Culture

Thumbnail image for My Buddy Has a Playmate

My Buddy Has a Playmate

by Judi Curry 04.17.2014 Books & Poetry

By Judi Curry

My 13 year old Golden is having some hip issues

Trying to watch him walk down the stairs brings out the crying tissues.

He doesn’t seem to be in much pain and he “smiles” all the time,

Except when he tries to stand up and then you know he’s not fine.

He just helped me “dog sit” my daughter’s big dog,

Who really is a cross between a kangaroo and a frog.

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Thumbnail image for Poem of the Day: “notes from Hillcrest/one year after suicide attempt” by Will Falk

Poem of the Day: “notes from Hillcrest/one year after suicide attempt” by Will Falk

by Will Falk 04.17.2014 Arts

4/16/14

By Will Falk

I am looking for a pick-axe
a long one with a thick handle
one to chip my way
through the asphalt covering
everything

I want to hear crickets
tall grasses at my heels
the shift of sand
the suck of mud

starlight

this is what I think about
wandering San Diego at night

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Thumbnail image for New Chicano Park Muralists Are Honored to Paint in the Park

New Chicano Park Muralists Are Honored to Paint in the Park

by Brent E. Beltrán 04.16.2014 Arts

44th annual Chicano Park Day Celebration this Saturday

By Brent E. Beltrán

The Chicano Park Steering Committee and thousands of their friends will be celebrating the 44th anniversary of the takeover of Chicano Park this Saturday in San Diego’s Barrio Logan. The theme of the celebration is “La Tierra Es De Quien La Trabaja: The Land Belongs To Those Who Work It.” 

Last year I wrote:

“On April 22, 1970 a rag tag group of artists, activists, and community members joined forces and took over the land underneath the San Diego-Coronado Bridge in Barrio Logan. At the time, construction was about to begin on the building of a California Highway Patrol substation. For many years, residents of Barrio Logan had been promised a park. Seeing the pending creation of a CHP substation was the straw that broke this barrio’s back.”

Every year the community of Barrio Logan, as well as Chicanas and Chicanos from all over, and our friends and allies, all come together to celebrate the takeover of the area underneath the San Diego-Coronado Bridge.

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Thumbnail image for Poem of the Day:  “Bluebird” by Charles Bukowski

Poem of the Day: “Bluebird” by Charles Bukowski

by Anna Daniels 04.16.2014 Books & Poetry

The poet’s secret pact

By Anna Daniels

Brent Beltrán is the Wednesday editor du jour, so I gave him a heads up yesterday that Bukowski’s poem would be ready to post today. Brent shot back an email with “In honor of Bukowski I’ll get blindingly drunk and bang my head on the keyboard in hopes that a poem appears on my computer screen.” I sense that the man who wrote “Poetry is what happens when nothing else can” would approve of the homage.

Much of Charles Bukowski’s poetry expresses his contempt of hypocrisy, willful stupidity, gratuitous judgments, posturings of superiority and the easy sell-out.

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Thumbnail image for Entering a New Age

Entering a New Age

by Ernie McCray 04.15.2014 Columns

By Ernie McCray

When it comes to age I’m about to turn another page. I’ll be 76 if I’m still on the scene on April 18th, 2014.

Life, on the whole, has been very good to me. Somehow, I’ve managed, in my time, as I’ve evolved as a human being, to let the good moments override the moments when I’ve wanted to scream or just cold-cock some redneck yokel out of his misery into another galaxy or burn down the “system.” The hypocrisy of it all has always bothered me immensely.

So I just ride the high from the pretty moments, like the one the other day when Maria and I, on a little getaway, were walking along the main drag in Julian, enjoying a soothing sunny day, fully at ease with ourselves and with each other. While strolling through a group of boys, in front of a market, one of them said to me, “You’re tall,” to which I replied, “Yes, I am that” as we stepped through the threshold of the little store. “Can you dunk?” he continued. “At one time. Not anymore.” “Too old?” “You got it.”

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Thumbnail image for Poem of the Day: “Elegy” by Jon Sands

Poem of the Day: “Elegy” by Jon Sands

by Anna Daniels 04.15.2014 Books & Poetry

Poet as memorist

By Anna Daniels

It’s National Poetry Month and readers have been sending in their requests for poems and poets. Securing publication rights for the poem of the day has been challenging, which is one of the reasons why I am using videos. Many of you have been sending videos links which means I have enjoyed hours and hours of total immersion in all kinds of poems by all kinds of poets. You have introduced me to poets I never knew about or poems by familiar poets that I had never read before. Don’t stop! Thanks to Anna Prouty for suggesting Elegy.

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Thumbnail image for Build Us a Stadium or We’ll Shoot This Puppy – Here Comes the Chargers ‘Deal’

Build Us a Stadium or We’ll Shoot This Puppy – Here Comes the Chargers ‘Deal’

by Doug Porter 04.14.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

He doesn’t speak for anyone, UT-San Diego sports columnist Kevin Acee says, and he won’t be heard by anyone. Thus, his page-one-worthy column about the likely scenario for a new football stadium ended up on page D-4 in Sunday’s paper.

The story was actually posted on Friday afternoon online, and its significance becomes apparent when you realize that nearly 150 people had posted comments before the dead tree edition hit the streets.

The Chargers stadium scenario story is supposed to be nothing more than informed speculation, of course. Except that (I’d bet) it’s not. Call it a trial balloon, floated in the wake of a ‘preliminary’ meeting between team representatives and the mayor’s minions last Wednesday.

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Thumbnail image for Poem of the Day:  “Piss Factory” by Patti Smith

Poem of the Day: “Piss Factory” by Patti Smith

by Anna Daniels 04.14.2014 Books & Poetry

“I will never faint I refuse to lose, I refuse to fall down”

By Anna Daniels

Patti Smith, the queen of punk and one of the few women who was even able to make a name for herself in the punk scene, is now in her late 60′s, still writing, singing and politically active. Piss Factory was one of her first recordings, released in 1974.

Sixteen and time to pay off
I got this job in a piss factory inspecting pipe
Forty hours thirty-six dollars a week
But it’s a paycheck, Jack.
It’s so hot in here, hot like Sahara
You could faint in the heat…
The rest of the poem here.

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Thumbnail image for Barrio Logan: Arts and Culture

Barrio Logan: Arts and Culture

by Brent E. Beltrán 04.13.2014 Arts

Film by Media Arts Center’s Teen Producers Project
Intro by Brent E. Beltrán

With the ballot battle looming over the future of Barrio Logan, due to Maritime Industry’s refusal to accept the Barrio Logan Community Plan update, I feel it is necessary to give voters of the city of San Diego a little history of Barrio Logan and highlight the issues residents face. In June, eligible San Diego voters will go to the polls to vote on whether to approve the community plan or reject it.

Over the next few weeks I will post a video on Sundays that highlights the community of Barrio Logan and the beauty within San Diego’s most historic barrio.

This week’s video, Barrio Logan: Arts and Culture, is about how arts and culture are an integral part of Barrio Logan’s identity.

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Thumbnail image for The Drug War Fuels Mass Deportation of Nonviolent Migrants

The Drug War Fuels Mass Deportation of Nonviolent Migrants

by Source 04.13.2014 Government

250,000 people have been deported for drug offenses in the last 6 years.

By Daniel Robelo / AlterNet

The drug war has increasingly become a war against migrant communities. It fuels racial profiling, border militarization, violence against immigrants, intrusive government surveillance and, especially, widespread detentions and deportations. 

Media and politicians have tried to convince us that everyone who gets deported is a violent criminal, a terrorist or a drug kingpin. But a newly released, first-of-its-kind report shatters that notion, showing instead that the majority (some two-thirds) of those deported last year were guilty of minor, nonviolent offenses – including thousands deported for nothing more than possessing small quantities of drugs, typically marijuana.

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Thumbnail image for Poem of the Day:  “Guantanamo” by Shadab Zeest Hashmi

Poem of the Day: “Guantanamo” by Shadab Zeest Hashmi

by Source 04.13.2014 Books & Poetry

By Shadab Zeest Hashmi/ UniVerse

A guard forces you to urinate on yourself
Another barks out louder than his dog
the names of your sisters
who live in the delicate nest
of a ruby-throated hummingbird
Each will be a skeleton he says

Was there someone who gave you
seven almonds for memory,
a teaspoon of honey every morning?

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Thumbnail image for Poem of the Day: “Chiaroscuro” by Karen Kenyon

Poem of the Day: “Chiaroscuro” by Karen Kenyon

by Source 04.12.2014 Books & Poetry

The spaces inside that poetry fills

By Karen Kenyon

Why I Write

My mother was a pianist, so I grew up surrounded by music and lyrics. In addition,my blind grandfather wrote poems all the time, so writing poetry and being creative seemed a natural thing to do.

During college years I was an Art Major at UNM in Albuquerque (until I married after 3 years). But it was really after something difficult happened that poetry really entered my life full force.

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Thumbnail image for An Update on Pumbaa the Shar Pei’s Recovery:  Still Not Out of the Woods

An Update on Pumbaa the Shar Pei’s Recovery: Still Not Out of the Woods

by Judi Curry 04.12.2014 Culture

By Judi Curry

Editor’s Note: Last month Judi Curry wrote about Pumbaa the Shar Pei, who is receiving canine rehab with Judi’s dog Buddy.

Daisy took Pumbaa to the ortho-vet in Sorrento Valley. He wants to run some more tests on the doggie, but it is nice to know that he has started eating again, and is again being exercised in the pool. So far the tests have totaled about $1000 but Daisy does not know how much more will be needed.

But he looks much better; a little more playful, and in the pool can move his legs well. But, alas, on land, he still cannot put any weight on his back legs.

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Thumbnail image for OSHA Wins Case Against SeaWorld Involving Death of Orca Trainer

OSHA Wins Case Against SeaWorld Involving Death of Orca Trainer

by Source 04.12.2014 Activism

From OH&S / Apr 11, 2014 Re-posted from OBRag

OSHA has won the appellate case involving its enforcement case against SeaWorld of Florida LLC following the death of killer whale trainer Dawn Brancheau on Feb. 24, 2010. A 2-1 decision issued April 11 by a panel of three judges of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit found that SeaWorld “recognized its precautions were inadequate to prevent serious bodily harm or even death to its trainers and that the residual hazard was preventable.”

“The remedy imposed for SeaWorld’s violations does not change the essential nature of its business,” the majority opinion written by Judge Judith W. Rogers states. “There will still be human interactions and performances with killer whales; the remedy will simply require that they continue with increased safety measures.”

This is a high-profile case that was argued Nov. 12, 2013, at the Georgetown University Law Center, with SeaWorld’s legal team including Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP’s Eugene Scalia, son of U.S. Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia.

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Thumbnail image for Poem of the Day: “They Feed They Lion” by Philip Levine

Poem of the Day: “They Feed They Lion” by Philip Levine

by Anna Daniels 04.11.2014 Books & Poetry

The Poet as Witness

By Anna Daniels
During the 1950′s Philip Levine was working in Detroit auto plants and writing poetry. In an interview at that time in Detroit Magazine he described how he found his compelling subject material. “I saw that the people that I was working with…were voiceless in a way. In terms of the literature of the United States they weren’t being heard. Nobody was speaking for them. And as young people will, you know, I took this foolish vow that I would speak for them and that’s what my life would be. …I just hope that I have the strength to carry it all the way through.”

They Feed They Lion was written in 1968, when Levine returned to Detroit following the race riots of 1967. It is one of his finest poems, reflecting the degree to which he found “the strength to carry it all the way through.” The poem is merciless in its judgements and propelled by the rhythmic insistence of the language itself.

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Thumbnail image for Poem of the Day: “The Spruce Street Bridge” by Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes

Poem of the Day: “The Spruce Street Bridge” by Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes

by Source 04.10.2014 Books & Poetry

From the ongoing SDFP column Geo-Poetic Spaces

By Ishmael von Heidrick-Barnes

Editor’s Note: San Diego Free Press contributor and poet Karen Kenyon has introduced readers to a number of San Diego poets. One of the iron-clad rules of poetry is that one poet always leads to another. Ish, as we know him, is one of those poets. Since SDFP’s launch in 2012 he has contributed both poems and essays. A few months ago he attended one of our contributor and editor meetings and told us that he has been combining videos with his poetry. The ongoing SDFP series Geo-Poetic Spaces arose from that meeting.

As part of our National Poetry Month coverage, we have asked San Diego poets who contribute to SDFP to provide some insight into why they write poetry. Ish responded: Poetry is breathing. I write because I can’t hold my breath for long without exhaling words. I have to create. For me art is not just a way of living it is life.

The Spruce Street Bridge

Wind strumming up chords
Strolling over Spruce Street bridge
Nasturtiums swaying
Canyon suspending sound’s scent
A suite for strings struck in steel

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Thumbnail image for “RED” at the San Diego Repertory Theatre

“RED” at the San Diego Repertory Theatre

by Source 04.10.2014 Culture

“Stop the heart and think… How fine are we?”

By Alejandra Enciso Guzmán

San Diego Repertory Theatre is staging its final production of its thirty-eighth season with RED by John Logan. It is a wonderful and –colorful- end to an eclectic and very well rounded season.

RED is a play with two actors and no intermission. John Vickery plays Mark Rothko, short for Marcus Yakovlevich Rothkowitz, an American painter of Russian Jewish descent. Jason Maddy is Ken, Rothko’s young assistant, aspiring painter and apprentice. San Diego Free Press had the opportunity to chat with the actors about their roles in RED.

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Thumbnail image for #NotABugSplat — Art At Its Most Powerful

#NotABugSplat — Art At Its Most Powerful

by Source 04.10.2014 Activism

By pajoly/ DailyKos

The image above is not a Photoshopped jpeg. It is an image massively blown up and staked into the ground to shame the American military drone pilots — and now indeed all of us — as their death from above ply the skies above Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region. It is an art project named #NotABugSplat, co-opting in graphic relief the slang drone operators callously and cavalierly give their victims.

Let that sink in. Bug Splat. Our society is fond of creating colorful euphemisms that are byproducts of truly shitty and shameful public policy. “Collateral damage” is one we all know; it’s clinically distant and sounds so much nicer in print and at a press briefing than “innocent dead bystanders.” (“Medical tourism” is another cheery one that seems almost bucolic instead of being actually a pathetic and desperate consequence of our pay-to-play healthcare regime.)

But, nothing so grossly illustrates our abandonment of any pretense of moral high ground like labeling exploded human beings as bug splats.

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Thumbnail image for Legalization is a Human Rights Issue: Latin America Steps Up Resolve to End the Drug Wars

Legalization is a Human Rights Issue: Latin America Steps Up Resolve to End the Drug Wars

by Source 04.10.2014 Activism

By Wendy Call/ Yes!
Seattle’s South Park neighborhood has seen its share of drug-related crime and violence. Many of its residents are recent immigrants from Mexico; some came north fleeing the drug cartel violence that has ravaged their home communities. So the South Park Community Center was a poignant venue for Mexican poet, writer, and activist Javier Sicilia to speak about his campaign to end the drug war in his home country. He began the evening with a moment of silence for all the lives lost – somewhere between 60,000 and 100,000 – since the Mexican government stepped up the war against drug cartels in 2006. Then, his commanding voice heavy with grief, Sicilia read a poem:

All absence is cruel
and nonetheless, remains like a space that comes from the dead,
from the bleached roots of the past.
Where might we turn?

Sicilia wrote this poem, “The Survivor,” in 2009. Two years later, he became a survivor of heartbreaking absence himself, when his 24-year-old son was murdered, with six of his friends, by drug traffickers in Cuernavaca, Mexico. With the cruel loss of his son, Sicilia did not know where to turn. He wrote a final poem dedicated to his son, Juan Francisco, and then renounced writing poetry.

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Thumbnail image for Bob Filner’s New Book and Other Tales of Alternate Reality

Bob Filner’s New Book and Other Tales of Alternate Reality

by Doug Porter 04.09.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

So the word on the street, courtesy of columnist Logan Jenkins, is that former mayor Bob Filner is writing a book and looking for an editor. The UT-San Diego columnist has offered to “anonymously ghostwrite. Gratis.”    

I’m sure there any number of San Diego journos who’d love the opportunity. I remember reading lots of self-righteous tweets and barely concealed contempt in coverage by too many of this town’s “reporters.” After all, writing anything else might have excluded them from the crafty beer klatches and opportunities to genuflect before local luminaries so necessary to generate “coverage.”

I can only hope Filner’s period of confinement and reflection has re-enforced the (obvious) notion that “none-of-the-above” would be the only right choice to make when it comes to local scribes.

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Thumbnail image for Politicians Who Oppose Marijuana Legalization Are On the Wrong Side of History

Politicians Who Oppose Marijuana Legalization Are On the Wrong Side of History

by Source 04.09.2014 Government

A majority of Americans support marijuana legalization.

By Tony Newman via AlterNet

A majority of Americans support marijuana legalization – yet not one sitting governor or U.S. Senator supports it, according to a New York Times piece.  

Marijuana prohibition is a disastrous failure. 43 years after President Nixon launched the “war on drugs,” the U.S. arrests 650,000 people a year for marijuana possession – yet marijuana and other illegal drugs are as available as ever. Thanks to the drug war, the U.S. has less than five percent of the world’s population, yet nearly 25 percent of its prisoners.

Colorado and Washington made history in 2012 becoming the first states – and the first two political jurisdictions anywhere in the world – to legally regulate the production and distribution of marijuana, and many states are looking to follow soon. National polls showing majority support for marijuana legalization have been confirmed in states across the country – and not just in states you’d expect but even in Florida, Louisiana, Indiana, Ohio and Texas.

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Thumbnail image for The Night I Decided to Stop Going to Sea World

The Night I Decided to Stop Going to Sea World

by Source 04.09.2014 Activism

By Lori Saldaña

I was born in San Diego, and my family began attending Sea World back in the 60s when it had a Japanese Garden and pearl divers (I still have a pearl ring, a birthday gift one year).

Then, it was a very different place than it is today: quieter, smaller scale, and more about Pacific Rim culture than theme park shows. We went often, and not just as casual visitors. Since my father was a journalist, and Sea World knew the value of cultivating relationships with the media, we would often attend special events throughout the year, including a lavish annual kick-off party that marked the start of their summer season, complete with a preview of the newest Shamu show.

I enjoyed going early, before the dinners and presentations, and wandering around the park after the daytime visitors departed. I especially enjoyed being able to enter the exhibits and watch the animals without the usual crowds around.

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Thumbnail image for Cheap Corn Permeates Every Facet of the American Diet

Cheap Corn Permeates Every Facet of the American Diet

by John Lawrence 04.09.2014 Culture

By John Lawrence

Corn is the staple of the US agricultural system and food supply. It’s in everything we eat unbeknownst to many Americans.

Corn feeds steers that become steak and fast food hamburgers. Corn feeds chickens and pigs - even catfish, salmon and tilapia. Milk, cheese and yogurt that once came from cows that grazed on grass now come from Holsteins that spend their time tethered to milking machines while munching on corn.

Processed foods contain even more corn than so-called “natural” foods. Take chicken nuggets, for example. Not only the chicken itself but the corn starch that holds it together, the corn flour in the batter, the corn oil in which its fried, the leavenings and lecithin, the mono-, di- and triglycerides, the golden coloring, the citric acid that keeps it fresh – all these ingredients come from corn.

Any soft drink in the supermarket including Coke and Pepsi contains High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) so you can wash down your corn with some more corn. A quarter of the 45,000 items in the average supermarket contain corn.

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Thumbnail image for It’s Equal Pay Day!  Republican Incoherence, Executive Orders and How to Get a Raise

It’s Equal Pay Day! Republican Incoherence, Executive Orders and How to Get a Raise

by Anna Daniels 04.08.2014 Activism

By Anna Daniels

Republicans have been having a hard time stringing words together when it comes to explaining why they don’t support pay equity for women. It’s a straightforward concept–equal pay for equal work. Yet it takes women until April 8 to catch up with men’s earnings from the previous year. The median earnings for a woman working a full time job is about 77% of a man’s. That figure drops for women of color and it hasn’t budged in more than a decade.

President Obama’s first action upon assuming office in 2009 was to sign the Lily Ledbetter Fair Wage Act. This act restored protection against wage discrimination that was stripped away by the Supreme Court’s decision in Ledbetter v Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. The act extended the period of time for employees to file claims for wages lost because of discrimination. Yet wage discrimination on the basis of gender continues to exist.

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Thumbnail image for The Wild Widows Return to Old Town Part 2: Cygnet Theatre

The Wild Widows Return to Old Town Part 2: Cygnet Theatre

by Judi Curry 04.08.2014 Culture

By Judi Curry

Following our breakfast at O’Hungry’s, Irene and I left Ro and went up to Ft. Rosecrans to visit our husbands. Irene made the comment that the only good thing about our husbands passing was that we met each other. When it is our time to leave this earth, Irene and I will be only a few rows apart and will be able to still converse with each other.

Following our visit to the cemetery, we went back to Old Town to the Cygnet Theatre to see the play Spring Awakening. Ro was the House Manager on this particular day and could not watch the play with us but will see it at a later time.

Spring Awakening is a winner of 8 Tony Awards including Best Musical. It is based on a play that was originally written in 1891, but it is so contemporary it could have been written in our time.

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