Local reaction to deadly earthquake in Turkey and Syria
S1: Local reaction after the massive earthquake in Turkey and Syria.
S2: We are all impacted emotionally because of this most devastating earthquake.
S1: I'm Jade Hindman. This is KPBS midday edition. A look at how first responders prepare for rescue when natural disasters happen.
S3: Time is of the essence in any type of disaster , not just an earthquake that we respond to , to try to save lives.
S1: And what we're still learning about long COVID as restrictions ease. Plus , black comics returns to the World Beat Cultural Center. That's ahead on Midday Edition. The devastating earthquake and aftershocks in Turkey and Syria have now claimed more than 11,000 lives. The 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck early Monday morning. Some neighborhoods have been leveled. Many people are injured. Their homes are gone. Stories of dramatic rescues have trickled in and rescuers continue to search for survivors in the rubble. Joining us to talk about that is Ali Khan , president of the House of Turkey in Balboa Park. Ali , welcome.
S2: Thank you. Thank you very much.
S1: You know , first , I just want to check in with you.
S2: I do not have an immediate or close relatives in that area. However , it is shocking and we are all affected emotionally because of this devastating , most devastating earthquake in the known history of Turkey.
S1: And we know aftershocks continue in the region.
S2: There are some logistic problems because the as you know , the some of the bridges , even one of the airports were destroyed. So people are trying to go there to help. As far as I know , more than 50,000 people on the ground trying for help and others are ready to go. But there are also some logistic problems , as you can imagine.
S2: Some of them are lost. That means that they are under the you know , the , you know , collapsed building somewhere maybe. So they are really very this is emotionally very hard for all of us , even though if we do not have any immediate family , you can imagine the tragedy of the of this devastating situation.
S1: And , you know , you mentioned the airports being down.
S2: Some of them through the through the channels , other channels , other others , they did reach them indirectly. But as you can imagine , it is not easy to just pick up your phone and call them. Died because of all the problems caused by the earthquake. So. So we are trying to reach our members ourselves to for the emotional support for them. In fact , we have planned a big get together at Balboa Park this week and Saturday morning. We are going to be that early about we believe everybody will be that around ten 3011 involved ballpark at the house of Turkey.
S1: You touched on this earlier. But again , I would imagine it's hard to even get aid to people with with crumbling infrastructure , airports being down.
S2: Everybody is doing their best. But , you know , sending something from here to there is , you know , it'll take time. So what we are doing for that , we heard from other organizations that easiest way to reach them is via monetary donations because money travels fast. And that is what we are doing here in our community.
S2: This is an area that is not a mild winters type of area. So it is it is very cold and people are really suffering. They are and they are really suffering from the cold and and everybody is trying to get them some winter clothes and different things because their houses are destroyed. So that is be one of the biggest challenge with this earthquake.
S1: And so right now , given all of that , the best way for people to help is to send money. You say , before we go , can you once again tell us about the gathering at the house of Turkey this Saturday ? Yes.
S2: We are going to get together Saturday with all of our members and also other churches organizations in the area that is the rich , the Turkey and other groups and Aita AC , San Diego , American Turkish Association. With all those people , we will get together at House of Turkey this Saturday , about 11 a.m.. And everybody , welcome to join us. We will continue our fundraising. We already started fundraising and because of our generous donations , we are matching to the first $15,000 and we are very close to that. We are we are moving real fast. If anybody wants to help , there is a page specifically for earthquake donations at heart of Turkey dot org website.
S1: I've been speaking with Ali Khan , president of the House of Turkey. And Ali , you all are certainly in our thoughts. Thank you so much for joining us.
S2: Thank you very much. Thank you for covering this very important story.
S1: Rescue efforts from around the globe have been mobilized in Turkey. Here now to talk about what this kind of international rescue work entails is San Diego Fire Department Battalion chief Eddie Barb , and he is program manager of the Urban Search and Rescue California Task Force Eight team. Chief Barbot , welcome to Midday Edition.
S3: Thank you for having me.
S3: And once those orders come in , we get for our team , we get a presidential order through FEMA. FEMA then notifies an alert to the task forces for deployment purposes , depending on the situation and how many resources they need. They'll notify a certain amount of teams or they may even notify all the teams. There are 28 teams here in the United States that do this type of work that respond to disasters anywhere that we are requested.
S3: Trying to get there as quick as we can to prevent loss and do the most amount of good as quick as we possibly can. Time is of the essence in any type of disaster , not just an earthquake that we respond to , to to try to save lives. Every situation is going to be different. People can be trapped. They may have voids , spaces or areas that they may be able to move around or have water or be able to breathe or get some fresh air. And there are situations where people won't have that. And for them and those individuals , we need to get there as quick as possible to be able to help.
S3: Our team and all the other teams are always available at a moment's notice to be able to respond at any time. Disasters happen just like this earthquake at a moment's notice with no signs. So for us , we're ready and on standby if we are requested as far as if we are going to be requested , that is still unknown. Two teams did get requested already. Our international team and those teams are already on the road to help with rescue and recovery efforts.
S1: Talk about the expertise of the task force team and how the team can help in disasters like this.
S3: Yeah , so our team is comprised of a total of 220 members built out in three different rosters and we rotate our rosters there 70 to 80 person rosters that will go out the door depending on the situation and what is being requested within that team. What's comprised of our team is a search component that has a search team manager that manages a set of canines , usually , at least for canines , will go out the door and to technical search specialists that will operate cameras and listening devices , as well as a rescue team that goes out the door that's comprised of four squads and two rescue team managers , as well as two heavy equipment operators and riggers. We have a hazmat component that goes out the door with the team. We have a medical component that goes out the door , and the medical component consists of two. Emergency room or trauma doctors , as well as medical specialists , which are paramedics here in the city that have a higher level. Of.
S3: Training to be able to do a little.
S2: More than what we.
S3: Normally do here in our normal city operations. We have a logistics component. We have structural specialists , communication specialists , planning team members , as well as our task force leaders and safety officers that all deploy. So that 80 person team consists of different amount and number of personnel with within that to be able to go out the door and do everything we could do here within the city and be self-sufficient out in the field.
S1: It must also be emotional work.
S3: Yes , it's it's definitely emotional when you're out there. Our job and what we signed up to do and been sworn to do is protect life and property , get out there , do the most good as quick as we can and save lives. So when there's times that that isn't possible due to timing and how long people may have been trapped or just due to the actual situations that have occurred in that disaster environment , it it does take a toll on our personnel , both mentally and healthwise. And we're constantly as a team and our task force leaders looking out for our members , ensuring that they're taken care of , constantly talking and communicating , meeting on a regular basis. And if we need that , we do have our Health and Safety office that has crisis team members and some of our members that are a part of our team are also trained for crisis and peer support to be able to help those members when we're out there in the field. So we're constantly following up with our members and checking up on them when we're out in the field to to to ensure they're taken care of and that they're doing the right thing. So some of that stuff does not affect them as days go on.
S1: I've been speaking with the San Diego Fire Department Battalion chief Eddie Barbot. Chief Barbot , thanks for all of the work you do and thanks for talking with us today.
S3: You're very welcome. Thanks for having me. It was an honor.
S1: You're listening to KPBS midday edition. I'm Jade Heineman. Last night , President Joe Biden spoke to a largely unmasked standing room only crowd for his annual State of the Union address , the first under newly relaxed COVID guidelines. His speech covered a lot , but one topic that didn't get as much attention as in recent years was COVID. Here's some of what Biden had to say about the coronavirus.
S2: While the virus is not gone , thanks to the resilience of the American people and the ingenuity of medicine , we've broken the COVID grip on us. COVID deaths are down by 90%. We've saved millions of lives and opened up our country. We open our country back up. And soon we'll end the public health emergency.
S1: Along with the Biden administration's decision to end the federal public health emergency for COVID. In my state and San Diego , County officials are ending their own state of emergencies at the end of February. So what will these changes mean for COVID and how we continue to live with it ? Here to help us understand where things are with coronavirus today , I'm joined by our regular guest , Dr. Eric Topol , director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute in La Hoya. And , Dr. Topol , welcome back.
S2: Thanks , Gene. Always great to be with you. Especially now because things are looking good. Yeah. Exactly.
S1: Exactly. But still a lot to talk about.
S2: First of all , he never mentioned this thing called Long-covid that we've talked about , where there are millions of Americans who are previously healthy are suffering the chronic form of COVID after an infection. So this is something that is continues to be ignored. Then also , of course , the fact that you mentioned , you know , there was only one person , as far as I know , that had a mask on in the of the Congress , Senator Sanders. And there are many people of advanced age in our Congress. So there isn't any precautions that are really being taken at large. And I'm not sure that we should just try to whittle it away. So there's some things here that are a paradox. Whereas President Biden said the virus is still circulating. Some of the hit and some of the precautions weren't really reviewed at all.
S2: It's as good as it's looked for quite a long time. That is , you know , hospitalizations and ice use are down to almost a nadir since the pandemic began. It's hard to track cases because people don't have central reporting. They may many doing home tests , but wastewater surveillance looks fairly good. And we have gotten through this latest variant , CAB one five pretty well. So it looks good. There's still virus out there , though. So if you don't take any precautions , you're still got a chance of getting it and suffering potentially a significant COVID infection. So it's not going away anytime soon. We still have a risk , of course , for new variants to form. So far in China , where obviously there's a big outbreak throughout the country. There hasn't been a new variant found yet. That's encouraging too , but we still have that threat in the months and even years ahead of us.
S2: Fortunately , if things continue as they are right now , we've just faced a really tough variant and not seen much of an effect. So this this is really encouraging. And unless something new comes along that's even worse , particularly a whole new family of variant beyond American , which we've been facing for well over a year now , we should be in a pretty good , steady state. You know , that term endemic is often used when we don't have big surges. Let's hope that's the case. But , you know , there's still a liability that that will run into a whole new family of variants. And it could happen this year and it could happen beyond that.
S1: And we've seen local testing scaled back.
S2: So yes , rapid tests at home certainly are helpful. But some of the surveillance tactics that we've had , we're going to be at a loss for.
S1: You've talked a lot about the Bivalent boosters and their effectiveness , particularly in older age groups and those with co-morbidities. What's the status with the boosters ? Are enough of the people in those high risk groups getting it at this point.
S2: Of the people who are age 65 and older around the country ? We're about for just over 40%. It should be as close to 100%. So it's a big gap and there's certainly good data to support age 50 and older for the Bivalent booster. So for people who haven't had that , it would be of real benefit because of age , protection against hospitalisations , against death , and probably also against long COVID two for people younger than age 50. There's still benefit all the way down , you know , through all adults or age 18 or even lower. It's just that the benefit is not as absolute impressive. So that's where people have to make their own decisions. The other thing , of course , as we reviewed , things are looking quite good right now. So to be able to use the Bivalent booster for added protection against severe COVID. People are just not going to be as likely. We see much more interest in Bivalent or any boosters when we're in trouble , which is not a good. Because , you know , by the time there's an outbreak in a region , it takes a couple of weeks for a booster really kick in. So you'd like to be ahead of things. But right now , things look pretty good. And for those people , certainly over age 65 or age 50 , they haven't had a bivalent. They're out more than 4 to 6 months from their latest shot. This would be helpful.
S1: You know , earlier you mentioned long COVID and its dangers. There's been some recent work looking into its connection to chronic fatigue syndrome. Tell us more about that and what we've been learning.
S2: Well , there is certainly an overlap of these two. That is , some people who are suffering from long COVID fit in with the pattern of chronic Mylo in shuffle itis and chronic fatigue syndrome. There is an overlap. There are things that are seen in long COVID that are not necessarily seen with me. CFS But one of the things that's notable , Jade , is that me CFS was neglected for years , even decades , as a Post-viral syndrome. But because so many millions of people have been affected by long COVID , it's been brought back to the light. And hopefully both of these syndromes , we're going to come up with effective treatment. Right now , the best treatment we have is to prevent COVID , because then you don't have to worry about long COVID.
S2: Three years in is not necessarily enough time to know about the long term hit of COVID. So in the 1918 influenza epidemic that killed a massive amount of deaths were a sequela , but it wasn't recognized. And Parkinson's disease was a late sequela until at least 15 to 20 years later. So there's still some things about not just long COVID that we've already known and seen , which can affect virtually any system of the body. But there are still potentially things that we won't be able to piece together until we have even longer. Follow up are ten , 15 , 20 years out. So this is the biggest legacy of COVID beyond the deaths and hospitalization. All the morbidity mortality is the people that have had a chronic impact , whether they have symptoms now or whether they develop something later. These are basically the known unknowns that we still have to keep under surveillance.
S1: Seems like a reason to not completely let your guard down with this.
S2: We never want to do that. We just have to be thankful right now that things are in a good place. But this is a really tough virus that is able to find cells of almost every part of our body. This is one of the things going back to the State of the Union address. I think it would have been appropriate to call out that long. COVID is an unresolved issue. We have no treatment and we really have to go after this. We have no blood test. So this is the one thing right now that deserves considerable attention. And another reason to not let your guard down , because there's still a risk of that. There still are people that are getting COVID now in recent weeks and months that are suffering from the long term effects.
S1: I've been speaking with Dr. Eric Topol , director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute in La Hoya. Dr. Topol , as always , thanks for talking with us today.
S2: Oh , thanks so much.
S1: It's well known that fentanyl was finding its way into any number of drugs being used on the street , leading to an increase in overdoses and deaths in the past few years. But a recent L.A. Times investigation has found that a high number of pills purchased legally in Mexican pharmacies contained fentanyl , methamphetamine and other illicit substances in them. L.A. Times reporter Carrie Blake in JR joins us now with more on this startling discovery. Carrie , welcome.
S3: Hi , thanks for having me.
S3: We got a tip about it. So we decided to do some testing and also found out that around the same time , there is a group of researchers that were looking into this as well.
S1: And you actually had the drugs tested.
S3: We got fentanyl test strips and we got methamphetamine test strips. And we use those to test the samples that we had. Now , using that testing method , like it is possible to come up with false positives if your , you know , typically if you use too much of a sample or if there's cross-contamination or things like that. And , you know , we talked to some researchers and experts in this to. Make sure that we were doing it the best that it could be done. But fortunately , because there happened to be a team of researchers that was also doing the same sort of testing , but they were using both the test strips and an infrared spectrometer. There was some additional testing that has been done that also found these same sorts of things. So between the two of us , there's been a decent amount of testing done in a variety of pharmacies. We ended up testing , I think it was a total of something like 17 pills and the research team ended up testing around 45. So obviously this is a sampling in all of this was in northwestern Mexico. We you know , we don't know how broadly this is happening or if this is happening across the country. Anecdotally , we've heard some things , but from what we've been able to get from that amount of testing , you know , we found that it certainly seems to be happening in multiple locations in northwestern Mexico.
S3: But if you look through clips , you can see some sort of hints at it. Like , for instance , I think there was like a DEA press release at one point or DOJ press release about a pharmacist being arrested for selling counterfeit oxycodone. I was reading about that , and it seems to imply that this might have been being sold out of a pharmacy. You know , it's not it didn't seem like this is something that has been documented as occurring in multiple locations , even though there's been a few individual references to it sort of buried on the Internet.
S1: I mean , let's let's talk about this.
S3: There are some that seem to have some sense of it because they warned us repeatedly that this pill was particularly strong or something like that. But , you know , when people are buying these , these are made to look like something else , like they are made to look like legitimate Percocets , like they are made to look like , you know , the 30 blue oxycodone that you would find here. You know , the Adderall were made to look like 30 milligram Adderall. There are red flags , though , Like these aren't drugs that are supposed to be sold over the counter in Mexico. Oxycodone is actually fairly tightly controlled there relative to us. And Adderall is also relatively difficult to get compared to the U.S.. So these are drugs that you should not be expecting to just walk in a store and buy over the counter. Although Mexican pharmacies are known for the array of things they sell over the counter , those things are not legally to include oxycodone and Adderall. And when you go into some of these stores , the ones that sold us drugs that were not what they said they were seem to be stores that were catering to tourists , to Americans. And they would often , you know , greet us in English , give prices in dollars. And they were in areas that were frequented by tourists , typically.
S3: Cartels have been making counterfeit pills that are actually fentanyl , and they've been doing this for some time. But they've just usually been things that you would buy on the street. And that's what you've seen all these warnings about , you know , not to just buy pills on the street. And that's where you see this sort of increase in fentanyl related deaths. Some of this is people who are buying pills on the street. And so it sort of is not surprising that these would at some point start showing up in other places , including pharmacies. But , you know , it's the same thing , like it's still coming from cartels who you know , what it comes down to is that it is cheaper for cartels to sell pills that are simply fentanyl and filler than it is for them to sell legitimate oxycodone that's been diverted or to make their own oxycodone or to sell heroin. And , you know , because of the economics of it , that's why it's ended up contaminating so much of the street supply. And it is also why it's not entirely surprising that it might eventually start showing up in pharmacies.
S1: Yeah , I mean , but explain it more.
S3: And they might know that they are not coming from like legitimate sources , but they might not be aware that they're actually entirely counterfeit. They might just believe that they're buying oxycodone that were diverted from legitimate supplies , for instance.
S1: You write that it's hard to get an accurate count on drug related deaths in Mexico.
S3: Mexico has undercounted drug related deaths for some time in 2020 , for instance , I think there was something. Like 19 opioid related deaths in the entire country. And although it is true that Mexico has typically had a lower rate of opioid use than the U.S. , that is still something that most experts like just been extraordinarily sort of unbelievably low. And part of the reason for that , according to the experts that we interviewed , is that because of the influx of homicides and cartel related deaths , those have ended up overwhelming the forensic services there. And other deaths , such as drug related deaths , don't get the sort of intense scrutiny that they might otherwise. And instead , it ends up being often just marked down as something else like cardiopulmonary arrest or something very broad like that.
S3: So , you know , we've anecdotally heard these things , but given the difficulties with the data , it's it's really hard to say in any sort of definitive way how broadly there have or have not been any sort of negative impacts. And , you know , remember , we also don't know how broadly this is occurring. We found it at several pharmacies and the UCLA researchers found it at several pharmacies. But there hasn't been a sort of broader look at where else this is occurring or even what percent of the pharmacies in the cities that we visited are actually doing this.
S3: We were doing this at Independence at like mom and pop shops. So if you're going to one of the large chains , like , we didn't find any reason to doubt the safety of the medications that you would purchase there. You know , I don't want to sort of cast broad aspersions on Mexican pharmacies or anything. The places where we did find this happening. There were definitely red flags. I just think that until now , people didn't know that those red flags could actually signal something as dangerous as fentanyl.
S3: You know , we did not get any sort of meaningful or substantive comment from the U.S. government. And I think we haven't gotten anything at all from the Mexican government yet. But we're we're still trying to see if we can get any sort of response from some authorities after the fact. We have gotten a little more concerned response from lawmakers here , some of whom have , you know , asked about investigations or like should there be some sort of legislation that could address this ? Not sure what that could possibly look like since this is something that's happening in another country. But as of now , I think we've gotten very little feedback from authorities on this.
S1: So bottom line , this for me , for anyone picking up prescriptions in Mexico.
S3: If you are buying a single pill of a prescription , that you probably shouldn't be able to get something like oxycodone or Adderall and you're doing it without a prescription , you should be very wary of that. And if you're going to do that , you should , at the very minimum , bring along test strips to make sure that it's not something far more dangerous than what you're expecting.
S1: I've been speaking with L.A. Times reporter Carrie Blake in JR. Carrie , thanks so much for talking with us today.
S3: Thanks for having me.
S1: San Diego , researchers have identified a new species of fish in the deep ocean waters near Costa Rica. KPBS environment reporter Eric Anderson says an underwater video and some detective work gained the rare fish , a scientific identity.
S2: Researchers were looking for large ocean mussels when they sent a robotic submarine 6000 feet under the ocean surface. The target was the Hechos car near Costa Rica , both yesterday looking at their $700,000 seed , is the collection manager for benthic Invertebrates at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
S4: It's an area where methane is coming up from the seafloor , but at a slightly higher temperature than the rest of the ocean , which apparently is enough to attract animals that normally only like it hot at hydrothermal vents.
S2: The researcher piloting the Schmidt Ocean Institute's unstaffed submersible has been here before , and it didn't take long to find prime mussel habitat among a minivan sized tangle of worm shells. So he points out the tangled habitat anchored on the sea floor. In the video recorded by the dive team.
S4: This is a fantastic group of tubeworms. So these animals , each one looks sort of like a piece of pasta , but they're growing together. They're anchored in the sediment. They're getting energy from the chemicals and the microbes that live inside their tubes. And it's a great place to be a tube worm. Look at all of them.
S2: It's also where the team recorded video of the newly identified and pink eel palette. The color doesn't mean much on the ocean floor where it's cold and dark.
S4: There's probably no need for it to look especially flashy or to have extraordinary camouflage.
S2: The fish looks like a small eel , and some species have a downturned mouth , reminding some of us sad , pouting fish.
S4: You can see they don't move very fast and they don't go too far from their homes right back into shelter.
S2: Seats as the fish lives on the ocean floor. And while the pink fish stands out on video , that color really can't be seen in the dark water. And they also haven't been seen outside of this geographically specific underwater habitat. Ben Fraenkel is the manager of one of the world's largest marine vertebrate collections located in San Diego.
S4: This section is kind of the group of fish ill palates and their relatives. So as you can see , we have quite a lot of different species.
S2: He's showing us what's best described as a fish library. The shelves , floor to ceiling are full of underwater creatures , perfectly preserved in sealed jars. This was for Abels first stop to identify the samples brought back by researchers in 2018. Since the samples didn't match up with anything for Abel turned to published literature.
S4: I've taken a look , going through the books , going through references , trying to match them up. They're not really resonating with anything I'm seeing.
S2: So FREBEL reached out to a colleague in Denmark. Peter Rask. Mueller is the curator of the Danish Natural History Museum and he's considered an authority on deep sea bottom living fishes.
S4: He immediately recognized it as this genus that has only been described in the last 20 years. It's called pyro. Like this. It means pyro fire like a wolf.
S2: Rask Mueller knew immediately the fish was something new. For Abel says , that helps explain the lack of scales and the number and location of sensory pores on their bodies. Those pores are key to helping the fish find food.
S4: These animals are living in environments that are pitch black , so they're kind of relying on not just their eyes , but other other organs for for sensing movement and prey and food around them. So these are really important.
S2: There are only four samples available to researchers , two in San Diego and two in Denmark. And for Abel says , it's a reminder of how little scientists know about life on the ocean floor. The findings are published in the current edition of the journal Zoo Taxa. Erik Anderson , KPBS News.
S1: You're listening to KPBS Midday edition. I'm Jade Hindman. Black Comics Day returns to the World Beach Cultural Center this weekend for its fifth year. The free mini convention celebrates black creators and artists from Marvel and DC , as well as black owned independent companies. KPBS arts reporter Beth ACCOMANDO speaks with the event's founder , Keith Jones , who is also the creator of the Power Nights comic.
S5: KEITH And you are about to hold the Fifth Black Comics Day.
S2: Five years is Wow. I mean , when I first started out on this , I didn't expect it. I was hoping it would go this far. But , you know , you never know. So here we are , fifth year.
S5: And remind people what inspired you to start this.
S2: I was originally asked by my mother if I would do something for the Malcolm X Library , which was the original location. I was going to say no. But then I thought about how important it could be to the community to have an outlet where they can actually see people that look like them doing stuff in the comic book culture. I mean , we're all going to the movies right now , but this is an opportunity to see the folks behind the scenes and then having it be Black History Month. I think icing on the cake is to see actual folks from our community working for companies like Marvel and DC and Warner Brothers and Disney and all that good stuff. Even though it's called Black Comics Day , it's for everyone to come in , enjoy this culture experience and see these folks do their thing.
S5: And you yourself are a comics creator. So where are you at now ? Because you started your own company and you had your own comic.
S2: Jayde Comics , which stands for the kid in You Never Dies. It's still going strong. My book , The Power Nights. Earlier this year , I relaunched it , I remastered it , I remastered it. Because what I want to do is release all the issues as a trade paperback. But I wanted to , like , clean it up a little bit , give it a new paintjob , so to speak. Add some extras. And so that's where I am with that issue. The new issue one is out on kid Dash comics dot com. And what.
S5: Kind of challenges do you face trying to publish your own comic.
S2: Time ? Because I don't. Not only do I work work for myself and keep this company going , I also have clientele that want my services as a comic book artist , basically , that help funds kid comics. So it's really my biggest challenge is just balancing the time to do everything and put on this show.
S5: And explain to people what they can expect when they come to Black Comics Day.
S2: They can expect to meet professional artists , African descent , folks like John Jennings , who just actually owns a new series for Marvel for Silver Surfer Ghost Light. We have Rodney Barnes. Rodney Barnes is doing this fantastic book called Kill Adelphia. It's a horror anthology. And along with TV shows like Winning Time for HBO , Max and he's worked on Boondocks. And then we have Kevin Greenhouse as the writer for the Underworld movie series with the Vampires A Werewolf Battle , which is one of my favorite movies. And he's done a slew of Marvel and DC comics. He's also an actor. We're going to do a part. I'm going to do a panel with all three of those guys on Sunday , and we're going to discuss their projects. And the thing , the common thing they have to add with each other is that they're aficionados in horror. So we're going to get into the whole a panel called Get Shook , and we're going to talk some horror and a little bit about their background and how they're navigating that. An Empowered panel is about we do empowered every every black conversation. It's hosted by Aaron Nabbous , and he has a podcast called Hall H Podcast. What I want to do with the panel , which is Saturday Call Empowered. I want to discuss the whole topic of diversity in pop culture and comics and how we feel about it , because there's always controversy when a new movie comes out in the in a black person's casted or recast it as a traditional white character. We want to delve into the controversy behind that , the pros and the cons and if that's the right direction or not. On the panel , we have Robert Roach , we have Brian Lambert , we have Mia Bon and Christina Cromer , and they're all comic book creators themselves. We're going to basically get their opinion on and I think it'll be a great panel and it should be pretty fun. And also , we welcome audience involvement.
S5: And Black Comics Day is not just panels. People can also come in and meet the writers. The creators buy comics and engage with them. Exactly.
S2: Exactly. It's it's an open atmosphere for all ages out here on the main floor with the inside of the World Bee Center , the majority of the artists set up at their booths where you can congregate with them , see their merchandise by their merchants. I asked them questions and young artists. I encourage you to bring your portfolios if you want some feedback or who knows , it can lead to a job. It's going to be fun. It's great atmosphere , this food here on site. I think the food is great. Mikayla Dread Cheatham , who owns the place. She's a tremendous help. She's he provides this space for me to do my thing. And I because , you know , we've been doing this five years now and it's still going strong and it's getting it's gotten bigger every year.
S2: I like to weave it within within the story in an organic way , and I like to keep it open for interpretation. Obviously , I'm a black writer and I'm concerned about my community and I want to represent us in a good light. But my first priority is to be an entertainer. I want to entertain you. I want to I know you know , I want you to come home from your hard day of work and escape into into another world and be entertained by it. And if you can get some type of message out of it , awesome. You know , because the message is in there. But like I said , I don't want it to be the only reason that I wrote the book. You know , I'm just you know , I come from watching Star Wars and Transformers and and G.I. Joe and all that stuff , you know , Terminator Predator. I'm that guy. You know , So that's my bane. That's the type of stuff I want to do. And Power Night is something I created when I was a kid. So I figured , you know , I'm in my fifties now , so I'm like , you know what ? I'm not going to think too hard about changing my thought process on this and just try to at least as close as possible with still making make sense. I make power nights what I vision as a kid. And but that's not to say that there's times where I do want to get into some heavier subject matter because like I said , it's important to me. And and that's the that's the reason I created black comics , because like I said earlier , Black Comics Day is my statement when it comes to race relations , when it comes to civil rights , when it comes to social commentary on what's going on in the world today. Black Comics Day is my idea of getting everyone together in one space from all cultures , all races and code , mingle and have a good time and see that we all like the same kind of things and we don't have to be at each other's necks. 24 seven You can do that on Twitter or Facebook time out this weekend , coming to this place and be welcomed and have a good time. The real energy is just when everyone gets here and and you have like minded people commingling and feeding off each other's energy and just having a good time. So you just have to come down here and experience it. I promise you you will have a good time.
S1: That was Beth ACCOMANDO speaking with Keith Van Jones. Black Comics Day takes place this Saturday and Sunday at the World Beat Cultural Center in Balboa Park. It is free , and Beth is also producing a three part podcast starting tonight featuring the Black Horror comics creators from the Get Shucked panel that's on the Cinema Junkie podcast , which you can find at KPBS dot org or wherever you listen to podcast.