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LATEST UPDATES: Tracking COVID-19 | Racial Justice | Election 2020

San Diego COVID-19 Case Rate Falls Below State Threshold, Original Theater Work Eulogizes Human Toll Of Coronavirus, Trump Opposes USPS Funding For Mail Voting And Summer Music Series

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Above: An undated graphic of the coronavirus from the CDC.

For the first time since early July, San Diego County case rate fell below the threshold to fall off the state’s monitoring list. Also, a new work by a local theater company honors and eulogizes the lives lost during the pandemic. Plus, President Trump said he is against providing funding to help the US Postal Service in order to sabotage efforts to expand mail-in voting. We discuss threats to the November election. In addition, military families are still stuck in limbo as the Navy tries to contain the coronavirus. And, the Oceanside International Film Festival had big plans for its 10th anniversary, now those plans are scrapped for a virtual experience. Finally, in this week’s Summer Music Series: The Greyboy Allstars releases its first studio album in seven years.

Speaker 1: 00:00 One day in the right direction as San Diego's COVID case rate falls, but it's been coming down pretty steadily over the last couple of weeks. So that's, that's been an improvement that we've seen. I'm Maureen Kavanaugh with Mark sour. This is KPBS mid day edition. The presidential race is heating up. So our concerns about election threats

Speaker 2: 00:29 From potential cyber attacks to lack of opportunities for safe in person voting, uh, to, uh, the president seeking to undermine the fairness and legitimacy of the election.

Speaker 1: 00:41 San Diego theater group presents songs of remembrance for those laws to COVID-19 and our summer music series features a long time. San Diego favorite the gray boy, all stars. That's a head on mid day edition.

Speaker 1: 01:00 Oh, welcome. Bit of good news emerge from San Diego's latest update on COVID-19 cases, daily numbers of positive cases. Wednesday dropped below the state's watch list threshold. It's the first time we got below 100 cases per 100,000 residents since San Diego was placed on the watch list at the beginning of July KPBS health reporter, Taran mento explains what that drop means or doesn't mean for the prospects of easing restrictions in San Diego and Taran. Welcome to the program. Thank you, Maureen. First of all, how much below that threshold did San Diego get on Wednesday? Right. So the case rate dropped to 94.1 new cases per 100,000 residents. The state, as you mentioned in your intro, wants to us to be at no more than 100 new cases per 100,000 residents. So just about six points below what we want, you know, but we we've seen the case rate number fluctuate up and down in the past.

Speaker 1: 02:00 Um, so it will likely change day to day, but you know, every everyone's hoping these ups will still stay below that 100 per 100,000 threshold. And when was the last time we had a positive case number as low as this, we got on the watch list in early July. And so that means that in early July, we went above 100 per 100,000. Um, so it's been a while we're talking five, six weeks here that we've been consistently, um, at above above 100. And I think we've been at 150, 154 cases per 100,000 residents before, you know, later in July, but it's been coming down pretty steadily over the last couple of weeks. So that's, that's been an improvement that we've seen, but this is not the positivity rate, correct. This is the total number of people who test positive. So conceivably the rate could be affected by the number of tests taking place, right? The audience is hearing positivity

Speaker 3: 03:00 Rate case rate hospitalization, like so many rates that we keep hearing. So the case rate is the number of confirmed cases, confirmed positive results over a two week period. Uh, that's that's divided for, for every 100,000 residents and that's a simplified explanation of the calculation. And so the rate could be influenced by testing. Sure. Um, but you know, except for two or three days over the last month, um, you know, when we saw very low testing around 4,000 daily tests reported or very high testing around 16,000 daily tests reporting, the range has really been around 5,600 to a bit over 9,000 data tests reported with a handful of days above 10,000. Sorry if that was confusing for the audience to follow, but you know, it's about a month ago, the County and state, you know, also didn't limit who could be tested. So it's limited to those who are very sick or, or at high risk, at least those, they took priority. You know, meaning we are testing people who could be more likely to be causative. Our goal is to see a 67, about 6,700 tests a day. And lately, for the most part we've been near or above that

Speaker 1: 04:09 Now one day for San Diego to be below threshold numbers does not get us off the watch list. As I understand it, what would we have to do to get off that list?

Speaker 3: 04:20 So just to get off the watch list, you have to day below the threshold for, uh, or at the threshold for three days. Now this is a little bit complicated because we hear about, we heard about that reporting glitch. Um, the state may have not accurately reported all of the cases to the counties and that just caused a whole bunch of confusion. Now, the County says that they've received all of those backdated case positives, um, and maybe there'll be a few trickling in here and there over the next couple of days. And then the state, I believe says that everything should be kind of up to date as of the end of this week. So we still have to wait and see if we do maintain this, this, uh, below this threshold for the next couple of days, what will happen? Will the state allow us to get off the, the watch list? Um, so that's something we're still kind of a little unclear on

Speaker 1: 05:08 What daily positive test number do we have to stay below to stay below that threshold of 100 per 100,000 resumes?

Speaker 3: 05:16 So dr. Wilmer, Lou and the county's public health officer has said for a while now that, um, if we stay, if we report no more than 240 cases a day for two weeks, we will be able to get off the list and stay there. So 240 is the goal. I mean, but if you look back, you'll see that there has been many, a days recently where we have not been, um, at, or below that number, but we still have been lower than we have been in the past. So the County says that's what allowed us to, to, um, reduce our case rate. But if we want to, to really stay there with confidence, dr. Wilma Wooten has said 240 or fewer new daily is what we need to stay at and hold there for two weeks.

Speaker 1: 06:00 Governor Newsome announced some hopeful news for the state during his COVID briefing yesterday, what did he report?

Speaker 3: 06:07 So he focused a lot on the, um, hospitalizations and, and those that are in ICU for COVID. And we saw decreases, um, about 19% with hospitalizations over the last two weeks and decreases of ICU admissions, I think about 16%. And so this is, um, this is a really, really, um, easy, easy number to track. And it's really, uh, it really tells it gives us a better sampling of them cases, because as you mentioned, that can kind of fluctuate with testing. Um, so this is really, really a good indicator of how we're improving, um, on, um, reducing the spread of COVID by seeing these numbers go down. So he was very happy about that. And we've seen similar trends here in San Diego are hospitalizations. Number of hospitalizations have, have fallen as well.

Speaker 1: 06:55 And getting back to San Diego for a, sort of the full picture, what were the new numbers on deaths and outbreaks?

Speaker 3: 07:02 So we're still seeing, you know, deaths are still, we're still seeing them reported and we're still seeing outbreaks now outbreaks. I can say that, um, for a while we were doing well and what San Diego wants us to stick to is no more than six community outbreaks reported in a week period. Well, we have been way above that for a long time. And so, you know, we reached 40 outbreaks reported in one week period, and then we were, we were coming down, we're still kind of coming down, but we're still pretty high. Like the County reported 26 community outbreaks, um, were confirmed in the last seven days. So still very high, but a little bit better than we saw earlier. That's, we're still seeing people. Um, we're still seeing reports of people of dying. Uh, there was, I believe, six or eight reported, um, over a couple of days, each day, this week we've seen large numbers, um, fewer numbers. Um, but you know, people are still dying from this.

Speaker 1: 07:56 The new testing site opened yesterday at the San Ysidro border. What is the County hoping to achieve with that new site

Speaker 3: 08:03 Providing up to 200 daily tasks for people who are authorized to cross over from Mexico into the U S these are usually essential workers. And we know that hospitals in the South Bay have been overwhelmed with a patient's COVID patients. And I had a high percentage of those that have recently traveled to Mexico. So we, this is an effort by the County to provide more resources at the border to just provide, um, provide help where, where the metrics are showing it's needed.

Speaker 1: 08:31 I've been speaking with KPBS health reporter, Karen mento, and Taran. Thank you.

Speaker 3: 08:35 Thank you.

Speaker 1: 08:53 The pandemic goes beyond statistics and

Speaker 4: 08:56 Charts. For many families, their worlds have been completely devastated by laws. One local theater company is turning their memories and stories into original songs to honor, and eulogize lives lost during the pandemic here's KPBS arts editor and producer Julia Dickson Evans with the story

Speaker 5: 09:15 Blind spot collective, a San Diego based theater company has made a name for themselves in recent years with inclusive site specific works, including being featured in the LA Jolla playhouses without walls festival. This summer they've launched refractions, which is a project that creates human anthems, original songs written to honor lives lost during the pandemic. The first song blindspot produced honored the memory of Juliet Davis. Her son, TAVI McNeil told Davis his story to songwriters, Brian, Barbara and Kendrick dial, who wrote mama is going to work it out

Speaker 4: 10:03 [inaudible]

Speaker 5: 10:03 Well, that pandemic has sidelined blind spots, operations. In many ways, artistic director, Blake McCarty said it has also created a sort of intersection of the values. The company strives for

Speaker 4: 10:15 It, challenges, performing artists to really reimagine what it is. Theater can look like.

Speaker 5: 10:21 They've also long been interested in telling true first person documentary style stories, verbatim theater or documentary theater is a specific form of nonfiction, drama, and playwriting that involves conducting interviews and transforming them into script. During the pandemic, when family is affected by losses or sickness become statistics spot wanted to put those skills to work and honor victims by telling their stories.

Speaker 4: 10:49 Every piece of dialogue is something that is, it is real and authentic from an interview source. And so every character is based specifically on a real person and their true and real experiences

Speaker 5: 11:13 Pulling from stories and interviews helps humanize and memorialize something bigger than just one person.

Speaker 4: 11:21 Documentaries are not truth. They are still someone's perspective. The ability to actually like embrace someone's reality without making that reality sort of monolithic in any way.

Speaker 5: 11:33 Shelina Hafner one of the artists leading the project said storytelling is critical while communities are struggling with grief, but it's a role that she and many other performers are missing right now with stages shuttered. At least for me, our job is to create empathy and it's to tell stories. Um, and a lot of us, right, aren't doing

Speaker 4: 11:54 That. But with the fact that all of these

Speaker 5: 12:04 Numbers that were flooded with on television and we're losing the, the individual

Speaker 4: 12:11 In this moment,

Speaker 5: 12:13 You know, we see like 300 new cases yesterday and we think, Oh, that's a lot. You know, and people get, I think that we're losing who those people are. The group pairs, grieving families with songwriters and performers to produce original music with lyrics taken directly from the interviews and conversations with LA.

Speaker 4: 12:35 I missed the sound of your voice. Every echo of your wisdom, sing songs of your someone saving me from myself. I know you're still watching me.

Speaker 5: 12:43 They first gathered stories from families using one-on-one interviews. It's a way to get to know a person beyond the statistics, the things they loved, their catchphrases and what the friends and family remember about them. They also ask what kind of music the person liked and the types of music the family listens to together in the absence of public funerals. This process parallels the human need to eulogize their loved ones. When these songs are shared, they put a face and a story to the human toll of the person.

Speaker 4: 13:13 You still feel you still live. You still, still, still love.

Speaker 5: 13:24 TAVI McNeil said his mother Juliet had raised him with music and loved music during her life. The song was exactly what it needed to be.

Speaker 4: 13:54 That was KPBS arts editor, Julia Dickson Evans blind spot collective is still gathering stories from families who wish to honor loved ones. You can find out how to get I'm Mark Sauer with Maureen Kavanaugh and you're listening to KPBS mid day edition. The Biden Harris democratic ticket is set, but roughly 80 days out the November 3rd election seems imperiled. The president today said he will block Democrats request for aid to the postal service. Social media is besieged by foreign trolls and COVID-19 fears cloud in-person voting. Joining me to examine this fraught election year is Richard Hasson professor of law and political science at the university of California, Irvine and author of election meltdown, dirty tricks, distrust, and the threat to American democracy. Welcome to midday edition. It's great to be with you. President of Trump said this morning on Fox news he'll block the Democrats push for postal service

Speaker 6: 14:52 Funding. Let's hear that

Speaker 7: 14:53 They want $25 billion billion for the post office. Now they need that money in order to have the post office work. So it can take all of these millions and millions of ballots. Now, in the meantime, they aren't getting there by the way, those are just two items, but if they don't get those two items, that means you can't have universal mail and voting because they're not equipped to have it.

Speaker 6: 15:16 What's your reaction to this professor in order to have a proper election in the middle of a pandemic, many people are going to want to vote by mail and saying that you want to make it harder for people to vote by mail in the middle of a pandemic and doing so for political reasons is profoundly worrying and is just part of a pattern of the president making statements that are intended to make it harder to vote and to undermine people's confidence in the fairness of the election. Now, is there anything to Trump's claims that bad actors and 400 domestic will counterfeit ballots and doctor ballots and steel ballots are committed other election crimes regarding mail and voting. So I think that the amount of voter fraud in the United States is quite low when election crimes do happen, they're more likely to happen using absentee ballots than in person voting.

Speaker 6: 16:05 Uh, but even so the overall rate of absentee ballot fraud is low. And by referring to absentee ballots, I'm talking about absentee and mail in ballots because in my use of the terms, they're really the same thing. And, uh, most of these absentee ballot crimes or prosecutions were ones that would not affect the outcome of an election. I certainly think we could see isolated instances of ballots being tampered with, but to try to tamper with, uh, an election through absentee ballots on any wide-scale would be easily detected. And so I don't think that it really presents a significant risk to the integrity of the election. And you posted a New York times column on your election law blog this week about the blue shift. What is that? And what's it have to do with Trump tweeting that we must know the results on election night. So one of the concerns that I have is that given this shift to mail and balloting, and especially given Trump's statements, which are discouraging Republicans from voting by mail and encouraging Democrats to do so.

Speaker 6: 17:09 And that we might be in a situation where you can imagine, say a swing state like Pennsylvania or Wisconsin. Trump is ahead in the voting on election night, because those are the ballots that are going to be counted. First are going to be those in-person ballots. It takes longer to process absentee ballots to make sure they're done correctly, and that all the anti-fraud provisions are in place. So you can imagine a situation where Trump is ahead on election night. Then we get to maybe a week or even longer later, but all the ballots are counted and Biden has won the election. And the meantime Trump could claim victory based on the election night results and try to make claims as he has in the past that any ballots counted after election day are somehow fraudulent. These are not valid claims. We never have election results, uh, happen.

Speaker 6: 17:58 Uh, immediately there are projections of what's going to happen in California. It takes weeks to count the ballots. And one of the things that we see as Bal even before Trump started making these comments is that because Democrats tend to vote later, uh, the ballots that are counted later have more democratic votes in them. That's why we saw seven congressional races in Southern California in the 2018 elections start with election night leads for Republican congressional candidates. And in all of those races, Democrats were ultimately declared the winner as all of the ballots were counted. That's what the blue shift is. It's the fact that not only can we potentially expect the final election results to be different from the election night results, they're much more likely to favor Democrats. There's nothing nefarious about it is just the voting patterns of how people tend to vote and what we see in terms of election results.

Speaker 4: 18:49 What about foreign interference this time around we've? We followed the Mueller report, a detailed analysis of Russian interference in 2016 intelligence agents say it's happening again? There's reports of interference from China against Trump. How seriously are you taking these threats?

Speaker 6: 19:04 Well, there were different kinds of interference in 2016. One kind of interference is misinformation or attempts to stir up a social trouble. We saw the Russians do that. I think that is troubling. Although I do think that the platforms like Facebook and Twitter are taking some steps to try to root out what they call coordinated, inauthentic behavior, this idea of, uh, you know, using bots or otherwise sending out messages that don't really reflect real people, but instead a kind of political operation, I'm more concerned about other kinds of interference. Or remember in 2016 we saw the stealing and leaking of democratic party documents. So we might see that happen again. Uh, you know, we don't know who's stealing what documents and what might be released. And also what we saw in 2016 was the Russian government probing election registration databases in all 50 States, trying to, uh, show I think that they had some ability to access those databases.

Speaker 6: 20:03 Uh, no information was changed in terms of the results of the 2016 election, but I think it was an attempt to try to undermine people's confidence in the process. Looking forward to the 2020 election. One of the nightmares that I spent out in, uh, election meltdown is the potential of a power grid hack in a democratic city like Detroit in a swing state like Michigan. We don't have good procedures in place if there is that kind of disruption. And I think COVID is on everyone's mind, but I think we can't put aside the potential for there to be problems like foreign, uh, interference, uh, cyber attacks, things like that also occurring as we get closer to the election

Speaker 4: 20:41 And much is being said about voter suppression, like drastic cuts and the number of polling places in certain cities. Uh, do

Speaker 6: 20:48 You worry about that? So I was already worried about the election before COVID hit. Now of course, one of the reasons we're seeing a polling place closures is that it's very hard to staff polling places, especially when you rely on older Americans are most susceptible to the virus, all kinds of reasons to worry that the election, you know, is one, that's not going to look like our typical election. I think we need to make sure that there are safe ways to vote both in person and by mail, especially with these concerns over vote by mail. We may end up seeing more people voting in person and with all the kinds of polling place closures and the procedures that need to be put in place like social distancing and cleaning of voting equipment that needs to happen because of the pandemic. I think we should anticipate the potential for long lines, which is always a potential in places, but I think we might see it in more places.

Speaker 6: 21:37 That's why in-person early voting might be a great option for some people who neither trust the mail or are willing to wait until election day to see what those lines are going to look like. Well, how great a threat is all this to the election, uh, put your, your a crystal ball tap on. What are you fearing? What keeps you up at night? What might happen on November 3rd? Well, everything we've talked about, uh, is the kind of stuff that keeps me up at night from potential cyber attacks, to a lack of opportunities for safe in person voting, uh, to, uh, the president seeking to undermine the fairness and legitimacy of the election. I think what is most likely to lead to what would be considered by many to be a successful election is if the election is not particularly close, because if the election is very close, then you know, there's going to be fighting lawsuits potentially, uh, straight protests over arcane rules for how ballots are cast and counted.

Speaker 6: 22:31 And that's something that really we're not well equipped for 20 years after the Florida debacle, which led to the Supreme court's decision in Bush versus Gore, we're still not prepared to deal with these kinds of, uh, election troubles. And of course it's much worse now with increased polarization and the rise of social media, where the media is watching the voters are watching the whole world will be watching lots to cover here between now and November 3rd. I've been speaking with political science and law professor Richard Hasson of the university of California, Irvine and author of election meltdown, dirty tricks, distrust, and the threat to American democracy. Thanks very much. Thank you for the opportunity.

Speaker 1: 23:14 A number of military families have been left in limbo as they wait to move to new bases. The Navy imposed a stop movement this spring because of the pandemic. Now it's trying to restart travel, but not everybody is being allowed to move yet. KPBS, military reporter, Steve Walsh reports. This is our home for the moment.

Speaker 6: 23:37 Adaptability is part of Navy life for Kylie McFerrin in her family. That's meant living in an RV at a campground in the mountains.

Speaker 8: 23:46 It's about an hour away from the ocean where her husband continues to work at Naval base Cornado in San Diego County.

Speaker 5: 23:53 It has been difficult. There have been a lot of times where you have to tell yourself, this is only temporary. This is not forever. Um, you know, tomorrow's a new day.

Speaker 8: 24:03 The McFerrin sold their home. When her husband received orders, transferring him to Maryland. They were forced to move out in July, but by then, the Navy had put his move on hold with two young kids and no place to live. Their best option was to buy an RV and search for campground.

Speaker 5: 24:19 Finding more permanent housing in an RV is a little challenging. A lot of places require a membership. Um, some places, um, are just booked because most people make these plans months and years in advance. And we are trying to do it last minute.

Speaker 8: 24:34 Her family is one of thousands caught up in the military stop movement order, which went into effect in March in July. The Pentagon began loosening restrictions about 40% of the 230 U S military installations worldwide have reopened because they met requirements like having fewer COVID-19 cases for at least 14 days. Assistant commander of Navy personnel, captain Derek tranq says base is also needed to be operating closer to them.

Speaker 7: 25:01 There can't be a local travel restriction. Uh, they have to have essential services like childcare,

Speaker 8: 25:09 San Diego Naval bases are still on the red list though. The Navy is making you,

Speaker 7: 25:14 You have a waiver process. We were able to, uh, get sailors moved because they had a hardship or because they were essential to the mission of the new command

Speaker 8: 25:23 Waivers have helped dramatically clear the Navy's backlog. The Navy originally expected. It would take until sometime next year to move the nearly 24,000 waiting families. Now it expects to have the rest of those families at their new bases by November. The number of cases of Corona virus in the military has plateaued in the last week or so though coronavirus cases had been surging through July, even as the Navy was pushing to get more sailors moving tranq says the Navy is convinced it's reopening

Speaker 7: 25:53 Because we are taking those steps to keep our people safe. Uh, I believe it is allowing us to make these moves, whereas before, um, everybody stopped moving really was the right answer because we knew so little

Speaker 8: 26:07 Still determining why one base is open to travel. And another base is closed, can be confusing for military families early in the pandemic, the Pentagon stop listing COVID cases by base in San Diego County. Along with the Navy, the Marines West coast bootcamp is still red flag, but the Marines are free to transfer in and out of camp. Pendleton Navy spouse, Kelly co-pack is finally on her way to the East coast from San Diego. She spoke from the road.

Speaker 5: 26:35 Nobody seemed to really know what information to give us or what advice to give us or that type of thing. And a lot of hurry up

Speaker 9: 26:44 And wait.

Speaker 8: 26:44 It's like the McFerrin is the, copex also brought an RV when they needed a place to live after they sold their house in San Diego. Now they are finally traveling cross country to Virginia with their seven month old with the help of a Navy waver,

Speaker 9: 26:58 That would be incredibly helpful and beneficial to a future pandemic or other extreme situation, maybe to allow for case management in this

Speaker 8: 27:10 That would give families a point of contact. Like when they have sailors deployed, the copex will be required to self isolate for 14 days at their new base. The RV will make that easier while other families wait for their turn to hit the road. Steve Walsh, KPBS news. I'm Mark Sauer with Maureen Kavanaugh. You're listening to midday edition on KPBS. The Oceanside international film festival had big plans for its 10 year anniversary, but they had to be scrapped as the festival was forced to move online. KPBS arts reporter, Beth Huck Amando speaks with the festivals, managing director, Lou Niles about what to expect

Speaker 9: 27:57 The Oceanside international film festival has a anniversary, a milestone to celebrate this year. You are turning 10, but address some of the complications you've had with this particular year and the Corona virus.

Speaker 10: 28:12 Yeah, absolutely. We're really excited to celebrate our 10 year celebration and we're even launching a sustainability and social consciousness related initiative, which would have been very timely. So we've had to go virtual explore different platforms. So we're lucky to found one and we're just about ready to go. We had to make the decision probably about maybe two and a half, three weeks ago. So we are just scrambling to get everything loaded into the platform and get it ready to deliver these great films to the public.

Speaker 9: 28:50 So I have to confess the first film of yours that I went to watch was honor, and the opening kind of a drone shot of this gorgeous landscape. And I think being in quarantine and seeing that suddenly, I felt like, man, I really want to go outside or I want to go to a cinema and see these images on a massive screen. So a number of your films do have this really great sense of the expanse of the outdoors, which is quite enjoyable to be watching from inside quarantine. So talk a little bit about those choices.

Speaker 10: 29:30 Yeah, we were lucky. I mean, every year we're really kind of at the whim of boom submit. Um, so, uh, you know, the programming team, uh, Sterling ADOT and Karlie Starview denials, they really go through that. What do we have? And we really liked to have themed blocks. So we have these theme blocks of films that may not be just documented, just love stories. You know, there might be a Nixon there and they're tied together somehow by another thread, that's moving through the stories. Um, and we have some really beautiful films. So hopefully I'll, it'll be that kind of inspiring thing where you're trapped inside and you can live vicariously through these films and not be like, I wish I could get out there. Um, so just some beautiful films that are in our sustainable block or even in our lineup block, which is mostly about surf and skate. There's even some kind of social justice stories. That'll take you out on a trip. Photo journalist takes a trip from central America on the train, trying to come to America, following their children, trying to immigrate and get to America to be with their family. Then I learned that I can hide behind the camera only so long before I can't see through the, you find it because tears are coming down my eyes, but if I couldn't stand to do that, I would do something else. I shouldn't do it. It's not for everybody.

Speaker 10: 31:03 The goal here is to teach viewers, this is what happened behind the scenes, the struggle of people in failing countries, just some amazing, you know, it's hard not to, to pick those beautiful films that have been done so well on independent budget,

Speaker 11: 31:24 You talk about these theme blocks and sustainability is one of them. What are some of the other categories

Speaker 10: 31:29 We have? We've got eight different themed film blocks as we call them. And they'll be four or five films in each blocks. Most of them are short, but we have, like I mentioned, the lineup, which has a number of, uh, surf related films at one film from Iceland that you talked about, and it's not really a surf film that there's surfing in the thread. It's more about a man and his daughter and his love for surfing. Then in our sustainable block, we've got a lot of beautiful cinematic films, as well as films about the environment and sustainability coming of age and dark, kind of a dark comedy block. It, it features a short film that actually comes from San Diego. A Dick Shawn died on stage at the Playhouse and for a long time during the performance people thought it was part of the act and it wasn't.

Speaker 10: 32:22 Um, so it was a short film about that. Golden hour is a set of films that are the thread. There is the people on the films are in there. Kind of the older age groups change is a block of films just having changed in life. There's some really interesting socially conscious film. Sarah, great independent short from Oceanside. Actually art house is another block with some, some of my favorites in it. And then culture has got some beautiful, really one of the special ones in the culture block, isolated in Stromboli, there's the eight blocks. And then we have four separate features,

Speaker 1: 33:00 Peculiarly excited about any particular block or film that you're going to be highlighting.

Speaker 10: 33:05 That is really a tough one. We should probably answer the same question the same each year that, Oh, I really love these songs. It's really great. I'm really excited about the top rack is an amazing film. And then one of my most favorites is eat the rainbow, which is kind of a musical short, but very deep social issue that they approach it in such an interesting creative way. So I guess we'll become some sort of a neighborhood melting pot that yes, but instead of a melting pot, think of it as a salad bowl with many different ingredients of all colors each with its own unique flavor.

Speaker 1: 33:49 Well, I want to thank you very much for taking some time to talk about your 10th anniversary.

Speaker 10: 33:54 Yes. Thank you so much for having us [inaudible] that was Beth Huck. Amando speaking with ocean

Speaker 1: 34:21 International film festivals, Luna. You can find complete program,

Speaker 10: 34:26 Oh side

Speaker 1: 34:35 The KPBS summer music series continues this week with a band that's been a long time. San Diego favorite in the early 1990s acid jazz pioneers, the gray boy, all stars put San Diego on the map with their funky brand of West coast Boogaloo. Since then, their unique style has given rise to many new artists following in their footsteps. The gray boy, all stars just released their first album in seven years. KPBS is Alison st. John interviewed the band and the conversation started with some music. Here's the title track of the gray boy, all stars, new album, Como

Speaker 10: 35:37 [inaudible].

Speaker 12: 35:40 That was the gray boy. All-stars with Comodo. All-stars the title track from their new album, the gray boy, all stars are Carl Denson on sax and flute and vocals too. I believe Robert Walter on keys, Elgin park guitar, crystal will base an Aaron Redfield on drums and with us. Now we have Carl Robert and Elgin. Thank you so much for joining us on midday edition.

Speaker 13: 36:05 Hi, thanks for having us.

Speaker 12: 36:07 Hi there. So now the song we just heard coma Dale stars is great, but unlike a lot of your songs, it has vocals. Tell us what the song's about.

Speaker 13: 36:17 This is Elgin and I'm. Yeah. I wrote the lyrics and Carl sang it beautifully and we sang it sort of as a group vocal, you know, we just wanted to make something that, that had sort of like a positive message. I think, um, I think the overall feeling for the record was trying to create something positive that people could kind of have a good time too, but also it was our responsibility to contribute something that had some politically minded content appropriate for our times that we're living in and not just kind of sit on the sidelines and just watch the thing go down in flames. So, uh, just trying to, you know, let people know they have power to change their lives and get together and make a positive change. [inaudible] I think it really speaks to the, uh, the idea of everybody getting out there and voting for one thing, we released it. Then I heard it the first time I thought this is a great get out and vote single. So that made me happy.

Speaker 12: 37:23 So let's go back to your roots a little bit. What, what has influenced the gray boy star sound?

Speaker 13: 37:31 Uh, this is Carl. I met DJ gray boy back in 1992. He came to a show that I was doing in orange County, California. And, um, through a friend of mine, I met him through a friend and he was doing his DJ thing and he wanted some live instruments. I think the coolest thing about it was when we met, we started talking about music and the word Boogaloo came out of both of our mouths almost simultaneously. So that kind of sealed the deal for he and I. And then, you know, a year later after we had done, we had done a couple of recordings together. I walked into a garage and Robert and Mike were there. Where were you guys at that point? Um, musically in terms of the whole soldier has Google the thing I was, I was just getting turned on to it. So I, I loved like the meters and James Brown and, and I had a Ramsey Lewis record and Herbie Hancock record, but I didn't have those like prestige and blue Lou Donaldson and rusty Bryant, you know, Buckaloo Jones, all

Speaker 14: 38:36 That stuff kind of came from Gray's grill, DJ gray boys, like mixtape, he made for us. And I was like, Oh my God, what is this music? And where has this been? All my life? Cause it did, it had all the things I liked about funk music, the tones and the, and the, it was felt physical, but it also had all this great improvisation. And I just thought that was such a cool combination. And then after that, I got obsessed with it and I would try and find all the original records that he was given us and find out who played on those and kind of follow it down the rabbit hole of that whole style.

Speaker 13: 39:06 Yeah. I think this is Elgin late eighties and early nineties. I was living in San Francisco and sort of one of the first places that this sort of resurgence of soul jazz, rare groove stuff was happening in San Francisco with a record store called groove merchant up there in the lower Haight. And they used to have these, they used to have these DJ nights up there. Um, I think maybe even before it was going on in San Diego, which was at Nikki's barbecue pit, so I'd go there and it would be a great mix of diverse mix of people from the lower Haight, like projects in the lower Haight, all the way up through like, you know, hippies and, you know, just like a really cool, interesting group of people. And it was the meters and all these, you know, sort of instrumental tracks that were super funky, kind of like, I was always like, well, cause I'd always heard of James Brown, but now it was sort of the meters and that kind of thing.

Speaker 13: 39:58 And then when I met grey, like through a friend of ours, um, down in San Diego and he turned me on to like, you know, grant green Boogaloo, Joe Jones, um, you know, more of, you know, maybe some less Montgomery, although these other guys were like blue, basically like blues guitar players, sort of playing a kind of a common mix of like almost like country music and folk music, you know, and blues. And so that for me was a great entry point cause I wasn't really a jazz guitar player and I still don't really consider myself a jazz guitar player. So it was sort of a great entry into playing great dance music, you know, which I'd never done before. Yeah. So you sort of started in the classic sort of in the garage starting point. How do you, how do you describe your sound? I like the term West coast Boogaloo, which is the name of our first record.

Speaker 13: 40:49 And I really think that, you know, that identifies us to me like what we really are because we're like this weird, we always go out and tour, um, at the beginning of the band and you know, the whole acid jazz thing was happening, but we were really the only ones doing what we did. And it was this, this like, um, purity of sticking to the, to this kind of, um, jazzy or format where we didn't get, we didn't really get lost into the, like trying to be a dance man or trying to be a funk band or trying to be something else. We were always kind of like, let's be a jazz band that people dance to. And I really feel like that created the, the term West coast Boogaloo and, uh, and that's pretty much what we still are. Yeah. I mean, I think throughout, throughout the early days of our band and I think all of us are slightly like have those sort of a punk rock spirit too.

Speaker 13: 41:47 Like neither of, none of us wanted to belong to anything ever. And I still don't think we do, you know, it's like, we really weren't part of the acid jazz scene and we weren't when we're in we're in as much as Carl would like to think of us as a jazz band, we're not really a jazz band and we're not really a rock band and we're not really, I mean, we're a lot of, we're not really a lot of things, but the one thing we are is a Boogaloo band. So in a very, in a very simple sense of the word, you just listen to the records, grant green life. Well, you know, you know, uh, Joe Jones, Melvin sparks, Rubin Wilson, you listened to these records. That's what we are. We're not, we're not really trying to be part of any contemporary moment in time. I'm not, anyway, we're just five guys playing this style of music period. And that's how we've lasted. I know, I thought it was going to last like three days. That's why I changed my name. Like, well, at the end of the week, I'll just go back to my name 25 years later, here we are Elgin park. Yeah.

Speaker 12: 42:59 But it is kind of black American music genre that you've taken and molded into your own creative form. How do you, how do you say that you sort of did that to, to, to develop into your, your own version of something that you all loved

Speaker 14: 43:13 To me, this is Robert. One of the things that happened is we attempt at least from where I'm at, I was starting as a really trying to be faithful to that and really learn that the music I heard those records and I was like, this is so cool. I want to kind of figure out how to do this. So at the beginning it was a, to me, it was like a tribute to these things and maybe trying to shine some light on this music that was popular, but by the act of doing it for so long and in so many shows and playing on the road, I feel like we've internalized that. And now we can really speak that language in an authentic way. That's not imitative, you know, but it took some time and over the years, we've all gotten better at it. I think,

Speaker 12: 43:54 Talk to me about the San Diego music scene back in the early nineties and how, how the gray boy, all stars got started.

Speaker 14: 44:01 If I'm not mistaken, DJ gray boy already had, um, Wednesday nights going at a place called the green circle bar in downtown San Diego. But there wasn't really it scene for this particular kind of thing, except for gray had this night on Wednesdays. And we started playing. He would play before us. We play a set he'd play in between. We play a set and then he play after. And it just kind of snowballed from there. We started playing, taking little trips out to San Francisco and we went to Europe a couple of times and, and it kind of organically grew a band.

Speaker 2: 44:33 And at one point in San Diego, we literally could work seven nights a week playing this music. It was amazing period that we actually just played around town in San Diego all the time. It was amazing. That was so dream from the gray boy. Allstars 1994 album West coast Boogaloo. So now it's been seven years since your last album, where did the idea of this new album come from and what made you get the band back together? Again, we never stopped playing together and that's the beauty of this.

Speaker 14: 45:31 We were in Houston and we had a gig that was supposed to be out outdoors and there was a rainstorm. So the, the thing was canceled for rain. Um, and we had all been thinking it's time to write some new music. And luckily we were, you know, we had a night off all of a sudden, so we decided to rent a little studio and start writing music. And we wrote about half the album and that, that one night off, um, you know, we could have just sat around the hotel, but we were like might as well just play. And, um, and it came together really fast. And I think that's part of the charm of this album is that we did it so quickly and nothing's too over considered. And it just felt like we wanted some music that we could play live to freshen up the set lists. And that's kinda what we made. We just made some music that we wanted to play.

Speaker 2: 46:22 Well, it's a good thing. We've got your new album, the gray boy, all stars and new album Comodo, all the stars, which is out now, Carl Vinson, Robert Walter, and Elgin park of the gray boy. All-stars thanks so much for stopping by. Thanks for having us. Thank you. Thank you. That was Alison st. John's speaking with the members of the gray boy, all stars. The band just released its new album, Como de all stars and a reissue of their 1994 album West coast Boogaloo. [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.