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Last Night DIY Celebration Returns for Third Year
by Last Night DIY (info [at]
Monday Dec 3rd, 2007 12:05 PM
The celebration is not merely a party, but a celebration of the power that we all have when we gather together to make something happen. Not just a street party, but a party to reclaim our streets.

Decentralized celebration still refuses permission to bring spontaneous parade to Santa Cruz streets

(photo by ~Bradley)

Santa Cruz, CA, December 1st, 2007: New Year's 2007, the Last Night DIY Parade and Street Party will take over the streets. This year the do-it-yourself, grassroots celebration returns with even more ambitions plans that include a parade, street party, entertainment, and performers well into the night. Organizers hope to attract musicians, street theater performers, puppet shows, square dancers, and circus acts to take over downtown for a whole evening of DIY adventure and entertainment.

In your near future: a New Year’s eve crammed with jugglers, clowns, samba drums, pirates, bikes, and marching bands. The usual city- and corporate-sponsored New Year’s eve event? Hardly. This is Last Night Santa Cruz, a people’s parade and street party. It is a do-it-yourself celebration that goes beyond the now-defunct First Night event, canceled three years ago due to money problems.

Two years ago, the celebration erupted into the national headlines when it was discovered that Santa Cruz Police had violated the civil liberties of organizers by spying on community meetings for months and gathering information about the group and other unrelated activities.

This year, the celebration returns with an unabashedly defiant point-of-view. A manifesto published on the Last Night DIY website states, "Last Night is a decentralized, collective, open, public New Year's Eve celebration, a completely organic event, organized and put on at a grassroots-level." DIY stands for do-it-yourself and the celebration boasts no city-sponsorship and no corporate donors.

The Last Night website ( states, "The parade is not merely a celebration, but a celebration of the power that we all have when we gather together to make something happen. Not just a street party, but a party to reclaim our streets."

This year on New Year's Eve, the celebration will meet at sunset near the Saturn Cafe parking lot on Pacific Ave.

pointinghand.gifAn Open Letter to Our Community

We want to invite you to a meeting to help plan this year's downtown New Year's Eve celebration. Wanna help? It's the Last Night planning meeting & potluck (bring breakfast food this Tuesday). We are brainstorming this year's celebration, and there is all sorts of room and desire for music and politics, guerrilla artists and art, intrigue and adventure.

We invite you to come Tuesday night 6pm -- corner of First Avenue and Atlantic Avenue:

Tuesday Dec 4th 6pm Tuesday Dec 11th 6pm Tuesday Dec 18th 6pm Thursday Dec 27th 6pm

We want to help inspire a DIY New Year's Parade and street party this year. But mostly, we want the opportunity to work with other awesome people who want to help make this happen. Leave your undercover cop (and for that matter, your internal policeman) at home.

Will you join us this Tuesday?

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by wildegurl
Thursday Dec 27th, 2007 9:39 PM
As part of the Last Night Celebration, there is going to be a Pillow Fight!
It is BYOP (Bring Your Own Pillow). Bonus points for bringing feather pillows!

Downtown Santa Cruz - Pacific Avenue
Check the Events Board that will be on the corner of Pacific and Cooper Streets. The Events Board will have all the info for what is happening, who is playing, when and where.

Also happening are these interactive events:

• Sidewalk Chalk Art

• Blow bubbles

• A Memorial Board

• What do you want to let go of?
Write down what you want to let go of so that you can start fresh in the new year with no lingering bad feelings. There will be a creative way of letting you bad feelings disappear (shhhh.... it's a secret!).
by Last Night DIY
(info [at] Saturday Dec 29th, 2007 3:13 PM

Last Night Santa Cruz

Who Makes This Happen

You do. I do. We all make it happen. It is truly grassroots, a people's parade that spontaneously erupts downtown on New Year's Eve. It is our answer to humdrum pre-digested city-sponsored and corporate infotainment. There is all sorts of room and desire for music and politics, guerilla artists and art, intrigue and adventure.

How did this happen? Check out Last Night History.

Who's In This Year?

Nothing draws a crowd like a crowd. So in that spirit, we'll list any group who's talking seriously about joining us. If you want to be listed (or if you're irritated that we listed you), add or remove yourself with the "edit page" button to the left.

In these last few meeting/potlucks it was exciting to see it all come together.... it's going to be the biggest and best yet! Those of you who aren't coming to the meetings will be surprised.

by Ben3
Saturday Dec 29th, 2007 3:15 PM
Bad link above. Check out Last Night History here...
by bad linker
Saturday Dec 29th, 2007 3:19 PM

Last Night History

Where did this come from?

A Brief History of Last Night (and Some Great Local History)

Last Night started in 2005 as a response to the implosion of the city-sponsored First Night celebration.  That year, thousands of people came out to participate in the people’s parade that marched raucously up Pacific Avenue. The parade represented a broad cross-section of the community and was high-energy and peaceful.

Earlier that year, the Santa Cruz Police Department deployed undercover officers to infiltrate parade planning meetings for three months. Investigations after the spying scandal came to light, revealed a pattern of abuses, including monitoring unrelated groups and other first amendment activities and compiling police dossiers of organizers. The city's own police auditor determined that police had violated the civil rights of parade organizers. After six months of effort, community, activist, and ACLU involvement, the city put in place a weak policy to curb some of the abuses of police power.  (See Police Spying Aftermath below.)

In 2006, the Last Night DIY Celebration concluded with a rollicking drum and dance party that took over Santa Cruz' de facto public square at Cooper and Pacific Ave.

 Less well-known is Santa Cruz' history of do-it-yourself celebrations and the police response to them.

On New Year's Eve 1994, riot cops moved in to clear downtown streets 10 minutes after midnight.  The resulting melee between police and celebrants resulted in a riot that shattered storefronts up and down Pacific Ave.  Police officials responsible for clearing the streets were later disciplined after investigations revealed that they had escalated the situation.  In response to this violence, the city sponsored a First Night franchise the following New Year.  Years later this police riot was used to justify spying on Last Night organizers, and is still used today (sans context) to justify police concern about historically roudy holidays.

A 1972 parade, following a County Board of Supervisors meeting where a resolution was adopted to stop the Vietnam War, resulted in a police riot in which officers beat demonstrators and bystanders with batons.

According to Sandy Lydon, the History Dude:

Following the meeting, the assembled multitude decided to hold a candlelight march down Pacific Avenue. Supervisor Harry and his wife Kay joined the parade, and flanked by the tac squad, the parade moved peacefully down Pacific Avenue.

 To this day no one is certain what started the violence, but Harry remembered watching the officers beating a man with their batons in front of the St. George Hotel. "The guy was on the ground and three officers just whomped on him for awhile before leaving him there on the sidewalk," he said. The order was then given to clear the streets and officers ran along Pacific Avenue, swinging clubs and knocking down demonstrators and bystanders.

This parade is an impromptu 1908 July 4th celebration. 



Police Spying Aftermath

In October 2005, Santa Cruz police learned about the planned grassroots New Year's Eve parade. Without attempting to contact parade organizers, SCPD chose to send two undercover officers to the planning meetings held in a private residence to learn everything they could about the group and the event. In the internal investigation, they claim to have been alarmed by what they described as “a defiant tone.”

Though the initial conclusion of undercover officers was that the parade planning group “will be a peaceful gathering” and that they “have nothing to hide,” SCPD made no attempt to contact the group and continued to infiltrate the group for another three months from October to December.

SCPD used their presence at the planning meetings to gather information about other community groups and First Amendment activities taking place..  They used this information to monitor events and tip off other outside agencies.

In the wake of the emerging scandal, the Santa Cruz City Council stonewalled the process showing more concern for the "due process rights" of the police than the civil rights of parade organizers.  Records released after the incident revealed a pattern of abuses, including infiltrating parade organizers, monitoring other unrelated groups and first amendment activities, and compiling dossiers of organizers.  Six months later, after pressure from the community and the ACLU, after the city's own police auditor concluded that police had violated the civil rights of citizens, the city finally put into place a grossly inadequate SCPD policy on police spying.

While the new policy puts some limits on undercover activities, it leaves other police activities unchecked.  Under the new rules, even if you are engaged in legal constitutionally protected first amendment activities, Santa Cruz police will still be able to video and audio record you, listen to your phone calls, read your mail and email, keep notes about your organization, tail you, monitor your website, subscribe to your email lists, and examine membership lists.  The city failed in its promise to pass a policy providing strong protections for first amendment rights

The police spying scandal was covered by local and regional newspapers, TV, radio, and weeklies. San Jose Mercury News, Santa Cruz Sentinel (daily), Watsonville-Pajaronian (daily), Monterey Herald, Contra Costa Times, Metro Santa Cruz (weekly), Santa Cruz Good Times (weekly), Berkeley Daily Planet, Pacifica Radio, Free Speech Radio News, , KUSP FM Central Coast, KZSC FM Santa Cruz, KSCO AM Santa Cruz, KSBW TV Salinas, KPIX TV San Francisco, CBS TV San Francisco, IndyBay Indymedia, and Indymedia Santa Cruz.

For links to media articles, check out the Last Night press secion.

by Robert Norse
Monday Dec 31st, 2007 3:01 PM
In the spirit of giving the SCPD due camera time (their having provided former DIY events with extensive undercover coverage), HUFF (Homeless United for Friendship & Freedom) is gathering at 6:30 PM at the Coffee Roasting Company on Pacific Avenue to initiate a New Year's Eve Copwatch.

Bring your videocamera, audio tape recorder, and high spirits.

For more info go to .

Give your local blueshirt a chance at videofame! Thrill to the sight of SCPD, Sheriff's Deputies, Highway Patrol, and numerous other jurisdictions giving "Triple Fine Zone" citations! Record the charming and colorful police formations--armed and fashionable! Help future historians remember the spiffy uniforms, the well-oiled equipment, the slap of boot on sidewalk!

More info, or to volunteer for a future copwatch, call 423-4833!
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