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Only Here

Only Here

Author: KPBS Public Media

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“Only Here” is about the unexplored subcultures, creativity and struggles at the U.S.-Mexico border. The KPBS podcast tells personal stories from people whose lives are shaped by the tension reverberating around the wall. This is a show for border babies, urban explorers or those who wonder what happens when two cultures are both separated and intertwined.
24 Episodes
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The line of cars and people waiting to cross the San Ysidro Port of Entry is so big — so long — it’s got its own gravitational pull. It’s created this whole world of its own, an ecosystem that swirls all around it. A shorter line would be a thing of beauty. The long line is actually a problem that the federal governments and local business leaders on both sides of the border are trying to solve. Because the border equals money. In this episode, we bring you sounds from the border line, then take you to the Border Innovation Challenge at UC San Diego. After that, we introduce you to Cheslav Versky, a tech entrepreneur who won the Border Innovation Challenge and is now working on installing a system that would collect detailed border-crossing data at a level it's never been collected before.
We wanted to take a minute or two to tell y’all about some exciting developments for the Only Here podcast team. We were recently selected to be part of a prestigious podcast accelerator program that’s pushing us to experiment, take risks and step outside of our creative comfort zones when it comes to this show. We were one of just six public media stations from across the country chosen to be a part of a grant program called Project Catapult. We’re suuuper excited and honored to be a part of it. Project Catapult is basically a training that takes our Only Here production team to Boston once a month where we learn from a team of experts from PRX and other public media stations. PRX, by the way, is kinda on par with NPR...it’s a public media company that distributes a long list of podcast and broadcast shows that include some of the most popular in the world -- like This American Life and The Moth. We are learning soooo much from PRX! And one of the most important things we’ve learned is to think a looooot more about you -- our audience. So, here we are, asking you listeners to do us a big, big favor and email us at podcasts@kpbs.org to tell us more about who you are, why you listen to the show and anything else you want us to know. Maybe there’s a person, place or thing you want us to cover -- we’re open to anything and everything. So, help us make our PRX teachers proud, and please shoot us an email and tell us who you are and what you think of our show. Thanks in advance.
Anishka Lee-Skorepa wants to break cultural barriers surrounding both the border and opera music. The San Diego opera singer is part of Artistas Fronterizas, a group that works to paint a clearer picture of border life through performances in places where opera doesn't normally go. Our series of episodes focused on border art continues with a story about an opera singer who’s painting a clearer picture of border culture through song.
Slowing The Flow

Slowing The Flow

2019-12-0400:37:38

In this episode: A story about trash and dirt flowing from one side of the U.S.-Mexico border to the other, and two guys’ plan to stop it. The state of California spends $1.8 million annually on a system that keeps trash and dirt from clogging up the estuary in Border Field State Park, a park that butts up against the U.S.-Mexico border fence. The agency that takes care of the park, the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve, says the system has stopped approximately 2 million pounds of debris from entering the environmentally sensitive estuary. But the trash just keeps coming and coming, pouring through a culvert under the border that's connected to polluted canyons in Tijuana. And perpetually managing the pricey problem instead of actually solving the problem seems like the forever plan. That is, unless Steven Wright and Waylon Matson’s idea gets funded. The environmentalists want to use re-purposed trash from the canyon to build retaining walls and other structures in Tijuana's Los Laureles canyon that would prevent the trash and dirt from reaching the U.S. in the first place.
Border Art: The Godfather

Border Art: The Godfather

2019-11-2000:25:04

Today, we’re kicking off an ongoing series of episodes about border art. In this episode, we talk to a guy we're calling the godfather of border art. He's the guy who helped put border art on the map: Marcos Ramírez, a Tijuana artist most people know as “Erre.” Border art is art at the actual border fence, art about the border, and often times, it’s both. It feels weird to say that the U.S.-Mexico border wall inspires artists. Because mostly, it pisses them off. Not to lump all artists into one sweeping stereotype, but a lot of the work being made about the border is pretty heavy in its opposition to the fence and all it stands for. It’s protest art. Or art that wants to start a conversation about power, immigration or human rights.
Beer Xing

Beer Xing

2019-11-0600:32:39

We've got a story about border-hopping beer. Meet the brothers behind Cerveceria Insurgente in Tijuana, and cross the border with Stephen Walker, a craft-beer lover who's built a business by bringing Mexican craft beer to San Diego. Only here will you find a craft beer scene shaped by both sides of the wall.
La Vuelta is a biweekly car cruise in Barrio Logan that runs through the summer. The event has become the heart of lowrider culture here in San Diego. These days, the customized slow- and low-to-the-ground cars and bikes can be found almost anywhere. Lowriding has become a culture created by Chicanos and exported all over the world. It’s big in Japan. No, seriously. Not to mention in Brazil and other lowrider hot spots. But at the border, the lowrider scene is a lifeline. For lots of people here, lowriders are much more than just a hobby. The culture that’s coalesced around lowriders on both sides of the border has offered some people here salvation. It’s given new meaning and purpose to peoples’ lives — from deportees in Tijuana to military veterans struggling with PTSD in San Diego. In this episode of "Only Here," a KPBS podcast about art, culture and life at the Western Hemisphere’s busiest border crossing, a story about lowriders as life rafts. Only here can you find such a crucial lowrider culture on both sides of the wall.
Shooting in Tijuana

Shooting in Tijuana

2019-09-1800:29:47

Los Angeles is a giant when it comes to making movies. Here in San Diego and Tijuana, we’re stuck under the huge shadow of L.A. It’s hard to compete with Hollywood. But think about it: the border has good bones for eventually becoming a film mecca. It’s one, big, super diverse place that offers access to two really different backdrops. Plus, shooting a film in Mexico is a lot cheaper. And there’s not as much red tape when it comes to permits. Unfortunately, though, a lot of large-scale production companies only think about the border when they’re thinking about movies or TV shows about narcos and drugs. Lots of filmmakers only see the Mexico-U.S. border as a backdrop for stories about drug cartel violence. It’s become such a trope that “narco-fatigue” is a term now. Folks are exhausted by news and pop culture focused on the drug trade in Mexico. Yeah, it’s a huge issue here, but it’s just way over done. Locally, though, some filmmakers like Omar Lopex are using the border to their advantage, making movies that have nothing to do with narcos. And that trend is starting to pick up some steam thanks to efforts by local film groups that are working hard to boost filmmaking in our binational region. Today, a story about filming across borders. Only here will you find filmmakers in San Diego and Tijuana using the border as a valuable resource instead of a janky prop.
The Border Church, or La Iglesia Fronteriza, is not a brick-and-mortar church. In fact, the only wall here at this weekly outdoor service is the one separating the United States from Mexico. Border Church is an outdoor church that meets every Sunday on both sides of the international border fence between San Diego and Tijuana. The weekly church service is a religious celebration, but it also helps ensure that Border Patrol will continue to allow people to use this place as a meeting point. This spot, where the border wall runs into the Pacific Ocean, is where families whose immigration status doesn’t allow them to travel between the two countries can meet each other through the fence. This is the only place along the Southern California border where people can legally walk right up to the fence and touch people on the other side - just barely by poking their little fingers through holes in a steel mesh barrier, but still, it’s a touch. Today, a story about Border Church and the people who power it. Only here can you find a weekly church service that reaches people standing on both sides of the border fence. It’s a church that works to help protect access for families who want to meet through the wall.
Part 2: Dog Crossing

Part 2: Dog Crossing

2019-08-2100:26:13

Dog Crossing Part 2: In this episode, we meet Elizabeth Valenzuela who runs another DIY Baja dog rescue operation called Red Barn Rescue, plus other women who've dedicated their lives to saving animals living on the streets of Mexico. We also stop by an adoption event in San Diego where Baja Animal Sanctuary finds new homes for its rescued dogs. In the last episode, KPBS’ Kinsee Morlan and Emily Jankowski introduced you to Dana Dallabetta, an animal rescuer who saves street dogs in Rosarito and finds them new homes across the border in San Diego. If you haven’t heard that episode, you should stop and go back to give it a listen. This is part two and it picks up right where the last episode left off. Ask us questions or give us feedback by emailing us at podcasts@kpbs.org.
Part 1: Dog Crossing

Part 1: Dog Crossing

2019-08-0700:23:48

Dog Crossing Part 1: We spend a day with a hardcore dog rescuer in Rosarito. Only here will you find a community of animal lovers who’ve dedicated their lives to saving dogs in Rosarito and Tijuana by finding them homes in San Diego. This is the first in a two-part series.
Only here can you find entrepreneurs in San Diego and Tijuana who are working to build a bigger and better-designed cross-border region.
The Sound of Spanglish

The Sound of Spanglish

2019-07-1000:24:441

In border towns, Spanglish is everywhere. Blending Spanish with English helps the two countries communicate. It’s a natural and necessary byproduct of the border. In this episode, a story about a musician and composer who’s fallen in love with the sound of Spanglish.
The Cleaning Lady

The Cleaning Lady

2019-06-2600:32:031

Only here can you find a San Diego artist who dresses up as a “cleaning lady” to force a conversation about immigrant women.
Crossing For Punk

Crossing For Punk

2019-06-1200:22:083

Only here can you find a San Diego photographer whose inspiration lies in the dark, crowded punk venues of Tijuana. All music in this episode is by Tijuana punk band San Pedro El Cortez.
A Seamstress' Story

A Seamstress' Story

2019-05-2900:22:20

On this episode of “Only Here,” a story about a seamstress who’s trying to build community connections while building her business in Barrio Logan, a neighborhood that’s fighting to keep its Chicano culture alive.
Holding Tourists' Hands

Holding Tourists' Hands

2019-05-1500:26:07

Today, we hop on a bus with the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego and take a guided tour of art and culture in Tijuana. It’s the kind of tour that shows off the cool side of the city — the kind of tour that’s kept tourism alive in a border city with a reputation for violence. It’s a story about fear, and an industry that’s blossomed from it.
Gringo Xolos

Gringo Xolos

2019-05-0100:30:362

Tijuana’s professional soccer team, the Xoloitzcuintles, have fans on both sides of the border. In fact, the Xolos’ official tagline is “el equipo sin fronteras” — the team without borders. Today, we talk to self-described “Gringo Xolos,” a growing group of fans in San Diego who are obsessed with the soccer team in Tijuana.
According to the federal government, about 90,000 people cross legally through the San Ysidro Port of Entry every single day. Among those daily crossers are the hundreds of students who live in Tijuana, but get their education in San Diego. The international trek to school is long and annoying. But it can also be traumatic. Today, a story about students who cross the international border for their education, and a teacher who’s trying to better understand them. Only here can you find students navigating one of the busiest border crossing in the world just to get to school.
Political Piñatas

Political Piñatas

2019-04-0300:23:271

When artist Diana Benavídez makes piñatas, they aren't meant to be broken. They get put on pedestals. They become sculptures meant to provoke conversations. Giant tampons. An over-sized can of pepper spray. A drone. Benavídez’s aren’t your average piñatas. Today, a story about an object typically known for its destruction, not creation. Only Here can you find a San Diego artist packing pinatas with political messages instead of candy.
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