Composer Paul Williams talks addiction, music and Muppets


This weekend, legendary composer Paul Williams joins the Muppets at the Hollywood Bowl for a series of concerts.

Alex Cohen: Why I love it? Ever since I was a little girl, I LOVED the Muppets and I LOVED the music and films of Paul Williams. When I knew two of my favorite things were coming together at one of my favorite places (The Hollywood Bowl) – I knew we had to talk about it on air. Paul was not only one of the loveliest guests I’ve ever interviewed AND he’s an avid KPCC listener!

The workplace bills that passed the CA legislature — and a song about them


More than a dozen workplace bills have passed the legislature and are now sitting on Gov. Brown's desk, waiting for a signature or veto. Here's a quick summary.

Lisa Brenner: So many workplace-related bills passed the state legislature in september that Andrea Bernstein and I wrote a 60-second song about 15 of them (this was while they were sitting on Gov. Brown's desk waiting for a signature or veto). I'm still pretty stoked about our song. And digital made a social video for it. And there’s also a ridiculous YouTube video of us in the studio.

An original Rosie the Riveter takes flight


After a half-century career building airplanes, 98 year old Elinor Otto was honored with a special military flight out of March Air Reserve Base in Riverside.

Libby Denkmann: This one was so fun to cover, and I'm really happy with the photos. March Air Reserve Base in Riverside hosted one of the original Rosie the Riveters, Elinor Otto, to fly for the first time in a C-17 aircraft. Elinor spent decades building these planes at the Boeing plant in Long Beach, contributing to the readiness of the U.S. Air Force, and she was delighted to experience the plane in action with a mostly female crew.

RIP Donna Fuller, 85: What a voice, and what a life!


85-year old jazz and pop contralto Donna Fuller died Tuesday. She performed in Playboy Jazz clubs, toured with Christine Jorgensen, was A-list adjacent, and made two really good albums you should listen to.

John Rabe: We gave a last hurrah to the late Donna Fuller, a cool singer from the 60s and 70s who never quite made it big, but led a hell of a life. Listeners even sent her get well cards!

Robots steal port jobs — but they also fight climate change


"It makes me sick to my stomach," one worker says of the mostly automated loading dock. Automation has helped lower diesel pollution by 85 percent‚ but at a high human cost.

Emily Guerin: I liked this story because I got to take listeners inside a place that’s very difficult to get into: the automated terminal at the Port of Long Beach. And I got to show the tension between two very noble policy objectives: cleaning up the air and preserving blue collar jobs.

In this choir, every gender has a voice


"Music programs in schools and choir programs have always been considered safe spaces for anyone who is different, especially for LGBTQ students."

Carla Javier: I love this story about gender and music education that ran on Christmas. I think it’s a sweet story about a teacher trying to do right by her students. And, how much students appreciate that.

Teaching Vietnamese in OC classrooms means 'striking a balance'


Orange County hosts two of the nation's six dual language Vietnamese immersion programs. Producing culturally and politically appropriate teaching materials is a challenge.

Jill Replogle: I loved this story because it provided insight into the generational differences in Orange County’s Vietnamese community and efforts to bring families together through language.

Why do charter schools' vaccination rates lag so far behind?


Behind the numbers in a KPCC data analysis that found students in public charter schools were less likely to be vaccinated than their peers in district-run schools.

Kyle Stokes: Why are California charter schools' vaccination rates so much worse than district-run schools? This piece is the culmination of data reporting that rolled out over several weeks. It’s enterprise reporting like this that listeners make possible with their support of KPCC.

Ultra Mom takes on grueling 100-mile trail race challenge


Martine Sesma, an ultrarunner with a short history in the sport, dropped out of last year's race but she came back in hopes of finishing this year's Angeles Crest 100

Sharon McNary: Here’s one, it won RTNA’s Golden Mike Award for Best Sports Reporting

Calexit comic book accidentally became extra topical


The new comic book "Calexit" has a definite point of view, taking readers into a dystopian story that draws upon elements of the real world. See art from the book and read an interview with the writer.

Mike Roe: Why I love it: I love combining arts coverage with the issues that face Southern Californians, and looking at this provocative comic book was an exciting, vital way to do that.