David Dodd 1:48 a.m., May 18
Stories by Jeff Smith
The edge of a minefield is no place to procrastinate.
A recounting of the WII experiences of YP-346, a San Diego tuna boat known as the the Prospect before it was conscripted into the South Pacific war effort.
"Families are terrorized by their weakest member,” says a character in Jon Robin Baitz’s Other Desert Cities. The line’s got that yowza zing to it, as if a fire-spewing profundity. But give it some thought ...
The good news about the Rep’s Federal Jazz Project: music lovers unfamiliar with the name Gilbert Castellanos are in for a surprise, maybe even an epiphany. The San Diegan’s a world-class trumpet player who can ...
In the crosshairs of history, part threeYP-289 goes to war Hurry up and wait. San Diego’s tuna clippers conscripted for World War II saw far more downtime than action. Like the much larger Liberty ships ...
I don’t mean to reduce Ibsen’s drama, but in some ways you could subtitle A Doll’s House “Behind the Scenes with Ken and Barbie.” Torvald and Nora Telmer live in such a profoundly rigid society ...
Adventures of San Diego tuna boats in WWII’s Pacific theater.
You see a great number in a musical and stop the show with rabid applause. But how many times have you really wanted the show to stop — and have them repeat the number on ...
Tuna fishermen in San Diego were recruited along with their boats to function as supply vessels and mine-sweepers.
I make it a hard and fast rule when entering a theater: leave expectations at the door. Even if I know the play or the subject, I want as clean a slate as possible. Be ...
San Diego Musical Theatre’s knock-out production of Bob Fosse’s Chicago must close Sunday, March 3. If you like your entertainment steamy, decadent — and all that jazz — then sprint, don’t just run, to the ...
“What good is freedom if you can’t do nothing with it?”
They are three African-American males at San Pere, Louisiana, near the Bayou. Ogun Henri Size, a mechanic, prides himself for being a responsible adult. Free-spirited younger brother Oshoosi’s back from two years in prison. Now ...
Sun Beauty crew members were saved after using an asparagus can to signal they needed rescuing.
Tuna for days
Every sport or occupation has a dream scenario: score the winning goal; close the impossible sale. For old-time tuna “bait boats,” it was the Big Catch, a mammoth haul with bamboo poles and lines. In ...
What a treat! George Bernard Shaw’s back at the Old Globe — finally! — with first-class direction, performances, and design work. Even a balky turntable on opening night couldn’t tarnish the luster. For the past ...
The tuna spotters sought jumpers, foamers, and boilers on the water’s surface, an indication of schools below and potential future profits.
Navy salts are clock-punchers compared to the tuna men.
THE YEAR IN REVIEW. The world’s most anticipated drama — its end — came and didn’t. Advocates of the apocalypse are probably scrambling for a new Day of Doom so they won’t have to face ...
Jane Austen’s characters read each other like novels. They inspect qualities, every human chapter and verse, and sum them up in lists of checks and balances. In Persuasion, Austen writes, “Her manners were open, easy, ...
Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots at La Jolla Playhouse
“It’s almost like the disease has to win in order for her soul to survive. Or something like that.”
The Old Globe's Measure for Measure
“The comic and tragic parts equally border on the hateful.”
Presidio Hill, the “Plymouth Rock of the West” is also the “cradle of golf in San Diego.”
Ira Aldridge Players' The Gospel at Colonus; The Sugar Witch at OnStage.
At midnight, Rufus Porter heard footsteps on the porch, then a knock on his bedroom door. Frightened faces told all.
Margie’s lived all her life in blue-collar South Boston. Now 30 years since she was a teen, she recounts the fates of former “Southies.” Sheila Sheen od’d. And Marty McDermott’s doing time in Walpole prison. ...
La Jolla Playhouse stages David Mamet's blowtorch comedy Glengarry Glen Ross.
Everything became extreme, chaotic, life-threatening for over 120,000 Japanese Americans.
Letters from Tetsuzo “Tets” Hirasaki, an interned Japanese-American at Poston, Arizona, during WWII.
The S.S. America sails into Porterland, a place so sacred, the faithful feel like removing their shoes.
The letters of Testuzo Hirasaki, a Japanese American interned at the Santa Anita racetrack (dubbed “Santa Japanita”) following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
One of the best features of An Iliad is how contemporary references function like Homer’s similes.
“A mouthful of rum and — bam — the real face appears.”
Before God of Carnage begins at the Old Globe’s White Theatre, Robert Morgan’s set makes a quiet suggestion. Dark objects stand on the perimeter of a circular living room. A small wet bar and sofa ...
As a youth, the poet William Wordsworth crossed the Alps. He hiked the Simplon Pass, a “steep and rugged” road over a mile above sea level. When he reached the other side he stopped cold. ...
Three years after San Diego’s free-speech fight began, vigilantes stood at the ready.
‘NOW IS THE WINTER OF OUR DISCONTENT MADE GLORIOUS SUMMER BY THIS SON OF YORK...” Jay Whittaker screams his first entrance as Richard III with such strained ferocity you’d think his audience sat across Balboa ...
The Red Queen and Hobo King come to town. Ugliness follows them.
San Diego vigilantes against free speech were an expression of the city’s character.
For the La Jolla Playhouse’s Blood & Gifts, Kris Stone devised a spare, semi-familiar set. A gray concrete barrier stretches across the rear stage, like the one at the end of a runway. Much of ...
Violence against free-speech activists.
San Diego’s chief of police denied mistreating free-speech activists. A state commission determined otherwise.
City Leaders Cracked Heads at the County Line
Prominent San Diegans in 1912 formed vigilance committees that escorted free-speech advocates to the county line. That wasn’t the worst of their enforcement efforts.
Free-speech protesters got the fire hose.
San Diego city officials turned the fire hose on free-speech protesters — not last year, but 100 years ago.
Way before Occupy San Diego, free speech activists got carted off to jail in 1912.
“Frankness at all counts is the means to a healthy marriage.”
A Pinter sampler at North Coast Rep; Brilliant Mistake at New Village Arts
Joe Hill called them the “Starvation Army."
At the Free Speech Fight of 1912, soapboxes were kicked out from under speakers.
Unforgettable: Long-Ago In San Diego
About a hundred years ago, the Wobblies labor movement boiled over in San Diego.
“A truck to a Texan is just like his hat.”
Hands on a Hardbody at La Jolla Playhouse.
The Scottsboro Boys at the Old Globe
The nine served time on death row — and heard the electric chair screech when in use.
What you expect is not all there is. The black women, for example, are the wealthiest.
In Thinking Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman writes brilliantly about how the mind works and how we make decisions. He calls one of our most consistent errors “WYSIATI,” the assumption that “what you see is ...
“No man or woman has ever crossed the line and lived to tell the tale!”
During intermission at New Village Arts’ opening night of Buried Child, a patron said, “I’m confused.” Another replied, “Don’t worry. You’ve been paying attention.” Asked to describe what some have called a masterpiece, Sam Shepard ...
Long-Ago in San Diego
Daylight The lights at Villingen shut off on schedule. Edouard Izac, Harold Willis, and 11 others would become the only Americans to try a mass escape from a German POW camp during World War I. ...
In the midst of mass hysteria, Leo and wife Lucille fall in love, maybe for the first time.
Bravo, Cygnet Theatre! Their largest production to date easily ranks among their finest. Cygnet’s doing such a magnificent job with Parade, it’s hard to believe the musical had an iffy track record. Although it earned ...