27th San Diego Latino Film Festival Marches Back At the Perfect Time

Presented by Media Arts Center San Diego

Amidst the post-Super Tuesday barrage of media coverage, the San Diego Latino Film Festival provides another chance to learn about ourselves and what issues are prevalent in society. It also sets a location for both our community and people around the world to gather, confer, enjoy, and educate.

Whether you’re a Latinx cinephile or just the average homegrown San Diegan, there is something for you to see.

From March 12 to the 22 San Diego will be hosting one of the most popular Latinx film festivals in the world. Held at AMC 18 Fashion Valley and Digital Gym CINEMA in North Park, the 27th annual event once began as another local student film competition called Cine Estudiantil. Decades since it has blossomed to an inclusive all out focus and celebration of the arts.

The political climate surrounding immigration and the borderland towns, such as San Diego, has provided a need for positive and representative tales to be told. Festival founder and Executive Director Ethan van Thillo said, “the proliferation of authentic Latino perspectives is more meaningful now than ever, and the 27th edition of the SDLFF is committed to giving filmmakers a platform to accomplish this.”

One of the specific ways of achieving this mission van Thillo and his team have done is bringing back the “Migrant Voices Film Competition.” Co-presented by the San Diego Union-Tribune, this competition allows representative and authentic stories to be told to a wide audience. Varying filmmakers with similar identities conceptualize different ways of telling their life stories. Here, viewers will be given an opportunity to educate themselves on all of the people effected by the issues at hand.

SDLFF will also host a Chicano Film Retrospective, tons of showcases including SOMOS LGBTQ co-presented by San Diego Pride, over 75 filmmakers and celebrities and that’s not even the half of it.

Image courtesy of SDLFF 2020

The opening night party on March 12th is from 8-12:30 AM at Bread and Salt in Barrio Logan. Come enjoy some live music from Orquesta Bi-Nacional de Mambo.

Sonido Latino is a free concert series hosted at the Fashion Valley Mall River Plaza featuring local talent. Every evening from 5 to 8:30 some local artists will be serenading festival goers.

Sabor Latino is a local food, beer and wine festival featuring some of the best food and drink from the most talented chefs and respected breweries and wineries on both sides of our San Diego-Tijuana border. On March 14th from 1 to 5 at Fashion Valley Mall’s River Plaza you can get your wine and dine on.

Image courtesy of SDLFF 2020

Finally the festival will close out with an epic awards ceremony and concert at Bread and Salt featuring music from Boogaloo Assassins. Here, filmmakers will be recognized, the event will be celebrated as a whole, and festival goers and participants will have a chance to mingle amongst one another.

All additional information can be found at the SDLFF 2020 website. Go enjoy some quality cinema and meet someone new!

Written by: Alexis Camel

Five LGBTQIA+ Members to Honor During Black History Month

With Black History Month officially in the second half, and with transphobia apparent in the news of Dwayne Wade’s daughter declaring her gender identity, what time better than now to honor our queer predecessors?

Langston Hughes (1902 – 1967)

Image courtesy of ThoughtCo

Hughes is one of the most recognizable names from the Harlem Renaissance and was very private about his personal life throughout his lifetime. However, a recent analysis of Hughes’s works done by the University of Illinois – Springfield has cemented the idea that he was indeed a queer man. Scholars have indicated that both he and Walt Whitman, an influence of Hughes, included codes alluding to their queer sexuality throughout their lives.

Hughes is said to have unpublished poems written to and for a man he was in love with that he referenced as “Beauty.” He also had a traveling companion whom he spent many days with in the Caribbean named Zell Ingram who we now know to be gay, but at the time Hughes disguised him as a heterosexual man in efforts to protect them both.

The end of Hughes’s life brought more clarification to both his sexuality and identity as the long time proud Black man’s intersectional identities have now brought forth several works for LGBTQIA+ youth to feel representation through. Hughes has had the common legacy of being more recognized posthumously, but we now have even more reason to recognize the brave works of someone who battled against discrimination in various forms.

Audre Lorde (1934 – 1992)

Image courtesy of ThoughtCo

One of the least mentioned, yet most iconic, Black LGBTQIA+ people to ever live is Audre Lorde. She described herself as a “black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet.” Receiving her Master’s degree from Columbia University, Lorde was an active poet since the age of 12. Her first volume of poems titled, First Cities, was published in 1968 at the age of 34 after she served as a librarian in New York public schools for several years.

A lifelong activist fighting for equality for all of her identities, Lorde’s later work showcased works more focused on protesting the powers at hand. These works include Coal (1976), and The Black Unicorn (1978). Lorde found it her moral obligation to speak for the voiceless against all odds. She notably said in one interview, “My sexuality is part and parcel of who I am, and my poetry comes from the intersection of me and my worlds… [White, arch-conservative senator] Jesse Helms’s objection to my work is not about obscenity … or even about sex. It is about revolution and change.”

Lorde is the epitome of fighting for equity and equality not just for one’s race, or gender, but for all of all varying identities. At a time when many chose to hide their sexuality in efforts of detracting from the Civil Rights or Women’s Liberation movement. Truly a warrior, Lorde serves as a role model for Zaya Wade and all other LGBTQIA+ members.

Bayard Rustin (1912 – 1987)

Image courtesy of History.com

Rustin served as the longtime right-hand man and adviser to Martin Luther King Jr. An openly gay man, Rustin is one of the least discussed individuals in regards to the Civil Rights Movement. The main reason for this is due to his sexuality. Due to his public sexuality, he was subject to ridicule and posed a threat to movements happening at the time. Due to this, Rustin accomplished most of his efforts behind the scenes, influencing leaders like King and Ella Baker in their strides for equality.

Rustin is most well-known for his Pacifism which he endowed upon King, thus later being a trademark of King’s protests. He served as a leader for both the March on Washington and the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom though the events were over 20 years apart. A lifelong humanitarian, Rustin was aided the oppressed in several fashions throughout his life.

Though he was out most of his life, Rustin was not active speaking on behalf of the LGBTQIA+ community until the last decade of his life. It was then that he tried to make up for lost time, serving as an advocate for the queer community until his death in 1987. Rustin’s Pacifism is likely his most well-known attribute, here’s to his open sexuality being right up there in the near future.

Marsha P. Johnson (1945 – 1992)

Image courtesy of Biography.com

Now, in the wake of two celebrity parents celebrating the discovery of their trans daughter’s gender identity, we have to finish off this list with two of the most legendary Black trans women to grace this Earth.

Marsha P. Johnson is a name that has often been brought up in the news both in recognition of queer accomplishments and in the wake of hyper-transphobia in America. Johnson dedicated her life to fighting for the rights of her fellow queer youth as well as sex workers, a career that serves as one of few options for many transgender people.

Johnson is one of the most notable figures present during the 1969 Stonewall riots where she and her queer peers fought back against the injustice they had long been subjected to. Johnson would also help form Street Transgender Action Revolutionaries (STAR) along with fellow trans activist Sylvia Rivera. This organization provided homes and safety to many of the oppressed members of the LGBTQIA+ community. Johnson will long live as an icon to the queer community.

Paris Dupree (1950 – 2011)

Image courtesy of The Daily Dot

One of the most legendary House mothers of all time and one of the performers credited with the organization of the vogue, Dupree is widely known for her role in the creation of the ballroom culture that has since served as one of the few safe spaces for the LGBTQIA+ community. Her role in the ballroom scene is highlighted by her creation of categories within the competitions.

A House can be described as, “the family you get to choose,” as Blanca Rodriguez-Evangelista (played by MJ Rodriguez) said in the early episodes of the FX series “Pose.” This show has helped bring ballroom culture and issues of the LGBTQIA+ community to the public eye in recent years. This is heavily due to Dupree’s lifelong work, but also her role in the documentary, “Paris is Burning” which she appeared in and notably stated, “That’s right! I said it! Butch queen! Boy in the day, girl at night.” Butch Queen was just an example of the categories that revolutionized ballroom culture in its early days.

These five individuals are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Black LGBTQIA+ people that have changed the world in their own ways. As Black History Month draws to a close, I urge you to keep the legacies of these folks in mind and do your due diligence to keep their missions for equality afloat in your everyday fight against injustice.

Written by: Alexis Camel

Behind The Mic: Here We Go For The Last Time with Julie Cappiello

Thanksgiving break is a roughly one week period prior to finals week where students head home to enjoy some home-cooked meals and wind down before a dreadful couple of weeks of finals.

We rest, recover, and rejuvenate our bodies with food that is not sold on campus or the adjacent food places so that we can come back energized and ready to take our exams head-on.

Future KCR College Radio Hall of Famer and host of both her self-titled radio show and a satirical news web series “Here We Go Again,” Julie Cappiello started her final few weeks as an undergrad on a rough note. Monday evening on her flight back from her hometown of Lyndhurst, New Jersey trouble arose as they were rerouted to land in LAX as opposed to her initial destination of San Diego, California.

This reroute came after spending two-plus hours on the runway before takeoff, and also having to ride a shuttle from Los Angeles back down to San Diego. To top it off, Cappiello arrived back at four AM on Tuesday, just 13 hours before her final radio show and 15 hours before her final taping of “Here We Go Again.

What a way to start the beginning of the end, right? Well, luckily for Cappiello this was all a mere speed bump on the road to success. She has 4 finals standing between her and the Harry Styles Fine Line Live: One Night Only concert on December 13. Cappiello is a self-proclaimed Styles Stan and this is her graduation gift to herself. She will be finished with her school career at SDSU by the time Harry hits the stage; she too will be hitting the stage soon, walking with her fellow December graduates along with the spring graduates in May 2020. 

Wait, we are at the end of the road already? *Cue Boyz II Men* Before we look too far into the future, let’s take a look at Julie’s journey from Jersey to sunny San Diego. 

She only applied to four colleges in high school, three of them being in her home state of New Jersey and the final being the home of the Aztecs. She found SDSU because The College Board told her it was a literal perfect fit. Now she had long joked with her parents about the thought of moving to this corner of the country, yet she never knew things would work out the way they did. 

On The College Board’s website, she input her requirements and let the search run nationwide. Away from home? Check. Solid Journalism program? Check. Can I have a car? Check. Everything else? CHECK!

She told her parents that she really felt like attending SDSU and though it seemed like a distant dream, she applied anyway. Her high school guidance counselor discouraged her a bit by alerting her that State rarely accepts out of state students, which is a bogus statement, but that did not stop her. She took time out of school just to make sure her application was as respectable and illuminating as her personality.

Then, one day in mid-late December 2015, everything changed. She received the acceptance letter she had long-since hoped for and, “I remember opening it and screaming!” An acceptance letter is not the end all be all in the college world, but her intuition showed her this was not just a dream, but reality. 

“I had this gut feeling when I applied and I had this gut feeling when I got the acceptance email, I’m going there.” She walked into her parents’ room where she and her mother looked at each other in the eyes in agreement, “I’m going there.”

When it came time to visit her future university, Cappiello recalls her flight touching the ground at midnight. With her parents accompanying her, she saw her first palm tree and knew she was home.

The transition from hometown Jersey girl to living 2,760 away from home in a completely new environment did not start off on the best foot. “I felt a bit foreign,” she says as she details the hostile living situation within University Tower. On top of being immaturely bullied by her roommates, she also felt physically ill. So much that her asthma condition that she had long since gotten over, came back to the forefront of her health problems. That’s a note to all of the incoming freshmen of the future, try to live in the new dorms. 

That one year was not all bad, just mostly. She and her mom both wondered upon the start of year two at SDSU, “I don’t know how I made it through.” Her parents kindly urged her to come back home but she refused. Both because of pride and because of that same gut feeling that got her here in the first place.

So when does this dynamic person finally feel like she belongs within the confines of the university? Just like her acceptance date and the times at UT when she felt at her worst, the turning point came in the Winter.

This time it was the Winter of 2017. As a writer for The Daily Aztec, the organization came up with an opportunity to collaborate with KCR College Radio in an effort to do a joint news show. “I thought about it, and I always wanted to do radio, but at my high school we only had a newspaper.” 

She called her mother, who she lovingly speaks to various times throughout each and every day, and told her that she had another gut feeling about this opportunity. Her mom replied, “Every time I think I’m getting you back, San Diego reels you back in.” This was both a truthful and loving statement as she knows Julie knows what is best for her. 

The collaboration between the two student organizations did not fare so well, but within the experience, she befriended former KCR News Director Natalie Bucher and the two hit it off. Bucher was soon to move up the management totem pole and told Cappiello that she should apply for the position of News Director, however, there was also an editor position opening up at The Daily Aztec. She had a tough decision to make and she chose to take a shot at the position for the school paper; unfortunately, she did not receive the job. 

Everything happens for a reason though, and despite choosing to go after the other position, she was still very much interested in becoming KCR’s next News Director. This was all in the Spring of 2017 where she went through some troubled times. Her Godfather passed away on her birthday and she did not get an internship on “The Tonight Show” that she greatly desired. Within the storm of her troubles at the time, she found comfort in Bucher and other members of KCR while also earning the position of News Director.

After heading home for the summer and having an out-of-body experience where she watched herself while getting her wisdom teeth removed, Cappiello came back to Southern California and got herself two new jobs. The self-reflective newly Interdisciplinary Studies major took a look in the mirror and saw that her life is exactly where it needed to be. 

“I just felt so in my power. Nothing can stop me. I’m very content. I’m very happy with my life.” 

She reflects on her hellish first year as an Aztec saying, “Two years ago, freshman year, I never thought that I would be here.” she continues, “I didn’t think that anything like this would happen. 

Cappiello currently works in the legal world at a company she ironically cannot legally disclose. In March of this year during the interview for said position, she and the interviewer were both wearing the same pair of shoes. Not just that, they were both from New Jersey. She ran away with the interview and an hour and a half later she received an official job offer.

“There was something weird about that day. I got up, and I looked on social media and one of my favorite shows had just announced that this season would be their final season.” That show is “Supernatural” on The CW, and she loves it like I love “Entourage,” with a passion. So much that she would leave high school functions just to go home and watch. She and her friends joked during high school that in order for her to survive the halls of hell she needed this show to get her through. Naturally, it has been a staple in her life throughout her tenure here in San Diego and it can’t be made up that as she’s finishing her final days here the program is also going on its victory tour before bidding fans adieu in Spring 2020.

Her favorite show coming to an end on top of finishing her final courses as an undergrad as well as accepting a wonderful job that will lead to a solid career means she is becoming a full-fledged adult. That did not hit until December 4 when her supervisor told her, “You have to get a California’s drivers license now.” Something so simple as an ID can speak volumes about one’s life-shifting into the next gear. What hits the hardest for Cappiello is not being able to keep in touch with her dogs the way she does with her family. She often speaks to both of her sisters and, “My mom and I speak seven times a day.” However not being able to call and connect with the pups, in the same way, makes things a bit difficult at times. With that being said, Ms. Julie Cappiello is definitely on the right path to the future. 

Now, before we here at KCR say our final goodbyes to our esteemed colleague, let’s recognize a couple of her projects that have cemented her legacy within the organization.

Her newest work that she began in the Spring of this year is right here on this website, Sexcapades.

Sexcapades is a sexually open and reflective series where she discusses everything in and around sex with no shame in an effort to allow others to feel that same comfort to have much-needed discussions. I especially like her newest piece titled, “TELL ME WHAT YOU WANT / WHAT YOU REALLY, REALLY WANT.” where she advocates for open communication about sex. 

This series was created because of the lack of education provided in her high school sex education class where abstinence was the curriculum and no talk of safe sex left the mouths of her instructor. Self-taught and informed by her mother, Cappiello has had conversations with her family and aims to make Sexcapades a more inclusive and informative series where members of the LGBTQ+ community can also come for guidance and advice. She even wrote a piece on her sister Justine who is a member of the LGBTQ+ community that is a must-read

Before Sexcapades, was her “baby,” her passion project, “Here We Go Again.” The satirical news program has been running 3 seasons strong and was almost not greenlit, but the trust management had in Cappiello paid off as we can see now. Taking a concept from one of her other favorite shows, “The Daily Show,” Cappiello aimed to translate the ethos to Aztecs and college students across the nation. She has had a lot of success within those three seasons along with those growing pains.

This past season Chantel Mesta and Emilio Tina joined as writers and lifted both the show and Julie to new heights. Busy with graduation, her final classes, work, and having a social life, Cappiello pushed through and created some of her best work with one of her best teams. The final taping was bittersweet for her as things are finally coming to a close, but she has a lot to be proud of.

 “I’m leaving it in good hands. I hope that they continue it, and if not it’ll just be like my little stamp. That is Julie Cappiello, I did that.” 

Julie once thought about transferring schools, but joining KCR led her to new opportunities and a new family. She remains friends with members who have since graduated, maintaining Snapchat streaks and bi-weekly convos. Natalie Bucher even gave her the greatest gift she could ever ask for. “She said f*ck on the air and we couldn’t find the dump button.” The two had always thought the other would be the first to drop a bomb on-air, so Natalie doing so first brought an immeasurable amount of joy to Julie, tying the bow on the gift that KCR has been in her life. 

“It feels weird, now it’s becoming a little bit more real. I’m not scared.” she finishes off by saying something her chiropractor told her, “You might enjoy your professional life more than you enjoyed your student life.” If that’s the case, she has a bright path in her sight. She is not worried about controlling the future, she is taking it day by day and enjoying the journey.

This won’t be the last time we hear of Julie Cappiello, that’s for sure.

Written by: Alexis Camel
Photos by: Alexis Camel

Behind The Mic: Hot Noise! With Jarrett Schmidt

If you’re an early bird looking for that extra pump of energy that 7 espresso shots just can’t fulfill, I have the perfect remedy for you. I recommend one heaping serving of “Hot Noise! With Jarrett Schmidt.”

Jarrett Schmidt’s solo radio show features him and special guests creating and deconstructing sounds some of us have yet to ever hear. Airing live on KCR College Radio Saturdays from 5 to 6 AM, “Hot Noise! With Jarrett Schmidt” is the most energetic and electrifying morning radio show you have never heard. 

The enigmatic host of this program is none other than the early-bird Jarrett Schmidt. The third-year Economics major transferred to SDSU from Southwestern College over the summer to start his fall of 2019 as an Aztec. Looking to exercise his creativity and give the world some piping hot noise, he joined KCR.

Most of the time new members are required to have their first semester of shows with a partner, so as to make the transition easy for those who lack experience. Schmidt figured he would be better off doing something on his own accord. 

With early morning time slots generally wide open, Schmidt managed to work his magic and get his own radio show at the peak of dawn. A radio show at 5 in the morning is perfect for Schmidt; he says he’s up before 5 almost every day and wakes up with no alarm,

What exactly is hot noise? It’s anything that he wants it to be. Having played trombone since middle school, Schmidt is obsessed with creating new sounds using household items, contact mics, and even pumpkins. If it can make an interesting sound, there’s a chance Schmidt has already toyed with it. 

Hot Noise! With Jarrett Schmidt” is only one of a few creative outlets for the noise machine. 

His Bandcamp account features over twenty albums created by Schmidt in the last 2+ years. Within this plethora of music is a surplus of experimentation. Schmidt has a concept album titled Collaborations With the Radio, where he created compositions in conjunction with AM radio shows that were live on air at the time of the recording. Check it out for yourself and see how it affects your position on climate change. 

Being a musician of all sorts often means collaborations with others who can jam out with you. Schmidt is in a free jazz group named Ebaugh that will be performing at Upright Citizen in Chula Vista on December 14th. He has also played trombone with local band Blush on multiple occasions. Most notable though is his band Wholly Roullars, pronounced “Holy Rollers”, where they have yet to write down the name of the band using the same spelling. Every time you see their band name, it is spelled in a completely different way. This noise band features Schmidt and his friend Orion putting their all into their performances and sometimes even dressing up as the Joker to get the crowd to put a smiley face on. 

It’s clear talking with Schmidt that he does all of this for the joy that it brings him at the end of the day. Whether it be putting out concept albums created in his bedroom at the wee hours of the night, or sketching landscapes in his sketchbook as he awaits his next class to begin, Schmidt is living his life to the fullest. 

In a Latin Jazz band during his last semester at Southwestern, he exercised this same daringness during his solo parts where he intentionally played off-key in an effort to do something different. Though his professor wasn’t happy about it, he felt happy to let something out that was deep within him. 

His eagerness to experiment and create is contagious and inspiring to anyone who struggles with doing the same. Schmidt carries around a daring fearlessness that makes anyone want to pick up some art supplies and just see what happens. For him, being carefree and doing things for your own personal sake makes life easy and enjoyable. 

So, what is Success to Jarrett Wolfgang Schmidt?

“Just being able to pay my bills.” 

He is not obsessed with stardom or becoming a millionaire; Schmidt wants to cover necessities and then from their exercise his creativity to keep that smile on his face. 

His inspirations range from Frank Zappa and John Zorn to Gary Wilson and R. Stevie Moore

“They’re really just on another level with their instrumentation. They really understand music theory. I think it’s something to really strive for, but also I think it’s cool just doing stuff without knowing how to do it.” 

R. Stevie Moore is notorious for having released approximately 400 albums in his life so far, Jarrett Schmidt is 23 albums in so far and he wants to someday get into the same numbers as  Moore. 

“Hot Noise! With Jarrett Schmidt” is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Soundcloud right now. It is live every Saturday morning from 5 to 6 am. He has plenty of music live on his Bandcamp and you can see him performing at an open mic near you. 

He would like to let the world know, “A lot of what I do and what I see in people is doing their own thing. It’s all about individualism.”

“I think it’s good for people to do what you want to do; do something that’s true to you.”

Written by: Alexis Camel
Photos by: Alexis Camel