[USC] Press Freedom for Israel?
COUNTRIES & CULTURES / Israel / Jewish / JOURNALISM / USC Annenberg School Projects

[USC] Press Freedom for Israel?

When I wrote this essay for a USC journalism class in October, there was no obvious sign that tensions between Israel and Palestine would soon flare up in the Gaza Strip once again. But then in mid-November Palestinians began lobbing rockets over the border. A decades-old conflict over territory and homeland picked up where it had last left off. Israel responded with air raids, and casualties resulted on both sides. U.S. media pounced on the story, filling front pages, radio reports, and TV shows. No doubt coverage in Israel and the Middle East was just as robust. But was it free of government influence and other constraints? Israel treats press freedom differently from the U.S., as my paper aims to explain. Times of war are especially sensitive. Israel and Palestine may have agreed on a cease-fire, but Israel’s political situation is still unstable. Israeli citizens — and the world — will need an active press to keep us informed about what is happening, and what we might expect next. Continue reading

[Blog] Hello and Goodbye at the U.S.-Mexico Border
*BLOG / COUNTRIES & CULTURES / Immigration Issues / LATIN AMERICAN/LATINO / Mexican / Tijuana

[Blog] Hello and Goodbye at the U.S.-Mexico Border

After a half-dozen trips, I thought I knew Tijuana. I thought I understood the vicissitudes of border life. But I had never been to the crazy spot between the United States and Mexico, San Ysidro and Tijuana, where the border wall descends into the sea. I finally saw it in 2008, during a trip with the Occidental College Multicultural Summer Institute… Continue reading

[Blog] Musings on Olvera St.: Whitewashed or Authentic? | Pensamientos Sobre la Calle Olvera: ¿Whitewashed o Autentico?
*BLOG / Downtown / FOOD / Latin American food / LATIN AMERICAN/LATINO / Mexican / Mexican food / Urban Issues

[Blog] Musings on Olvera St.: Whitewashed or Authentic? | Pensamientos Sobre la Calle Olvera: ¿Whitewashed o Autentico?

Olvera St.: Authentic Mexican enclave? Whitewashed tourist attraction? Olvera St. is not one or the other. It is both, and in that mix represents a fascinating model of what it means to be at the center of such a pluralistic, multi-cultural city as Los Angeles, in the exact spot where its history, present and future intersect…. [read this post in both English and Spanish] Continue reading

[Blog] We All Love Spaghetti and Meatballs | Todos Amamos a Espagueti con Albóndigas
Filpino / FOOD / Immigration Issues / Italian

[Blog] We All Love Spaghetti and Meatballs | Todos Amamos a Espagueti con Albóndigas

This post was originally written in Spanish for the “Los Angeles Culinary Culture” blog at USC, part of professor Sarah Portnoy’s upper-level Spanish course on Latino food in L.A. Scroll down for English, or turn to Page 2 for the Spanish…..Every big gathering with my Italian family in Connecticut has been marked by one thing: food. In particular, spaghetti with meatballs…. Continue reading

[Blog] Masanga Marima Brings “Guantanamera” from L.A. to Zimbabwe and Back (+ Video)
*VIDEO / African / COUNTRIES & CULTURES / Cuban / Latin American / LATIN AMERICAN/LATINO / MUSIC

[Blog] Masanga Marima Brings “Guantanamera” from L.A. to Zimbabwe and Back (+ Video)

The simple tune and patriotic lyrics of “Guantanamera,” Cuba’s signature song, have traveled to numerous far-flung corners of the planet. Even unlikely ones, I learned last Friday at a concert by Masanga Marimba at MacArthur Park’s Levitt Pavilion. Masanga Marimba blends African and Latin American musical styles, mostly played on seven Zimbabwean marimbas ranging from … Continue reading

[Blog] Summer Reading: China, North Korea, Russia, Ukraine, Cuba and New York City
BOOKS & LITERATURE / Chinese / Cuban / Jewish / North Korean / Russian

[Blog] Summer Reading: China, North Korea, Russia, Ukraine, Cuba and New York City

We’re nearing the end of those “lazy, crazy, hazy days of summer,” as Nat King Cole put it in his 1963 pop hit. The days have been especially lazy, crazy and hazy for those of us who just graduated college. Plenty of time for reading! No syllabus necessary. My picks have taken me to the … Continue reading

[Blog] Watch This Now: Ana Tijoux + Manu Chao in Arizona
*BLOG / Immigration Issues / Latin American / LATIN AMERICAN/LATINO / MUSIC

[Blog] Watch This Now: Ana Tijoux + Manu Chao in Arizona

The scene in the just-released music video by Alex Rivera looks calm and quaint, at first. Like a few friends camping in the desert who decide to sing a song at sunset, accompanied only by acoustic guitar and the taps of their toes in the dirt. But it’s not so simple. The place is Arizona, … Continue reading

[LA Weekly] Diana Kennedy at LACMA: Oaxacan Foods, Book Signing + Proper Tortillas
BOOKS & LITERATURE / FOOD / LA Weekly / Latin American food / Mexican / Mexican food

[LA Weekly] Diana Kennedy at LACMA: Oaxacan Foods, Book Signing + Proper Tortillas

Diana Kennedy, the Mexican cuisine authority and cookbook author, doesn’t often travel outside of Mexico, where she lives in rural Michoacán a few hours from Mexico City. For the past 65 years, Mexico has been her home, and a laboratory for her studies and writings about Mexico’s regional cuisines. So her appearance last Sunday at the L.A. County Museum of Art for a brief talk and book signing presented a rare opportunity for Angelenos to meet the woman who’s often called “the Julia Child of Mexican food.” Like Child, Kennedy has shared her vast knowledge on a topic that had previously been both exotic and esoteric in the United States. Her latest book, Oaxaca al Gusto from 2010, ismuch more than a cookbook. The 450-page tome presents a study of Oaxacan cultural history illuminated by glorious photographs, many taken by Kennedy herself…. [keep reading] Continue reading

Los Jornaleros del Norte: Day Laborer Band Sings for Immigrant Rights (+ Video)
*BLOG / *VIDEO / COUNTRIES & CULTURES / Immigration Issues / Latin American / LATIN AMERICAN/LATINO / MUSIC

Los Jornaleros del Norte: Day Laborer Band Sings for Immigrant Rights (+ Video)

On the cover of the latest Los Jornaleros del Norte album, Que No Pare la Lucha (May The Struggle Go On), a drawing portrays a mustachioed man wearing a cap stitched with the word “dignidad.” His right hand is clenched in a fist above his head. The stance depicts pride and defiance, the same attitude the group has taken in response to Arizona’s controversial immigration law, Senate Bill 1070, which shines through the band’s entire repertoire… Continue reading