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Crosscurrents is the award-winning daily news magazine from KALW Public Radio. We make joyful, informative stories that engage people across the divides in our community - economic, social, and cultural.

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Angela Johnston

When you walk inside the Buena Vista Mobile Home Park, you can tell right away that this is home for over 400 people. They’ve painted their units bright colors. There are traditional mobile homes that look like small rectangular bungalows – but there are also little cottages, Airstream trailers, and RVs. Kids zigzag between the park’s six streets on their bikes.

“I was 11 when we moved here with my parents. I practically grew up here,” says Erika Escalante.

Crosscurrents: August 12, 2015

Aug 12, 2015

Affordable by design: the fight to save one of Silicon Valley’s last mobile home parks; Leslye Corsiglia on Sillicon Valley's lack of affordable housing; Finding affordable housing means a longer commute for one Silicon Valley worker; and local band Native Elements.

A Visit to San Quentin Museum

Aug 11, 2015

They had me at homemade shiv wall. “Shiv” is a slang term for an improvised weapon. I heard the San Quentin Museum has enough shivs to make an entire display and I want to see them all.

A Visit to San Quentin Museum; the price that kids pay when their parents are in prison; and talking about teenagers and comics with author Ariel Schrag.

When parents are in prison, kids pay the price

Aug 11, 2015
Catherine Girardeau

When someone is imprisoned, it doesn’t just affect the incarcerated. It affects the people left behind. Young people. Nearly three million children in the united states have parents in the criminal justice system – it’s almost 1 in 10 kids in California alone. It can be costly and difficult to visit or call a parent behind bars. And losing a relationship can be traumatic... with lasting consequences. A new art exhibit on Alcatraz Islan, called The Sentence Unseen, examines this reality. KALW’s Catherine Girardeau has the story.

Leila Day

Traver Riggins is playing with her toddler Charlie at home in Oakland. Riggins works as a server at a restaurant on the weekends and during the week she takes care of her daughter. She’s also a recently-trained doula.

When it comes to giving birth, the complications for women of color are unusually high. And why is that?

MONICA MCLEMORE: That statistic is true. Black women are four times more likely to die in childbirth when compared to white women. 

Birthing and parenting: doulas, a home visitation program that helps first-time moms, and the severe issues that pregnant women of color face. Plus local musicians Cash Pony.

Liz Mak

Nurse Arzelia Lopez is heading to her next work appointment in East Oakland.

Her client, Jasmine Jurado, is 19 years old. She has a toddler, who’s 14 months old. It’s been Lopez’s job, since Jurado was pregnant, to provide her with parenting support, both emotional and medical.

Courtesy of Cash Pony

The Oakland outfit Cash Pony's influences are many, and it’s clear from this song that Frank Zappa is on that list.

Cash Pony plays Thursday, August 13th at Leo’s in Oakland. Doors open at 8 pm.

David Briggs / Point Reyes Light

Here's what's happening in the Bay Area, as curated by KALW news:

California drought hasn't killed summer vacations // San Jose Mercury News

“Unexpected summer storms in the Sierra, highly orchestrated water diversions, and Californians' resourcefulness and sunny dispositions have kept the classic American vacation afloat -- just as summer winds down and the first school bells are about to ring.”


Under CC license from Flickr user: j.Irvin1

Justice Dept. can prosecute patients…  What to do with canna-cash? … Dispensaries now OK in Vallejo… Events… Opinion… “Willie’s Reserve”… and more.


The Desi Comedy Festival is the only South Asian comedy festival in the country. It's based in the Bay Area and features shows in San Francisco, Sacramento, Oakland, Pleasanton and Sunnyvale from August 12th to the 19th. Co-creators and comedians Samson Koletkar and Abhay Nadkarni spoke with KALW’s Hana Baba about what the word "Desi" means, the rise of South Asian comedy, and what festival-goers can expect. 


For the San Francisco Mime Troupe, the show goes on

Aug 6, 2015
Lezak Shallat

San Francisco Mime Troupe has a history of being one of the city's most vocal social critics. This August 7th marks the 50th anniversary of the day they almost fell silent.

For the San Francisco Mime Troupe, the show goes on; Laughing with Desi Comedy Festival co-creators Samson Koletkar and Abhay Nadkarni; and Audiograph’s Sound of the Week revealed!

All week long, we've been playing this sound and asking you to guess what exactly it is and where exactly in the Bay Area we recorded it.

photo by Mollie DeCoudreaux

The music you’re hearing now is by a group named Heartwatch. You may have heard this San Francisco band when they were called The Tropics.

The musicians currently known as Heartwatch are performing Saturday (08.08). They're part of this year’s Outside Lands Music Festival in Golden Gate Park. Yes, it’s sold out -- but the sounds definitely spill beyond the confines of the fenced-off festival, so you might still be able to hear them.

Daily News Roundup for Thursday, August 6th, 2015

Aug 6, 2015
NOAA Fisheries via AP

Here’s what’s happening in the Bay Area, as curated by KALW news:

Google wants in on on-demand; workers want rights // SF Weekly

The sound of mud pots

Aug 5, 2015

This is the broadcast premier of a new, 90-second audio show called, The World According to Sound. It's made by KALW's Chris Hoff and Marketplace reporter Sam Harnett. Today's episode brings us to the mud pots of Southern California.

To hear the first few pilot episodes of The World According to Sound, check them out here!

Have you noticed how the way a space feels really depends on how it sounds? Take the California Academy of Sciences for example. With all the hundreds of visitors running around you’d think it would be crazy loud. But the voices aren’t overwhelming at all. 

That’s because a San Francisco company designed the sound in here. Yes – designed the sound! There’s people who do this everywhere. They’re called sound architects. At engineering firm ARUP’s SoundLab they can listen to the sound of buildings before they’re even built. 

Casey Miner

In Episode 2 of "The Specialist," we meet Jared McDaniel and Jordan Roberts, acoustics consultants — otherwise known as "the noise police."

"That's not really our title," McDaniel pointed out to me. "We don't have guns," added Roberts.

What they do have are sound level meters, accelerometers, and a mission: to make it a little bit easier to live with noise.

Crosscurrents in Stereo! 

The Specialist: "Noise Police"; Inside San Francisco’s Secret SoundLab; and The World According to Sound: "Mud Pots".

Daily news roundup for Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Aug 5, 2015
SF Weekly/Kevin Montgomery

Here’s what’s happening in the Bay Area, as curated by KALW news:


Search in forest for missing S.F. teacher turns up body // SF Gate


“An investigation is under way to determine whether the body of a man found off of a trail west of Slate Mountain is that of a San Francisco teacher who went missing in the El Dorado National Forest.


San Francisco seniors cross the digital divide

Aug 4, 2015
Jen Chien

Mary Bartholomew is a senior citizen. A couple years ago, she didn’t know much about computers, or how to use the internet. And one day she found herself in a bit of a pickle.


99% Invisible: Octothorpe

Aug 4, 2015
Flickr/Ognian Mladenov

If you use technology to follow conversations and trends on social media -- on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr—you know to look for the hashtag. In our current digital age, the hashtag identifies movements, events, happenings, brands—topics of all kinds. The hashtag sign didn’t always have this meaning, though. It’s had a few different lives. The KALW podcast 99% Invisible tracked the history of this sign in their episode “Octothorpe”.


Scientist and entrepreneur Richard Caro believes tech innovation has the power to actually change the way we grow older, "to really push off the time at which things like how well you can walk and how well you can talk starts to decline."

Caro is the CEO of Tech Enhanced Life, a public benefit corporation that researches and evaluates technology for seniors. KALW’s Jen Chien spoke with him about some new developments in home safety for aging adults.

Seniors taking a leap across the digital divide, a new technology that can help aging adults stay safe at home, the origin of the internet symbol # (hashtag), and local musician Harvey Wainapel.

Don Fogg

This music? It’s Harvey Wainapel on soprano saxophone – although he also plays alto and tenor sax. Harvey Wainapel is joining forces with the Danny Green Trio this Friday for a show at the Red Poppy Arthouse in San Francisco. The music starts at 7:30pm.

Chris Hambrick's 'mortifying' teenage moment

Aug 3, 2015
Motown photo studios/Chris Hambrick

Many people have decided to share their own most personal moments of teenage-hood publicly. In the show, "Mortified," KALW’s Chris Hambrick does just that – but not under her own name.

Some live performances are poetic -- and some aren’t. Imagine the most embarrassing moment of your life. (Really, the most humiliating thing that’s ever happened to you.) Now imagine standing on a stage in front of hundreds of strangers and telling them in detail about that time. That’s the concept behind "Mortified."

It’s a kind of tell-all performance art taking place in clubs across the U.S., where real people volunteer – in fact, they compete, and actually audition – to read from their personal, private childhood diaries. KALW's Ben Trefny stopped spoke with "Mortified"'s Bay Area producer, Scott Lifton, at the Make Out Room in San Francisco.