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Stories by Steve Esmedina

My admiration for Jerzy Kosinski's Painted Bird and Nelson Algren's Walk on the Wild Side

Forget Hemingway, Melville, James

College professors strain to convince novitiates that the boring "masterpieces" of Western literature (Hemingway, Melville, James, etc.) deserve their reputations solely from the "test-of-time" standard. But I, for one, do not believe any worthwhile art ...

You’ll see Crips, Bloods, and the Mickey Mouse Club driving around in circles

San Diego's moonlit compost heap

It is a humbling experience to return to the ghetto at night. To expect a few inconveniences on the way back to paradise has become a doleful routine for any denizen who resides in Southeast ...

Reader writers: the story I wanted to write... but didn't

“Maybe an animal story”

Sandy and a girlfriend had gone into a liquor store, robbed the clerk, They locked the clerk in a walk-in cooler. Sandy started feeling bad about the guy. She went back and let him out.

Pop music in San Diego, 1980

Albums, books, much more

Beat Albums Releases Special Edition Peter Gabriel Get Happy! (Elvis Costello and the Attractions) Doc at the Radar Station (Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band) Full Force (Art Ensemble of Chicago) The Up Escalator (Graham ...

1979: San Diego's year in review

Rape of the Earth Medal of Dishonor The year's most infamous award goes to the voters of San Diego, a majority of whom agreed to exchange 39 acres of prime canyonland in Balboa Park for ...

Reader writer goes on the road with the Penetrators

Madame Wong's vs. the Hong Kong Cafe

"If I've had a nutritional meal in the last year, it’ll come as a surprise to my stomach," quips Dan McLain in between resounding burps. It is almost midnight and we are sitting outside a ...

Inside NASSCO workers' lives

Shipyard blues

Ernie Ernie, 23, is a musician disguised as a milkman. He's an aspiring percussionist who makes his living in a drive-through dairy. By his own admission, the chores are elementary and tedious: stocking, waiting on ...

1976 San Diego guide to Chicano slang

Chingazos, ese, simon, orale, placa

Al rato. So long; see you later. Bad Jam. Great song. Bunk. Anything false. Carnale. Buddy; friend; partner. Chavalo. Young guy. Chingazos (also Cabrongazos). Throwing mean blows; exchanging derogatory remarks. Cheeva. Heroin. C/S. Unimpeachable truth. ...

1976 San Diego guide to dance bars

Serious, boogie, boogie fever, Latino, bop shoo wop

Serious bar-hopping in San Diego is an experience akin to reading a Raymond Chandler detective novel. Those who attempt to make their way through the different hot-spots around town are likely to feel, besides drunk ...

Desolation row – Market Street from 12th to 14th

The Methadone Center and Beasley's Friendly Corner

Toni Toni needs to get well real bad. He’s had the shakes all night, he’s sweating profusely, and he hasn’t slept in almost a week. The day before, a dealer named Eddie burned him with ...

Lost In Logan Heights

Saint Augustine student ends up sniffing paint

He could get arrested for beating up kids he never saw before. He could spend a week in the National City Jail for shoplifting a can of spray paint. He could join the Marines.

Helen Copley works a change at San Diego's dailies

The state of the Union (and the Evening Tribune)

"No one can think for the American people. We believe it is our responsibility to ring out the truth loud and clear and to stimulate thought at the close personal level of the individual and ...

1975 San Diego guide to bar bands

Hard rock, progressive rock, jazz, commercial

Usually, whenever anyone brings up the subject of a local pop music community, apology, bitterness, rationalization, and skepticism filter through the conversation. Everyone hits the chestnuts: San Diego is a musical desert. San Diego is ...

Tijuana clubs – Mexican Disneyland

Aloha, Coco, Gato Negro, Hector's, Mike's A Go Go, the Tropciana

If film directors like Altman and Fellini ever run out of suitable sites for their confettilike pageantries, they might do well by turning towards Tijuana. The rolling hills, crippled streets, lopsided architecture, high pressure street ...