Blog Archives

October 13 – November 3, 2015

THE VENETIAN WATER CARNIVAL (June 1895-1927). Back in the day they’d dam up the San Lorenzo River, build elaborate floats and the community would have a great time. An annually built stage and grandstand held hundreds of folks.

photo credit: Covello & Covello Historical photo collection.

Additional information always welcome: email

DATELINE October 12, 2015
and DATELINE October 19. 2015
and DATELINE October 26, 2015

TARDY AGAIN??? As I’ve mentioned as often as deemed necessary, I write a new weekly column every Monday and I’ve been doing exactly that for 40 years and 6 months. Lately the woman who has been responsible for getting this weekly missile online and who has been so kind, generous, and severely over extended, Gunilla Leavitt, has had some hardships.

1. Her car was torched last November. They jailed the guilty teenagers two weeks ago. See the news video here.
2. Gunilla has been going through breast cancer for the last 8 months. She had surgery, radiation, and estrogen blockers that she will be on for 5 years; thankfully no chemo.
3. She’s had to close her business The Golden Fleece (Yarn Store/Emporium).

Beyond all that she’s maintained a positive attitude, not only on life itself, but she told me the other day that now she’ll have more time to devote to getting BrattonOnline actually online quicker. Starting November, the columns will again go up weekly. Let’s all give Gunilla enormous credit ..and big thanks…and best wishes.

SUPERVISOR GREG CAPUT. It seems unbelievable in Santa Cruz County, in this century, and after all the world’s exposure of that right wing group of anti-abortionists who criminally falsified Planned Parenthood’s operations that anybody with half a brain would still want to challenge the way Planned Parenthood does their good works. Yet Fourth District Santa Cruz County Supervisor Greg Caput has done just that. On October 14 he asked the Board of Supes to request an audit of Planned Parenthood in the 2016 Session. There’s been almost nothing in the media around here about Caput’s stupid caper. Thanks to a rare agreement the rest of the Supervisors held strong and all of them made fine remarks in their unanimous opposition to the numbed out Caput. Supervisor Ryan Coonerty gave an especially well rounded reaction. I’ve often surprised friends by telling them Caput has a law degree, and saying that when he was on Universal Grapevine, we agreed on many more issues than I’d imagined. No longer. He’s as big a fool and as poorly informed as everyone says he is. And just because he’s a Roman Catholic, a Croatian, has a law degree, and has been elected twice doesn’t make him a good guy. South County Democrats have to work harder next time and elect somebody who knows how to read…and think.

SUPERVISORS AND ISSUES. Patient observers of our local County Supervisors and City Council have long realized that there is now, and usually has been, a lot of agreement on issues, problems, and politics but only outside the County boundary. Gun control, equality, oil, water, ad infinitum…there’s agreement. What came out last week at the Supe’s stomping down Caput’s idiotic attempt to close down Planned Parenthood was that Caput had voted every time over the years NOT to fund Planned Parenthood!!! What we need is a website or an easy quick way to see how our locally elected officials have voted on major issues. Like checking on Zach Friend’s record on supporting police and military requests, or Bruce McPherson’s record on supporting any and all development. Any suggestions, or ideas on this??

POLITICAL NOTES. Watch how Mike Rotkin uses his membership and the so called success of the Water Survey Committee as a way to stay public and run again for City Council. Watch too for the petition to re-call County Supervisor Zach Friend. Becky Steinbrunner told us on Universal Grapevine that the re-call is now legal and we can all go sign the petition at tables near the Bayview Hotel.

BOARDWALK AND THAT COMMUNITY GARDEN. The Seaside Company or as it’s better known The Santa Cruz Boardwalk absolutely knows nothing but greed. After all these years that the City of Santa Cruz has given them gifts of millions of dollars they turn on the residents of Beach Flats and want to kill their Community Gardens. The City forgives the Boardwalk millions in terms of taxes on their arcade games, we’ve given the Boardwalk acres and acres of parking lots (for free) and manage to look the other way on how Charlie Canfield, Chris Reyes and the rest of their team has allowed all their properties in Beach Flats to deteriorate. Still they want their small garden space “to grow plants for Boardwalk rides decoration”. I think we should erect big signs telling all the Valley tourists who come to the Boardwalk about how the locals and their garden project get treated.

MORE ABOUT DeCINZO & THE SENTINEL. Well, first Steven DeCinzo got an email from Marc Desjardins saying they (Sentinel) was cutting him back to one cartoon per week. Steven says, “Marc was probably the only one at the paper who was positive and happy with an optimistic sense of humor”. While DeCinzo was thinking about that “one per week offer” he got another email saying Don Miller had changed his mind and that the freelancer money “could be better spent elsewhere”. Steven’s last cartoons (unprinted) were, “a series of cartoons condemning the visiting Pope and the hypocrisies and crimes committed by the Catholic church”. Besides all of that, Steven is getting married in Austria!!! I should have kept track of all the folks who told me, “Damn that paper, DeCinzo was the last and only reason I was reading the Sentinel”.

COTONI COAST DAIRIES NATIONAL BATTLE.As usual in Santa Cruz County the battle between Environmentalists and Big Business/Money goes on…and on. Ted Benhari of Friends of the North Coast posted this on Facebook…

UCLA Prof. Daniel Blumstein is a leading authority and researcher on animal behavior. You may have heard him talking about Ecotourism, which is particularly relevant to the debate about Coast Dairies, on NPR today. On his web page he writes: “Ecotourism is the fastest growing part of the world’s largest industry, tourism. Yet, in order for ecotourism to be sustainable, we must know much more about how non-humans perceive the myriad of impacts associated with tourism so that they can be minimized. Unfortunately, most studies focus on a single species and there is no theory managers can use to predict how a particular species might react to, say, the construction of a hiking trail. Current and future work aims to develop predictive models about how species react to human impacts based on an understanding of life-histories and evolutionary “experiences”. ” He’s written, with a colleague, “A Primer of Conservation Behavior” for Sinauer Associates press. I hope to read it soon, and that BLM has already. It’s obvious the backers of the monument campaign have not”.

COTONI NATIONAL PARKING LOT. Someone I know has a good friend who works for BLM (Bureau of Land Management). BLM is and will be stewards of the proposed Cotoni National Monument. He reports that for a Park/Monument of this size (5,800 acres) BLM requires and would build a parking lot that would hold 500 cars. Ask anyone at BLM about that. Remember too that this isn’t about protecting that wilderness, it’s already completely protected. Read the list of local businesses that support the destruction of that wilderness…it’ll surprise and depress you. Operations such as KUSP, Hilltromper, O’Neil Sea Odyssey, Charlie Hong Kong, Save The Frogs, Emily’s Bakery, 99 Bottles, The Sock Shop and more. It makes you wonder how much research any of thse folks have done to see what impact the Fort Ord National Monument (14,658 acres) has had on their community since 2012, when it became official.

HILLARY BRATTON SINGS. Here’s a top music magazine interview with Hillary.

MY SPECIAL RADIO GUEST (repeat) It was obviously with great pride that I had my daughter Hillary Bratton as my interview guest on Universal Grapevine Tuesday October 13 from 7-7:30 pm. Hillary’s brand new album, “Tears on My Pillow but the rest of the bed’s OK” is her first, and was just released and is available at iTunes. We talked about her really interesting and illustrious past and living and working in Paris, New York, and Los Angeles. Her career with Sony, Rhino Records, and Apple…and a bunch of surprises for both of us…if you missed it here’s a link to the interview. More than that…IF you want to hear or buy her album here’s a link to Hillary’s nine great songs…

THE REAL HALLOWEEN MONSTER. Just a reminder to see if any of us can guess where Mayor Don Lane’s BEARCAT will be parked during the Downtown Halloween celebration. I’m still guessing it’ll be on Front Street near the back door to The Verve Coffee house.

UPDATE ON 41ST AVENUE CINELUX. I saw the Robert DeNiro, Anne Hathaway comedy The Intern at the in-progress enlargement of the 7 screen theatre at the 41st Cinelux. There’ll be lots of ohhh’s and ahh’s when they do the official opening. They’ve added 4 theatres, I think three of them have just 35 seats each. Those are luxuorious seats too. When you do go there remember that the temporary entrance is a new single door, up a short ramp on the 38th avenue side.

HABITAT’S ReSTORE —FANTASTIC!!! Almost everybody has heard about Habitat For Humanity and all the good “housework” they do for low-income folks. It’s the ReStore that Habitat has been running out on Swift Street that has been the secret…at least I hadn’t been there. IF you are re-modeling, Nino prepping, searching for lightbulbs, lamps, refridgerators, mirrors, get out there ASAP. They have a huge warehouse chock full of tools, tables, dishes, art, anything you need house-wise. Check out their website, days and hours at… 719 Swift Street suite 62. It’s over by Kelly’s Bakery and the Swift Street Courtyard.

MARV KAPLAN DIED. Marv Kaplan was a dear friend to lots of people here and just about everywhere he went. He died September 4th. Gloria Kaplan and Mathilde Rand sent this notice…”As many of you may already know, my dear husband Marvin passed away on September 4th of this year. He would have turned 88 on September 30. We, Gloria and Family, will be celebrating Marvin’s life on Sunday, November the 8th, at the London Nelson Community Center in Santa Cruz, from 1 to 4 PM. I know he would have loved for you all to attend, as you are the people he really liked. I truly hope you will be able to be there! If you care to share some fond memories you might have of Marvin, we would love to hear them. We hope to see you then. If you can, please feel free to bring some finger food to share with others.”

KUSP… EARS AND TEARS! If you genuinely care about the future of KUSP you’ll read the full 33 page report onwhat the out of town consultants stated re keeping KUSP alive. If the consultants report seems like they haven’t a clue about our community, take another few minutes and read the RADIO SURVIVOR website take on those consultants ideas… Among other things it tells us….”PMC (Public Media Company-consultants) sees potential in a programming/format shift to a local, professionally programmed and hosted music format that would be described, in radio format terms, as Triple-A (or ‘AAA’) . . . The Music Format, if done right, will share audience rather than compete for audience with KAZU. It will also be connected to the Santa Cruz/Monterey Bay region and residents by programming regional music and musicians, convening and partnering with local events and with community and cultural groups.” If you are looking for extant public radio AAA models to grok this recommendation, the document cites Minnesota public radio’s The Current, Austin’s KUTX, and WXPN in Philadelphia. If anyone is taking bets on KUSP’s future, now’s the time.

RUPAN BAL. Mark Bernhard found this gem of a new art form. It’ll be the next biggest thing in Santa Cruz!!!

FREE RADIO AND A REWARD. Robert Norse wants us to know…Free Radio Santa Cruz is now offering a $500 reward for successful info about a new studio space [See “Free Radio Santa Cruz is now Homeless!” at]. Not knowing which way KUSP will go just makes our need for radio news more important. Lend a hand to Free Radio Santa Cruz.

STAYTON AND SOLAR BOOK. I interviewed Bob Stayton who wrote the book “Power Shift-From Fossil Energy to Dynamic Solar Power on Universal Grapevine on September 29. I learned that for some wild reason most of us don’t see Solar Power as our own problem. We seem to be waiting for the government or Jesus to make it happen. Stayton’s book teaches us about all possible energies, and their history, and our future energy needs and solutions. Read his book, it’ll add new light to your life. It’s available at Bookshop Santa Cruz and Grass Roots Books in Corvallis. Online you can buy the book from:

Amazon (paperback and Kindle), Barnes & Noble (paperback and Nook Book), Apple’s iTunes Store (iBooks), Kobo Books (Epub), or from the publisher

KOENIGS’ HISTORY OF JAZZ FILM. Ken Koenig emails to say I just put the complete version of Santa Cruz Swings on YouTube where it can be watched for free. This film chronicles the history of jazz in Santa Cruz, California. Despite being a small beach town, Santa Cruz has had a rich jazz history which touches on all the eras of jazz. From the early bands at the beach at the turn of the 20th century, to the Cocoanut Ballroom and the big bands of the 30s and 40s, to the bebop era of the 40s and 50s, and the birth of the Kuumbwa Jazz Center as well as the great jazz program at our local community college in the 70s, and the many different venues for jazz in Capitola, Santa Cruz and the area over the years as well as the world class jazz musicians who have been a part of this history, Santa Cruz Swings shows it all. Using numerous interviews with folks who were there, archival film footage, photographs and selections of jazz music made in Santa Cruz the story unfolds for all to learn and appreciate. The film can be accessed by typing “Santa Cruz Swings Full length movie” into the YouTube search area or by typing “Santa Cruz Swings Full length movie” into Google”. We need to thank Ken for preserving that important part of our history. I’ve seen the film many times…it just keeps getting better, go for it.

ELERICK’S INPUT. Mr. Paul Elerick of Aptos writes on October 12….


Even though this is being talked about for November 2016, activists on both sides of this ballot measure are meeting regularly. Our Regional Transportation Commission has the results of recent polls (the last one done and paid for by the business community). The issue of Highway 1 congestion got people’s attention, but produced a less than 50% favoring widening as a way to accomplish this. Fixing local streets and roads as usual comes out at the top vote getter. You can learn more about the latest plans by the RTC by going to their website,

The Campaign for Sensible Transportation will be presenting an expenditure plan for the ballot measure that will have a somewhat different view on reducing congestion on Highway 1. Since we could not find any evidence that adding lanes (widening) reduces congestion, our proposal doesn’t call for any. But it does include measures that can reduce congestion. Want to know more about the Campaign for Sensible Transportation? Check our website,



As a long-time skeptic of Take Back Santa Cruz, I thought their Public Safety Forum 2015 might shed some light on what they are really up to. Given the venue of Holy Cross Parish Hall, the event started with being “welcomed” at the door by armed Santa Cruz police in uniform seemed out of place. Many more of S.C’s finest were inside. It made me wonder who was minding the streets? Also alarming was an incident where regular citizens were threatened with arrest for passing out flyers with quotes from Pope Francis on it. Hard to believe Holy Cross leaders and parish members knew about this use of their hall.

The featured speaker was a woman from Sacramento, telling us about her Electric Blue Foundation, a group in opposition of prison realignment (AB 109) and redefinition of non-serious crimes Proposition 47. Mostly an uninspiring presentation, it was sad they chose their one speaker to be a young woman from UCSC whose mother was murdered by a prisoner released under Prop 109. On the positive side, half of the forum featured a panel of Sheriff Jim Hart, SC Police Chief Kevin Vogel, District Attorney Jeff Rosell and Chief Probation Officer Fernando Giraldo. All except Vogel seemed to refute Electric Blue’s stats and prediction of gloom and doom about these two proposition as related to Santa Cruz County. We are fortunate to have this kind of law professionals working for us.

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

GREENSITE’S INSIGHT. Gillian was in South Africa (10/12/15)…and sent this…


I’m writing from South Africa in the Western Cape province, where I’ve been Invited to share my experience with best practices in rape prevention, rape policies and rape response with the University of Western Cape. A far cry from the city of Santa Cruz and UCSC, both of which did their utmost over the years to silence me and bury the issue of rape. I’m heartened by the openness here to address rape. Yes, the obstacles are huge. The legacy of apartheid has left a minefield of unresolved issues around self-esteem, violent masculinity and poverty. The prevalence of rape, rape of children, rape of lesbians, rape of women and men with disabilities is huge. Yet I open the pages of the local press and read lengthy, detailed investigative reporting on the issue. Government agencies highlight violence against women and seek ways to implement effective systems to address it. A local grammar and high school has invited me to help craft policies and procedures to respond to sexual abuse. No-one turns their backs. In this context, my years of experience in rape prevention are useful and appreciated. Why not in Santa Cruz?

A careful examination of the data reveals that the incidence of rape in South Africa is higher than other countries but not dramatically different from that in the US. Santa Cruz has one of the highest rates of rape in the state of CA. Its incidence of rapes by strangers is off the charts. Santa Cruz is still reeling from the rape and murder of an eight year old girl by a fifteen year old boy. The difference between the two countries is the concerted effort in Santa Cruz to pretend that rape is a non-issue. There were 63 reported rapes in Santa Cruz last year compared with 33 in the previous year according to the statistics on the SCPD website. That is more than one rape per week. Have you seen this reflected in the Sentinel’s crime report? Have you seen this issue agendized by the city council? Has it been on the radar of the city’s Commission for the Prevention of Violence Against Women, whose staff has been reduced by half and whose annual meetings have been cut in half? Santa Cruz has a proud history of gender justice activism. Somehow that has been co-opted in the past decade by tourist and business interests who don’t want to let this cat out of the bag. It’s past time for Santa Cruz to reject such silencing and join the global movement to end male sexual violence. In this we have much to learn from South Africa”.

(Gillian Greensite is a long time local activist, 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).

PATTON’S PROGRAM. Gary’s KUSP Land Use report clearly states…


Santa Cruz City residents, and those who work in downtown Santa Cruz, and those who shop in downtown Santa Cruz, and those who are in business in downtown Santa Cruz, may be getting a little bit panicked about parking. A recent article in the Santa Cruz Sentinel indicates that the City has oversold its available downtown parking spots. According to the article, there are 1,642 spots available for permit parking, and the City has issued 1,831 permits for those spots. Oh! That’s why you can’t find a spot, even if you have paid for it in advance.

Regular parking spots (the kind you don’t pay for in advance) are also hard to find. And you increasingly have to pay for them. They are no longer free. In fact, the City is currently getting ready to convert one of its last free parking lots to a paid parking lot.

ABOUT “CORRIDORS”.(Gary continues…

As I have mentioned a few times here on the Land Use Report, the City of Santa Cruz is moving ahead with a plan to increase development along the city’s most important transportation corridors. That means Mission Street, Ocean Street, Water Street, and Soquel Avenue. The proposal is to increase allowable building heights along these corridors, and to increase the densities allowed, and to encourage mixed uses, mixing commercial uses with multi-family residential uses. Three to five story buildings, all along these corridors, could be a result of the process that the City is pursuing. Naturally, these kind of changes could have significant impacts on adjacent neighborhoods, and might also be expected to increase the kind of traffic congestion and parking problems that are already pretty daunting.

In pursuing its so-called “Corridors Plan,” the City is seeking to implement General Plan provisions that support this kind of development. It’s fair to say that the City’s General Plan is rather pro-development, and that at least some local residents weren’t really paying attention when the General Plan policies gained approval.

A proposed development at 1800 Soquel Avenue provides an example of what’s proposed generally, and some residents are concerned. In fact, they’ve put out a petition opposing high-density zoning. You can explore this important issue with links at

ABOUT WATER AND “FLOW“. Gary writes on 10/26…

Friends of Locally Owned Water, or Felton FLOW, is holding a “Future of the San Lorenzo Symposium” Thursday 10/29 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. The Symposium will take place at the County’s Highlands Park, located at 8500 Highway 9, in Ben Lomond. Since the San Lorenzo River is the main source of water for the majority of residents in northern Santa Cruz County, this sounds like a meeting that you might want to attend, even if you don’t live in Felton.

Felton FLOW is the group that led the charge for public acquisition of the formerly private water system in Felton, then owned by the California American Water Company. Cal-Am didn’t particularly want to sell its system to the public, but the residents of Felton, and Cal-Am customers, thought the public, not a big corporation, should be in charge of their water supply. From everything I’ve heard, the former Cal-Am customers are happy to have put their water supply under public control. Folks from the Monterey Peninsula, where Cal-Am controls everyone’s water destiny, are also invited to the meeting on Thursday at 6 p.m. Felton FLOW has also given local water customers a heads up on an upcoming public hearing to consider a drought surcharge. This would only affect customers of the San Lorenzo Valley Water District. If you’d be affected, you might want to mark your calendar for November 19th, at 7:00p.m.

Get complete scripts of the above at Gary Patton’s KUSP Land Use site . Gary is a former Santa Cruz County Supervisor (20 years) and an attorney who represents indivuduals and community groups on land use and environmenatl issues. The opinions expressed are Mr. Patton’s. Gary has his own website, Two Worlds/365” –

BOOKSHOP SANTA CRUZ NEWS. The biggest book sale of the year at the Bookshop starts Friday November 6th for Club members and the rest of the weekend for everybody else. As is the custom for the last 30 years our Hot Damn String Band will play from 7:30-9:30 to provide book buying music. Circle that date. The H.D.S.B. consists of Jim Reynolds – Guitar, Annie Steinhart – Fiddle, Bruce Bratton – Washboard, Dave Magram – Banjo, Garry Cunningham – Bass and Dore Collar – Mandolin. After that Ex Register- Pajaronian and Mercury reporter Lee Quarnstrom will return to the Bookshop on December 3 to sign copies of his “When I was A Dynamiter” book. More details will follow but Lee told me…”It’s part of a big shindig that will include Supervisor John Leopold dedicating a plaque near The Spread, a house where I, along with Ken Kesey & his family and some other Merry Pranksters, lived in the mid-60s for a while. The plaque will memorialize the first Acid Test, held there 50 years ago, at the site of The Spread (now gone) on the north side of Soquel Drive just west of Rodeo Gulch — the gulch itself, not Rodeo Gulch Road, which is on the other side of the gulch. The Acid Tests, which we Pranksters, as we called ourselves, were held in in the Bay Area and southern California, with music by the Grateful Dead. Obviously those future details will make all this sensible!!!

CLASSICAL DeCINZO. World traveler DeCinzo and bicycles…again. See below about four pages.

EAGAN’S DEEP COVER. Tim Eagan takes on another part of our existence…scroll down.

HAMLET RE-DO. Rowan Atkinson and Hugh Laurie do a very funny bit on Shakespeare.

A NEW HAMLET STARRING BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH. Shakespeare fans and Cumberbatch lovers have made this National Theatre Live production”thee” fastest ticket seller in their history. There’ll be two more repeat screenings at the Del Mar. One on Thursday night Nov. 5 at 7:30 p.m. and the last on Sunday Nov. 8 at 11 am. This is not your grandmother’s version of Hamlet. The period of the setting is all over the place, costumes are new and old and the much hallowed script has had infinite changes. It’s had rave reviwes and huge amounts of arrows and slings. But you shouldn’t miss it, I saw it and was nearly stunned and the Del Mar was sold out!!! It opens with Hamlet listening to Nat King Cole singing Nature Boy on an old 78. Ophelia is really disturbed and on and on. By the ending I was completely convinced that this was an important version of Hamlet. Remember Nov. 5 & 8 at the Del Mar.

LISA JENSEN LINKS. Lisa writes: “Can the Peter Pan origin-story reboot, Pan, really be as bad as all that? Find out the awful truth this week at Lisa Jensen Online Express ( Also, my next novel makes its first foreign-language sale, and read all about a beautiful, poignant Chinese film you should put in your Netflix queue like no.Don’t miss the powerful new doc on the courageous Malala Yousafzai, He Named Me Malala..”

Lisa has been writing film reviews and columns for Good Times since 1975.


STEVE JOBS. By now most of the world should know that Steve Jobs was a nasty, focussed, driven, genius. We know too that his inventions have really changed the world and how we communicate. This film starring Michael Fassbinder as Jobs, Kate Winslet as his enabler, Seth Rogen and Jeff Daniels in their usual stereotyped parts, is relentless. It’s all negative, fast paced, and it’s more or less a history lesson about the Apple tech-business behind the scenes. All in all it’s a fine film, but don’t expect to leave the theatre being happy.

VICTORIA. This is more of a cinema feat than it is a great film. It’s two hours and 18 minutes long and was shot all in one take!!! No cuts, no breaks, like only a few others in film history. You go to see it as an achievement not as a dramatic, or exciting film. Yet because of its frantic pacing and no room for mistakes it becomes an amazing grabbing experience. It’s about a young girl who gets tricked into joining a group before, during and after a robbery plus shoot out. It takes place in Berlin. They shot it three times, there was no script the actors improvised their lines as it happened..and it’s nowhere near as great or as tense as it could have been. Hitchcock and others have made one take films, and did it better.

THE INTERN. Robert DeNiro does his quirky, cute, funny old man role in this feel good comedy. Anne Hathaway does almost eaactly a role reversal of what her co-star Meryl Streep did in The Devil Wears Prada (2006). There’s a lot of ageism, truth, and predictability in this feel good flick but it’s fun…even if you’re old. Believe me.

BEASTS OF NO NATION. This was the film to see!!! It lasted about six days at the Nick. UCSC graduate Cary Fukunaga has again directed an excellent and important film. I keep thinking about it as being “Shakespearian”. A “King” who deals with conscience, ethics, revolt, deceit, and the love and admiration of a young follower. It’s an unnamed tribal –civil war in Africa starring Idris Elba as the “King” and Abraham Attah as Aga, his believer. Yes it is bloody and very graphic at moments, but it’s only a film. Go see it if you like great films. Wikipedia says this… “Abraham Attah (born 2000/2001) is a Ghanaian actor. He made his feature film debut in Beasts of No Nation (2015). For his leading role of child soldier Agu, Attah was awarded the Marcello Mastroianni Award at the 72nd Venice International Film Festival”

BRIDGE OF SPIES. Tom Hanks is the big draw for this Russian – German – American spy story. The Nick was packed all opening weekend. Mark Rylance (from Wolf Hall on PBS) plays a Russian “Spy” and is great. It’s all about the cold war,1957-1962, Berlin, USA spy pilot Gary Powers, secret negotians and it’s all directed by Steven Speilberg. That means it’s fast paced, not too demanding/shallow/easy to follow/ some jokes/some tears/ and a happy ending of course. You’ll like it, everybody does.

99 HOMES. Michael Shannon has never been more mean or terrifying than he is in 99 Homes.The film gets dreary half way through but it deals with the 2008 housing market crash and how cruel, dishonest Wall Street, savings and loans, banks, real estate dealers used to be…and some still are. It’s Shannon’s film. Go see it unless you’ve ever had trouble with real estate deals.

HE NAMED ME MALALA.It’s a soul stirring documentary about Malala Yousafzai, a teen ager who was shot in the face and went on to win the Nobel Prize. She is amazing and arresting and the film doesn’t make her quite human. She’ll probably be a Saint even though the film does tell us hse likes Brad Pitt. It’s dull and too one sided but do see it if you have doubts about whether there’s any hope for today’s teen agers.

FREEHELD. Julianne Moore, Ellen Page and Michael Shannon play two lesbians and their true friend in this dull, dry, stiff unfeeling drama about equal rights for same sex partners in New Jersey 2007. Recent Supreme Court decisions date this achievement, and the similarities between the New Jersey Board of Freeholders (supervisors) will remind you of our all male county supervisors all too much. It just lacks heart and soul or excitement.

THE WALK. If you saw the brilliant documentary about Phillipe Petit walking a tight rope between NYC’s Twin Towers you don’t need to see this Hollywood version. (much like The Everest film versus Meru) Joseph Gordon-Levitt adds a pretty bad French accent to an awfully cute, fun-filled script. I checked my watch several times and if you skip the first 60 minutes you’ll be into the almost real tension of the WALK itself. It was 140 feet between the towers, in case you forgot. I watched it in 3D and got the hoped for thrill about three times…but actually before the walk started, just when they’d drop something…or pause when they shouldn’t. See it if you have the spare time.

CRIMSON PEAK. Once again I’m on the opposite side of the reviews. Rotten Tomatoes gave this a 69 % rating!! Jessica Chastain does a victorian, haunted near-witch role, Mia Wasikowska is her usual blonde wide eyed innocent, Tom Hiddleston spends most of the film figuring out just what role he is playing. It’s a Guillermo del Toro production and is gorgeous, but really tiring. No subtle surprises, no new suspense, just ghosts, and pretty costumes designed by Kate Hawley. Not our local talented Kate Hawley (I asked her). You could rent it, but not for Halloween…it’s not scary enough!!!

PAN. I mentioned to some film fan friends before I saw this mess that I’d never read such bad reviews of a major release as Pan got…and deserved. It is supposed to be a prequel to the too familiar Peter Pan story and tells of Peter and his American FRIEND Captain Hook!! Hugh Jackman as Blackbeard and Rooney Mara do what they can with such a shabby script, but it is extra shabby, and undecipherible to a fault. I won’t even try to explain the plot, I couldn’t understand any five minutes of it. It is bloody, evil, and has little or no meaning for existing. DO NOT ATTEND!



BLACK MASS. Now our very own and only Santa Cruz- born-movie star Adam Scott can shorten the degrees of separation to Kevin Bacon. Adam has an almost non-speaking role (with mustache) as Bacon’s FBI assistant Robert Fitzpatrick. This saga of the very real true life monster/gangster “Whitey” Bulger stars Johnny Depp in one of the very best screen roles in his career. It also stars Benedict Cumberbatch doing a great Boston accent as Whitey’s brother. Full of violence, this film is apparently really accurate. Read last week’s New Yorker (Sept. 21st) for even more about Whitey. There was an earlier documentary (2014) titled “Whitey” details at . What’s odd is that the Rotten Tomatoes website has removed Adam’s name and role from the credits (it was there) but you can still see a list of all his works at IMDB.

SICARIO. Remember Javier Bardem the ruthless assassin in “No Country for Old Men”? Well Benicio Del Toro almost outdoes him in Sicario. Emily Blunt tries her best to act like a Federal agent (FBI) assigned to shady drug deals along the Mexico-El Paso border. Josh Brolin is the seasoned government agent who’s trying to stop the Cocaine, pot, drug trade being tunneled into the USA. It does a great job depicting the politics (ours and Mexico’s ) and shady acts that both sides deal with every day in this ongoing war. It’s an unusual action film, go if you like action films with a hint of truth.

THE MARTIAN. This Hollywood Matt Damon starring film is like George Clooney and in Gravity. It’s about Damon being left behind on Mars by his team mates (Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, and Michael Pena). Chiwetal Ejiofor and Jeff Daniels are the NASA, Pasadena JPL business men in charge. It drags in spots and the FX look like they stole them from “2001”. Matt Damon is just too cute and funny and extraordinary to be real, But go see it. You’ll stay awake just to see how it all works out. It’s tense near the end but the ending itself is corney.

EVEREST. What a cast!!! Jake Gyllenhaal, Josh Brolin, Robin Wright, Keira Knightly, Emily Watson, and Sam Worthington. The problem is that with all the grunting, straining, climbing and white-outs you can’t tell one from another. If you saw and liked Meru this film is a downer and can’t compare with reality. Everest is a 3D Hollywood attempt at showing how hard it is to commit to climbing…and living. The odd thing is that Everest is mostly about climbing DOWN the mointain while Meru was about climbing UP. It’s exciting, grim, and people die.

Go warned, it’s not real.

GRANDMA. It must be some of the same critics that liked Queen Of Earth think that Lili Tomlin is great and that this is a good movie. Not me. I thought that every line Tomlin spoke was fake and poorly delivered. I liked her much better as Ernestine at the switchboard on Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In tv show.

MAZE RUNNER: The Scorch Trials. I liked the first Maze Runner. Mostly I liked the MAZE itself. Huge sliding walls crushing anybody without proper timing between them. This new movie has no MAZE walls at all. Just a bunch of Hollywood type teen agers running through basements and parking garages trying to escape the evil Queen…who, oddly enough is played by Partricia Clarkson the ditz in Learning to Drive. Don’t even watch this at a friend’s house who Netflixed it!

KZSC 88.1 FM or live online at

UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE. Each and every Tuesday from 7:00-8:00 p.m. I host Universal Grapevine on KZSC 88.1 fm. or on your computer, (live only or archived for two weeks… (See next paragraph) and go to WWW.KZSC.ORG. County Supervisor John Leopold and I co-host the bi-annual KZSC Pledge Drive on Oct. 27. Davis Banta and April Bennett from SideReal Theatre discuss their new play on November 3, then Scott Griffin from The Del Mar- Nickelodeon theatre group talks about local movie business. Shmuel Thaler and Wallace Baine discuss their new Gail Rich Awards book on November 17, those guys are followed by Dr. Shawna Riddle giving us Holiday health advice and common sense about vaccinations. Ellen Primack from the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music guests on Nov. 14 to talk about renovating the Civic Auditorium. After Ellen, Bill Weigel reveals the issues and problems with the proposed Monterey Downs development. The winners from Bookshop Santa Cruz’s Young Writers Contest read their entries on Dec.1st. Later on, UCSC Chancellor George Blumenthal talks about being Chancellor on December 15. Do remember, any and all suggestions for future programs are more than welcome so tune in, and keep listening. Email me always at

NEW UNIVERSAL GRAPEVINE ARCHIVE FEATURE. Stuff changes at KZSC a lot. If you missed 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.

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, Anita Monga, Mark Wainer, Judy Johnson-Darrow, Wendy Mayer-Lochtefeld, Rachel Goodman, George Newell, Tubten Pende, Gina Marie Hayes, Rebecca Ronay-Hazleton, Miriam Ellis, Deb Mc Arthur, The Great Morgani on Street performing, and Paul Whitworth on Krapps Last Tape. Jodi McGraw on Sandhills, Bruce Daniels on area water problems. Mike Pappas on the Olive Connection, Sandy Lydon on County History. Paul Johnston on political organizing, Rick Longinotti on De-Sal. Dan Haifley on Monterey Bay Sanctuary, Dan Harder on Santa Cruz City Museum. Sara Wilbourne on Santa Cruz Ballet Theatre. Brian Spencer on SEE Theatre Co. Paula Kenyon and Karen Massaro on MAH and Big Creek Pottery. Carolyn Burke on Edith Piaf. Peggy Dolgenos on Cruzio. Julie James on Jewel Theatre Company. Then there’s Pat Matejcek on environment, Nancy Abrams and Joel Primack on the Universe plus Nina Simon from MAH, Rob Slawinski, Gary Bascou, Judge Paul Burdick, John Brown Childs, Ellen Kimmel, Don Williams, Kinan Valdez, Ellen Murtha, John Leopold, Karen Kefauver, Chip Lord, Judy Bouley, Rob Sean Wilson, Ann Simonton, Lori Rivera, Sayaka Yabuki, Chris Kinney, Celia and Peter Scott, Chris Krohn, David Swanger, Chelsea Juarez…and that’s just since January 2011.

QUOTES. “Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons”, Woody Allen. “I wish that dear Karl could have spent more time acquiring capital instead of merely writing about it”, Jenny Marx. “Having a little inflation is like being a little bit pregnant“, Leon Henderson.


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Deep Cover by Tim Eagan.

Posted in Weekly Articles | Comments Off on October 13 – November 3, 2015

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