Host Madeleine Brand looks at news, culture and emerging trends through the lens of Los Angeles.
The story of the National Rifle Association involves infighting and backstabbing, million-dollar corruption, and a red-headed Russian spy. Little did the organization know, Donald Trump's election would trigger their downfall. NPR's Tim Mak chronicles it all in his new book called “Misfire.” The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments today on a Mississippi law that bans abortions after 15 weeks. The six conservative justices seem ready to uphold that law, overturning the precedent established in Roe v Wade in 1973. And KCRW's Evan Kleiman offers food-related gift ideas for this holiday.
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a case about a Mississippi law that bans almost all abortions after 15 weeks and punishes doctors who violate that law. The high court is also looking at Texas' law that prohibits abortions even earlier — once a heartbeat is detected. TV has lied about abortion, says Tanya Melendez, a researcher at the University of Illinois. “We were taught that women should feel badly because every woman we saw felt badly. I think we were taught that women regret their abortions, which we know from data is not true. ... When you absorb those lessons for decades, when you're raised thinking that's what it looks like, you vote according to those values. … And yet this was a procedure that we know one in three women will have,” she tells KCRW. At least four LAPD officers and a deputy in the LA Sheriff's Department knowingly bought stolen guns from the LAPD Police Academy's gun store, according to a new investigation. Jack Dorsey, the founder and CEO of Twitter, announced in a Tweet early Monday that he is resigning. What's next for the company without him?
Playwright Sarah Ruhl has spent 10 years recovering from Bell's palsy, a mysterious and sudden facial paralysis, while juggling motherhood and a writing career. She shares her journey in a new memoir. The Omicron variant of COVID has spread to about a dozen countries after being discovered in South Africa this month, and scientists don't know how contagious it is or whether today's vaccines can protect against it. High-profile criminal cases start today for Ghislaine Maxwell, the long-time associate of alleged sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, and Jussie Smollett, the “Empire” actor who allegedly staged an assault. The Marías' Grammy-nominated debut album "Cinema" uses English and Spanish lyrics, and mixes jazz, reggaeton and pop.
Travis McMichael, his father Gregory McMichael, and their neighbor William Bryan were deemed guilty today for murdering Ahmaud Arbery, a Black 25-year-old, when he was out jogging in February 2020. The three men face sentences of up to life in prison, and they face another trial for federal hate crime charges early next year. Thanksgiving celebrates the American settler myth. Press Play looks at the violence, cannibalism, white-washing, and truth cover-up that happened 400 years ago. We also get tips for putting together an easy, last-minute Thanksgiving feast, and recommendations on which new films to watch.
AAA expects more than 53 million people to travel for Thanksgiving this year, nearly matching pre-pandemic levels amid hopes of a semi-formal holiday season. But with COVID rising, how can you protect yourself if you're flying? Governor Gavin Newsom says “substantially more” law enforcement officers will be near busy retail stores this Thanksgiving week. That's because high-end luxury stores have been recently robbed. Fewer real Christmas trees are available for sale after months of drought, extreme heat, and record wildfires. If you're looking for a fake one, you'll be dealing with the same supply chain issues plaguing everything else. Press Play also speaks to the screenwriter of “House of Gucci,” a new film about the backstabbing and murderous family behind the iconic fashion brand, and gets reviews of the newest Christmas films.
Closing arguments began today in the trial against the three white men charged with murdering Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man, in Brunswick, Georgia. It takes place days after the acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse, a young white man who shot three white men last year, killing two of them and injuring the third, during an anti-police brutality protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin. KCRW breaks down both cases and their similarities. Also, a new documentary looks at how Janet Jackson's fans helped turn around her career after the infamous wardrobe malfunction at the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show with Justin Timberlake. And Press Play revisits our favorite interviews with chefs and cookbook authors from the year, compiling recipes for this Thanksgiving.
For the first time ever, more than 100,000 Americans died from a drug overdose in just one year, according to preliminary numbers released by the CDC this week. Most deaths were from fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that can be 100 times more potent than morphine. For decades, fentanyl was only used in hospitals, but now you can find it anywhere. Meth is also available cheaply, is stronger now than ever before, and is a big reason why so many people are living on the streets in LA, according to journalist and author Sam Quinones. His new book is “The Least of Us: True Tales of America and Hope in the Time of Fentanyl and Meth. Press Play also gets reviews of the latest films: “King Richard,” “Ghostbusters: Afterlife,” “C'mon C'mon,” and “Bruised.”
Nearly one in five health care workers have left their jobs since the COVID pandemic began in spring 2020, according to Ed Yong, science writer at The Atlantic. “Health care workers have been assaulted at work, they've been insulted and billed as incompetent for not prescribing drugs that we know don't do anything for COVID, like hydroxychloroquine. They are having to save people who are refusing even basic aspects of medical care because they don't believe that they have COVID, or because they think that they know how it should be treated based on something they've heard on conservative news media,” he says. He adds that a lot of the most experienced people have quit, and their knowledge won't be passed down to the next generation of doctors and nurses, which means trouble for people who might need care — all of us — over the next several years. KCRW also talks to Dr. Nivedita Lakhera, an internal medicine physician at O'Connor Hospital in San Jose, who feels enraged over the state of the country and many people's refusal of vaccinations. “I really want to give up. The only thing that keeps me going is the virtues from my family. Otherwise … 90% of me just doesn't want to care anymore. But yet, that 10% of you keeps wanting to push,” she says. And for a little uplift, you can check out “Julia,” a new documentary exploring Julia Child's life and relationship with her husband Paul, and find out where you can donate and volunteer in LA this Thanksgiving.
The supply chain is still clogged and inflation is at a 30-year high, while the U.S. has been importing more overseas goods than before the COVID pandemic. The main issue is an intense spike in demand, driven by affluent people who already have what they need. That's all according to Amanda Mull, author of The Atlantic's “Material World” column. She suggests people should look at whether compulsive shopping is the best use of time, energy, and resources. She says psychological research shows that if people can refocus energy away from buying/giving gifts, and toward spending time with family and creating experiences, they'll end up happier. Meanwhile, California health officials have cleared COVID-19 booster shots for all adults, but that doesn't match the CDC's national guidance. It's caused confusion among residents looking to book appointments. KCRW also looks at whether big corporations have fulfilled their promises of more diversity, equity, and inclusion. Plus, when was the last time you logged onto the Neopets website?
Just 28% of voters approve of the job Vice President Kamala Harris is doing, according to a recent poll from USA Today and Suffolk University. Also, “exasperation and dysfunction” is how President Biden's team views Vice President Kamala Harris' team, reports CNN. “Ever since Biden designated then Senator Harris as his running mate, the Republicans and their co-partisans and supporters in the media have really been attacking her. … I think race and gender is part of it, but not the whole part of it,” says Joel Goldstein, professor of constitutional law emeritus at Saint Louis University. “And I think the other — because the vice president is less visible … [and] has fewer opportunities to have accomplishments and to be perceived as a leader, it's more difficult to have robust ratings.” KCRW also looks at what California gets out of the $1.2 trillion federal infrastructure package and why Tesla's “Full Self-Driving” software malfunctioned. Plus, what are some binge-worthy TV shows from abroad?
Six years after Adele's last album, the British superstar is releasing “30” this Friday, a record aptly named for her age when she started songwriting. “Adele is now exceptional. … She's a brand. People know what they're getting when they get an Adele album, and they are more than happy to consume her,” says Chris Molanphy, music critic for Slate. Former White House advisor Steve Bannon turned himself in at the FBI field office in Washington D.C. today — after his indictment on contempt of Congress charges. David Gilbert, who was involved in the 1981 robbery of a Brink's truck in New York and is the father of San Francisco's district attorney, will be released from prison this month. And scientists are looking at ways to make cats hypoallergenic — by dampening a protein of theirs called “Fel d 1.”
Today the U.S. Labor Department said prices in October were 6.2% higher than they were last year, which is the biggest jump in three decades. High prices and shortages are hitting food banks too, and some are concerned they won't have enough supplies to give out for the holidays. Frustration with school boards is brewing nationwide and affecting elections. San Francisco Mayor London Breed endorsed the recall of three progressive members of her city's school board, citing fed-up parents as one big reason. Plus, the new book “Gastro Obscura: A Food Adventurer's Guide” contains hundreds of pages of tasty treats and places worth seeking out around the world, and KCRW's Evan Kleiman talks about squash recipes for fall.
More than 30,000 Kaiser Permanente workers along the West Coast are expected to walk off the job on November 15, citing staffing and safety concerns. John Deere and Kellogg's employees have been striking for weeks. “There's kind of this sense among workers across the United States that … they're owed big time because they worked so heroically during the pandemic. … They're also encouraged that, ‘Hey, we have President Joe Biden, who is clearly the most pro-worker, pro-union president since Franklin Roosevelt in the 1930s,'” says Steven Greenhouse, author of “Beaten Down, Worked Up: The Past, Present, and Future of American Labor.” For those who are still working — and back at the office — Press Play gets tips on navigating potentially awkward moments with coworkers you haven't seen in a long time. Tourists are now allowed to come into the U.S. if they show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test taken within three days of their travel date. What does this mean for the holidays and economy? Finally, Justine Bateman talks about her directorial debut, “Violet,” which focuses on a Hollywood producer who's battling the negative voices in her head.
California is trying to smoothly roll out a version of the Pfizer vaccine for kids ages 5-11 that the CDC green-lit nearly a week ago. Dr. Erica Pan, California's state epidemiologist, talks about schools as vaccination sites, the ongoing presence of misinformation, and how to stay safe during the holidays. Also, as the U.N. climate change summit wraps up this week in Glasgow, what can other countries learn from California's experience with regulating methane emissions? And Press Play gets a review of “Voyage,” ABBA's first album in some 40 years.
In LA County as of today, people must show proof of full vaccination when they enter a bar, nightclub or brewery. Within the City of LA starting November 8, people will have to show their vaccine cards at most public places, including restaurants, movie theaters, museums, gyms, and hair salons. On a national level, January 4, 2022 is the deadline for all U.S. companies with 100 or more employees to ensure that their workforces are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or can show a negative test once a week. KCRW gives an explainer of the different mandates. This weekend, we set our clocks back one hour as daylight saving time (DST) ends. But researchers say it's dangerous for mental and physical health, that the number of fatal car accidents in the spring rises when people lose an hour. We also get reviews for the newest films and recommendations for fall cookbooks.
UC Hastings College of the Law is California's oldest law school, and its board of directors voted unanimously on Tuesday to change the institution's name. This comes after news that its namesake and founder, Serranus Hastings, orchestrated the most violent state campaign against Native people in California history, killing nearly 300 members of the Yuki tribe. For the school name change to be official, it'll take an act of the legislature and the governor. Cities nationwide elected moderate Democrats over progressive candidates on Tuesday. That includes former police captain Eric Adams, who won the mayoral race in New York City. The Supreme Court seems likely to strike down a New York law that restricts who can carry guns in public. To get a permit in New York, people must pass a background check and prove that they are unlikely to endanger the public. Six other states, including California, have instituted similar restrictions. KCRW also talks about Susan Orlean's new book “On Animals,” and the history of “dingbat” apartments in LA.
President Biden was at the United Nations climate summit (COP26) in Glasgow today, announcing that more than 90 countries will try to cut methane emissions by at least 30% by the end of the decade. “This is low-hanging fruit in the emissions battle. … It's a very clear way to reduce future warming, just looking at methane,” says Paasha Mahdavi, UC Santa Barbara professor who studies energy and environmental politics. KCRW looks at how human industrial activities produce methane, and how we can change behaviors to reduce those emissions. Also, when it comes to the airline industry, the number of people traveling is nearly back to pre-pandemic levels, but fewer flights are happening, and fewer pilots and flight attendants are working. That means higher prices, crowded planes, and more angry passengers, including those who don't want to wear masks. “Good Timing with Jo Firestone,” a documentary streaming on Peacock, looks at how a former writer for “The Tonight Show” started teaching a free online comedy class for seniors ages 66-88 when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
Press Play also talks to Lindsey Jordan (a.k.a. Snail Mail) about touring her debut music album after her high school graduation, and how being in rehab fueled her passion to produce new songs. Her sophomore album, “Valentine,” comes out this week. Meanwhile, California has sent two dozen lawmakers, climate officials, and Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis to the United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow. And the Supreme Court today heard oral arguments in two challenges to Texas' law that bans almost all abortions in the state.
At the maximum security state prison Attica in upstate New York, more than 1000 inmates overwhelmed dozens of guards and civilian prison workers, and took control of the prison 50 years ago. They killed one guard and took the rest hostage. The prisoners demanded better treatment and living conditions. A new documentary looks at the biggest prison uprising in U.S. history. It's called “Attica,” and is directed by Stanley Nelson and Traci A. Curry. Also, critics review the latest movie releases: “Last Night in SoHo,” “Antlers,” “Violet,” “Passing,” and “The Souvenir: Part II.”
The FDA and CDC are expected to soon green-light the use of Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine for kids ages 5 to 11. California says it'll be ready with more than 1 million doses when that happens. “The part that the parents really need to realize is that your child might be one of the lucky ones who are asymptomatic,” says Dr. Katherine Williamson from Children's Hospital of OC. “But as a pediatrician, I've seen so many kids who have had serious disease, and there are many children who have died from the COVID virus. It is time to protect them. And I tell parents — it's just not worth the risk.” Meanwhile, President Biden left for Europe today to attend the United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow next week. But his climate agenda is on the line as Senate Democrats scramble to agree on a major social spending package. DC Comics recently revealed a plot twist for its new Superman comic books: He's bisexual. Many fans have said a leading queer character is a welcome and long-overdue addition. But columnist John Paul Brammer says it's strange that Superman was straight in the first place.
Residents of Carson, a city in South LA, have spent the past several weeks enduring a smell they've compared to rotting eggs, vomit, and farts. The smell is coming from the Dominguez Channel, which is full of dead plants and rotting marine animals that are releasing hydrogen sulfide gas. Residents say they're getting headaches and nausea, and now the city has declared a state of emergency. “This to me is deferred maintenance and human error. … [This channel] needs to be completely remediated and … that's going to take a long process. That's why this proclamation was issued, so we could hopefully bypass some of these bureaucracies,” says Carson Mayor Lula Davis-Holmes. Memes can make people calmer, more content, and more confident in dealing with the pandemic, according to researchers Penn State and UC Santa Barbara. Meanwhile, financial incentives aren't very effective in swaying skeptics to get vaccinated, says the National Bureau of Economic Research. Spanx is now worth $1.2 billion, and the investment firm Blackstone is buying a majority stake in it. Founder Sara Blakely celebrated by giving each of her staff members $10,000 and a pair of first-class plane tickets to anywhere in the world.
Ava DuVernay's latest project is a Netflix series that dives into the early life of former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick. “He was a Black child adopted by white parents living in a predominantly white town, and really attracted to Blackness, but with nothing anchoring that in his own life,” DuVernay tells KCRW. Also, could a plan to tax billionaires raise enough money to fund President Biden's “Build Back Better” plan, and should nature be granted legal rights in the face of climate change?
More details are emerging after cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was fatally shot by Alec Baldwin on the set of his movie "Rust." Bandar Albuliwi, an independent filmmaker and friend of Hutchins, has started a petition to end the use of real firearms on set. “You can't expect these crew members to put in 14 to 16 to 18-hour days, and then literally tell them, ‘You have to dodge a bullet that's being fired your way.' It's absolutely ludicrous and this needs to end. Our below-the-line film crew members all around Hollywood have spoken, and they're demanding some serious change right now,” Albuliwi says. Also, Joe Biden has appointed more judges to federal appeals courts than any president in the last 50 years, and many of them have backgrounds as public defenders. KCRW also looks at “United States of Insanity,” a new documentary about the Insane Clown Posse getting their fans off the FBI's watchlist, and how brothers Eli and Payton Manning are transforming Monday Night Football through their new ESPN2 show.
Dave Grohl's been part of the two biggest bands of the 1990s and 2000s — drummer for Nirvana and the creator/lead singer for the Foo Fighters. He's performed thousands of shows, from tiny punk clubs to massive stadiums. In a new memoir, “The Storyteller,” he shares tales from his 35 years in the music industry. Grohl tells KCRW that his three and a half years with Nirvana taught him to take care of himself. “One of the things that I learned was to say no, and if you're in a situation where you're overwhelmed or being asked to do something you don't want to do, just for the sake of like self-preservation, you should be able to say, ‘No, I need to get away,' which I've done many times.” Also, critics review the latest movie releases: “The French Dispatch,” “Ron's Gone Wrong,” “Luzzu,” and “Dune.”
“Fire Shut Up in My Bones” is the Metropolitan Opera's first production composed by a Black artist — Grammy winner Terence Blanchard. The show is based on the memoir by New York Times columnist Charles Blow, about his difficult childhood growing up in small-town Louisiana in the 1970s. Blanchard tells KCRW that he could see himself in Blow's story: “There's a lot of things within that family life that people don't talk about. While there's a strong sense of community, sometimes you have to find your own way because that community can stifle you, not in an intentional way. But you have to be strong and stick to your guns.” Meanwhile, off the coast of LA, more than 100 ships are waiting to offload their cargo, and thousands of foreign workers are stuck at sea. And the LA City Council this week approved sweeps of homeless camps in 54 locations. In the Senate on Capitol Hill, all 50 Republicans voted against debating the bill that would've made Election Day a federal holiday and allowed automatic and same-day voter registration. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer now says he plans to introduce separate legislation as soon as next week.
Netflix employees walked off the job today at the company's Hollywood offices. It was led by trans employees and allies who were upset about the organization's defense of Dave Chapelle's comedy special, “The Closer,” which included jokes described as hateful towards LGBTQ people. “They may not love this special, but they want to stand up for the principle of creative freedom. And ultimately, that is what Netflix is doing here because they are in the business of creative people,” says Matt Belloni, founding partner of Puck News. Climate proposals that are part of President Biden's big spending plan might be cut in half — in order to win unanimous support from Senate Democrats. Biden on Tuesday said the spending plan might be whittled down to a maximum of $1.9 trillion. A new study found around 2,000 mostly unknown chemicals and substances in tobacco-flavored vaping liquid sold by four major brands. And “Introducing, Selma Blair” is a documentary that follows Blair as she undergoes a stem cell transplant for multiple sclerosis.
LAUSD and other school districts nationwide are struggling to fill positions, including teachers and substitutes, crossing guards, and lunchroom attendants. “Our entire profession is in a crisis mode because people just don't respect it and appreciate it the way that it used to be,” says San Pedro High School principal Steve Gebhart. “The continued systemic pressures that are put on the classroom teacher and just all levels of educators on the school site is just something [educators] are not able to manage anymore.” Also, jury selection is underway in the trial of three white Georgia men accused of killing Ahmaud Arbery, a Black 25-year-old who was out jogging. Ambitious climate change legislation is part of the $3.5 trillion budget package that Congressional democrats are debating, and the party's self-imposed deadline to pass it is the end of this month.
IATSE (International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees) leadership struck a tentative deal with major Hollywood studios just hours before production crews were scheduled to walk offset and strike. Some of the three-year agreement's highlights include a 10-hour break between shifts, a 54-hour weekend rest period, penalties for not taking meals during work, health and pension benefits, and a living wage. Rank-and-file members of IATSE must ratify the deal. “We're already in a situation where there's a lot of anger out there, and it's sort of a question of where does it get channeled. Does it … dissipate or does it go towards a no vote? Does it go in some other direction? That's not clear yet,” says Gene Maddaus, senior media writer for Variety. Also, Press Play gets tips on breaking your smartphone addiction, and looks into a new Apple TV+ documentary about the Velvet Underground.
“The Rescue” is a new documentary about the international effort to save a young boys' soccer team and their coach who were stranded inside a Thailand cave during a monsoon in summer 2018. Press Play talks with co-directors E. Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin, the team behind Oscar winner “Free Solo.” Critics also review the latest films: “The Last Duel,” “Introducing, Selma Blair,” “Needle in a Timestack,” and “Halloween Kills.”
LA City Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas faces 20 federal charges of conspiracy, bribery, mail, and wire fraud — all connected to an alleged scheme with Marilyn Louise Flynn, the former dean of USC's School of Social Work. This is the latest in a history of scandals for the Trojans. Along the Santa Barbara coastline, the Alisal Fire continues to burn and is a long way from being contained. Photographer Josh Edelson pivoted to covering California's biggest wildfires and breaking news — after focusing on corporate events and headshots. KCRW also looks at how the recent OC oil spill might affect underwater sea creatures, and Evan Kleiman gives tips on making vegetarian “meatballs.”
In the National Women's Soccer League, four coaches have been ousted who were accused of verbal and emotional abuse, creating a toxic work environment for women, and sexually coercing players. The league's commissioner also stepped down this month. “The big question here is: Who can they find to really take this league and make sure players are safe, make sure the league stays alive?” says Molly Hensley-Clancy, sports investigative reporter for The Washington Post. Following the massive oil spill in Orange County, waters are still closed to the fishing industry. Rodger Healy has worked in the commercial lobster industry for 34 years, and he says lobster catchers in Dana Point will probably lose hundreds of thousands of dollars. Today President Biden announced that the Port of Los Angeles is going to operate around-the-clock to try to ease the supply chain issues. Meanwhile, the president's approval ratings are dropping quickest among Black and Latino voters, according to the Pew Research Center.
Netflix says “Squid Game” is the number one show in 90 countries. The series features 456 contestants who endure violence and risk their lives to win $38 million. “It seems to suggest that chasing money at any cost is dehumanizing. And when your humanity goes into violence, where is your moral compass? It all disappears,” says William Lee Adams, BBC World Service cultural critic. Also, strong winds from Monday night helped fan the Alisal Fire north of Santa Barbara, which has burned thousands of acres and is uncontained as of noon today. The state as a whole is unprepared to deal with extreme heat, according to a Los Angeles Times investigation. Holiday travel season is coming up, but Southwest Airlines has canceled nearly 2500 flights since Friday. And the head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders is out after the New York Times revealed that he made homophobic, misogynist, and racist remarks.
Mayor Eric Garcetti debuted the city's Indigenous LAnd Initiative today in recognition of Indigenous Peoples' Day. It includes a formal apology from the City of LA and plans to rename city landmarks. Meanwhile, there's still no timeline for Mayor Eric Garcetti's Senate confirmation hearing to be U.S. ambassador to India. Drugmaker Merck asked the FDA today for emergency-use authorization for a pill to treat COVID-19. Early trials show that the medication could cut coronavirus-related deaths and hospitalizations by half. Right now, a five-day, 40-pill treatment costs $700 per patient. Press Play also checks out “Tlaxihuiqui,” an album by seven prisoners from the Colorado Territorial Correctional Facility. The songs are a collection of personal stories, each detailing themes of regret, forgiveness, and faith.
Anita Hill went from being a relatively unknown law professor to a high-profile and outspoken advocate for victims of workplace harassment and sexual assault — after her 1991 Congressional testimony that President George H.W. Bush's Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas sexually harassed her. Now Hill is out with a new book about what was — and wasn't — learned in the last 30 years. It's called “Believing: Our Thirty-Year Journey to End Gender Violence.” “When it comes to women of color, we know that they have a higher rate of sexual assault and rape, they have higher rates of murder by partners. … One in every two Native women have experienced sexual assault. … More often than not, those assaults are committed by non-Native men,” Hill says. “We can't ignore race when we are addressing the problem of gender violence. What happens is that race layers on top of the misogyny and leaves women of color completely vulnerable.” Press Play also gets reviews of the latest film releases: “No Time to Die,” “Mass,” “South of Heaven,” and “Justin Bieber: Our World.”
Pfizer and BioNTech have officially asked the FDA to green-light its COVID-19 vaccine use in kids ages 5-11. Meanwhile, the World Health Organization has approved the first-ever vaccine for malaria. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has become a microcosm of the nation's divisions over COVID vaccines. And Press Play gets recommendations for Italian restaurants and steakhouses that are part of DineLA Restaurant Week.
One of the newest MacArthur “Geniuses” is Jacqueline Stewart, who uncovers and preserves the lost contributions of Black filmmakers, and aims to make history more inclusive. She's now the head of programming at LA's new Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. On films that negatively portray African Americans, she says, “If we suppress them because they're painful or problematic, then we also can't call Hollywood to task for these histories. … I think that it's really important to have the evidence of Hollywood's mistreatment of Black people both on screen and off screen.” Also, following Frances Haugen's testimony before U.S. senators, the nation is again discussing how the government could regulate tech companies like Facebook. The feds are meanwhile reassessing how it helps people insure their homes, factoring climate risk into the cost of government-backed plans. Finally, Press Play talks to actress Noomi Rapace and director Valdimar Jóhannsson about their new thriller film “Lamb.
Today Frances Haugen, a former product manager for Facebook, testified before a Senate committee, arguing that the social media company needs to be regulated. “As long as Facebook is operating in the shadows, hiding its research from public scrutiny, it is unaccountable. Until the incentives change, Facebook will not change. Left alone, Facebook will continue to make choices that go against the common good,” she said. Press Play also looks at the feasibility of ending offshore drilling in Southern California, following the oil spill off the coast of Orange County. One Santa Monica-based doctor is trying to help with the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Afghanistan after the Taliban gained control there. And Star Trek fans can check out a new exhibition dedicated to the original series at the Skirball Cultural Center.
More than 126,000 gallons of crude oil spilled into the Pacific Ocean this weekend. Orange County officials blamed a damaged pipeline off the coast of Newport Beach and Huntington Beach. It could take weeks to months to respond to the fallout on animals, according to the Oiled Wildlife Care Network. The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) has authorized a nationwide strike. They represent about 60,000 “below the line” workers who've complained of long hours, few breaks, and low wages. Press Play also looks at the return of LA Opera, the Supreme Court's new term, and where the world's richest people are hiding their assets.
Erika Schickel's new memoir, “The Big Hurt,” is about how she blew up her marriage and family for an affair with a famous LA crime novelist, and how that echoed an experience she had in high school, when she was kicked out of her East Coast boarding school for sleeping with a music teacher. “My whole life, I had been looking for the connection I had been denied by my mother. … I was just trying to find home. And I was in a loveless marriage. … I was starved for intimacy, and by that, I don't just mean sex. I mean the whole thing … being understood, being seen, recognized, acknowledged,” she says. Press Play also gets reviews for the latest film releases: “The Many Saints of Newark,” “Titane,” a restoration of “Hester Street,” and “The Jesus Music.”
Rebecca Taub, an OB/GYN from California's East Bay, has been traveling to Oklahoma City once a month to perform abortions at a clinic there. She sees dozens of patients a day, and some are coming from Texas. “It is activism. For me, it is frustrating. I was just talking with a colleague today about how abortion is a part of medical care. And I wish that we could provide this care and just have it be seen in that way. But obviously, that's not the system that we live in,” Taub says. Also, the NBA says athletes will not get paid if they miss a game due to local vaccine mandates, and so far, about 90% of the players are vaccinated. Some U.S. conservatives are looking at Hungary as the shining nation on the hill. KCRW's Evan Kleiman gives tips on making Cacio e Pepe, an Italian mac and cheese with a zing. And some LA restaurants have just earned coveted Michelin stars.
The Conscious Kid is a nonprofit that helps families and educators foster anti-racist conversations through books that feature characters from underrepresented communities. Its executive director Ramon Stephens shares his favorite books. Also, did former President Donald Trump forever damage American democracy? YouTube has barred anti-vaccine content from its platform. And the annual contest has begun to find the fattest bear in Alaska's Katmai National Park and Preserve.
Dr. Anthony Fauci is urging everyone to get vaccinated against influenza and coronavirus as soon as possible. Last year, thanks in part to masks, social distancing, and quarantine measures, there was hardly a flu season. “Because most of us were not infected by flu viruses last year … that means we didn't get the typical population-level immunity boost that we all normally get,” says Katherine Wu, Atlantic staff writer covering science. Also, only about a quarter of soon-to-be moms are vaccinated against COVID. What's behind the low rate? Later, Press Play gets a sneak peek of “The Many Saints of Newark,” the prequel film to the TV series “The Sopranos,” and dives into the international popularity of immersive Vincent Van Gogh exhibits.
U.S. Representative Karen Bass officially announced plans to leave Washington D.C. and run for mayor of LA. This makes her the de facto frontrunner in a field that already contains five other Democrats. Meanwhile this week, Democrats are trying to pass a roughly $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill — plus a $3.5 trillion spending bill that would fund major Democratic priorities on health care, education and climate. The 9th Circuit has overturned a federal judge's ruling that required LA to offer temporary shelter or permanent housing to everyone living on Skid Row by October. One state program controls every aspect of former psychiatric hospital patients' lives. Finally, The Fugees will be going on tour for the first time in 15 years. It's to celebrate their classic record “The Score,” which was released 25 years ago.
Former president Ronald Reagan disclosed his Alzheimer's disease diagnosis in 1994. He died a decade later. His daughter, Patti Davis, chronicles her family's experiences with the diseases in her latest book, “Floating in the Deep End: How Caregivers can See Beyond Alzheimer's.” Critics also review the latest movie releases, including “Dear Evan Hansen” and “The Guilty.”
Following the deportation of thousands of Haitian migrants from the U.S.-Mexico, the U.S. special envoy to Haiti has resigned. Some migrants have been admitted into the U.S., but others are still waiting in a squalid encampment outside Del Rio, Texas. One Sacramento-area school district is preparing for an influx of new Afghan refugee students. And Gov. Gavin Newsom has a state bill on his desk that would outlaw “stealthing” — the non-consensual removal of a condom during sex.
New information is out about how Trump wanted to seize a second presidential term. The new book “Peril” reveals that Trump's lawyers gave Mike Pence a strategy for overturning the election results. More renters became first-time homeowners during the pandemic, and the average home price in LA is $1 million. Who can afford it? Press Play also looks at internal research of Instagram's harmful effects on girls — and the lack of effort to resolve body image and mental stress issues. Finally, “Bodies” host Allison Behringer gives a preview of the third season of her podcast.
At the United Nations, President Biden is trying to make the case that “America is back.” But the world may be skeptical, given the U.S.' dust-up with France over a nuclear submarine deal, the disastrous Afghanistan withdrawal, and COVID-19 surge. Johnson & Johnson has released new research showing that a second dose of its vaccine increases protection against COVID-19. What does this mean for Americans wanting booster shots? LA and Long Beach ports are clogged, and most crews have to wait more than a week before they can dock their ships, so all the goods they're carrying are in short supply on land. Also, Press Play looks at the enduring popularity of “Antiques Roadshow,” and peeks inside the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, which is set to open September 30.
Thousands of migrants, mostly from Haiti, are camping under a bridge in the Texas border town of Del Rio. Border patrol agents on horses have been rounding up people, as hundreds have been crossing the Rio Grande River for supplies and food. Meanwhile, the U.S. Supreme Court justices are arguing that they're not politicians, but law professor Jessica Levinson says to expect conservative decisions on abortion, gun control, affirmative action, and more. Also, the number of men enrolled in college is declining. Press Play looks at the driving factors, and what this could mean for forming new families.
Comedy Central's hit show “Awkwafina is Nora from Queens,” now in season two, is loosely based on the life of actress/musician Awkwafina. Her father, Wally, is played by B.D. Wong (“Law and Order: SVU,” “Jurassic Park”). He talks to Press Play about how this role is a refreshing departure from all his past ones, and how directing an episode is his chance to remind audiences of the impact of anti-Asian sentiment. Critics also review the latest films, including “The Eyes of Tammy Faye” and “Prisoners of the Ghostland.” Gov. Newsom recently signed two major housing bills, and one former translator for the U.S. military shares his efforts to get his family out of Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.
LA County will soon require proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test at bars, wineries, breweries, nightclubs, and lounges. LA County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said the official order will go into effect in early October. So far, about two-thirds of LA County residents have at least one shot. Some prominent conservative media figures have been touting ivermectin — medicine primarily used to treat parasites, especially in livestock — as a treatment for COVID-19. But no scientific evidence supports this. Press Play also looks at the future of the Republican Party in California, Vermont's attempt to lure in a new workforce by paying people $7500 to move there, and the end of the once-complimentary term “girlboss.”
In the California recall election, Gov. Gavin Newsom crushed the opposition 64 to 36, though votes are still being counted as of noon on Wednesday. Exit polls showed that voters stuck to Newsom because of coronavirus fears and how Republican governors in Florida and Texas have handled the pandemic. “Election 2022 begins today, really. Newsom delivered the blue wave of the size of which California has never seen,” says Politico reporter Carla Marinucci. Also, more than 2,500 LAPD employees plan to seek a religious exemption from the COVID vaccine mandate for LA city workers. How does someone prove that they have a true faith-based exemption? And Democratic State Assemblymember Jose Medina is confident that Gov. Newsom will sign a new bill that would make ethnics studies a high school graduation requirement.