Alyssa Kapnik

photo courtesty of Tom Arthur

The Bay Area is home to one of the world’s most famous animated film production companies: Pixar. They’ve taken us into the worlds of rebellious toys, struggling superheros, lonely old men, wandering fish, brave young redheads.

But the worlds they create depend greatly on the sounds that exist there.

For that step, Pixar sends their animated films to Skywalker Ranch in Marin.  That's where sound designer Tom Myers works his sonic magic, bringing animated characters to life. 

Sutro Baths, Wells Fargo, Stern Grove… What these San Francisco icons have in common is they were all founded or developed by Jews.  Jewish people have been living in San Francisco since the beginning of this great city, and that’s the topic of a new documentary called American Jerusalem.

You've probably been seeing this next band around town for a while, on line-ups at clubs like Bottom of the Hill and The Independent. They've been playing the show circuit for over four years and have a following that stretches as far as London, England. 

Photo by Alyssa Kapnik,

A lot of things make San Francisco a unique city -- and one is the sheer number of dogs.  There are more dogs than there are children.  Something like 120,000 canines inhabit this metropolis, and thousands of those dogs are dropped off at local shelters each year.  Lost, abandoned, orphaned or mistreated by former owners.

Alyssa Kapnik

Twice a year the San Francisco Symphony hosts workshops called “Sing Out Davies”, as part of the symphony's Community of Music Makers program. For one evening, singers from around the Bay Area come together to make music as one.  KALW's Alyssa Kapnik stood among them for a recent workshop and brought back their impressions of what it's like to be an ordinary person in such an extraordinary experience.  

It may have the word “noise” in the title, but San Francisco's Noise Pop festival is all about highlighting the best indie art, film and music in the Bay Area. It kicks off tonight with concerts including Oakland’s Will Sprott.

The California Condor is a severely endangered bird – and one of the oldest and largest in North America. The process of trying to protect, and now regenerate, the condor population began in the early 1900s. Since then, government agencies have spent $20 million on the conservation effort, making it the most expensive in US history. 

KALW's community storytelling project Hear Here has been asking Oakland and San Francisco residents about meaningful places in their neighborhood. KALW's Alyssa Kapnik chose her place, a church, because she used to pass it on her way to the BART station. Since Kapnik is  from a totally different faith – she's Jewish – she wondered what it would be like to experience religion and God from such a different perspective. Fully aware that she’d be an outsider, she decided to go one recent Sunday, and she was the only white person in the entire congregation.

Alyssa Kapnik

To hear great recorded music, especially the rare classics, you can either buy it from a dwindling number of record stores, or you can find it at places like the flea market.  Reporter Alyssa Kapnik spoke to shoppers Grant, and Thamsanqa Hlatywayo, and long-time vendors, Daryl Mitchell and David Dean.

THAMSANQA HLATYWAYO: Drums, to start with.  When you come in you just hear all this drumming.

GRANT: Just a mish-mash of everything.  Ashby Flea Market is just one of the weirder flea markets around here.

Passion Profile: John Charlebois

Oct 23, 2012

We’ve been honoring the people in our neighborhoods who display a healthy dose of passion in their lives, day in and day out, inspiring us to generate a little of our own. Listener Carmen Dicinque called us recently to tell us about horse trainer John Charlebois. KALW’s Alyssa Kapnik and Ashleyanne Krigbaum went out to meet Charlebois and his horses.

Listen to the profile above.

Today we’re going around the Bay Area to see what you the voters are talking about this election season. We heard from Alameda county residents Bob Ferris, Christopher Rufo, Tess Thorman, and Todd Carmody as brought to us by KALW’s Alyssa Kapnik.

What are the main issues on your mind before the upcoming 2012 elections?