Super Bowl LIV Tips the Helmet to Latino Fans
Football fans across the country are prepping chicken wings and betting pools in advance of Sunday’s Super Bowl between the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs—but there’s a segment of us who will be enthusiastically watching for non-pigskin-related reasons. That’s right: I’m talking about the halftime show. The Super Bowl, held in Miami, Florida, this year, will host a star-studded array of Latin performers—namely Jennifer Lopez, Shakira, Swing Latino, and (possibly) Pitbull.

The Spanish-language broadcast of the game, airing on Fox Deportes, will feature a video appearance by Los Tigres del Norte, the wildly popular regional Mexican band based in San Jose, California. In the Winter 2020 issue of Alta, contributor Gustavo Arellano reviewed the band’s Netflix documentary and live album, Los Tigres del Norte at Folsom Prison. The 2019 performance honored Johnny Cash’s legendary Folsom Prison concert there over 50 years ago. And as Arellano notes, it reflects the changes both the prison and the country have seen in the past five decades. Read it here

Los Tigres del Norte’s inclusion in Super Bowl programming was announced by the network last week, and Arellano is delighted: “Los Tigres del Norte at the Super Bowl show two things: that the NFL is finally realizing that Latinos like football. And that producers have impeccable music taste. Now, can the league finally put Jim Plunkett and Tom Flores into the Hall of Fame?!”

As a Bay Arean, I’m certainly hopeful the Niners win the game, but I’ll be watching for JLo and Shakira. Miami was, after all, home to what is arguably the greatest Super Bowl halftime show in history. Prince’s 2007 performance of “Purple Rain” IN THE RAIN was so iconic, the NFL posted an eight-minute documentary about it. Good luck not getting chills. Think there was a better halftime show? Let us know your favorite at

Reader Mailbox: Wow, Alta readers take coffee seriously. We received a great response to the question posed in last week’s newsletter: What’s your favorite cup of West Coast coffee? Brian Auger of Marin County swears by the “overpowering smoky, toasty flavor” of Peet’s Major Dickason’s Blend; Bill Albright of Bishop, California, insists that the best cup of coffee is prepared by Carl Staub of Agtron in Reno, Nevada; Anneliese Agren of Big Sur, California, tweeted Alta to let us know about Thanksgiving Coffee’s great cups in Fort Bragg, California.

Go Niners!
Beth Spotswood

Mystery Maker
In the follow-up to her Edgar Award–winning Bluebird, Bluebird, Attica Locke’s Heaven, My Home offers a consequential commentary on contemporary politics. She’ll join Alta editor-at-large Mary Melton in conversation at Vroman’s Bookstore on February 5 at 7 p.m. READ MORE
Space for Mobile Homeless
Everyone likes good news—and we’re delighted to include some today. In our Winter 2020 issue, journalist Bonnie Tsui reports on a program in the Monterey Peninsula that offers safe parking lots to homeless people living in their cars. She’s here today to discuss that program—and to provide an update on one of the people profiled in her article.
Do you have something to tell us after reading an Alta article? We welcome letters to the editor at Drop us a line and let us know what you liked, what you disagreed with, or what blew your mind.
Top Picks from the California Sun Newsletter   
Before Bridges
A century ago, an Oakland engineer was inspired by the Wright brothers to build his own aircraft. Stanley Page did just that, then soared over the Bay Area, leaned out of the cockpit with a camera, and captured stunning aerial views of the Bay Area as it appeared before its iconic bridges were built. Page’s images are now on display at SFO Museum. East Bay Yesterday/SFO Museum
The Man Is an Island
Matt Allen, a former electronics technician, has one of the Bay Area’s most unusual living arrangements. He and his pit bull Honey are the sole occupants of Brooks Island, a regional preserve just offshore from Richmond. When Allen took the job of caretaker for the island nine years ago, he got a warning: don’t go crazy. A previous caretaker refused to leave at the end of his tenure and had to be airlifted away by law enforcement. Atlas Obscura
For more California Sun, visit
Altatude: This Week’s Cartoon
“You ever get that feeling that you’re not being watched?”

Like to laugh? Visit the Alta site for more Altatude cartoons. SEE MORE
Our recommendations for this week’s best writing about California and the West.
Meet the Boy Scouts of the Border Patrol — Nation

• Violent Assaults, Insufficient Care: Inside the Chaos of SF General’s Emergency Room — San Francisco Chronicle

Ari Emanuel, WME, and the Great Hollywood IPO That Wasn’t — Vanity Fair

Kobe Bryant Had a Special Kinship with Latino Fans and Culture — Los Angeles Times

Giants Make Alyssa Nakken First Female Coach in MLB History — ESPN
Support Alta and our event partners at these upcoming events:
Tonight: Alta and Book Soup present Stephen Tapert and his book, Best Actress: The History of Oscar®-Winning Women. This lavishly illustrated coffee-table book offers a vital examination of the first 75 women to have won the Best Actress Oscar over the span of 90 years. From inaugural recipient Janet Gaynor to Frances McDormand’s 2018 acceptance speech that assertively brought women to the forefront, the book serves to promote a new appreciation for the cinematic roles these women won for, as well as the real-life roles many of them played—and still play—in advancing women’s rights and equality. Showcasing a dazzling collection of 200 photographs, many of which have never before been seen or published, Best Actress honors the legacies of these revered and extraordinary women while scrutinizing the roadblocks that they continue to overcome. Details: Book Soup, 8818 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, 7 p.m., free.
Wednesday, February 5: Join Vroman’s Bookstore and Alta as we welcome Edgar Award–winning writer Attica Locke for a discussion and signing of her latest, Heaven, My Home. In the book, nine-year-old Levi King knew he should have left for home sooner; now he’s alone in the darkness of vast Caddo Lake, in a boat whose motor just died. A sudden noise distracts him—and all goes dark. Darren Mathews is trying to emerge from another kind of darkness; after the events of his previous investigation, his marriage is in a precarious state of rebuilding, and his career and reputation lie in the hands of his mother, who’s never exactly had his best interests at heart. Now she holds the key to his freedom, and she’s not above a little maternal blackmail to press her advantage. An unlikely possibility of rescue arrives in the form of a case down Highway 59, in a small lakeside town where the local economy thrives on nostalgia for antebellum Texas—and some of the era’s racial attitudes still thrive as well. Locke will be in conversation with Alta editor-at-large Mary Melton. Details: Vroman’s Bookstore, 695 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, 7 p.m., free.
Wednesday, February 5: In his explosive book, Levi’s Stadium Unsafe in Any Seat: Would You Trust Your Safety at This Venue?, Fred Weaver details the chaos and lack of security at Levi’s Stadium, leading to recent “near fatal” attacks and personal-injury lawsuits. Weaver also exposes Santa Clara Police Department “corruption,” the city of Santa Clara’s “dirty laundry,” and Santa Clara city council members’ “toxic” relationship with the San Francisco 49ers entities. Details: Books Inc., 317 Castro St., Mountain View, 7 p.m., free.
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