San Diego Reader
Housing Is a Verb: In Twelve Cobbled-Together Parts Print E-mail
San Diego Reader

recycled_house(San Diego Reader November 18, 1999)

1.

If you cross into Mexico at Otay Mesa, continue south on Calle Mazatlan and cut over to Boulevard Insurgentes, you'll eventually dip down to the Tijuana River which winds through the vast and growing working-class colonias of east Tijuana. Here lives, in congested communities, tens of thousands of residents, most recent arrivals usually from the northern part of the country. Not long ago, some of these people lived in quick-built dwellings alongside the river. But because a hard rain falls every six or seven years, the river floods and people have to move, on top of the mesas or partway up the gently sloping ravines. The newly risen colonias have colorful names—El Florido, El Pipila, Ejido Mariano Matamoros. People have moved in because of the flooding, but they've also come because of the new economic opportunities in northern Baja. Before 1993 these neighborhoods were not here. Then came Nafta and the promise of factory work at the maquiladoras. A visit today reveals that those soccer-stadium-sized American-owned plants continue to thrive.

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Last Light: San Diego Representational Painters Print E-mail
San Diego Reader

19990826(San Diego Reader August 26, 1999)

Part One

When I point at and say, I like that painting, the one suffused with sulphury light, the golden warm of San Diego’s presunset hour, the painter, William Glen Crooks, replies, “Oh, yes, that one. Now that was a California moment.”

That is Portico. It’s a four- by six-foot painting that depicts the semi-shabby, four-door entrance to an apartment house, built in the Craftsman style. Its four doors, side-by-side, are numbered 1, 2, 3, 4 in italics. Each door has latticed windows at the top and each has its own character: 1 is opened, 2 has a wreath and a bamboo curtain behind the windows, 3’s green window curtain is drawn, and 4 picks up the glare of a near-setting sun. Doors 2 and 4 sport floor mats of different sizes; several rectangular mailboxes are off to the left and a potted plant on a curved leg stand is on the right. Across the entire golden-to-yellow surface—or is it that the surface is being goldened by the sun?—cour­ses a modulating, glaring light.

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Everlasting Uncertainty: How I Became a UC San Diego Marxist Print E-mail
San Diego Reader

28266u 0(San Diego Reader January 7, 1999)

As an undergraduate, I studied the literature of England and America and fell in love with the charge of rhythmic language, the Anglo-Saxon drum of verse, the symphonic progress of prose. Entering graduate school many years and a few professions later, I hoped to rekindle that love. But I succumbed, like every other student I knew, to the doctrinaire theories of feminism, historicism, and Marxism, the great critical isms of the time, which tested the novels and poems I had so admired. These isms and the professors who intoned the jargon of literary theory so befuddled my mind, I was certain I’d never get out of academia.

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