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How would you describe a world you’ve never seen? Blind Guy Travels invites you into life without sight. Join host Matthew Shifrin as he experiences a Marx Brothers comedy, crafts a TED Talk, and then a Hinge profile, collaborates with LEGO to develop instructions for blind builders, and prepares for college graduation. Blind Guy Travels is written and performed by Matthew Shifrin, and produced and sound-designed by Ian Coss. It’s a production of PRX’s Radiotopia and part of Radiotopia Prese ...
 
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When Beverley Schottenstein’s husband Alvin died, she and her children sold their stake in his family’s business, worth an estimated 90 million dollars. Family relationships got complicated. It was hard to know who to trust. And what happened next surprised everyone. Beverley told us, “I was floored.” For a transcript of this episode, send an email…
 
Behind the Series is a short-run series about the shows previously featured on this very podcast: Radiotopia Presents from Radiotopia. This week, we talk with someone who's had a lot to do with the sound of Radiotopia Presents, Ian Coss. Ian has played a key role in creating some of our favorite series, starting with the very first show featured on…
 
Asa Carter and Forrest Carter couldn’t have been more different. But they shared a secret. The Education of Little Tree, by Forrest Carter, is an iconic best-selling book, with a message about living in harmony with nature, and compassion for people of all kinds. But the story behind the book is very different. It begins with the most infamous raci…
 
Lucy Dacus is a singer and songwriter from Richmond, Virginia. She put out her first album in 2016, and in 2018 she formed the band boygenius with Julien Baker and Phoebe Bridgers. In June 2021, she released her third album, Home Video, which includes the song "Thumbs." The first time I heard it, I knew I wanted to ask Lucy about how and why she ma…
 
The Memory Palace is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX. Radiotopia is a collective of independently owned and operated podcasts that’s a part of PRX, a not-for-profit public media company. If you’d like to directly support this show and independent media, you can make a donation at Radiotopia.fm/donate. A note on notes: We’d much rather you jus…
 
Presidential libraries are tributes to greatness, "[a] self-congratulatory, almost fictional account of someone's achievements, where all the blemishes are hidden," explains one New York architect. But they're also a "weird mix of a historical repository of records and things that have a lot of meaning." Studying their origins and evolution, one ca…
 
Betty Reid Soskin, the nation's oldest serving Park Ranger, works at the Rosie the Riveter Home Front World War II National Historical Park in Richmond, CA. Her tours and talks are hot ticket items. As a Black woman who worked in the segregated war effort, her perspective helps reveal a fuller, richer understanding of the World War II years on the …
 
Can a pop culture crush help us understand who we are? This week, the celebrity infatuations that define us in unexpected ways. The Mortified Podcast is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX. Listen to the entire series. This week, we’re supported by Dipsea Stories and Sakara.Von Mortified Media and Radiotopia
 
A down-on-his-luck teacher meets an alien. And suddenly the world wants to know what he has to say. Written by Louis Kornfeld. Performed by Dennis Pacheco, Joe Mullens, Liz Leimkuhler, Mark Gessner, Ekaterini Argerson, Nolan Constantino, Connor Ratliff, Rachel Botchan, Glo Tavarez, Stefan Schuette, and Nichole Hill. The Truth Instagram Twitter…
 
The great Jacob Goldstein, author of Money: The True Story of a Made Up Thing, stops by to tell us two stories about the design of paper currency around the world. First, the story of the making of the Euro banknotes, the design of which was supposed to unify Europe and not rely on any one country's national heroes or monuments. Then we learn about…
 
Quiz time! Samin Nosrat and Hrishikesh Hirway of Home Cooking podcast join to deliver questions about food etymology, as well as what are the two words that make a dance track, and whether 'za' is an acceptable abbreviation for 'pizza'. Play along and keep track of your score using the interactive scoresheet at theallusionist.org/foodquiz. For the …
 
On the 20th anniversary of September 11th, 2001, we’re bringing you a story about the World Trade Center. But it isn’t about the attacks, or about everything that came after. Instead, it’s about what came before 9/11. A century ago, before the twin towers were built, the neighborhood now known as Ground Zero was home to the largest collection of ra…
 
Michael Hingson was on the 78th floor of the North Tower of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. He says the first indication that something was wrong was the sound of a muffled explosion. Then the building began to tilt, and he felt the floor drop like an elevator. But Michael Hingson didn’t panic because his guide dog, Roselle, was calm.…
 
Mustafa is a singer, songwriter, and poet from Toronto. He gained national recognition in Canada for his poetry. in 2016, he served on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Youth Advisory Council. Later, as a songwriter, he contributed to the Grammy award-winning album Starboy by The Weeknd, and he’s written songs for Usher, Camila Cabello, and others. I…
 
Axolotls are nature’s great regenerators. They are able to grow back not just their tails, but also legs, arms, even parts of vital organs, including their hearts. This remarkable ability is one of several traits that turned the axolotl into a scientific superstar. The axolotl is one of the most abundant laboratory animals in biology. They can be f…
 
An intimate and historic documentary commemorating the life and history of The World Trade Center and its surrounding neighborhood, through audio artifacts, rare recordings, voicemail messages and interviews. The Sonic Memorial Project was produced by The Kitchen Sisters in collaboration with NPR, independent radio producers, artists, writers, arch…
 
The Memory Palace is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX. Radiotopia is a collective of independently owned and operated podcasts that’s a part of PRX, a not-for-profit public media company. If you’d like to directly support this show and independent media, you can make a donation at Radiotopia.fm/donate. A note on notes: We’d much rather you jus…
 
In 2015 the world was divided into two warring factions overnight. And at the center of this schism was a single photograph. Cecilia Bleasdale took a picture of a dress that she planned to wear to her daughter's wedding and that photo went beyond viral. Some saw it as blue with black trim; others as white with gold trim. For his part, Wired science…
 
We use verbal numbers and we use numerals - why do we need both? Why do we have the ones we have? What happened to Roman numerals? And what's loserish about the fiftieth Super Bowl? Stephen Chrisomalis, professor of anthropology and linguistics and author of the book Reckonings: Numerals, Cognition and History, returns to the Allusionist to explain…
 
Today's episode begins with rock & roll and ends with royalty. When bands like the Rolling Stones and the Beatles were becoming popular, they weren't played much on the radio in England. The BBC controlled the airwaves at the time, and some listeners described its music offerings as "square." So aspiring DJs packed up their record collections, got …
 
Decades before our current debate over critical race theory, the 1968 Kerner Report pointed the finger at structural racism for creating the conditions that had triggered a series of protests in Black communities across the United States in the summer of 1967. Former Senator Fred Harris is the last surviving member of the Kerner Commission, a group…
 
Lykke Li is a singer and songwriter from Sweden. She started releasing music in 2007, and for much of her career, she’s worked with producer Björn Yttling, who’s also a member of the Swedish band Peter Bjorn and John. Her second album, Wounded Rhymes, came out 10 years ago. It was named one of the best albums of 2011 by the New York Times, Pitchfor…
 
The Memory Palace is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX. In lieu of my usual re-runs filling out August, I’m doing something different: a full-reading of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, presented in three parts.This is part 2. Music for Gatsby was composed and performed by Mary Lattimore. Find and buy her music at marylattimoreharpist.ba…
 
Blind Guy Travel’s Matthew Shifrin hasn't engaged much with the visual culture of memes. Cue the hosts of Say My Meme, Will Butler from Be My Eyes and Caroline Desrosiers from Scribely. Say My Meme is a podcast that literally describes the world's most #relevant memes, bringing the blind and sighted people together through laughter and the power of…
 
What does water mean to you? In this feature, author Bonnie Tsui (Why We Swim), actress Joy Bryant, submarine pilot Erika Bergman, figure skater Elladj Baldé, 85-year-old synchronized swimmer Barbara Eison-White, professional mermaid Olivia Gonzales, and others share stories about the many ways water influences our lives. From Pop-Up Magazine, crea…
 
In the early morning hours of August 16, 2020, 12,000 lightning strikes exploded across northern California, igniting more than 585 wildfires. In the Santa Cruz Mountains scattered blazes grew into one massive burning organism — The CZU August Lightning Complex Fire — eating all in its path, scorching some 86,000 acres, destroying over 900 homes an…
 
This is the Tranquillusionist, in which I, Helen Zaltzman, read all the salads from the 1950 recipe book 282 Ways of Making a Salad, with Favourite Recipes by British and American Personalities and Stars by Bebe Daniels and Jill Algood, with the purpose of giving your internal monologue a break by replacing it with some absolutely inconsequential w…
 
During the war in Vietnam, there was a notorious American military prison on the outskirts of Saigon, called Long Binh Jail. But LBJ wasn’t for captured enemy fighters. It was for American soldiers. These were men who had broken military law, and there were a lot of them. As the unpopular war dragged on, discipline frayed and soldiers started to re…
 
The Memory Palace is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX. In lieu of my usual re-runs filling out August, I’m doing something different: a full-reading of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, presented in three parts.This is part 2. Music for Gatsby was composed and performed by Mary Lattimore. Find and buy her music at marylattimoreharpist.ba…
 
Singer, songwriter, and producer James Mercer of The Shins wrote “New Slang” when he was living in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It came out as a single and then he re-recorded it for The Shins’ debut album Oh, Inverted World, which came out 20 years ago, in 2001. After Garden State came out, featuring the song "New Slang," that album went gold. And the…
 
Independence. It’s a word that’s used in the blind community often, but that means different things to different people. What does independence mean for Matthew? On the heels of his Senior Recital and college graduation, Matthew ruminates on what might be next for him. Blind Guy Travels is a production of Radiotopia from PRX and part of Radiotopia …
 
When Roman Mars and Kurt Kohlstedt were promoting The 99% Invisible City in late 2020, one question came up over and over again in conversations and interviews about our built environment: in what ways will the COVID pandemic change cities long term? Realistically, it's hard to answer a question about the future while in the midst of a crisis, but …
 
The Memory Palace is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX. In lieu of my usual re-runs filling out August, I’m doing something different: a full-reading of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, presented in three parts. Music for Gatsby was composed and performed by Mary Lattimore. Find and buy her music at marylattimoreharpist.bandcamp.com The …
 
Officially titled The Book of Tasty and Healthy Food, it was often known simply as “Kniga” (translated: "book") because it was one of the only cookbooks to exist in the Soviet Union. The volume is peppered with glossy photographs of really lavish spreads and packed with text as well. There are recipes for lentils and crab salad and how to cook buck…
 
"The phone rang and rang and a lady picked up on the other end and I still remember the operator saying, 'You have a collect call from Ian for Debbie. Will you accept the charges?' And I remember Debbie saying, 'Yes, I accept.' And I just remember blurting out, 'Ms. Baigrie, I just called to wish you and your family a merry Christmas and to apologi…
 
The song "Surrender" by Cheap Trick was released in 1978. Rolling Stone called it the ultimate 70s teen anthem, and included it in their list of the greatest songs of all time. It’s been in a bunch of movies and tv shows—including South Park, Scrubs, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, New Girl, and Guardians of the Galaxy. Cheap Trick formed in Rockford…
 
Some teachers hang you upside-down to help you sing better. Others sit on you. In the lead-up to his senior recital, Matthew reflects on becoming an accomplished blind musician, through conversations with four of his music mentors who have helped along the way. Blind Guy Travels is a production of Radiotopia from PRX and part of Radiotopia Presents…
 
Britt Young is a geographer and tech writer based in the Bay Area. She also has what's called a "congenital upper limb deficiency." In other words, she was born without the part of her arm just below her left elbow. She's used different sorts of prosthetic devices her whole life, and in 2018, she celebrated the arrival of a brand new, multi-articul…
 
John Steinbeck called it the “Mother Road.” Songwriter Bobby Troup described it as the route to get your kicks on. And Mickey Mantle said, “If it hadn’t been for Highway 66 I never would have been a Yankee.” For the Dust Bowl refugees of the 1930s, for the thousands who migrated after World War II, and for the generations of tourists and vacationer…
 
Hanko, sometimes called insho, are the carved stamp seals that people in Japan often use in place of signatures. Hanko seals are made from materials ranging from plastic to jade and are about the size of a tube of lipstick. The end of each hanko is etched with its owner’s name, usually in the kanji pictorial characters used in Japanese writing. Thi…
 
The Memory Palace is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX. Radiotopia is a collective of independently owned and operated podcasts that’s a part of PRX, a not-for-profit public media company. If you’d like to directly support this show and independent media, you can make a donation at Radiotopia.fm/donate. A note on notes: We’d much rather you jus…
 
The story of a cryptic children’s book, a real-life treasure hunt, and its very mysterious winner: “He refused to be on camera. It’s just his voice. His wife even asks that they disguise his voice, but she asks too late. The interview is already happening. And she faints.” For a transcript of this episode, send an email to transcripts@thisiscrimina…
 
This is the story of a song, “Ain’t No Grave Gonna Hold My Body Down.” It was written by a 12-year-old boy on what was supposed to be his deathbed. But the boy didn’t die. Instead, he went on to become a Pentecostal preacher, and later helped inspire the birth of Rock & Roll. The boy’s name was Brother Claude Ely, and he was known as The Gospel Ran…
 
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