The picture that this lovely lady is holding is a photograph taken by my father, Lynn G. Fayman. It was taken approximately fifty years ago, although the print is new.
The reason she’s holding the picture is because she works at the Museum of Photographic Art in Balboa Park. All of my dad’s work is now a part of their permanent collection and she’s one of the dedicated staff there that’s working on restoring and preserving his work. And now a show of his work will open at MOPA in February.
My dad was a pretty-well known abstract photographer in his time, with shows at several major institutions, and a couple of films entered in the Cannes film festival. He loved working with light and many of his photographs are just that – abstract photographs of arranged light. It was pretty radical stuff for the 50’s and 60’s.
He also created the photographic illustrations for three children’s books written by Dr. Seuss’s first wife, Helen Palmer. The books are out of print now, but you can still find them sometimes on eBay – I Was Kissed By a Seal at the Zoo, Do You Know What I’m Going to Do Next Saturday, and How I Built the Boogle House. Several of my siblings and I have guest appearances in the books.
My dad died when I was ten, so I didn’t get to know him very well. For the short time I got to be with him, he was an awesome dad, full of life, generous and loving. I have only good memories. His photographic work has always been one of the things I could hold onto as part of those memories. My dad was a talented artist. His work’s at MOPA now, where it belongs.
My Mom’s still around. She turned 94 this year. She’s pretty amazing too, but that’s another blog post, perhaps several. Suffice to say, I really scored in the parent department.
P.S. My younger brother is a photographer now, too. He’s got his own kind of abstract style. You can see some of his photos here.
Update: Thank you to reader Joe C., who recognized this photograph and provided me with the following information.
Your photo of TJ charros, was not taken at the bullring by the sea. The charro on the far right is Antonio Escobedo Jr. He had a Lienzo charro (bullring)in his ranch in TJ. His father, Antonio Escobedo Sr. is known as the man who in the 1920s brought la charreria (Mexican rodeo) to TJ. His father built the first lienzo charro (bull ring, toreo, is for bullfights.) in TJ.
Have a look at this photo I came across recently. Anybody know or recognize anything about it?
I found this in a large collection of old photographs from the San Diego area. The writing on the back credits the photographer as Bill Reid and simply says “Charros.” Other than that I know nothing about the photo, except I’m pretty sure it was taken somewhere near the San Diego/Tijuana border. There’s no date, though I’m guessing 1960’s, perhaps early 70’s.
The slope of the land up to the bullring suggests it might be the area near Border Field Park where many of the chapters in Border Field Blues take place, but it doesn’t look exactly the same. I may have to do a little research.
Below is a current photo of the area near the bullring-by-the-sea, from the USA side of the border. If it’s the same area, things have certainly changed.
There’s 43 days left until they finish renovating the old San Diego police station and turn it into The Headquarters, a shopping and dining center near Seaport Village. I’m not sure what year the police department moved, but the old place has been sitting vacant for many years. So it’s a good thing they’re finally making good use of a historic building. Bravo for urban renewal and all that good stuff!
But I’m a fiction writer, crime fiction, you know, and when people start digging around an old police station (it was built in 1939), my thoughts turn to one thing – I wonder if they’ll find any bodies buried there?
Well, I haven’t heard any reports, and they’re almost finished with construction, so I guess there’s no bodies. I’m going to have to fictionalize. I’ve had this on my mind for awhile and it’s how I’m planning to start my next book, Slab City Rockers
Here’s a few photos I took for research. I think that area out there in back is the most likely location.
Oh yeah, one more thing. The area where Seaport Village and The Headquarters was originally named “Punta de los Muertos” by the Spanish expedition of 1782. It’s where they buried scurvy victims. There’s a lot of ghosts out there.
One of the central plot points in Border Field Blues revolves around a song titled “Jungle Love”. My protagonist, Rolly Waters, finds a discarded CD case at the crime scene. It has the title “Jungle Love” on the cover. Later he hears a version of the song played, and learns about a hip-hop hit that samples the central riff from the original recording.
Since Rolly is a songwriter, I’ve often dipped into my own back catalog when I need a few lines to fill out a chapter, or hint at his state of mind. Like this bit at the end of the “La Madre” chapter, where Rolly sings.
A wave is coming at us.
There’s nothing else in sight.
On this dark, deserted ocean,
We’re about to face the night.
Those lines are from a song called “Fishermen” that I wrote but never recorded. But the song Jungle Love really does exist in recorded form and you can hear it for yourself below. I wrote it with my brother, many years ago, when we performed with our band Bad Dog. In our personal mythology at least, it’s the song that ruined our chances for a record contract with Columbia. The rep there who had previously expressed interest in our band hated it. We never heard from him again.
So I did a little recycling when I wrote Border Field Blues. I thought the title worked for the title of the song that’s central to plot. Here’s the original recording. I have to admit it was a very different song, and sound, from most of the stuff my brother and I were writing at the time. It’s certainly not my favorite song I ever wrote. I still kind of like the little piano riff and baseline, though. Maybe I can recycle it musically someday. Or maybe some hip-hop artist can sample it. Tell me what you think. I can take it.
Nowadays I use this for my ringtone. It’s a pretty good ringtone. You can download it here in ringtone format for iPhone and Android phones if you’re interested.
Border Field Blues Contest #1 – Character Names
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I have a system for developing the names of the characters in my books. Many of the characters’ names are a combination of musical terms, song titles, musician names, or musical instrument manufacturers. Here’s how I came up with these names from Border Field Blues.
Max Gemeinhardt is named after Springsteen and Conan drum man Max Weinberg (although anyone guessing Max Roach, jazz stickman nonpareil would instantly earn hipness points from me). His last name is the flute and piccolo manufacturer.