lie down next to the residents of Paphos
lie down next to the residents of Paphos
“Sixty years ago, ACLU of Northern California staff attorney Al Bendich defended City Lights Books publisher Lawrence Ferlinghetti, who was accused of obscenity for publishing Allen Ginsberg’s poem Howl.
Over 500 freshly-printed copies of Howl and Other Poems were seized by the government, rather than allowed to exist as thought-provoking literature. The trial against City Lights Books made its way to the California State Superior Court in 1957, where Judge Clayton Horn ruled in favor of Ferlinghetti and the ACLU.”
Who knew that the Cerutti Mastodon site along SR54 in San Diego may be “the oldest in situ, well-documented archaeological site in North America and, as such, substantially revises the timing of arrival of Homo into the Americas”? And what does that actually mean?
San Diego has been a rich source of paleontological discoveries. A 300,000 year old mammoth was excavated during the construction of the Thomas Jefferson School of Law in downtown San Diego. Additional excavation ten feet below the skull and tusks of the mammoth revealed the 500,000 year old skeleton of a California Gray Whale.
The significance of these two sites are quite different. The mastodon site is about much more than the animal life in the region one hundred and thirty thousand years ago.
By Dave Milligan / OB Rag
Our bikes are quiet, well-tuned, and we slip through the sleepy streets of Ocean Beach, carefully peering around each corner we cross, blowing through stop signs, not wanting to slow our progress north. I am push the steel, horseless-horse that I ride north. This is the start of an adventure that has sat in the back attic of my mind for fifty years. Vacationing as a teenager in Santa Barbara I daydreamed about doing this trip by bicycle; but there were obstacles: Camp Pendleton, what to eat, where to sleep, unfriendly roads, and of course, Mom. I now have a card that gives me entry to the Marines’ camp, another card that buys me all the food and lodging necessary, maps and a phone that can guide me, and, most importantly, the blessing of my wife (AKA: a kitchen pass). This ride is the fulfillment of a boyhood dream, my teenage self is ecstatic.
a door in darkness opens
light is dispensed –
from one candle to another
carried through streets
starved by the austerity of shadows
There is a new and exciting book titled “San Diego Lowriders: A History of Cars and Cruising”. Authors Alberto López Pulido and Rigoberto “Rigo” Reyes capture a history and culture that is not always thought of when the history of San Diego is related.
This book begins with the roots of lowriding and introduces us to organized car clubs. The authors emphasize the pride and respect Lowriders had for their community, for their cars, and for each other. Car clubs became a focal point and have remained a common ground for community drivers to the present day.
The general public is not aware that Lowriders are actually part of the history of San Diego as early as 1950.
By Brent E. Beltrán
Editor’s Note: Chicano Park was designated as a National Historic Landmark on January 11, 2017. This 2013 article from the San Diego Free Press archives chronicles Chicano Park’s placement on the National Register of Historic Places.
On Friday, March 15, the Ides of March, there was a press conference at Chicano Park in my beloved Barrio Logan. The press conference was put together to announce Chicano Park being added to the National Register of Historic Places. In other words, Chicano Park was officially recognized as being a national treasure of the United States. Those of us who live in Logan and the various barrios throughout San Diego, California and beyond already recognize this fact. But, through the fine work of Chicano Park co-founder, Josie Talamantez, the nation now officially recognizes this.
In front of Chicano Park co-founders, activists, artists, professors and numerous members of the media Mayor Bob Filner gave praise to Chicano Park and those that struggled for a peoples park. He was followed by District 8 City Councilman David Alvarez, State Senator elect Ben Hueso, Chicano Park Steering Committee Chairperson Tommie Camarillo and Josie Talamantez who broke down the process and criteria for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places. It was a proud day for all involved in the creation and maintenance of Chicano Park.
walking in Chicano Park
one morning hazy with
shipyard fumes and shipyard lies
I stop in front of the mural
who is half-bird, half-serpent
As we were sitting in Victor Ochoa’s studio garage in Golden Hill the other day, I realized that even though we’d been friends since the late 1970’s, I didn’t know a whole lot about his earlier life before those heady days of the Seventies decade. I was wondering whether he remembered that I had helped arrange for him to be hired to paint murals at the Che Cafe up at UCSD – way back in in 1980 and 81. He did but he had a few different details.
“This is my favorite garage,” Victor said, as we settled in for our talk. Surrounding us on three sides inside the garage were painting materials and large plastic bins holding more painting stuff stacked up on shelves, brushes, cans of paint piled on each other, cans of spray paint in a shallow closest. There was a gas-powered airbrush machine that looked like a cross between a lawn mower and a Mars Rover.
In one corner, he had set up a type of shrine to his past, his family, his culture, with various memorabilia of his life. On another wall were posters of Pancho Villa and of more recent Chicano heroes, like Corky Gonzalez, and local activist Marco Anguiano. And along part of one of the walls were the books, the notebooks, the 3-ring binders, paper records, the manuscripts, the slides.
Chicano Park exists in Barrio Logan because of the construction of the San Diego-Coronado Bridge and the loss of property and displacement of lives that it caused. The community responded in a powerful, unique way. Residents couldn’t stop the construction, but they did lay claim to the land beneath the immense concrete pillars that enabled travelers above to make their way across the Coronado Bridge, oblivious to the transformation occurring below them. The land that was being readied for a California Highway Patrol substation was re-claimed as a long promised park. The reclamation began as a twelve day occupation that involved hundreds of people.
City Heights was likewise changed forever when eight city blocks along 40th Street- people’s homes and businesses–were scoured from the face of the earth in the early 1990’s to make way for the last connecting link of I-15, which extends from Canada to Mexico. City Heights would become a scorched earth community divided by an enormous ditch in keeping with Caltrans signature construction style.
I shakily tried to take a picture with my AT&T 3G cell phone of a cactus painted by Mario Chacon. I acquired it from him a while back in Chicano Park. I had to shade the painting from the glare of a blue sky with the sun shining high and bright and far and wide and finally I got about as good a picture as I was going to get no matter how hard I had tried.
Trite as it may seem my persistence in getting this snapshot was based on Mario telling me that the protrusions reaching out from the cactus spoke to the persistence of the indigenous people.
Being a simple minded person, that colored my thinking as I walked around the park with other people who were there, like me, to celebrate the restoration of the murals. Murals, as I see them, that stem from the long trail of heartaches that have plagued the Americas since the Spanish came by in drive-by style and created a reality wherein folks who had hunted, farmed, and gathered on those rich lands for thousands of years suddenly found themselves in poor standing in the only world they had ever known.