Last month's fires in Northern California destroyed thousands of homes and businesses. But we also lost some key cultural landmarks. One of those places was an inspiration to artists, scientists and sound recordists around the world. Yet mostly unknown to its neighbors in Sonoma County's Valley of the Moon. It was home and studio of Kat and Bernie Krause. KQED Science Editor Craig Miller had visited many times before - both as a journalist and friend. After the fire, he returned, to help sort through the rubble - and record this story.
Nearly 2,000 Miles From Home, A Prisoner Gets a Visit From His Mom
More than a decade ago, then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency in our state's prison system. That meant prison officials could do whatever it took to ease the overcrowding, including shipping thousands of inmates to other states. It was supposed to be a temporary solution. But many years later, many California prisoners are still locked up out of state. KCRW's George Lavender follows one mother on a journey to see her son, who's now two thousand miles away.
For more than 40 years, the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus has used its music to help create community and inspire activism. The chorus recently went on a tour of five southern states. The idea was to support local LGBTQ communities in the South. KQED Arts Reporter Chloe Veltman caught up with them on the tour bus. She tells us about one of the singers and his mom, who hadn't heard him perform since he was living as a little girl.
Lost Mural with Covert Political Messages Rediscovered in Post Office Basement
You may not have heard of Victor Arnautoff, but he was a Russian artist who painted murals around San Francisco in the 1930s. He started off as an assistant to Diego Rivera and became known for his work on San Francisco's Coit Tower. He also painted three murals inside California post offices, including one in the Bay Area city of Richmond. But as Eli Wirtshafter tells us, that mural disappeared for almost 40 years. Until an amateur sleuth tracked it down.
Now for another installment of our new series, A Place Called What?!, about California towns with bizarre and surprising names. Last week we took you to Zzyzx, near Death Valley. And we asked our listeners for their ideas for weird place names. Scott Schlacter of San Jose sent us a note asking how the town of "Rough and Ready" near Grass Valley in Nevada County go its name. So KQED's Bianca Taylor called up Jayna Ashcraft, who lives in Rough and Ready. She says her small gold mining town has a big history: in 1850, it seceded from the nation, and temporarily became its own republic.