Plus Letters To the Editor
Santa Cruz has pride in its Pride. As organizers celebrate their 40th annual event this year, they’ve never let our local Pride celebration lose the grassroots, downright neighborly feel that connects it so tightly to the community. San Francisco’s event feels like going to a show. Santa Cruz’s feels like a family picnic.
And what do you know, a picnic is exactly what it started with, as Cat Johnson recounts in this week’s cover story. She lets Santa Cruz Pride co-founder Larry Friedman help us understand what this seemingly innocuous outing meant in the larger cultural context of the time—quite a lot, as it turns out.
There are several stories in this issue examining and celebrating the local LGBTQ community. Besides Johnson’s piece, and a guide to this weekend’s Pride events, Jacob Pierce takes a look at what it means to be transgender in Santa Cruz, spotlighting a group whose experiences and issues are often ignored by the mainstream media. Also, John Laird, who made national headlines in the 1980s as one of the first openly gay mayors elected in the U.S., revisits a piece he wrote a few years ago for GT, to give us some insight into Santa Cruz’s many LGBTQ milestones.
Steve Palopoli | Editor-in-Chief
Welcome Back to Wednesday
Hurray on Wednesday delivery! As a long time SC Weekly reader, I was hugely disappointed to see the merge with Good Times. I always considered Good Times to be a “tourist” version, rather than the more “local” SC Weekly stories. Then when the merger initiated with the wasteful-paper thick version of “Best of,” I stopped reading altogether. Do we really need to publicize the “Best of” at triple the thickness? Pure waste, in my opinion. But advertisers pay for the “free” paper–I do understand.
You’ve made my day on Wednesday with a slicker quality of recycled paper like the SC Weekly. Good choice. Now let’s keep it thin and condensed–no fluff, please.
—P.Morgan | Felton
Out of Touch
It’s unfortunate that, by her own admission, councilmember Comstock hasn’t bothered to engage the homeless population in an attempt to educate herself on the reasons for their increasing population. It also highlights how out of touch the councilwoman is regarding the poorest rung of our citizenry when she states that “car camping’s not illegal in Santa Cruz.” Indeed it is illegal, and poor people who are sleeping in their vehicles are contacted daily by the police. Members of the Take Back Santa Cruz vigilante group that Comstock helped found are all too happy to incessantly spread their underlying anti-homeless rhetoric to every outlet possible. It’s all about s-a-f-e-t-y, they say! Sure it is.
Politicians have been using fear for their own political gain for centuries, and it seems as if both Mrs. Comstock and Mayor Lynn Robinson have figured out how to align themselves with so-called community safety groups, who are using social media to create a homeless/crime hysteria. I wouldn’t expect anything less from these two politicians, who have used a neighborhood clean-up group which was caught both verbally and physically harassing a homeless man during one of their events to market their supposed community involvement on the front page of our local paper. I think that both Mayor Robinson and councilwoman Comstock would better serve our community if they were both forced to live in their cars for a month.
—Name Withheld By Request | Santa Cruz
Wishing I knew him longer
I met Ralph through a mutual friend a few years ago. I ran into him at the health food store shortly after and we kept in touch via email, and when we met we talked about book publishing (he was then working on his now published novel American Maze). He had a great friendly and enthusiastic spirit. We were both from the East Coast (me from Brooklyn he from Jersey) and I had fun relating to a “paisano”. I only wish I kept in touch. I read an email he sent me with his cell phone number and a hearty message to call anytime. Gone too soon.
— James Greene
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HOW BLUE CAN YOU GET The crenelated adobe on Olive Street, photographed against a cloudless sky. Photograph by Abi Jones.
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The poetry open-mic nights held monthly at the Resource Center for Nonviolence are special in one standout way: the energy to keep the microphone active is provided by a stationary bicycle. A poet performs, then gets on the bike and powers the mic for the next poet up. It’s a beautiful thing. At this month’s iteration, anyone interested can attend a poetry/spoken-word workshop before the show, hosted by local poet Queen Jasmeen, a National Slam Poetry champion. The event is free and all ages are welcome.
Shakespeare to Go
The UCSC Theater Arts Shakespeare to Go Troupe will present a condensed adaptation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet at the outdoor amphitheater at the Boulder Creek Library. The event is free, and all ages are welcome. As Shakespeare’s plays were originally performed in the three-story, open-air Globe Theatre, seeing Hamlet in this setting will let audiences experience the production the way the Bard would have wanted it. Shakespeare to Go has been performing creative adaptions of Shakespeare for more than 20 years.
“It takes no compromise to give people their rights.”
— Harvey Milk