The Bay Area Reporter

Betsy Kalin kicks off her rocking exploration of chains as butch dyke fashion accessories with Aretha's "Chain of Fools."

Chained!"They started predominantly with the motorcycle industry, because that was the source of traveling without having to lose your wallet. Of course, chains keep other useful tools handy. Among those things is the bottle-opener, because you want to be sure when you're at that party and there's this fabulous girl there, you just pull out your chain and there's your bottle opener, and pop, there you go." (Dyke Delights, Castro, 6/26)

The Source of this aricle at

Interview with Betsy Kalin

I wrote this story for the second issue of "Brooklyn & Boyle," a monthly magazine about Art & Life in Boyle Heights and Beyond.

Betsy KalinWhen Connecticut transplant Betsy Kalin was approached to make a documentary on Boyle Heights, nothing in her activist and filmmaking background had prepared her for the obstacles ahead: "Boyle Heights is the richest area that I've ever been in contact with," Kalin confesses after two years of total immersion in the neighborhood's history, past and current. "How do you choose one amongst the million great stories? That was the biggest struggle."

Her starting point was photographer and entrepreneur Eric Waterman, who originated the project and produced it. "It has such resonance for him because his family is from Boyle Heights," says Kalin. Even though Waterman's parents left in the 1940′s and Eric was raised in the valley, his family would talk about Boyle Heights all the time and would often bring him back to visit. This is a story Kalin would hear time and again as she began researching the neighborhood. "People who lived in Boyle Heights in the 20′s are still going back and feel a strong attachment to it, and people who live there now share the same passion," Kalin remarks. "I don't hear people in my neighborhood say 'I was raised in West Hollywood, what a great place!' Why does Boyle Heights have this power that other neighborhoods don't have?"

Kalin found answers in the friendships of 50 plus years featured in the film: Floyd Jeter, the first African American to receive a track USC scholarship in 1955, and his Russian Molokan neighbor Bill Novikoff; Marsha Vasquez, Momo Yoshima and Dian Harrison, three women activists who met at Belvedere Junior High School. Kalin even captures on camera 89 year-old Japanese American Cedrick Shimo's visit to his old home. Forced to leave their house after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Cedrick's family was sent to internment camps never to return to Boyle Heights to live. Saul Ines, a 30-year old Mexican American Cal Arts student who now lives in the house with his parents, welcomes Cedrick home and the men instantly bond over their shared upbringing.

View the full aritcle at The Smiling Spider


Site by LiveWorks Ink