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Episode 22: Kodachrome, Pt. 2

Who were we? How did we live, and what did it look like? The vast archive of castoff slides captures, in vivid colors, images of the American family at midcentury. But the stories that go with the pictures are most often lost, and we’re left to create our own, and reflect on millions of conscious decisions to untie the knot of memory.

(Click slides to embiggen)

MUSIC by Podington Bear:

Thanks once again to Charles Phoenix.

Episode 21: Kodachrome, Pt. 1

Color slides were once the state of the art in family photography — vibrant, immersive, ubiquitous. So ubiquitous, in fact, that millions, maybe billions of them survive. This week it’s a conversation with midcentury pop culture expert Charles Phoenix: What can we learn from the vast shadow world of orphaned slides about the way we used to live in our homes?


Thanks to Charles Phoenix, whose “Disneyland’ Tour of Downtown Los Angeles returns on November 27. Tickets are also on sale for his Retro Holiday Slide Show in Brea, CA December 17 and 18.

Read Richard Baguley’s essay on Kodachrome color slide film at Medium. There’s also this lovely video by Deborah Acosta at The New York Times. 

Episode 20: Everything Must Go

Some stories don’t end when you think they do. Some stories just pause. And then they sneak back around and whap you across the back of your unsuspecting head. So here’s one I didn’t expect to revisit, although maybe I should have: Part 2 of Episode 7, “Unmaking A Home.”


Special thanks to Ellen Barol, Peter Clark and Jennifer Cecil.

Episode 19: Almost Utopia

What happens to a utopia that never got off the ground? Bits and pieces of one, an experiment in postwar living for the masses, are hiding in plain sight in the hills above Sunset Boulevard. Architect and author Cory Buckner talks about Crestwood Hills, a Modernist vision for a cooperative future that never quite arrived.


5-x-7-1Thanks to Cory Buckner, whose excellent book on Crestwood Hills is available here.  

Video: The Siegel family moves into their brand-new Crestwood Hills home in 1950. 


Groundbreaking, October 1947 (Courtesy Cory Buckner)


Buckner House (formerly MHA site office): Photo by John Dooley

Meanwhile, on another podcast…

HOME returns for Season 4 in October. In the meantime, here’s a story I told at a recent live recording for the excellent Two Truths And A Lie podcast. It was my first time doing a live storytelling event, and I think the half a beer I was brave enough to down pre-performance may have helped create the illusion of confidence. (Two Truths records at Angel City Brewery in downtown L.A., so they were in essence our hosts and look, I didn’t want to be rude.)

You can, and should, subscribe to Two Truths And A Lie here.

Episode 18: Cooking With Mihrette

What happens when you bring a kid from the other side of the world into your home forever? How does it change what home means to her? And to you? This week it’s the story of one mom, the daughter she chose, and the way they keep Ethiopia alive in the home that’s now theirs.

PROGRAM NOTE: This is the last episode of Season 3. See you back here in October for Season 4. Subscribe to the newsletter for updates and between-seasons bonus content. 

Can the Web series be far behind? Cook With Mihrette here.

Music by Podington Bear:

Episode 17: Dancers In The House

A roving, shifting company of dance and performance artists is nudging its audiences to think about home differently — by bringing one-off, site-specific performances to houses, live-work spaces and tiny apartments all over the Los Angeles area. Meet homeLA.

Music by Podington Bear:

At top: Flora Wiegman, Swimming Laps, at the home of Chloë Flores and Tim Lefevre in Mount Washington. Performed by Flora Wiegman

Here’s a gallery of photographs from past homeLA performances.

All photos by Andrew Mandinach for homeLA.

For more information about the Rose Hills performance on September 24, visit homeLA. 

Episode 16: TV Dreamland

When TV producer Phil Savenick started collecting vintage TVs and TV memorabilia, he didn’t anticipate that he’d end up with what he now calls a “dreamland of televisions” in the living room of his West Los Angeles home — or that he’d end up helping the family of the man who invented TV heal some old wounds.

See more of Phil’s TV Dreamland here.

You can learn more about Philo T. Farnsworth here. I also recommend Jeff Kisseloff’s excellent oral history of the early days of television, “The Box.”

Music by Podington Bear:

Thanks to Phil Savenick and Janis Hirsch.

Episode 15: Belushi, Bette and Beverly Hills

chairsThe process by which one place stops being home and another starts — it’s a mysterious thing. It happens, most often, when we’re not paying attention. And sometimes, as it did for comedy writer and transplanted East Coaster Janis Hirsch, it happens in stages. First she started to feel at home in Los Angeles; but it was only later, after a series of addresses and a run-in or two with Bette Davis, that she landed in the exact place that would be, finally, her home.

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  • “Domestic Fun (a),” by Ernest Tomlinson
  • “Prismatone,” by Podington Bear
  • “Wook,” by Podington Bear
  • “Star Prizes (a),” by Tony Kinsey
  • “Lena Sequence,” by Roberto Prgiado
  • “Jackie,” by Podington Bear
  • “Fashion on Parade,” by Ronald Hanmer
  • “Playmate,” by Podington Bear

Thanks to Janis Hirsch and Larry Shulman. 

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