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.
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.
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 email@example.com.
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.
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.
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.