Crosscurrents | KALW


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Crosscurrents is KALW Public Radio's award-winning news magazine, broadcasting Mondays through Thursdays on 91.7 FM. We make joyful, informative stories that engage people across the economic, social, and cultural divides in our community.

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A taste of the Bay Area’s long history of chocolate

21 hours ago
Asal Ehsanipour / KALW News

The Bay Area’s long history of chocolate spans all the way back to the Gold Rush. Since then, the region has been a source for chocolate innovation again and again, from a Berkeley-based revolution in chocolate desserts to a craft chocolate revolution in the ‘90s that turned the industry on its head.

Zeina Nasr / KALW News

There’s a long history of chocolate making in the Bay Area that goes all the way back to the Gold Rush. Over a century later, a new guard of chocolate makers is picking up where a previous generation of innovators left off, and they’re leading a small but potent revolution in the chocolate industry.

A new era in Bay Area food criticism

21 hours ago
Alanna Hale

There’s a lot of talk about food journalism right now. Two heroes of the genre recently passed: TV host and writer Anthony Bourdain and Jonathan Gold of the LA Times. Tributes to them showed how food writing can be about so much more than food. They showed how deeply appreciated these two writers were for bringing attention to food culture beyond “fine dining”.

Jenee Darden / KALW News

When I arrive at Arroyo Viejo Park in East Oakland, the neighborhood looks more like the French Quarter in New Orleans. Sounds from the band MJ’s Brass Boppers fill the streets. People are dancing, holding gold-trimmed parasols in their hands and wearing Mardi Gras beads around their necks. Residents are on their porches, waving to us as we pass by. 

Rewriting the narrative with author and journalist Vanessa Hua

Sep 18, 2018
Courtesy of Vanessa Hua

Award-winning, best-selling author and columnist Vanessa Hua recently released her debut novel “A River of Stars”, the story of an escaped maternity hotel captive, her journey into motherhood, and making a new life in San Francisco’s Chinatown.

Liza Veale / KALW News

Many advocates say the Bay Area needs to build a lot more housing to solve its affordability crisis. Of course, that’s easier said than done, and the high cost of labor is often cited as one of the obstacles. But construction trades workers also need to live in this expensive area and they say wages, though higher than elsewhere, still barely cut it.

Amber Miles / KALW News

SF’s housing crisis is complicated. Yes, there’s a shortage of housing, but also a shortage of skilled workers. CityBuild has a mission; train local San Franciscans to fill those lucrative and much needed positions.

Rocking the stage in more than “Wonway”

Sep 13, 2018
Courtesy of Juan Amador

Whether it’s on the turntables setting the mood at his Makossa Cookout parties or on the stage rocking a microphone, Grammy-nominated songwriter, emcee, and DJ Juan Amador — also known as Wonway Posibul — has been a fixture in the Bay Area music scene.

Holly J. McDede / KALW News

In Oakland, black cyclists are more than six times as likely than white cyclists to be pulled over by cops. Last month, Najari Smith, a Richmond-based community organizer, was arrested by Oakland police while biking and playing loud music. Now, cycling groups around the Bay Area are pushing for change.

Eli Wirtschafter / KALW News

The dockless electric scooters that appeared on the streets of Oakland a few months ago quickly become a popular form of transportation. Now, officials are creating a permits to allow them to stay in Oakland. But companies have to meet certain requirements: like offering a low-income membership for just five dollars a year.

Asian Prisoner Support Committee

From San Quentin Radio: ROOTS — or Restoring Our Original True Selves — is a restorative justice program that helps Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders at San Quentin Prison address that intergenerational trauma. One incarcerated man shares his family’s story, and how the program helped him learn more about himself.

Flickr user tze69, used under CC-BY-2.0

From San Quentin Radio: Chanthon Bun is one of the incarcerated men at San Quentin who escaped the regime of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia as a child. He shares his story with one of the reporters at San Quentin Radio.

Steve Drown

From the series Uncuffed: I met JulianGlenn “Luke" Padgett on a prison yard in 1999, and upon getting to know one another I came to consider him a friend. But during all of our conversations about politics, religion, and philosophies, I never knew that he was a ballet dancer nor that the graceful movements that he’d learned as a child quite possibly helped to save him from being “life-flighted” -- helicoptered out of a riot in a maximum-security prison.

JulianGlenn Padgett

From the series Uncuffed: Joe Kirk is known for his quiet ways, and commitment to the arts. He’s a musician, a singer, and an actor. Before he came to prison, he used to ride the rails, going from town to town and playing music. I spoke to Joe about the life he left behind.

CBD—snake oil or panacea?

Sep 11, 2018
Nikolas Harter / KALW News

Have you heard about the popular new cannabis health product, CBD? THC’s non-psychoactive cousin, CBD gained fame earlier this decade after being used to successfully treat children with intractable epilepsy. Since then it’s been claimed to alleviate a whole host of conditions, including anxiety, inflammation, pain, and even acne.

Lee Romney / KALW News

A growing number of parents whose kids suffer from seizures have discovered that medical cannabis can reduce their frequency and intensity. Over the past few years, seven states have passed laws giving kids access to that medicine while they’re at school. California’s not quite there. For one Santa Rosa family the stakes are high and the fight isn’t over.

Courtesy of Alia Sharrief

A young musician in Oakland is making waves in the Muslim community: Alia Sharrief. She’s part of a new generation of Muslim hip hop artists following in the footsteps of people like Yasiin Bey, best known by his stagename, MosDef, Lupe Fiasco, Qtip, Ali Shaheed Mohamed, the list goes on.

Ben Trefny / KALW News

The Global Climate Action Summit will be hosted here in San Francisco. World leaders will evaluate how far we’ve come since the Paris Agreement. The three-day event is co-chaired Governor Jerry Brown.

The eyes of the environmental world are on San Francisco, this week, where global leaders are gathering to talk about climate change. It’s a few years after the Paris Climate Agreement, and a year since President Donald Trump said the U.S. would pull out of the accord.

Just northeast of Lake Merritt, across the 580 freeway, you really can’t miss it. It's big, it's public, it often contains inflammatory messages, and it's neon. And, after nearly two decades Allen Michaan purchased his political soapbox for 3.75 million dollars and can’t wait to start renovations and put it in the National Register of Historic Places.

Courtesy of The Marsh

Actor Don Reed has been gracing Bay Area stages with stories about his family and life growing up in East Oakland. Now he’s back with the latest installment of his autobiographical one-man show, “Can You Dig It: The '60s.”

Melinda Stuart / Flickr user melystu, used under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 / Cropped

The fall semester has just begun at colleges and universities across the Bay Area, which means hundreds of thousands of undergrads and grad students are squeezing themselves into the region’s tight housing market right now. 75% of University of California, Berkeley undergrads live off campus — at San Francisco State University it’s much more than that. The waitlists for dorms are thousands of students long. So most of them are looking for rental housing like everyone else. Somehow, some way.

Last Labor Day at the Lusty Lady

Sep 5, 2018

When the Lusty Lady peep show in North Beach closed on Labor Day weekend in 2013, it was the only unionized, worker-owned sex club in the United States. To mark the five-year anniversary of the Lusty Lady’s closing, we revisit its closing days with Princess Pandora Noir, the Lusty’s former CEO, and some of the Lusty’s last customers.

Public Domain

When people migrate to the US, they have to deal with lots and lots of paperwork, to be able to live and work in the country. When you’re here and you’re petitioning for your spouse or children to join you from another country, it’s even more paperwork. It can get confusing and overwhelming, especially if you don’t know English.

A Muslim organization has been planning to build a mosque and community center in rural San Martin, in Santa Clara County, for over a decade, but the project has run into opposition and government delays. Is it proper protocol or Islamophobia?

Bob White / Flickr / Creative Commons

The past month there have been debates over how to manage the water in the Delta — the Bay Area’s largest source of freshwater — and that's drawn a lot of attention from the state capitol. What it comes down to is whether more water should go to fish or to farms.

Bo Walsh

Shortly after the 1967 “Summer of Love,” artist Lee Conklin arrived in San Francisco with dreams of becoming a part of the city’s growing rock & roll concert poster scene.

KALW hiring managing editor

Sep 4, 2018

The KALW News team is looking for an experienced audio story editor, ideally with management experience, to work on our daily news magazine Crosscurrents and other projects. You’ll work in a highly collaborative and supportive newsroom, joining our award-winning team producing short and long-form features and innovative podcasts.

Lee Romney / KALW News

Teaching can be tough — especially for educators who work in schools where families are scraping by, lots of kids face challenges at home and in the community, and they often score low on standardized tests. Add to that isolation and high staff turnover and you’ve got a recipe for a revolving door. That’s been a problem for years in San Francisco Unified schools in the city’s Bayview district. But SFUSD administrators have been working hard to stabilize the workforce, and there are signs of success.

Bay Area Beats: Tajai Massey

Aug 30, 2018
Bo Walsh / KALW News

For the past 25 years, Oakland’s Hieroglyphics crew has been a staple in the Bay Area underground hip hop scene. As one of the founding members of Oakland’s Hieroglyphics, Tajai Massey and his group Souls of Mischief became household names with their classic hit "‘93 til Infinity". In this edition of Bay Area Beats Tajai talks about juggling his careers in music and architecture as well as the importance of the Hiero Day Festival which has quickly become an Oakland tradition.