Swimming in Dreams

What’s the point of all of this? It’s a question we’ve all asked ourselves. For child-refugees who’ve come to America (and their descendants), attempting to answer this question is inevitably tied with wondering why fate, God, or whatever higher power they believe in has given them opportunities that those who came before them did not have.If you’ve ever asked yourself what it is that you need to be doing in life, this story is for you. You don’t have to come from a refugee background to relate. It’s simply the story of a young man who’s beginning to seriously question his lot in life, intertwining it with his family background, and coming to terms with the nature of it all. By exploring the three lives of a now-reintegrated middle-aged man who was sentenced to prison at 15, a college student who once couldn’t dream, and a high school student balancing what she owes to her mother and to herself; Ethan hopes to answer one question: what am I here for, if anything?
Producer: Ethan Lo Featuring: Choy, Paw, Neesha

The Reality Teacher

In the summer of 2019, I took off on a cross-country road trip to discover my father’s mysterious hippie past. Though I grew up with a dad who worked as an accounting professor, all throughout my childhood I heard stories of my dad building log cabins in Washington Woodlands, running a granola coop and my half-sister born on the kitchen table. Join me as I travel across time and space to uncover the truth of it all and learn from “the reality teacher.”
Producer: Elena Press  

To the Beat of the Drum

When you feel at home thousands of miles away from your birthplace, what choice do you have but to return? I take a return trip to the Festival of the Rosary—an African syncretic festival in the southeast of Brazil. In returning, I learned African diasporic peoples might be connected by more than just African ancestry. Marked by cultural loss from the middle passage, this festival births a culture of its own. Its songs and rituals speak to the suffering of slavery and embrace a remembrance of forgotten homelands. As a black person from the United States, being in the presence of this grieving made room for something else to take root. Producer: Mylan Gray Featuring: Ana Luzia Da Silva, Padre Jailson, Rainha Cleusa, Dayonna Tucker, Ramona Greene, Cameron Woods  

Seekers

In her late thirties, Lanie, Sophie’s mom, became a born again Christian. Christianity gave her life meaning and happiness. When Lanie found God, “All the heaviness was just lifted.” Sophie, an atheist, struggles to find purpose in her own life. In this story, Sophie sets out to determine if what saved her mother could save her, too. Producer: Sophie McNulty  

Klezmer for My Grandmother

In the summer of 2019, I fly to Israel with a single goal in mind. I want to play a song. But not just any song. I want to play a Klezmer song. This podcast follows my journey meeting Jewish musicians and dealing with family tragedy to compose a personal song. “Music doesn’t lie.” You’ll agree when you hear how beautiful, haunting, and inspiring Klezmer music can be.
Producer: Daniel Helena Alexander

Coming of Age (Online): Imaging Queer Futures

What does it mean to (be queer) and come of age on the internet? In the past ten years, the queer games movement has exploded. Around the world, more and more people feel like they can make free and simple and strange games — ones that speak to queer stories and experiences. But it wasn’t always this easy. Some queer games used the earliest, clunkiest internet to find each other in crisis, to find friends, community, and a lifeline support in a time when no one was paying attention. Follow the journeys of queer gamers as they reflect on their earliest experiences online — experiences of freedom and discomfort, of community and isolation. They’ve since become architects of the internet, contributing to online communities as media scholars and game developers, but for these queer gamers, it all started way back. Producer: Julie Fukunaga Featuring: Pedro Gallardo (he/him), Teddy Pozo (they/them), Kat Brewster (they/she)

Weird, F***** Up, Amazing

I grew up in the sprawl of Los Angeles. I grew up on garage shows, Whiskey-A-Go-Go on Sunset Boulevard, classmates rapping on SoundCloud, my mom driving me an hour and a half to a venue in Orange County. My experiences with DIY music communities have been among the most important aspects of my life; yet, the deeper I get into this world, the more I hear people tell me that I missed out on “the glory days.” In this story, I travel to Asheville, North Caroline to prove that DIY is, in fact, not dead, but that young people today are making the subculture more accessible and creative.

Producer: Hannah Scott Featuring: Mark Hosler, Emma Hutchens, Davaion “Spaceman Jones” Bristol


Seeing with Sound

If sound matters, why? I am not alone in fearing blindness, because we live in a world of visuals. Whether I am reading a book, following street signs, or hopping on a train, I can’t imagine navigating a world without my eyes. I tune out the cacophony of cars, squeaks, barks, and pedestrian crossings on a daily basis. In privileging sight, what am I missing in sound? “When you close your eyes you begin to feel your body. You become aware of your non-visual abilities,” said Thomas Tajo, a blind echolocator. I speak with human echolocators, eye researchers, and music professors to discover just how much sound has to offer. Close your eyes. Tune in, and listen to what is revealed. Producer: Chloe Barreau Music: Veni Creator Spiritus by John Dunstable Lost and Found by Podington Bear Three Colors by Podington Bear