Welcome to Our Podcasts

If you enjoy listening to long-form narratives, our downloadable podcasts are for you.

To bring you our most listener-friendly stories, we partnered with San Francisco’s American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) and several of its MFA students. The process has been a mutual win. Besides being paid for their work, the students received coaching on the art of narration (a mini apprenticeship if you like) and we were able to work with talented, next-generation actors.

The stories you see below constitute our first collection of audio recordings; over the coming months we will add more as time (and funding) allow. We hope you enjoy them. And if you would like to help us produce these audio treatments, you can donate to our efforts here.

If you're not sure where to start, try our newest audio story, "The Secrets of an Italian Gelato Master", written by Erla Zwingle and narrated by Avanthika Srinivasan.

As an extra treat, this recording is the first to include our new podcast theme music, brought to you by one of our own star artisans: Mike Snowden. The music comes from "Porch Song," a haunting and surprisingly rich piece of music for something composed and played, by Snowden, on little more than three strings and an old cedar box. You can hear the full piece in our profile of Snowden,  "The Cigar Box Guitar Maker".

The Secrets of an Italian Gelato Master

Author: Erla Zwingle

Gelato, it turns out, is a very different creature from ice cream. And there are reasons that the best gelato tastes so creamy yet somehow still light—and indescribably perfect. In honor of summer, we delve into the secrets of artisanal gelato-making from master gelatiere Andrea Soban of Valenza, Italy.

Introduction by: Summer Brown
Narrated by: Avanthika Srinivasan
Produced by: Aaron Cundy
Music by: Mike Snowden of “The Cigar Box Guitar Maker.

The Art of the Joke

Author: David Munro

When you watch masterful stand-up comics perform, they seem just naturally hilarious. Don’t kid yourself. This is hard work—a craft like making anything else of value.

Introduction by: Summer Brown
Narrated by: Todd Oppenheimer
Produced by: Larry Rosen & Aaron Cundy

The Architecture of Trust

Author: Michael Erard

A quick glance at today’s hyperventilated political climate delivers an unmistakable message: We don’t know how to talk with each other anymore. A linguistics expert searches for ways that Americans of different beliefs can start believing in each other again.

Introduction by: Summer Brown
Narrated by: Leroy Graham
Produced by: Larry Rosen

Eco-fashion’s Animal Rights Delusion

Author: Alden Wicker

In this exploration of the hidden stories behind materials such as wool and rayon, silk and polyester, and vegan leather, Alden Wicker—a frequent writer, blogger, and speaker on sustainable fashion—finds some inconvenient truths for the animal rights movement.

Introduction by: Summer Brown
Narrated by: Dinah Berkeley
Produced by: Larry Rosen

The Jewelry Archaeologist

Author: Alison Main

Through years of painstaking, often combative detective work, Hugo Kohl rescued an era of early American jewelry manufacturing technology that was on the brink of extinction. And what Kohl makes with these old machines turns out to be superior, in many ways, to the finest modern jewelry.

Introduction by: Summer Brown
Narrated by: Dinah Berkeley
Produced by: Larry Rosen

The Drought Fighter

Author: Todd Oppenheimer

Could a small, controversial farmer in Northern California have found the most effective way to grow food in a warming world? With gross income of more than $100,000 an acre, Kaiser certainly thinks so.

Introduction by: Summer Brown
Narrated by: Todd Oppenheimer
Produced by: Larry Rosen