Thirty-Five Years Ago
“Al would come to work every day on time. From the moment he arrived at the beach he never took his eyes off the water until it was time to leave.... When the rest of the guards had a grievance and would call a meeting to plan strategy, Al would stay home. He couldn’t be bothered. He was the perfect lifeguard, he never had an original thought.”
— “LIFEGUARD TELLS THE FULL STORY,” Ronald W. Jensen, November 13, 1975
Thirty Years Ago
Where once the residents of Pacific Beach bought stamps and mailed packages, they’ll soon be squeezing tomatoes and weighing bananas. And where once they watched X-rated films or saw rock concerts, they may soon be buying stamps and mailing packages. In a somewhat confusing series of events, the Pacific Beach post office lost its lease, and now it appears that the Roxy Theatre on nearby Cass Street will be razed to make way for a new post office.
— CITY LIGHTS: “THE MAILMAN MOVETH,” Mark Orwoll, November 13, 1980
Twenty-Five Years Ago
No matter how many times you listen to Desmond Tutu’s pontifications or, via the wonder of satellite transmission, how many blacks you see killed by white policemen in Johannesburg, the depth of rage among black Africans remains an abstraction to most Americans. Numbed by our incessant lurching from crisis to disaster to catastrophe, we rank the growing horror of South Africa’s impending race war somewhere between nuclear holocaust and AIDS on the current roster of global woes.
— “POET OF STRUGGLE,” Neal Matthews, November 14, 1985
Twenty Years Ago
One of the most beautiful views of San Diego is from the summit of a small hill in Tijuana’s municipal garbage dump. People live on that hill, picking through the trash.... Sometimes they find meat that is not too rotten to be cooked.
This is were the city drops off its dead animals — dogs, cats, sometimes horses, goats. They are piled in heaps six feet high and torched. In that stinking blue haze, amid nightmare sculptures of charred ribs and carbonized tails, you can watch the buildings of San Diego gleam gold on the blue coastline.
— “SIFTING THROUGH THE TRASH,” Luis Urrea, November 15, 1990
Fifteen Years Ago
What Is It? directed and conceived by the intently and intensely neurotic Crispin Glover, concerns a world populated solely by the retarded. Understand, this is not a film about retardation, or even the effects of Down syndrome. This is ignored for a more fabulous reality in which all dialogue and action are determined by the attenuated attention spans and spasmodic rhythms of the actors themselves, who happen to be retarded.
In opposition to the Forrest Gump notion that retarded people are moral Pollyannas, the ’tards of What Is It? come off as preternaturally vicious.
— HELL.A., Adam Parfrey, November 9, 1995
Ten Years Ago
Hector...was gone for a number of years until “he escaped in one of those famous Mexico City asylum escapes. You know, someone opens the doors and all the patients run out into the street.” The Vivancos agree that aguardiente stabilizes Hector better than any of the medications he was given at the asylum. He occasionally waits in front of the elementary school to corner children and tell them he’s going to kill their parents. The children laugh and move on.
— TIP OF MY TONGUE: “AGUARDIENTE,” Max Nash, November 9, 2000
Five Years Ago
The telltale scene in Jarhead would have to be the screening of Apocalypse Now for the Marines of Camp Pendleton.
Fundamentally, this is a lot of old stuff made over for a new war, a new era, a new age in filmmaking. Which means, whatever else it means, a bleached-out image, long before we’re under the desert sun; a compact disc’s worth of golden oldies; a crutchlike dependence on first-person narration; a surplus of four-letter words; a bluntness in the depiction of piss, shit, puke, if not blood; a nose-rubbing focus on the physical, the palpable, and a blindness to what we might blushingly call the spiritual.
— MOVIE REVIEW: “THE LATEST GENERATION,” Duncan Shepherd, November 10, 2005