Erica Mu

Reporter/Producer

Erica Mu is a reporter and producer for the "Hear Here: A Pop-Up Radio Project" in conjunction with KALW and the Association of Independents in Radio. Mu has reported on the serious side of health and the quirky side of arts, and she's also helped KALW pioneer the digital frontier as the news team’s web strategist and editor. Mu has also organized and directed KALW’s live storytelling events.

    

KALW's Hear Here community storytelling team met one Oakland resident who lost her job, but found a new way to feed herself.

Erica Mu

If you’re like me, the sight of inflatable Santa’s and fake, twinkling icicles anytime after December 25th, may cause you to roll down the car window and yell out, “Christmas is over!" I’m no Grinch; I just think holiday sentimentality has its place, and its expiration date is approximately 11:59 p.m. on December 25th. And while my neighbors can continue to flaunt their cheerful, plastic, and permanently anchored reindeer, there is one thing they really have to get rid of: their Christmas tree.

Last year, KALW began a series on Asian American mental health. We introduced you to the Lieu family, who described their challenges as immigrants finding care for their schizophrenic daughter.

Mariel Waloff

San Francisco is well known for its bread, especially its sourdough, which gets its flavor from a special kind of bacteria in the air here. Combine that with some yeast, flour, and water, let it rise and bake it and you’ll get a uniquely San Franciscan loaf. But it’s not that easy, as the subject of our next story can attest to. He’s been trying to master the art of sourdough since he got his first baking job in the city just over a year ago.

Most Westerners have been exposed to Bollywood, the lively cinematic musical-soap-operas that are iconic to the movie industry in Mumbai, India. However, few have gone beyond the screen and experienced first-hand the infectious music and dance that inspire some of the famous scenes from Bollywood films.

Erica Mu

If you had to design music for a performance called Chinese Whispers, you might jump to some pretty familiar sounds – mandolin, bamboo flute, maybe a gong or two. But artist Rene Yung’s Chinese Whispers isn’t that kind of a project. 

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San Francisco resident Ileana Pulu is of Hawaiian, Mexican, and Portuguese descent; her husband is Samoan. So when they were married, they didn't just join families -- they joined dinner tables. Listen to this story from Season 1 of Hear Here.

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Watch Hear Here’s animated short!

Jan 7, 2013
Alyssa Kapnik / www.alyssakapnik.com

On December 8, KALW’s community storytelling project Hear Here put on a live presentation of some of the great Bay Area stories it has gathered so far. The event was in partnership with the second annual edition of Live Crosscurrents at the Oakland Museum of California. (Listen to a broadcast version of that show here.)

Watch the animated version of this presentation here!

It’s difficult to deal with any kind of illness when it hits. But when it affects your emotional and psychological health, it’s often impossible to even describe.

“I think if I were to describe it, it’d be like being in a dream state and not feeling like anything’s real," says Danise Sugita, one of the estimated 57 million Americans who currently suffer from mental illness. "Whether I go through good things or bad things, the feelings of just like this darkness I still have.” 

Sugita is fourth-generation Japanese American, and her experience is emblematic of the many issues Asian Americans face when it comes to mental health.

“I think with my family ... it’s a lot of keeping things within the family," Sugita says. "I think just reputation and not wanting to look bad to other people. When I was trying to get help with a psychologist and being on antidepressants, I remember my mom begin really disappointed with that: ‘Why can’t we just try to fix it on our own, why do we need to bring in other people?’"

Sugita spoke with KALW’s Erica Mu, who was awarded a California Endowment Health Journalism fellowship to take a closer look at mental health from an Asian American perspective. Mu spent six months reporting on this topic and brings us the series, “Asian American Mental Health: Inside Out.”To subscribe to the Crosscurrents podcast in iTunes, click here. To use another podcasting tool, click here.

Erica Mu

Lisa Ratner

Public radio takes the stage for a live performance of KALW's news magazine, Crosscurrents!

We'll kick off the night with a special presentation from KALW's community storytelling project, Hear Here. Then with host Hana Baba, we'll take you on a sonic journey through Bay Area news, arts, and culture, with our live house band, Tin Cup Serenade and special guests, including audience participation...you won't want to miss it!

KALW’s Hear Here story and sound installation popped up in the grassy courtyard of the Oakland Museum of California this Friday evening amidst palm readers, face painters, and yes – a zombie flash mob.

The installation was just one feature of the Oakland Museum of California’s final Summer Nights event of the year, which included Halloween-themed activities like a costume contest and screening of the film Night of the Living Dead.

KALW’s community storytelling team Hear Here is showcasing stories from the residents of Oakland and San Francisco in a larger-than-life installation at the Oakland Museum of California next Friday, October 26 from 5pm-12am.

A pinata-maker in the Excelsior District remembers his past life as a revolutionary; a peasant’s daughter journeys from a rural town in China to pursue the American dream in the Bay Area – these are just two of the local stories that will come to life at KALW’s Hear Here: A Night of Storytelling event on Saturday, October 13th at Public Works in San Francisco.

To find the Unify Event Center in San Jose, you have to weave your way through a huge parking lot, swing around the Wal Mart, and follow the music into a large banquet hall. Today just happens to be Khmer or Cambodian New Year. There are about a hundred people in the hall, sitting around large circular tables while the house band warms up for the evening’s party.

Credit Under CC license from Alaina Abplnalp Photography. http://www.flickr.com/photos/lainamarie/6833534625/

This article has been formatted for the web. Listen to the audio above to hear the full Q&A and story.

It’s difficult to deal with any kind of illness when it hits. But when it affects your emotional and psychological health, it’s often impossible to even describe.

Audrey Dilling

The 81st Avenue Library is connected to two small elementary schools. So you can imagine how this place is abuzz with loud voices and tiny feet.

“I’ve been able to meet all these wonderful children and fifth graders, and I don’t have children of my own, so it’s a pleasure for me to be able to be a part of a child’s life and to meet kids and to just experience how wonderful they can be, especially the fifth graders,” says Senior Library Assistant, Anthony Propernick.

Erica Mu

There's one issue that both the Democratic and Republican parties are dealing with in this upcoming election: the economy. In San Francisco, the unemployment rate surpassed 7.5% in July – just short of the national average. But across the bay in Oakland, unemployment has reached a startling 14.5%. KALW's Hear Here community storytelling team recently met one Oakland resident who lost her job, but found a new way to feed herself.

Erica Mu

KALW's new community storytelling team Hear Here has been popping up all over San Francisco and Oakland to capture real life stories of people living in different neighborhoods. They've met residents of all ages and backgrounds, and together, their stories create a human portrait of these two Bay Area cities.  

In June, the Hear Here producers met Oakland native Barbara Lindsey at the Temescal Library. At the time of the recording, Lindsey was living out of her car, and she shared her thoughts on what it's like to survive on the streets of the town she grew up in.

San Francisco is home to a long line of comedians. “The earliest job I ever wanted was a standup comedian,” remembers San Francisco resident Thomas Reeve. “I did standup in elementary school or junior high, but I was always building stuff in the background. Like, I'd build model rockets and RC cars.”

Reeve has long since abandoned his standup comedy dreams, but all that building he was doing in the background as a kid – well, it's paid off. Reeve is now a mechanical engineer, and he's also the subject of this Hear Here story.

No matter how long you’ve lived in the Bay Area, there are probably certain neighborhoods that you’ve never visited. Here in San Francisco, Visitacion Valley is one of those places. It’s in the southeastern most part of the city; the highway exit? Well, it’s the “Cow Palace.”

What happens when you combine local public radio, a story slam, and a grilled cheese cook-off? A recipe for a good time! KALW is bringing you a live menu of food-themed tales from professional storytellers and local residents. It's part of our new community storytelling project, Hear Here: A Pop-Up Radio Project. Be sure to stay for the evening’s three acts:

APPETIZER: Professional storyteller and radio producer hamming it up on stage

MAIN COURSE: Grilled cheese cookoff, judged by select audience members

Here at KALW, we're experimenting with a new way of producing radio, and it involves you. It's our new community storytelling initiative, Hear Here: A Pop-Up Radio Project, in which we take our microphones to local neighborhoods to listen to your stories.

Hear Here: Meet Anna Zhu and Alison Zhao

Jul 26, 2012

Anna Zhu and Alison Zhao are cousins. They shared their thoughts on family dinner in the U.S. as American-born Chinese with the producers of our new community storytelling initiative, Hear Here: A Pop-Up Radio Project.

For more information about Hear Here: A Pop-Up Radio Project, click here. You can also find the project on Facebook and follow it on Twitter at@hearhereradio

The Bay Area is known for its creativity and its critical thinkers: activists, free spirits, soul-searchers, and innovators. At Crosscurrents, we've been discovering some of these voices through our community storytelling initiative, Hear Here: A Pop-Up Radio Project. Our Hear Here producers recently popped up at the Ortega Branch of the San Francisco Public Library. There they asked the residents of the Outer Sunset District for their personal stories on food.

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