Claim Ownership

Author:

Subscribed: 0Played: 0
Share

Description

 Episodes
Reverse
India Walton grew up in Buffalo, New York, a starkly segregated city, where 85 percent of the city's Black residents live on the East Side. She started a family there at 14 and then a career as a nurse in her 20s. In her 30s, she left a violent marriage, became a neighborhood organizer, and decided to run for mayor. In June 2021, India shocked the political establishment and won the Democratic primary, beating the four-term incumbent mayor. She was shocked, too, and the jubilant video of her calling her mom that night went viral. But, the mayor did not concede, and he won the general election after he launched a write-in campaign. Five months after India lost that election, a gunman shot up a grocery store on Buffalo's East Side and killed 10 people in a racially motivated attack. In this episode, we talk about when government helped India and let her down, and how growing up poor and Black in Buffalo fueled her drive to change systems – in healthcare, education and housing politics. Want to hear more of DSM's past episodes with political leaders and public officials? Listen to Anna chat with Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, current Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, and way back, in one of the show’s very first episodes, former Wyoming Senator Al Simpson.  
John Waters is the writer and director of such cult classics like Pink Flamingos, Serial Mom, and his biggest mainstream success, Hairspray. He’s been making movies since the 1960s and this year he released his debut novel, Liarmouth: A Feel Bad Romance. The novel is an incredibly dirty romp filled with the kind of taboo storytelling that John Waters revels in. In his work, he shines a light on the worst of us but rarely to ridicule, more as a reminder of how gloriously sinful we can be, as we discussed when I spoke with him in his Manhattan home. His interest in the carnal, though, has its limits. “When I got a colonoscopy, they said, do you wanna watch? No!” he told us. “Why do I wanna go on a fantastic voyage up my a–hole?”  We also talked about money management, aging, and his secret to maintaining his many long friendships. “I do stay in touch and if anything bad happens to you, I call. If you get a bad review, I call. If you go to jail, I definitely am your first visit,” he laughed. “I never don't come visit you if you're in jail.” 
For many of us, the last few years of the pandemic has given us time to reflect on different aspects of our identities and how we show up in the world. That's meant more room to explore what silhouettes, colors, and textures feel good, what haircuts work or don't, and what you love—and what you hate—about getting dressed up in the first place. And for a couple of listeners, ruminating on their personal style has also meant thinking about community, and how clothes fit us into social spaces. A listener named Stephen told me he can remember what he wore in most social interactions. "The clothing in all of these memories is like the set of extras that don't have any lines." For another listener, Bill, fashion allows him to recognize himself as a trans man, and who he wants to attract… or avoid. "I think about what I wear a lot," he told me. "It takes up space in my brain that doesn't always feel good." This week, your personal style transformations: the good, the bad, and everything in between.
*This episode originally ran in 2016.  When Lucinda Williams was in elementary school, all the other kids brought rock collections and other standard fare to show-and-tell. But she brought a folder. "I put this notebook together of seven poems and a short story by Cindy Williams," she remembers. Decades later, she's still documenting her impressions of the world, now in raw, often mournful songs that explore death, heartbreak, abandonment, and love. Many of her them are based in the American south, where Lucinda grew up—including those on the album The Ghosts of Highway 20. "I know these roads like the back of my hand," she sings on the title track.      Lucinda was close to her father, poet Miller Willams, throughout her life. He encouraged her interest in words and writing, even taking her to visit Flannery O'Connor when she was a little girl. So it was especially hard for her to see him go through Alzheimer's disease. He died a year before our conversation, less than six months after the summer day when he told Lucinda he couldn't write poetry anymore. "I just sat there and just cried," she remembers. "That was when I lost him."  In her sixties, Lucinda says she's more successful than ever, selling out shows on the road and happily in love with her manager Tom Overby, whom she married on stage during an encore in 2009. But, she told me, getting older can still feel like a drag. "I don't like the aging process. I don't like getting older because of all the loss. It just gets harder and harder."    See the video on Lucinda's Facebook page of her performance of "Compassion" at her father's home before he died. Miller Williams reads his poem, and Lucinda follows by singing her musical interpretation.
Big Freedia Bounces Back

Big Freedia Bounces Back

2022-08-3127:552

Even before becoming Big Freedia, Freddie Ross was known around New Orleans. Her "signature call"—an operatic bellow that she lets out when I ask to hear it—was legendary in the city. "They'd be like, 'Oh that's Freddie in the club'.... The signature call comes very loud. And proud." Freedia came out to her mom as gay when she was 13, and soon came out to her classmates as well. She tells me she "had to do what every other gay kid had to do: fight for their life, and let people know that you are not no joke." She eventually started performing as part of New Orleans' queer bounce music scene, and became a local celebrity.  Then, in 2005, Freedia got shot. "What the motive was, I don’t know to this day still," she says. After finally mustering the courage to start performing again, Freedia also moved into a new place, to get a fresh start. Hurricane Katrina hit about a week later. She and her family were together at her duplex during the storm, where the water rose to the second floor. They cut a hole in the roof to signal for help. Days after being evacuated, Freedia made her way to Houston, where she lived for two years.  In Houston, Freedia met her boyfriend, Devon. After years of dating men who weren't openly gay, Freedia says Devon's openness about their relationship has made a difference. "When your love grows for somebody and y’all get closer you wanna...feel more appreciated, and you wanna feel loved," she says. Freedia eventually returned to New Orleans, where her career continues to expand. “A lot was happening after Katrina. I mean money was slinging everywhere,” Freedia tells me. “You know everybody had FEMA checks, girl!” I talk with Freedia about what's happened in her life in the years since she returned to her hometown: publishing a memoir, starring in a reality TV series, and losing her beloved mother to cancer.  * This interview is from 2015 and part of a series about New Orleans on the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Big Freedia in New Orleans, holding her high school graduation photo. (Rush Jagoe) The lot where Big Freedia's house stood, before Hurricane Katrina. (Emily Botein) Sitting on the porch swing with Big Freedia. (Katie Bishop) Big Freedia performs her song "Excuse" before she and over 300 dancers set the Guinness World Record for most people twerking simultaneously:  Big Freedia: Queen of Bounce Season 4 Trailer:
When talking about the death of his husband, Terry Kaelber doesn't use the word suicide, "I tend to say he took his own life out of deep distress about the environment through self-immolation." Terry says it's out of respect for David that he chooses his words carefully — "It was a rational decision on his part."  In 2018, David Buckel doused himself in gasoline and lit himself on fire in Brooklyn's Prospect Park. Minutes before, he sent a note to prominent media outlets. He wrote, “Most humans on the planet now breathe air made unhealthy by fossil fuels, and many die early deaths as a result—my early death by fossil fuel reflects what we are doing to ourselves.” David was 60, an environmentalist, and a former LGBTQ rights lawyer. In this episode I talk to Terry about how he thinks about David's death now, and how grief still connects them. "I would never want the grief to go away," he says, "It's always a reminder of how important we were to each other." We also talk about moving on and finding new adventure and joy — "If somebody had said to me within the first year of David's death, that this would happen, I would've said you're crazy." David Buckel ran one of the country's largest compost sites operating without heavy machinery (Terry Kaelber )   A memorial for David in Prospect Park (Terry Kaelber )   For more Terry, listen to him on Vox’s Today, Explained, along with Tim DeChristopher who was imprisoned for his climate activism. And if you are experiencing climate grief, we encourage you to go back and listen to our episode with researcher Britt Wray about our emotional reactions to the reality of climate change where we also link to resources.   
If you lived in Columbus, Georgia in the 90s, you might have spent time in a queer club called Sensations. But Bob the Drag Queen knew Sensations by day, not night – she was in elementary school when her mom owned the place. As a kid, Bob would try to help clean or bust a move on the dance floor. A couple years into college, Bob left the South for New York City. She performed in drag for the first time, turned her big ideas into iconic side hustles, and auditioned for, and eventually won, season 8 of RuPaul’s Drag Race. But, that schedule didn’t leave her a lot of room for romance. Bob and I talked about making time for her first boyfriend in her 30s, trying to move her family into a bigger home, and supporting and collaborating with queer and trans people in small U.S. towns as a co-host of the HBO reality show We’re Here.
Here we are again: Just weeks before the federal pause on student loans is set to expire, with indications that the pause will be extended, and hints at debt forgiveness, but no concrete course of action as of recording this episode in early August. With so much uncertainty, we decided to invite our favorite expert on the topic, Betsy Mayotte, president of The Institute of Student Loan Advisors, to take some of your questions. Maybe not surprisingly, we got a lot of them. Some of you dreaded budgeting back in loan payments after the pause ends (for that Betsy suggests trying a loan simulator), and many of you had questions about Public Student Loan Forgiveness (PSLF), and whether the changes the Biden administration made to the program are here to stay. Betsy says, "I have researched the Higher Education Act back to the seventies, and Congress has never, ever retroactively removed a benefit from existing student loans. There is practically as close to zero of a risk of PSLF going away." If you have a question that was not answered in this episode, you can contact Betsy by going to her website where you can also find all sorts of helpful resources, like a guide to forgiveness, and where to start when thinking about a repayment plan.       
In the weeks leading up to and after the decision in Dobbs v. Jackson, which ended almost 50 years of the constitutional right to abortion in the United States, we asked you to tell us how you’re feeling, and how you’re thinking and talking about family planning and access to reproductive care. Some of you told us about your anger, your fears, and we also heard stories about difficult conversations with loved ones, or a sense of clarity about the options in front of you. And as the post-Roe landscape continues to shift state by state, we wanted to hear from someone in Mississippi, the state at the center of this landmark Supreme Court case. "There's no getting around that the impact is on everyone," said Laurie Bertram Roberts, co-founder and executive director of the Mississippi Reproductive Freedom Fund. I spoke with Laurie about the ways this moment was expected, how their work has changed post-Roe, and why they feel both rage⁠—and a sense of hope⁠—about what's to come.
It can sometimes feel like alcohol—whether you're drinking it or not—is an intrinsic element of navigating adulthood. After all, over 70 percent of American adults drink. We take drinking so much for granted that we often fail to really engage with the role it's playing in our lives. "It’s been a piece of everything since we’ve turned 21, or 18," a listener named Cari told us. "We've always had a drink or been drinking when we’ve been at parties. And it’s so funny that I’m 34, and that is a worry: that if I weren’t drinking, maybe the party would move to someone else’s house." We asked you to share your experiences with alcohol—why you drink or don't, the strategies you use to manage your consumption, and what alcohol brings you besides a buzz. And we learned that our feelings about alcohol are much more complicated than we tend to acknowledge.  If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol or seeking more information about alcohol consumption, check out these resources.
When we called Jacob Lawson, a 23-year-old Starbucks worker from Utah, he was on his way to another Starbucks store in Idaho to help them start a union. "It’s not too far from Utah. It's 150 miles, but I’ve driven further to help a store unionize," he told us.  By now, you've probably heard that the Starbucks union is having a moment. Since the first store successfully voted to form a union in 2021, more than 175 stores in 30 states have followed suit. The reasons for the union's success are varied — support from the established union, Workers United, and small store sizes make getting a majority vote simpler — but the Starbucks unionizing drive is also extremely collaborative, made up of mostly young people who talk to each other from stores across the country and share tips. For this episode, we invited a few of these workers to tell us what their experience has been like. I met Jacob Lawson, 20-year-old Laila Dalton from Phoenix, Arizona, and 33-year-old Benjamin South from Ithaca, New York over Zoom. When we talked on a Friday in early June, they were all experiencing different turns in the unionizing story, some victories, some defeats, and some very real consequences of going up against a multi-billion dollar company.  
On July 16, 2022, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline becomes a 3-digit number: 988. This switch means that many local call centers across the country are preparing for a higher volume of calls. And for someone in crisis, it means a lot to hear someone on the line who knows the community they're calling from. In Wyoming, that sort of knowledge can be helpful, and also a deterrent to accessing mental health services. "We’re very rural. Everybody knows your business," Karen Sylvester told me. She's the director of training and fundraising for the Wyoming Lifeline, one of two new call centers in the state that began operating in 2020. "And so when it comes to somebody struggling, the last place that they want to have their car parked is outside the mental health office. So that everybody in town can whisper or try to decide what they think is going on with so-and-so." Wyoming had the highest suicide rate per capita in the US in 2020, and while that impacts people across all demographics, white men 25 and older account for most of the deaths by suicide in the state. I talk to suicide prevention advocates, as well as a suicide attempt survivor, about the changes ahead in the state.
When actress Niecy Nash and R&B singer-songwriter Jessica Betts first met in 2015, they struck up a deep friendship. So when they began to fall in love a few years later, they were both caught off-guard. Niecy was newly divorced and had never been in a relationship with a woman before, and Jessica didn't think she could find love again. But they took the plunge, and when they announced their relationship and marriage publicly in the summer of 2020, they didn't expect the outpouring of love and support. Almost two years into their marriage, they're still learning about each other's habits and quirks, and are just as in love and hot for each other as ever. They joined me from their Los Angeles home to tell me about their love story, how they learned to live together during the pandemic, their faith, and the surprising ways their age difference shows up in their marriage.   Want to hear more Niecy? Listen to our 2017 episode, "Life in Our 20s: Advice from Niecy Nash, Alia Shawkat & Terri Coleman," or my 2015 interview with her for NPR's Fresh Air.
When Nan Bauer-Maglin was 60 years old, her husband left her for his 25-year-old student. "I thought about suicide. You know, there’s a great feeling of rejection especially if you’re older," she told me. "You just feel ugly and invisible and sad and quite gray." Nan wrote a book inspired by their breakup and called it Cut Loose. "First I was gonna call it 'Dumped.' But that’s so negative," she told me. "Cut Loose is also about freedom." Nan is one of hundreds of listeners who shared their breakup stories with us, after we asked for them last year. And she's not the only one who mentioned a potent mix of rejection, liberation, and confusion at the end of a relationship. A listener named Drew remembers when his boyfriend went on a trip, left his dog at Drew's house, and never came back. Thomas*, who got married right out of college, is 25 and unsure of what his life will look like after his impending divorce. Mia sent in a voice memo about leaving her boyfriend behind, and struggling with the decision years later. Identical twins Matthew and Peter Slutsky realized they needed to break up after years of living parallel lives: attending the same college, working the same jobs, living with their families in the same neighborhood. Creating some distance was part of growing up, but that doesn't mean it wasn't hurtful. In your breakup stories, you also described how hard it can be to know when it's over. Steve* knows he's not happy right now, but isn't sure if the problem is him or his long-term boyfriend. "I love him and I don’t want to hurt him," he told me. "This just seems like kind of a way to wipe the slate clean and start over." Sometimes, though, breaking up can also feel like a long overdue exhale. Beth, a listener in Philadelphia, recalls the day when she was riding her bike on her commute and choked out the words, "I don't want to be married!" She was divorced within a year, and looking back now, wishes she hadn't waited so long to be honest about her feelings. Whether you're in the middle of a breakup or you've been through one in the past, check out breakupsurvival.guide, a website our listener Emily Theis built from your best suggestions about what to read, watch, listen to and do after a split. *Name changed for privacy reasons We're re-airing this episode from 2017. Listen to the end for some relationship and life updates. 
One of the first things Mary Gundel told us about her childhood was that the Florida foster care system left her with a persistent sense that she was invisible. "Nobody cared, nobody wanted me," she said. Pregnant at 16, then again at 18, and with a third child diagnosed with autism a little while after that, Mary and her husband worked many low wage jobs on opposite schedules so someone could always be home with the kids. But despite feeling unseen, Mary told me story after story about how she changed the lives of her coworkers and loved ones, from taking in a friend's kid, to staying late at the register when a coworker called out, no questions asked. These sorts of stories might have stayed confined to Mary's small Tampa network had she not become an overnight TikTok celebrity. Her viral moment? A 6-part series documenting her day-to-day frustrations managing a Dollar General, one of America's largest convenience stores, where she worked for three and half years. We talked about what led her to speak out about working conditions on social media, getting fired, and igniting a national workers’ movement. Invisible no more, Mary concedes, “They’re listening to me now!”  
When Tony Award-winning actor and playwright Harvey Fierstein was growing up in New York City in the 60s, he was surrounded by the beginnings of the gay rights movement, and protest art and avant-garde theater was the norm. "I didn't know that being gay was sad until I got out into the world and they told me that," he said in our interview. "All the gay people I know are really kind of happy." And writing from that lens has informed his work ever since. In his new memoir, I Was Better Last Night, Harvey shares the six year journey to get his breakthrough play, Torch Song Trilogy, on Broadway, and shares other behind the scenes stories from hit Broadway plays like Hairspray, Fiddler on the Roof, and La Cage aux Folles. He also told me about his relationship with his younger brother turned business manager, why he's happily single and sober, and how he thinks he'll be remembered.
At the beginning of the calendar year, when Omicron was surging across much of the country, we asked those of you that are educators to tell us what led to your profession in the midst of another difficult pandemic school year, and how you were coping with it all. You told us about burnout, navigating confusing and changing rules about safety and politics in the classroom, feeling undervalued as workers, and why some of you were leaving education altogether. As the end of the school year approached, I followed up with four teachers in school districts across the country, from a middle school librarian in rural Wyoming, to a teacher navigating their first year of in-person teaching in New York. They told me about how the year has gone, the effects on their personal life, and what they're most excited about for this summer.
Journalist Maria Hinojosa and the staffs of Futuro Media and PRX recently won the 2022 Pulitzer Prize in Audio Reporting for the podcast "Suave." For Maria, winning this accolade took years of hard work. Maria is best known as the host of the public radio program Latino USA, a role she's occupied for over 25 years. But before then, she had to navigate newsrooms at CBS, NPR, CNN, and PBS at a time where she was often the first and the only Latina journalist there. As she wrote in her memoir, Once I Was You, that meant having to walk with confidence and believing in her work when, she says, her mostly white colleagues didn't. But, as Maria told me when we spoke back in 2020, the confidence she built while working in media didn't totally translate to other parts of her life. "You know, my marriage almost broke up because of my ego," she said. And as her career became more successful, she told me about the times she says she didn't prioritize her husband and her kids, about the crisis point that led her to reevaluate her role in her relationship and as a mother, and about how, these days, she is practicing listening and self-love. Plus, I catch up with Maria and she tells me about the significance of the award for her.
If you're like me, you might have a hard time getting to the end of articles that predict climate catastrophe. You might put a lot of faith in technology to save us, and you certainly don't want to think about an unsafe climate future for any young children in your life. If you're more like my guest for this episode, Britt Wray, you may have had periods of time where you can't stop thinking about climate catastrophe, times when your climate anxiety became so unbearable you couldn't function. Britt’s new book is all about our emotional reactions to climate change. She says, "these abilities to sit with the emotions and allow them to be there is actually really crucial to climate action at all." We met for a hike through the Santa Cruz mountains and we talked about how she emerged from debilitating climate dread, and how she grappled with the question of whether or not to have a child. "In the end the decision to not have a child felt like a commitment to fear. And then on the flip side, deciding to have a child felt like a commitment to joy." A photo from my hike with Britt Wray in the Santa Cruz Mountains Do you want to lessen your climate anxiety while also helping the planet? Britt says, "It's a crucial step to find community with others who can stand in the fire with you, who get it, who will mirror and validate the concerns and will never say you're overreacting." Here are some resources she suggests: The Good Grief Network, modeled off of a 12-step program, hosts in-person meetings around climate anxiety and climate action. Conceivable Future hosts parties for people to talk about family planning in a warming world, and The All We Can Save Project offers a how-to guide on starting your own community talking group. Subscribe to Britt Wray's news letter Gen Dread, which is all about staying sane in the climate crisis.  Britt Wray is a Human and Planetary Health Fellow at Stanford University and author of the new book Generation Dread: Finding Purpose in an Age of Climate Crisis  
Back in 2021, we asked you to tell us about the hard conversations you were struggling to have in honor of the release of my book, Let's Talk About Hard Things. One of the people I talked to was a listener named Fey. Fey is 27 and lives in Maryland, and she has a degenerative eye condition. Eventually, she will probably lose her eyesight completely. She'd written us an email about her "tricky sense of disability identity."  As Fey's sight worsens, she struggles to know how and when to open up to people in her life about it—friends, dates, coworkers. Over the course of several conversations in the last year, I talked with Fey about how and when to disclose her disability, gaining independence, and relying on others. Plus, she gets a pep talk from a fellow visually impaired Nigerian American, EDM singer Lachi. Come sing along with me at a special sing-a-long karaoke party in honor of the paperback release of Let's Talk About Hard Things. We'll drink, talk and SING about hard things in NYC on May 6, at 7pm at The Greene Space. You can email us any time to share your stories at deathsexmoney@wnyc.org.   
Comments (73)

Niki Marino

Can we get this guy to say fat slob one more time? I like to workout and stay fit, and I also do it for my mental halth, but the way he kept saying it made me cringe...

Sep 2nd
Reply

Roy Jones

what is the B-Music used for this episode its sooo nice

Jun 29th
Reply

Roy Jones

jazz music used

Jun 23rd
Reply

Ermias Abraham

how to download?

Jun 3rd
Reply

reza shakiba

sorry for that horrified shooting.

May 25th
Reply

New Jawn

"They"? Why third person plural?

Apr 19th
Reply

Roy Jones

im going through the same thing she is is

Apr 12th
Reply

ARN

loved this. hit home.

Apr 7th
Reply

I<3America

Sounds like a liberal, hope no one breaks in to his house

Feb 10th
Reply

majopareja

From all of the episodes I've heard of this podcast, this is the one that conflicts me the most. The opportunity and lack of justice around police corruption! Gosh, and then they wonder why people demand to defund the police. How do you build trust when there is no transparency and no accountability? And with the huge racial (and professional!) disparities with which the justice system operates. Just outrageous!

Feb 5th
Reply

majopareja

Beautiful interview with the loveliest guest <3

Jul 25th
Reply

Dove Hex

A trash human being that everyone around her is paying for. This person has zero self awareness all for slime and jewellery What a fuck whit. Needs to grow tf up.

May 11th
Reply

Allison Bothley

Sad story.

Mar 9th
Reply

Mercy Waterleaves

that last story was my favorite 🤣

Feb 23rd
Reply

jackieblue361

One of my favorite stories that you've done Anna. 💙

Nov 17th
Reply

BC

what a wonderful man

Nov 11th
Reply

BC

Oh I love this episode

Oct 18th
Reply

Lucy Sharf

Such a wonderful episode and person. I related to so much. Thank you.

Aug 30th
Reply

f350

you are not poor, you live in north america, you are married to a doctor, you are not poor.

Jul 25th
Reply

Elsa Greno

This is a powerful episode. Deep insights for all listening to DSM and beyond.

Jul 2nd
Reply (1)
Download from Google Play
Download from App Store