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Michael Hemmingson

Michael Hemmingson
Michael Hemmingson — screenwriter, novelist, poet, playwright, literary critic, and guitarist — died of a heart attack on January 9, 2014 in Tijuana. He was 47 years old. He covered local music, the crime beat, culture, and social issues for the Reader from 2004 through 2009. He also published novels, short story collections, literary criticism, and edited anthologies, such as Expelled from Eden: A William T. Vollmann Reader, and The Mammoth Book of Legal Thrillers. His novel, The Rose of Heaven, set in Temecula, c. 1911, won the first San Diego Book Awards Association’s Novel-in-Progress Grant in 2000. The SDBAA also awarded him Best Published Novel of 2002 for Wild Turkey, a noir thriller that takes place in North Park and Las Vegas. Another of his San Diego-centered books is In the Background Is a Walled City, set in San Diego and Santa’s Castle in the North Pole.

Hemmingson was also an ethnographer, publishing both empirical and theoretical work in qualitative inquiry under the aegis of sociology, communications, and anthropology, including Auto/Ethnographies: Sex and Death and Symbolic Interaction in the Eighth Moment of Qualitative Inquiry: Seven Essays on the Self-Ethnography of Self He also published an ethnographic study of Tijuana, ZONA NORTE: The Post-Structural Body of Erotic Dancers and Sex Workers in Tijuana, San Diego and Los Angeles: An Auto/ethnography of Desire and Addiction.

His feature film, The Watermelon, was released in fall 2008.

Articles by Michael Hemmingson

Tijuana country club kidnapping, shootout near school, nostalgia for Jai Alai, casino, racetrack

Don't look now Abduction and murder at T.J.’s Camp Campestre Under normal circumstances, it would be difficult not to stare at ten men dressed in black who brandished submachine guns. Under normal circumstances, ten men ...

November 9, 2020
The glamour and crime of Tijuana

Don't look now Under normal circumstances, it would be difficult not to stare at ten men dressed in black who brandished submachine guns. Under normal circumstances, ten men dressed in black who brandished submachine guns ...

August 8, 2020
In and out of Baja –always an adventure

The Only Way to Walk Across the Border in Five Minutes It is with some reluctance that I write about my recent acquisition of the SENTRI border-crossing card because, well, I got a good thing ...

June 13, 2020
The Toven: Million Dollar Mixtape - I'll give you a nickel

On the one hand, it's kind of nice that someone took the time to help this poor obviously mentally challenged young man make an actual CD. However, that charity is somewhat mitigated by the fact ...

January 6, 2014
Friend of Shamu

When Chris Cantore signed off from his shift at 91X on December 14, 2007, he told listeners that he was unsure if he would be returning to the job after a two-week vacation. Cantore’s on-air ...

December 2, 2009
The Gothic M.O.

Call Me Alice is in the final stages of completing their new CD How Motivation Killed the Man, scheduled for release this fall. At least, that seems to be the plan. The San Diego techno-goth ...

October 14, 2009
Wages of Art

Zack Wentz, primarily a drummer and vocalist, is somewhat of a minimalist with regard to band lineups — Kill Me Tomorrow is a three-man act, and the offshoot, Tender Buttons, was one person on keyboards ...

September 23, 2009
Bert's Fan

If given a chance for an alternate profession, Brenda Xu would work for Sesame Street, “writing skits for Bert and Ernie. Bert’s such a great ‘square’ character. I love his mundane sensibilities.” The San Diego ...

September 9, 2009
Klezmer Gypsy Punk

Di Nigunim is a 13-member band, making it difficult to perform on small stages and a challenge to coordinate rehearsals and gigs. The band’s instruments include the cimbalom, accordion, piano, violin, trumpet, euphonium, guitar, trombone, ...

August 12, 2009
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