Archive for history

Racial History in the Making

Although it’s been said many times before, I can’t help dwelling on how definitive this moment is in the cultural history of the United States. A black family now lives in the White House. The multiracial face of a nation truly represents the diversity of its people.

No, this moment won’t solve racial inequality or erase a history of injustice. But it is a blossom of hope, a testament for future generations not to give up. The final chapters in the rulebook of race and power are undone with the image of a brown-skinned president.

Official Portrait of President Barack Obama

How to Make Tequila: Tour of Casa Herradura

On our last trip to Guanajuato (November 2006), we took a detour from Rosario’s home state and headed to Amatitán, Jalisco for a tour of Casa Herradura, makers of Herradura and Jimador tequila. Rosario shot the tour with her new video camera while I took photos.


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Flash Lamp Photography: Behind the Scenes of an NPR Interview

I met Race Gentry standing with his antique camera and vintage flash lamp outside his mother’s home in La Jolla. I was there to record audio for an All Things Considered story and shoot video to accompany the interview on NPR’s website. Race is one of the few people around who uses the 100-year-old technique.

Screenshot of NPR media player

In typical tape sync fashion, Robert Siegel spoke to Race by phone. I stood next to Race, holding the mic six inches from his mouth — my recording of his voice would later be combined with the host’s voice by NPR editors, giving the conversation a higher quality, natural sound. Unfortunately, we had to stop the interview every few minutes because of the military flights going in and out of MCAS Miramar. We were also interrupted for trash collection. And again for recycling.

Race explained the process of pouring the powder in the tray, setting the percussion cap in place, pulling the trigger to ignite the cap, and the explosive flash that follows. The first flash lamp he demonstrated with wouldn’t fire. He was using toy paper caps, but the humidity or bad luck kept it from firing. He switched to another flash lamp that uses rare, original percussion caps. That definitely did the trick. The massive smoke cloud was pretty impressive.

Take a look at the final video, listen to the interview and hear the flash lamp sound. Race Gentry also has his own flash lamp videos on YouTube.

Memories of Guanajuato

For a few days in November of 2006, we visited Guanajuato. In this video, Rosario reminisces about her first childhood trip to the state’s capital city.

World Trade Center almost 5 years after the fall

On our initial flight to from San Diego to Madrid, we had a 12 hour layover in NYC. We took a brief nap in Central Park (brief because the ground was wet and the bench wasn’t very comfortable), wandered down Wall Street, and stopped to take a look at the World Trade Center site.

World Trade Center

From the Burger King window overlooking the World Trade Center site
June 9, 2006

On September 8, 2001, I was here at the World Trade Center wandering around much like the tourist I was on the day I shot the above image. I sat below the towers watching some free concerts between the Winter Garden and the water (off screen to the left of the image). I distinctly remember looking up at the towers and thinking I should take a picture. I remember being impressed by their height, but they’re otherwise pretty boring to look at, so I passed on the shot. After all, I had just passed 10 postcard vendors and knew the towers weren’t going anywhere.

Chicano History on KPBS

I produced a segment today for KPBS Radio’s talk show These Days. I brought on Sal Castro, a key figure who led student walkouts in the 1960s, and two UCSD professors to talk about Chicano history and identity.

Student Walkouts Hark Back to the Chicano Movement

Sal Castro, youth motivator and volunteer teacher. He mentored the students who staged walkouts in 1968. He joins us from his home in Los Angeles. Sal Castro will be at UCSD to lead a discussion following a public screening of the HBO film Walkout on Wednesday May 10 at 7 p.m. Walkout is directed by Edward James Olmos and is based on the true story of the 1968 walkouts.

Jorge Mariscal, director of the Chicano Studies Program at UC San Diego. His latest book is Brown-Eyed Children of the Sun: Lessons from the Chicano Movement.

Tomás Jiménez, Assistant Professor of Sociology at UCSD. His research focuses on immigration, race, ethnicity, inequality, assimilation, and the Mexican-origin population in the U.S.



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