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Only Here

Only Here is a KPBS podcast about the place where San Diego and Tijuana meet. Host Alan Lilienthal and producer Kinsee Morlan tell stories that could only come from a border town.

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Holding Tourists' Hands

Today, we hop on a bus with the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego and take a guided tour of art and culture in Tijuana. It’s the kind of tour that shows off the cool side of the city — the kind of tour that’s kept tourism alive in a border city with a reputation for violence. It’s a story about fear, and an industry that’s blossomed from it.

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Gringo Xolos

Tijuana’s professional soccer team, the Xoloitzcuintles, have fans on both sides of the border.

In fact, the Xolos’ official tagline is “el equipo sin fronteras” — the team without borders.

Today, we talk to self-described “Gringo Xolos,” a growing group of fans in San Diego who are obsessed with the soccer team in Tijuana.

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Getting An Education On The Other Side

According to the federal government, about 90,000 people cross legally through the San Ysidro Port of Entry every single day.

Among those daily crossers are the hundreds of students who live in Tijuana, but get their education in San Diego.

The international trek to school is long and annoying. But it can also be traumatic.

Today, a story about students who cross the international border for their education, and a teacher who’s trying to better understand them.

Only here can you find students navigating one of the busiest border crossing in the world just to get to school.

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Political Piñatas

When artist Diana Benavídez makes piñatas, they aren't meant to be broken. They get put on pedestals. They become sculptures meant to provoke conversations.

Giant tampons. An over-sized can of pepper spray. A drone. Benavídez’s aren’t your average piñatas.

Today, a story about an object typically known for its destruction, not creation.

Only Here can you find a San Diego artist packing pinatas with political messages instead of candy.

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Celebrating Death To Keep Culture Alive

When you don’t live in your family’s homeland, it can be a constant battle to stay connected to your past and traditions.

The American way of life has a way of melting everything into one giant pot full of so many ingredients that the flavors are hardly discernible.

But in Sherman Heights, the community isn’t jumping into that big pot. Instead, they’re keeping the Mexican flavor alive.

In this episode, a story about celebrating death as a way of bringing culture back to life.

We stop by the annual Day of the Dead celebration at the Sherman Heights Community Center. The event is billed as the border region’s most traditional and longest running Dia de los Muertos celebration. Then we check in with a pair of artists who built a mobile Day of the Dead altar and came up with a plan to roll the altar through the border crossing and bring flowers they grew in Mexico to a Day of the Dead celebration in Escondido.

Only here can you find a San Diego community working hard at reconnecting with traditions on the other side of the border, and artists in Tijuana bringing that tradition across the border fence.

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Migration Music

Leaving one country for another isn't easy. The transition can be challenging and emotional.

And especially for the kids who cross, legally or not, those emotions can be intense.

In this episode, we dissect a new classical music composition commissioned by the San Diego Symphony that explores what immigration feels like for kids.

We also drop by the place where the border fence runs into the Pacific Ocean. The symphony has organized performances on both sides of the border here. It's a place with long history of serving as a backdrop for music and art focused on the border and immigration.

Only here is the symphony bringing together a composer and a poet to make music about kids crossing borders.

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Undocumented And Gay

For years, Beto Soto had two secrets.

And these weren’t small secrets. These were really big secrets. The kind that define who you are.

Soto is openly gay now, but he didn’t come out of the closet until a few years ago. He's also been living without citizenship papers in the United States since his family brought him here when he was 6. He kept his undocumented status quiet until recently, too.

In this episode, we talk to Soto about being gay and undocumented, and the photographic series he made about the experience.

Only here can you find an undocumented San Diego photographer documenting what it’s like to live nearly your whole life in a country without full citizenship.

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Introducing 'Only Here'

Many things created at the border come from the separation and collision of two cultures. Only Here is a podcast about that stuff — the art, food, traditions and culture that exists because of the border.

For many, the border is just a hazy political concept.

But for the those of us who live here, the border is a very real place with a distinct culture of its own. This podcast introduces listeners to the human stories and struggles happening at the border, and the beauty and creativity that come from it.