San Diegans head to polls in primary election
S1: Everything you need to know to cast your ballot. Today.
S2: You can visit one of 200 plus vote centers any time before 8 p.m. today.
S1: I'm Jade Hindman with Harrison Bertino in for Maureen CAVANAUGH. This is KPBS Midday Edition. The City of San Diego is taking a more aggressive approach to move people off the streets and into shelters.
S3: We've tried to remove every excuse that there is for accessing these services. I recognize for some folks , they don't want to do it. The question is for San Diegans , do we want to have our sidewalks serve as housing ? The answer is no.
S1: A series of workshops to tell you about your First Amendment rights and a check in on the Fringe Festival. That's ahead on Midday Edition.
S4: After all the campaign ads , signs and mailers , California's primary election is finally here. KPBS will be covering the results in the coming hours. But we wanted to take a few minutes to talk more about this election. While ballots are still being cast. Joining me is San Diego County's registrar of voters , Cynthia Pesce. Cynthia , welcome back to Media Edition.
S2: Thank you.
S4: So polls are open today , but voting has been happening for weeks already. What do we know about the voting in this primary so far ? Absolutely.
S2: So over 1.9 million ballots were mailed out to the counties , registered voters nearly a month ago. So many people have already acted on those ballots. We've received back in the office close to 400,000 mail ballots. That will be part of that first election night count tonight , shortly after 8 p.m.. We've also had vote centers open since Saturday , May 28th. So a full ten days of early voting has been going on across the county as well as in office voting here at the registrar's office.
S2: Even if you have that mail ballot still in hand , go ahead and mark your selections in the comfort of your home. SEAL that ballot inside your return envelope and sign your name on that envelope. You can return it to any one of 132 mail ballot drop box locations across the county or at any vote center. We have over 200 vote centers open across the county. They will be open until 8 p.m. tonight. You can also vote in person at any vote center across the county.
S4: Every registered voter receives a mail in ballot. Say if I haven't yet dropped it off or put it in the mail.
S2: You can find the location closest to you and see Voter.com. We have mapping tools where you can plug in your address and it'll show you the closest locations to you.
S2: You no longer have to go to an assigned polling place. You can visit 1 to 200 plus vote centers any time before 8 p.m. today.
S4: So the last day to register to vote was May 23rd , but voters can still register even today. Isn't that.
S2: Right ? Yes , they can visit any those center. They will conditionally register and vote provisionally , meaning that their ballot will go inside an envelope. Once we complete the registration and confirm that you haven't voted elsewhere in the state , we will remove that ballot from the envelope and it will be counted.
S4: The last time we spoke , you talked about the transition San Diego has gone through to make voting easier and allowing voters more options. Do you feel that you've accomplished what you wanted to in time for this election ? Yes.
S2: So the Voters Choice Act is just bringing more convenience and accessibility to voters. It's simply providing more options. Every active , registered voter receives a ballot in the mail , and there's multiple days of early voting , as well as Election Day , with the 200 plus vote centers open for multiple days. It just makes it more convenient to get out and vote , whether it's on a weekend or during the week.
S4: We saw a sizable jump in voter turnout in the 2020 election. Midterms generally see less voter engagement , primaries especially.
S2: We saw just under a 40% turnout. We may be seeing a little less than that right now. We anticipate anywhere from a 30 to a 40% turnout in this primary rolling off of the recall election just this last year. We saw a 60% turnout. So there has been a dip. But historically , we do see that wear in gubernatorial primaries. It is a lower turnout election.
S2: I would have thought a higher turnout. We saw 60% in the recall. So I thought that interest would still be out there. Since this is the governor's race. But it did seem to wane a little bit , just folks recognizing that in this election you're actually selecting the top two vote getters that will run off in November for these seats. So we're just trying to get the word out there. It's not too late. The polls are open until 8 p.m.. Get out there and cast your ballot.
S2: So it's been this way for years that come election night , the election is not over. So you'll see the results , the initial election night results that will post shortly after 8 p.m. , that will include all of the mail ballots that we've received prior to Election Day , as well as the ten days of early voting that occurred at the vote center. That will be a part of that initial election night count. Then the vote centers will be closing up around 8 p.m.. Packing up. If any of them have any lines at 8 p.m. , then they will need to remain open until every voter in line has has had a chance to cast their ballot. Once the vote centers wrap up and return their voting materials to the collection centers. Those will need to make their way to our office for our central count. So our next second set of election night results will probably occur between 930 and 10 p.m. , and then the vote centers will continue to roll in. We hope to wrap up our final unofficial election night results by midnight or 1 a.m. , just depending on on how heavy the turnout is at closing. And then our next set of results will occur on Thursday by 5 p.m.. So any close contests may not be decided election night. Regardless , we will have the final official certified results by July seven.
S4: All right. I've been speaking with San Diego County's registrar of voters , Cynthia Paz. Cynthia. Thank you so much for joining us.
S2: Thank you.
S4: San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria is ramping up efforts to move the city's homeless residents off the streets as reports of encampments are increasing. Mayor Gloria says the city is offering help to those in need as an alternative.
S3: We've tried to remove every excuse that there is for accessing these services. I recognize for some folks , they don't want to do it. The question is for San Diegans , do we want to have our sidewalks serve as housing ? The answer is no.
S4: Last week , city workers showed up in downtown's East Village neighborhood unexpectedly to give out citations and warnings indicating a more aggressive approach than the city has taken in the past. Joining me to talk about the city's shift in enforcement is San Diego Union-Tribune reporter Gary Worth. Gary , welcome.
S2: Glad to be here.
S4: So crew members from the city's Environmental Services Department usually clears sidewalks on Tuesdays and Thursdays , but last week they showed up instead on a Wednesday.
S2: The sidewalks on both sides of the street are just corner to corner on an entire block filled with encampments , filled with makeshift structures. You can't walk in the sidewalks. And businesses there are concerned people have raised this issue to the mayor , to the city at the Get It Done app. They're saying this isn't acceptable anymore. And in the city view , they've been trying to do everything they can to offer different services and shelters for people there. You know , Father Joe's an Alpha. They're out there all the time doing their own outreach. But there's just hundreds of encampments in the area. And there's also a concern that it's just not safe for the people who are living out there. And they're just going to take a more aggressive approach now called progressive enforcement , just trying to encourage people to find another place to be going to shelters and take offers of services.
S2: It has been pretty high over the last few months. There was a slight dip this past month , according to a monthly count that's taken by a downtown San Diego partnership. In May , they found that there were 1324 people outside in one night , which was a dip of about 150. But in East Village alone , there were 624 people , which was a slight dip from before. And when you break that down , there's almost 500 people in the area that's in Southeast Village. And that includes the area where they're doing the enforcement. And keep in mind , they've got shelter beds that are at 90% full. And every night there's 1200 people that are in the shelters. But you actually have 1300 people who are still out on a street in downtown San Diego on one night.
S4: You spoke with homeless residents in the wake of this sweep.
S2: They are often dealing with police. They have gotten used to the idea that there are , you know , routine cleanups that they do. But on Wednesday , it took them by surprise. I just happened to be down there working on another story. And I noticed all these officers there , and I noticed the city environmental service crews cleaning up the sidewalks. And there was a sign , some signs on post that said that there would be a cleanup that day. And it was a three hour notice. And in some cases , that handwritten sign was on the same post as a metal sign. That said , there are cleanups scheduled Tuesdays and Thursdays and that , and that's what people have gotten used to. So yeah , they were taken by surprise. And in some cases I've heard from some homeless advocates that they didn't know that this was happening. And when we returned to their site where they had left , there was nothing left of them out on the sidewalk that it had been considered abandoned and taken away.
S2: And that was like identity theft or assault with a deadly weapon , possession of a weapon or narcotics. So I saw people getting arrested , just standing on the sidewalk. But yeah , it is kind of a common sight. But the majority were from people who did have these outstanding warrants. But there were three people who got arrested for encroachment. And that's after they had been warned , after they had received a citation , an infraction citation , and then a misdemeanor citation. So that's called progressive enforcement.
S2: Just last week , they opened up some beds at a facility at an old motel that they had in South Bay. And that's going to be used for seniors. And it's a non congregant shelter , meaning they'll have their own room and by seniors I mean people who are 55 and older , but that population sometimes they do not want to go into a shelter. Now there is going to be a women's shelter that's going to open soon exclusively for women. But I think the biggest change that they're looking at is by having safe campgrounds. Now , there are people , as you probably are aware , that are on sidewalks , in tents , and they say do not want to go in and shelter. But when you ask them , well , what if you move your tent someplace where it'd be safer and you wouldn't get hassled by police and there might be a restroom there and some hand-washing station , and they're like , Yeah , I would do that. So it's being discussed now , you know , there's money and in the budget for it. Also , the county set aside $10 million for any city interested in creating their own shelter to help them get it off the ground. But that includes any type of shelter , including a safe parking lots and safe campgrounds. So it's something that they're looking at. And I think that could have a bigger impact than just the shelters , because there are so many people are are reluctant to go into shelters , but they might be more receptive to this.
S2: Things like this have been successful for reducing the number of people who are living on sidewalks. But yeah , the end goal is to get people in this shelter and get people off the street. But that's a question that was raised at the press briefing yesterday. Basically , there's a sense of what's the point ? You know , these these people don't have any money or you're telling them making them have fees that they can't pay or kind of put them in jail. And that jail state is very brief. They're going to be out on the street again and maybe in a worse off situation. But the city's point of view is you have to at least try because people want action. And this just isn't good for anybody. The situation is dangerous for the people on the street. It's disruptive to businesses in the area , and it's simply preventing pedestrians from using sidewalks. So as Mayor Gloria said , you have to at least try and it's not going to accept that. We just have to give up our sidewalks , though. And you said this isn't going to be acceptable on my watch and it's still saying it's trying to be compassionate , trying to offer services to try and offer shelter to people. But I guess you might call it a carrot and stick approach , though at the same time , you have to have some kind of incentive to get people off of where they are.
S4: All right. I've been speaking with San Diego Union-Tribune reporter Gary Worth. Gary , thank you so much for joining us.
S2: Hey , any time. Thanks.
S4: You're listening to KPBS Midday Edition. I'm Alison Patino , in for Maureen CAVANAUGH with Jed Heineman. Ukrainians are still fleeing their homes as Russia continues to wage war. Some refugees have made it to San Diego. KPBS health reporter Matt Hoffman tells us about San Diegans who are stepping up to help one Ukrainian family.
S1: All right.
S5: This dental procedure is months in the making , delayed by war in Ukraine.
S6: Well , not so sure.
S1: We are in a very serious and heartbreaking situation. We have nothing other than our travel suitcases. And we are completely dependent on the volunteers helping us.
S7: And you put in your mind what to do there.
S5: Olena Vara Bova is from Ukraine's.
S4: Capital city , Kiev. She was on vacation.
S5: In Mexico with her husband and teenage son when Russia invaded. The family sought haven in the U.S. by crossing the border in San Ysidro. But there's still no escaping the horrors of war.
S6: The superamerica me.
S1: Know people don't understand what we're going through. Several times a day I'm getting text messages from friends and family. With the deaths of loved ones.
S5: Once in San Diego , VR Bova and her family.
S3: Moved into a.
S5: Host home with La Jolla resident Jane.
S2: Wear meister. I had seen.
S7: Everything that was going on and down at the border.
S2: How people were able to come across under humanitarian parole. However , I realized , well , where do they go once they cross the border where.
S5: My sister has been helping the family adjust to life ? Here with a little Google Translate , she learned that Olena was in the middle of a dental procedure before Russia invaded , unable to return to Ukraine and finished the work. She reached out to the San Diego County Dental Society. They found dentist Elena Gabel with inspired smiles.
S1: Maybe I can't stop the war , but I can make it better for the people who are here. So that was like an immediate yes. I responded right away to email. I called them several times and make sure that you put me on. Make sure you send them your cable.
S5: Is Russian. Me.
S1: Having this unique skill , you know , of speaking Russian , being there for them being able to communicate. And also large part of what we do is to give back. So any opportunity I have to give back , especially considering , again , people are here because of the war. Like not by choice. Right.
S5: Some of Gable's family is still in Russia. Doing dental work on Vera Bova is not without risk.
S1: I'm taking step of courage. I am almost certain it's going to negatively impact perhaps my family. But I'm just encouraged because again , the principle of what's right is more important for all.
S5: Bova is having four crowns replaced , typically at a cost of around $18,000. But Gable is not charging her. And this isn't the first time she stepped in to help. Gable's nonprofit Inspire Changes provides pro-bono dental restorations for trafficking victims. She measures success on how much she can give and encourages others to do the same.
S2: Like , be. Generous.
S1: Generous. Like not just even giving , but , like , step beyond that and be , like , extra generous with time. Anything that you can contribute to making another life better , I feel , is the best way to be in the world. And that's how we can make the world a better place and be the change for all.
S5: Bova is thankful for the help , but the disruption of war lingers in different ways , she says. And Ukraine , her teenage son is an international karate competitor.
S7: And when we got this mom , my youngest Yemeni.
S1: Who was as a mom , I feel completely helpless as I cannot do anything for my child. He is extremely depressed and barely communicates. He locks himself in a room that's headphones on and does not even speak to me. He is so young he can't just sit in a room all by himself without anything to do.
S5: Vera Bova wants to be independent and she's seeking work permits.
S6: Though it all goes wrong.
S1: We want people to understand that we have no say in this situation. We are prisoners of our circumstances. We just want to go home.
S8: They said to us.
S5: Matt Hoffman , KPBS News.
S1: California's Public Records Act says access to information about the work of public agencies conducted on behalf of the public is a fundamental right. Anything from police body camera footage to salary information and e-mails can be requested under the law. But that information is not always willingly given , and those who ask for it can be met with legal barriers. A series of webinars beginning Wednesday night promises to teach members of the public how to access those records. They are called Know Your Rights Workshop. And leading them are David Loy , legal director of the First Amendment Coalition , and Tasha Williamson , president of Exhaling Injustice. Welcome to you both. Thank you very. Much.
S2: Much. Thank you. It's great to be here.
S1: So , David , I'll start with you. This is the first time the First Amendment coalition has held these know your rights workshops for the public.
S2: But we see now , above all other times how transparency , access and accountability are crucial to supporting advocacy and social change. Certainly they're not sufficient to promote change , but they're absolutely necessary for advocates and activists of all stripes to empower and educate and to hold government accountable and pursue the change that they seek.
S2: And then also public records request when incidents occur , whether it be from police or city council or city attorney's or district attorney's office that people have the right to know.
S1: And , David.
S2: It is the first duty of democratic government to be accountable to the people. And knowledge is power without the knowledge contained in public records , without the ability to protest and abdicate , protected by the First Amendment , and without the access to open meetings guaranteed by the Brown Act , the public is significantly challenged in its ability to protest and advocate and to demand social and political change.
S1: In the first workshop this week is an introduction to California's Public Records Act and how to use it. Can you give us some examples of the type of information members of the public can bring to light with the use of the Public Records Act ? David.
S2: Most recently , for example , here in San Diego , the First Amendment coalition supported torture and exhaling the justice in forcing the city of San Diego Police Department to disclose video and audio recordings of the shooting of Rosa Calvo two years ago. Tasha had requested those documents , those records over two years ago , and the police department had stonewalled until we forced their hand. And , you know , the public can decide for itself whether it believes that shooting was justified. The police department had determined it was within policy. The district attorney declined to press criminal charges. But the point of transparency laws is that the public is entitled to the full story , not just the one side of the story that the police want to put out in their press release or the side of the story that the district attorney wants to tell in its a letter declining to charge the public has a right to see those records , those videos for itself , particularly on an issue so compelling as police use of deadly force against a mentally ill woman.
S1: And you all have certainly shed light on this. But Tasha , how difficult was it for you to get those records in the end ? I mean , they were just released last month , about two years after the shooting.
S2: Yeah , it was difficult. You know , they kept first of all , they did not respond in the manner that they were supposed to with the public pressure records request. They had ten days. They went over that repeatedly. And then , you know , they withheld it. The first withholding , they said it was in the best interest of the public. And then they went into , you know , personnel information could be withheld for police officers. And then they kept going. SB 16 Senate Bill 16 was passed and basically says that you can release their sodas. SB 1421 You know , we had AB 392 and all these other subsequent bills. I'm finding it extremely difficult for police to be transparent in release footage when they are in bad light , when it does not make them look good. And so this was one of those incidents and we just kept pushing. I was so thankful that fact First Amendment coalition was able to step step up like no other organization has to really fight for us to get and win the right for transparency in these records to be completely released.
S1: But some records may be given willingly.
S2: And the premise of the California Public Records Act and of all freedom of information laws is that when doing the public business , the public has a right to know what the agency is doing.
S1: The workshop on Wednesday is the first of three. The next workshop is on June 15th and focuses on understanding your First Amendment right to protest.
S2: We have a number of activists who are going back to court who were arrested from a protest. And so I think that it is extremely important that activists know the do's and don'ts of protesting and what they may be up against , what they have a right to do and should continue to do. So that is why we are doing this , because it's very important that people are informed so that they can better understand the laws and know how to , you know , uphold their rights.
S1: And the third workshop on June 22nd is about raising awareness about injustices through public comments and government meetings.
S2: And so , you know , for people who are really laymen to. The city government and the understanding of city government. I think this meeting is really one of the first meetings to really talk about how that works and what that looks like and how people can be empowered to begin to start going to meetings or continue to go to meetings and leverage their rights in a different way , in more effective way.
S1: I've been speaking with David LOI , legal director of the First Amendment Coalition , and Tasha Williamson , president of Exhaling Injustice. Thank you to you both.
S2: Thank you. Thank you very much.
S1: The first know your rights webinar is on June 8th at 6 p.m.. It's free and open to the public. For more information and a link to register , go to KPBS dot org. California's fast food workers are walking off the job Thursday to demand better working conditions. The Service Employees International Union and its fight for 15 and a union campaign are organizing the strike. They're hoping to raise awareness about Assembly Bill 257 , which is up for a vote in the state Senate this summer. Advocates say the legislation would create protections for California's 550,000 fast food workers , including those right here in San Diego. Joining me is Crystal Orozco , a fast food worker with Fight for 15 , participating in the walkout on June 9th. Crystal , welcome.
S8: Thank you.
S8: It'll will give most of us the extra help we need because there's a lot of people on jobs who are not able to talk out of fear of retaliation for June 9th. We're going to go out and myself , I'm going to go to the headquarters of Jack in the Box and we're going to go protest over there and let them know that we are serious about AB 257 and we will not be silenced. We are serious about this bill and. Because we really need it in this industry.
S8: When it comes to actually voicing our complaints or opinions. And , you know , worrying about our safety is another issue that was brought to light during the pandemic. You know , and then nobody's holding these companies accountable for their their actions that they're taking and the little regard they have for their the employees who are the ones who are helping them make their money.
S8: So I worked always worked graveyard ever since I did do fast food. And when I worked , they never gave me like ten minute breaks and my 30 minute breaks , there's only two of us on the job. So we didn't get that opportunity. You know , there's a lot of people who are like that and they just do. They don't tell you these things. They just throw you in blindly and , you know , take advantage of where they see that they can they could do it. And also , safety was a big issue during pandemic , and especially right now. There's a lot more people , more aggressive. But then they take on whoever they can. The people that when they get off work is the first people they see sometimes is us , the fast food people , and is who they're taking it out on. You know , some of my sister stories I heard stories about them getting shot and getting harassed and this big safety thing. And , you know , nobody's doing their thing. And they say they have all these numbers and things available to us , but there's no they don't tell us. When we first start working there , they don't let other people know people , people who don't understand the rights , they'll tell them.
S8: They say they can't afford it or , you know , it's too much , be it. They're they're constantly raising prices and everything stays the same in the store. It's just going straight to them. They make all this money. I've seen sales before just in one day. And it's , you know , kind of up there. And I know they have stuff to pay , but , you know , they can't even get a fix for most of the stores. And they doing these little tiny fixes when they tell us that it needs to be replaced completely , you know , just like having to pay us livable wages. You know , there's a lot of people struggling , working two or three jobs. It's just excuses for , you know , not paying us that they can't afford it , but they can.
S1: Our fast food workers , the only people participating in Thursday's walkout.
S8: No , I think most of the people who are with the the unions , a lot of people that I know are from different places. They are supporting us in their ways. And yes , those people who are working now are the fast food.
S8: We're always short staffed. The still , you know , will they'll see most of us you know protesting and showing them that , you know , that we're there and they need us as much as we need them.
S8: Just because we're fast food doesn't mean we don't deserve safe working conditions and livable wage.
S1: I've been speaking with Kristen Orozco , a fast food employee with the Fight for 15 campaign , who will be participating in the fast food walkout on Thursday. Crystal , thank you very much for joining us.
S8: Thank you.
S4: You're listening to KPBS Midday Edition. I'm Alison Patino , in for Maureen CAVANAUGH with Jane Heinemann. San Diego International Fringe Festival is at the midway point. One show that will debut on Friday is a chamber opera called Aftermath at the Bring Your Own Venue of the template in Ocean Beach. KPBS arts reporter Beth ACCOMANDO speaks with composer Nicholas Rebels about creating an opera during the pandemic that deals with lockdown and a non-binary character.
S6: Nick , you are participating in Fringe this year with an opera called Aftermath. So explain to people what this is going to be about.
S5: It's a vignette about two characters who confront each other across a sliding glass door on the patio of a contemporary , upscale home in Mission Beach. During the second or third year of a pandemic lockdown and the aftermath of a tactical nuclear attack on a military base in the area. I really wanted these characters to be locked down and to be completely isolated and have to make decisions within that social context. And that's what most interested me about going into this story and dealing with these two characters. I just I wanted to see how they would react if what we were experiencing during the lockdown ourselves was multiplied by about 100. Right. So that's what it's about. It's this simmering conversation between these two characters. Ruth , who is well off , is a very successful self-help book writer , a yogi living in grandeur and away on this beachfront property who probably has two years worth of food and goods and water in her garage. And this street kid who is trying to eke out some kind of subsistence with their gang breaking into grocery stores and liquor stores and restaurants , trying to find what they can , canned goods to eat , to stay alive. And these characters coming from two completely different social strata.
S6: So I would like to ask you if you want to play something that demonstrates maybe how you use music to sort of build the darker themes maybe of this piece and kind of build some of the tension that's going on.
S5: Very opening , I think , presents a kind of mysterious questioning presence. It opens with Ruth staring out this plate glass window and then closing her eyes and remembering better times on the beach when she would see couples walking up and down the boardwalk and kids playing soccer in the sand. So I wanted a feeling of memory , but also a feeling that something may be happening here. There's no route. You know , it floats. It has a kind of an ambiguous feeling to it. And I love entering the story there. And then she begins to reminisce. In the sun , it's the sounds that I love the most. The shuffling of sneakers and sandals , the rhythm of the joggers. You know , she's just going back and remembering what it was like pre-pandemic and certainly before this nuclear event. And I think it captures that. And this is what I love about writing theater music , not just opera , but theater. Music in general is trying to really capture the drama , the mood , the emotions of the characters and what's what may even be underneath all of that. Something a little bit more obvious because Evan travels up and down the boardwalk with this gang of skateboarders that Ruth calls skateboard surfers. I wanted to come up with music that would try to describe the sound of the wheels of the skateboards going down the boardwalk. I said , I can't avoid that , and I didn't want to just use a sound cue , although we'll probably use both. But that rolling figure , this is what came to me. Which I thought was kind of a fun rhythmic thing to imitate that almost uneven character of the wheels of the skateboard running on concrete , on that wonderful boardwalk. So things like that I get excited about. I love the detail of it. I love trying to figure out how am I going to get this across without being maybe too obvious. I just I really , really love that kind of work.
S6: And we're going to have you play a little bit of one of the songs. So set this up. Yes.
S5: Yes. This is Evan's first aria where they explain who they are , where they're from , and what they're about. Evan is a non-binary character who has been running with this skateboard gang. And so in this aria , they explain to Ruth who they really are that they're not completely accepted and in fact , have experienced some rejection from the rest of the members of the gang. I'm really excited that the singer. Singing. The role of Evan is Lucia Leon , who is a transwoman singing , tenor and opera. Audiences would most often think that a tenor is always a male. Not so. Opera. Audiences , however , are very familiar with the gender bending and sex exchange of roles that has happened since opera began. Male singers singing female roles and vice versa. And it's actually more common that mezzo soprano will sing a trouser role or a pants role. The role of a young man or a boy we see is tenor voices so beautiful and so perfect also for this non-binary character.
S7: All in all , it's one of fun. Oh , you're on the beach. Skating. Swerving. I like to think of lime. Oh , but , sir , where ? You're at school holding me.
UU: You ? Moving me.
S7: I went over to my college pre-med grad school. But those dreams were passed with a white horse. Oh , I hardly go according to what's my only option on I it's to stay in the. Yeah. What's yours. Hospitals and doctors offices , nursing homes. Bought everything , stopped and not paid. Second year. My father. You know. You know. After that , the world collapsed and the bombs dropped. Kai cut everything to keep up with everything. Everything. Oh. Everything. Everything good ? It just won't work. It just won't work. I am always the last one on the outside. Always the last one. Always the last one. The outside. On the outside. I'm not one of them. Number four , Ben Knight. Our real beef with on fire. Oh.
S5: So I absolutely believe in the genre. I think , you know , when you sing things , the story , the drama is more heightened , it becomes more important , it becomes bigger. And I like that. The bigness of that. Even in chamber opera as this is , and even in a chamber space , as the space where we'll be performing at the template in Ocean Beach is small. But I like that the emotions have the space to explode and and get bigger. Also , I originally intended it to be a piece that expressed my own experience of the pandemic. I began it towards the end of the first year of the pandemic in late 2021. I started it as a horror story because , as you know , I love the horror genre and that's kind of where I was going. But then the characters took over and became so much more interesting to me than the background or anything. Horror filled or horrible happened to them. Their conversation took over and I decided , No , that's more interesting. I'm going to go with that and let's see what happens with these two characters as they confront each other from their lenses from there to particular worlds. And I just felt felt better about that and feel even better now that it's finished and it's actually beginning to be produced. And I'm hearing it outside of my head. It makes a lot of sense. I'm glad I made that decision.
S6: And you were part of Fringe , but you were part of the what they call BYOB , which is bring your own venue and you're working with bowtie trick concert. So. Talk a little bit about this collaboration.
S5: Booty Tree Concerts is based on La Hoya of Walter de Mille and Diana Vassal Jamil run and founded Bodie Tree. I have worked with them on and off as a pianist in a number of our concerts that they've presented , and they have themselves presented a fringe opera prior to this and had so much success with it. I approached them when I finished this piece , I said , Would you would you like to produce a new opera and have them come over and listen to it and played it for them ? And they were on board right away , which was terrific. But yeah , they're producing it and we're using Fringe as a sort of umbrella for audience. And we decided we wanted to be in control of our own venues so we wouldn't have other groups coming in and we'd have to break down and , you know , build back up after they use the venue. So we're at the template , as I said , which is a coffeehouse in Ocean Beach and is absolutely the perfect venue for this piece because the piece does indeed happen in San Diego on Mission Beach. We couldn't find a venue in Mission Beach , but we found this one in Ocean Beach is close enough and you can still smell the salt air and it still has the the ambiance that we were looking for being being close to the ocean and being really emblematic of San Diego life in the San Diego neighborhood.
S6: Although Aftermath is not technically a horror opera. You are working on a trilogy of horror operas.
S5: I'm very excited about that , to be produced by my home company. But yeah , those are more appropriately horror. This opera began as a horror story , but I backed off once the characters sort of captured me and it became something quite different. So the horrors in the background and the opera became more about the character in the trilogy of horror operas entitled Ghosts that San Diego Opera will produce next year. The horror is up front and center.
S5: And from then on , I was hooked on horror. And I still try to get everything that I possibly can of the genre the stories , novels , movies , especially. I don't know what it is , really , but there's something about about the darkness and about being scared and about telling a story that might frighten people , even just a little bit that I've always enjoyed. Always enjoyed telling campfire stories and writing horror stories. And even with an old mate , eight millimeter camera. Making my own werewolf film when I was 12 , you know , I was just I loved that stuff. And so now that I'm grown up , I've I haven't gone very far away from it , but it's a little bit more sophisticated now , I hope.
S6: Well , I want to thank you very much for talking about Aftermath.
S5: Thank you both.
S4: That was Beth ACCOMANDO speaking with Nicholas Ravel's. His chamber opera aftermath runs Friday through Sunday as part of the San Diego International Fringe Festival. For more coverage of Fringe , go to KPBS Dawgs Cinema Junkie.