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Stories by Justin O'Connell

The last black man in Barrio Logan?

The Holyfield, which started providing free studio time to local residents at the now-defunct Thchrch (2185 Logan Avenue), wants to be in Barrio Logan — though it doesn’t always make money. “We charge when we ...

September 6, 2017
Forensically curated Jade Shader LP

The Jade Shader’s final album Sea Stacks and Sleestaks was released by Joyful Noise on July 1 — nine years after singer Terrin Durfey (Boilermaker) passed away in 2008 following a long battle with melanoma. ...

July 26, 2017
Messages sent on blankets

When blankets are inscribed with messages and flung over bridges in Tijuana, they usually boast a narco-warning directed at rival cartels or authorities. Such narcomantas, as they’re called in spanish, are appearing increasingly throughout Tijuana. ...

June 5, 2017
Octagrape still willing to do it in front of people

Octagrape drummer Ely Moyal distilled the band’s spirit, as singer/songwriter Glen Galloway recalls: “We were planning a tour up the coast, and he goes, ‘You know, I just don’t think the juice is worth the ...

May 31, 2017
Tijuana’s new public bus system – not great once you leave downtown

Shattered glass. Sandstone rocks. Soiled clothing. Human feces. Exposed electrical cables hanging from ceilings. Trash strewn along the floor. These are generally not the things one imagines when newly built ‘modern transportation’ comes to mind. ...

April 27, 2017
Baseball is different in Tijuana

Every pitch is a party at a Toros de Tijuana baseball game. At least that’s the atmosphere the team is trying to create. The Toros compete in Liga Mexicana de Beisbol, an international AAA affiliate ...

April 5, 2017
Exasperated by landmines

Exasperation has yet to tour, but guitarist/vocalist Garrett Prange and drummer Dave Mead first played together in 2010. Upon their recent departure from post-punk outfit Ditches after one EP, the two Encinitas natives began playing ...

March 1, 2017
Mexican photojournalist recalls Pemex arrest

Gas prices in Mexico have jumped since January 1. Coupled with the decline of the peso, the situation has caused a great deal of unrest throughout Baja California. On the morning of Saturday, January 7, ...

January 24, 2017
Jake Loban — from punk to Americana

The first show Jake Loban played as an Americana artist? A dive bar in El Cajon. “There were more prostitutes outside than people inside,” Loban says. A few years later, in February 2016, Loban played ...

October 5, 2016
County supervisors vote against adult pot use

With San Diego County district attorney Bonnie Dumanis and sheriff Bill Gore in attendance, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted unaminously on Tuesday, October 4, against Proposition 64. In a move that drew ...

October 4, 2016
Where Gandhi and C-3PO converse

SAN DIEGUITO ACADEMY’S DESIGN would fit better amid the incohesive architecture of Tijuana than the square sterility of Southern California, where rows of beige-and-white dwellings and office buildings cloak themselves in the camouflage of each ...

September 7, 2016
International refugee crisis reported south of San Diego

On May 26 at high noon, Casa del Migrante in Tijuana received a phone call from the regional delegate of Mexican immigration for a 2:00 p.m. emergency meeting. Casa del Migrante representatives learned that refugees ...

All Tomorrow's Parties pulls the plug on Jehu and friends

The Drive Like Jehu–curated All Tomorrow’s Parties 2.0 festival, reported in the Reader last year and promising rare performances by bands such as Wire and Flamin’ Groovies from April 22–24 in Manchester, England, has been ...

April 18, 2016
Mr. Crow needs a nap

“My wife works full-time as a labor-and-delivery nurse, and I have the kids,” Rob Crow explains. “Our daughter is too young to go to school, so she naps all day, and there are piles of ...

March 23, 2016
Mosh for Life

“About a year ago I was going through a difficult time, and I found getting information about low-income therapy really difficult,” said Charles Peckham, organizer of this weekend’s Mosh for Life at Ché Café. “I ...

March 18, 2016
Loving or hating #KanyeWest is a political act

Just like the soul food on your dinner plate, loving or hating #KanyeWest is a political act. This is the man whose website features solely the-artist-formerly-known-as #MosDef rambling about the “World Passport” on his website ...

February 19, 2016
Octagrape rediscovers Minutemen land

Octagrape singer/guitarist Glen Galloway is “crazy proud” of the band’s new double-record, Aura Obelisk, released January 23 on Sounds Familyre Records. The band will soon release a music video for the song “Dirigibles.” A documentary ...

February 10, 2016
4518 pipes call to the "Starman"

After other organ tributes went viral online, another “breathtaking” performance took place to honor the late David Bowie at Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park. City Organist Carol Williams, with the sun setting to the ...

February 5, 2016
Deported veterans inspired by Bernie Sanders

“I will expand the use of humanitarian parole to ensure the return of unjustly deported immigrants, including our veterans,” Bernie Sanders said in an address posted to YouTube the day before Thanksgiving. “The United States ...

January 9, 2016
Demos and espressos

“The guitar tones were super legit, using 1960s guitars through the right 1960s amps.”

January 6, 2016
Crushing it with Octagrape

The new Octagrape album is like a long run on a breezy day, twisting and turning around corners, through alleyways, main roads, and side streets. Despite shortness of breath and sore muscles, you feel cleansed ...

January 3, 2016
Tim Flannery gets Americosmic on Three Ring Circus

Three-time World Series champion Tim Flannery’s newest album, Three Ring Circus, is his best. His all-star band the Lunatic Fringe, featuring Douglas Pettibone, Dennis Caplinger, and Dean Smith, helps Flannery come into his own on ...

December 18, 2015
One night in a Tijuana parking garage

More than a dozen Baja and southern California bands came together atop a parking garage for Rumble Fest Tijuana. The second edition of the DIY-defined event offered a location that’s also the best view in ...

December 11, 2015
All Jehu's Parties

The long-dormant Drive Like Jehu entered the 21st Century with a much-publicized concert at Balboa Park’s Spreckels Organ Pavilion alongside civic organist Carol Williams, and now the San Diego post-rock quartet has been asked to ...

November 25, 2015
After the Blow

In the early 1990s, British radio disc jockey John Peel created UK stars out of San Diego’s post-punk band Trumans Water. He thought Trumans was a seasoned band that had spent years playing together. He ...

November 25, 2015
Montage of Heck: The unnecessary recordings

The documentary Montage of Heck does a great job of making Cobain look crazier than he seems to be in every interview on YouTube. So, only once one gets over the fact that this “album” ...

November 20, 2015
Encinitas rail trail to fail or sail?

A “frankenstein monster of a concrete path” threatens the coastal community of Cardiff-by-the-Sea in Encinitas, according to No Rail Trail organizer Joe Alkhas. Plans for a Coastal Rail Trail in Encinitas have inspired more civic ...

The anti-Trump: open the border, wide

A longtime University City resident (he moved there when he was seven) and UC High graduate, Stuart Schuffman, is running for mayor of San Francisco. In the November 3 election, he'll have to defeat Democrat ...

Fatality at La Jolla Indian Reservation

Details surrounding a recent death at the La Jolla Indian Reservation are limited. An estimated 3000 people camped at the reservation over the October 15-18 weekend for YOUtopia, “San Diego's Regional Burning Man Event.” A ...

Weezer plays the hits

Weezer doesn’t need to play non-hits. As the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club closed the shed on 2015, thousands of 18-and-ups amassed before the Weezer “W” hung behind the stage. No stranger to Del Mar, Rivers ...

September 17, 2015
Thievery Corporation sets the pace at Del Mar

In an elite atmosphere, bohemia gathered. On a recent Friday at the Del Mar Racetrack the unlikely mélange of horseracing and the anti-fascist world music of Thievery Corporation created a temporal space in which one ...

August 14, 2015
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