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Gilroy Shooting, California Auto Deal, San Diego’s Reputation As Place To Heal

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At least three people were killed and 12 more injured during a shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival. Also, California has signed a deal with automakers to produce fuel-efficient cars, San Diego’s reputation as a place to get well may have started with the Cupa Indians, a Lake County screening of a wildfire documentary gets a community talking, and the PigPen theater uses cardboard puppets and imagination to bring a heroic mouse to life.

Show transcript

Speaker 1: 00:00 Officials in the city of Gilroy, say the investigation into yesterday's shooting is continuing. Three people, a six year old boy, a 13 year old girl, and a man in his twenties were killed yesterday afternoon at the end of family day at the Gilroy garlic festival. At least 12 people were injured during today's news conference. Gilroy mayor Roland Velazco says he shocked

Speaker 2: 00:22 mass gun violence is an epidemic in the United States and yet one never imagined such a thing can happen here. And our beautiful community,

Speaker 1: 00:31 a 19 year old man named Santina Legon has been identified as the shooter. He was shot to death by police at the scene. Joining me is KQ eds, Rachel Myro and Rachel, welcome.

Speaker 3: 00:43 Glad to be here.

Speaker 1: 00:45 What do we know so far about this suspected shooter?

Speaker 3: 00:48 Well, we know that he was 19 years old, uh, that um, his, uh, his social media presence gave some clues as to what appears to be widespread hatred might be attached to a white nationalism. Um, based on some of the hints about his reading material, uh, at the, at the press conference held earlier today at the Gilroy Police Department headquarters. The, the FBI didn't, uh, didn't offer us too many details. They're still trying to figure it out themselves, but they have a couple of dozen agents still scouring the scene. And of course, uh, they have investigators looking into his history online and in real life

Speaker 1: 01:32 in that news conference today we have a clip from Gilroy police chief Scott Smithy who said he was reluctant to even use the name of the shooter.

Speaker 2: 01:40 And I say that name with some hesitation because I don't believe that somebody like this deserves the notoriety of the recognition.

Speaker 1: 01:48 Rachel, this festival apparently has tight security. How are policing the shooter got into the festival?

Speaker 3: 01:54 That's a good question. They have not actually offered details. We've, we've obviously heard some reports that the shooter managed to, uh, kind of fence walk. So there's a creek that runs through right alongside a, these festival grounds and that the shooter might've sort of snuck through, possibly cut a hole in the fence to do it. I just talked actually with a family that was about 50 feet away from the shooter when he started shooting. And they say that, you know, they could see him approach turn back as if he was thinking a second time about what he was about to do and then turned back, walk into the crowd and start shooting.

Speaker 1: 02:32 What weapons did he have? Do we know?

Speaker 3: 02:35 Uh, it appears that he had some kind of an assault rifle when we were hearing earlier, uh, the Gilroy police chief Scott Smithy choking up, he was talking about how three officers armed only with handguns immediately approached and engage the shooter. Uh, but you know, up against the guy carrying, uh, some kind of an AK assault rifle that he had purchased in Nevada, brought into California illegally.

Speaker 1: 03:01 Referencing what you said about speaking to those witnesses, what have you found out about what the scene of the shooting was like yesterday?

Speaker 3: 03:09 Well, you know, this was the tail end of a three day festival. The Gilroy garlic festival is, um, is the pride and joy of this community. There are people here who have been coming since they were diapers and are now adults. In fact, the family I was talking to that was the case. You had a dad and his girlfriend bringing their, a twin 11 year old daughters to enjoy something that has always been a fun family friendly focused event and to have someone walk in and just turn it into a nightmare, it's a very sad thing and people feel a great deal of distress about it.

Speaker 1: 03:49 Are Police still looking for a second suspect?

Speaker 3: 03:53 That's what I understand at now. I should mention, we don't know yet whether that suspect is somebody who was armed and seeking to shoot into the crowd last night or was in some way an assistance to the shooter or in in some ways, uh, supporting him. We just don't know the details yet, but we do know that they are looking for a second person.

Speaker 1: 04:16 It apparently the police response time was very quick. Can you tell us about that?

Speaker 3: 04:22 Yes. Uh, we, when we heard from, uh, your police chief Scott Smith, he, he was saying that, you know, there was a heavy police presence across the festival grounds that they were, you know, teams of officers deployed to every different section of the festival. And that's why they were able to immediately engage the shooter when he started shooting.

Speaker 1: 04:41 Did the gunman fire at police? Do we know that?

Speaker 3: 04:44 We believe so. Definitely. It was the sort of thing where the, the chief and other officials wanted to acknowledge the heroism of police officers charging into a situation where they were definitely outgunned.

Speaker 1: 05:00 How are the people injured in the shooting? Do we have an update on those conditions at all?

Speaker 3: 05:05 They range from fair to critical. A number of people have been sent to a number of different hospitals in the region as far north as the, as Stanford, up in Palo Alto on the peninsula. And, uh, it, it really, I mean, there's folks who twisted their ankle running away to much more severe situations.

Speaker 1: 05:24 I've been speaking with KQ Edis, Rachel Myra, Rachel, thank you very much.

Speaker 3: 05:29 Thank you.

Speaker 1: 00:00 California has done an end run around Trump administration officials efforts to weaken standards on vehicle pollution. Governor Gavin Newsom announced a deal with four major auto makers, Ford, Honda, Volkswagen and BMW after secret talks, the deal calls for higher mileage standards in the nation's largest auto market. Then the standards Trump's EPA is pushing as part of coverage from the KPBS climate change desk. Jared Blumenfeld, California Secretary of environmental protection spoke with round table hosts, mark sour about California's deal for tougher pollution standards.

Speaker 2: 00:38 Sure. At Blumenfeld. Welcome to midday edition.

Speaker 3: 00:41 Thank you. It's good to be with you.

Speaker 2: 00:42 We'll start with the deal itself. What does it call for compared with what the Trump administration is trying to put into place?

Speaker 3: 00:49 Well, unfortunately the Trump administration is basically holding all the progress that was made on cleaning up cars and light duty trucks. Um, and this is restarting that negotiation. Basically, Ford, Honda, BMW and Volkswagen came to the table and said, you know what, we want to do the right thing. We don't want to be in a place where we have two sets of car rolls, one for California and one for the other 49 states. So this is really a momentous day because these car companies in California are saying we can achieve really meaningful and significant reductions in greenhouse gas, Amir emissions and other pollutants in the lifetime of this agreement. And we can do that in a way that actually we sell less cars in to all 50 states, not just California and the states that follow us.

Speaker 2: 01:38 And uh, the 51 mile per gallon standard for the fleet by 2026, that's what a California California's worked out with these four auto makers. Right. And then Trump won at what, about 37 miles per gallon, right? Significantly less.

Speaker 3: 01:52 Yeah. So basically what's happened is under the Obama clean car rules, it wasn't a momentous agreement. Everyone, the car manufacturers came together, the California EPA, I'm that guy. I'm done by president Trump. What we're now doing is saying, actually the goal was to get to 49 miles to the gallon by 2025. That was the original goal. And it looked like it was all of us because if just California and the states that follow our standards push, we wouldn't get to that because we only represent 40% of all the cars sold. So nationally we will never gonna get to that, um, really important milestone. And so now we are able to do it just a year later. So under this proposed agreement, if all the car manufacturers agree, we'll get to 49 miles to the gallon by 2026. So it's a year later. But it's really significant cause it brings the whole country along, not just part of it.

Speaker 2: 02:46 No, the deal is between California and these four automakers so far the governor hopes more automakers will will come along, but more states are involved too and following California's lead, right?

Speaker 3: 02:58 Yeah. So California was the one that really pioneered the clean air act before even the federal government. We realized in southern California we had an air pollution problem. So that allowed us to set our own rules. And one of the significant things about this deal is those car companies that actually saying, yeah, California should have that authority and then not citing that the Trump administration. Um, but what California has done is set these rules and other states have followed suit. So we have 14 other states that that follow California well this would allow us to do and what the governor and we're all asking for is to get all the column manufacturers on board so that we have a national solution to this problem right now. BMW, Ford, VW, even Honda represent about 30% of all the national car sales. We want to get to 100%.

Speaker 2: 03:47 Now, Governor Gavin Newsome said, uh, this and announcing his deal with the automakers, what we in California see these regulations as a good thing. The Trump administration is hell bent on rolling them back. They are in complete denialism about climate change. How is this deal being greeted by experts on environmental policy?

Speaker 3: 04:07 It's really an important deal because I think when you look at our greenhouse gas emissions, there's many different sources from the energy we use in our house. But in California, about 50% come from our transportation sector, from driving cars and pickups and trucks. And so if we can't reduce the emissions coming from the Tailpipe, we're not gonna be able to be very effective in our battle against climate change. And frankly, the rest of the world is also looking, California's always been Elida when it comes to getting to a zero emission mandate. How can we get more electric vehicles, more hydrogen vehicles onto the road, more plugin electric. You know, we're really committed to doing that and this deal helps us do that. So environmental leaders from around the country of saying, finally, finally, California is able to do a deal with auto makers. And it took, you know, leadership on the behalf of the car companies.

Speaker 3: 05:00 It wasn't easy for them that I think really threatened by and worried by what the Trump administration could do. But they were like, you know what? We actually can't build two different cars, one for the California market and one for the rest of the nation. And so they stepped up and said, actually, we're going to just have one standard that we'll meet, you know, let's say Trump does come out with and we, we think you will a very weak standard for cause. Um, we will sue him over that. But at the same time these car companies are saying, yeah, irrespective of what the national rule is coming out of USCPA on the Trump, we will come out with clean a cause in all 50 states. So it's a real winner for the environment and for comment adventures. And for California.

Speaker 2: 05:44 Now is it likely that the Trump administration will continue to fight these tougher restrictions on vehicle pollution and how might that play with the public?

Speaker 4: 05:53 Okay.

Speaker 3: 05:53 I can't predict. I, no one can predict. Probably not even himself. Trump will do tomorrow. But, um, you know what, what we do know is that we need forward movement when it comes to battling air pollution and climate change and what these rules do. And the, and the proposal and framework from today, they're really says these big comment effectors like Ford and Honda, BMW, VW, they're saying, you know what, our future is tied to clean up vehicles. Simply put, we know that there's a demand for electric vehicles. The infrastructure is being put in and they're doubling down on that bet because they're seeing if they don't do that other car companies from other parts of the world who are just going electric, you know, very quickly I'm going to get a share of the market and there'll be left behind. They won't be able to sell that car to China and Europe if they just adopt the policies that the Trump administration is implementing

Speaker 2: 06:48 the average year, to be clear, it's an average across an entire fleet. So there's still something popular, SUVs, trucks, light trucks, but with more electric cars that will lower the, uh, the mileage and meet the standard overall in a particular fleet. Right?

Speaker 3: 07:03 Yeah. So we're extending the credits given to them for electric vehicles. So it will mean it's, you know, they want to get their fleet average, they need to sell more electric vehicles and we put a cap on it so they can't just meet it by selling electric vehicles. They also need to clean up the rest of their fleet. So it's a combination of selling more electric vehicles. Um, you know, I just recently bought an electric vehicle and um, when, when I, um, bought it, the dealer wasn't that excited. There was a car company that sells, you know, conventional cars and electric and it was actually pretty hard to get them to even sell it to me. I think you'll see a real big change in the market place, um, when, when these rules go into effect or this framework goes into effect because there'll be incentive there. Really the incentive to sell more electric vehicles, getting electric vehicles. The best things I've ever done. And you know, I do not miss going to the gas station. I don't miss paying all the bills. I don't miss changing the oil. I, you know, there's no maintenance at all. So this is the wave of the future. And I think car companies realized that, and that's why you're seeing the deal with California today.

Speaker 2: 08:10 I had been speaking with Jared Blumenfeld, a California secretary for environmental protection. Thanks very much.

Speaker 1: 08:15 Thank you. And he was speaking to KPBS round table host Mark Sauer for more coverage from the KPBS climate change desks. Go to kpbs.org/climate change.

Speaker 1: 00:00 For thousands of years. San Diego has drawn people searching for health and wellness as part of our California dream collaboration. KPBS is Amica. Sherma has traced the history of health seekers coming to southern California today. She explores how a couple of pools of water lured the Koopa Indians to eastern San Diego.

Speaker 2: 00:24 I see our home. Then Eric Ortega is a member of the Palla Indian mission band of Indians and a descendant of the Koopa Indians. He walks through Warner springs in San Diego County. On a recent afternoon,

Speaker 3: 00:37 my grandmother lived in one of those houses. My grandfather lived in those houses

Speaker 2: 00:41 and just east of those homes are two large pools of fresh water, one hot one cold or take us standing yards away from the water. Now part of our resort under construction says practicality and spirituality drew his ancestors here possibly as far back as 4,000 years ago.

Speaker 3: 01:01 The water was the healing. We believed that it cleaned our bodies and our souls took out a lot of the negativity. If you've had a hard day of hunting or gathering, you come in, you soak in a hot springs.

Speaker 2: 01:12 He says, the water touched every aspect at Kupa society,

Speaker 3: 01:16 our whole culture, a lot of our religious events where we're Dunkin with a water sprinkling, where the water was a big part for us daily life.

Speaker 2: 01:25 When the stage coaches caring American settlers started traveling through the area in the 1850s the Indians commercialized the hot springs.

Speaker 3: 01:34 We would do their laundry, washed her clothes, we would let them bathe, let them drink water, feed them, and then they would pay us and beyond their way.

Speaker 2: 01:42 Soon. Some Americans who were sick and had moved to the region to heal her talk that those hot springs just might be v remedy.

Speaker 3: 01:50 The claims that were made in the 19th century with the hot mineral waters could cure just about anything. If you believe the promoters, I mean cancer, tuberculosis, all kinds of diseases.

Speaker 2: 02:02 Historian Phil Briganti says, asked the fame of the hot springs grew, the property became highly coveted. The land was deeded out to a man named Jonathan Trumbull Warner in the 1840s but the Indians continued to live there.

Speaker 3: 02:14 Eventually the folks who own the Warner ranch led primarily by a man named John Downey, who was a former governor of California. They decided they wanted access among other things to the springs there, and so they instituted a lawsuit treating the Indians as if they were trespassers. The lawsuit

Speaker 2: 02:33 prevailed in 1903 the Koopa Indians were kicked off the land. Some 200 men, women and children were marched to the Palo reservation on a three day journey for Gandy said the Pachangas Indians who had been evicted from their land decades earlier came to offer support.

Speaker 3: 02:50 They brought a steered barbecue. They brought oranges for the kids, and this, this amazing moment of these two Indian groups together. One has survived

Speaker 2: 03:00 the removal and the other who's in the midst of it, can't hardly imagine what was said around the campfires that night or take a head talk to a woman who was 11 at the time the tribe was evicted. She said they were crying. They were highly devastating to our people, not Pella chairman, Robert Smith. He says descendants of the Coupas still want the hot springs. In 2013 a bankruptcy judge rejected the Taliban's bid for the property in favor of a bid from Pacific hospitality group, but Smith isn't giving up it's sacred ground by our own land bat by whatever it takes. We're going to do that. And joining me is KPBS investigative reporter Amica Sherman. Amit, the welcome. Thank you. It's good to be here. Now could you give us an idea of where Warner springs is located in San Diego County for people who aren't familiar with it.

Speaker 2: 03:49 So Warner Springs is about 70 miles from here. So if you are going up the 78 and if you were to turn right, you'd end up in Julian. But if you turn left, you go onto the 79 and you head straight up to Warner springs. What is it about the hot springs that convinced so many settlers that the waters could heal them? Well, just water in general. I think we all know that all humans notice that that warm water tends to relieve stress in addition to the highest temperature of the springs. The minerals in the water are believed to have therapeutic properties. People believe that the sulfur in it acts as a detox and can actually improve skin conditions. And I think the bottom line is, is whether it was the Koopa Indians or the subsequent American settlers, people just felt better after they had spent time in the water.

Speaker 2: 04:42 What's going on at the Warner Springs resort now? Is it primarily a health spa? Well, it's, it's not opened fully. Uh, Warner springs went into bankruptcy several years ago. The Palette Indians made a bid to buy the property back and I'm told that even though their bid was hire, a bankruptcy judge awarded the property to Pacific Hospitality Group, a local hotel group, which had bid lower but was willing to forgo title insurance. So right now, people can't go onto the property to get into the water. Until I made that this was the first in a three part series about San Diego's reputation through the years as a place for healing. What do you focus on tomorrow? Well, tomorrow we take a look at how San Diego developed that reputation that you just described as a place of healing for tuberculosis patients in the late 18 hundreds. The sea air, the warm climate and the beautiful natural landscape was said to play a big role in helping people with TB recuperate, even though it is a bacterial infection.

Speaker 2: 05:50 Um, and, and, and people thought that the reason so many of these patients were healing was that they were coming from these very cramped, polluted, industrialized areas elsewhere in the country. And when they came here, a lot of sanitariums healing places opened up for them. And once they were there, well, they were clean and there was a lot of fresh air. They were given good food and they rested and many of them healed. But aside from tuberculosis patients, San Diego was thought to heal people with any kind of ailment, any kind of sick people came, people with asthma, people with rheumatism, they all flocked to San Diego to heal.

Speaker 1: 06:30 What were some of the more outrageous claims that were made about San Diego as a cure all?

Speaker 2: 06:36 Well, one of them was that nobody ever died in San Diego. Then that debt was death was actually seen as a remarkable event here, and this wasn't about San Diego specifically, but southern California in general, people thought that because the air was so fresh, primarily because of the ocean, it would give everyone or bestow upon everyone beautiful voices, and soon southern Californians were turned into its own race of people with melodic voices.

Speaker 1: 07:09 You mentioned all of southern California. In fact, there were something of a rivalry between the health benefits of San Diego and La.

Speaker 2: 07:17 That's right. So when when passengers, when travelers sick, travelers would come from elsewhere in the country, they'd take the train into Los Angeles and they would tell people in la, oh yeah, we're headed down to San Diego. La started thinking, wait a minute, what about Los Angeles? We've got an ocean year, we've got fresh air here. Why not stay here? So they started spreading rumors about San Diego and they would warn travelers, sick people not to go to San Diego because San Diego was rife with malaria and diptheria and pneumonia. And the Iconic Hotel del in Cora Nado they said had been quarantined over 100 times. So yeah, they were talking trash about San Diego. Typical, I think it extends until today.

Speaker 1: 08:05 So do we still have a reputation like that? What I mean is, are people still coming here and hopes of regaining their

Speaker 2: 08:13 health? They appear to be, I spoke with a real estate agent, uh, who said people who are looking to move to San Diego mentioned the healthy lifestyle here. The image is of people running along the beach doing yoga, meditating on the sand or, or people surfing. And you know, you really took it and ran with it. He said, people, you know, think that they're going to have a ton of access to fresh organic fruits and vegetables. I spoke to the folks out at the San Diego Tourism Authority and they said that visitors who come here, and they've done a lot of focus groups on this, but visitors who come here describe feeling instantly better, feeling instantly rejuvenated as soon as they go outside from the airport at Lindbergh field.

Speaker 1: 08:54 Well, you can hear the second and third installment of Amica Sherma's California dream report. That's tomorrow and Wednesday here on midday edition. Amika thank you. Hope you're feeling well.

Speaker 2: 09:06 I am.

Speaker 1: 00:00 California. This Lake County is an area that has plenty of experience with wildfire in 2015 three fires including the deadly valley fire ripped through the county. Kate QED, reporter Chloe Veltman, recently headed to lake county for a screening of a new documentary on a practice aimed at stopping wildfires from growing out of control. But one that doesn't sit well with a lot of Californians. The documentary wilder than wild brings up the controversial topic of prescribed [inaudible] Burns by native American tribes and other supporters. Something that film screening organizer Magdalena Valderrama Says Lake County residents are now open to hearing more about what we're finding is that a lot of firefighters who come are trained in cities and they're a little reluctant to engage in prescribed fire. Even though prescribed fire is recognized as a tool around 250 locals have come together to watch the film. It's a community theater. Many of them, including Valderrama, lost their homes to recent wildfires like the valley fire of 2015 there wasn't anything we could do after the fire. Valderrama and her husband cofounded a nonprofit to help people in Lake county rebuild and protect their homes and neighborhoods. The post movie Q and a focuses on how residents can help each other stay safe. Local officials, representatives from native American tribes and firefighters are on hand to answer questions.

Speaker 2: 01:26 I didn't know who to call.

Speaker 1: 01:27 Clear Lake residents. Robert Bella recently witnessed someone mowing a lawn in windy 90 degree weather. That's a big no, no in fire prone areas.

Speaker 2: 01:37 I was intimidated about stopping somebody, but how do we handle people who are not thinking

Speaker 1: 01:45 foreign officials tell him to call his fire department or nine one one hidden valley lake residents. Carolyn Graham shares a concern about homeowners installing generators

Speaker 2: 01:55 and what can we do to make sure that people, if they're going to get a generator, that they know how to set it up and operate it in a safe manner.

Speaker 1: 02:03 Lake County Fire Marshall, Mary Jane Montana says residents should seek help from their local building and fire departments.

Speaker 2: 02:09 Don't listen to somebody who tells you to get a double male plug and plug plugging into your dryer out. That

Speaker 1: 02:14 Valderrama says, getting people to talk to each other is key in this rural county made up of unincorporated towns that pride themselves on being self sufficient. Instead of being in all these little silos, it's time for us to kind of come out of our hidey holes and start meeting each other that have been more than 200 screenings of wilder than wild around the state since the film came out a year ago with many more planned. And that story came from KQ Ed reporter Chloe Veltman.

Speaker 1: 00:00 This is KPBS mid day edition. I'm Maureen Cavanagh. Kate DiCamillo, his book tail of Desperado won the Newbery award in 2004 before becoming an animated film from universal. Now the old globe is partnering with pig Pen Theater Company to bring the book to the stage. KPBS arts reporter Beth Haka. Amando talks with Aria Shahi about how cardboard and flashlights are bringing the adventures of a Henry and heroic mouse to life. This is tales of Desborough, which is about a mouse. So how do you tackle bringing something like that

Speaker 2: 00:37 to the stage? I thought there's the million dollar question, right? I think, um, that was the first challenge of the piece. Um, how do you do not only animals, which we wish we'd done before, but particularly, um, small animals, animals that in life probably aren't big enough to, uh, carry the weight of an emotional moment on stage. Um, so we've, we've experimented with so many different methods. Um, going back to, I think the first time we tried a workshop for Desperado was 2015, perhaps 2015, 2016. I can't remember exactly when. Um, and we started using the toolbox that we've had developed in our other shows, which was a lot of light play, a lot of shadow play, um, and some three dimensional puppet play. Um, and we decided over the years that, you know, there doesn't need to be a rule. I think that's, that's the biggest takeaway from our show is that, uh, all the scale moments as we called them, when, when a human has to interact with a, with a mouse or a rat or two mice or two humans or three humans in one.

Speaker 2: 01:37 But you know, that whenever we have all these moments, we've just basically gone through our toolbox, found the effect that we think works best for the emotional moment of the show and employed that. Um, and I think that's been kind of fun because obviously there's a lot going on in the show and we, and, and because it's the world premier at the old globe, we're learning so much from the audiences. Um, so I think it'll continue to get refined. Um, but we're really happy with, uh, all the different ways we are doing at work. We're using, we're using three dimensional puppets that are kind of a little bit larger than life, so you can see them, but uh, that really indicate like how small these characters are. Uh, we're using actors that just portray the characters, um, without any kind of costume pieces or anything.

Speaker 2: 02:17 That was one of our big ideas originally is that the tail of desperate is all about communities that have because of a tragic event in the kingdom, Moon door have kind of, um, isolated themselves from each other. And we really wanted to find the commonality between the communities and, uh, and using actors to portray animals. It's a very simple thing to say, but it's actually kind of cool when, when you, uh, when you find the right moments to do so, when to remind the audience of the differences between the characters and the similarities of the characters and use that to propel the same.

Speaker 1: 02:54 I am, you know, nothing like me. You're amazing. Not even a good

Speaker 3: 03:00 guy. Well, what does a good now? Stupid. Ah, they sniff around for grubs and spirit. Good. I'm looking at you right now and let me tell these something that want no [inaudible] offense to Novo carriage.

Speaker 1: 03:12 Now this was made into a film also and with movies we now have all this capability with CGI to create anything we want where the audience really doesn't have to fill in any details. But one of the things that's magical about theater is you're engaging in this kind of agreement with the audience that you make this leap of faith and that's kind of where the magic happens. So how has that been a process for you of kind of developing these tools?

Speaker 2: 03:40 I mean that's your 100% spot on. You know, we were lucky enough to have been doing this for awhile and we have a lot of friends in theater and everyone has their style. Everyone has their aesthetic. And I think the thing that sets us apart, or the thing that we've, three of us that's as a department, the thing that we've embraced as our aesthetic, as what a pig pen show means is exactly that, is that there is a pact that you make with the audience. If almost before the show begins, there's always some kind of connection between the performers and the audience before we say a line of text in whatever dialogue we've chosen. Oh, whatever acts that we've chosen for that show, uh, where we just kind of set the stage and then indicate that we're going to ask you to go on an imagination trip with us because that's what we did in college.

Speaker 2: 04:22 And that's what we did in the fringe festivals. And that's what we did kind of coming up as a company is we couldn't rely on this Egi budget. We could rely on bedsheets the things that we could just bring with us to the rehearsal room. And, uh, and luckily I think there's a, there's a space for that. And I think there's a growing space for that because of all the amazing TV that's being made because all the amazing films that are being made, uh, those markets are almost, uh, just saturated in a way with, with realistic storytelling. And even when it's fantasy, even when it's, you know, game of Thrones, uh, anything, anything that's being made at high budget, high budget, there's a, there's an air of realism even about the fantasy. So to Kinda take a step back and say there is a lot of emotional, um, depth to be found in something that's not realistic, um, and to, to respect it and take it ticket earnestly, not seriously, but take it earnestly, I think.

Speaker 2: 05:16 I think that's for us big. I know when we first started becoming a company that people hadn't maybe ever heard of, one of the main criticisms that we would get is that, you know, these, these a bunch of young guys, and it's a little too corny, like to, for lack of a better word, it's just too corny. Like the, this is, Eh, and it was always a weird thing to read big. Uh, you shouldn't read your own reviews. Most of them were amazing or else we wouldn't be here, which is, I'm, I'm very grateful for. But that was something that I always clocked is like, oh, that wasn't even a choice we made. We didn't sit around and say like we got to tell stories really like that are full of heart and earnestly. It's just the kind of storytelling that appeals to us. You know, mean you look at some of the earlier Disney stuff, um, and the, and the, and then Pixar, I mean Pixars so good and universal and like all these studios and movie makers that have leaned into it and found how to communicate that earnestness, the theaters, the place to do that.

Speaker 2: 06:12 I mean, you're in a room with 600 people and if you can, if you can lead with that and then kind of acknowledged that we're all doing it together. Like it's okay, we're all adults. I mean there are kids here, but we're also adults. We're not belittling the earnestness of a story. And so that leads to basically being able to do whatever you want on stage with Banjos and flashlights and puppets and like we're all having a good time and we're trying to just learn something from each other.

Speaker 1: 06:35 So you do deliberately go kind of low tech on some things. So you have shadow puppets and you use flashlights. So what can people expect

Speaker 2: 06:44 for that? Um, I think people can expect a range of things. One is, uh, you're going to see us pull out a bed sheet and a cardboard puppet and light it, and you'll understand immediately what's happening. And you'll either like it or you won't. And you'll be like, oh, that was a strange thing to see in a, in a big musical. You know, like that's, I just don't expect that. But I think what's lovely about our shows is at least if we're doing them right and we built them properly and uh, and the, and the surprises continue to be platformed. So we kind of teach the audience like, here's a thing that we do. And then by the end of the show, we'll do that thing without not really showing you all the pieces and make you wonder like, wait, how did, how did they just do that?

Speaker 2: 07:20 Cause you know, all the pieces, we're not, we're not reinventing the wheel here. We're just showing you like, here, here's the technique. And because we've been doing it for so long, there's certain sequences in the show that like for instance the flashlights that we use, we've learned that like if you use an led flashlight rather than an incandescent bulb or something like that, you have a lot of Christmas in the shadow. And when you move the flashlight, the shadow distorts in very interesting ways. And it also becomes reminiscent of a movie of the way the camera moves in a movie. Um, so you'll be looking at something that's very traditional like puppet and all of a sudden there's like a swing and you're in a three dimensional world on screen. And you know, some people think that's projection, but it's not. It's really the same stuff being lit or being tilted in interesting ways to create a new effect. So that's, I think what you can rein expect in the show is like, you'll understand how we're doing these things and we are doing all of them. But you'll find moments we're, hopefully there will be a spark of wonder and joy because you don't know how we're doing it. But you know that there's nothing helping us.

Speaker 4: 08:24 [inaudible]

Speaker 1: 08:25 the tale of Desperado runs through August 11th at the old globe theater.

Speaker 4: 08:32 [inaudible].

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KPBS Midday Edition

KPBS Midday Edition is a daily talk show hosted by Maureen Cavanaugh and Jade Hindmon, keeping San Diegans in the know on everything from politics to the arts.