Interview with Body Politic Program Host Peter Gourevitch, 2008

Since 1996, The Body Politic has been examining the issues creating local, national, and international news. After a brief hiatus, the series has returned with a new, yet familiar, host: Peter Gourevitch, professor of political science at UCSD . We asked him to tell us a bit more about the series and what we can expect to see in the future.

UCSD-TV: Welcome back to The Body Politic! What prompted you to return to television?

Peter Gourevitch: I had a great experience hosting the show ten years ago and with so many important things happening now in the world and in the U.S. it seemed a good opportunity to discuss important issues with the public.

UCSD-TV: Why is it important for UCSD faculty to participate in televised discussions about issues of the day?

PG: An informed citizenship is vital to a healthy democracy. Anything the faculty can do to help inform people we should do. My colleagues know lots of valuable things and I’d like to help them communicate it to the general public. You can read about these issues in the newspapers or online but there is something more direct about hearing from someone who is part of our community.

UCSD-TV: The Body Politic premiered on UCSD-TV in 1996. How has the political climate changed since the show began? Or has it?

PG: The political climate seems even more polarized than it was ten years ago. The difficulties we face in the U.S. and in the world have gone up – Iraq, the economy, the environment, inequality, infrastructure in the U.S., education – these have all increased as problems of concern.

UCSD-TV: What topics can the audience expect to be explored on upcoming episodes of the show? Immigration? Health care? Foreign policy?

PG: Yes, all of these issues: foreign policy, immigration, the economy, health, the environment. It is a matter of matching expertise, availability and the topic. Our constraint is time!

SummerFest 2007: Interview with Executive Producer John Menier

La Jolla Music Society and UCSD-TV have forged a unique partnership to share the magic of Summerfest with television and web audiences. We asked executive producer John Menier to tell us a bit more about the history and making of the series. UCSD-TV: How did UCSD-TV’s partnership with La Jolla Music Society’s Summerfest begin? JOHN […]

La Jolla Music Society and UCSD-TV have forged a unique partnership to share the magic of Summerfest with television and web audiences. We asked executive producer John Menier to tell us a bit more about the history and making of the series.

UCSD-TV: How did UCSD-TV’s partnership with La Jolla Music Society’s Summerfest begin?

JOHN MENIER: The exact details are shrouded in the mists of time, but I first made contact with La Jolla Music Society in 1993. At that time I was interested in one particular event, an appearance by composer Bright Sheng at the Athanaeum Music Library in La Jolla. The resulting program turned out very well, and over the next few years we gradually developed an enduring partnership with the Society.

UCSD-TV: What are some of your favorite moments from past Summerfest seasons?

JM: I’m fascinated by rehearsals, and I love documenting the creative process. As a fan of, and advocate for, new music, it’s been a particular treat to watch such creative talents as Tan Dun, John Adams, Chick Corea and Wayne Shorter refine their work with some of the world’s best musicians, and to share their processes with a wider audience. The opportunity to interview them is a rare privelege as well.

There are many favorite moments. I have fond memories of L’Histoire du Soldat with conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen, narrator John Rubinstein and choreographer John Malashock; Tan Dun’s Ghost Opera, with violinist Cho-Liang Lin and pipa virtuoso Wu Man; John Adams rehearsing his Shaker Loops; Richard Tognetti and the Australian Chamber Orchestra rehearsing their SummerFest concert; and the blending of chamber music and contemporary choreography by Allyson Green, especially for Tan Dun’s Elegy: Snow in June, an exciting and profoundly moving piece which featured UCSD’s own master percussionist, Steven Schick.

UCSD-TV: Shooting a live performance is quite different from shooting a studio interview. What are the primary challenges and what is a typical Summerfest shoot like?

JM: The biggest challenge is reconciling the intricate demands of multi-camera television production with the presenter’s requirements for live performance. We simply don’t have the same control over the concert venue that we take for granted in the studio. It’s really a process of negotiation, with regard to lighting, camera and microphone placement, and audio recording. I work closely with SummerFest’s production staff and stage management to ensure that we get what we need without compromising the performance, or inconveniencing the concert musicians or patrons. Fortunately, over time we’ve earned the Society’s trust, which makes my job much easier, as does the quality of their staff and of our production crew. It’s been a mutually respectful and beneficial partnership.

UCSD-TV: What can the UCSD-TV audience expect from this season’s performances?

JM: As in seasons past, viewers can expect SummerFest’s eclectic blend of established chamber repertoire, overlooked works by renowned composers, and new music commissioned for the festival. And, since I just can’t seem to stay out of rehearsals, you can expect behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with composers and musicians. Beginning this year, viewers may also visit our website for “bonus features” such as extended interviews, pre-concert lectures, etc. It’s all part of our determination to add value to the viewer’s experience by going beyond the concert hall.

Watch online videos and learn more about La Jolla Music Society SummerFest.

San Diego Spotlight’s Carmen Wins Bronze Telly Award

(Press Release Excerpt) Four diverse programs from University of California, San Diego Television (UCSD-TV) were each honored with a Telly Award, an international competition honoring outstanding local, regional, and cable TV commercials and programs. One program, San Diego Canyonlands, received the highest honor — the Silver Telly — while San Diego Opera Spotlight: Carmen, State […]

(Press Release Excerpt) Four diverse programs from University of California, San Diego Television (UCSD-TV) were each honored with a Telly Award, an international competition honoring outstanding local, regional, and cable TV commercials and programs. One program, San Diego Canyonlands, received the highest honor — the Silver Telly — while San Diego Opera Spotlight: Carmen, State of Minds: Fall 2006 and Health Matters: Healthful Benefits of Pets each received a Bronze Telly Award.

The first of UCSD-TV’s three Bronze awards went to San Diego Opera Spotlight: Carmen, a backstage look at the local production of Georges Bizet’s verismo masterpiece. The half-hour program is part of San Diego Opera Spotlight’s tenth anniversary season and was produced by UCSD-TV’s John Menier in partnership with San Diego Opera.

Learn more about San Diego Opera Spotlight.

Interview with David Pellow and Jorge Mariscal for Growing Activism

What role does activism play on a college campus? Does it leave marks on not only the people who participate but the places where it occurs? In the series Growing Activism, UCSD-TV follows two professors as they share with students the history of campus activism at UC San Diego. We asked Professors David Pellow and Jorge Mariscal to tell us a bit more about this project.

UCSD-TV: What do you hope to accomplish by bringing activists to campus?

DAVID PELLOW: We hope to (re)invigorate a passion for the broader relevance of a college education in the United States today. Education, in my experience, should be about critical thinking, engaged learning and listening, and transformative action aimed at improving societies. Anything less than that is unacceptable.

JORGE MARISCAL: We hope to provide models and inspiration so that students will feel empowered to take action on their own. The activists we spotlight believe long-term structural change should be the goal of all activism. Simply put, charity is not enough and faddish protests designed for media attention are counter-productive. Activism is a long-term, often a lifetime, commitment based on hope and courage.

UCSD-TV: How do you personally define activism?
DP: Activism comes in many forms: innovative imagination and thought; engaging dialogue, conversations, speech, and the written word; and the use of persuasion directed at one’s peers and at those who enjoy positions of privilege.

JM: Activists come together around issues of mutual concern with the goal of making change. Activists volunteer time and a great deal of energy in addition to carrying out family and professional responsibilities. This is especially true for student activists who are completing an academic career at a very competitive university while at the same time trying to effect change at that university and in the society at large.

UCSD-TV: How has your own activism informed your work on campus?

DP: I’ve been active in social and environmental justice work for more than 20 years and that experience shapes my teaching, student mentoring, and research everyday because those three things are ultimately done for the purpose of achieving a world that is more socially just and ecologically sustainable. So you see it in the content of the courses I teach and the substance of the research that I do as a scholar.

JM: I first became active in the Chicano/Latino Concilio in the late 1980s. Concilio was created with the goal of making UCSD more responsive to the Latino community. Over the years, I have conducted research and published articles on the history of UCSD. My knowledge of the founding principles of the campus and the structures that have regulated it over the decades allow me to analyze the current moment and to work with others to try to make the campus more inclusive and democratic.

UCSD-TV: You frequently invite guest speakers into your classroom. What have been some of your favorite insights/anecdotes that those speakers have shared?

DP: One speaker from Los Angeles was Saul Sarabia, a legal scholar/activist who does incredible work with university students and communities of color in that city. He reminded students that at the end of the day, if we haven’t taken care of ourselves, then we’re no good to anyone else. Specifically, he mentioned that many activists experience burnout due to overwork, or have health problems because they are overcommitted to “the cause.” He experienced this himself, but he bounced back and has remained an amazing asset for social change because he decided to set limits on how much of his time and energy he could give. As Cross-Cultural Center Director Edwina Welch likes to remind us, “don’t reproduce the conditions of your own oppression.” In other words, if we’re fighting oppression, it makes no sense to do so by adopting methods that end up creating oppressive situations for ourselves.

JM: Most of the speakers have said that individuals alone cannot make effective change. Change comes through collective action. They have also talked about the need to take care of one’s health and family needs as an activist because the danger of burnout is very high. My favorite speaker is probably Mr. Fernando Suarez who lost his only son during the invasion of Iraq. His son was a U.S. Marine who was not a citizen. Mr. Suarez has dedicated himself to the cause of peace. He tells young people that they can make a difference by getting an education and working in their communities.

UCSD-TV: How have students responded?

DP: The students have not only responded, in fact, they’ve been the driving force behind Growing Activism. They were the reason we launched this series. The students have always asked “What can I do?” or “Where can I go to get more involved in addressing this issue?” So that’s been wonderful because the classes, events, and the series itself were largely mobilized from the ground up, by student demand. Their response has been outstanding. Student attendance and participation at many of the events has been strong. In many cases, the question and answer discussion segments have been more interesting and informative than the presentations that preceded them!

JM: Students always respond very positively. There is a tremendous desire among this generation of students to make meaningful change in their society. What is lacking are the conduits for action and inspirational leadership. Although some of our students are cynical, many of them are not apathetic at all. This was quite apparent in the immigrant marches of 2006 and recent organizing around sustainability and global warming.

UCSD-TV: If a student, faculty member, or community member is interested in being more active on campus, where do you suggest they begin?

DP: They can come to the Cross-Cultural Center and get all the information they need to get hooked into a great network of active folks here!

JM: They need to identify what issue moves them the most. They then need to locate others with a passion for the same issue. From there they can either find an existing organization or create a new one. Making contact with off-campus groups is a must because UCSD is the epitome of the ivory tower.

Behind the Scenes Photos from The People's History of San Diego

Check out these behind-the-scenes photos from Growing Activism.


Producer Shannon Bradley preps Professors David Pellow and Jorge Mariscal for their studio interview.
(November 6, 2007)


Professors Pellow and Mariscal on set in the UCSD-TV studio.
(November 6, 2007)


Director Matt Alioto tends to the lighting.
(November 6, 2007)


Professor Jorge Mariscal takes a group of students through the Price Center, asking them to look for the missing history.
(October 9, 2007)


Professor Mariscal recounts the history of protest
at Revelle Plaza, including the story of a student who set himself on fire to protest the Vietnam War in 1970.
(October 9, 2007)