DATELINE MARCH 3, 2014
ABOUT GROCERY OUTLET. After curing the jerks in my knees and calculating how many meetings it would take to oppose this “evil chain market” operation from opening up in our East Side Morrissey Post Office, I decided to look up Grocery Outlet on-line just to see how big an operation it is. In the first place, the Post Office will be there until the end of December, 2014. A couple who live in Berkeley own the entire Grocery Outlet operation. Some combined quotes from my internet search: “The Grocery Outlet chain of stores currently encompasses more than 200 independently operated stores in Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Washington. The premise of the market is to provide name-brand products at low prices, 40 percent to 60 percent below conventional retail prices. A variety of products will consistently be offered at Grocery Outlet, including: seasonal products, health and beauty, housewares, apparel, organic produce, fresh meats, dairy and frozen goods”.
So when you think about it Grocery Outlet will NOT be competition to Staff Of Life or Shoppers Corner. Those customers are so loyal they’ll die before shopping at Grocery Outlet. The real competition will be and is the old Safeway across the street. I looked up Safeway in Wikipedia it says, “Safeway is an American supermarket chain; it is the second largest supermarket chain in North America, after The Kroger Company, and has 1,335 stores located throughout the western and central United States and 195 in northwestern Mexico, as of January 2014. It also operates some stores in the Mid-Atlantic region of the Eastern Seaboard. The company is headquartered in Pleasanton, California. Supermarket News ranked Safeway No. 4 in the 2011 “Top 75 North American Food Retailers” based on 2010 fiscal year estimated sales of $41 billion. Based on 2009 revenue, Safeway is the 11th largest retailer in the United States.”
More than not hurting Staff Of Life or Shopper’s Corner, Grocery Outlet doesn’t sell dented cans or rejects, they buy direct from manufacturers and “have special deals on healthy and specialty foods”. The Morrissey store will be more like their store in Seaside, one informed friend tells me, not like the old one in Watsonville. Remember too that Lucky Market was at the post office location so was that Liquor Barn. So the streets have handled the traffic for generations, and the number of trucks delivering to Grocery Outlet??? How many deliveries and exits happen at the present Post Office??? Think about that. AND think about having a source for better prices than Safeway…that’s good too. Besides that, Safeway isn’t doing so well financially. Sure, it’s miserable to lose that post office, but that’s their business and all the meetings in the world wouldn’t effect that.
More to follow. Such as the amount of traffic that is a City Council problem because the site is zoned exactly for that grocery business. The Grocery Outlet will be exactly the same size as the present building, and if Grocery Outlet doesn’t go in, somebody else will!!! Here’s a link to this month’s Grocery Outlet opening in Yreka.
|NEW YOUTUBE OF “THE GREAT MORGANI”. Frank just sent this one…direct from Del Williams
GREAT MORGANI NOT HARRASSED. I ran into The Great Morgani at East Cliff’s Dollar Store last week (the in-group store). He had a few things to say, the main one was that “the Police didn’t harrass me, they were polite and we had a very civil discussion”, unquote. The other item was that “Robert Norse called me an anarchist, I’m no anarchist”. He also told me that his parents owned a chicken farm out on Soquel Avenue back in the day. Frank Morgani also liked last week’s historical photo of the original Hindquarter corner. So did I.
Former member of the Santa Cruz City Arts Commission and former member of the Benicia City Council Linda Bixby adds to the ruckus and says, “I am crushed, CRUSHED at the prospect of losing Morgani downtown. What an amazing, uplifting, enormously talented and creative artist he is and what a boon to the community. Would it seriously not be possible to create a niche for him in some way? This is an enormously sad – and I would say embarrassing – reflection on our governance. It is so hard as a citizen and former arts commissioner to see the creative spirit being sapped out of our town in service to what? Public safety? I suggest the council re-read the Arts element of the General Plan, to be reminded that the plan calls for our community to reflect in every way possible – including in our streetscapes – the fact that this is an arts community. No one is a more revered, celebrated part of our streetscape than Morgani. When the city puts out an economic development brochure trying to lure businesses here, do they put pictures of a clean sidewalk or a new water pipe on the cover? Of course not; they tout our public art. Can’t have it both ways, folks”. Thanks Linda.
One other thing that’s come up in our media a lot this last week or so, is Tom Scribner. We should remember that Tom never played for money, or passed the hat. He just liked to play the saw once in a while. The other thing is that the Scribner statue didn’t appear easily on Pacific Avenue. The City Council, mostly council member Larry Edler fought placing that “Wobbly Commie” statue in public. So it stood for quite a while in SCOPE PARK. I think it was Neal Coonerty that so thoughtfully and graciously had it placed in front of Bookshop Santa Cruz.
CLUB ZAYANTE HISTORY. Nealry legendary Club Zayante owner Tom Louagie is writing a book about the club…and it’ll be a never to be forgotten saga. He sent me a few pages last week. Names such as Pig Heart, Sol of Sirocco, Clifton Chenier, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Chambers Brothers and on and on it goes with great stories attached to all of them. No press date yet, but I’ll let you know.
|A REALLY JOLLY PARTY TIME. Web Director Gunilla Leavitt found this one. She calls it hysterical…take a look..
SECRETARY OF STATE CAMPAIGNERS STOP. Nancy Abbey president of The People’s Democratic Committee emailed to say, “The Democratic Central Committee’s forum for the three Democratic candidates for Secretary of State Wednesday night (2/26) was very interesting. All three are thoughtful men who’ve done good work, so meeting them and hearing their views was exciting, but, for my money, Derek Cressman was a clear winner and I plan to work for his campaign. But, my main point is that I was startled to hear Alex Padilla say he didn’t support public financing of elections “because there are so many other important things to spend the money on”. A Secretary of State who doesn’t think public financing is important!?!? And sees it as a waste of money!!!! Full disclosure: I am a big supporter of getting corporate and billionaire money out of politics and have been very involved in the issue so my ears really perked up at that one. She continues, “But also, the California Democratic Party supports public financing. Both Derek Cressman and Sen Yee made strong statements in support of it. Yee stressed the importance of voting to maintain democracy and Cressman stressed the success of public financing in other states and in San Francisco and Los Angeles in particular (Cressman, as Vice President of State Operations for Common Cause, was very instrumental in its success). She adds, “Check it out yourself:
The exact same language on public financing and disclosure is in the 2014 draft party platform:
|OLDIE BUT FUNNY.
EL SALVADOR ELECTION NIGHT PARTY. Les Gardner invites us all…”Join in as we watch Sanchez Cerén become the new President of El Salvador. Viewing will be at the Santa Cruz County Democratic Headquarters, 740 Front Street, Suite 165, Santa Cruz on Sunday, March 9, 2014 from 6:30-9pm. Special Guests; Assembly Member Luis Alejo, Assembly Member Mark Stone, Hector Perla plus Community Activists And people from the Salvadorian Community. Refreshments will be served along with good companionship. There is a strong possibility that either the President or Vice-President elect will be calling that evening. There will also be a special surprise presentation to Assembly Member Luis Alejo. Vice President Cerén, at this moment has over a 10 point lead with 8 days to go. P.S. If you have a photo of yourself and Vice President Cerén, please bring a copy. Les Gardner is going to El Salvador later in the week and would be happy to ask Cerén to sign your photo.
ALVAH BESSIE’S “THE SYMBOL”. Dan Bessie is afilmaker and former long time Santa Cruzan who now lives and communicates from France. In “way back” when I was at KCBS in S.F. I met and interviewed his father Alvah Bessie who had written a novel based on Marilyn Monroe. On later visits to Dan in Santa Cruz Alvah and I learned we shared the same birthday (June 4). Alvah was not only a great guy but was also one of the Blacklisted and nearly nortorious Hollywood Ten.
Dan writes….”My father’s THE SYMBOL has just been republished as an e-book, by UNTREEDREADS. So if you’re used to reading via a PDF, or on a KINDLE or other digital device, and have never read this (in my view) wonderfully perceptive novel, I urge you to invest the $5.99 for an Untreedreads copy (My siblings and I share a bit higher royalty that way).* The UNTREED website:
Published originally in 1965 by Random House and then in a 1 million copy release by Dell paperbacks, reviews for THE SYMBOL included blurbs that damned it for “Its sex escapades, parade of four-letter words and its star-studded who’s-who game.” and praised it as “. . . a triumph of storytelling . . . Alvah Bessie gives us a full length, absolutely convincing portrait. He has in an uncanny way, entered [his character’s] mind and heart, so that we know and feel what it must be like to be famous and so haunted.”
Dan adds, “THE SYMBOL’S most accurate review, I believe, came from Martha Gellhorn, widely regarded as one of the greatest of war correspondents, and (incidentally), third wife of Ernest Hemingway:
“The Symbol is remarkable because it is written by a man and is the story of an entirely believable woman. Men have always written about women without hesitation or doubt, and have turned out curious effigies—bitches, nymphs, goddesses, little dream wives—all man-made. Bessie has accomplished a superb feat of the imagination by inventing a woman who is not a man-made puppet, she is a breathing female, alive on her own. That is a magical achievement and cannot be explained. It has happened”. So if you have a Kindle or some such contraption…
PATTON’S PROGRAM. Gary talks about some possibly illegal meetings of The Monterey County Bd. Of Supes (on water issues). He tells of the exciting possibilities of the San Lorenzo River Forum on 3/04, and another held by the Soquel Creek Water District. UCSC’s Earth Summit happens Thursday 3/6, and some positive ideas such issue forth from it. Gary adds stuff about a sustainable Farmland Strategy…which is part of the ongoing theme of “Land Use” He closes by telling us of a Friday night UCSC meeting dealing with City Repair and neighborhood communication and nurturing our local culture. Read all of above scripts at Gary Patton’s KUSP Land Use site http://blogs.kusp.org/landuse. Gary is a former Santa Cruz County Supervisor, and an attorney who represents individuals and community groups on land use and environmental issues. The opinions expressed are Mr. Patton’s. Gary has his own website, “Two Worlds / 365? – www.gapatton.net
CLASSICAL DE CINZO. DeCinzo deals with power, not his usual power issues, but our most current power problem !!
LISA JENSEN LINKS. Speaking of predicting Oscar winners.Ms. Jensen got it exactly right on 12 out of 13 predictions !!! She goes on to say, ” And I was 12 for 13 in my Oscar predictions this year—maybe a personal best! Of the 13 categories I called, the only one I flubbed was Production Design; I guessed Gravity, but the gold went to The Great Gatsby. (However, I DID correctly predict that Gravity would win for Cinematography and Gatsby would win for Costumes!) I swept all the big categories— for once!’ She adds “It’s not every day you meet someone who paints his own Vermeer painting. Find out how a San Antonio engineer does it—and discover the sweet spot where art and science intersect—in the fascinating doc Tim’s Vermeer, this week at Lisa Jensen Online Express (http://ljo-express.blogspot.com). Also, get set for a downpour of family mysteries in the Jewel Theatre Company’s Three Days of Rain.” Lisa has been writing film reviews and columns for Good Times since 1975.
THAT IS THE QUESTION
……In order of perfection……
THE WIND RISES. It’s a masterpiece of genuine animation, not Disney, digital or Pixar it’s from Ghibli’s studio in Japan. They made Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke,It’s not for children, it’s a spohisticated, intelligent biography of Jiro Horikoshi famed Aeronautical engineer, and how “Jiro” created the famed WW 2 “Zero” fighter plane. The earthquakes, the war, the tender love story are absolutely stunning. See it asap.
NON STOP. It’s not a who dunnit but a who’s doing it murder mystery on board an airliner. It’s really confusing, and Liam Neeson holds it together as best he can. It’s odd and disappointing to see Michelle Dockery from Downton Abbey have such an almost non speaking part. Julienne Moore does her usually fine acting as does Lupita Nyong’o from 12 years as a Slave. Go if you want to, but you won’t like it very much.
SON OF GOD.Going to see this saga is way easier than reading the book. It should have said at the end “No saviors were injured during.. etc”. This shortened version of a made for TV series at least has everyone in the cast liooking Jewish or Italian/Roman. Except of course “HIMSELF” who appears to have come from the Hills of Beverly or Mount Malibu. It’s a sappy, gooey, mass marketed and n ever did tell us how the Shroud of Turin ended up in Santa Cruz!!
STILL PLAYING AT A THEATRE NEAR US
(from BEST 2 worst)
GLORIA. (SEE SOON) This “foreign” film from Chile should sweep the Oscars. Paulina Garcia (age 54) creates a performance that goes far beyond words and images as she show us the deep insides of a mid life, courageous, gutsy approach to the world. It’s one of the finest women’s roles I’ve ever seen on screen. Do not miss it.
HER. “Her” got the Golden Globe award for screenplay, it deserved it and many, many more.
Joaquin Phoenix’s brilliance and Scarlett Johansson as the voice in his computer make an unsettling and endlessly fascinating team. Amy Adams plays exactly the opposite role from her American Hustle babe and is still great. It may unnerve some folks because it hits closer to home than is comfortable…it’s one of the most original films of the decade, go see it.
THE WOLF OF WALL STREET. I have to say that finally, finally, finally Leonardo Di Caprio and Martin Scorsese paired tocreate a superb and excellent film that fully utilizes their talents. Di Caprio proves that his brief moments in earlier films was no accident…he is awesome in this lewd, vulgar, cocaine extravaganza. Based on the book by the films supreme con artist hero, you’ll sit on the edge of your seat for the full three plus hours. It’s what we all believed goes on behind Wall Street’s doors and even more than that.The action never stops and it is as completely breathtaking in every sense of the word. Go see it, unless you have scruples or a vestige of decency or get jealous easily.
12 YEARS A SLAVE. This film has received dozens of nominations for Awards, and well deserved. It’s a hard hitting, brutal, honest, surprising film. It is also beautifully acted, well cast, and a film you won’t forget for a very long time. Chiwetel Ejiofor is a magnificient actor and carries the film. Brad Pitt, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, and Paul Giamatti add the unnecessary Hollywood element and do good jobs but it’s Ejiofor you’ll think about a lot. It’s a true story written by the central character in the pre-civil war days. Just see this film…now.
NEBRASKA. Bruce Dern plays an almost 80 year old geezer who gets suckered by a million dollar Publishers Warehouse type con and goes on this father/son road movie through Nebraska to collect it. It’s funny at times but it’s also mean, ageist, and cruel. Alexander Payne makes films like that. Dern plays a character named Woody Grant, that’s Grant Wood spelled differently. See it but be prepared.
PHILOMENA. I saw this beautifully touching film again a few weeks ago just to make sure it was/is that good…it is. Judi Dench is never less than wonderful in her wide ranging roles. How she pulls off this true story of a human, less than brilliant mother looking for her orphaned son is magnificient. In case you wonder…Steve Coogan does NOT turn out to be her son. Go see it asap.
THE AMERICAN HUSTLE. Clever, smart, twisted, greatly acted, and even more clever. What more can you ask from a film?Seeing Amy Adams as a very sexy babe is a long ways from her princess role in Enchanted. Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner and even Robert DeNiro keep the level of who’s conning whom at a fever and funny pitch. It’s a circus version of the real ABSCAM scandal that took down a bunch of politicians. I really meant the word clever. See it asap, and if you get a chance read the plot before you go!!!
MONUMENTS MEN. As mentioned above this movie is boring. It is terribly miscast with George Clooney, Bill Murray, Matt Damon, John Goodman, Hugh Bonneville (from Downton Abbey) Jean Dujardin and Cate Blanchett. This is spupposed to be about art experts seeking masterpieces of art that Hitler’s troops had hidden. What’s funny about that?? Yet, the music, those funny actors, just weird that’s all. No continuity, little empathy, a few killings…not a bit of cleverness in it. Absolutely no reason to see this film.I didn’t know that there were more than 300 troops involved as Monument Men not just the 5 or 6 that Clooney created. You might get something out of renting it..like for a rainy night!!
ROBO COP. I liked the earlier original Robo Cop (Peter Weller 1987) and was almost reluctant to see this version. I was way wrong. This is one fine super-hero type film. Set in 2028 this nice, efficient, loving husband cop is turned into a machine and shows us where all this security issue we face today could lead. Exciting, nearly believable, nicely acted. Go see it if you like Batman, Superman, Iron Man and things like that.
THE LEGO MOVIE. Check it out Rotten Tomatoes gives it a 95 % (Monuments Men got 34%!!!). It’s notTHAT great but its clever, sort of Pixar clever. Yes it’s all animated with those little Lego people doing all the acting”. Voices like Morgan Freeman, Elizabeth Banks, and Chris Pratt are just fine, but there are dozens of almost secret throwaway lines that will really grab you. Many product take offs, huge slaps at our commercial lives, and it ends up with what you might even call a moral lesson!!! The 3D version is extra cute…but you could rent it in a year and still enjoy!!
OSCAR NOMINATED ANIMATED SHORTS. Someday, somehow I’ll find outwhere and when these animated and live action short films are shown throughout the year. As always some are stunning and have touches of cinematic greatness and some are boring, bad and pointless. Mr. Hublot is one of the great ones and opens the animated program. The digitally animated giraffe and duck who act as emcees for all this animated program are vulgar, gross, unfunny…and require enormous patience just to sit through their miserable bits. Possessions is a Japanese meditation on keeping possessions and isn’t worth mentioning. Feral is supposed to be profound but fails. However Room on The Broom is cute, traditional, and doesn’t set any new artistic standards. Get a Horse is a Disney product and combines 1930’s style animation with current talent, but it’s also sort of brutal, go warned.
OSCAR NOMINATED LIVE ACTION SHORTS. Helium is touching, poignant, and deals with a young boy dying in a hospital. The Voorman Problem is also well worth watching, and centers on a guy who claims to be God (maybe he is!!!) An African short That Wasn’t Me is brutal, anti-war and mystifying. Just Before Losing Everything tells us about a battered woman and her kids who are trying to get away from her husband. It’s fast, nervous, and well done but I’m not sure of the point it tries to make. Do I Have to Take Care of Everything is sort of funny but to spend that much time filming, directing, financing it just for a one line joke was way beyond my understanding.
3 DAYS TO KILL. Kevin Costner not only has daughter bonding issues and major family problems but a huge number of spies and nasties keep trying to kill him for 1 hour and 40 minutes. It’s got some intentional laughs, and a few special effects, mostly it’s a dopey film and not worth any admission price…even if you go alone and you shouldn’t.
POMPEII IN 3D. Pompeii was just like Santa Cruz is today.They are a seaside resort town, have a few earthquakes, a 5 to 2 City Council, theybuild a new stadium, and then Mt. Vesuvius erupts and the movie’s over. You really, really hope that Vesiuvius erupts about 10 minutes after the film starts but you have to wade through a cockamamie story about gladiators becoming friends, and an Angelina Jolie look- a- like love affair that turns to solid lava. It’s a boring mess and Kiefer Sutherland must have needed the money.