Streets of Barcelona (Photos)

First, an admission: today marks nearly a year to the day that I left for a week-long trip to Barcelona and I still haven’t fully edited the photos and videos I took during that trip. OOPS!

I have more free time now due to reasons related to that-one-virus. I hope to finish editing, uploading, and sharing the rest of the photos/videos from that trip beginning with this post of photos I took while walking the various streets of the city. Enjoy!

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More photos can be found in the album here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/afroxander/albums/72157713502940888

‘The System Failed Him:’ For The Last Remaining Sibling Of The Zaragoza Family, Measure R Is A Matter Of Life And Death

Annette Zaragoza-Bilow didn’t have a role in crafting Measure R, but her support for the measure is deeply personal. If it passes, the measure will not only give the Sheriff Civilian Oversight Commission stronger oversight power, but will also restructure the infrastructure in how Los Angeles county incarcerates people and, more importantly, treats people with mental health issues. 

She hopes that the ordinance will help people like her brother, Gerry Dean Zaragoza, before it’s too late.

“My brother tried to get help for many years before the incident,” she recalls in an interview with LA Taco.

Read more at LA Taco: https://www.lataco.com/zaragoza-measure-r/

Sin Fronteras: A Historiography on the Evolution of Perceptions of the San Diego/Tijuana Region as Separate & Unified Territory

Below is a link and an excerpt of a paper I wrote a few months ago for a course in Mexican history. It is a historiography on the development of the San Diego/Tijuana region of southern California + Baja California as separate territories with an emphasis on people’s understanding of the territory as a separate & unified territory.

The paper can be downloaded at my Academia page.

Below is an excerpt:

Early writings and writings of the San Diego/Tijuana (or vice-versa depending on which side of the literal fence one stands from) border region’s early history after the Mexican-American War illustrate the growth of the region as the emergence of two distinct zones that lures the citizens on each side with different promises. This non-symbiotic relationship between the two nations then steadily changes into a symbiotic one as scholars and academics begin to study the region’s evolution from a pair of separate and individual states to a pair of separate and strongly interconnected states. This interconnection occurs on multiple levels but is most typically understood via socio-cultural and economic lenses.

In recent years, new understandings of the border region have come from the experiences of people, Mexicans and Americans, whose daily lives consist of nearly equal time spent on each side of the US/Mexico border. Some of the writings on this topic began with the analysis of the flow of workers and consumers of both regions that began blending the flow of each country’s economics and labor with one another. Beyond this phenomenon, scholars have also recently defined the experiences of some of these citizens as a “ transborder/transfronterizo” persons who have experienced a lifetime of bi-nationality, that is, a lived experience of traversing a physical, international barrier that begins in childhood and extends into adulthood. Finally, activist groups that understand the border region from a highly politicized lens have also established their own framework of thinking about the border region in SD/TJ as well as other borderland areas.

My Coachella coverage for LA Weekly

I spent the past weekend at Indio covering the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival with a team of writers, photographers from LA Weekly & OC Weekly. It made for great times and even greater stories.

Below are the three stories I wrote about the festival for LA Weekly:

The Slow Death of Coachella’s Local Vendor Economy

The Date Farmers’ Art Exposes the Economic Divide of Coachella

What’s It Going to Take to Bring More Latino Artists to Coachella?

A Las Barricadas: Los Muertos De Cristo’s Atheist-Anarchist Punk Music

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Spanish Punk music has long had an anarchist as well as atheist tradition. Los Muertos De Cristo were no different in this regard as they wore their atheism on their sleeve…or in this case their band name (Christ’s Dead).

Lorenzo Morales (singer), Antón Tochi (lead guitar), Jesus “Mosti” Mosteiro (rhythm guitar), Ignacio “Chino” Gallego (bass), and Maniel “Lolo” Borrego (drums) came together in 1989 in Utrera, Sevilla, Spain. The quintet chose its name for three reasons. First, as a direct challenge to censorship and free speech laws in their country (of which they provided many challenges). Second, as a reflection of the band’s atheism. Third, to commemorate the millions of people killed in the name of religion throughout history.

LMDC self-released its debut EP, Punk’s Not Dead ’91, in 1991 and unveiled its full-length debut album, A Las Barricadas (To The Barricades) in 1995. The 12-song album includes the band’s Anarcho-Punk version of “¡Ay Carmela!/El Paso Del Erbo,” a classic song originally written during the War of Spanish Independence in 1808 and used by the Spanish Republican Army during the Spanish Civil War. LMDC’s version changes the lyrics to reflect their antifascist stance with lines such as “solo es nuestro / acabar con el fascismo (our only wish / is to end fascism).”

The band remained true to its Anarchist roots throughout the entirety of its existence. They self-published/distributed six of their nine albums with A Las Barricadas, Cualquier Noche Puede Salir El Sol (The Sun May Rise On Any Night), and Los Pobres No Tienen Patria (The Poor Have No Homeland) the exceptions. The band also created their own label, Odisea Records, which still exists today to promote their work as well as the work of Anarcho-Punk group El Noi Del Sucre.

Speaking of which, the seeds of LMDC’s impending demise were first planted in 2001. Morales first referred to himself as El Noi (The Boy) on the band’s live album Bienvenidos Al Infierno (Welcome To Hell). Morales wanted to start a new Anarcho-Punk group from scratch but not before ending LMDC on good terms with his bandmates.

LMDC announced their inevitable dissolution during their performance at the BaituRock festival in the summer of 2006. The group’s farewell tour lasted well into 2008 and they released their final album, Rapsodia Libertaria Vol. III, in 2009. Morales launched El Noi Del Sucre (The Boy From Sugar/The Sugar Boy), named as an homage to Catalonian anarchosyndicalist Salvador Seguí, that same year. Mosti and Chino of LMDC joined him in this new endeavor with the latter leaving the group in October of this year in order to focus on his work at Odisea Records.

Los Muertos De Cristo reunited this year to celebrate their 25th anniversary, touring as El Noi Del Sucre & Los Muertos De Cristo.

The band’s entire discography is available for download at this site.