Navy identifies SEAL trainee who died after ‘Hell Week’
Speaker 1: (00:00)
The Navy seals held weekends with one recruit dead, another
Speaker 2: (00:04)
Hospitalized. They were not actively training when they somehow became sickened or ill.
Speaker 1: (00:10)
I'm Maureen Kavanaugh with Jade Henman. This is KPBS midday edition. The reasons behind San Diego's increasing police officer vacancies, more
Speaker 3: (00:29)
And more people are quitting jobs that they're not happy in. And employers are then struggling to backfill those positions with new hires it's happening all across the economy. And of course, police department are not immune to those factors.
Speaker 1: (00:43)
A study predicts more blackouts as summer. Temperatures continue to rise and the Jewish film festival kicks off with the loving portrait of a poet. That's a head on midday edition. The Navy has identified seal candidate who died Friday after going through the final phase of Navy seal training known as hell week 24 year old. Kyle Mullen reported unidentified symptoms hours after the training ended and subsequently died. A second seal candidate also reported symptoms and is hospitalized. The Navy says Kyle mul cause of death is currently under investigation. Joining me as KPBS, military, and veterans reporter Steve Walsh. Steve. Welcome.
Speaker 2: (01:32)
Hi Maureen, tell
Speaker 1: (01:33)
Us, what's known about when these two seal candidates began feeling sick and what their symptoms were. We
Speaker 2: (01:40)
Don't really know much more than what has come out in a couple of different, uh, press releases and a few clarifications from the, from the seals themselves. We know that they had just finished hell week that morning. That's that five and a half days where seals are often in almost constant motion. They get very little sleep they're they're wet the, in the whole time often treading water, which you know, this time of year is about at 57 degrees. They, uh, finished hell week that morning, they were not actively training when they somehow became sickened or ill. Both candidates were transported in the same ambulance at the same time, late in the afternoon at 5 41. Kyle Mullins died at Scripps Corona, which is the closest hospital to buds. And then that second unnamed candidate he's in stable condition at, uh, the Naval hospital in San Diego. Then that's about what we know
Speaker 1: (02:35)
You refer to buds. What is
Speaker 2: (02:37)
That? So that's basic underwater demolition seals. That's basically sealed basic training, no matter whether seals are stationed east or west coast, everybody comes to buds here in San Diego for their basic training.
Speaker 1: (02:51)
Is it clear that the illness was related to the physical demands of hell week?
Speaker 2: (02:56)
You know, we just don't know from what they've told us so far, you know, seals typically don't say very much and that can lead to a lot of speculation. We know there are a lot of, uh, training accidents at, at buds it's incredibly physically and mentally demanding candidates routinely begin hallucinating after days without sleep things like hyperthermia and pneumonia come to mind. We've seen cases of heart defects that weren't found in screening physicals. The fact that two of them were transported seems to make it less likely that it was some sort of a heart defect, but, you know, we don't really know very much about exactly what was happening at that time. Can you tell
Speaker 1: (03:34)
Us a little more of what hell week is like and what the seal go through it's
Speaker 2: (03:38)
Week four, but part of the first phase of seal training it's well named, you have five and a half days of physical exertion out on Coronado. You know, you can actually watch the seals carrying those rib boats along the strand on top of their heads. They do that for hours. Well into the night they tread water in the surf for hours. Well into the night. Again, people all asleep while paddling, they fall asleep during knees, it's designed to be incredibly grueling instructors wi with bullhorns will taut the candidates, you know, telling them to give up and go home
Speaker 1: (04:12)
And do many seals actually give up, drop out of training during hell
Speaker 2: (04:16)
Week. Indeed. You know, the seals say on average, 70 to 80% of the candidates drop out of buds, most of those dropouts will happen during hell weight. You know, it's by design, you know, this isn't like a really hard physics class at Harvard. You know, if you score high enough, you pass the seals, bring in more candidates than they need with the intention of weeding out. Most people, even highly qualifi fight people by doing it this way, the seals believe they end up with the candidates with the, the most mental toughness.
Speaker 1: (04:47)
Has there been any effort to revise, seal training and hell week to make it less dangerous
Speaker 2: (04:53)
There have. I mean, they they've switched some things around hell weeks, uh, has moved around in the calendar to give cadets more time to get into. She there's been more oversight, but the instructors are, are, are basically working seals. They do a tour at buzz and then, then they go back into the field. So the seals are unusual in special forces. Uh, by the time you become part of like Delta force, you're an elite member of the us army, but many, if not, most seals come from outside the Navy at a bootcamp. And then they go right into buds. Kyle Mullins was 24 years old, but he had been in the Navy for less than a year. He was a star athlete in New Jersey. You know, many seals are college wrestlers rather than top performing sailors. They start, uh, training on their own. Well, before they arrive at buds and then there's a whole industry designed to help people get ready. So, you know, there have been many changes to it, but still, you know, this is an elite force and very separate from the rest of what goes on in the Navy, who
Speaker 1: (05:52)
Is likely to be held responsible. If this death is linked to hell week training is anyone
Speaker 2: (05:58)
Well, the Navy is responsible for anything that happens at buds, but, uh, we'll have to see, uh, from the reports in the case of, uh, of, uh, of, uh, James Loveless, uh, who, uh, died early on in buds during the first week, uh, the medical examiner initially ruled at a homicide after a videotaped that the buds instructor pushed Lovelace under the water, which they're not supposed to do Loveless though also had an enlarged heart. So ultimately the instructor was, was never prosecuted.
Speaker 1: (06:27)
And that was back in 2016, right
Speaker 2: (06:29)
Back in 2016. And there was also a suicide right around the same time. Is it
Speaker 1: (06:34)
Clear that the Navy will release information out this death in hospitalization or will it just be kept away from the
Speaker 2: (06:40)
Public? Eventually something will have to come out. There are reports that are foible, but, um, the seals are incredibly secretive. Um, we'll see, they say that not, they're not going to say anything more until those reports come out. Um, we're not expecting any sort of press conference or anything else. We're just have to stay on this one. I've
Speaker 1: (07:00)
Been speaking with K PBS, military and veterans reporter, Steve Walsh. And Steve, thank you so
Speaker 2: (07:05)
Speaker 4: (07:19)
The San Diego police department is sounding the alarm over staffing issues, citing recruitment problems, impending retirements, and the city's vaccine mandate as key reasons behind the increasing vacancies, despite that the growing shortage of officers has others questioning the significant role that police play in interactions with the whole homeless and how that might also be stretching the resources of the department. Then joining me now with more is KPBS Metro reporter, Andrew Bowen, Andrew, welcome back to the program.
Speaker 3: (07:49)
Hi Jade. Thanks. So what's
Speaker 4: (07:50)
The police department saying about why there are so many
Speaker 3: (07:53)
Vacancies? Well, I think we should keep in mind, what's going on in the entire economy right now, we're calling at the great resignation. So more and more people are quitting jobs that they're not happy in. And employers are then struggling to backfill those positions with new hires it's happening all across the economy. And I think, you know, of course police departments are not immune to those factors. The city's vaccine mandate that does appear to play some role in this. Uh, I think it, it's impossible to say exactly how big of a role it's playing, given the larger economic context right now. But we do know that the police union tried to fight this vaccine mandate, even though it ultimately got passed by the city council, but you know, officers appear more resistant to that policy at least compared with other city employees. And then beyond those economic forces beyond the vaccine man on date, this police department that we have is also relatively old. There are hundreds of officers that are eligible for retirement in the coming years. And as those retirements are sort of trickling in, um, that's of course then just pushing extra pressure on the police department, staffing challenges, much of
Speaker 4: (08:57)
The current issues surrounding the shortages have been attributed to the city's vaccine mandate while that's a fairly new policy. The department's retention issues are old. Uh, what can you tell us about
Speaker 3: (09:08)
That? So police recruitment and retention was a really big topic in the early to mid 2010s. And so it got to a point where the wages that the police department was offering were just very far behind other agencies in this area. So it was very easy to get hired by the San Diego police department gain a couple of years experience and then switch to say the Sheriff's department or Chula Vista police, or LA MEA Escondido, any of these other neighboring, uh, cities where the are offering better pay and benefits to their officers. So, um, the city and the police union agreed to a series of raises in 2017, and that had a significant impact on the recruitment and retention issues. The number of officers employed by the city had been increasing for several years, pretty much since then, but now given as other factors that we've talked about, it appears to be backsliding.
Speaker 4: (09:59)
The staffing shortage is also having an impact on police department spending what's happening
Speaker 3: (10:04)
There. Police are having to authorize more and more hours of overtime for officers to cover their staffing shortages. So the current estimate is that they're going to spend $6.9 million more on overtime than what they had budgeted for. And this is coming after mayor Todd Gloria had actually cut the overtime budget in the police department as a gesture to activists that wanted to spend less on police and more on social programs like libraries and parks. Um, I reported back in December, how that gesture of cutting the police department overtime budget really fell apart in a matter of just a few months. And now we're looking at ending the fiscal year. Again, like I said, about 7 million over budget on a police officer overtime, you know,
Speaker 4: (10:48)
News of these shortages has really revived an ongoing debate. Also about what role the police play in complaints related to homeless. Can you give us a sense of how these issues are connected
Speaker 3: (11:00)
For several years now, the police have been given more and more responsibilities related to homelessness. So if we go back to 2017, when San Diego was dealing with this hepatitis a outbreak, which primarily hit the homeless population, then mayor Kevin Faulkner wanted to prove that he was doing something about this problem. So the police have been playing a larger role in the homeless encampment sweeps, providing security. And then, you know, as part of this whole response to the challenges with homelessness Faulkner also created the neighborhood policing division and its responsibilities have grown significantly, especially now that people can court issues related to homelessness on the city's get it done app. So in the same way, you can report a pothole or graffiti on public property. You can report something related to homelessness and every report has to get followed up on, even if there is no crime being committed. So somebody might report a homeless person hanging out in my neighborhood or in this park or in front of this business. And they just want that person to go away. Our city's response is we send a police officer there to deal with it. Has
Speaker 4: (12:04)
There been any discussion among local lawmakers about how resources should be shifted to better accommodate issues involving the city's homeless population?
Speaker 3: (12:12)
Well, I came across this story watching last week's city council budget committee, uh, hearing and council president Sean EULA Rivera, was asking some of these very questions. He's saying, if we're facing a rise in 9 1, 1 calls arise in violent crime. And also these staffing shortages can some of these calls about homelessness be handled by civilians. Why not restructure the San Diego police department and shift some of these positions from the neighborhood policing division to where officers are most needed with the patrol divisions and things that are actually handling this rise in violent crime. In an interview, uh, with the council president, he also noted there's pretty much universal agreement on the left and on the right in the center. That police are just not the best people equipped to handle homelessness. There are social workers, people especially trained in mental health or addiction who might be more effective at reaching that unsheltered population and handling these calls. It's not to say police will never be needed, but he's saying, I think that we should look for ways to reduce a police role in managing the homeless crisis as much as possible so that they can get to the job that they were really hired for, which is responding to violence and crime.
Speaker 4: (13:23)
To that point. Do the police have much say in whether or not they respond to calls involving the homeless? I mean, are people generally aware of the alternatives out there?
Speaker 3: (13:32)
It's ultimately the police chiefs decision to assign, you know, officers where the, the policy makers have set their priorities. We do have, what's called the psychiatric emergency response team, which is funded by the county. Uh, these are clinicians that are deployed to mental health calls. So in those cases, there's a clinician who would make first contact with that individual rather than a police office. So there's these per teams, but they're always accompanied by police officers. So increasing the use of the psychiatric emergency response teams, isn't necessarily going to relieve the staffing concerns in the police department. We also have just recently created new mobile crisis response teams. And these are unarmed civilians who are two calls typically related to homelessness, but they're not accompanied by police. And so that is one sort of area where I think the city and the county together are trying to invest some dollars and see if there's a different model that works. But there was some interesting comments from police chief David Nite in last week's meeting, where he kind of dismissed these new teams that don't have any police going along with them as a, a solution to this. And he really pushed the PERT model, which does use police and, you know, increasing those wouldn't necessarily be relieving his officers from any of their other duties.
Speaker 4: (14:48)
I've been speaking with KPBS, Metro reporter, Andrew Bowen, Andrew, thank you very much for joining us. My pleasure, Jade, You're listening to K PBS midday edition. I'm Jade Henman with Kavanaugh. It's officially been two years since San Diego county's first exposure to COVID 19 K PBS health reporter. Matt Hoffman says local attention was focused on the Marine Corps air station Miramar, which was drafted for a unique mission. Do you like
Speaker 5: (15:23)
The park? Yes. Yeah. Is it better than the hospital?
Speaker 6: (15:26)
Yes. Yeah. Two years ago, Frank Rosinski and is then three year old daughter Annabel were among those Eva evacuated from Wuhan China and put into quarantine at MCA S Miramar.
Speaker 5: (15:37)
It's a good thing that we did that, but on the other hand, you know, there's a guilt feeling of guilt that I've left. I left my wife in probably the worst time of her life.
Speaker 6: (15:46)
Wilinski wife had to stay in China and the two week quarantine, which included a hospital visit was not easy on their daughter Annabel
Speaker 5: (15:52)
And her my, uh, it's it's mommy, not wanting to see her. Just kind of explain as simply as you can, as you know, mommy misses you, mommy loves you.
Speaker 6: (16:02)
The dad and daughter were flown into San Diego on unmarked planes, some of more than 200 Americans and their family's quarantined inside of base hotel rooms for San Diegos. It was their first local experie with coronavirus.
Speaker 7: (16:15)
I think most people were just confused and trying to understand what is this all about then
Speaker 6: (16:20)
County supervisor's board chair, Greg Cox says he wasn't sure what to
Speaker 7: (16:24)
Expect. It's one of these things you're kind of figuring, well, is this just kind of a, a passing problem? I mean, we had problems with swine flu with, uh, H one N one, uh, and those just kind of Ebola. Those are just kind of blips on the, on the radar screen that, okay. You know, people were kind of following what was going on, but, uh, it, for the most part, it never impacted their lives. And, and now this was something that looked like it was potentially gonna be much bigger. And as it turned out, it certainly was,
Speaker 6: (16:52)
If anyone got sick, they were not allowed to stay at EMS CAS Miramar. The county's chief medical officer, Dr. Eric McDonald was in charge of figuring out care
Speaker 8: (17:00)
Locally. We knew it was a big deal because this was something that had not been done in 50 years. Let me literally, uh, large scale federal quarantine like this, what I remember was when we first got the call that maybe San Diego might be a location, I was like, why us? You know? And then I was trying to think of how can we get out of this? Okay. Uh, but then it, it, we quickly figured out, oh no, this is where it's
Speaker 6: (17:23)
Gonna be. McDonald ended up asking UC San Diego health and radi children's hospital to be ready. If anyone tested positive seven patients were ultimately taken to U C S D and Radis officials. Remember this seen when the first patients arrived, they were given a police escort and were flanked by CDC officials of those seven, that developed symptoms, two tested, positive. They were the 13th and 14th cases of COVID in the us.
Speaker 8: (17:48)
You, uh, assume the worst that it's the most contagious. And you work down from
Speaker 6: (17:53)
There, UC San Diego health, Dr. Francesca Torian helped coordinate care for the seven patients. You
Speaker 9: (17:59)
Could see really the, the worry, uh, of some of, of being not welcomed and, and of, of really being afraid
Speaker 6: (18:08)
To Rian says they knew it was a respiratory virus, but they were unclear how easily it could spread. So the patients were put inside special, negative pressure rooms that were designed for contagious, Ebola patients.
Speaker 9: (18:19)
We were at the maximum containment,
Speaker 6: (18:22)
The safety protocols worked, no staff members ended up contracting the virus. And while one patient did have an experimental treatment, everyone left the hospital. Okay. All of the evacuees ended up leaving the base before March came. And then we started seeing cases among local residents. McDonald says there were some valuable lessons learned during the federal quarantine, like how to safely transport COVID positive patients. So
Speaker 8: (18:44)
I got our pre-hospital system kind of geared up to be able to handle that, uh, all the way to just the logistic of how to support, uh, a lot of people in one place who were on quarantine with food, with housing, with social service support,
Speaker 6: (18:58)
Toni says for some of the patients, there was a language barrier, but she was focused on making them feel welcome so far away
Speaker 9: (19:04)
From home asking them what kind of food did they want would help them, you know, giving hot water and a, and a teapot so that they could find some humanity that was so touching and so important. During
Speaker 6: (19:19)
The quarantine period, the San Diego community showed their support, military spouses, organized food toy and book donations. Some local schools even sent in Valentine's day cards. This early COVID exp help prepare San Diego officials when just a few weeks later, cruise ship passengers had to be quarantined. And then unsheltered residents were isolated at the convention center, Matt Hoffman, K PBS news,
Speaker 1: (19:50)
All over the world. Climate changes starting to affect daily life from devastating cyclones and Madagascar to fire storms in the Pacific Northwest. And a new reports finds that all over the us as summers get hotter, beating the heat will drain energy supplies and leave us with days without power or air conditioning. The paper published in the online journal Earth's future predicts Southern California will experience at least seven days without power each summer. In the next decade. Joining me is the studies lead author, Renee OER and environmental engineer at Penn state university and Renee, welcome to the program. Thanks
Speaker 10: (20:32)
For having me.
Speaker 1: (20:33)
How would a 1.5 Celsius rise in global temperature, and that works out to 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit. How would that strain California's energy grid?
Speaker 10: (20:43)
Yeah, so, uh, one and a half degrees Celsius increase is sort of across the global mean temperature. And so depending on the location, or even like the, if there's a heat wave, it could be, you know, even higher for California. And so what we're seeing is that with those rising temperatures, that California is expected to see, uh, 4% increase in air conditioning, use beyond what they're already doing, and that if it occurs during a heat wave or during wildfire season, it could actually lead to rolling blackouts even more frequent than what we've seen in the last couple years.
Speaker 1: (21:22)
How many days of rolling blackouts could there be in California under these circumstances?
Speaker 10: (21:29)
So our analysis looked at the hypothetical situation where no changes are made to our current grid. So it's kind of the worst case scenario. What happens if we don't adapt to this warmer future? And we found that California could experience about seven days, uh, without air conditioning under these, um, potentially rolling blackouts, but also, uh, could be more lengthy blackouts going beyond just a couple hours and lasting for, you know, a day or two at a time.
Speaker 1: (21:58)
You also know one thing going for California is that we have comparatively high efficiency standards for home air conditioners. Tell us more about that.
Speaker 10: (22:08)
Yeah. So one of the potential ways that we could mitigate this, uh, increase in demand is to try to improve how efficient our technology is. So when you increase the efficiency of air conditioners, you can use more air conditioning, you can use it more often, but it uses the same amount or even less electricity. And so we, you look to see how much more efficient the standard air conditioner would need to be across the states. And we found that with California, it's less than 1% more efficient. So it's almost, uh, negligible. And that's likely because California is leading the country in these requirements. So any new building and even some older buildings that are getting retrofitted need to have a certain standard of efficiency and that's driving, uh, the market in California, whereas other states are sort of are behind in that respect. And so, um, states, we found that Louisiana and Arkansas up to 8% increase in the average air Condit, whereas California, like I said, less than 1%.
Speaker 1: (23:14)
Now, when does your study predict summer blackouts? Like these would start to happen.
Speaker 10: (23:20)
So that sort of time period has a little bit of, you know, wiggle room. It, a lot of it depends on how quickly we can do climate change mitigation. And if we continue to emit CO2, but the most recent I P C C report is estimating that we will surpass that one and a half degree Celsius threshold in the 2030s. So potentially 10 to 15 years from now. And
Speaker 1: (23:46)
How's does the scenario change if there's a two degree Celsius increase in warming?
Speaker 10: (23:52)
Yeah. So that is actually what I think is one of the most interesting parts of this study is that with just a half degree, more warming, we're seeing really, uh, intense changes, particularly early in areas like the Midwest. And so under one and a half degrees of warming, we estimated a 4% increase in air conditioning use, but if we let climate change continue to happen, and we continue to emit to the point where we get to two degrees of warming, then in the Midwest air air conditioning demand jumps up by 13%. And so we're tripling how much more of a change we're seeing in just one half of a degree. And so it really like, sort of, for me, it brings home the importance of trying to mitigate temperature and trying to maintain a lower temperature threshold because we'll start to see increasingly extreme, uh, results from just minor temperature changes as we continue to get warmer,
Speaker 1: (24:56)
What would be the human toll of these summer days without power?
Speaker 10: (25:02)
Yeah. So it's hard to sort of quantify by that, but what we know is that when we have really extreme heat, that the most vulnerable populations tend to be in lower income neighborhoods or the elderly or even, um, other marginalized groups that have traditionally lived in areas with poor housing, or just generally don't have the capacity to, or the financial ability to purchase air conditioning or find another place like a hotel or, uh, a pool where they can cool off during these heat waves. So while it's really hard to quantify what it might mean in exact numbers, what we do know is that although the average household might experience, you know, eight days without air conditioning, in reality, the brunt of that is going to be faced by our vulnerable or marginalized communities while others can find other places to go.
Speaker 1: (26:01)
As you say, some people in, uh, lower income communities may not even have air condition to begin with. And as that heat rises, people can die.
Speaker 10: (26:14)
Yeah. So it's, uh, becomes a very serious public health issue. And it also, it, and it becomes really hard to, to calculate that like the deaths because of heat, heat waves, heat intensity are probably very underestimated because it's really hard to figure out, you know, was it the heat or was it, you know, some other comorbidity that they had often due to, you know, no fault their own, just where they happen to live and whether or not we can attribute that to heat or not.
Speaker 1: (26:49)
Renee, what does this study call for? Does a call for increased efforts to stop global warming or stronger energy grids to handle increased demand.
Speaker 10: (26:59)
It's both. And so what we really want is part of our goal in looking at sort of the household, uh, level air conditioning use, but also trying to look at across the us to compare different states is to, to try to demonstrate that these changes, these impacts of climate change will impact local people like they'll impact yourself and your family and your neighbors. And so we're our hope is that if we can show some tangible, like impacts to how it might affect you, rather than something abstract that's off in the far future, that we might generate some more like grassroots effort and, and try to get some policy pass to not only, uh, mitigate climate change and reduce our emissions, but also strengthen our grid because we can't just rely on one or the other. We need to be adapting, but also working towards mitigation at the same time.
Speaker 1: (27:55)
I've been speaking with Renee O bringer and environmental engineer at Penn state university. Renee, thank you so much. Thank you.
Speaker 4: (28:12)
You're listening to KPBS midday edition. I'm Jade Henman with Maureen Kavanaugh. The old globe theater just opened a production of Alice Childress play trouble in mind, set in New York in 1957, play revolves around a leading black actress and a diverse cast who in the story are rehearsing a new play written by a white playwright. It's a play within a play I'm joined by the director of the old Globes production of trouble in mind, the Alicia Turner Sonenberg who is also one of the Globes current resident artist, the Alicia. Welcome. Thank you. And also joining us as actor storyteller and playwright, BB mama. One of the actors in the production BB. Welcome. Hello, thank you. So this work is a play within a play. Our characters are taking part in a play written by a white playwright put on by a white director, but it features a multiracial cast. And it's an anti-lynching story Delicia. What are some of the conflicts that this play brings forward?
Speaker 11: (29:15)
This play examines, uh, uses the play within a play format to examine stereotypes and race and the limits of standing between a white producing team and, and black performers as they begin rehearsal. Um, and who gets to this, this idea? And this is important to me as a director or as an artist in general of who's the final word on somebody else's story, right. I mean, they're telling, um, uh, an anti lynching story with a white playwright and when a black actor ask questions about that story or the truths in that story, her questions get dismissed. Yeah.
Speaker 4: (30:08)
And Alice Childres wrote this script nearly 67 years ago. Delicia, what can you tell us about the history of this play? I mean, do we have a sense today about how it was received by theaters and audiences?
Speaker 11: (30:22)
Well, in 55 it appeared off Broadway and then it was gonna be on Broadway. And Al's, Childres went through two years of rewrites because the producers loved the play, the Broadway producers, but they wanted her to change the ending. Um, and so she changed the ending, but then she, he changed it back. And so ultimately it didn't make it to Broadway.
Speaker 4: (30:46)
Hmm. So let's get to know some of these characters. Uh, we have Oleta mayor the main character and the lead in the play within a play, uh, performed by Ramona Keller and then Millie Davis. Who's a younger actress in the production performed by BB my, uh, baby. Tell us, uh, a little bit about your character and what's on the line for her in this story.
Speaker 12: (31:09)
Oh, that's a great question. Millie is bright and fun and charismatic and, um, I think is really excited to be performing on Broadway and form, um, this show with these people and is also aware of the stereotypes that are present, not only in this play, but in, in the work that she's done in the past and sort of just takes it on the chin, you know, is happy to be working, happy to be in the room ever when Willa starts to, uh, bring voice to some of, um, the problems that, uh, arise when they start working with a script. I think Millie, um, her eyes are, are open and she really starts to, you know, support and, and understand that, uh, you know, what, what is on the line, however, that con that conflicts with her desire to like do the job and be employed and pay the bills. So it's a really interesting conflict.
Speaker 4: (32:16)
Hmm. Do you recognize any parts of your own acting journey in Millie's story?
Speaker 12: (32:22)
Ooh, uh, uh, I think so. I think so. Um, I've definitely, uh, Millis really cool. Cuz she, she speaks her mind. Um, and there, there have been been times where I found myself questioning, uh, the work I was doing or like the way we were doing the work and having to, you know, find the balance between how much do you say? Um, but also like how much do you, uh, hold your tongue in order to preserve relation or, or the work that you're doing? So, yeah, definitely
Speaker 4: (33:02)
Indeed. Uh, Delicia, you have been directing and working in theater in San Diego for a long time. Um, what's something you look for in a script. I mean, is there a moment when you're reading a play and, and you know, you just have to work on it
Speaker 11: (33:18)
When I'm reading script? Uh, my, I always trust my first instinct and I, I, I'm a director who's moved by words, so I love poetry. So I'm when I in a play, I love, um, the way that playwright uses language to reveal ideas or, um, D for truths. Um, I also love bold characters and, um, and I look for work that is smart and, um, surprising. I love to be surprised in the theater, in my personal life, not so much, but in, in my work I love surprises. And as an audience member viewing theater, I love it when a, when a PLA when I think a story is going one way and it, and something happens.
Speaker 4: (34:13)
Yeah. The plot twist there is always, um, interesting
Speaker 11: (34:17)
And not just plot twist, but real true, a character that I think I have a beat on that does something that is completely surprising, that explodes and, um, into some truths. And that is what I love about trouble in mind. Like we are watching a comedy until we're not. Hmm.
Speaker 4: (34:39)
And BB, you know, the theater saw a tremendous reckoning over the last few years about race and diversity. Um, but did real change happen? I mean 67 years, uh, later, um, is this still something that clouds the American theater?
Speaker 12: (34:56)
I, I think so. Absolutely. When I read trouble in mind, it was painfully clear. We need to hear this story now. Um, and I think it says a lot that almost 67 years later, the conflicts in this, this play are conflicts that we are still dealing with today showing us that they haven't been resolved, which means that we have to keep talking about them. And I think that this, this plays an incredible conversation starter starter. I think it's really bravely written, um, and really open up the eyes and, and give some perspective to the people who get the opportunity to see it.
Speaker 11: (35:37)
And I'm gonna agree with be everything that BB said. Um, it, it's interesting because one of the people in the room, um, in our rehearsal room asked me if this play had been updated and it made me thrilled that the audience was gonna see a play that is still relevant, but also sad that the questions that this play asked 67 years ago are still questions that we're asking today.
Speaker 4: (36:08)
The old Globes production of trouble in mind runs through March 13th. I've been speaking with the plays director, Delicia, Turner Sonenberg and actor, BB mama. Thank you both.
Speaker 11: (36:19)
Thank you. Thank you.
Speaker 1: (36:26)
The San Diego international Jewish film festival returns this Wednesday with both in person and virtual screenings. One of the opening films is the documentary who will remain, looks at the Yiddish poetry of AROM TZ. The film uses his granddaughter as a gateway to a very intimate portrait, K PBS arts reporter. Beth Amando speaks with the films co-directors Emily Felder and Krista P Whitney
Speaker 13: (36:55)
Krista, to start off tell us a little bit about the Yiddish Bo center and what role it played in having this film made. Yeah,
Speaker 14: (37:03)
Well, that's, that's a great question. So the Yiddish book center, first of all, is a nonprofit committed to preserving and promoting Yiddish and modern Jewish culture. And, uh, the film really comes at out of the Yiddish book center quite directly, Emily and I were both working at the Yiddish book center when we started working on this film and I still work there. And so the Yiddish book center is the producer of, of the film, specifically the Yiddish book, center's Wexler oral history project, which is a growing coal of in depth video, oral histories about Yiddish language and culture. Now we
Speaker 13: (37:46)
Live in a culture right now where people seem to be concerned only with the things immediately around them and everything that's very present and recent. So talk a little bit about the challenges of holding on to some of these elements of Yiddish culture, uh, in this kind of an environment.
Speaker 14: (38:07)
My daily life is, uh, is really looking both at, at the past and how it directly influences the present in terms of Yiddish language and culture, but Yiddish culture. It's something that there weren't a lot of documents online. You know, nowadays people think everything is on Google. Everything is online and, uh, things that are not Googleable are considered not to exist by some people, but of course that's not true. So the Yiddish book center's work is in part becoming a digital address for Yiddish culture. You can find on the Yiddish book, center's website, all kinds of historical archives. The Yiddish book center has digit digitized over 11,000 Yiddish books. So I think the work of me and my colleagues and really filmmakers and, and culture workers in this space is to create an awareness of the importance and, uh, to build interest in this culture that is really a whole world, Emily,
Speaker 13: (39:22)
Who will remain focuses in particular on one Yiddish poet and his granddaughter. And it's not only about him, but this kind of family relationship as well. How did you get involved in this and kind of what was important to you in structuring it
Speaker 15: (39:40)
Just a little bit about my background. I studied anthropology at the university of Massachusetts, and I knew that I wanted to be a documentary filmmaker, but I really wanted a foundation in social sciences and humanities. So I was incredibly drawn to historical archeology and visual ethnography, which basically means how we access the past and how we reconstruct historical narratives with objects and landscapes in the present. So this film was really a perfect intersection. I really fell in love with the project, with the Yiddish language, I'm a Jewish woman. So it really reacquainted me with an entire world that I didn't really know anything about. So what began as just a temporary role quickly transformed into this really significant position, both professionally and personally, regarding your question about how to approach editing and this particular story who will remain. It was really emotional to sift through some of the more harrowing Holocaust materials and to have to make a choice as to which image is both appropriate and evocative without being exploitative.
Speaker 15: (40:53)
So even though this film is about ser didn't wanna paint him as like a brilliant hero or a main character whose survival was more dramatically worthy to examine as if he risked more or faced greater hurdles than the other 6 million Jews who perished I wanted to center him. And I think Christo would agree. We wanted to center him as an R as well as a ghetto partisan, who is lucky enough to escape. So yes, this is truly a dramatic story and his poetry is defiant, but he arguably, always found refuge in his poetry. And that's kind of the point of this film is, you know, in the ghetto it became his ultimate artistic sanctuary. And so this was just a continuation of his innate creative expression. And so in the editing room, painting that kind of portrait of a person within the context of the co the Holocaust, uh, was enough. And then we had to incorporate how Hadas tries to access her grandfather, how, you know, his story and how anyone could make sense of the Holocaust. So it was emotionally challenging, technically challenging, narratively challenging, but I think our film really developed into this compelling call and response actually between TSER and Hadas. It wasn't just about him. And how would you
Speaker 14: (42:20)
Describe his poetry for someone who's not familiar with it he's described by, by Hadas, in the film as a nature poet and by other literary scholars. I mean, there is a very, um, a sense of grounding in the natural world. He was born in smore, but grew up in Omsk in Siberia. And so in his own, even in his own narrative of his artistic life, he talks about how those early images of the snow drifts and this just landscape, uh, was a foundational inspiration for him. And I think you can see that through his whole body of work, the way that he, he uses metaphor and animates objects, uh, plants and, uh, rocks, even in the landscape. I'm not a literary scholar though. I did study literature in my undergraduate degree. So I think there's certainly some modernism in there. But one thing that I think was interesting to learn for me, uh, with the background in literary studies is that he himself talks about how he though he was very well read Polish literature and Lithuanian literature, and he didn't really have a concept of Jewish literature when he began writing. And I think that's interesting because, because he, he just sort of started, he, you know, he was inspired to begin writing and in a way, I think that makes it hard to pin his, him to a particular poetic or literary movement. Yeah. As, as I think every, every poet's poetry is really their own, but I, I think for him, you, you have those, uh, particular influences. I wanna thank you both very much for talking about who will remain. Thanks.
Speaker 15: (44:13)
Speaker 1: (44:13)
You. That was Beth. Amato's speaking with filmmakers, Emily Felder and Krista P Whitney, who will remain will have an in person this Thursday followed by online screenings at the San Diego international Jewish film festival.