Steven Short


Steven has been with KALW News since it’s beginnings in 2004. His history, art and public interest stories have won awards for Breaking News, Feature Writing and Explanatory Journalism. Some of his reports have aired nationally on NPR.

He is responsible for The Source, a recurring feature on the origins of Bay Area place names. He also researches most of the listings for the Crosscurrents local music calendar and compiles the weekly online Cannabis News Round-up.

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The music you’re hearing is by a San Francisco band called The Tropics. They came upon their name while listening to one of their own songs, “one that suggested the feel of a luau.” 

The Tropics will be warming things up on Friday (01.16) at The Rickshaw Stop in San Francisco. The show starts about 9pm.

How many times have you appeared on camera today? How about this week? Cameras are so woven into daily American life that it’s difficult to imagine a time when people didn’t constantly carry numerous image-capturing devices in their pockets, or walk past countless security cameras.  

Images from a camera – a mere mechanical box -- certainly weren’t considered art in the early days of photography.  That changed dramatically when a handful of photographers met in Oakland in the fall of 1932. They called themselves Group f.64.


Should marijuana be a Schedule 1 drug or not?... Home invasions linked to pot… Prices drop 40% in Washington… What Smokey says… and more.


Looking back at 2014 drug policy successes //   Changes are moving California “towards drug policies that are grounded in science, compassion, health and human rights,” according to this summary by the Drug Policy Alliance.

Audra Marie Dewitt

December is the traditional time to hear choirs. Well, it’s January now, and The Conspiracy of Venus – who you’re hearing now – are NOT traditional. This a cappella women’s choir from San Francisco performs a wide range of songs, from medieval times to songs by Tom Waits.

The Conspiracy of Venus will be at The Great American Music Hall on Saturday (01.10). Music starts at 9pm.  


This music?  It’s by Luke Sweeney, from San Francisco. The East Bay Guardian says,  “Sweeney creates magic with lyrics that are deeply personal and music that's so powerful it sounds like it's being performed by a full band.” 

You can see and hear Luke Sweeney on Thursday (01.07) when he performs at the Brick & Mortar Music Hall in San Francisco. Doors open at 8pm. 

This music is by Cryptical -- a Grateful Dead tribute band from San Francisco.

They'll play next at the Sweetwater Music Hall in Mill Valley on January 8th, starting at 8:00 p.m. 

Do you ever get the feeling that you’ve seen and heard it all? Then let us recommend Duckmandu

Duckmandu, also known as Aaron Seeman, is a virtuoso on one of the most feared instruments in the world: the accordion.  Duckmandu will cross the bridge from Oakland to perform at Doc’s Lab in North Beach on Thursday (01.08). It’s a free show, starting at 5:30pm.  


What does new federal drug policy mean for those already charged?... Illinois medical marijuana OK for kids… John Lennon’s role in popularizing marijuana… and more…



No charges for officer with pounds of pot… Tommy Chong, Peter Thiel & Rick Steves… Vape oil potency questioned… and more.


No charges likely for officer with marijuana  //   He says four pounds of marijuana in his home was being use to train his police dog.

Do you have kids? Do you know every word to every song from the movie “Frozen?”  Then maybe it’s time you took a break and discovered The Hipwaders, who you’re hearing now.  This award-winning band has been producing music for children – and their parents – for over 20 years. 

The Hipwaders will be coming in from Vacaville on Saturday (12.20) to play at the Freight & Salvage in Berkeley. Don’t worry about keeping the kids up late – it’s an 11am show.  

San Francisco has a rich history, with many groups claiming a piece of it. There’s the California Historical Society, and the Society of California Pioneers - which are not to be confused with the San Francisco Museum & Historical Society (SFMHS). Additionally, many ethnic groups and neighborhoods in the City preserve specific aspects of our past. Our history is a big draw for out-of-towners.

Photo by: Riki Feldmann

What’s this you’re hearing?  It’s the sounds of Foxtails Brigade. This San Francisco group has so many diverse musical influences that they credit “Etcetera” on their website. 

Foxtails Brigade will be drawing from their many influences when they perform at The Chapel on Valencia Street in San Francisco. They'll be there Friday (12.19), with music starting at 9pm.  


Court favors dispensaries over US Attorney… OK for native tribes to grow cannabis… Emerald Cup this weekend… Pot plant not acceptable as Christmas tree… and more


Close to half of US population lives in states with legal marijuana dispensaries //   That figure has more than doubled since 2011.


Robert Foothorap


The instrument you’re hearing now is a staple of country music known as the pedal steel guitar. Joe Goldmark, the man playing it, admits that San Francisco has always considered itself too cosmopolitan to support much country music. That may explain why he has to go to the edge of the city limits to find a place to perform!

 Joe Goldmark and the Seducers are playing on Sunday (12.14) at The Riptide, way out West … on Taraval in San Francisco, starting about 7:30pm.

The piano you’re hearing is being played by Debbie Poryes of Oakland. She keeps busy teaching and performing in the East Bay. And this Friday (12.12), she’ll also be half of a piano duo.  Debbie Poryes will be joined by veteran session player John R. Burr, of Pleasanton. They'll both take the stage at the Piedmont Piano Company in Oakland. Friday's  show starts at 8pm.  

The music you’re hearing now is being performed by The San Francisco Girls Chorus. The chorus was formed 36 years ago and has now become a regional center for choral music education. 

The San Francisco Girls Chorus will perform their annual "Holiday Celebration in Song" on Friday (12.12) at the Old First Church in San Francisco. The concert begins at 8pm. And please note: there will be some sing-alongs!


Mendo and Sonoma see harvest crime wave… THC breath tests… Cannabis ice cream... How to legalize cannabis… and more


Cannabis regulation on next year’s Assembly calendar//     The listings on the California Assembly calendar are primarily placeholders, to assure discussion.

This music is being performed by the San Francisco Bach Choir, and it’s likely to be part of this weekend’s traditional candlelight Christmas program.

Have you heard any of the Tiny Desk Concerts on NPR’s website? Musicians are invited to play for an audience of staffers at the desk of “All Songs Considered” host Bob Boilen. Back in the summer Boilen declared a San Francisco group as his new favorite band and chose the title track from their new album as his song of the week.  

The music you’re hearing is by Beth Marlin of San Francisco. She’s hosting an evening of talk and music tomorrow (12.02), focusing on the songwriting process. 

Beth Marlin and her band will be joined by Quiles & Cloud at The Bazaar Café in San Francisco. Things get started at 7pm. 


Marijuana edges out alcohol in Bay Area “impaired” driving stops… Why cannabis causes the “munchies”…  Video: Grannies get high… and more


Denver has surpassed Amsterdam as marijuana capital //  Society has not collapsed. In fact, things seem pretty normal.



AG Harris softens her stand on legalization after election…. “Dramatic reduction” in brain cancer with cannabis… Word of the Year: Vape… Bob Marley is now a brand… and more.


This is the sound of the Pacific Mambo Orchestra, winners of this year’s Grammy Award for Best Tropical Latin Album.  This 19-piece Bay Area group was also named Best Band in the final “Best of the Bay” issue of the recently departed San Francisco Bay Guardian

Kathrin Miller

Some call her The Queen of Classic Jazz & Blues, but you can just call her Lavay Smith. And you can call her band The Red Hot Skillet Lickers, because that’s their name!

And you can hear Lavay Smith and the Red Hot Skillet Lickers perform classic blues and jazz on Saturday, November 22. That’s when they have a show at The Mildred Owen Concert Hall in Pacifica. It starts at 7:30pm.

If you missed Oakland’s California Honeydrops at their sold-out Fillmore show last month, now’s your chance to see them in a more intimate space.

The California Honeydrops, who you're hearing now, will be performing Friday NIGHT (11.21) at the 19 Broadway club in Fairfax. Music starts about 9 pm.

Usually a guitar band plays either acoustic or electric instruments. New Monsoon, the San Francisco rock quintet, has found a way to combine both.  New Monsoon will be performing Saturday, November 15, 2014 – with more than guitars - at the 19 Broadway club in Fairfax. The music begins about 9pm. 


Nevada could consider recreational cannabis in 2016… US marijuana laws break UN treaties… Canadian natives plan medical cannabis facility… Don't hit your customers… and more.



We're having some of our warmest weather of the year, so how about some Ice Cream?  Not the dairy treat, the band you're hearing now.

Ice Cream plays Thursday night at Milk Bar on Haight Street in San Francisco. They don't give much information on their website, so if you go, let us know how you liked the show!


Election victories from sea to shining sea… What passage of Prop 47 could mean… Unique regs in Mendocino… Halloween scare just a fantasy… and more.


New poll: Majority of Americans support legalization – barely//   New numbers show 51% supporting legal cannabis, down from 58% a year ago.


The roots of the band called Hibbity Dibbity – who you’re hearing now – stretch back to when two young friends began crafting songs for their pals in San Francisco. The group now has five members, who list their inspirations as: rocks, minerals, magnets … and the planet Saturn.  Hibbity Dibbity has a new album planned in January. But you can get a sneak peek – or “sneak listen” -  on Saturday (11.08) when they appear at Neck of the Woods on Clement Street in San Francisco.