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Día de Muertos, the California Festival and San Diego Asian Film Fest

 November 2, 2023 at 5:10 PM PDT

S1: It's time for Midday Edition on Kpbs. Today we are talking about the arts and culture scene in San Diego. I'm Jade Hindman. Here's to conversations that keep you informed , inspired , and make you think. We'll talk about how people are honoring Dia de Muertos across San Diego.

S2: It does go back to these traditions that were started in part by the indigenous people of Mexico , but over time , it's been a fusion.

S1: Plus , we'll tell you about a statewide music festival and then the San Diego Asian Film Festival. That's ahead on midday Edition. Families across San Diego and other parts of the world have been celebrating and remembering their departed family members over the Dia de Muertos , or Day of the dead. The holidays roots go back to the indigenous people of Mexico and other parts of Latin America. Its popularity in our region continues to rise , and at the heart of the holiday is creating an ofrenda , or altar with photos of departed family members. Kpbs stay engagement producer Maria Elena Castellanos joins us to share more. Mario , Elena , welcome to midday.

S2: Thank you. Jade. Happy to be here.

S1: Glad to have you. So first is the holiday called Dia de Muertos , which I've seen it called a lot this year. Or is it Dia de Los Muertos ? Which is what I've seen in the past.

S2: Yeah , that's a really good question. And they both are correct and both are used both in the United States and in Mexico. But in Mexico and other Latin American countries , it is a little more common to use the other Muertos , and that's the one that we went with as well.


S2: You know , we're talking from the North County. They have really big celebrations to the South Bay. The city of Chula Vista , for example , just held their third annual the Day Muertos celebration. North County , I believe , I want to say Oceanside. They've been having a celebration for many years now. And in Barrio Logan , they just held their very first. The other Muertos celebration , Tijuana at their cultural center , the sixth. They'll be having a celebration this Thursday. But it goes beyond that. You a lot of people celebrate this day or these days in their homes , in private , but there are these public celebrations everywhere. Just a few weeks ago , I was in the Otay Nestor Public Library and they had their own ofrenda or altar. And over the weekend I was at a Mexican restaurant in La Jolla , and they also had an ofrenda and an altar. So it's it's widely celebrated and the popularity continues to rise. You see it in more places , shopping centers in a lot of places here in the region.


S2: My my parents are very proud of their Mexican ancestry , but we didn't we didn't grow up with the holiday. But it's definitely over the last few years , we've also been swept away with all of the beauty that it offers and the opportunity of remembering people that we really loved and aren't here with us anymore. So we also make our own altars at home as well.

S1: Speaking of beauty , you know , I always see. We always see the the skeleton , the beautifully painted skeleton faces and and bright colors. What meaning does that have to this this celebration and observation ? Yeah.

S2: You know that. I think that's also a big part of the appeal. And it does go back to these traditions that were started in part by the indigenous people of Mexico. But over time it's been a fusion and it's been evolving. But going back to those first communities , it goes back to their their belief of celebration. And part of that celebration is to have color in in their first traditions. You know , they started with the popular marigold flowers or sushi flowers that are traditionally used. You know , they're bright , they're orange , they're beautiful. And then through the different customs in Mexico , they started to incorporate the papel picado or the delicately cut tissue paper that you see different colors. Bright colors that has meaning as well. Some belief. Some people believe it is a representation of the fragility of life , and that's why they include the paper. But it's all it's all put together to celebrate a loved one with joy , with love , not with sadness. And that's why you have these happy , colorful decorations coming together to honor this person that meant so much to you.


S2: And many of these communities are still here today. They're still present and strong. And they do celebrate the other muertos. And it does vary. There's a lot of similarities , but it does vary depending on where the different communities are geographically. There's so many other places throughout Mexico where you still have the indigenous communities , and they do celebrate differently. I know that in like a Guerra Michoacan , for example , there's an area where there's a lake , and a lot of the celebrations there include the lake , include boats as part of the celebration. And so it just sort of depends on where you are in the capital of Mexico , Mexico City , they have a parade of what you were talking about , the Katrina's with the the skeleton faces , and people dress up as skeletons and there's a really big parade. So it does vary depending where you are. But there's also a lot of similarities using sweets for your offerings or fruits. So there are similarities , but there's also differences.

S1: And this year Kpbs did a digital community ofrenda. Can you tell us about that ? Yes.

S2: Listeners were invited to submit an offering that or a memory of a loved one who passed away , either through text , audio or video. And the ofrenda is up on the Kpbs website right now. Great.

S1: And why did Kpbs decide to create a digital ofrenda ? Yeah.

S2: You know , we have received a lot of feedback about what the audience wants to see , as well as how they want Kpbs to engage with them. And we were also inspired by the work the San Diego community is already doing to celebrate the tradition of the Muertos and the Kpbs Digital ofrenda is in response to this feedback and also the inspiration.

S1: And I know that we got a lot of submissions here at Kpbs.

S2: There was one for a young man , Carlos Munoz Jr. The family lost him to gun violence. We also received one to honor the life of a woman who traveled from Guinea , who died at the Sunnyside little border wall , the remembrance says in part. She will be remembered and honored as she saw safety and a better life in America. There was one for Estevan Martinez or Abuelo , Laos , or grandfather Laos , an English who died from Covid. It was submitted by his granddaughter , Claudia Rodriguez and it was condensed. But I'd love to read a piece of that ofrenda and share it with you. And this is part of what it says. He wasn't someone who seemed big and important by most people standards , nor did he consider himself that. Yet he was proud of a lot of things , being from Guerrero , Mexico , that he taught himself to write of his daughter , the nurse , how all his kids went to the university of his good health despite having one kidney of his friends. And he was unaware he had Covid , and , joking during his last night , said that he felt better and just needed a cold beer. I'm sure if he were still here , he'd be sending greetings to his daughters , grandkids and all his friends here in the US. The way he always asked about everyone over the phone. Whenever my mom would call him , we sent him Saludos back. Hola , abuelo. And here's another submitted to remember Luisa. Only her first name was provided and it reads thank you for every hug , kiss , hand squeeze , cookie , joke , blink , phone call , wave , laugh and plate of pasta. Nonna forever. Submitted by Olivia Stafford. And we also had a few to honor and remember some Kpbs legends from trailblazing journalists Gloria Penner , who paved the way for women and was also known for asking tough questions to Ken Jones , who is considered the father of Kpbs. He had the idea to start a radio station and in the 1950s and 60s , and we are here today because of him.

S3: Well , it is.

S1: Hard not to be moved by all of those you mentioned. There were also some audio clips. Yes.

S2: Yes. Here are a few , and I'll let them introduce themselves.

S4: Hi , my name is Renata , and today I'm remembering my Grandpa Carlos. Or how I used to call him Vocaliq. I have so many great memories with my grandpa , but one of my fondest memories is going to his house and having ice cream together. We made this a tradition. My sisters and I knew that every time we went to Grandma and Grandpa's house , they would have ice cream waiting for us. We would sit on the table and enjoy ice cream together. My grandpa was always very involved in our lives. He would talk to us about our day , worry when we got sick or when we were sad. He made sure he called every single family member every day just to make sure they were okay. He was truly the glue to our family. It's been eight years since his passing and to this day I constantly think about him in our many , many amazing memories together. I want him to know I love him very much and that he's very missed.

S5: Hi , this is Eileen Reedy calling to put my dad on your digital friend for us mortals. My dad , Howard Reedy , already world War two corpsman and medic. Just died. His birthday would have been today , the 22nd. He would have been 98 today. But he died in September. And I love him and I miss him. He was the last of the World War two great corpsman. His whole class died. He was the only one left. Please remember him in your alter.

S1: And we will be remembering. Howard Reedy and others submitted for the Kpbs digital Ofrenda as part of this year's Dia Their Muertos celebration here at Kpbs. I've been speaking with Maria Elena Castellanos , Kpbs , South Bay engagement producer. Maria Elena , thank you so much for being here.

S2: Thank you for having me.

S1: How are you honoring and celebrating Dia de Muertos ? Give us a call (619) 452-0228. Leave a message or you can email us at midday at We'd love to hear about your experience. Coming up , we'll tell you about a statewide music festival starting this weekend.

S6: Innovation has been happening in the state for decades , and so while it focuses on music written in the last five years , that music is paired with music that was groundbreaking for its time.

S1: You're listening to Kpbs Midday Edition. You're listening to Kpbs Midday Edition. I'm Jade Hindman. A statewide festival of music kicks off this weekend. The California festival is the brainchild of the three conductors of the San Diego Symphony , San Francisco Symphony and LA Philharmonic. It will feature a hundred performing arts organizations across California , and the majority of the music they'll perform has been composed within the last five years. Dozens of events will take place in the San Diego region from November 3rd through the 19th. Kpbs Arts producer and editor Julia Dixon Evans spoke with Martha Gilmer , the San Diego Symphony's CEO.

S7: So this weekend marks the beginning of the California festival , and this is something that was dreamed up by the three major orchestra conductors in California Esa-Pekka Salonen in San Francisco , Gustavo Dudamel in Los Angeles , and Rafael Peri here in San Diego. And before I ask you about it , I want to play a quote from Rafael Perry when I asked him earlier this year about the festival's origin. This was right after it was announced.

S8: This was something that was pretty much like in the air , and it was wonderful to just sat down and share it with the world , because it's a picture of being in San Francisco , being and me being in San Diego. The way that we program and the way that we approach a music is quite similar. But at the same time , the audience in the whole California it is has this ability , this amazing , wonderful sense of welcoming and not being afraid to explore different things. So this is also something that we could actually showcase.

S7: Martha speaking to this idea of discovery. This is a festival of contemporary music composed in the last five years. Can you tell us a little bit about this ? Martha is speaking to this idea of discovery. This is a festival of contemporary music composed in the last five years.

S6: And innovation has been happening in the state for decades. And so while it it focuses on music written in the last five years , that music is paired with music that was groundbreaking for its time. And this idea , that innovation , that change has always been part of composition , of music making , of how we present concerts is something that we're proud of in California , and it's been a great opportunity to find that commonality among a hundred different organizations in the state.


S6: I think that a lot of music that's written today is reflective of the human experience of today. So , you know , climate concerns , issues of justice , issues of joy , of nature. Music is always reflected the time in which it was created. But I think that there's a direct connection with composers writing about the world we live in. And I do think that will echo for years to come.


S6: They have a lot of mutual respect , and they also have certain values , musical values in common , even though they're distinct , very distinct performers themselves. And so , you know , our state is on the edge of the western United States. And those three orchestras each reflect that in different ways. And so it seemed completely natural to start this impetus with those three institutions , but reflect the many institutions around the state that enjoy this freedom , freedom from traditions that might exist in other parts of the country.

S7: I love that. And can you talk a little bit about some of the work that the San Diego Symphony is doing this month ? A couple of the composers and the pieces maybe , that they'll be spotlighting throughout the festival.

S6: I can we have five concerts in the festival with the orchestra , but there's also so much more packed in in San Diego. We're actually anticipating the festival by a day with a concert in Tijuana at Sequoia , and in that we have Gabriela Ortiz piece and two works by David Chesky. A tribute to Abreu , who would was the head of Venezuela's El Sistema program , in which Gustavo and Rafael both grew as young musicians into the artists they are today. And those same chess pieces come back on Saturday , November 4th at the Rady Shell Jacobs Park. The second week of concerts , we have a massive work , Wagner's Ring without Words. As someone was saying just last week , it is sort of well , it's sort of film music , but even more so it's sort of music of that time for video games. In other words , there's drama in it. You know , you can almost you can imagine the storyline not so distant from works we know today in that genre. So the ring Without words takes the singers in the chorus out of it , but leaves one of the richest orchestral scores. And we're fortunate at the Rady Shell at Jacobs Park to have what we call the Hope. The front of the shell has a flat surface and we've experimented. With projections on that. In this case , we're going to project have projections on the shell , on the hoop of the shell that are part of the landscape of this monumental work. And using I , the projections will respond to the music that as it's being performed. So it really is going back to innovation. Wagner , when he wrote this , enlarge the size of an opera orchestra immensely adding many instruments and many newly created instruments. The Wagner tubing , for instance , in an opera house in which the orchestra was in a covered pit , wasn't seen by the audience. He was an innovator. And now we take this work that has existed for decades. We take this work and present it in a new format. At the on the first half of that program , we are doing a piece that we commissioned called by Carlos Simon called Wake Up. And it was intended to be the first work heard in the renovated Jacobs Music Center , which is now been delayed. But Carlos speaks about his piece and actually had the audience responding. He would say , say , wake up. And that's kind of the motto , the musical model. Throughout the piece , you hear those those two syllables over and over again are two words I should say. But while it's calling to life a hall that's nearly 100 years old , calling to rebirth the the opening of this new hall , it's also an opportunity to say to all of us , wake up , look around , see what's going on in the world. And so it was actually already done once at the radio show. And what that speaks to is with new work , it is a wonderful opportunity to hear it more than once. Hearing things with each repetition is an important part of having the peace and live within you. And so I'm excited that we're performing it again.

S7: I was there that day , and the first thing I thought when I wake up by Carlos Simon finished , was that I wanted to hear it again. I wanted to rewind and start over. It's a really powerful piece. So another thing at the heart of this festival is looking outside of the major symphonies at other music performance organizations.

S6: Mainly Mozart has performances in November as part of the festival , the La Jolla Symphony and Chorus , the San Diego Youth Symphony , Art of Allan all have scheduled performances. Art power is doing a performance at UC San Diego and the Houseman Quartet as well. From all of those great institutions from San Diego , participate in this festival , which is very exciting.

S7: So this was a festival that you had hoped to launch in your newly renovated concert hall , and you've shifted gears to performances being outdoors at the shell.

S6: It gives us something to look forward to. Obviously , of course we would love to have been able to do the festival there. On the other hand , we're very good at shifting these days , I think as the San Diego Symphony , but also as as our community. And doing this festival in this brand new , state of the art outdoor venue is tribute again to innovation. So we have added things that weren't possible indoors , like a family day on Sunday , which is going to be very exciting with Peter and the Wolf , but also with Suzuki strings with our orchestra , young children with their Suzuki Strings and Toy Symphony of Mozart , plus Art of Allan , San Diego Master Chorale and the San Diego Youth Symphony Orchestra. So we have thousands of people that are going to be able to enjoy this festival in that way on Sunday , and.

S7: That's a free community and family day.

S6: That's right. And we're also San Diego's also welcoming little Amal , this incredible puppet representative of Syrian refugee that's been walking across Europe and now is walking across the US and will end her journey in the US here in San Diego before crossing the Mexican border. Little Amal will also be part of this festival in her own way on Friday night.

S7: And you know , this year's festival captures this moment in California's music history , especially with Dudamel , Salonen and Peri in the state at the same time. But this is changing due to Mel is moving on to New York , and there'll be a new director installed there soon.

S6: So the future of the festival , my fingers are crossed that this is something that is repeatable and that as any number of individuals can change within the institutions , the institutions remain at the core and it's sustainable over time.

S1: That was Kpbs arts producer and editor Julia Dixon Evans talking to Martha Gilmer , CEO of the San Diego Symphony. The California festival kicks off this weekend. A free community and family event will take place at The Rady Shell from noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday , and you can check out our complete roundup of San Diego events for the California Festival at Kpbs. Org. Coming up , Beth Accomando has a preview of the San Diego Asian Film Festival.

S9: And we've even got a really fun silent film , which is , I believe , I want to say , the first in San Diego Asian Film Festival history. It is an unearthed oldest Asian American film , and it'll be accompanied by live music.

S1: You're listening to Kpbs Midday Edition. Welcome back. You're listening to Kpbs Midday Edition. I'm Jade Hindman. Tonight Pack Arts kicks off the 24th annual San Diego Asian Film Festival at the Natural History Museum. The festival will showcase more than 160 films from more than 30 countries. Kpbs arts reporter Beth Accomando previews the festival with Alex Villafuerte , who took on the role of PAC Arts executive director in February.

S10: Alex , you have recently taken over as executive director of Pack Arts , which produces the San Diego Asian Film Festival and the Spring Showcase. So since this is the first time I'm speaking with you , I just wanted to get a little background on who you are and how you came to this job.

S9: Yeah , most definitely , I am excited. I am a product of community. I am a Filipino American , and I moved here from O'ahu very early on in my in my childhood , grew up in Paradise Hills and a proud Morris Tiger alumni. From there I went to community college in southwestern. I'm a proud product of community college , stayed local , and eventually transferred over to San Diego State University , where I got my major in economics and then has been deeply rooted in community work ever since with San Diego Pride , with the Asian Business Association of San Diego and now Pacific Arts Movement. So I'm excited to do community work and continue to do that through arts.


S9: And I think Pack Arts and this film festival specifically , there's a really good job of telling our story in different ways through documentaries , through horror , through comedy. And so it's just a really good way to start conversations. And I wanted to make sure that we can continue doing that here in San Diego.

S10: And do you see film as a particularly good way to kind of tell those stories ? Completely.

S9: I think it's a really quick and compelling snapshot of communities , the way that communities tell their stories. And for a lot of these films that we're showcasing , it's one of the only times that you'll get to see these stories. And so really , it's a rare opportunity to go behind the curtain and see what I see how a community loves , how they laugh , how they basically enjoy entertainment.

S10: And coming to this job.

S9: To inspire that compassion and understanding. And then from there , what we do really well and what I want to continue to , to grow as the executive director is grow our education programs , our youth program , Real Voices is a where we take high school age youth and teach them the art of documentary filmmaking , everything from editing to using the equipment to storyboarding and then packaging that so that they premiere at the San Diego Asian Film Festival. And it ensures that we have youth voices at our film festival , which is a which which is a big lift. And I want to make sure that we can continue to eliminate those barriers for for youth in our region to be able to touch a very expensive camera , to see if that's something that they want to do and not have that be such a thing that only a few can can partake in. And so really eliminating those barriers and reaching to as many youth as possible in our region to see if this is what they want to do. We want to make sure that we can inspire the next generation of filmmakers.

S10: And you are about to launch the San Diego Asian Film Festival.

S9: Opening night is going to be a party. It is a really fun film quiz lady with Awkwafina , Sandra Oh and Will Ferrell.

S11: What is the square root of one 9614 ? Correct. How many hearts does an octopus have ? Correct. What ? Saffron. Saturn. Aphrodite. Apollo. Aries. Carbon dioxide. Equal sign. Correct. Oh my God ! What ? You know this game. This is how you're going to make the money I'm taking of the quiz. Look at.

S9: So I can't think of a better way to kick off the San Diego Asian Film Festival with the anchor man himself in a really fun comedy at the Natural History Museum. And then once we finish that , we're going to celebrate the Natural History Museum , like we always do with the opening night party. The other thing that I'm really excited to to have part of this film festival is to the scene. Well , we'll be having our To the Scene gala at the Museum of Contemporary Art in La Jolla , where at the second to last day of the film festival , we will have over 15 Asian restaurants and chefs bring creations and best bites from their restaurants to help celebrate Asian and Pacific Islander arts and culture in the region.

S10: Now , the Asian Film Festival and San Diego in general are very lucky for you to have Brian who as your artistic director , picking these films and just kind of talk a little bit about the diversity of what you're showing.

S9: Brian is a gold mine and I never want to lose him , and this year is quite the diverse lineup of films. We've got rom coms , horror's action , and we've even got a really fun silent film , which is , I believe , I want to say , the first in San Diego Asian Film Festival history. It is an unearthed , oldest Asian American film , and so it's a rare opportunity to see something Asian that is silent film , and it'll be accompanied by live music. And it's going to be a really interesting , I think , piece of the film festival.


S9: And Michael Chan from channel ten has really done a great amount of work to uplift that , that track. And I'm excited to be part of that and see that community highlighted yet again.

S10: Well , and you mentioned that , and you've also been very active partnering with other festivals such as Film Out with Michael McGuigan.

S9: For Film Out , he had a coming out story that was centered around an Asian family , and so he asked if I could come out and help manage the Q&A with the director , and I said , I'd love to. And it was such a good story , and it was great to see that , you know , even we can highlight intersections throughout our film festivals and partner together.

S10: And what's important to you about doing that kind of collaboration ? Because we do have a lot of festivals in town , and sometimes people may see them as more in competition with each other.

S9: So it is not a pie. And we love partnering with our other film festivals and our community organizations. I think what you'll see with the lineup , if you , if you look closely , is a lot of the specific films are tied around a different theme or story or topic , and we really try to tie that with a specific community partner so that folks can learn about community partners that are sort of doing that specific work here in the region. For example , we have a film called home as a hotel , where it talks about SROs in the in San Francisco. And so we partnered with the Democrats of San Diego , who was advocating for for affordable housing in the region. You know , just to get that conversation started and really let folks know. And , you know , we have a captivated audience. We want to make sure that we can engage them with our community partners that do some great work.


S9: It is is a film called mustache , and it is about a Pakistani boy who is coming of age and unfortunately cannot shave his mustache because his parents won't let him. And the the hilarity that ensues because of that.

S10: I also wanted to mention that one of the things I really like about the festival and about Brian , who's programming is , is not only do you program films that are obvious crowd pleasers , but he really is also interested in programming films that may challenge an audience , too. And what's important about doing that ? And it seems like that's what a festival should do.

S9: Yes , a completely Brian who and the programming team do a really great job of making sure there's a robust tapestry of films that we can look at , and it's important. And what I challenge a lot of the guests to do , if especially if they're if they've gotten a full access pass , is to go outside of their comfort zone. They may like rom coms , they may like Korean dramas , but try to watch something that you may not automatically watch and see how that moves. You see how that changes you and see if you like it. It's a great opportunity to to experiment and explore new films.

S10: Well , I always say that when you tackle a film festival , I see two approaches. One is the. Carefully go through the program and map out exactly what you want to see. But one year I took the approach of. Just as soon as I got off of work , I drove down there and whatever was playing , I went to see , and it was really fun because there were occasionally films that I never would have probably gone out to see by choosing them to go see , and I was really surprised. So yes , go out of your comfort zone , try something new. Completely.

S9: Completely. Yeah. And that's the beauty of the film festival. And when you walk out of that film and you're in that lobby and people are coming out of films and going into films , and that buzz is just so unique to a film festival that you can't recreate on a normal Saturday of a , of a cineplex.

S10: And what you also do is you do have filmmakers in attendance and Q&A to kind of give additional context to a lot of these films.

S9: Yeah , we've got over 40 Q&A since this festival , so it's a great opportunity to learn about why the cast and crew do what they do and why they told stories to specific way. And you can really learn , learn through that.

S10: And I am very grateful to see that there is still a place for Mystery Kung Fu Theater. Yes.

S9: Yes. It's it's it's it's quite the crowd. I got to experience it during the spring showcase and I loved it. And so I am excited. I don't even know the film , so I'm not privy to that. Brian is very close to the chest on that , and so I will be just as surprised as everyone else when we find out what that film is.


S9: But that takes a lot of work , that takes a lot of investment towards our younger filmmakers. Additionally , we we're having early conversations about what it looks like to have venue space. I think throughout the country , we are seeing iconic and treasured theater spaces turned into venue spaces and event spaces , which kind of removes the when you when you unbolt those chairs and turn it into a into a venue space. And it's no longer just a theater , it changes the vibe. And so we are trying to see what we can do to make sure that we can maintain that allure and that the beauty of a theater.

S10: And is that one of the challenges facing festivals right now is finding a location where they can actually screen their films.

S9: It is we're competing with a lot of factors where obviously cost is , is is rising. Additionally , we are also competing with big box office. Dune two was scheduled to be released around the same time as our film festival , and that created a lot of challenges. On trying to navigate what theaters would let us use new screens. So it's a difficult thing to navigate. And so making sure that we can find places like the Natural History Museum and the Museum of Photography guards who can continue to have those spaces is important work for us.

S10: All right. Well , I want to thank you very much for talking about PAC Arts and the San Diego Asian Film Festival.

S9: Thank you. Beth.

S1: That was Beth Accomando speaking with PAC Arts Executive Director Alex Villafuerte. The 24th Annual San Diego Asian Film Festival opens tonight and runs through November 11th at multiple venues. You can find more information at Slash Cinema junkie. That's our show for the day. I'd like to thank you for tuning in and always sharing your experiences with us. Here's a comment from one of our listeners named Magdalena about our show this week on Millennials and Gen Zers being priced out of San Diego.

S12: It's a problem at the other end of the age range , of course , especially for for disabled people , of which I'm on. I think people on a fixed income , obviously , with the rising rents in San Diego , are also having a hard time putting a life together in this really wonderful environment with so much enrichment for all of us. You know , it's tough.

S1: Magdalena , thank you for your comment. It's one so many of us can relate to. Our phone line and inbox are always open for your feedback. Leave a message at (619) 452-0228 , or send an email to midday at If you ever miss a show , you can find Kpbs Midday Edition on all podcast platforms. Big thanks to the team producers Giuliana Domingo , Andrew Bracken , Brooke Ruth , Ariana Clay and Laura McCaffrey. Art segment contributors Beth Accomando and Julia Dixon Evans , and technical producer Rebecca Chacon. Our theme music is from San Diego's own Surefire Soul Ensemble. I'm your host , Jade Hindman. Thanks for listening and I sure hope you enjoy the rest of the week.

A visitor approaches the ofrenda on Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2023.
Matthew Bowler
A visitor approaches an ofrenda on Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2023.

Families across San Diego and other parts of the world have been celebrating and remembering their departed family members over Día de Muertos or Day of the Dead. KPBS South Bay engagement producer Marielena Castellanos joined Midday Edition to talk more about what the holiday means.

This year KPBS is honored to host a digital community ofrenda, or altar, to celebrate loved ones who have passed away. More than 100 family members and friends were submitted along with photos, videos and audio clips.

Plus, KPBS/arts producer and editor Julia Dixon Evans sat down with the CEO of the San Diego Symphony about the upcoming California Festival.

And, KPBS Cinema Junkie Beth Accomando previews the 24th annual San Diego Asian Film Festival. It will showcase more than 160 films from across 30 countries.