Limited number of monkeypox vaccines made available by county
S1: San Diego County is rolling out monkey pox vaccines.
S2: There's always a fine line to watch in terms of stigmatization whenever the government gets involved in this kind of situation.
S1: I'm Jade Hindman with Maureen CAVANAUGH. This is KPBS Midday Edition. A new harm reduction drug program launches.
S3: What to do in case of an overdose ? How to recognize an overdose. So we'll have a lot of information , a lot of education , hopefully will give us a way to maintain that dialogue with folks that are sometimes honestly very difficult to reach.
S1: A conversation with the head of immigrant affairs. And we'll tell you about the new docu series , Icons on Earth. That's ahead on Midday Edition. A limited number of monkey pox vaccines will be distributed by the county starting today and tomorrow in advance of the San Diego Pride Festival this weekend. This comes as health organizations around the world have reported the gay , bisexual and transgender communities are at the highest risk for the virus. Joining me now with more is San Diego Union-Tribune health reporter Paul Sisson. Paul , welcome back to the show.
S2: Thanks for having me.
S1: So first things first.
S2: They have a system set up through their 211 information line. So folks who qualify , who are in those groups that you just mentioned , qualify to apply for the vaccine. And so they can call into two , one , one and ask if they can get it , make an appointment. And so those those clinics , I guess , are going to be going both today and tomorrow.
S2: And so I think the county would definitely allocate any vaccine that they've got available. You know , one thing that they do when they find someone who has been exposed to monkeypox is they vaccinate them proactively. And so they do need to have some supply available to vaccinate people who they know have been exposed. But if they have additional doses beyond that , certainly I would expect that they would just give them to anybody who's at risk. There has been a lot of demand in in cities that are seeing their outbreaks grow. That's that's definitely been the case in San Francisco and Los Angeles , here in California.
S1: And this vaccine rollout is similar to ones that were done before events in L.A. and San Francisco.
S2: These are , you know , highly respected organizations who are very close to the communities that they serve. And I saw that , for example , that the Pride Foundation put out its own flyer for this vaccination event on its own Twitter feed yesterday , soliciting people to call in and and make appointments for these vaccination events. So I'd say the primary outreach has been the county health department working through these organizations that directly serve these populations rather than going out on their own and trying to do it themselves. It seems like they've learned a fair amount , especially through the COVID and the hepatitis A outbreaks that we've seen in the community , that the best way to reach people is to work through what they call trusted messengers , people who who are already known in the communities they want to reach. And it seems like they're adopting that philosophy here.
S1: You've spoken with the director of San Diego Pride about what's being done to raise awareness.
S2: You know , it's difficult , though , when when the government decides to vaccinate a specific population that is considered epidemiologically to be at high risk of an infectious disease , it really becomes a fraught situation where you have to reach out to these folks and that the media ends up covering it. And , you know , messages go out on social media. So there's always a fine line to walk in terms of stigmatization whenever the government gets involved in this kind of situation. And I think we all are trying to figure out exactly how to cover this and pay attention to it. And let's give people that awareness and the information that they need to know without stigmatizing , you know , because we all are aware of the public health travails that have occurred in this community going way back. So there is a fair amount of sensitivity that's needed.
S2: And when I talked to public health officials yesterday , they said that they have no indication of what they call local transmission , which would be one person contracting monkeypox from another person here in the community. As far as we know , all six of these are travel cases that likely picked it up somewhere else. And as far as we know , there are not what they call epidemiologically linked , which would mean that there was some kind of obvious contact or association.
S2: You know , they obviously have been working very hard to increase awareness in the community. What we learned was that they've been working with some of these organizations for three weeks now , getting the message out about how monkeypox spreads through direct contact , generally with the POCs themselves. So it's not generally the case that you're going to it's not at all the case that you're just going to walk by somebody and get monkeypox. There has to be some. Quite intimate contact. And so if you if you avoid quite intimate contact them , then you're not likely to pick it up. And so that's kind of the message that's been going out there pretty conscientiously , from what I can tell for for three weeks now. So they certainly have been doing what appears to be a fair amount of outreach and education.
S1: Policies and covers health for the San Diego Union-Tribune. You can find a link to his latest article on their website and at pbs.org. Paul , thank you very much for joining us.
S2: Thanks for having me.
S4: Who's keeping the first full scale San Diego Pride Parade and Festival in more than two years ? A safe celebration also includes access to a new harm reduction program. With the celebrations , there is concern about illegal drug use that could lead to overdoses and a growing number of deaths. KPBS education reporter MJ Perez has the story. I like to keep everything in order so it's easier to.
S2: Just give them what they. Need.
S5: Need. Heather Newhart has 30 years of experience in social work and drug treatment strategies. She often works on the streets supporting homeless addicts through the Harm Reduction Coalition of San Diego. That means filling paper bags to go with toiletry items , as well as clean needles to inject illegal drugs and also boxes of Narcan , the nasal spray that revives someone who is overdosed on opioids and stops breathing.
S4: If you want to come down here , I'll gladly give you some fentanyl strips.
S5: These days , Newhart and her team also take calls from people who want to test their street drugs for the potent synthetic opioid fentanyl before using them. Fentanyl is 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine or heroin.
S3: It's just so easy to overdose on very , very small amount.
S5: Add or Healers is shadowing Newhart and the Coalition Street Team , learning how to support addicts who are still using. He is the program leader of Step in a new harm reduction outreach to the county's LGBTQ community , according to the National Library of Medicine. Gays and other sexual minorities are more than twice as likely to abuse drugs than their straight peers , or heedless is one of them.
S3: I can tell you my story , but you know , I was actually not breathing for part of it.
S5: So before getting clean and sober from heroin , he tried smoking fentanyl for the first and only time.
S3: I saw the smoke come out of my mouth and that was it. That's all I remember. The next memory I have is I was kind of all scrunched up on my friend's couch , and I was like , What happened ? And he said , I had to hit you with Narcan so that they hit you with Narcan.
S5: And twice Narcan helped start his heart and saved his life. It also started his road to recovery from drugs and alcohol. Now or he less is working to get Narcan into the hands of other LGBTQ users before they die. The step in program will provide other lifesaving resources to the call for help begins with a simple text message to the step in hot line.
S3: What to do in case of an overdose , how to recognize an overdose. So we'll have a lot of information , a lot of education , hopefully will give us a way to maintain that dialogue with folks that are sometimes honestly very difficult to reach.
S2: When we admitted we are powerless over alcohol.
S5: Recovering addicts and alcoholics have found a safe haven at the Live and Let Live Alano Club in the heart of Hillcrest. The majority of members are LGBTQ , although anyone is welcome to attend the almost 50 meetings a week that include 12 step recovery and harm reduction programs. Robert Chase is one of the club's board members who is also a drug counselor in a South Bay hospital emergency room.
S2: Harm reduction meetings mean that we believe we can't judge. That absence based program is the only way for you to get sober.
S5: Tice says the crisis is that almost every street drug is now laced with fentanyl , which you can't see , smell or taste until it's too late. The L.A. Club is partnered with the county health department and provides free Narcan at the coffee bar for anyone who wants it. No questions asked. When do you give up on an addict ? Never.
S4: I mean.
S5: Pam Highfill is the outpatient director of Stepping Stone , the nationally recognized LGBTQ recovery program with a residential facility in City Heights. She is supervising the new step in program , reaching out to those who need help the most.
S4: As long as there's breath , there's hope to be able to meet people where they're at and give them a glimmer that we're not going to judge them. Respect where they're at and where they want to be. It gives them that first aid. Yeah. That they have worth.
S5: A glimmer of self-worth. That could be just a text message away.
S4: Joining me is KPBS education reporter MJ Perez. And MJ , welcome.
S5: Good to be here.
S4: Now , this is not generally the kind of education you cover.
S5: Certainly did get worse during the COVID lockdown and and is impacting a community that is vital to our own city and to our community at large.
S4: Now , one of the drug counselors you spoke with told you that almost all the street drugs are now laced with fentanyl.
S5: So the reason is an opioid is highly addictive. So the suppliers have decided that it is better to put a little bit of fentanyl into a drug because there's a chance that that user will get addicted to it. There is also a chance that there will be instant death. So in that sense , it doesn't make sense. But then again , we have to realize we're talking about a segment of our community that is dealing in in an illegal act. And this product , so to speak , in quotes , is not regulated in any way. So these suppliers are free to do whatever they want to try to make more money. And that's the hard answer to that question.
S5: In other words , you stop drinking completely. You stop doing any chemical mind altering substance. Harm reduction takes a different venue in trying to help the addict , and that is by allowing the addict , so to speak , to continue using , whether it be alcohol or drugs or a combination. But at the same time , offering options that might win them off the drug or make it safer to use. And I know that that does not sound healthy. But in the reality of drug addiction , it is harm reduction and could save lives.
S4: Now , making sure addicts have access to Narcan , which of course can help a drug user survive an overdose , is one of the main objectives of this program that you're talking about.
S5: And the reality is either save your life and maybe have an allergic reaction or instant death. And that's really what it comes down to. But overall , it is considered a safe product that is being used obviously in trying to help people stay alive through their addiction.
S5: And through those resources , they are offering fentanyl strips. This is a strip. If somebody has a drug that they're going to ingest , they can actually test to see if there is fentanyl. There are also clean needle exchange programs that would be part of this. Again , this step in program is just getting started , but they are doing it the right way in the sense that the organizers are trying to learn from others who have already been involved in this kind of harm reduction.
S5: And the reason is simply stigma. Addiction itself has a stigma , whether it's alcoholism or drug addiction. And then , as we know well , the LGBTQ community has suffered through a lot in recent years and certainly in the past. So it's really stigma against stigma. And when you are coming from that place , an escape , if you will , and maybe a low self-esteem is what really drags the community down into addiction in order to cope with life.
S4: Now , as upbeat as this week's Pride celebrations are , there's also concern that there may be an. Increased use of opioids during this time. Tell us about that.
S5: The danger is that during the partying , during the celebration , you know , people might think , oh , we're just going to , you know , recreationally celebrate and use these drugs. But again , they have no awareness. If fentanyl is present and as we have said , it is deadly and just a little bit can kill you.
S4: Now , you mentioned several times that the step in program counselors are as close as a text message away.
S5: That's 6192795480. And the moment they do that , they will be met with a welcome message and then a list of resources. And included in that is the opportunity to connect with a person who might be able to help them in the way of counseling , or if they decided they would like to get into some kind of recovery program.
S4: I have been speaking with KPBS education reporter Maggie Perez. Margie , thank you.
S5: Thank you , Maureen.
S4: This is KPBS Midday Edition. I'm Maureen CAVANAUGH with Jade Heineman. The city of San Diego's immigrant community now has its own city agency. The Office of Immigrant Affairs was officially opened last week. Mayor Todd Gloria says the office will help welcome immigrants to San Diego and make sure that their voice is heard by City Hall. The new Immigrant Affairs Office will build upon previous city efforts to address the concerns of the immigrant population. The office has an executive director , but a small staff has yet to be hired , and the specifics of how the Immigrant Affairs Office will operate have yet to be hammered out. Joining me is the executive director of San Diego's new Office of Immigrant Affairs , Rita Fernandez. And Rita , welcome to the program. Hi , Maureen. Thank you for having me. Now , I know that you've already had some experience serving the needs of immigrants in San Diego as the city's first immigrant affairs manager appointed in 2019. So can you tell us how this new office is different from what the city was trying to do back then ? Well , this office is very welcome news for our immigrant community in San Diego , and it's actually a great step forward for the city because it's building on the Welcoming San Diego initiative , as you mentioned. The city has had this initiative before. Back in 2019 , Mayor Kevin Faulconer had launched the Welcoming San Diego Strategic Plan , which contained a series of very comprehensive recommendations for the city to become a more welcoming city and advance policies that would help our immigrant community through the integration process. And one of the recommendations was eventually building out an Office of Immigrant Affairs in the city structure that would have resources and staff to be able to continue implementing a lot of these recommendations and to really continue building out our welcoming city missions. Tell us a little about the range of countries and cultures that members of the San Diego immigrant community come from. We have a very diverse immigrant community in San Diego. About a quarter of our overall population is foreign born. And these folks come from all corners of the world , and they represent over 115 countries and territories around the globe and speak over 75 different languages and dialects. So you're really looking at a very diverse community and a community that has various needs challenging for the Office of Immigrant Affairs then ? Well , certainly challenging , but a wonderful opportunity. For me. This job is just a wonderful opportunity to be able to do it. I'm very humbled to have been picked by Mayor Todd Gloria to lead it , but it's very near and dear to my heart. Both my parents are Mexican immigrants. They are the descendants of a long line of immigrants. My great grandmother was actually the daughter of Chinese immigrants in Mexico. And so it's such an important job. We have our work cut out for us , but it's an absolutely crucial mission for the city of San Diego. How do you think the fact that the immigrant experience is a part of your family history is going to shape your role as the head of this new office ? I think it gives me a very interesting and unique perspective. I've seen through my parents experience the numerous challenges and obstacles that they have faced through the integration process. They came here in the eighties. I saw them go through the naturalization process. I saw everything that they sort of had to manage in terms of , you know , getting me enrolled in school. And then once I was getting ready to apply to college , a lot of that I had to sort of navigate on my own. My father at one point owned a small business. And so I think that personal experience has really informed my own passion as a as a public servant to really focus on this particular issue. Because for me , assisting immigrants through the integration process is a basic public service that all cities , localities , states should provide , certainly the federal government. But it is essential , especially for a country like ours , which is really a country of immigrants. What are the kinds of things that the city can do to make San Diego an easier place for immigrants ? So one of the things that our office is going to take on at the onset is really ensuring that our city can better serve and communicate with our immigrant communities. We know that our immigrant communities speak over 75 different languages and dialects. So for us , one of our sort of flagship initiatives is going to be expanding our language access services to better be able to communicate with them. And there's a lot that the city can also. By way of bringing resources and information to immigrant communities such as Know Your Rights workshops , resource fairs on TPS , DOCA , as well as assisting people with the naturalization process. We know that there are a number of people that are eligible to become citizens but may not necessarily know how to go about it , given that it's such a complex and very complicated process. So we want to ensure that we're educating folks to that on that process , that we're providing them the most effective information for them and their families so that they can navigate that process. And so there is , I think , a lot that the city can do in terms of making sure that the needs of our immigrant communities are being met and that we're bringing them much needed resources. You mentioned DOCA , and there is a court battle going on right now in a federal appeals court on the future of DOCA , which of course , protects immigrants who arrived as children from deportation. What kind of impact would that have on San Diego if that protection is struck down ? Oh , it would have a great impact. We certainly have DOCA recipients here in our region , several thousand. They are people that know no other country other than the United States. They work here , they go to school. And we even have city employees that are DOCA recipients. And so it is really a lifeline. We have been advocating for the protection of DOCA and really ensuring that we get more permanent , long lasting protections for DOCA recipients given that they are such a vital part of our community. And as you well know , the issue of undocumented immigrants is a hot button issue , even here in San Diego. How does the Office of Immigration Affairs stand on addressing the status of immigrants in the city ? Our job is to work with all our immigrant communities , regardless of their status , regardless of where they come from , their background. For us , it's important that we are addressing the needs of everybody. And one of the things that I had mentioned earlier in terms of some of the resources that we can provide are know your rights presentations. And that is something that a lot of other cities have provided for their undocumented populations to educate them on their rights. So we will continue to serve every immigrant throughout the city of San Diego , regardless of who they are. Well , I've been speaking with the executive director of San Diego's Office of Immigrant Affairs , Rita Fernandez. Thank you so much. Thank you very much , Mary.
S1: Starting on Saturday , Californians who are in mental distress and thinking about suicide will be able to call or text a new three digit number to get help. But if they call , will someone pick up the line ? The California reports all. Gonzalez has the story.
S5: The easy to remember. New number 988 will replace the ten digit one 800 phone number long used by the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. 988 is being rolled out nationally because of bipartisan legislation passed by Congress in 2020. But each state , including California , will have a lot of control over how the new number is managed and funded.
S4: 980 is a huge step forward for America and specifically for Californians to ensure that people get the care they need in that moment of crisis.
S5: That's California Democratic Assembly member Rebecca Bower Khan of Orinda.
S2: She's one of the most vocal.
S5: Supporters of the nine.
S2: Eight , eight line in the.
S5: State legislature and thinks it could be a game changer as more Californians grapple with mental health problems.
S4: We think with this easy to dial three digit number , we expect an incredible increase in callers , which is a great thing. It means more people will be getting help during a crisis , especially at a moment when they might be suicidal.
S5: But there are worries that an expected doubling or even tripling of calls to the new nine day number could overwhelm California's 13 suicide prevention call centers. Jonathan Kanter , a researcher with the Santa monica based think tank the RAND Corporation , has studied the establishment of the nine , eight , eight line. He says the current.
S2: National suicide prevention line , or SPL.
S5: Already has a significant number of problems dealing with call volumes.
S2: So I think right now I believe it's about one in seven calls with the SPL or disconnected before reaching a responder. And just historically , the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline has been understaffed and underfunded. So the fear here would be that something similar would occur if you called nine , eight , eight. Assemblyman Bower Kayhan believes California's suicide prevention call centers.
S5: Are prepared for an increase in.
S2: Calls when nine , eight , eight goes live , partly because of the.
S5: Money the state is committed to improving its crisis response system.
S4: We've dedicated $28 million to build up our call centers , which , as I mentioned , we expect an influx of additional callers. So we made sure we expended funds to get our call centers ready to handle that. Those additional calls get people trained and prepared to answer. So hopefully that will all happen without a hitch.
S2: Beyond setting up.
S5: The nine , eight , eight line , mental health experts say what's needed next are more mobile teams that can meet face to face with people who are experiencing a mental health crisis and resources for.
S2: Long term care and counseling.
S5: Assembly member Bauer Kahan has introduced legislation that would place a surcharge on phone bills to fund such programs.
S1: That was Saul Gonzalez for the California Report. Last Thursday , the San Diego Padres inducted sportscaster Ted Leitner to the team's Hall of Fame. The legendary broadcaster served as the voice for the San Diego Padres for more than 40 years before stepping away in 2021. Joining the honor with former team president Larry Lucchino. Leitner is now part of a select list of franchise icons , many of whom he covered in his days behind the microphone. To talk more about his recent honor and his career is Ted Leitner. Ted , welcome.
S2: Thank you very much. It's great to be here.
S2: It met and exceeded every thing that I thought it would. And that doesn't happen often. But it happened that day. And to have my family together , example , I've never had my seven children and my four grandchildren together at the same time. So it's just absolutely incredible to have them there and have that honor bestowed on me by the Padres. They did not have to do that. They did. And it was a grand. Grand. One of the greatest days of my life.
S1: Oh , my gosh. And you've watched a lot of great players take the field in the Padres uniform.
S2: I mean , I covered Tony when I and still do do play by play for San Diego State Football and basketball. While I was doing that in the late seventies when Tony played basketball and baseball at the same time. And I got to know him then when he was literally just a young kid , a teenager playing basketball. And it was just a great relationship and it became a tremendous relationship. I mean , he was my brother and I was I was on a television show on Fox after Tony had died , and I was on and several other broadcasters. And his wife , Alicia , was on. And I was asked the first question , Well , I started to answer it. Alicia interrupted and said , You don't , by the way , I don't mean to interrupt , but you do know that Tony loved you. So to not have him , number one would be kind of odd and off , because we were together his entire 20 year Major League Baseball career after those several years of San Diego State basketball and then basketball and baseball. And so he's right up there at the top. I adored Ken. Ken Minetti. I thought what a great , you know , people say about man's man , this was a man's man , flawed without any question in terms of steroids and drugs and the drugs that killed him. But that doesn't change that. I loved him. And I mentioned him during that address because though he wasn't there and Tony's gone , they were , in fact , there with me. And those two players are way , way up there.
S1: You've often talked about how your broadcasting partner of many years , Jerry Coleman , was a major mentor to you. How did he impact your career.
S2: On so many different levels and in so many ways ? I did not have a great relationship with my father. He did not have a great relationship with his wife or his other two children. My brother's older brothers. So the truth of the matter is , I was always seeking a father figure , you know what I mean ? And then I had one. And it turned out to be a guy that I watched on television back east , growing up , playing for the New York Yankees. And all of a sudden I'm his broadcast partner. And so it's a pinch me every single day. And not just a man , not just a former All-Star baseball player , but just a man of such character and integrity and that kind of a man to learn from and get guidance from both on a baseball standpoint and a private standpoint. I don't know what I ever did to deserve something so wonderful , but Jerry Coleman was that to me and more.
S1: You're retired from the booth for Padres games before the start of the 2021 season and described that season's opening day as a difficult one. Now that more time has passed , I'm wondering how you feel about stepping away and when you did.
S2: It hurts. I miss it desperately. If I'm flipping around and I see baseball highlights , I watch them and I think , Oh man , that was a great catch. I wish I was there to describe that. And I watch Padres games. I think the same thing. I would have loved to call that no hitter by Joe Musgrove over the what they call this great catch by Manny Machado. And it just it was entertainment for me. It was exciting for me. It was my also my job. And what a job. I mean , you find something you love in the Chinese proverb. You find something you love. You never work a day in your life. I never worked a day in my life. I loved every single bit of it. Television , sports. The play by play of Football. Basketball. Baseball. NBA. College football. All of basketball. Major League Baseball couldn't get enough of it , plus talk shows. So my the variety I had , it was Christmas morning every single day. I never didn't want to go to work. So , of course , I don't care what you do for 41 years. You're going to miss it. And the people , especially that you are with , that you work with , that you travel with , that you work for. And I got to be honest , to answer your question , it hurts. It hurts. The travel was getting to me as my age was going up and other , you know , physical things and and so forth. And I thought , that's okay. I want to do football , basketball. The travel is not anywhere near as tough as being going for a week or week and a half with baseball. But it really is painful. And I don't know that that will never go away.
S1: Finally , you've seen a lot of great Padres teams , including the two World Series teams from 1984 to 1998.
S2: This is a good team. I mentioned somebody before the ceremony the other day at Petco for the induction of Lara and myself. And I said if Jerry Coleman , who was the manager in 1984 , these pitchers versus what he had , I could just hear it ranting right now. You believe that how great these pitchers are , how great their stuff is ? I didn't have any of this. I had nothing like that. I think for a team that matches up against them in the playoffs , Padres will be very , very dangerous. Mr. Kemp Given given health and though unforeseen things happening like they did last year , this is a tremendous pitching staff and I think they need another batch. I think they never shy away from investing their money to bring the Padres fans a winner. So I think they'll pick up a bat and they'll get a bat when the great Fernando Tatis comes back shortly from his injury. So the fact that they're where they are , as good as they are without Fernando , without pure shots and without Pomeranz , they're going to have , I think , a really big second half. And this is one of the better teams , one of the better Padre teams. And like I said , I never , never broadcast the Padres team that has this type of starting pitcher. Fantastic.
S1: Lots to look forward to there. I've been speaking with a new member of the San Diego Padres Hall of Fame , legendary sportscaster Ted Leitner. Ted , congratulations to you. Thank you so much for this interview.
S2: Any time. I enjoyed it very , very much. I wish you the best of luck.
S4: This is KPBS Midday Edition. I'm Maureen CAVANAUGH with Jade Hyneman. Last night , Vice TV debuted the docu series Icons Unearthed Star Wars , which takes a deep dive into George Lucas's franchise. The show is produced and directed by Brian Volk-weiss , whose love of pop culture is clear in his previous shows. The Toys That Made US and the Movies That Made US. KPBS arts reporter Beth ACCOMANDO speaks with Volk-weiss about making a valentine to the film that changed his life. So Brian , you have produced the movies that made us and the toys that made us. So you've taken deep dives into pop culture before.
S2: I would be probably a dentist or a lawyer in Queens if it wasn't for Star Wars. I think subconsciously I knew not to start with Star Wars because , you know , we had a lot to learn. You know , we learned a lot on toys that made us which helped us with movies that made us. And we needed all of this experience and knowledge to be ready to do Star Wars.
S4: Now , as someone who was a teenager when Star Wars came out and was interested in going into filmmaking , one of the people I looked up to was Marshall Lucas , because I wanted to be a film editor. She is a great get that you have on this show.
S2: We went through all the proper channels. Nobody responded to us. And then an interview we did asked us who we were trying to get. The first thing I said was Marcia , and he was like , Well , who are you talking to ? And I mentioned the people we were calling and emailing. He goes , No , no , no , you got to go through her assistant. So he gave us her name and number that we didn't have. We didn't even know who the assistant was or anything. So after a couple of weeks ago and back and forth , she said yes. So I literally flew to Hawaii same day , interviewed her the next day , 6 hours in her house , mind blowing interview. And that's how it happened. And it's her first on camera interview ever. Lucas was ready to audition his still unfinished opus in front of trusted friends who just happened to be the luminaries of American cinema.
S4: We had a screening room.
S1: In the back of our house , and we watched it in the house to see how things were playing.
S4: Out and how they were working. I remember Brian De Palma coming up. So. MacLeod Well , Phyllis George , you got to get rid of that force thing.
S1: That doesn't work at all. What is.
S2: So to give you two of my favorite examples. One , they were so behind schedule and pretty over budget. Fox was putting a lot of pressure on George to not film the ending attack on the Death Star. So Fox actually wanted the movie to end with them , leaving the Death Star , having rescued Princess Leia , who they come. And no final battle. So I didn't know that. I had never heard that before. And , you know , we were able to confirm it with , you know , luckily we got two of the three editors. So that was mind blowing , which is can you imagine Star Wars ending with them rescuing Princess Leia and shooting down four Thai fighters ? That's probably not the kind of ending that gets people to watch the movie 100 times. That's it. We did it.
S4: We did it.
S2: I think that this is all your fault. And then I've read every book and seen every documentary. Probably 99% of that have been made about Star Wars and George Lucas. It never was clear how important George Lucas's father's mantra of own your own company , own your own company. You know , his father owned a stationery store or a couple of stationery stores in Modesto , California , and he just drilled into George from an early age. And they had a complicated relationship the way a lot of fathers and sons do. And for all the complicated ness , I mean , George took that to heart. Own your own company. And if there's anything I've tried to do with this particular series is I feel like there's a lot of things in life that are insane when they happen , but then when they work , everybody forgets how insane they were. And the fact that George Lucas barely survives physically making a new hope. And then instead of just taking Fox's money and making Empire Strikes Back like everybody else has over the last hundred years , he took out a bank loan , mortgaged his house , mortgaged everything he owned so that he could own Empire Strikes Back. And that was a complete disaster. It's the most difficult shoot of anything ever. Star Wars. He survives again , and then he does the exact same thing with Return of the Jedi. But that time it was 30 million , and he didn't even really have to take out a loan. He just used his own cash.
S4: Well , as much as I like the interviews with some of the , you know , on screen actors , those effects guys were just amazing. And to get some of their stories about the behind the scenes process and the creative process. And I think what was really amazing to me is the solutions that they came up with for getting stuff on the screen. I mean , that stuff is just wonderful.
S2: There there is a shot in a new Hope All Wings report. And I'm standing by the director and read three standing back , read six standing by. Anybody who's standing by standing by five standing by that I had seen conservatively 300 times. And it's such a basic and this is again , I feel like this story I'm about to tell is like the microcosm of our series. It's a reasonably simple shot that you wouldn't question in that the x-wings are coming towards the Death Star , the bad boy , and making their attack on the trench , ducking for the target shaft. Now we're in position. And again , it's a kind of reasonably simple shot. You have the x-wings banking left and going into the trench. We interviewed Dykstra. We interviewed we interviewed this guy named Gus Lopez , who actually owns the models and the matte paintings. It is the most mindblowing special effect in the entire movie because they're basically cutting from a matte painting to a model seamlessly. I mean , literally , even knowing where the cut is and they hide it with a laser blast. You can't even tell what they're doing. And this is a scene I've seen at least 300 times and never noticed that. And that's the kind of stuff we're trying to do with our show. We have to destroy them , ship to ship , get the crews to their site.
S4: Well , thank you very much for talking about icons on earth.
S2: Thank you. Thank you. Very kind to talk to you and thanks for br. Just caring about what we're doing.
S4: That was Beth ACCOMANDO speaking with Brian Volk-weiss. Icons , Earth Star Wars is currently streaming on Vice TV. You can hear the full interview later this month on BET Cinema Junkie podcast.