Audio programs jaywalking between Southern California and the entirety of human experience.


WORKING WITHOUT A NET

Episode 004 - Featuring: Jim Connolly, Eric Newton, Gene Cajayon, Devon Tsuno, Kate Conklin, David J. Williams, Giuliano Fuimani, Hovsep Fidanian, and Steve Gilford. De-tuned piano prepared and played by Jim Connolly.

An essay on personal and collective responsibility in a time of shifting economic sands and elusive safety nets, focusing on one of Los Angeles' great economic engines: creativity.  Aerialists, singers, musicians, visual artists, science fiction writers, film directors, and physical special effects specialists are herein represented in the quest for a healthy professional life. Woven through the stories of these small business owners and entrepreneurs is the history of California's contributions to the development of health insurance in the US. Risk comes in many forms; managing it demands many strategies. Are freelance artists the coal mine canaries for a large portion of our economy? Embrace the uncertain, accept the pain, and pick up some ideas about what to wear to the upcoming semi-formal economy. 

Steve Gilford is the author of Build 'Em by the Mile, Cut 'Em Off by the Yard: How Henry J. Kaiser and the Rosies Helped Win World War II.

Jill Lepore's New Yorker article on Whitaker and Baxter was a great resource on the media-wary media professionals, especially their history with Earl Warren. Of course, as with so many things, Carey McWilliams was early on the scene with a three-part series on them in The Nation which ran in 1951.

Gerard W. Boychuk's National Health Insurance in the United States and Canada: Race, Territory, and the Roots of Difference makes the case that racism in the US has been an overlooked factor working against the country's attempts toward a broad public health insurance system.

Jim Connolly performs as Toy Shop Ghost (among many other incarnations), and is a piano technician based in Santa Barbara, whose live scores for Lit Moon Theater were an inspiration for some of the sound design approaches of this podcast; Eric Newton is part of Kinetic Theory Circus and Theater Arts in Culver City ; Gene Cajayon's first feature, The Debut, is available online at Amazon, iTunes, and Vudu, for DVD purchase, and as a DVD rental at select supermarket locations in South Orange County; since recording his interview, Devon Tsuno has started as full-time art faculty at CSU Dominguez Hills; more about the un-summarizeable Kate Conklin here; David J. Williams is the author of the Autumn Rain Trilogy and a shaper of the Star Wars universe; Giuliano Fuimani has brought to life things like an ethereal ping pong ball running shoe and giant flag installation art and a fire/water otherworld, in addition to all the usual special effects stuff.

Photo courtesy of Eric Newton

Photo courtesy of Eric Newton


YOUR BOYFRIEND'S NO ROCKET SCIENTIST (part 2)

Southern California ain't what it used to be in terms of aircraft production, but it's still working hard to increase our access to space. This episode explores the privatization of outer space through the lens of Mojave, the small desert town with an oversized spaceport, and on the government front,  the continuing work of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. Public or private, manned or robotic, ventures in space don't come easy.

An earlier, related episode (#001) looks at the 20th century history of aerospace in the Los Angeles basin, 1910 to the post-Cold War years, and how the growth of the industry was inseparable from the growth of the region itself.

Episode 003 - Featuring: Jens Jonason, Doug Messier, Cathy Hansen, Bill Deaver, William Mathews, Daniel Wenkert. With Genevieve Anderson, Jason Brown, Joyce Brott.

Audio clip courtesy of Mojave Air/Space Port.

 

One of the best sources for all the latest everything in the business of space: Doug Messier's excellent blog, Parabolic Arc.

 

To see classic planes amidst the not-so-easy to see cutting-edge rocket and spaceplane R&D at Mojave (plus an interesting guest speaker), Plane Crazy Saturdays offers monthly opportunities. Put on by the Mojave Transportation Museum, which has no permanent public home yet, apart from its website.

 

If you find yourself in Mojave for breakfast or lunch, the diner right on the flight line, Voyager Restaurant, is highly recommended, especially the nopalitos scramble.


DONT  WANT  TO  COMPLAIN

Episode 002 -  Featuring: Mark Siegel, Lily Siegel, and Miranda Siegel. With music by Mark Siegel. Additional recording by Lauren M. Whaley. 

The very personal story of the Siegel family. A tale of the difficulty of communication between loved ones at life's heaviest and important moments. With glimpses of late-60's, '70's, and '80's Los Angeles, and the not-as-heavy Antonioni movie set in Southern California.


Episode  001    -   Featuring:  Jens Jonason, Jason Brown, Joyce Brott, Ken Brott, William Mathews, and Daniel Wenkert.     With Genevieve Anderson, Cathy Hansen, and Bill Deaver.    Recitations by Sophie Dufresne.

Audio clips courtesy of the amazing NASA public archive.

While not one of the original sites of flight invention, it took only a few years for Southern California to become THE place to be if you wanted to design and develop aircraft. While it feels hyperbolic and unquantifiable to say that the Southland was the single most important location in the history of aviation, it's probably true. Not that most people outside the industry are even dimly aware of that connection. 

This episode tracks the shift from ragged, entrepreneurial enthusiasts to the industrialized complex that eventually led to the moon and back and the subsequent disappearance and erasure of the industry from the region. Part 2 (episode 003) will follow the post-Cold War developments north into the desert of the Antelope Valley and up, into orbit and beyond.

 

Airplane sound from the Los Angeles County Air Show at the historic Fox Field in Lancaster.

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YOUR BOYFRIEND'S NO ROCKET SCIENTIST   (part 1)

 

A partial bibliography of some of the inspiration for this episode:

Blue Sky Metropolis: The Aerospace Century in Southern California, edited by Peter J. Westwick

Astro Turf: The Private Life of Rocket Science, MG Lord 

Into the Black: JPL and the American Space Program, 1976 - 2004, Peter J. Westwick

Abandoned and Little-Known Airfields, a website devoted to the specific histories of the nation's airfields, eloquently capturing the explosion of small fields in the first three decades of powered flight, and the contraction and consolidation since then. 

Sex and Rockets: The Occult World of Jack Parsons, John Carter, Robert Anton Wilson 

the mind of Jason Brown, whose dark corners meet only in non-Euclidian geometry.

Click below for a gallery of photos of the brief moment in time that was Downey Studios, Home of the Space Shuttle. One of the countless intersections between Los Angeles' aerospace and film histories. Photos taken in 2004.