Santa Cruz Good Times

Tuesday
Sep 23rd
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Buz Worthy

buzzThe Santa Cruz journalism scene would not have been as contentious, creative, or subversive in the 1970s and ‘80s without Buz Bezore. And it wouldn’t have been nearly as much fun. When Buz sauntered off to the newsroom in the Great Beyond last week, Santa Cruz lost a little piece of itself.

I met Buz years before either of us landed a job in the newspaper biz, when we were both students at UCSC. We had a two-quarter, multi-media class together at College V (now Porter) called The ‘20s and ‘30s in America; we read Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Dos Passos and Gertrude Stein, and we watched a lot of movies in class—Busby Berkeley musicals, crime melodramas, screwball comedies.

I didn’t know Buz really well, but I remember at the end of the class (back in the touchy-feely days when students could make up their own finals), he and I were the only ones who chose to write papers on the movies. My topic was comparing the top box-office stars between the two decades as some sort of cultural barometer. His topic was gangster movies. Years later, as I recall, he bought an old, vintage pinstripe suit at the Goodwill for some formal event, and was delighted to find a small bullet hole in the back of the jacket.

When I first went to work for Good Times at the end of 1975, Buz was already on the payroll as a freelancer, writing a live music column, but as freelancers, our paths rarely crossed. In those bygone days, Santa Cruz alternative journalim was in its infancy. The daily Santa Cuz Sentinel was considered too conservative, and Buz quickly decided that the entertainment-oriented GT (whose motto at the time was “lighter than air”) was not alternative enough for him.

Largely under Buz’s instigation, the first in a series of alternative alternative weeklies began to take shape, starting with the original paper known as the Santa Cruz Weekly. (A spiritual heir of the old Sundaz rag that I used to read with such relish as a student up on the hill.) It wasn’t until Buz started popping up at Nickelodeon press screenings in connection with the Weekly that he and I became friends

Over the years, The Weekly begat the Santa Cruz Express, begat the Independent, begat Taste, begat the Santa Cruz Metro. Buz was the editor through most of these incarnations, each of which was dedicated (tacitly or otherwise) to knocking GT off the map. And as volatile an editor as he was to work for (and those stories are legion), he and I were always friends—even though I continued to work for “the enemy” throughout our parallel jouranalistic careers.

One year, the Express (I think it was) published an April Fool’s issue lampooning GT and everyone in it. (It was called Goon Times.)I opened it with trepidation, fearing the worst, only to find out there wasn’t a mean word about me in the whole issue. In retrospect, I might have felt a bit left-out, but as a thin-skinned baby journalist at the time, I was enormously grateful!

In the ‘80s and ‘90s, Art Boy and I used to host Oscar night parties for local media folks and other celebrants, and Buz and his longtime-partner, Christina Waters, were always at the top of the A-List. We ordered pizzas, kept the champagne flowing, and staked serious cash money in our annual Oscar pool. Buz was famous for coming in with the fewest correct predictions—usually in direct proportion to how loudly he proclaimed that, this year, he was going to win! Most of the time, he went home with the consolation prize, an old Oscar issue of Mad Magazine that was passed around among the low-scorers year after year. But it never interfered with his bonhommie as the evening played out.

Even years after we stopped hosting those bacchanals, and after Buz had severed the last of his ties to the local journalism scene, if we happened to run into each other at the Live Oak Farm Market, or a movie, we’d still spend an hour yakking, catching up. As if it had only been a couple of days, not years, since we’d seen each other last.

Maybe it was because I never worked for Buz full-time that we stayed friends for so long. (Okay, full disclosure: I did occasaionally write for his various papers under a nom de plume.) He pushed buttons to get results, but he was also an editor who knew how to inspire and/or bully his writers to do their best work. And everything I pretend to know about writing catchy headlines and slugs, I stole, oops, I mean learned from Buz.

Alternative journalism in this town has lost one of its major spark plugs, instigators, and agents provocateur. It would have been a much poorer scene without him.  Thanks for everything, Buz!

Comments (1)Add Comment
Correction
written by Fact Check, March 20, 2014
The Independent preceded the Santa Cruz Weekly. The Indy was published in the late '70s and the Weekly was c. 1980.

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Catwalk on the Wild Side

Meet the artists and designers behind this year’s edition of FashionART, SantaCruz’s most outrageous fashion show

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Watch List

From Google to the government to data brokers, why your privacy is now a thing of the past

 

The Peace Equation

Sunday is the United Nations’ International Day of Peace, a global peace-building day when nations, leaders, governments, communities and individuals are invited to end conflict, cease hostilities, creat 24 hours of non-violence and promote goodwill. Monday is Autumn equinox as the Sun enters Libra (right relations with all of life). The Soul Year now begins. We work in the dark part of the year (Persephone underground) preparing for the new light of winter solstice. Tuesday to Wednesday is the Virgo new moon festival. We know two things about peace. “The absence of war does not signify peace.” And “Peace is an ongoing process.” In its peace-building emphasis, the UNIDP, through education, attempts to create a “culture of peace, understanding and tolerance”. Esoterically we are reminded of the peace equation: “Intentions for goodwill (and acting upon this intention) create right relations with all earth’s kingdoms which create (the ongoing process of) peace on earth.” At noon on Sunday, in all time zones, millions of participating groups will observe a moment of silence for peace on earth. Bells will ring, candles will be lit, and doves released as the New Group of World Servers recite the Great Invocation (humanity’s mantram of direction). To connect with others around the world see www.cultureofpeace.org    Let us join together with the mother (Virgo). Goodwill to all, let peace prevail on earth. The dove is the symbol for the day.
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Sweet Treats

Local cannabis bakers win award for cookies

 

What fashion trends do you want to see, or not see?

Santa Cruz  |  High School Guidance Counselor

 

Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

Santa Clara Wine Trail

My memories of growing up in England include my mother pouring port after Sunday dinner—and sometimes a glass of sherry before dinner. My family didn’t drink much wine back then, but we certainly made up for it with the port and sherry.