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Last night, Elke and I ate dinner at Bad Animal, in Santa Cruz.  This is a cute little hangout – a fine bookstore on one side and a cafe on the other.  The books are classic, thought-provoking works.  The food that is served here is locally-sourced.  The menu is limited to only a few items, but the flavors are usually unique and refined.  For example, last night, we started with toasted homemade bread with warm hummus and moved into a garlicky, broccolini, sweet potato dish.  They have a nice wine selection with a few good beers on tap.  Elke had an ok red wine from Italy.  It paired well with and was greatly enhanced by what we were eating.  I was in a beer-drinking mood.  I had a nutty brown lager.  For some reason, when the weather is cold, I crave good beer.  Before we left Bad Animal, I asked the young man on the book side to recommend a recent book that “rocked his world.”  He eagerly rose to the challenge.  The book he prescribed was, American Pastoral, by Philip Roth.  I bought it.  I’ll read it.  I’ll get back to you with a review.

After dinner at Bad Animal, we went to the Santa Cruz Cinema.  This was formerly the Regal Theater downtown.  When Regal went out of business, new owners bought up the theater.  It has a similar look and feel to the Regal, but it operates with a noticeably lower budget.  There is no longer a person working the outside ticket booth.  The escalator, which used to ferry you up to the first floor, it now turned off (or inoperable).  Tickets and refreshments are sold through a touchscreen installed at the counter.  Many of the recliner seats, one of my favorite things about this theater, are broken or no longer reclining.  Elke and I were two of only three people in the theater…on a Friday night.  It is sad to see the theater industry at such a low.  Our theater experiences in life have been memorable and dear to us.  I imagine that one day in the future, we may be talking about theaters in the same way we talk about drive-ins.

The movie that we saw was Cyrano, with Peter Dinklage, Haley Bennett, and Kelvin Harrison Jr.


Elke and I both give this 4 out of 5 stars.  It’s a classic story of heart-breaking love.  One scene, where Cyrano stands in the shadows below Roxanne’s balcony and speaks to Roxanne as Christian, was breathtaking!  I felt Cyrano’s pain flow through me.  Peter Dinklage is a hunk, full stop.  I am decidedly in the camp of men who love women, but I admit a bit of a man-crush.  Peter’s voice is beautiful.  His eyes are soulful and expressive.  His presence easily matched the electric persona of Roxanne.  This movie, which has seen multiple versions both on stage and in theaters, succeeds because it tells a story that deeply resonates with our shared humanity.