Vol. 2, Issue 5
What’s Up With Me?
I’m a finalist for three 2021 LA Press Club journalism awards! The nominations are for:
1. ALL MEDIA PLATFORMS - Print, Radio, Podcast, TV or Online:
Travel Reporting: Justin Chapman, Culture Honey Magazine, "Off-Season in Slab City, USA"
2. TELEVISION/FILM - Broadcast, including online and cable TV, produced in Southern California:
Talk/Public Affairs (Single program on news, talk, or public affairs): Justin Chapman, Pasadena Media, "NewsRap Local with Justin Chapman"
3. ONLINE - Originally published on the internet:
Entertainment Feature on Film: Justin Chapman, KPCC/LAist, "The Hedonistic History Of Paradise Springs, Where Early Hollywood Went Wild"
The 64th annual Southern California Journalism Awards ceremony is Saturday, June 25, 2022, at the Sheraton Universal Hotel.
I’m quoted extensively in a new NPR radio piece and article about Mad Mike Hughes, the Flat Earther daredevil rocketeer. Check it out here. I’m almost done with my book about him—stay tuned.
The latest episode of “NewsRap Local with Justin Chapman” features my analysis of the month’s top stories and an interview with affordable housing advocate Michelle White, with whom I served on the ACLU Pasadena chapter’s board for many years. We talked about Pasadena’s upcoming rent control/just cause eviction charter amendment ballot measure. Watch the full episode here.
Be sure to watch the recent Pasadena City Council candidates’ forum, hosted by the Pasadena Star-News, the Pasadena Community Coalition, and “NewsRap Local with Justin Chapman.” Brennon Dixson of the Star-News and I served as the two panelists asking the candidates questions. Watch the forum here.
Here’s part of what I wrote for the Pasadena Media Foundation’s annual report: “This is a challenging time for local news across the country, including here in Pasadena. The Pasadena Media Foundation is the only entity I’m aware of that is providing sorely needed support to journalists and media outlets.” I then went on to describe the support the foundation has provided to me. “I hope in the future that the Pasadena Media Foundation will be able to increase its reach and impact with more resources, to produce its own news content, and to inspire other philanthropic efforts for the fledgling media landscape in Pasadena.” Thank you Pasadena Media Foundation!
Stories to Keep an Eye On:
International: Russia keeps moving the goalposts of its war goals and keeps falling short. As long as Ukraine can continue to hold its ground, make slow but steady gains, and wait out the Russian military as it fails to live up to expectations, they just may pull off what was unthinkable just three months ago. It’s going to be a long grind, but.
National: Lots of important elections taking place across the country, and especially in swing states. I hope folks in those states are paying attention to who would uphold election integrity and who would tear it down to enable Trump to slither his way back in. Make no mistake, he’ll be on the ballot in 2024. It’s going to be a scorched earth campaign like we’ve never seen.
California: The state legislature is considering whether to open supervised-injection sites for people to consume hard drugs in a safe space where healthcare workers can prevent overdoses and guide them toward treatment options. This is absolutely essential to ease the overdose crisis and prevent the spread of HIV and hepatitis. Among the more than 100 such sites around the world in more than a dozen countries over the last 35 years, no one has ever died of an overdose. Compare that to the 10,000 people in California and 100,000 people across the United States who died of overdoses last year, numbers that are very likely underreported. The War on Drugs has been a brutal failure. Options like safe-injection sites are critical public health measures that should be adopted.
Local: Rent control is on the ballot in Pasadena in November! If passed by voters, the charter amendment ballot measure will cap annual rent increases at 2-3 percent, only allow evictions for just causes such as non-payment of rent or violation of rental agreement, establish a new rental housing board, and establish a rental registry. Learn more here.
Here are some recommendations for great books I’ve read recently:
The Service—Reinhard Gehlen
After World War II, former Nazi General Gehlen surrendered to the Americans and struck a deal with them to continue his intelligence-gathering operations with secret U.S. support to prepare for the increasingly apparent conflict with the Soviet Union. An ardent anti-Communist, Gehlen went on to lead West Germany’s version of the CIA until the late 1960s. This book is full stunning statements and admissions, including Gehlen’s certainty that Hitler’s private secretary Martin Bormann was a Soviet agent all along, and that without his treachery the Allies would not have won the war, and that he survived the Soviet attack on Berlin in Spring 1945 and fled to Moscow.
Easter 1916: The Irish Rebellion—Charles Townshend
This dense book fills in the gaps of historical knowledge about the Irish uprising against British rule before Ireland was its own country, and brings to light Ireland’s misunderstood yet important role in World War I. Irish history is one subject (among far too many) that I simply can’t get enough of.
Spotlight on My Past Stories
My second ever cover story for Pasadena Weekly, back in Spring 2005, was about author Jerry Stahl, who wrote Permanent Midnight. That memoir of his heroin addiction while writing for TV shows such as “Alf” was turned into a movie starring Ben Stiller. I interviewed him again in 2013. Now, Stahl is out with a new book on July 5 called Nein, Nein, Nein! One Man's Tale of Depression, Psychic Torment, and a Bus Tour of the Holocaust. It’s sure to be a fascinating and twisted and hilarious read.
More About MEMAH Board Members
Anna Nakhiengchanh, MS, RDN (pending): “I am a Clinical Dietitian with a master's degree in Nutrition, Lifespan, and Longevity. I have a strong passion for holistic approaches to wellness and believe that adequate nutrition must be accessible to everyone. I met Jim Morris, the founder of MEMAH, in the park where both of us enjoyed spending time exercising. In our talks, we connected over our vision of health. Once I learned about MEMAH, I felt compelled to become a member of the advisory board to give back to the community by promoting wellness and longevity.”
Louis Fantasia: “For the better part of 40 years I have been producing, directing, teaching, and writing about the works of William Shakespeare in LA, London, and around the globe. I actually came to Shakespeare by accident, directing my first production (of Macbeth) in 1976, which led me to meet Sam Wanamaker, the driving force and founder of Shakespeare’s Globe theater in London. For many years I ran some of the Globe’s education programs, served on the Globe’s American board, and went on to lead teacher-training programs at the Huntington and Clark libraries, and the Shakespeare Center of LA, where I met Jim, who, in a very funny way, is much like Sam.
Both Sam and Jim have (or in Sam’s case had—he passed away in 1993 before the Globe officially opened—the ability and charm to convince you to join their cause. I remember, when I met Sam in 1981, he took me by the elbow around an old warehouse in South London, where he told me—long before he had the money in the bank or the commitments from builders, architects, and scholars—that ‘this is where we are going to build Shakespeare’s Globe.’ And he did! The fact that I had some small part in that reconstruction is one of the great accomplishments in my life.
Jim struck me as having the same passion and commitment not only to the cause of men’s health (and especially prostate health), but also improving the lives of men (and women and students) in the greater Pasadena/Foothills region with events such as Get Healthy Pasadena. It was impossible not to become ‘infected’ by his enthusiasm, and I found myself asking him how I could help. The result was an evening of ‘Shakespeare and Medicine’ with stars such as Joan van Ark, Claudia Christian, Tony Amendola, Lawrence Pressman, and 20 more actors, singers, and musicians donating their time and talents to a fundraiser on the PCC campus for MEMAH and the PCC student food bank.
As we come out of Covid (hopefully!) I am happy to continue to contribute time and energy to plan and carry out these sorts of events, that bring together the physical, spiritual, psychological, and cultural health of the community under Jim’s leadership. Shakespeare advises us (in Richard II) to ‘lay aside life-harming heaviness/ And entertain a cheerful disposition.’ If I can help bring that message of health to folks in SoCal through MEMAH’s work, well, that will be another great accomplishment for me.”
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