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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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Got a comment, tip, or a story we should cover? Email or call (415) 264-7106

Sights & Sounds of East Oakland: Art after foreclosure

Oct 12, 2016
Photo courtesy of Oakland Voices

This is my grandmother’s story as much as it is mine. I lived with her, Attaway, on 2657 67th Avenue from August 2006 to May 2012 and enjoyed every minute of it. But a series of events killed my joy.

Just northeast of Lake Merritt, across the 580 freeway, you really can’t miss it. It's big, it's public, it often contains inflammatory messages, and it's neon. 

Tycho is one of several performers appearing at this weekend’s (10/15+16) Treasure Island Music Festival. If you’ve thought about going but never have, this may be the year to do it, because it’ll be the last year the festival is in its namesake location.

10/12: The impact of a paid route to school

Oct 12, 2016

ELECTION BRIEFS: Prop 61 - Drug Price Relief

Oct 12, 2016

Prop 61 is about drug prices, so you can bet it’s a hot button issue. There’s more money being spent on it than any other ballot measure this year — and by Election Day, it could be the most spent on any measure in California history!


The Specialist: Notary Superman

Oct 11, 2016
Casey Miner

When we think of big moments in our lives, we often imagine photographs: wedding pictures, baby announcements, smiling in front of a new house. But for all of these events there's also lots of paper that needs to be signed and approved by the state.


Tucked away on the edge of Chinatown in Oakland is a small lab. Andre Shakti sits in a chair across from the phlebotomist waiting for her blood to be drawn. You can hear the hum of the centrifuge machines spinning blood samples in another room.  

Souls of Society

These are the sounds of The T Sisters, from Oakland. They’ve only been singing full time since 2014, but their credits already include an appearance on “A Prairie Home Companion,” and singing the national anthem at a Giants game.

Guess this Bay Area sound! October 8, 2016

Oct 11, 2016


This is Audiograph — the Bay Area’s sonic signature. Each week, we’ll play you a sound recorded somewhere in the Bay Area. Your job? Listen to the sound (in the player above), figure out where it was recorded, and what it is, then call to let us know.

10/11: Regulating the porn industry

Oct 11, 2016

Have you ever seen a ghost?  A Pew Research study asked that question last year around this time, and 18 percent of the American respondents answered yes.

I haven’t seen one, but I think one sat on top of me in bed once.


Used under CC BY / Cropped (Modifications allowed)

Cottage growers protected by state law ... Oakland equity plan may violate laws ... Beware of Prop. 64: Colorado health manager ... Pop quiz and more.

California’s Proposition 63 is about gun and ammunition control. Most of the attention is focused on how Prop 63 requires a background check to buy ammunition and bans high-capacity ammunition magazines.

Audiograph's Sound of the Week: Oakland airport buskers

Oct 6, 2016
Marylee Williams

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.

Ian Tuttle

We all know what a mixtape is - but what do you think of when you hear “literary mixtape”? For San Francisco writer Evan Karp, it means an event where each author reads without introduction or banter, so that their words collectively form a composite work of art. 

Heidi de Marco, Kaiser Health News, resized and cropped

Most people get a little anxious before they have surgery, especially kids. Anti-anxiety medicines can help, but anesthesiologists in the Bay Area have come up with an alternative that’s safer, cheaper and a little more fun to.

10/6: Preparing kids for surgery—without drugs

Oct 6, 2016

This measure is all about revenue bonds. Bonds are the state’s way of borrowing money for projects that are too big to pay for all at once: big construction projects like dams, highways or bridges. Right now, the state doesn’t need voter approval to sell revenue bonds; they can just sell them to investors, regardless of the amount.

ELECTION BRIEFS: Prop 56 - Raising the tobacco tax

Oct 5, 2016

Proposition 56 is about raising the tobacco tax in California by two dollars per package. Only 12 percent of adults in California smoke — second lowest only to Utah. However, California is also the state with the most smokers overall, because it's the most populous state. And in the last couple of years, e-cigarettes have become more and more popular.


Proposition 59 is about overturning Citizens United. This measure would direct California’s elected officials to try to reverse the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that allowed corporations and other organizations to spend without restriction on political campaigns. It's the ruling that said “corporations are people.” If you see nothing wrong with that ruling, then you'll vote no on 59. But if you think the Citizens United ruling was a bad idea, then you'll want to know more about this proposition.

Sam Spade is the private eye in The Maltese Falcon, the San Francisco detective novel that’s been mystifying readers for almost a century.

SF Noir Films


San Francisco has a long-lasting love affair with film noir - the foggy nights and steep hills have provided the perfect backdrop for cynical detective like Sam Spade or slinky femme fatales.

Photo by CC Flickr user Ron Cruz, resized and recropped

To a smoker, a single cigarette means a five minute break. It also means 20 milligrams of nicotine, 7,000 chemicals, and about 30 cents. But if Proposition 56 passes, one thing will change: a single cigarette will cost about 40 cents in California.

Today's Local Music: Night Animals

Oct 5, 2016

They seem to be a bit secretive, even wearing masks on stage, so you’ll have to hear them live to find out more. The Night Animals will be at Smiley’s Saloon in Bolinas on Friday, starting about 9 p.m.

Today on Crosscurrents: San Francisco will decide whether or not to raise a tobacco tax. Lit-junkie and founder of Quiet Lightening, Evan Karp. The mystery of San Francisco's Maltese Falcon.

Tune in to 91.7 F.M. at 5:00 P.M.


Talina Camacho

Today’s local music is by the Adrian West Trio. They take on serious topics in a lighthearted way in their original tunes, which feature acoustic rock and world music influences.

photo by J. Astra Brinkmann

High up on a hill in San Francisco's Hunters Point neighborhood is a tiny two bedroom apartment. From the outside it looks like any other apartment on the block.  But as you approach, the sound of laughing, yelling, stomping, squealing and music can be heard spilling out of the door and window.  

Lucy kang


Lisa Galinis and Laura Sinai are sitting at a folding table with stacks of voter registration cards near the intersection of Turk and Hyde in San Francisco, registering people in the Tenderloin to vote.

Photo courtesy of the San Francisco History Room, San Francisco Public Library.

It’s easy to navigate the streets in San Francisco’s Bayview District once you realize that they’re alphabetical. Avenues, for example, go McKinnon, Newcomb, Oakdale, Palou, etc. Streets go Mendell, Newhall, Phelps.