THE SAN DIEGO PARTICIPANT OBSERVER Participant Observation is the Process of Learning by Observing and Participating in Cultural Life
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August, 2020 - Click Here for Previous Issues)


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Dear Readers,

Like many other organizations, we need to adapt our activities to during the time of Covid-19. Much of what we normally cover in our newsletters, particularly community events are on hold. As such we will be shifting the format and timing of our newsletters. We will return to our original format once the Covid-19 situation improves to the point that once again public events can be safely held. Unfortunately it looks like that won't be anytime soon.

In recent discussions with a couple of local cross-cultural non-profits we put forth the idea to devote the main portion of our newsletter to updates on the activities of local cross-cultural organizes, what virtual events they have, how they are facing present challenges, what programs they are offering. Thankfully over the years we have made good connections with lots of organization through our Harmony in Action Cross-Cultural Non-Profit Fair. Part of this change entails publishing our newsletter on a monthly rather than weekly cycle. We will maintain our recipe, book and international CD of the months. Cultural Tidings will continue to be updated weekly on the Participant Observer website. We have an active Facebook and Instagram presence and events or information of a more timely nature we be posted there.

We hope the transition will go smoothly, we will fully enact these changes in August and today's newsletter will be the last for this month. Thank you for your patience as well as your continued support and readership.

We are excited to share this month's Recipe(s) of the Month for Thai Gai Pad Khing and Moo Satay, yum! Our Book of the Month selection (and also the Worldview Project Book Club's book for August) is Celestial Bodies by Jokha Alharthi. If you wish to join our book club, contact Sharon at s.payne@thewvp.org for all the details! And our International CD of the Month is: Strovilos by Trio Tekke, a traditional/modern music trio from the island of Cyprus.


Local Virtual Events
Saturday, July 11 8:00 PM San Diego 2020 Music Awards broadcast on Fox 5
Sunday, July 12 4:00 PM Afro-Peruvian Sextet a live-streaming concert
Tuesday, July 14 1:00 AM Political Mobilization of the K-Pop Fandom: A Conversation with CedarBough Saeji from the Korean Institute of America and SDWAC
Tuesday, July 14 12:00 PM The Chicanosaurus - VIA interview with Victor Ochoa, renown Chicano muralist
Wednesday, July 15 10:00 AM Music for the Mind, Body and Soul Flamenco Guitar with James Clarkston courtesy of the La Jolla Community Center.
Thursday, July 16 6:00 PM Author Leah Franqui in conversation with Alka Joshi, a Warwick's Book Store virtual event.
Tuesdays 6:30 PM Shakespeare Society Open Readings
Fridays 8:00 PM Black Xpression an ongoing virtual (Zoom) open mic experience.
Sundays 8:00 AM Miss Nati's Music Box inspiring music education online for our students and families from Kalabash School of Music and Art.
Ongoing The Totally Fake Latino News With Culture Clash Irreverent Latinx comedic take on news and culture.
Ongoing Walks of Life Auditory theatre featuring short scenes by playwrights and composers from across the country. Courtesy of La Jolla Playhouse
July 10 - 16 Documentary: None of Your Business - Documentary about Iranian singer-songwriter-guitarist Ebrahim Monsefi (aka Ebram) with a Live Q&A

Assorted Timely Resources
Change.org - a place to sign or start a petition to promote change.
Celebration of France's Bastille Day with House of France and the Alliance française, and the San Diego Diplomacy Council
Action, Justice, Change What you can do right now to promote racial justice.
20 Books that will take you around the world, courtesy of Great Big Story.
Corona Virus Information Updates from the County of San Diego
Corona Virus Information Updates from the City of San Diego.
International Television
The Casketeers (New Zealand) Netflix
The Casketeers is a rather unusual reality-TV show. Filmed in New Zealand, the series is about two Maori funeral directors, Francis and Kaiora Tipene, who have dedicated their lives to helping families who have lost loved ones. To do so they have to navigate the rules, expectations, sensitivities and emotions of several cultures, sometimes simultaneously. Francis, Kaiora, and the other staff at the Tipene Funeral Home have big hearts and always strive to do their very best to provide funeral services that honor the departed and care for the living in their time of great emotional need. The series is not only culturally fascinating but quite humorous, particularly the relationship between Francis and Kaiora. They will steal your heart. The series was locally produced and loved by New Zealanders, but it has garnered international acclaim since it was picked up by Netflix. But rather than become star-struck by fame, Kaiora has said “It’s just Netflix eh? We’re not much into all that stuff”. Seeing how the Tipenes deal with death just might make you look at life a bit differently!
The Neighbor (El Vecino) (Spain), Netflix
The Neighbor is a Spanish silly super-hero comedy about a lazy young man, Javier, who accidentally gains super powers from an encounter with an alien ship that crashes feet from Javier and his "almost" girlfriend, Lola, when the couple are a weekend getaway in the country. When the alien ship crashes, Lola is knocked unconscious and knows nothing of the message and powers that the alien imparts to Javier. Indeed, Javier himself can't quite figure out what happened, but he is sure that all good super-heroes must hide their identities. His discovery of his powers is quite hysterical and quite naturally his inability to control them creates havoc for Javier and everyone around him. His new super powers put a definite wrinkle in his attempts to woo Lola, who rightly thinks he's not the most mature or responsible option she might have. The comedy is mostly character-driven and while the show is unlikely to win many awards, it maintains its chuckle-worthiness throughout.
Movies
Wadja (Saudi Arabia) Netflix, Amazon Prime, You Tube, iTunes, Google Play
Wadja is a film shot in Saudi Arabia, written and directed by the nation's pioneering female filmmaker, Haifaa al-Mansour. It was the first Saudi Arabian film directed by a woman. Wadja Mohammad is a 10 year-old girl that just isn't quite in sync with Saudi Arabian gender expectations. On her daily walk to school, Wadja sees a beautiful green bicycle being delivered to a local store and she begins dreaming about buying the bike and racing her friend Abdullah through the the streets of Riyadh. Two things stand in her way, the bike is expensive and common ideas that bike riding is not something that girls or women should do because it presumed to be physically dangerous for a girl to ride a bike and an affront to morality. Despite the terror of tongue-wagging and other more serious obstacles, Wadja persists in her quest . . . The film is bittersweet and charming but also offers hope for the struggle for greater gender equality. The director al-Mansour said the original script was darker, but she said "I decided I didn't want the film to carry a slogan and scream, but just to create a story where people can laugh and cry a little."
The Band's Visit (Israel), Tubi, Vudu, Amazon-Prime, iTunes
If you have ever visited another country and gotten lost traveling (I have, more than once!), you may have had an adventure but perhaps not quite a humorous and poignant as the fictional experience of the fictional Alexandria Ceremonial Police Orchestra from Egypt, that intended to travel to the Israeli city of Petah Tikvah to perform. However the band member who is asked to secure tickets has a very strong accent and the ticket seller mistakenly gives him bus tickets to the remote town of Bet Hatikva, where buses only visit once a day. Shortly after they arrive in Bet Hatikva, they learn of the mistake, and they are stranded in a town with no hotel and certainly no Arab Art Center to perform in. Of course the town doesn't get many outsiders, much less an entire band, and if the Egyptians are anxious about their detour, the townsfolk are curious. What ensues is a night of halting conversations and confessions only fit for a stranger's ear. The main dynamic is between the officious leader of the band and the self-assured proprietress of the only restaurant in town. But initial discomfort ultimately leads to a more tender understanding that above all else, beyond politics and misconceptions, they are humans. The Band's Visit was made into an award-winning Broadway musical (starring Tony Shalhoub as the band's leader), and the musical has won just about every award possible both for the off-Broadway and Broadway productions as well as the 2019 Grammy from Best Musical Theater Album. And although I have not seen the musical, it's a safe bet that the musical is louder than the quiet touch of the film.

June 26, 2020


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Useful Resources and Diversions
Quarantine Blues by Carlos Santana, John Mclaughlin, family and friends. Oh my!
Where Do We Go From Here? necessary next steps courtesy of Oprah.com. The battle for social justice is far from over. Learn what you can do.
Quarantine and Isolation Advice from the CDC
10 Expert-Backed Tips for Singles in Quarantine Alone from Best Life. Surely it's a challenge if you are home alone.
Quarantine School Resources for Parents with Kids Under 5 from the LA Times
15 FREE Educational Resources for Kids At Home During Quarantine from Homestead Survival Site
17 Mental Health Tips for Quarantine From Therapists
Current Rules Regarding Face Masks caring about the welfare of others is smart and good.
From Camping To Dining Out: Here's How Experts Rate The Risks Of 14 Summer Activities
What You Need to Know About the Coronavirus A collection of articles from the Atlantic.

Podcasts
Podcasts that will take you places, tickle your funny bone and challenge your perceptions.
Yo, Is This Racist? (Hint, if you have to ask, it probably is).
Latino USA This long-running NPR podcast consistently puts out excellent episodes exploring Latinx culture
Throughline The past is never past. Every headline has a history.
Wooden Overcoats a British comedy podcast. Rudyard Funn runs a funeral home on the island of Piffling. It used to be the only one. It isn't anymore.
Gastro Pod a British podcast about the history and science of stuff we eat.
No Such thing as a Fish If you are as much of a fan of the British TV series QI as we are, you will enjoy these fun and curious facts about anything and everything.

Travel via Books
With travel being shut down around the globe, time to snuggle up to a good book that will take you places!
Midnight in Siberia: A Train Journey into the Heart of Russia by David Greene. The Worldview Project Book Club selection for July! An NPR bureau chief travels the Trans-Siberian Highway!
Falling Off the Map: Some Lonely Places of The World by Pico Iyer, a travel writer with serious literary cred travels to places that are somehow "isolated" from the rest of the world.
Turn Right at Machu Picchu by Mark Adams. Adams retraces the steps of Hiram Bingham who "discovered" Machu Picchu in 1911. A bit of praise and condemnation for what Bingham did once he got there.
Around the World in 80 Trains: A 45,000-Mile Adventure by Monisha Rajesh. One Amazon reviewer said "I am in love of traveling by train because of this book." Trains are my favorite way to travel - ed.
Lands of Lost Borders: Out of Bounds on the Silk Road by Kate Harris. Travel the Silk road and confront the boundaries that shackle your soul.

Local Happenings:
San Diego Diplomacy Council's Online Global Leaders Program Open to high school students in the US and abroad.
Storytelling: Virtual Tales & Legends Of Scotland
The African American Experience: A Poet's Perspective
Afro-Peruvian Sextet's Livestreaming Experience Sunday, July 12 - 4:00 PM
A Conversation on Justice Equity, & Advocacy in the Black Community Saturday, June 27 - 10:00 AM
Fun Things To Do In Quarantine In San Diego Suggestions from SDTours


Television and Film
Innocence Files (United States) Netflix

Produced by the Innocence Project, this series traces the cases of 8 wrongly convicted individuals and the devastating effects on their families the victims themselves (not to mention allowing the true perpetrators to escape justice). The Innocence Project uses DNA evidence to re-examine the cases of people who were convicted of terrible crimes. The individual episodes are of varying length, some being nearly movie-length. Although the series unearths widespread problems of official corruption, the episodes shy away from sensationalizing and instead highlight more systemic problems and failures than individual wrong-doing by officials (although the appalling corruption of some is brought to light). The series calls for a more science-based and competent criminal justice system.

Money Heist (Spain) Netflix
Money Heist is clever and edge-of-your-seat subversive-of-the-genre heist series drama mostly set in Madrid, Spain. For a while it was the most-watched non-English language series on Netflix and has won numerous international awards. "The Professor" assembles a large group of individuals, each with a specialized talent, to knock over the Spanish Mint (and in later episodes the Bank of Spain). Part of the fun is the ingenious planning goes into the capers. The workers of the mint are not just captives, they are coerced to spend more than a week printing vast amounts of money. The plot is both thrilling and clever; you learn about the devilishly labyrinthine plan as it unfolds. But the series doesn't simply revolve around a complicated plot. Hidden motives and interpersonal and odd relationships that develop throughout the series making it part complex heist drama and part telenovela (including occasional moments of comedy).

Movies

Atlantics (Senegal) Netflix

From the Sengegalese-French director and writer Mati Diop, Atlantics is a highly unusual and beautiful film. It's a romance, drama, supernatural fantasy, unpredictable thriller and social commentary all rolled into one. Atlantics won last year's Cannes Film Festival Grand Prize and has a 96% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. On one level Atlantics is about star-crossed lovers, but at another level its a spell-binding tale about love, revenge, migration and ghosts (or are they zombies?).

Cook Off (Zimbabwe) Netflix

Anesu is a great home cook and without her knowledge her adoring son enters her into a televised cooking competition. Can she prevail over professional chefs? Cook Off, set and filmed in Zimbabwe, is an multi-award winning romantic comedy that had absurdly low budget ($8,000). Its making is even more remarkable as at the time of its filming Zimbabwe was experiencing both hyper-inflation and the tumultuous downfall of the countries autocratic president, Robert Mugabe. But despite all of these challenges, Cook Off is a light-hearted comedy/romance set in the middle-class world of the capital city of Harare, a world largely unknown to American (and perhaps, European) viewers. On such a tiny budget, virtually nothing about the film is polished, but movies warm-heartedness and earnestness makes for a very charming film.

June 19, 2020


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Today is Juneteenth (aka Freedom Day, Emancipation Day) which celebrates the day when the Emancipation Proclamation was adopted by every state in the United States. Want to know more about this holiday, where it is celebrated, and what happens in San Diego to honor the day? Then read our article: It’s Time To Commemorate Juneteenth Nationwide!

Today we will provide virtual resources and information on the pernicious problem of systemic or institutionalized racism in America. Racism is not just a problem of individual beliefs, but also how those beliefs have been encoded and embedded in our laws, schools, corporations, policies and "normal ways of doing things". We hope you find these resources illuminating and encouraging you to become a more active in the fight for social justice and enacting lasting change in our society.

Useful Resources
Act Blue Split a donation between 70+ community bail funds, mutual aid funds, and racial justice organizers.
Criminal Justice Fact Sheet from the NAACP
Communities United for Police Reform
The Marshal Project Nonprofit journalism about criminal justice.
Master List Of Resources On How To Dismantle Systemic Racism An absolutely HUGE Google spreadsheet of anti-racism resources courtesy of Fantasy World.
The Loveland Foundation Supporting communities of color (especially women and children) in unique ways.
Black Lives Matter Resources from the San Diego Housing Federation.

Books
Books about systemic racism in a wide range of contexts
The Color of Money: Black Banks and the Racial Wealth Gap by Mehrsa Baradaran
A Terrible Thing to Waste: Environmental Racism and Its Assault on the American Mind by Harriet A. Washington
Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class by Ian Haney López
Blackballed: The Black Vote and US Democracy by Darryl Pinckney
Race for Profit: How Banks and the Real Estate Industry Undermined Black Homeownership, a multi-award winning book by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor
Automating Inequality by Virginia Eubanks
The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein

Podcasts
Podcasts that discuss race in America and related topics
Floodlines from the Atlantic
1619 from the New York Times
What's Next from Slate magazine
Beyond Prisons is a podcast on incarceration and prison abolition that elevates people directly impacted by the system.
Ear Hustle The daily realities of life inside prison shared by those living it.
Code Switch from NPR
Groundings hosted by Devyn Springer
The Stoop Stories from across the Black Diaspora
The Chicken and Jollof Rice Show A podcast featuring 4 first-generation African Americans and their humorous perspectives.
The Nod Brittany Luse and Eric Eddings gleefully explore all the beautiful, complicated dimensions of Black life.
Truth Be Told hosted by Tonya Mosley
Black History Year

Articles and Online Resources
Four Ways Schools Can Support Teachers to Become 'Actively Anti-Racist' from Education Week Teacher
U.N. Resolution on the Elimination of Racism
Taking Steps to Eliminate Racism in the Workplace by The Society for Human Resource Management
Is Your Company Actually Fighting Racism, or Just Talking About It? from the Harvard Business Review
Strategies and Activities for Reducing Racial Prejudice and Racism from the exquisitely robust Community Tool Box service of the Center for Community Health and Development at the University of Kansas.
Beyond Protests: 5 More Ways To Channel Anger Into Action To Fight Racism from NPR

Local Happenings:
Living Room Learning: World Music & Dance Ongoing. From the Center for World Music
Virtual Film Screening: Il Campione (The Champion) Thursday, June 25 - 6:00 PM, by the San Diego Italian Film Festival
Virtual Film Screening: Yourself and Yours Ongoing from the San Diego Media Arts Center
3 Day Black Music Summer Soulstice Celebration (virtual) live performances June 26-28 daily at 7:00 -9:00 PM
The Cooper Family Foundation virtual Juneteenth Celebration Saturday, June 20 - 2:00 PM
Virtual Talk: A Day In The Life Of A Physician In Ancient Egypt by Phil Goscienski, MD presented by the San Diego Archaeology Center
Shakespeare Society Open Readings - Virtual Edition Tuesdays 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM

Television and Film

Another avenue to learn more about social justice affecting communities of color is to watch TV series and Movies directed by, written by and starring people of color.

The Chi (United States) Hulu, YouTube, Google Play, Amazon Prime, HBO Max

The Chi is a coming-of-age drama set in south Chicago. The drama in Chi revolves around 4 shootings and how these events affect the characters in the large cast. The show has been praised for its humanizing approach, seeing each character as a complex individual, not a stereotype, and Variety observes, "It transforms the word 'Chicago' from something approaching an epithet into a three-dimensional place". Several reviews speak about the consequences (sometimes life and death) of small actions set in an unforgiving world. The show's creator, Lena Waithe, the first Black woman to receive a prime time Emmy for comedy writing (and she stars in Master of None and was a writer for Bones) said about The Chi, “It’s not, ‘Let’s show Black people in Chicago in a positive light. . .I want to show people in a human light.”

Teach Us All (United States) Netflix

In 1954 the US Supreme Court unanimously decided that racial segregation in public schools was unconstitutional as were "separate but equal" schools which had been allowed under the prior Plessy vs. Ferguson. School systems, particularly but not exclusively in the South, resisted implementation by closing schools and displacing Black educators and, despite the ruling, a very large number of schools implemented policies that ensured de facto segregation. (Ed note: I grew up the 50s and 60s in a suburb outside of Philadelphia and all the public schools I attended were internally segregated). The documentary Teach Us All was produced by the Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heros and they have developed an associated curriculum. The LMCUH says: "Through case studies in Little Rock, New York City, and Los Angeles, our feature-length documentary film seeks to bring the critical lessons of history to bear on the current state of U.S. education and investigate: 60 years later, how far have we come - or not come - and where do we go from here?" The film's director, also wrote and directed Black Boys. The Executive Director of the film is the two-time Super Bowl Champion Malcolm Jenkins who co-founded the NFL Players Coalition in 2017 to address social injustice and racial inequality.

Movies

The Hate You Give (United States) Amazon Prime, YouTube, Google Play, Hulu, Vudu

Based on the young adult book of the same name by Angie Thomas, The Hate You Give is a drama about a young Black girl, Starr Carter, who lives in a poor Black neighborhood but attends a mostly white prep school. Starr witnesses her best friend Khalil being shot and killed by a police officer who has pulled the car over for failing to use his turn signal. The aftermath of the killing brings the differences between the two worlds Starr inhabits into bold contrast. Caught between a local gang that she has offended and a system that prevents real justice, between the neighborhood she grew up in and the elite school she attends, Starr is forced to grow up and take a stand for what is right. Empire Magazine has said ". . . this is a scintillating, angry roar of a film that rewires the possibilities of what a teen movie can say and do."


Cry Freedom (South Africa, England) Amazon Prime, Hulu, You Tube, Google Play, Vudu, iTunes

Cry Freedom is a 1987 historical drama about the anti-Apartheid activist Steve Biko. The movie is based on a pair of books penned by a white liberal South African Journalist who initially opposes Biko's political views until the two met when Biko invites Woods to visit to a Black township so that Woods can see firsthand the horrific effects of Apartheid. The movie traces how Biko is harassed, jailed, beaten and murdered by the South African security forces, despite Biko's commitment to non-violent protest and change. While the film is a good primer on the horrors of Apartheid and has standout performances by Kevin Kline and Denzel Washington, the movie has been justly criticized and focusing far more on the struggles of Woods to escape South Africa than on Biko himself, and everything that transpires in the movie is basically seen through Wood's eyes.

You can find a huge Pinterest page of movies and TV series featuring African-American actors, casts, directors and stories here.

June 12, 2020


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Once again we are dedicating most of our newsletter to providing resources concerning social injustice and anti-racism. As we mentioned last week, everything in these newsletters is now cross-posted on the front page of the San Diego Participant Observer to allow more convenient access to these resources. Because the sheer number of resources that we are sharing, eventually we will run low on things to share with a general audience. But that day is not today'"now is not the time to lift our collective foot off the gas for becoming better informed and smarter and more effective in our struggle for equality and justice. We have a long road ahead of us, but with concerted effort, we can, and indeed must, make that road shorter. Quite literally, lives are at stake. Over time headlines and protests will undoubtedly diminish, but we promise that we will continue to make enabling and encouraging greater equality an essential and prominent part of what The Worldview Project does as an organization. Our ears, eyes and hearts are open to learning how we can become better, more responsible and conscientious citizens who can do our part to face uncomfortable truths and take actions that will usher in long overdue changes in our country and in our world. Like we said about the Coronavirus, we are all in this together. Here as some additional resources that you may find useful:

Books

Two Faced Racism: Whites in the Backstage and Frontstage by Leslie Houts Picca and Joe R. Faegin. Many consider universities and colleges bastions of liberalism equality but these journal entries collected from white students at 28 different colleges paint a different picture.
The Ethnic Project: Transforming Racial Fiction into Ethnic Factions by Vilna Bashi Treitle A historical look at the successive waves of immigration and their changing hierarchical positions in American society due to patterns of discrimination.
White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo.
Racist America: Roots Current Reality & Future Reparations by Joe R. Faegin. Based on 200 recent studies, a closer look at how racism is woven into American culture. Becoming anti-racist begins with examining our own myths and beliefs.
White Rage by Carol Anderson. A look at the extreme and sometimes violent backlash against Black progress in America.
Black Americans by Alphonso Pinkney. A sociological look at Black experience in America and socio-economic and political mechanism that impede justice and equality.
Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present by Maryann Erigha. The award winning book on how Black bodies were and are sacraficed for our health.
Code of the Street: Decency, Violence, and the Moral Life of the Inner City by Elijah Anderson Gain a better understanging of the effects of poverty, lack of opportunity and de-facto segregation has on Black communities.
The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Woodson. Many consider that the royal road to achievement is education. But what if education is more a matter of indoctrination than empowerment? This classic book lays out the repercussions.
From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime: The Making of Mass Incarceration in America by Elizabeth Hinton. The system is not accidental.
The N Word: Who Can Say, Who Shouldn’t and Why by Jabari Asim. The legacy of a work. If you are confused about the matter, this should help.
My Bondage and My Freedom by Frederick Douglass. As African American scholar The most influential African American of the nineteenth century, Douglass made a career of agitating the American conscience.
When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir by Patrisse Khan-Cullors and Asha Bandele. A memoir written by Patrisse Khan-Cullors who is a co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Articles and Online Resources:

The Psychology of Taking a Knee by Jeremy Adam Smith, Dacher Keltner, What does it mean to kneel? What emotions and beliefs does this action communicate? Does your culture or group membership affect how you see gestures like kneeling? from Greater Good Magazine
15 Classroom Resources for Discussing Racism, Policing, and Protest by Sarah Schwartz from Education Week Teacher
Anti-Racism Resources by Sarafina Nance
15+ Tools and Resources to Challenge Racism from Compass Point
Anti-Racism Toolkit from APTR (Association for Prevention Teaching and Research)
Corporate Donations Tracker from Forbes Magazine. Here Are The Companies Giving Millions To Anti-Racism Efforts.
What Does ‘Defund The Police’ Mean? A KPBS podcast clarifying what is meant by "defunding the police", it's all about optimizing resource allocation and not leaving so many problems for police to fix. Professor Christy Lopez from Georgetown Law School on Midday Edition.
Do You Know How Divided White And Black Americans Are On Racism? by Ryan Best and Kaleigh Rogers. We indeed have a long road ahead of us to change minds and worldviews.

Legal Resources for Those Seeking Legal Aid or Wanting to Volunteer (Thank you Jon!)

Note: Generally, there is a barrier to volunteering with a legal services organization since a law license/student status is required to ethically provide assistance to legal clients. The below are available free services that specialize in providing pro bono help for criminal and related issues. Laypersons are not necessary in most legal clinics or offices. However, there may be other opportunities. Please see links.

• San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program
Volunteer Link
(619) 525-1485
225 Cedar Street
San Diego, CA 92101
Issues: Criminal

• Legal Aid Society of San Diego
Volunteer Link
2990 Viewridge Ave
San Diego, CA 92123
Issues: Family, Bankruptcy, Divorce and Domestic Violence

• American Civil Liberties Union for San Diego and Imperial County
Volunteer Link
PO Box 87131
San Diego, CA 92138-7131

Bail for Protester Funds from Time Magazine.
Where to Donate to Help Protests from Rolling Stone Magazine. Bail funds, legal aid, and other organizations working to help activists seeking justice for George Floyd and other victims of police violence.

Absolutely central to social injustice is economic equity and opportunity. Here are a list of Black owned restaurants in San Diego:
Black Owned Restaurants in San Diego courtesy of San Diego magazine.
&bull: Lists of Black Owned Restaurants Elsewhere Don't live in San Diego? Check out these lists for cities and towns across America. Courtesy of Bon Apetite.

Television and Film
Another avenue to learn more about social justice affecting communities of color is to watch TV series and Movies directed by, written by and starring people of color.

Insecure (United States) Hulu, YouTube, Google Play, Amazon Prime, HBO Max

Insecure was selected by the American Film Institute as one of the top 10 televisions series of 2017. The show revolves around two Black women who are best friends who attended Stanford together. The fictional show explores the experiences of the two women (one works for a nonprofit that helps junior high school students and the other is corporate attorney). The show's creator and lead actor in the series, Issa Rae, says the goal was for the show to explore "The complexities of 'blackness' and the reality that you can’t escape being black" and "We’re just trying to convey that people of color are relatable. This is not a hood story. This is about regular people living life."

Queen Sugar (United States) Hulu, YouTube TV, Fubo, iTunes, Google Play

Based on a novel of the same name by Natalie Baszile, Queen Sugar is a contemporary drama about three siblings who live in rural Louisiana, not far from New Orleans. After their father passes away his daughter, Charlie, inherits his 800 acre sugar cane farm and Charlie along with her teenage son move from Los Angeles back to Louisiana to manage the farm. The show is unique as each of the episodes is directed by a woman. The show's characters confront many of the issues that affect Black people in America such as racial profiling, the continuing and embedded after effects of slavery, unequal social justice and more. The show has been recently renewed for a 5 series. The series was created by Ava DuVernay who also wrote and directed several of the episodes. Oprah Winfrey is an executive producer and the show is produced by the Oprah Winfrey Network. You can find out more about the show Here.
Movies

Selma (United States) Amazon Prime, YouTube, Google Play iTunes, Vudu

A documentary about the events and social conditions leading up to and through the 1965 marches in Selma, Alabama supporting voting rights. In a democracy nothing is more important than the rights related to voting. Despite gains made since the 1960s is it still one of the most critical issues facing America. The film chronicles a series of peaceful protests and marches led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Amelia Boynton, John Lewis, James Bevel and others that were brutally attacked by segregationists and the Alabama state police. The marches were televised and many Americans reacted in horror to what they saw. The marches are considered to be pivotal to the signing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 which has been widely successful in protecting minority voting rights. Until the presidency of Donald Trump, the Voting Rights Act has be supported, expanded and extended by every American president, both Republicans and Democrats. Late last year the House of Representatives passed a bill (HR 4) to reinstate and bolster the Voting Rights Act, but only only one house Republican voted for the bill and the McConnell led Senate killed the bill by "referring it to committee". The Georgian primary held this Tuesday overwhelming proves the necessity of such protections.

I Am Not Your Negro (United States) Amazon Prime, You Tube, Google Play, Vudu, iTunes

I Am Not Your Negro is a film by Haitian filmmaker and former Haitian Minister of Culture, Raoul Peck. The film was inspired by and unfinished book manuscript for a book by James Baldwin. Narrated by Samuel L. Jackson the film revolves around Baldwin's incisive observations about race and racism in America and his thoughts and memories of Medgar Evers, Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. The film is "illustrated" by extensive archival footage, some of which was filmed right up to the year the film was released in 2016. Baldwin doesn't shy away from speaking uncomfortable truths that are tragically as relevant today as they were when Baldwin was alive (he died in France in 1987). As true today as it has been for centuries Baldwin says "Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed if it is not faced" and "“History is not the past. It is the present. We carry our history with us. We are our history. If we pretend otherwise, we are literally criminals."

You can find a huge Pinterest page of movies and TV series featuring African-American actors, casts, directors and stories here.

June 5, 2020



(View Social Justice Resources by Category)

In response to recent events that remind us that we have lots of unfinished work as responsible citizens, we are offering a special edition of the Participant Observer newsletter.

By now everyone knows about the murder of an African American, George Floyd, at the hands of the Minneapolis police and the subsequent protest rallies being held throughout America (and in many other places around the world). The use of lethal force and brutality against unarmed Black people has a very long history in America. Perhaps no other subject generates so much passion, anger, confrontation and confusion as topics related to race do. But there is also rather widespread and substantial ignorance on the subject, and many people are uncomfortable even discussing racism.

We will try to help. . .

According to the National Museum of African American History and Culture, "Research shows that many people feel they do not have the information needed to discuss race in a way that is candid, safe and respectful of other viewpoints and experiences." The Worldview Project's mission is to promote greater cross-cultural awareness, understanding and engagement. First and foremost, the Worldview Project is an educational nonprofit organization, and for us, responsible social action begins with becoming informed. Ours is an anthropologically influenced endeavor, and all good anthropology begins with listening. Below are numerous resources to help you better understand the tragic contours of the social disease we call racism and how it has become institutionalized into the normal practices of social behavior and power structures of American society.

But education alone is insufficient. Several years ago we added the word "engagement" to our mission statement, reflecting that our view that to be a responsible citizen it is insufficient to just know; it is important to act. They say knowledge is power, but that is only true if armed with knowledge gained you choose to act. All of us, which includes everyone here at the Worldview Project, need to become better informed and learn how we can make a difference in combating racism and unequal justice in all their forms and how each of us can do our part in building a more just society. We all have a constructive and important part to play; these issues are everybody's issues. One of the things we are most proud of at the Worldview Project is not how "enlightened" we are, but how we have for nearly 2 decades now provided useful resources to San Diegans to expand their own cross-cultural awareness and understanding and provide ways in which people can cross barriers and get involved. Recent events have once again underlined the importance of these efforts. With that in mind, we have collected the following resources to aid and empower this ongoing journey:

Helpful Guides, Resources and Links:
Talking About Race Portal hosted by the National Museum of African History and Culture. A site that "provide tools and guidance to empower your journey and inspire conversation."
How to Make this Moment the Turning Point for Real Change by Barack Obama. The former president ends his article with "Let's get to work".
Black Lives Matter this is the website for the BLM movement, including information on what they stand for, what they do and how you can get involved or avail yourself of resources (including resources related to COVID-19).
Corporate Voices Get Behind ‘Black Lives Matter’ Cause A New York Times article on how some major corporations are backing the Black Lives Matter cause.
2020 Bipartisan Justice Center, a bipartisan group dedicated to criminal justice reform and enacting laws that combat social injustice. Importantly they operate at a national and local level.
Walk With Us if you think trying to eradicate police brutality is "anti-police", Sheriff Chris Swanson as well as women and men in blue from Flint, MI; Coral Gables, FL; Santa Cruz, CA; Miami, FL; Denver CO; Camden, NJ; and Fargo, ND would disagree. Many of them "took a knee" to express support for the rallies.
A New Era of Public Safety An Advocacy Toolkit for Fair, Safe, and Effective Community Policing. From the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.
Understanding Race and Privilege from the National Association of School Psychologists. Most everything, good or bad, has its roots in childhood. Build a better society one kid at a time.
Ted Talks on Understanding Racism in America, it all starts with listening.
International Students and Experiences with Race in the United States an illuminating article from World Education News & Reviews
For a More Equitable America, Understand Race and Racism as Actions We Do and Can Undo from the Stanford Social Innovation Review
75 Things that White People Can Do for Racial Justice by Corinne Shutack
What Do Coronavirus Racial Disparities Look Like State By State? by NPR.

Books That Inform and Empower Anti-Racism
Do the Work: An Anti-racist Reading List from the Guardian
So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo. A hard-hitting but user-friendly examination of race in America
How to Be Less Stupid About Race: On Racism, White Supremacy, and the Racial Divide by Crystal M. Fleming. "Fleming unveils how systemic racism exposes us all to racial ignorance'"and provides a road map for transforming our knowledge into concrete social change."
The Hidden Rules of Race: Barrier to an Inclusive Economy by Andrea Flynn, Susuan R. Holmberg, Dorian T. Warren, and Felicia J. Wong.
Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria And Other Conversations About Race by Beverly Daniel Tatum. A psychologist looks at the psychology of Racism
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
An Antiracist Reading List by Ibram X. Kendi, who also wrote the best-selling book How to Be an Anti-racist and several other books.
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander. Policing is just one aspect of an entire system of racial justice.
Let's Fight Racism courtesy of the United Nations. Helpful and informative resources for fighting racism.
De-escalation Keeps Protesters And Police Safer. Departments Respond With Force Anyway. from Five Thirty Eight and the Marshal Project. What 50 years of research and 3 Federal commissions say . . .
Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism by Safiya Noble. It is often the most taken-for-granted things that are most worrisome.
Racism Without Racists by Eduardo Bonilla-Silva. A now classic text on race and racism both diagnoses and offer solutions for structural inequities. 5th Edition with new material.

A Few Local Organizations that Promote Social Justice
Justice Overcoming Boundaries a San Diego nonprofit that organizes and advocates for social justice.
Center on Policy Initiatives is a nonprofit research and action institute dedicated to creating economic prosperity, sustainable communities, and a healthy environment for all.
Alliance San Diego is a robust community empowerment organization working to ensure that all people can achieve their full potential in an environment of harmony, safety, equality, and justice.
Racial Justice Coalition of San Diego
Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans Immigrants and refugees have shockingly few rights and resources. This San Diego based nonprofit has many ongoing practical initiatives to assist immigrants and refugees. Learn how you can get involved in their work.

Television and Film
Another avenue to learn more about social justice affecting communities of color is to watch TV series and Movies directed by, written by and starring people of color.

Atlanta (United States) Hulu, YouTube, iTunes, Google Play, Vudu, Amazon Prime

In 2018 Rolling Stone and the Guardian both declared that Atlanta was "the best show on TV". The brainchild of actor/musician/dj/producer/writer Donald Glover, Atlanta is a comedy/drama that revolves around two cousins (one, Earn, is played by Glover himself) trying to make it big in rap music in Atlanta Georgia. The creator, directors, writers and most of the cast are people of color. Whatever your views or interests in rap and hip-hop, this audacious and wonderfully unpredictable series is brilliant show that "contains multitudes". As the NY Times observed, Atlanta is a "a comedy in which anything could happen without warning." The cinematography is masterful; absolutely nothing looks like it takes place on a Hollywood set. Wickedly funny at times, it nevertheless pulls no punches and it is subversive and unsettling. The show embraces many critical issues in America today, but Glover's acute sense of irony and skill at looking at situations with subtle nuance defies expectations at every turn. Donald Glover said he wanted to show people "what it feels like to be black". If you are worried that the show is only for young people who love hip-hop and rap, prepared to be surprised.

Black-ish (United States) ABC, Amazon Prime, Hulu, YouTube TV

Black-ish is an ensemble comedy about a upper-middle class family that lives in the upscale LA neighborhood of Sherman Oaks in Los Angeles. Last month it was renewed for a 7th season. The father, "Dre", is an advertising executive and his bi-racial wife, "Rainbow" is an anesthesiologist. The Johnson family has "made it": the kids go to private schools, live in a big house, drive fancy cars and confront many issues that any family at the socio-economic level might. But because they are Black, that requires them to deal with a wide range of issues their neighbors, their co-workers, and classmates don't. Each episode revolves around one or more of these issues. The general style of the series, its cinematography, pace and humor are rather conventional and undoubtedly this is intentional. It has absolutely none of the cinematic grit of the aforementioned show Atlanta. But underneath the gentle comedy are real social issues that have a much wider relevance to Black experience in American society. Two episodes'""Hope" which centers around an instance of police brutality and "Juneteenth" which dramatizes the lack of general appreciation for the end of slavery were re-aired by ABC on "Blackout Tuesday". The show's creator, Kenya Barris, wrote on Instagram, "Black Rights are Human Rights, and this continued injustice impacts all of us. So while we hope these episodes can bring your families together in watching and learning, the real hope is that it inspires you to join us in demanding Liberty and Justice for All - Once and for All."

Other shows to watch: Insecure, Empire, Dear White People, Power, Queen Sugar, Greenleaf, Snowfall, Grown-ish, Black Lightening, The Haves and Have Nots.

Movies

Do the Right Thing (United States) Amazon Prime, YouTube, Google Play iTunes, Vudu

It is a sad commentary that Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing is as important today as it was when it was released in 1989. We seem to have made little real progress on the socio-cultural and institutional conditions that the film addresses; indeed it seems in many ways society has actually regressed in terms of social, economic and racial justice. Last year was the film's 30th anniversary. Near the end of the film, a protest erupts which results in one of the characters dying from a policeman choking him. Lee does not attempt to pass judgement on the ensuing "riot"; instead he attempts to show how in bold relief how such things come to be. Lee wanted to provoke thought, reflection, and a greater understanding, not provide easy solutions. The movie ends with two quotes about violence, one by Martin Luther King and another by Malcolm X. Spike Lee has written, directed and starred in a large number of entertaining and important films, the most recent being the critically acclaimed BlacKkKlansman

13th (United States) Netflix

The 13th Amendment brought formal end to slavery and involuntary servitude with one big caveat: "except as a punishment for a crime". This heartbreaking documentary by Ava DuVernay uses historical footage, statistics and commentary by scholars, commentators, activists and politicians (including conservatives) to document the long and terrible history of political leaders, governments and corporations working together to create the current system of mass incarceration that has led the United States to be the country with the largest prison population in the world. The United States has only 4% of the worlds population but a full quarter of number of people in the world in jail. The film documents how this massive system is particularly harmful to people of color. Sadly it is a history of the present. DuVernay has written and directed a number of documentaries, shorts, dramas, television episodes including the acclaimed documentary Selma and the current TV drama Queen Sugar.

You can find a huge Pinterest page of movies and TV series featuring African-American actors, casts, directors and stories here.

May 22, 2020

Local Cultural News and Nifty Things to Do Whilst Homebound:
Some interesting, helpful and fun activities from our staff and friends (if you know of any more, send them along!) (Thanks Ciska!):

Pacific Arts Movement Live
Film Screening: On a Magical Night from the Media Arts Center
Dance Styles from Around the World
Say Hello to the World courtesy of BBC Travel
Li Ziqi's Video Blog where she documents her daily life in rural Chnia.
Virtual Concerts courtesy of Queens College
Cultural Treasures of Qatar
Stunning Photos of Spring Around the World
Globally Spreading Joy, courtesy of insider.com
Modern Arab Masters
Virtual Moves from Neon.com

Kid's Corner: I say "Keep 'em busy!"

PBS Games for kids
Code Breaking with Carmen Sandiego
50 Stay at Home Activities for Kids
Find a Good Children's Book from the Worldview Project's multiculturalbooks.org
TEDEd Ted Education Videos for Kids.

Food Stuff:

Quarantine Cooking with Kids.
Ramen Regions a History of Japanese Ramen and All of its Varieties.
Vuong Anh's Cooking Journey Learn About Vietnam's Cuisine.
Cuban Food: A Beginner's Guide
Ethiopian Food Tour Street Food and Restaurants in Addis Ababa.

Books to Make You Forget You Are at Home (International Mystery Series)

Pietr the Latvian (Inspector Maigret) There are 75 books in the Maigret series. Simenon is perhaps the most prolific mystery writer of all time.
Inspector Singh Investigates: A Most Peculiar Malaysian Murder, the first volume in Shamini Flint's Inspector Singh series.
Still Midnight, the first volume in the Alex Morrow series (set in Glasgow) by Denis Mina.
The Devotion of Suspect X: A Detective Galileo Novel First in a series by the acclaimed Japanese author Keigo Higashino.
The Agency: A Spy in the House the first book in the Agency Series by Singaporean author Y.S. Yee.

International TV:

Crash Landing on You (Korea) Netflix

Yoon Se-ri (Ye-jin Son) is a high-powered CEO of a cosmetics company who is asked to take over her father's mega corporation, much to the chagrin of her two somewhat dim brothers and their ruthless and conniving wives. At the begriming of the series she is a pampered and spoiled princess (at one point she says "I never cook and I only eat in Michelin starred restaurants"). In celebration of her corporate ascent, Yoon Se-ri goes paragliding (self-consciously aware of the analogy), but she is caught up in tornado and instead of landing in Oz she crash lands in the Korean DMZ. She is discovered by the noble and taciturn North Korean Captain Ri Jeong-hyeok (Hyun Bin) who intends to turn her in to the authorities, but she temporarily escapes through a mine field. When Captain Ri and his unit finally capture her, they realize (each for different reasons) they can't turn her in and decide instead to hide her until they have a plan to return her to South Korea unnoticed. Yoon Se-ri didn't become a CEO without learning the fine arts of manipulation, but her attempts to manipulate the earnest Captain Ri fail to move him . . . or do they? This is a charming, funny, sometimes thrilling cat-and-mouse dramedy. The scenes with Youn Se-ri and the four soldiers in Captain Ri's unit are sweetly comical and the evolution of the romantic entanglement of Yoon Se-ri and Captain Ri surprisingly tender. The series is a playful romp ..


Doc Martin (English) Amazon Prime, YouTube, iTunes, Google Play

Doc Martin (played by Martin Clunes) is nearly totally lacking in social grace. He is curt, curmudgeonly and doesn't suffer fools gladly. Doc Martin was an acclaimed cardiovascular surgeon who developed a bad case of hemophilia (fear of blood) and, to avoid further embarrassment, he flees to the lovely fishing village of Portwenn (in real life, Port Issac on the west coast of Cornwall) where he becomes the local doctor. He is a fish out of water; he cannot understand village attitudes and the villagers scarcely appreciate his gruff manner. The series is filled with memorable characters, and Clunes is wonderful in the title role. With 8 seasons (and several specials and movies), you can binge to your heart's content. P.S. Shari and I visited Port Issac in 2012, and the village is a quaint and lovely as the series depicts.


International Movies

Oh, Lucy! (Japan/US) Amazon Prime

When she made her voyage, 18-year-old Tania Aebi was the youngest person to sail solo around the world. When a reporter asked her if she ever felt lonely on her journey, she replied that being alone doesn’t make you lonely, being in a large room with lots of people you can't connect with is real loneliness. By that definition Setsuko is lonely. She has a drab job working with drab, vacuous, backbiting corporate drones in the megalopolis of Tokyo. The one bright spot in Setsuko’s life is her kawaii (Japanese “cute”) niece, Mika, who works at a “maid cafe”. Mika, for reasons undisclosed, convinces Setsuko to give her $5,000'"the cost of the English classes Mika is enrolled in. In exchange Mika says Setsuko can finish the course in her stead. But the language academy looks more like a brothel than a school, and her teacher, John, is rather unorthodox. He begins his lessons with an uncomfortably long hug of his students and insists each of them take on an American style alter-ego to facilitate their learning. Setsuko takes on the persona of “Lucy” replete with a blond curly wig. This is particularly freeing to Setsuko who has thus far has lived a life of suffocating disappointments and desperation. But freedom of being, “letting go”, is not an easy road to walk . . . what ensues -- although at times briefly comedic -- is study of the darker corners of human desire. Be forewarned: this is not a Hollywood movie, it is scarcely a tale of redemption. And the film is all the more human for that. It’s a movie that is not easily disposed from your thoughts or memory.

The Commitments (Ireland) YouTube, iTunes, Vudu and Google Play

Alan Parker's The Commitments is a musical dramedy based on a novel by Irish author Roddy Doyle. It's part of a trilogy of books (known as the "Barrytown Trilogy") that all have been made into movies, the other two being The Snapper and The Van. In addition to being sidesplittingly funny, it's a great music movie with fabulous cinematography.

It all begins with Jimmy Rabbitte wanting to form a soul band in a working-class neighborhood in Dublin, Ireland. Once the band gets together, they create great music despite the extreme personality conflicts in the band. There are a number of quotable lines in the film, but the film's language is a bit salty gaining the honor of containing the most swear words ever in a film. One of the things that makes the film's music so involving is it was filmed and recorded with a technique that was new at the time; instead of the vocals being dubbed (as was the practice up until then), the music was pre-recorded and the singers sang to the track while being filmed, thereby creating a more intimate feeling. Most of the actors in the film were musicians and singers, not actors. The film is also notable for being one of the first movies to depict life in urban Ireland; previous films are almost always set in the bucolic countryside. Celebrating the film's 25th anniversary (2016), it was shown to sell-out audiences in Dublin. The film is a treat that you can watch again and again.

May 15, 2020


Local Cultural News and Nifty Things to Do Whilst Homebound:
Some interesting, helpful and fun activities from our staff and friends (if you know of any more, send them along!):

World Music Living Room Learning We are totally excited about this brand new series of engaging and fun instructional videos produced by the awesome team at the Center for World Music! Check them out!
World Heritage Tour - An awesome website featuring 3-D tours of hundreds of the world's most interesting cultural sites.
60 World Rituals - While now's not the time to go, hopefully you will get to behold some of these in future travels!
Take a Virtual Trip to Kamang, Indonesia! - This link will take you a Google "street view" of Kamang where my wife and I lived in the late 1980's. It starts at the Pintu Koto, where the bus from the city stops. Beautiful place, awesome people.
Find a Pen Pal! - Everybody's (including us) is saying "We are all in this together"! We embrace that notion globally. Here is a list of sites where you may find a pen pal in another country. Obviously you should do this with a bit of caution, but it just might expand your world!
How to Design a Pen Pal Program for Your Classroom - I know we have several teachers who receive this newsletter, here's something you might want to do with your students!
Learn a Language with Duolingo - We don't know if this is the best way to learn a new language (actually being there is) but heck, its free and they have lots of languages to choose from! Unless you pay for the "Plus" account ($10 a month), you will see ads.
List of Micro Nations - A long list of "Micro Nations" places where people have declared their sovereignty, but are no recognized as such (by anyone). Kind of fun reading the rationales behind such, some are quite serious but most are just zany! First on the list is The Aerican Empire whose motto is: Mundi est ridiculum; custodiunt illud quod modo "It's a silly old world; let's keep it that way".
Geo Guesser Game - shows you a Google Street Map for a location, you guess where in the world it is. The free version is limited, but still lots of fun.

Kid's Corner: I say "Keep 'em busy!"

Face Your Manga - A site to create manga faces with a huge number of options. If you wish to download your creations you must register and pay a small fee, but otherwise it's free.
1000 Things to Do... A HUGE daily listing of virtual events for kids and teens.
Learn How to Make Origami - Lots and lots or origami creations to make! All you need is some paper!
Art for Kids - Art lessons for your kids.
International Recipes - to make with your kids.
Quarantine Stories From Kids All Over The World!

Music & Dance for Your Soul:

Radio Time Machine - THIS IS AWESOME! Click on a place in the world and a decade (from 1900 to now) and hear what was playing there and then! It's a fun interface too.
International Dances - A nice collection of dance videos from around the work courtesy of the French site Numeridanse
15 Traditional Folks Dances from Around the World - A collection of videos with short descriptions
A History of World Music in 15 Instruments from the British Museum
Putamayo World Music Sampler 15 songs from the Putamayo collection.
Chan Chan from "Playing for Change"
Anoushka Shankar in Berlin - Anoushka Shankar (whose das is Ravi Shankar and half-sister is Nora Jones) plays brilliantly

Food Stuff:

All the Sandwiches in the World - A very long list of sandwiches (with pictures and links) from around the world (Wikipedia)
Glass Noodle Stir-Fry (Pad Woon Sen) - From Pailin "Pai" Chongchitnant's Hot Thai Kitchen. She is a wonder and has tons of recipes and very helpful guidance on ingredients and what to look for.

11 Classic French Dishes - from Spruce Eats.
45 Traditional German Recipes - from Taste of Home
Indonesian Recipes - A large collection of Indonesian as well as Vietnamese and Chinese recipes from Daily Cooking Quest
30 Traditional Brazilian Dishes - from iheartbrazil.com

Books to Make You Forget You Are at Home (International Mystery Series)

Homer Kelly Mysteries - most of Jane Langton's HK mysteries are set in New England, but there are ones set in Florence, Venice and Oxford. Each mystery is framed around a famous thinker, artist or place.
Leilani Santiago Hawai'i Mysteries by Naomi Hirahara. Also the author of the Mas Arai mystery series.
Inspector Chopra Mysteries - by Vaseem Khan. Crime novels set in modern day Mumbai.
Chief Inspector Gamache Series - by Louise Penny set in Quebec, Canada
Inspector Chen Series - by Qiu Xiaolong, set in modern Shanghai.
No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency - Set in Botswana, this popular detectives series Alexander McCall Smith. Featuring the exceedingly clever and indefatigable Precious Ramotswe, the series has now reached 21 books!

International TV:

The House of Flowers (La Casa de las Flores) (Mexico) Netflix

House of Flowers is a Mexican Telenovela (or more accurately a "millennial telenovela" which satirizes the form and is filled with social commentary) about a dysfunctional wealthy family who owns a flower shop, La Casa de las Flores. Unbeknownst to most of the family, the father also owns a drag queen cabaret by the same name. For more reasons that you can count, the family hits bad times and has to re-adjust all their relationships to each other and try to save what's left to save. Wonderful performances throughout, particularly by Cecilia Suárez who plays the overly earnest, controlling, "on the verge of nervous breakdown" Paulina. Her character (greatly aided by her voice that has become a meme in and of itself) is an uncomfortable delight. The House of Flowers is billed as a "black comedy" but the show is not particularly dark particularly because it seems that all the character's crises seem to be self-generated and almost deserving. The show does have some tender moments too which redeem many of the characters. The set designs are extravagantly colorful. Sometimes compared to the work of Pedro Almodóvar, the show is a lovely guilty pleasure to watch. One reviewer said that people should watch the series if they "were not getting enough family drama during quarantine!

Detectorists (English) Amazon Prime, YouTube, iTunes, Google Play

I'm not a doctor, but I'm quite sure that watching Detectorists will lower your blood pressure. Andy (played by Mackenzie Crook who also wrote and directed the series) and Lance (Toby Jones) have absolutely no clue as to what to do with their lives. But they know what to do with every spare daytime moment; metal detecting. In the rural expanse of Essex, the two characters, along with the other odd members of the Danbury Metal Detecting Club scour the fields for metal refuse, their ultimate goal is to find a Roman gold coin (or something comparable) but mostly they find more recently discarded pull tabs from beverage cans. Much of the show consists of conversations between the two who are both unrelentingly cynical, fatalistic and whimsical all at the same time. Quiz shows are their preferred entertainment when the sun goes down. The ensemble cast is a delight (including Diana Rigg and her equally elegant daughter Rachel Stirling!). The Danbury Metal Detecting Club's nemeses are the "AntiquiSearchers" whose two most prominent members are referred to as "Paul and Art" because of their physical resemblance to Simon and Garfunkle, a joke that neither gets. The show also features one of the best delayed punch lines ever (taking a session and a half to setup) regarding the Danbury club member Varda. The series is warmly charming from beginning to end.

International Movies

Abe (US/Brazil) Amazon Prime

Abe (or Avraham or Ibrahim depending on which grandparent is talking to him) has an identity problem. His mother's side of the family is Jewish and his father's side is Palestinian and they all live in Brooklyn. Abe describes himself as "half Palestinian Muslim, half Israeli Jewish, half Brooklyn American. And Gryffindor.” Each side of his family constantly squabbles with the other and each side tries to pull Abe to their own political and cultural worldview. Abe loves to cook and so his parents enroll him in a cooking summer school, but a soon as he enters the class he realizes his own skills are far beyond the simplistic cooking lessons offered. So he skips summer school, jumps on a subway across town and discovers a food truck operated by Brazilian chef "Chico" (played by the wonderful Brazilian samba singer Seu Jorge) who specializes in fusion dishes. Abe begs Chico to teach him how to cook. Chico finally agrees, but tells him that any good cook starts at the bottom with dishwashing and garbage duty. But Abe hangs in there and eventually he is taken under Chico's wing. Abe thinks that perhaps "fusion" cooking can bring his fractured family together, but that task seems to be rather too tall a mountain to climb, until . . . Directed by the Brazilian filmmaker Fernando Grostein Andrade, film is charming if not overly sophisticated, both Noah Schnapp as Abe and Jorge give memorable performances and the food is delectable.

Children of Heaven (Iran) Amazon Prime, YouTube, iTunes and Google Play

Children of Heaven is an multi- winning (winning top film at the Los Angeles and Montreal international film festivals) Iranian film by acclaimed director Majid Majidi. Roger Ebert said of the film, "Children of Heaven is very nearly a perfect movie for children, and of course that means adults will like it, too. It lacks the cynicism and smart-mouth attitudes of so much American entertainment for kids and glows with a kind of good-hearted purity." Set in modern day Tehran, the film is about a young boy, Ali, who charged with picking up his sister's only pair of shoes from cobbler, but on the way home he accidentally loses them (they are picked up by a blind trash collector). Knowing his parents can ill-afford to buy a new pair of shoes (and fearing their disappointment), Ali and his sister Zahra concoct a plan to hide the fact that the shoes are gone. When that doesn't quite work out, Ali hatches another plan . . . The film is sweet (particularly the relationship between Ali and his sister Zahra), touching and relatable. Even though it has subtitles, its a great film to watch with your kids. The film is extremely rich in "ethnographic" details, showing the everyday experiences of a family trying to live and love under difficult circumstances. It's beautiful.

May 8, 2020



Local Cultural News and Nifty Things to Do Whilst Homebound:
Some interesting, helpful and fun activities from our staff and friends (if you know of any more, send them along!) (Thanks Ciska!):

Patrick Stewart Reading a Shakespeare Sonnet a Day Stewart says he will continue these "Until this horror is over!"
Views of the Prettiest Skylines
Virtual Train Rides All Over the World
Online Cultural Experiences
A Virtual Safari, Women Trailblazers and More
Rainbows as Signs of Thank You, Hope and Solidarity
Shakespeare Performed Around the World
Learn Korean with BTS How about learning to speak Korean with one of the world's biggest boy bands!
Faces of Frida Online "Epic" Exhibit Over 800 artworks by Frida Kahlo (and cool VR stuff too!)

Kid's Corner: I say "Keep 'em busy!" (Thanks Chris!)

Art Is Where the Home Is Free art activity packs for your kids created by a group of well-known British artists
The New Children’s Museum - Resources for Children and Caregivers
Midway Little Skippers - Games, Coloring, and a 1945 Midway Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe
Smithsonian for Kids
YMCA San Diego - Family Resources
Scholastic Learn At Home

Music & Dance for Your Soul:

• Ongoing Shark Belly (download live concerts (audio only) held at the Belly-Up
Milton Nascimento Concert a mostly acoustic set from the remarkable singer-composer with a vocal artistry beyond comparison.
What's Goin On one of the best songs ever, done up proud by Playing for Change
Latin Music USA from PBS
How to Live Stream on YouTube Be a star!

Food Stuff:

Exquisite Moroccan Recipes Recipes and commentary from the wonderful Kitty Morse
16 Dishes That Define Taiwanese Food
Massimo Bottura Free Cooking Classes One of the very best chefs in the world invites you into his home kitchen.
90 Favorite Greek Recipes
17 Traditional Chilean Recipes

Books to Make You Forget You Are at Home (International Mystery Series) (Thanks to Sharon and Adrian!)

The Living Room Of The Dead (The Ray Sharp Novels - Book 1)
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (A Flavia de Luce Mystery)
A Carrion Death (Detective Kubu Series - Book 1)
Death at the Chateau Bremont (A Provençal Mystery)
Flower Net (The Red Princess Mysteries)

International TV:

Ghost Bride (Malaysia) Netflix

The Ghost Bride is based on the best selling novel Yangsze Choo. This week she attended (virtually) the Worldview Project Book Club meeting to discuss her meticulously researched and thrilling murder-mystery novel The Night Tiger. She kept us all spellbound. The Ghost Bride, set in 1890's colonial Malacca (a timeless city if there ever was one) is a story about a Chinese-Malaysian woman (Pan Li-lan) who agrees to "marry" a wealthy family's deceased son (Tian-ching)in exchange for financial help for her debt-ridden family. Ghost marriage has existed in many cultures throughout history, but in perhaps nowhere as practiced as in China. It may have originally occurred as a marriage between two people who are deceased, but evolved to include marriages between a living and a deceased person. Although the reasons for the existence of the practice are numerous, most common is that it provides companionship for the deceased in the afterlife. But in the series Ghost Bride, things get complicated when Tian-ching's ghost begins inhabiting Pan Li-lan's dreams. Turns out he was murdered, but he doesn't know by whom. He enlists Pan Li-lan to solve the murder mystery of his own demise.

Taco Chronicles (Mexico) Netflix

For the past decade and a half, Worldview Project volunteers have traveled to Tecate (the most convenient way, by far, to visit Mexico) for a day meandering around the town enjoying the sights, sounds-and perhaps most of all-the food. One particular food (although the pastries at El Mejor Pan de Tecate and the fresh fruit popsicles are delicious) stands out, tacos. One of our volunteers (Ana) dubbed the day long sojourn as "taco madness". We have yet to sample a taco in San Diego that can match the exquisite ones from Tecate. But it seems that nowhere can you find people as intensely passionate about tacos as among the denizens of Mexico City. The Taco Chronicles series is loving tribute to this culinary obsession. Each episode focuses on a different kind of taco (yes, Virginia, there are more than one). "Volume 1" of the series is comprised of 6 episodes, each 1/2 hour show focusing on a different kinds of tacos; Al Pastor (my favorite!), Carnitas, Canasta, Asada, Barbaco, and Guisado. Gorgeously filmed, the series seeks to uncover the human stories and secrets of the myriad of taquerías found throughout Mexico's marvelous capital. If the show doesn't trigger your food lust, nothing will.

International Movies

OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies (French) Amazon Prime, YouTube, Vudu, iTunes and Google Play

One might think that OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies is a parody of James Bond films, but the movie is based on a series of spy novels by the French author Jay Bruce, whose first novel in the series pre-dated Ian Flemming's first James Bond book by four years. Although Bruce died in a car accident when he was only 42, he managed to write 88 books in the OSS 117 series as well as penning many other novels. Interestingly the novels main character, super spy Hubert Bonisseur de La Bath is an American of French descent who works for a number of American spy agencies. Rather than being a spoof of James Bond, OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies is a spoof of the original French novels. In the movie (and its sequel 'Lost in Rio') Agent 117 is a French Spy. Both films are flat-out silly and reminiscent of the Pink Panther movies. Agent 117 is played by the hugely funny and talented French actor Jean Dujardin (who among many other accolades won the "Best Actor" Oscar for the lovely film The Artist. It would be an understatement to say Dujardin steals the show. His OSS 117 is an unflappable (or perhaps just insensate) French chauvinist who believes that nothing the French government is completely and utterly infallible (despite hysterically funny evidence to the contrary) and French culture is the standard by which all other cultures should be judged. Both films in the series are unabashedly silly, but Dujardin's impeccable comedic timing and mannerisms elevated everthing to an entirely new level of absurdity. The 2nd film in the series ('Rio') is less comedically brilliant than the first, with the exception of perhaps the funniest chase scene ever filmed.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople (New Zealand) Amazon Prime, Hulu, YouTube, Vudu, iTunes and Google Play

Some films you just want to hug, Hunt for the Wilderpeople is one. Written and directed by Taika Waititi, this film is offbeat and immensely humorous. Waititi also wrote and starred in the recent film Jojo Rabbit for which he won the Best Adapted Screenplay Academy Award. Hunt for the Wilderpeople is the highest grossing New Zealand film of all time. The film is about the adventures of a 13 year old Maori hip-hop loving juvenile delinquent Ricky and his foster parent Hec, a cantankerous misanthropic reclusive farmer (played by the wonderful Irish New Zealander, Sam Neill). The film was poorly promoted in the US and only had a limited run, which is a shame because it is a gem. After the sudden death of his foster mother, Ricky (soon followed and then joined by Hec) sets out on the lam to escape having social services place him in another home. A rumor gets spread that Hec is a dangerous pedophile that has kidnapped Ricky and a nationwide manhunt ensues. The film features the exquisite natural beauty of New Zealand, and the chemistry that develops between Ricky and Hec in this off-the-beaten-path comedy will both warm your heart and tickle your funny-bone.


May 1, 2020




Local Cultural News and Nifty Things to Do Whilst Homebound:
Some interesting, helpful and fun activities from our staff and friends (if you know of any more, send them along!):

Hands of Peace Community Circles
Virtual Talk: European Response to Covid-19 & Implications for Transatlantic Relations San Diego Diplomacy Council
Free Online Screening of The Postcard courtesy of the SD Italian Film Festival
Museum of Photographic Arts Livestream Series
San Diego International Film Festival Online Series
Screening of Singing Our Way to Freedom by Media Arts Center San Diego’s San Diego Latino Film Festival
Screening of Nuestras Madres (Our Mothers) by Media Arts Center San Diego’s San Diego Latino Film Festival
Live Streams from the San Diego Zoo
Live Webcams from the Georgia Aquarium
Virtual Events from the California Center for the Arts, Escondido
New Grant for Balboa Park International Cottages
Things To Do At Home During Lockdown: The Best Online and Virtual Events Taking Place Today from London Inside
UNESCO Asks 'Little Artists' to Draw a World Heritage Site That Matters to Them
Around The World, At Home: Arts, Game Drives, Food, Wine '" From Ireland, South Africa, Napa, More
Virtual San Diego: Bringing Culture and Attractions to You
Air BnB's Online Activities Lots to do with folks around the world (most require payment but some are free)

Music & Dance for Your Soul:

Live Streaming from European DJs Techno anyone?
Live from Home Concerts Courtesy of Live Nation
Livestream Music Concerts from Discover Music
NPR's List of Livestream Concerts updated daily
The Dance Performances That Have Gone Online from Dance Magazine

More Museums and Cultural Sites to Virtually Meander Through:

Street Art from Around the World (Google Art Project)
YouTube Virtual Walking Tours of Cool Places
The Most Beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Sites
45 Abandoned Places Around the World That Are Eerily Beautiful
Virtual Tours of the Vatican

Food Stuff:

San Diego Magazine's List of Restaurants Offering Take-Out and Delivery
Comfort Food From Around the World
International Recipes from Venturists.net
International Breakfasts from Mr. Breakfast
Lots and lots of International Recipes from Curious Cuisinière

International TV:

Panchayat (India) Amazon Prime

Engineering student Abhishek sure wishes he had studied harder when he realizes that the only job he can find after graduating college is the job of secretary for a Panchayat (village council) in Uttar Pradesh (North India). Abhishek goes from a world of glitzy modern shopping malls and fancy restaurants to a dust-filled rural world of seemingly endless inconveniences hardly aided by ubiquitous cell-phones. The show does a great job of replicating the pace of village life: things don't happen, they evolve. The humor has no punch lines'"it's entirely situational. If you appreciate the daily ironies of human life, you will love this show. It's a rather realistic view of a side of India not much seen in the West. Relax and let it unfold.


Foyle's War (England) Amazon Prime, YouTube, iTunes, Google Play

For health reasons Detective Chief Superintendent Christopher Foyle (Michael Kitchen) can't fight in World War II. But he fights in a very different war on the home front, fighting those who seek to take unscrupulous, sometimes murderous advantage of the wartime chaos in the Southeastern city of Hastings. Ably assisted by his driver (the effervescent Sam played by Honeysuckle Weeks) and the troubled-soul Detective Sergeant Paul Milner (Anthony Howell), Foyle is soft-spoken, methodical, empathetic but absolutely unrelenting in his efforts to bring to miscreants to justice. Written by the award-winning screenwriter Anthony Horowitz, the show frequently visits the moral complexities brought on by war for those struggling to survive far from the actual fighting.

International Movies

The Farewell (US/China) Amazon Prime, YouTube, Vudu and Google Play

Billi (Akwafina) was brought to the United States when she was only a child. At 30 years old, Billi lives in New York and is trying to make it as an writer. While visiting her parents for dinner, they let on that they are returning to China because "Nai Nai" (Billi's grandmother, played by Shuzhen Zhao) is dying. Shocking Billi to her moral core, she learns that no one has told her grandmother that she's dying. Billi's parents don't want her to accompany them because they believe that she won't be able to keep the secret if there. Looking for work and behind in her rent, Billi maxes out her credit card and catches the first flight she can to China. What follows is a tender drama (with occasional comic relief) that brings to the fore seemingly incompatible cultural differences between her Americanized family and the family they left behind in China who see the world very differently. Both cultural and personality differences bring forth very different manners of coping with the apparent demise of the family's beloved Nai Nai. A wonderful ensemble of actors and sensitive writing and deft direction by Lulu Wang (an the film is semi-autobiographical and "based on a real lie") will pull you into the family and this wonderful film.

Man from Reno (US) Tubi, Amazon Prime and iTunes

Several years ago I saw this film at the San Diego Asian Film Festival. As one of the film's stars is the venerable Mexican-American actor Pepe Serna (who plays a sheriff), the film would have been just at home at the Latino Film Festival. Written and directed by Dave Boyle, Man from Reno is a cross-cultural murder mystery in a neo-noire style with a plot filled with mysterious twists and turns. Best-selling Japanese crime novelist Aki-Akahori (played by Ayako Fujitani) is hiding out in San Francisco to escape the pressures of fame in Japan who accidentally becomes involved in a real life murder mystery. Sheriff De Moral (Serna) has his own mystery to solve and the two plots run parallel to each other until they intersect. Much of the movie is in Japanese (with English subtitles); but that is no artifice, it is cleverly integral to the plot. If you enjoy artfully constructed but complex murder plots, you will enjoy this movie.

April 24, 2020


Things to Do Whilst Homebound:
Some interesting, helpful and fun activities from our staff and friends (if you know of any others, please send them along!).
Music for Your Soul:
More Museums to Virtually Meander Through
Food Stuff:
International TV

Kim's Convenience (Canada) Netflix

Kim's Convenience is a sitcom about a convenience store owned and operated by an immigrant Korean family in Toronto, Canada. The writing is wonderfully clever and the acting is generally spot-on. Janet, the college student in the family, is trying her hardest to be a properly "woke" person, but ends up realizing how maddeningly difficult that can be with even the best of intentions. Her brother Jung is the black sheep of the family who is estranged from his father Mr. Kim (Appa, “Father”). For the first part of the series, Janet suffers as the go-between between Jung and his dad. Janet is also driven crazy with Appa's constant chiding (dads and daughters everywhere will understand!). One of the best comic portrayals is turned in by "Mrs. Kim" (aka Umma), who is earnest and kind but just can't help meddling with the lives of'"not just her family members'"but everyone she encounters. Jung and his partner-in-past-crimes (which landed Jung in Juvie despite being innocent) work at Handy Car Rental. The flighty and funny Shannon is their boss. She's got the hots for Jung, but as you know, these things get complicated! Really one of the most genuinely funny programs streaming.

Servant of the People (Ukraine) Netflix

This is art imitating life imitating art. In this comedy a surreptitious phone video of a high school history teacher's profanity-laced tirade about corrupt Ukrainian leaders goes viral and, without his knowledge. he is placed on the presidential ballot and wins! Now its put up or shut up as the teacher populates his cabinet with folks he thinks are ethical (sometimes regardless of their particular expertise) and they go to battle with the corrupt oligarchy. After the series was completed, Volodymyr Zelensky, the comedian who plays the corruption-fighting teacher who becomes president, ran for the actual presidency of the Ukraine won! The whole world learned about him when the President of the United States "encouraged" (I could use a stronger word here) Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden and his son's actions regarding Ukraine leading to the impeachment of the U.S. President. I watched the series before these real world events took place and I highly recommend it as unique peek into another political culture. I'm sure in real life, the situation is not so funny, but this series is a blast!


International Movies

Shoplifters (Japan) Hulu
Shoplifters is a film that challenges conventional wisdom and norms regarding what constitutes "a family" and healty familial relations. Set in Tokyo, the film centers on the experience of a family living on the outskirts of society who subsist not just on shoplifting but a number of economic pursuits that are generally considered improper. It is almost impossible to relate anything about the film's actual events without revealing the plot or doing the film an injustice. The film is, in turns, sweet, beautiful, melancholic and heartbreaking. The acting (by everyone in the family) and direction (by the prolific Hirokazu Kore-eda) is sublime and beautifully crafted. The film won the 2018 Cannes film festival Palm d'Or (the highest award). The film is paradoxically both powerful and gentle a welcome antidote in a cinematic universe that too often favors shocking spectacle over embraceable art.

A Special Day (Italy) for rent at YouTube, Google Play, Vudu, Amazon Prime and iTunes
With her husband and six kids out at the fascist rally for Hitler's visit to Rome, the overworked and unappreciated housewife Antonietta (Sophia Loren) goes about her daily chores. Also at home in the towering but drab apartment complex is Gabriele (Marcello Mastroianni), a radio announcer who recently was fired because he is homosexual. The two meet when Antonietta's family's mynah bird escapes, and in her search for the bird, she meets Gabriele who is methodically and calmly closing his affairs before his planned suicide. He stops his fateful preparations to help Antonietta and the two end up spending the rest of the day together. They are'"in almost every way'"polar opposites, but the relationship that evolves over the course of the day is moving, thought-provoking, and bittersweet. They both lead lives of desperation and humiliation, but very differently. They both seek some sort of solace and a more gentle touch in each other. Loren and Mastroianni are bigger-than-life stars that deftly tune down their performances and play against their normal typecasting, delivering sensitive and performances that will linger in your heart for some time. If you like quietly subversive films, this is one of the best. Two notes: The background sound for most of the movie is the live broadcast of the Hitler/Mussolini rally creating constant counterpoint to the tenderness that Antonietta and Gabriele share. Film geeks will discover a bit of cinema magic in the very first and last scenes in which Sofia Loren appears. In a world turning towards intolerance, the film's message has renewed significance

April 17, 2020



Online Film Festivals

Kansas City International Film Festival Online
Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival Online
San Diego International Film Festival Online Series
Hawaii International Film Festival Online

International Live or Streaming Music, Dance or Theater Performances

One World AccuRadio with many culture specific channels. It's cool!
Live with Carnegie Hall Tuesdays and Thursdays from New York (11:00 AM here). World class talent live.
• Pickathon Concerts Recorded Live, on Youtube and Facebook. Every day at 1:00 PM until June 3rd!
National Theater at HomeFree full-length plays every Thursday (in Britain could be Friday here) Each performance available for a week.
The Shows Must Go On! Full Length Theater Shows Every Saturday at 11:00 AM (each available for 48 hours)

Museum Virtual Tours

Virtual Tour of Egypt's Giza Plateau (Pyramids!)
Musée du quai Branly - Jacques Chirac - Paris, France
Lahore Museum - Pakistan
Museum of Ethnic Cultures - Minzu University of China
Museo Arqueológico de Granada - Spain
The State Hermitage Museum - Saint Petersburg, Russia

World Cuisine & Recipes

Global Table Adventure
World Cuisine at tablespoon.com
Recipes Around the World
Global Recipe Guide from foodandwine.com
Easy International Dishes from Patty Saveurs' blog

Practical Stuff

Ok, some folks really need to get their hair cut. If you decide to cut your own hair, check out this resource from Cosmopolitan. How to Cut Your Own Hair at Home Without Totally Effing It Up which gives tons of info on how you can cut your hair in a variety of different styles.

International TV

Atelier (Japan) Netflix

Ateliers are designer's workshops. This series is about a high-class lingerie shop, Emotion, located in Tokyo's fashionable Ginza district. The firm was established by Ms. Nanjo (played by Mao Daichi) as a one off or limited production shop producing lingerie for women who want the best no matter what it costs. Nanjo is extremely dedicated to creating the most beautiful and most comfortable lingerie possible. She is considered to top designer in Tokyo. She knows what she wants and her staff works tirelessly to make Mayuko's vision a reality. However, Mayuko (Mirei Kiritani) a young undisciplined upstart with big ideas and considerable ambition joins the firm. Mayuko is an obsessed fabric geek who wants to expand the line and use new patterns and fabrics, so that women with more modest budgets can afford Emotion lingerie. Mayuko frustration with Ms. Nanjo's resistance to change is only made worse by Mayuko's tremendous respect and awe she has for her employer. While the individual plotlines are perhaps not that unique, wonderful acting, high production and insights into uniquely Japanese ways of understanding the world makes Atelier a captivating show.

Call My Agent (France) Netflix

The in movies and TV shows talent agents are usually portrayed as having the ethics of an ambulance chasing lawyer. Call My Agent is series set in a Paris talent agency. The agency represents the most well-known stars of French cinema. Like the series Extras (starring Ricky Gervais) many notable French actors appear in the show, playing themselves but in a way that may be somewhat contrary to the public's perception of them. In addition to comedic tension, the show is often quite human and tender. We feel for the stars but also for the agents who have to manage them. All normal cut-throat shenanigans happen in Call My Agent, but differing from most TV and movies that involve talent agents, Call My Agent looks at the world from the viewpoint of the agents and not the stars. These agents go to rather extreme lengths to please their famous client's needs whilst doing their best to maintain their own dignity and personal integrity. The French name for the show is 10 Ten Percent, the agents normal fee, but earning that fee is no easy feat. This comedy is well acted and often rather clever. The comedy is entirely situational and avoids descending into cheap laughs. All the characters, in the own unique ways struggle to make it and even though it is a comedy, none of the characters seem overly caricatured. It's a decidedly different sense of humor than normal TV offers.

International Movies

We are living in challenging times, for many the hardest times they have experienced. These two films, one a documentary, the other based on a true story show how remarkable humans can be when the chips are down in ways most of us may never know.


The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (Malawi) Netflix

The movie depicts the real life experiences and best selling autobiography of William Kamkwamba. William grew up in a farming community in Malawi that was on the verge of famine. The film is quite sophisticated in showing the myriad ways, both subtle and extreme, political corruption, corporate agendas, climatic and environmental conditions (changed by human activity) have conspired to make rural life in much of Africa near impossible. Watching the film you will have a deeper understanding, at a more personal level, how these forces have compelled people to move to urban slums where life is extremely hard but more survivable. His parents unable to pay his school fees 13 year old William is expelled from school. His mother, Agnes, wants her son and daughter to do well in school and go to college. William is an earnest, but not great, student. But he is absolutely consumed by the wonders of electricity and electronics having a side-gig of repairing radios and cassette players for his neighbors. Farming is dependent on both sun and rain, but rarely do the two factors seem to work together well for farming. It's either flooding because of too much rain or the earth is too dry because of long droughts. The have water wells but no practical way of getting the water to the fields. But William thinks he can change this equation if he builds a wind mill that drives a small generator and pump. But under conditions where neighbors are fighting to survive by either fleeing to the city or trying against all odds to continue farming, it's hard for William to convince people to buy into his plan. His biggest obstacle is his own father who is at his whit's end trying to ensure his families mere survival. William loves his father but he has tremendous faith that his idea is worth the sacrifices required. As you might guess, William succeeds. Most reviewers loved this film, the ones that didn't complained about the film craft, not the underlying story or the treatment of the issues involved. I found the film to be wonderfully anthropological in the sense that it brought out the intricacies of everyday life without cinematic fanfare. There are strong performances throughout and it is really a story worth telling.


Honeyland (North Macedonia) Netflix

Honeyland has won numerous "best documentary" awards and a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Set in a remote mountain village of North Macedonia, Honeyland chronicles the real-life experiences of a traditional bee keeper named Hatidže Muratova, who lives with her blind and aged mother. With neither running water nor electricity she ekes out a life by selling the honey that her bees produce. Hatidže's life changes dramatically when Hussein and his family of 9 and 100 head of cattle take up residence next door. Relations between Hatidže and Hussein's family are great. . . at first. What makes the movie particularly captivating is Hatidže herself. She has real grit but still has a softer side, a wise humanity about her and she embraces the few joys that come her way. The film is less about triumph than it is about perseverance, it's deeply touching.
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