in Italy working his way through his sexual coming of age. Armie Hammer plays the 30 year old scholarly hunk who visits the kid’s parents. You remember Armie Hammer heir to the Armand Hammer oil fortune and who played The Lone Ranger to Johnny Depp’s Tonto (2013)!!!

THE SHAPE OF WATER. A 93 on RT and that means something! Sally Hawkins plays a beautiful mute working in a lab who cares for, and falls in love with a mysterious water creature. It’s a fable, a fairy story, and reminds us of the black and white fantasy films from the 40’s and 50’s. It’s vital to know that it’s directed by Guillermo Del Toro who also did Pan’s Labyrinth  and Hellboy. It is such an enormous change from every other film we’ve seen in years that its worth going just for the fun of it.

THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI. First, please note the 95 RT rating. When you have Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell working in a film directed by an Oscar winning director you almost can’t miss. It is definitely a dark comedy. The plot contains murder, rape, loyalty, cancer, and some absolutely brilliant acting. Go see it, and force all your friends to see it too.

DARKEST HOUR. Gary Oldman takes the role of Winston Churchill to new heights…and depths. Its World War II history and it’s the background story of what Churchill had to endure when he first took office as Prime Minister. He deserves the Oscar like few stars ever have. The story is absorbing, educational, and it makes you wonder why the USA doesn’t have someone like Churchill to handle Trump like Churchill handled Hitler and Mussolini.

I TONYA. A very dark, depressing movie about some very depressed people. It’s got loud rock period music as the film score which almost qualifies it as a fun comedy but you’ll be able to count your laughs. Somewhere in the movie somebody says Americans love to hate or love their current sport stars…and its sure true here. Allison Janney plays Tonya’s seriously disturbed mother and deserves some award this Award season…but not for this one. Warning IF you do got you’ll leave wondering why you cared about Nancy Kerrigan or Tonya Harding.

THE POST. This is Steven Spielberg’s answer to the Trump administration’s corruption and misuse of presidential power. Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks rip up the acting as we expect them to do. It’s the story of the then little Washington Post trying to catch up to The New York Times printing Daniel Elsberg’s Vietnam exposure papers. It makes easy parallels to Nixon and Trump’s dictatorships. It also makes great pitches for freedom of the press…and what we need to do to keep that freedom alive…especially now. Go see it, bring your friends. But truthfully it’s not as interesting or revealing as the MSNBC documentary two weeks ago… “The Most Dangerous Man In America” the same story from Elsberg’s view.

RED SPARROW. Jennifer Lawrence is just a little bit better at ballet than I am and she’s also much better an actor in every one of her other films than she is in this spy action Red Sparrow flick. She’s a ballet dancer who gets hurt, and actually goes to a Russian government run whore’s school and learns how to spy on people and use lots of sex. Of course like anyone with little imagination would write she falls for an American and everybody lies a lot, then the movie ends. Jeremy Irons, Charlotte Rampling, and Ciarán Hinds are in it too but they shouldn’t have been, they don’t help at all.

ANNIHILATION. This is the Natalie Portman science fiction thriller that got an 87 on RT. If you pay close attention there is quite a moral, philosophic base to the plot. Like one line I can’t forget…”all humans self destruct either by suicide, drinking or smoking”. The same director did “ExMachina” so you can tell he’s got something to say. But it’s way too hard to follow. There’s a sort of foggy, swirly, shimmer wall and people go through the wall. The dead come back to life, time goes back on itself, and on and on. Maybe if you really concentrate and stay awake you’ll get some kind of profound meaning from Annihilation…I’m not sure.

BLACK PANTHER. Like Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman created a lot of good will and empowered women Black Panther does the same for Blacks in America and around the rest of the world. Both are Marvel Comics creations and are full of violence, killings and special effects. I’m finding it more and more difficult to see these action films with messages like revenge, torture, and blood and guts as having any semblance of cinematic art. Black Panther is science fiction, space travel and still the characters use spears and super hi tech weapons to kill each other. There are messages in this movie so I read…but I sensed nothing positive in it. Now I wonder since this has been such a blockbuster if we’ll see Mexican Panther, Chinese Panther, Croatian Panther?

OSCAR NOMINATED SHORTS..LIVE ACTION. Not as good as last year’s crop but “The Eleven O’Clock” is hilarious, “The Silent Child” will make you cry…and think and “Watu Wote” will give you hope for the world, in spite of everything. Go for it. Ends Thursday, March 15.

OSCAR NOMINATED SHORTS …ANIMATED. Not funny, not great, not far out, not profound but “Dear Basketball” produced, directed and narrated by Kobe Bryant himself is beautiful. Ends Thursday, March 15.

DEATH WISH. It’s Bruce Willis in this re-make of the Charles Bronson vigilante revenge killer film from 1974. It’s the same trite Hollywood statement that it’s really ok to go and murder people if you can’t wait for legal justice. Willis plays a surgeon , if you can believe that!!! Then his daughter and wife are attacked, and the wide (Elisabeth Shue) dies. This isn’t the time or the country to release a film about how it’s ok to steal a gun and shoot people even if you are a surgeon.

THE GREATEST SHOWMAN. This is Hugh Jackman trying his best to bring life to the bio of P.T.Barnum. Jackman is an excellent dancer, singer and showman but this movie just doesn’t have the heart or solidity that a good film should have. The music is just more copying of Andrew Lloyd Weber’s gooey showbiz. It’s shallow, trite, and repetitious to a fault. Don’t bother seeing it.

EARLY MAN. This stop action animated film cartoon was made by the same folks who created all those super brilliant Wallace & Gromit films. Even with voices by Eddie Tremayne and Tom Hiddleston there s’ not much to laugh at or even admire.  Tired old cave man jokes, a soccer game parody but to expect to see the charm and intelligence of the old AARDMAN productions is a mistake.

GAME NIGHT. An extra dopey, low grade, over used plot with stars like Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams (and her dimples) trying to make it into a comedy. Couples get together for one of those “who did the murder” themes only ha, ha, ha, it isn’t a fake. It’s boring, trite, unbelievable, and lacks any semblance of humor.

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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.  . Roddey Reid author of “Confronting Political Intimidation and Public Bullying” tells us how to live during the Trump era on March 13. Then activist, BrattonOnline columnist Becky Steinbruner talks about many county issues and solutions. March 20 has Kara Meyberg Guzman editor of the Santa Cruz Sentinel discussing the paper’s structure and plans. OR…if you just happen to miss either of the last two weeks of Universal Grapevine broadcasts go herehttp://www.radiofreeamerica.com/dj/bruce-bratton 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 bratton@cruzio.com

This needs no words.

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. “DROUGHT”

“It’s so dry the trees are bribing the dogs.” Charles Martin.
“God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and a thousand tempests and floods. But he cannot save them from fools”. John Muir
Violence is like a weed – it does not die even in the greatest drought“. Simon Wiesenthal
“Any party which takes credit for the rain must not be surprised if its opponents blame it for the drought”. Dwight Morrow


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Snail Mail: Bratton Online
82 Blackburn Street, Suite 216
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Direct email: Bratton@Cruzio.com
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BEST OF VINTAGE STEVEN DeCINZO.

Deep Cover by Tim Eagan.

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