Episodes
The accordion lets its hair down and finds its groove; from animal costume strip-tease to a tiny village in rural Colombia to Tommy Lasorda’s birthday and the world’s largest meatball.
Published 05/21/18
The story behind one of the largest accordion schools in history, how impressionable young children were once recruited into esoteric pursuits by strangers appearing at their front door, and the rise and fall of the piano accordion in the USA.
Published 05/21/18
Two urban metropolises almost exactly opposite on the globe are each home to over 14 million people. Each sits at the southern foot of a mountain range, and is infamous for traffic, smog, and a hot, dry summer. Each entered their modern age in the 1770’s and came into their own with explosive growth in the 20th Century. Each has been enabled by impressive feats of aqueduct engineering. And one has become a nucleus of the other’s diaspora. The personal narratives of four people whose homes...
Published 05/15/17
By the late 19th Century, just when there aren't many wild predators left, we turn away from rural living. The deer are happy about this, and reproduce accordingly. And strangely enough (or perhaps, obviously), we then proceed to take animal tourism to a new level, being especially fond of paying money to see large carnivores from other places, both on film and in person. The boom-boom years of the jungle film mean Southern California is, for a time, a mecca for animal tourist attractions....
Published 01/23/16
The urban areas of The Southland are only getting more popular with the local wildlife. As coyotes and mountain lions become resigned to–if not delighted by–urban living, distinctions such as wilderness and civilization fall away. Scientists are beginning to study the city as natural habitat and are discovering biodiversity far beyond expectation, including brand new species literally in our backyards. Here, underfoot and on the power lines overhead, are the animals we live with but are not...
Published 12/13/15
An essay on personal and collective responsibility amid shifting economic sands and elusive safety nets, focusing on one of Los Angeles' great economic engines: creativity.  Aerialists, singers, musicians, visual artists, science fiction writers, film directors, and special effects specialists are herein represented in the quest for a healthy professional life. Woven through the stories of these small business owners and entrepreneurs is the history of California's contributions to the...
Published 10/09/15
We've been in space for over fifty years, but it still requires enormous resources and risk to get there. As part of the quest to change that situation, Mojave, California–the small desert town with an oversized airfield–has evolved from a training ground for Marine flying aces to the first private spaceport in history, although it's been a decade since the last succesful round-trip. While the private companies based there struggle to make acheiving orbit routine, NASA and the Jet Propulsion...
Published 09/17/15
The very personal story of the Siegel family, exploring the struggle of communicating bad news to loved ones, especially as the bad news piles on. Among many other things, here may be found: glimpses of Los Angeles through the later decades of the 20th Century, the minty-fresh smell of City Hall, Antonioni's SoCal movie and his weak attempt at heaviness, and yet another reason to appreciate rock'n'roll.
Published 09/16/15
Southern California was perhaps the world's single most important location for the development of the industry that came to be known as aerospace. Starting in 1910 and steadily building for three decades, the region came into its own in World War 2 and continuined through the entirety of the Cold War. And then disappeared. Most of its traces were quickly erased, and few people are aware of the industry's history here, but it was a prime factor in the development of Los Angeles County. This...
Published 09/15/15