Thursday, September 17, 2015

John Phillip Santos Shares His Thoughts on "A Photographer's Journey"

This week KLRN hosted a film screening and panel discussion for the film, Pedro E. Guerrero: A Photographer’s Journey. The film captures the remarkable life and work of Pedro E. Guerrero (1917-2012). He left behind thousands of photographs and nearly 15 hours of interviews. This film tells, in his words, the remarkable story of a Mexican American boy raised in segregated Mesa, Arizona, who goes on to a remarkable international career. With his outsider’s eye he produced insightful and iconic portraits of three of the most important artists of the 20th century: Frank Lloyd Wright, Alexander Calder and Louise Nevelson.

We held a panel discussion with notable local scholars Amelia Malagamba Ansótegui, Kathy Vargas and the film’s producer/director, Ray Telles as well as John Phillip Santos. John is an author, journalist and filmmaker from San Antonio, Texas. He produced more than 40 documentaries in 18 countries for CBS News and PBS. Currently, in conjunction with New York’s WNET, he is collaborating with Harvard scholar Davíd Carrasco in producing “Ancestral Journeys to Now,” a film for PBS that examines the mythic legacy of migration in ancient Mesoamerica, and its links to the experiences of Mexican migration today. He teaches cultural studies, writing and media theory and production in the Honors College of UTSA.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Indep Arts & Film Festival | Interview with Ya'Ke Smith

KLRN is proud to support the upcoming Indep Arts & Film Festival taking place June 11-14, 2015. The Indep Arts & Film Festival “is committed to supporting artists and filmmakers in their abilities to create, inspire and share within our community. By providing a space to celebrate the artists’ talents, we will strive to enhance our community’s public awareness and appreciation of all arts.”

Filmmaker and film professor at the University of Texas at Arlington Ya’Ke Smith will participate in Indep’s Film Festival on Thursday, June 11 from 6-10PM at Santikos Rialto. Smith has received worldwide acclaim for his films which have screened at over 80 film festivals. NPR called his debut feature, WOLF, “an impressive piece by a young director,” and his most recent short, dawn., premiered on HBO in February 2015.   

Friday, May 1, 2015

EL POETA | Program Review

A Mexican Poet’s Crusade for Justice
By Gregg Barrios

The work of Mexican writer Javier Sicilia was little known outside of his country although his prize-winning poetry and his fearless work as a political analyst for Proceso, Mexico’s weekly political magazine are must reading. But four years ago, Sicilia came to international attention when his 24-year-old son Juan Francisco became an innocent victim of Mexico’s drug wars. The younger Sicilia along with six other friends were bound and gagged with duct tape. They died of asphyxiation.  

At a press conference, Sicilia told the New York Times: “What my son did was give a name and a face to the 40,000 dead. My pain gave a face to the pain of other families. I think a country is like a house, and the destruction of someone is the destruction of our families.”

All along Sicilia had been reporting on the growing number of innocent casualties after the U.S. backed President Felipe Calderón’s 2006 war on drugs that employed military force to capture or kill cartel leaders. In a face-to-face exchange Sicilia requested that the Mexican president ask pardon from the nation for the lost lives of innocent victims. Calderón responded that if it hadn’t been for his war against the drug cartels the real criminals, there would have been more innocent deaths.

EL POETA on PBS’s Voces chronicles Sicilia’s formation of an activist group (Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity) that began as protests in the capital city. It evolved into a nation-wide movement to unite and inform the Mexican citizenry of the thousands of deaths related to organized crime. Their rallying cry: “No mas sangre!” and “Estamos hasta la madre.” (No more blood; We’re Up to Here!) At one point, Sicilia’s caravan mobilized over 200,000 participants from Juarez, Chihuahua, Durango and Tijuana with great success.

In 2012, Sicilia brought his peace caravan to the U.S. Los Angeles Times journalist Rubén Martínez described it as “a mission to bring to the American people's conscience their shared responsibility for the thousands of dead, missing and displaced in the drug war. Among the broader American public the drug war is perceived as Mexico's, not ours, never mind that the weapons doing the bloodletting are in great part supplied by the United States.”

In Los Angeles, the group held photocopies of their loved ones. In Phoenix, they visited Sheriff Joe Arpaio's infamous Tent City in order to denounce the failed War on Drugs which has claimed tens of thousands of innocent lives in Mexico. In D.C., Black civil rights leader John Lewis inspires them by citing the non-violent marches of Dr. Martin Luther King. In Baltimore, Black mothers embrace Mexican mothers both losing sons to the drug wars.

The Mexican government’s war on drug cartels continues as the body count of innocent victims escalates: 160,000 dead, 30,000 missing, nearly 500,000 displaced and the same 98% of impunity as the previous regime.

In late 2014, forty-three students disappeared in Ayotzinapa without a trace. This led to massive disruptions and demonstrations throughout Mexico and a call for sitting President Enrique Peña Nieto’s resignation. The film is dedicated to those missing students.

In his final poem, dedicated to his son, Sicilia wrote: “The world is not worthy of worthy of the Word / they suffocated it, deep inside us /as they suffocated you, as they tore apart your lungs ... / the pain does not leave me /all that remains is a world / through the silence of the righteous, / only through your silence / and my silence, Juanelo.”

Sicilia’s voice has not been silenced. He continues to speak out in a clear, elegant voice of engagement. As the American writer Flannery O’Connor once wrote, “To the hard of hearing you shout, and for the almost blind, you draw large and startling pictures.”

EL POETA is necessary viewing. It will enlighten, as it will inform you. Bless Javier Sicilia!

Gregg Barrios is a poet, playwright and journalist. He is a 2013 USC Annenberg Getty Fellow. He serves on the board of directors of the National Book Critics Circle.

EL POETA airs on Friday, May 1 at 10PM on KLRN. To watch a preview of EL POETA, visit our video player.

Friday, April 24, 2015


NOW EN ESPAÑOL tells the story of five hard-working women who dub “Desperate Housewives” for Spanish language audiences in the United States. Each of the women featured in the documentary are also trying to make a name for themselves while juggling life and its many setbacks.

“If there’s one thing we’ve learned is that if you want to be a leading lady you’ve better keep your sense of humor,” says Marabina Jaimes, who is the Spanish narrator of Desperate Housewives, and one of the women profiled in the documentary.

NOW EN ESPAÑOL is an interesting view of those chasing the Hollywood dream of becoming an actor. The women featured in the documentary try to break stereotypes, and avoid roles that are not true representations of their culture.

To watch NOW EN ESPAÑOL, visit our video player.

Friday, April 17, 2015


CHILDREN OF GIANT features the making of GIANT, the 1956 film that took the small West Texas town of Marfa by storm. Film greats Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson and James Dean, along with a Hollywood cast and crew invaded the town, and recruited locals, landmarks and issues to provide a multicultural landscape that was unseen in film during that time.

“It was a revisionist look of Texas,” said J.E. Smyth, author of Edna Ferber’s Hollywood: American Fictions of Gender, Race, and History.

GIANT changed the landscape in Marfa, both in the physical and the communal sense. Residents played bit roles in the film, and the town was bustling with excitement about the idea of having film stars and crew-members in their small town. As for the representation of Texas, it was still very much country western driven but tackled issues of race, gender and class.

Texas is described as “wind and dust, and blowing tumbleweeds,” which is a stark contrast of Elizabeth Taylor’s character Leslie’s socialite upbringing. However, Leslie is the character who questions the living conditions of the Mexican workers in the town. She also examined controversial topics such as feminism, and often participated in political discussions while openly expressing her opinion.

Director and producer George Stevens wanted to make a film that engaged people, and gained awareness of the current state of the world. A pivotal scene in the film was the Sarge’s Diner scene, which captured the experience of how Mexican Americans were depicted in that time. The film examined the color line in Texas, and featured the discrimination in the Southwest.

CHILDREN OF GIANT told a fascinating tale of a film that broke barriers, and examined issues that often were not discussed in the 1950s. With the talented trio of Taylor, Hudson and Dean (which was his last film as a leading actor due to his death) and the town of Marfa, GIANT was a film that left a lasting impression on viewers past and present.

To watch CHILDREN OF GIANT, visit our video player.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

SciGirls Super STEAM Fair

Join KLRN’s SciGirls this Saturday, November 23 from 10 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. at the Robert. L.B. Tobin Studio at KLRN for our SciGirls STEAM Fair Meet Up. It’s all about Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM)! UTSA’s Center for Archeological Research Legacy Program, the Edwards Aquifer Authority, Interactive Technology Experience Center, ThePlayhouse, UTSA’s Prefreshman Engineering Program, Palo Alto College’s PAC Robotics and Screaming Chickens Robotics Explorer Post will be on-site providing activities and resources for attendees so they can learn about various local organizations that are all about STEAM. We’ll also conduct a panel discussion with a few of our invited groups so our SciGirls can ask questions. RSVP is required to attend the event. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Jennifer at or 210.208.8404.

If you’re unfamiliar with SciGirls, we’re a program for girls between the ages of 8-13 years old. SciGirls is comprised of STEAM-loving girls, who meet on a monthly basis to share ideas, do fun experiments, and get together for special activities with other girls who share similar interests. SciGirls is free to join, and is available to girls within our KLRN viewing area.

If your child is not a SciGirl but would like to attend, contact Jennifer for a permission form. We hope to see you Saturday at our STEAM Fair!

Monday, November 11, 2013


When you see a smoky-dark wall snaking over parched hills, the line is clear. On one side is Mexico. On the other is the U.S.

But when you start looking at people, things aren’t so clear. They’re scary, painful and even mean.

For Arizona rancher Duncan Blair, the tall border wall stops at the edge of his property and becomes a barbed-wire fence with holes snipped long ago, which U.S. officials ignore. He feels like he’s stuck in the middle of a funnel between “gringo tokers” and the “Mexican cartel,” and things have gotten nasty in recent years. He carries a gun when riding certain pastures.

“It got mean because it got complicated,” he said. “There’s just a sense that nobody cares.”

Carlos Garcia, a leader with the Puente Movement, lives daily with uncertainty. Born in Mexico and brought to the U.S. at 5, he has received his documentation. But his family, like so many working and living for decades in a land of opportunities, is mixed. Many remain undocumented. With Arizona’s recent crackdowns, Garcia’s afraid to drive his grandpa to the store, or even have his family over for dinner.

“They’re able to charge me,” he said.

With Arizona’s illegal immigration population quadrupling to 460,000 in a decade a half, the state has tried a number of measures. It was Senate Bill 1070, calling for local officers to ask for documentation from suspected illegal immigrants during routine stops, that dialed up the heat and rocketed the issue to the national stage. This is a focus of "The State of Arizona," a film KLRN is screening this Thursday.

Jorge Martinez, who owns a home and an ice-cream truck, drives more than 100 miles a day and sees a lot of people detained along the route. He faces an upcoming deportation proceeding himself, which could split his family of 16 years. He has no idea what to do in Mexico. His family is scared and confused.

“We are thinking, what to do if he is going to Mexico,” said his business partner and mother of his son. “Yesterday I asked my son, what you think about they send your dad to Mexico. And he said, 'I don’t know but I don’t want to go to Mexico.'”

As officials raid a restaurant they suspect employs illegal immigrants, two construction workers stand at the curb and lament losing bids to companies hiring illegals. Yet, things aren’t always so clear, one says.

“It’s a hairball,” he said. “Because I know people here that their parents are illegal, but they’ve been raised here their whole life. What are they supposed to do? Are you going to send their parents back to Mexico and leave them here? It is a big mess.”

Join KLRN for a Community Cinema screening and panel discussion of this film on Thursday, November 14 at 7P.

-Written by Patrick Driscoll, KLRN Staff Member

Tuesday, October 15, 2013




Growing up in a border city and being the first generation college graduate in my family really allowed me to identify with The Graduates Los Graduados. Although the focus is on the Latino community, educational barriers will always exist regardless of race. Whether it would be gangs, bullying, or even poverty, obstacles will always be present. The solution as stated in the film is engaging students and properly mentoring students down the correct path. 

I personally believe sports are what kept me out of trouble growing up. There were always negative influences such as gangs in my neighborhood but it never really interested me. Almost all the neighborhood kids growing up would play street football, basketball, and even sand lot baseball year around. I played sports throughout middle school and high school and believe that it helped shape me as a person. Channeling energy towards something positive really helped. It doesn’t have to be sports, it could be dancing, art, acting or helping other people.

I had a mentor in high school who helped to guide me in the right direction. Mr. Ramirez, my career counselor, asked me one day what I was planning to do after high school. I had never really given it much thought. I could relate to the characters in The Graduates because I really had no idea of how to apply for college, much less pay for it. I couldn’t ask my parents because they had no clue since they had never gone to college. Much like Gustavo and Eduardo’s parents, my parents were always at work trying to provide for me. Mr. Ramirez was a huge influence in my life. He helped me apply for schools, apply for financial aid, and he even took me on several college tours. 

As mentioned in the film, education is fundamental in securing America’s future. I could not agree more with this statement. The key is engaging students to do something that interests them and giving them that sense of “belonging.” The Graduates hit the nail on the head regarding Latinos and the current issues in our educational system.



Friday, May 3, 2013

KLRN Staff Review SERVICE | When Women Come Marching Home

One program through the eyes of KLRN Staff Member, Rachel R.

The documentary film Service: When Women Come Marching Come Home describes the life of the modern, female, U.S. veteran. We are introduced to the individual women who have undergone challenge, injury and trauma in the line of duty. As they recount their personal experiences it becomes clear that many of these women have been poorly repaid for their contributions.

Although the U.S. continues to debate when and how females should serve in the military, these women have their own opinion on the matter. Whether interacting with civilian women and children, or forming enduring and supportive friendships, it is clear that in many ways they feel they have an edge over their male counterparts.
Yet, despite any advantages, they continue to struggle in their transition to civilian life. This was, for me, one of the most revealing aspects of the film: the strain placed on these individual daughters, wives and mothers as they attempt to reintegrate themselves into their families and previous lifestyles.

Another eye-opener was the shocking way that rape cases were handled by the military. The lack of support, and in fact ostracism, described by a number of the women interviewed is a call for action and perhaps legislation.

It is clear however, that not all legislation made in support of these veterans has had an impact. For example: the laws protecting a disabled veteran's right to bring their service dog into stores, restaurants and other businesses is largely unknown and therefore frequently ineffective.

One of this documentary’s strengths is that it indicates a number of such flaws in the current support system. It offers viewers a very subjective overview of critical weak points. In my mind the next step would be to more concretely and objectively define how that system needs to be reworked.

Service: When Women Comes Marching Home begins an important discussion by questioning how we support our veterans and repay their sacrifices. It presents a conversational and direct picture of these individual women and their personal experiences.

The program airs Monday, May 6 at 10pm on KLRN.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Reception Issues?

Last week, KLRN experienced problems at our transmitter and within hours, our engineers were assessing the situation and fixing the problems. WHEW!  There were a few hours where we were not broadcasting to our viewers who watch our channels over-the-air. At our studios, our signal strength was restored and all was fine in the world---with the exception of the many viewer e-mails notifying us that even after a normal "re-scan" our signal did not appear.

If you are one of those people who still are having problems, please try the following instructions. This is called a "double re-scan" which helps to clear out any memory of channel reception, and can possibly be the answer to your reception issues after work is performed on our equipment.

Try it and let us know if you are still having issues
Your feedback helps us to serve you better.

Many thanks and we appreciate your patience.


Many consumers already know about the need to run the “scan” function on their digital converter  
boxes or digital TV sets periodically following the June 12 digital TV transition. Scanning searches for and “remembers” the available digital broadcast channels.

But in some cases where stations moved their digital frequencies on June 12, simple scanning may not be enough. There is a procedure – sometimes called “double re-scanning” – that can clear your box’s memory of saved channels. These earlier scans may have saved channel information that is now incorrect.

There are five simple steps to a double re-scan for a converter box or digital TV, which are as follows:

  1. Disconnect the antenna from the box or digital TV
  2. Re-scan the box or digital TV without the antenna connected. As with any scan follow the on-screen instructions or owner’s manual for your device
  3. Unplug the box or digital TV from the electrical outlet for at least one minute
  4. Reconnect the antenna to the box or digital TV and plug the unit into the electrical outlet.
  5. Rescan the box or digital TV one more time.

Friday, November 2, 2012

ARTS: Our version

I love the arts, I just do. I love anything that makes the world more gorgeous than it already is. I see beauty in the things that are simple, elegant, and not even considered “artsy”. I see my kids lining up leaves on the table as art. I see art in the way knick knacks are arranged on a shelf or in the way certain people sign their name. Art is everywhere.
When we (at KLRN) were first having the discussions earlier in the year about launching our own local arts show, I had to contain myself. I was so excited about the concept, but I had to harbor the excitement and put in place the work it would take to launch the show. The name: ARTS.  The look, the feel, the vibe, the details---there was so much to do, and only a small crew to do it. It is funny too because what is considered good art to one person, may be considered junk to another. Art is very personal and I wasn’t sure how we were going to bring it all together and AGREE on it. But we did.

Our graphic designer came up with a logo that just fit. When she put it into motion on-screen, it fit BETTER. When our editor put the first spot together, even when it was a rough draft, we could tell that the feel of the program was going to be fun and hip and almost eccentric. I realized that our version of the arts was exactly what I was hoping for---less paint on canvas, art history and classical music and more eclectic collectibles, jazz music, and art exploration. It all came together just beautifully.

From the very first moment I met Asia Ciaravino, our host, I knew she was the perfect fit for our program. Funny, knowledgeable, and just easy to like---I liked that. She sees the world as an opportunity, she appreciates quirky things, and she shines on camera. Like I said, she is just perfect.

ASIA ON ARTS: “I love art because it sparks creative thought and emotion. I also love the study of human nature. In art we create an open forum for expression; each art form allows the consumer a different touch point. Theatre is my art. Being an actor has taught me many things about people; most importantly that everyone has different or competing objectives. When you listen, you are able to decipher what people really want and understand how to give it to them. As we grow and understand people, we become better actors. As we listen more and talk less, we become better people. I believe art is a transformative force with the power to change people profoundly. “

We are in the process of completing our fifth show. It is all still new, we are still finding our groove, and we are working on how to make this good concept GREAT.

The hard work was not mine. The hard work came from the graphics, the editor and our crew who had/have to be on location to film anytime, anywhere. I say they “have” to do the work, but it is more accurate to say that they “get” to work on this project. This is a fun one—and they agree that while we all consider this work, we are really lucky that this new program belongs to us.

ARTS for all. I hope you have a chance to see the show and embrace art near and far…

And the next time you see something strategically or not-strategically placed, you stop and appreciate that it’s existence is actually…art.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

...I didn't feel sorry for him; I cheered for him...

Viewer Review
LEMON | an episode in Season 3 VOCES

My original intention was to watch the program Lemon with a professional eye. My goal was to pay more attention to the quality of the program from an aesthetic point of view. However that changed in the first few minutes of watching. I found myself almost immediately engrossed in Lemon Andersen's story. I could see him working the streets of Brooklyn as a teenager and falling into the familiar story of forgotten youth. This guy wears his emotions on his sleeve - and that immediately presented him in a sympathetic light. He wasn't a typical street thug; or at least what so many of us assume is a typical street thug. He showed his passion and hopefulness in his writing and rhyming. It didn't take long see his story, wonder how I would or could survive what he'd been through, and see how he overcame odds that would put anyone into a jail cell or a coffin. I found myself simultaneously watching the program and searching Lemon Andersen on Google. It was a profound story that made me happy for him and empathetic to those who don't get the chances he got because they don't have the talent he does.

From the very beginning, I felt the grittiness of Brooklyn. I felt the depressiveness of the projects and of the people who live there who almost seem to resign themselves to the fact that this is their lives and the goal isn't to get out, but rather to get through the night without harm. I also found the footage taken in the theatres and on the streets did the opposite. They showed a hopeful New York where creativity is king. I saw people believing in one person to the point that they found ways of helping him realize his dreams and telling his story. What I found most impressiveness is that this hopefullness was displayed in a very real light - there wasn't any fluff. I could feel the anxiousness that those telling the story felt when there was doubt that this story would be told - and that once it was told - would be welcomed by New Yorkers.

This was an engaging program and what I liked the most about it is that it was about a mostly unknown individual. While sympathetic, I didn't feel sorry for him; I cheered for him. More stories like this need to be told. I look forward to seeing where this program will go.

Joseph Marks
KLRN Viewer


p.s If you are interested in writing a viewer "review" of a program on KLRN, please send an e-mail to

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Hispanic Heritage Month | Riding From The Heart

It’s said that during the Mexican Revolution, women soldareas rode in circles, kicking up dust to lure federales into traps. These adelitas, or women of the revolution, are the inspiration for Escaramuza, an event added to traditional Mexican charreadas 20 years ago.

Charreadas, which are similar to rodeos, evolved from competitions between vaqueros and their haciendas in old Mexico. Escaramuza, which means skirmish, is the only women’s event in today’s charreadas. Eight women wearing flowing dresses, wide-brim hats and riding sidesaddle on horses weave precision, strength and beauty into a fast-paced dance that is both sport and art. They train for years to perfect a four-minute routine that dazzles crowds in dusty arenas. One wrong move, in a split second, can mean a loss.

“This work is not easy,” says an instructor for Las Azaleas, a team of first-generation Mexican American hosewomen in California. “To have good results, there’s no other thing than work. Nothing else.”

“Riding From The Heart” follows Las Azaleas on a two-year odyssey to represent the United States at the National Charro Championships in Guadalajara, Mexico. Like their instructor said, the path wasn’t easy for this close-knit team of friends and family. They paid with sweat, fears and even some tears to reach elated peaks. In the end, something happens that they didn't expect.

The film is part of VOCES 2012, a four-part series celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month.

Have a look:

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Keeping the lights on...

Being CFO is not easy. You are the person who always has to say "no". You have to hound people for budgets, pricing, and financials. You have to monitor spending even though you have a team that has to monitor their own spending--because ultimately, the responsibility is yours. Many times, the CFO is the unsung hero, the one who stays behind a closed door balancing a budget, filling out paperwork and ensuring that all is right to keep the lights on.

I think this is why it is so exciting that our CFO was recognized by the San Antonio Business Journal as one of the top CFOs in San Antonio for 2012. Patrick Lopez does his job well, very well, making sure that we can continue to do what we do every day in our community and on-air. Congrats Pat! We are all proud of you--and we are very lucky that you belong to us.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Fiesta - Now that's Speaking My Language!

Cascarones, medals, special hats, food goodies and more!  The signs, smells and sounds of Fiesta are here.  I’m not a San Antonio native, but when I moved here twelve years ago, my San Antonio friends quickly introduced me to some of the festivities like Oyster Bake and NIOSA, and without hesitation taught me all about the Fiesta traditions. One of the traditions that totally surprised me about the consecutive eleven-day party was the fact that people actually save their vacation just for this time of the year.  My first thought twelve years ago, “Now that’s speaking my language!”

There are so many Fiesta events (roughly 100) that I’m not sure how one would attend all of them without taking vacation. This year for the first time in a while, I am actually “working” during Fiesta…if I can even call it work.  I already love what I do here at KLRN, and this year I get to play a part in the Fiesta parade productions.  And, well, I think that’s pretty cool.  So I hope you join us for the three parades, whether it’s in person, on-air or online, and as with everything that we do here at KLRN, I hope we make you proud to call us YOUR public television station. 

In the spirit of Fiesta, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter so you don't miss out on conversations with your community. We'll be talking about everything—favorite floats, dresses (and shoes!), the bands and all that Fiesta entails.