For a place that was a peaceful escape from the stresses of daily life, Kiva Retreat House has been home to some major stress lately.

Last week, therapists at the blissful clothing-optional hot tub, sauna and massage retreat on Water Street were told it was closing, after 35 years of business. Then they were told it was going to stay open. Then it closed Sunday.

There’s now a sign on the front door saying “Closed Untill [sic] Futher Notice,” which we take to mean that there are no massages or tubs available, and no way to get to the magical, well-kept zen-style gardens.

River Maximuk, the retreat’s manager for the past 12 years, says that owner Jeff Wolf wasn’t paying for necessary repairs to the tubs and sauna, so Maximuk laid out $72,000 to keep the place running and hasn’t been paid back. He says he and his wife Ashley were working without being paid in the hopes of keeping the retreat running.

Wolf didn’t respond to a request for an interview by press time. We’d like to know what the future will bring for a place that is the last of its kind in Santa Cruz, a real “only in Santa Cruz” communal gathering spot.


After selling out three nights in Chicago to celebrate their 50th anniversary last week, the surviving members of the Grateful Dead added two Silicon Valley shows at the 67,000-capacity, sometimes scorching hot Levi’s Stadium on June 27 and 28. Fans had to apply for a lottery at to get a chance to pay $59.50-$199.50 (plus a $32.15 service fee) to see Phil Lesh, Bob Weir, Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart backed by guests Bruce Hornsby and Trey Anastasio.

“The service fee is more than we used to pay for tickets,” says former Deadhead Diane Bourdet of Ben Lomond, who has decided not to go to what is supposedly the band’s last hurrah.

Instead, she’s going to the annual Dead Meetup held in movie theaters across the country on May 4, which is screening an Alpine Valley concert from July 19, 1989. Tickets for the 7 p.m. movie at Santa Cruz’s Regal 9 are $12.50 with a $2 service charge. There were only a few seats left at press time.

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