.Opinion August 9, 2017


To paraphrase an observation Mat Weir once made in the pages of GT about ocean lovers, another word for “Beatles fan” might be “everybody.” I mean, I get the Beatles vs. Rolling Stones thing, and I personally was too busy listening to the Velvet Underground in college to even bother to pick a side in that standoff. Still, it’s a fair bet that if someone tells you they don’t have a Beatles song they like, they’re lying. And if they claim they don’t like any bands that were influenced by the Beatles, they’re definitely lying (it would be fair, in such a case, to quote Leonard Cohen’s most brutal lyric to them: “You don’t really care for music, do you?”)

But while we all may exist on some kind of sliding scale of Beatles fandom, there are people who take it to the level of obsession. I hadn’t heard too many of the Beatles conspiracy theories outside of the (in retrospect, disappointingly boring) “Paul is Dead” thing, but in the past few weeks I have been reading up on them and … whoa. Just whoa. A remarkable amount of this glorious madness centers around the cover of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and as such, it’s taken on mythic proportions in the pop-culture consciousness.

That’s why it was so disarmingly surprising to discover that Jann Haworth, one of the two people behind the assembly of that cover’s enduring image, is not some kind of inscrutable rock mystic, but rather a charming, down-to-Earth artist who looks back on the whole thing with a fair amount of amusement, and an even greater amount of skepticism. In honor of the album’s 50th anniversary, she’ll be talking about her work on the cover art this weekend on KPIG, and she was kind enough to tell me the behind-the-scenes story for this week’s issue. I found her insights both entertaining and enlightening; hope you enjoy them, as well.



Read the latest letters to the editor here.

Embrace The Weirdness

I have some thoughts regarding pg. 16 of the 8/2 issue (“What’s in Store”) about how the city is inviting retail expert Robert Gibbs back to take a look at downtown and see how the city can address the retail deficit.

According to the article, in 2011 he advised to make Pacific Avenue a two-way street, increase parking, and put down more signs to direct people. I think parking is definitely an issue, and I hate to try and criticize some sort of retail expert, but I don’t think we need more automobile traffic downtown if we want to increase foot traffic. To address the parking issue, we should use our pre-existing public transportation to herd people around. That way, rather than try to squeeze more parking into the already crowded downtown, we could find a location that has ample parking, and either put a free bus/shuttle/trolley route between there and downtown, or perhaps include a complimentary bus pass with their parking pass, or some other, more cost-effective incentive. To help people find it, put a sign on Highway 1 reading “Downtown Parking” that leads to it.

I hope Gibbs at least doesn’t suggest anything more to increase the automobile traffic downtown. If you want more shoppers, make downtown more aesthetically pleasing, and create an atmosphere that makes them want to visit and explore. Stepping onto Pacific Avenue should be like stepping into a different world, full of color, beauty and variation.

Fighting Santa Cruz’s culture to create this clean, high-class aesthetic the city’s going for is an exercise in futility. It ends up coming off like a McDonald’s—still dirty, but now dull and sterilized besides. Embrace its weirdness, market Santa Cruz as a one-of-a-kind, untamable phenomenon so remarkable it deserves a place on every bucket list, and the people will come.

Heather Roegiers | Santa Cruz

Fur Sure

I was delighted to see the article about fostering and adopting kittens in this week’s GT (“Kitten Flippers,” 8/2). Having done this myself, I can say that this year the “kitten season” (spring/ summer) has been especially challenging, with even more fur babies than usual needing extra TLC to thrive and find homes.

I also wanted to add another source of fostering help that’s particularly focused on the youngest of kittens: Orphaned “bottle babies” that aren’t old enough to feed themselves. Project Purr recently sponsored an orphan kitten class with the local SPCA, and created free “Kits for Kittens” to help people learn how to take care of the teeniest of kittens—which have the greatest needs, because they’re the most helpless. But, the best part of fostering these kittens is that they are very people friendly and make wonderful additions to their forever homes.

These free kits include a nursing bottle, samples of kitten formula and food, and detailed information about taking care of young kittens. The kits can be picked up at a half-dozen places around the county, from Watsonville to Ben Lomond. In Santa Cruz, two convenient spots are the Santa Cruz SPCA office on Chanticleer Avenue and Project Purr’s “Rescued Treasures” store downtown on Front Street.

For more details, contact Project Purr or the Santa Cruz SPCA.

Here’s to humans helping animals!

Barbara Booth

Santa Cruz


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Serious musicians should play kazoos more. Carolyn Sills Combo used the surefire gimmick on Saturday, Aug. 5, at the 25th anniversary party for Jeff “Ralph Anybody” Juliano. Sills called Juliano up to the stage to sing Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire,” and the band created a faux horn section at the Second Harvest Food Bank fundraiser. Juliano thanked all four acts, pretending he hadn’t earned the support. “We’ve been getting all your love and support all these years,” headliner Sherry Austin said, “so thank you, Ralph.”



ABC’s revival of The Gong Show, which premiered over the summer, already featured one Santa Cruz County musician, ukulele player Tiki King. On Thursday, Aug. 3, it featured another in Dave Enns, a local pastor who plays something he calls “Horn Music.” Enns straps bicycle horns of various pitches all over his limbs and squeezes them, one by one, in renditions of familiar tunes. UCSC alumni Andy Samberg and Maya Rudolph watched on as guest judges, in what has turned out to be a surprisingly Santa Cruz-centric show.


“The thing about the Beatles–they were a damn hot little band. No matter what you hear, even stuff that we thought was really bad–it doesn’t sound so bad now. Because it’s the Beatles.”

-Paul McCartney


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