Let’s do this thing

“Every time a bell rings,” goes the cheesy old line from “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “an angel gets its wings.”

Well, nowadays, it seems, every time a bell rings — or a light goes on, or a toilet flushes, or a photo of Jessica Simpson photo is downloaded — a blog is born. As the arts reporter, film critic and entertainment editor of the Santa Cruz Sentinel, I should have been a contributing member to the blogosphere long before now. I could say I was waiting for the U.S. population to hit 300 million, but that’s not really true. Let’s just say I’m a late adopter. Heck, I don’t even have a plasma-screen TV yet. Or (cue shameful mumbling) even an iPod.
It’s in this space that I hope to create a running account of a community that — and I don’t this is overstating the case — I truly love. I’ve been saying to anyone who’ll listen that Santa Cruz just isn’t like other places, not in California, not in the U.S. And I’m not talking about the weather.

This culture here, from graybeard surfers to garage software code writers to adventurous artists, is a thing to behold. I’ve been covering it for 15 years and I still find I’ve barely skimmed the surface.

Frankly, I wouldn’t bother with a blog if there were not the promise of dialogue with those in and around Santa Cruz on the subjects of the arts and culture. So, lay it on me. Movies, music, theater. What’s good and what’s not so good?

Speaking of good, it’s Nov. 1 in Santa Cruz, which means the Morning After. Halloween on Pacific Avenue is a big fat hairy deal here (sometimes literally so). The hordes, up to an estimated 20,000, crowded into the downtown area for an all-night street party that was part Burning Man, part Las Vegas streetwalker convention. Taking style points from the infamous Exotic Erotic Ball in San Francisco, the tacky and tasteless costumes brushed shoulders with the old classics and this observer saw lots of very scantily clad people — both dudes and ladies — braving nippy temperatures to show off on the one night of the year everyone wants to show off. Check out our short video of the event.

In past years, it seems, the celebration was more outrageous. Though I think most sane people prefer it over chaos and violence, the heavy police presence, including circling helicopters that gave the whole town a Rodney-King-era LA feel, effected the overall vibe of the evening. Still for people watching (OK, people ogling), it’s the night of the year.

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