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Racial Borderlands: Suburban Plantation Culture and 'Rancho California (por favor)'
Unformatted Document Text:  Racial Borderlands/10/9/03, p.12 whole. These participants did not want dramatize someone else’s knowledge in third person. Speaking and disclosing directly to the camera, apparently, offered a far more compelling draw for the gardeners than any attempt to aestheticize and "virtualize" (in Netspeak) their knowledge, or to dramatize and masquerade their perceptions in the form of third-person allegories. These people wanted viewers to know who they were and where they were from. They were not afraid to assume a position of authority on either medical issues or cross-cultural analysis. 19 Since the project we set out to produce was to grow out of interaction between community members, media makers, and teachers, we agreed to shift the project in format and scope to address this new concern of the gardeners. As a result, the final video was now to be less of a telenovela, than a more contemporary video "portrait" of the community--a video "magazine" that combined on-camera interviews with participants, oral histories, recipes, dramatized segments, nutrition teaching, and music video. I surmised that the mixed-mode approach--collaging documentary, fiction, music, and a garden "making-of"--also reflected the usefully contemporary look and style now common on television. While this alignment of direct subject ownership with televisual style made sense conceptually, the tactic also built multiple perspectives into the tape that would complicate distribution and end-use later on. This new reliance on self-disclosure on-camera provided--in addition to the shift to an inordinately high (and more expensive) shooting ratio--for some surprising revelations. 20 Some gardeners talked of anxieties about raising children in American culture. Other gardeners used camera time to mimic traditional Mexican proverbs, or "dichos," intended to pass rules for life from one generation to the next. Although interviewing continued into the early fall, the major part of production concluded, after two months of filmming, with a festive "first harvest" open to the entire community and city as a whole. 21 Traditional dishes were provided from each family garden plot. A group of kids DJ’d multi-racial hip-hop and Beck on the sound system, before another gardener’s young daughter belted out a Selena hit from the stage. Adding to the collision of traditional and contemporary, an indigenous Zapoteca dance group from North County performed traditional

Authors: Caldwell, John.
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Racial Borderlands/10/9/03, p.12
whole. These participants did not want dramatize someone else’s knowledge in third person.
Speaking and disclosing directly to the camera, apparently, offered a far more compelling draw for
the gardeners than any attempt to aestheticize and "virtualize" (in Netspeak) their knowledge, or to
dramatize and masquerade their perceptions in the form of third-person allegories. These people
wanted viewers to know who they were and where they were from. They were not afraid to assume
a position of authority on either medical issues or cross-cultural analysis.
19
Since the project we set out to produce was to grow out of interaction between community
members, media makers, and teachers, we agreed to shift the project in format and scope to
address this new concern of the gardeners. As a result, the final video was now to be less of a
telenovela, than a more contemporary video "portrait" of the community--a video "magazine" that
combined on-camera interviews with participants, oral histories, recipes, dramatized segments,
nutrition teaching, and music video. I surmised that the mixed-mode approach--collaging
documentary, fiction, music, and a garden "making-of"--also reflected the usefully contemporary
look and style now common on television. While this alignment of direct subject ownership with
televisual style made sense conceptually, the tactic also built multiple perspectives into the tape
that would complicate distribution and end-use later on.
This new reliance on self-disclosure on-camera provided--in addition to the shift to an
inordinately high (and more expensive) shooting ratio--for some surprising revelations.
20
Some
gardeners talked of anxieties about raising children in American culture. Other gardeners used
camera time to mimic traditional Mexican proverbs, or "dichos," intended to pass rules for life from
one generation to the next. Although interviewing continued into the early fall, the major part of
production concluded, after two months of filmming, with a festive "first harvest" open to the entire
community and city as a whole.
21
Traditional dishes were provided from each family garden plot. A
group of kids DJ’d multi-racial hip-hop and Beck on the sound system, before another gardener’s
young daughter belted out a Selena hit from the stage. Adding to the collision of traditional and
contemporary, an indigenous Zapoteca dance group from North County performed traditional


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