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Playlist: O'Dark 30 episode 187 (4-31)

Compiled By: KUT

Caption: PRX default Playlist image

It's the end for KUT's O’Dark 30 as we wrap up 187 consecutive weeks of featuring the very best from the world of independent radio that we can find here on PRX and elsewhere. This is the grand finale!!

Episode 187 (4-31) includes 99% Invisible #75- Secret Staircases...Haunted Cabin...Drunk Daddy Santa...Turkeys...Planet Buddy...La Llorona: An Evolving Myth...Lizzie Borden...KUT's Liner Notes: Art Tatum...Road Trip--West Coast...HowSound #6 - Seizure's Lament...Remorse: The 14 Stories of Eric Morse...Two Little Girls Explain the Worst Haircut Ever...Blind Dog...The Penguin Goes A Courtin'

99% Invisible #75- Secret Staircases

From Roman Mars | Part of the 99% Invisible (Director's Cut) series | 11:00

The secret public stairs that wind through our neighborhoods


Wherever there is sufficient demand to move between two points of differing elevation, there are stairs. In some hilly neighborhoods of California—if you know where to look—you’ll find public, outdoor staircases.


(Credit: Alana Goldstein)

The large number of often hidden, public staircases is part of what makes California so great.  San Francisco’s tourist-crushing Filbert Steps to Coit Tower are not to be handled lightly. The Monument Way staircase just off the corner of 17th and Clayton leads the intrepid walker to what used to be Sutro’s Triumph of Light and Liberty statute. There’s just something about a secret staircase that beckons you to go out of your way to use it. 


(Credit: Charles Fleming)
Charles Fleming is one of the world experts of coastal California’s public stairs. Charles has documented and mapped walking routes through nearly every useable public staircase in San Francisco’s East Bay, as well as in Los Angeles (where he lives). He published his findings in two walking guides, appropriately titled Secret Stairs.
Producer Sam Greenspan met with Charles in the Pacific Palisades, where people from all over Los Angeles had gathered to attend one of Charles’ monthly stair walks.
(Charles at right. Credit: Alana Goldstein)
Charles’s fascination with public stairs began with a basic need to walk. “I was trying to walk my way out of a surgery,” he says. “I had had two hip replacements and two spinal surgeries in the space of about 6 years, and I was up for a third spinal surgery. I simply couldn’t face it…so I told the surgeon I’m not coming, because I had found that a little bit of walking relieved the pain I was in.”  
Charles started walking flat streets, the moved to hilly streets, and eventually graduated to the stairs. He looked for a city inventory of all the staircases, but couldn’t find one. So he started making his own.
(Walk #41 from Secret Stairs, the route Charles took Sam through. Credit: Charles Fleming.)

(Credit: Alana Goldstein)

The staircases are generally either from the 1920s boom years or from the Works Progress Administration in the 1940s.  They were built because developers in hilly areas needed to find a way for prospective home buyers to get down from their houses to a school, church, or streetcar line. But the Depression, and then World War II, halted most staircase construction.  
(Credit: Alana Goldstein)
And there’s something about exploring the public stairs that feels like trespassing. 

Haunted Cabin

From Jake Warga | 19:52

Ever wonder what it would be like to spend the night in haunted cabin with a group of ghost hunters? No electricity, no phones, but lots of strange noises.

Haunted Cabin
Jake Warga

Cabinweb_small This story explores why people believe in ghosts and what they're really looking for.
A full documentary in the narrative style, a fun romp with a passionate group of people, some who believe, some who want to.

Aired: "This American Life"

Drunk Daddy Santa

From Justin Laird | Part of the Electric Radio Company series | 06:52

Jason Mehl tells the story of his meeting with a drunken Santa.

Justin_jason_christmas_small In this piece, Jason Mehl tells his story of a phone call with a drunken Santa Claus who sounded eerily like his father that occured when he was 12 years old. 


From Hearing Voices | Part of the Scott Carrier stories series | 06:39

Turkeys' life and death.

Hearing Voices

Scott150_small From turkey farm to supermarket, the life and death of a turkey.

Planet Buddy

From Graham Shelby | 07:00

Buddy was a sixteen-year-old bad boy who was experimenting with being good. I'd been a good boy my whole life and was ready to try being bad. Then I went on a field trip to Planet Buddy.


Buddy was a sixteen-year-old bad boy who was experimenting with being good. The counselors at our high school had suddenly placed him in the advanced classes and he was struggling. I'd been a good boy in those classes for years, and I was ready to experiment with being bad. During the school day, Buddy lived in my world: three-ring binders, permission slips, hall passes.  But one night, we went out, and he took me on a field trip to Planet Buddy. And things were never the same after that.

La Llorona: An Evolving Myth

From Making Contact | Part of the Making Contact series | 29:00

On this edition we hear the story of La Llorona (the weeping woman)-- a story that's been told since the time of the Spanish conquest, all over Mexico and the American Southwest. Today, wherever Mexicans and Mexican-Americans live, the myth continues.

Lloronapicfor4508_small Human beings love to tell stories. And myths are the ultimate in storytelling. A good myth has stood the test of time, and somehow, tens or even hundreds of years later, the story continues to have meaning for those who tell it. La Llorona is one such myth. The story of the weeping woman has been told since the time of the Spanish conquest, all over Mexico and the American Southwest. Today, wherever Mexicans and Mexican-Americans live, the myth continues. In a special collaboration between National Radio Project and the U-C Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, student producer Beth Hoffman brings us a look at the myth of La Llorona as told in Oakland, California today, and tells how its meaning has grown and changed over time. Featuring: Alicia Diaz, Samuel Martinez, Cecilia Rodriguez, Luz Salazar, Monica Pasqual, Florencia Luna, Cristian Luna. Program #45-08 - Begin date: 10/25/08. End date: 11/13/08. Please call us if you carry us - 510-251-1332 and we will list your station on our website. If you excerpt, please credit early and often.

Lizzie Borden

From WHRV | Part of the Halloween Haunts series | 02:02

The Legend of Lizzie Borden

Lizzie Borden

Lizzie_small Part of the Halloween Haunts series

Art Tatum

From KUT | Part of the KUTX Liner Notes series | 02:30

Self taught pianist, Art Tatum is acknowledged as one of the greatest jazz pianists of all time. Listen as Rabbi Neil discusses the life of the innovative pianist Art Tatum.

Art Tatum

Artprx_small Known for his technical proficiency, speed, and unique improvisations, he set a new standard for jazz piano. His visual impairment allowed him an interesting relationship with the piano, taking his playing to indefinable levels and spreading his sound to genres far beyond jazz.

Road Trip--West Coast

From Jake Warga | 16:00

Traveling from Seattle to LA, no flying or driving

Bus_small Savvy Traveler asked me to go from Seattle to LA without driving or flying. I start on a train, then a cab, then a bus... I wanted to get my 'finger on the pulse' of America, idealistic I was. I came across a foreigner, Uncle Sam, a religious soldier, a wanderer...and myself. "I've been on the train all day and it's starting to get dark. I don't like traveling at night. I'm worried my reporter's eyes will catch my own reflected in the window...at night, it's too easy to look inwards." FINALIST NFCB: Announced 4/04 Orig. aired 4/25/03 "Savvy Traveler" www.savtrav.com HearingVoices.com

#6 - Seizure's Lament

From HowSound | 11:21

First person essay meets sound art in a story about seizures.


The Third Coast International Audio Festival is three days of ear candy. Producers from around the world travel to Chicago to share work, talk shop, and, most importantly, listen.

Unfortunately, Third Coast only happens every other year. So, 2012 is a Third Coast year.

However, the geniuses at Third Coast went and invented the Filmless Festival for the off years. It’s a full day of audio hijinks capped with an awards ceremony. This year, the Filmless Festival is Sunday, October 23. Tickets are still available.

On this edition of HowSound, I present one of the stories featured at this year’s Filmless Festival — “Seizure’s Lament” by Canadian producer Carma Jolly. It’s a well-crafted mix of first-person essay and sound art. You might want to wear headphones for this one. Then, when you’re done, make your way to Chicago for more.

Keep listening,


Remorse: The 14 Stories of Eric Morse

From Sound Portraits | 40:14

LeAlan Jones and Lloyd Newman's exploration of the murder of Eric Morse, a five-year-old who was pushed to his death from a 14th-floor window by two other boys.

Remorse_small Remorse, which premiered March 21, 1996, on All Things Considered, explores the death of Eric Morse, a five-year-old thrown from the fourteenth floor window of a Chicago housing project by two other boys, ten and eleven years old, in October, 1994. The documentary was reported by LeAlan Jones and Lloyd Newman -- both residents of the Ida B. Wells housing development, where the crime took place, and both sixteen years old. Remorse marks the return of Jones and Newman to NPR's airwaves. In March of 1993, at age fourteen, they collaborated with producer David Isay for the radio documentary Ghetto Life 101, an audio diary of young people growing up on Chicago's South Side. When Eric Morse fell to his death in 1994, LeAlan and Lloyd felt compelled to pick up their tape recorders once again. They spent a year reporting the case and interviewed everyone from Eric's mother, Toni Morse, in the only interview she's granted to the press, to Vince Lane, chairman of the Chicago Housing Authority, to the father of one of the assailants. They set out to learn about the story from the inside, to see how a tragedy like this can touch a community, and to bring to light the scars it left behind. Remorse won the Grand Prize Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award and a Peabody Award in 1995.

Two Little Girls Explain The Worst Haircut Ever

From Jeff Cohen | 02:57

My five year old cut off my three year old's hair. A few weeks later, I decided to interview them and get their explanations. Here's what they told me.

Imag0242a_small Happy to say that this little radio story has taken another life. In the summer of 2014, it will be a children's book released by HarperCollins Children's Books. Take a look!

Blind Dog

From Hearing Voices | Part of the Scott Carrier stories series | 04:22

Fritz catches Frisbees, even though he's sightless.

Blind Dog
Hearing Voices


Fritz the dog loves to play Frisbee. He still catches it most of the time, though not as much as he used to... before he went blind. Somehow the sightless German Shepherd manages to hear and catch the flying disk mid-air.

The Penguin Goes A Courtin'

From Jonathan Goldstein | 03:55

Two of literature's great umbrella travelers-- The Penguin and Mary Poppins-- have dinner together in Merry Old England.

Default-piece-image-0 Before The Penguin became best known as Batman's archenemy in Gotham City, he was a boozing dandy who lived in London. The Penguin's friends all thought that if he just met the right woman, he might be inclined to settle down and avert the disastrous, alcoholic path his life appeared to be taking. His friends held a dinner party at which he was introduced to a woman they believed would make a perfect mate for him-- a singing nanny named Poppins, who, like him, traveled about by umbrella. Everyone thought the two eccentrics would get on most splendidly. Everyone, of course, was wrong.