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KPBS Explores the Border with a New Podcast

KPBS has launched “Only Here,” a new podcast about the place where San Diego and Tijuana meet. The show is available now for download on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play and other podcast players.

Host Alan Lilienthal and producer Kinsee Morlan take the audience on a journey exploring the separation and collision of two cultures and the art and culture that comes from it. “Only Here” shares personal stories that reveal the beauty, struggle and creativity that comes from living in a border town.

“The border has never been more misunderstood than it is right now. We hope this podcast will help make the border feel more like a place than a political concept,” says Morlan. “We’ll introduce listeners to the art and culture that is directly influenced by the border. We’re looking for stories you won’t find anywhere else but a border town.”

Three episodes were released today:

Episode 1: For years, Beto Soto had two secrets. And these weren’t small secrets. These were really big secrets. The kind that define who you are. Soto is openly gay now, but he didn’t come out of the closet until a few years ago. He's also been living without citizenship papers in the United States since his family brought him here when he was 6. He kept his undocumented status quiet until recently, too. In this episode, we talk to Soto about being gay and undocumented, and the photographic series he made about the experience. Only here can you find an undocumented photographer documenting what it’s like to live nearly your whole life in a country without full citizenship.

Episode 2: Leaving one country for another isn't easy. The transition can be challenging and emotional. And especially for the kids who cross, legally or not, those emotions can be intense. In this episode, we dissect a new classical music composition commissioned by the San Diego Symphony that explores what immigration feels like for kids. We also drop by the place where the border fence runs into the Pacific Ocean. The symphony has organized performances on both sides of the border here. It's a place with long history of serving as a backdrop for music and art focused on the border and immigration. Only here is the symphony bringing together a composer and a poet to make music about kids crossing border.

Episode 3: When you don’t live in your family’s homeland, it can be a constant battle to stay connected to your past and traditions. The American way of life has a way of melting everything into one giant pot full of so many ingredients that the flavors are hardly discernible. But in Sherman Heights, the community isn’t jumping into that big pot. Instead, they’re keeping the Mexican flavor alive. In this episode, we tell a story about celebrating death as a way of bringing culture back to life. We stop by the annual Day of the Dead celebration at the Sherman Heights Community Center. The event is billed as the border region’s most traditional and longest running Dia de los Muertos celebration. Then we check in with a pair of artists who built a mobile Day of the Dead altar and came up with a plan to roll the altar through the border crossing and bring flowers they grew in Mexico to a Day of the Dead celebration in Escondido. Only here will you find a San Diego community working hard at reconnecting with traditions on the other side of the border, and Tijuana artists bringing that tradition across the border fence.

New episodes will be released bi-weekly on Wednesdays.

For more information about “Only Here,” visit www.kpbs.org/podcasts/only-here/

KPBS Media Contact

Heather Milne Barger, (619) 594-4985

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