ACROSS THE MARGIN: THE PODCAST

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Podcast host Michael Shields guides you deeper into the stories told at the online Arts & Culture magazine, Across the Margin. Listen in as he takes you on a storytelling journey, one where you are bound to meet a plethora of intriguing writers, wordsmiths, poets, artists, musicians, filmmakers, activists, and unhinged eccentrics illustrating the notion that there are captivating stories to be found everywhere…

LATEST EPISODES

Episode 117: Paradise with Lizzie Johnson Across the Margin: The Podcast

This episode of Across The Margin: The Podcast presents an interview with Lizzie Johnson, a staff writer for the Washington Post. Previously, Johnson worked at the San Francisco Chronicle, where she reported on fifteen of the deadliest, largest, and most destructive blazes in modern California history, and covered over thirty communities impacted by wildfires. Recently she released a book entitled Paradise: One Town's Struggle To Survive An American Wildfire — the focus of this episode — which serves as the definitive first hand account of California’s Camp Fire, the nation’s deadliest wildfire in a century. Paradise is a riveting examination of what went wrong and how to avert future tragedies as the Climate Crisis unfolds.On November 8, 2018, the people of Paradise, California, awoke to a mottled gray sky and gusty winds. Soon the Camp Fire, the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California’s history was upon them, consuming an acre a second. Less than two hours after the fire ignited, the town was engulfed in flames, the terrified residents trapped in their homes and cars. By the next morning, eighty-five people were dead. As a reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle, Lizzie Johnson was there as the town of Paradise burned. She saw the smoldering rubble of a historic covered bridge and the beloved Black Bear Diner and she stayed long afterward, visiting shelters, hotels, and makeshift camps. Drawing upon her years of on-the-ground reporting, and reams of public records, including 911 calls and testimony from a grand jury investigation, Johnson provides a minute-by-minute account of the Camp Fire, following residents and first responders as they fight to save themselves and their town. We see a young mother fleeing with her newborn; a school bus full of children in search of an escape route; and a group of paramedics, patients, and nurses trapped in a cul-de-sac, fending off the fire with rakes and hoses. In Paradise, Johnson documents this unfolding tragedy with empathy and nuance. But she also investigates the root causes, from runaway climate change to a deeply flawed alert system to Pacific Gas and Electric’s decades-long neglect of critical infrastructure. A cautionary tale for a new era of megafires, Paradise is the gripping story of a town wiped off the map and the determination of its people to rise again. In this episode, host Michael Shields and Lizzie Johnson explore how Climate Change has increased the intensity and size of wildfires throughout the world, how economic factors have increasingly swelled the population in the wildland-urban-interface, the challenges of evacuating the entirety of a town, forest management suppression miscalculations and the need for “controlled” burns, the emotional toll of reporting on tragedies, and much, much more.This episode concludes with a deeply affecting song by John-Michael Sun, a Camp Fire survivor. Listen to the entirety of the song here.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
  1. Episode 117: Paradise with Lizzie Johnson
  2. Episode 116: The Big Scary "S" Word with Yael Bridge
  3. Episode 115: Everyone Loves Live Music with Dr. Fabian Holt
  4. Episode 114: The Psychological Roots of the Climate Crisis with Sally Weintrobe
  5. Episode 113: The Queen of Basketball with Ben Proudfoot

ARCHIVED EPISODES

ep113


THE QUEEN OF BASKETBALL with BEN PROUDFOOT

An interview with Ben Proudfoot, the Oscar nominated creative force behind Breakwater Studios.

ep112


WHITE RADICALISM & BLACK POWER IN THE 1960s with PATRICK BURKE

Featuring an interview with Patrick Burke, associate professor of music at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.

ep111


FREE RADIO: EARTHWORMS

Featuring an interview with the backbone of the Asheville, North Carolina based hip-hop group Free Radio, emcees Austin Haynes and Johnny Reynolds.

ep110


JACOB APPEL

Featuring an interview with Jacob M. Appel, one of the most prolific, accomplished, yet humble people in America.

ep109


SUN RA’S CHICAGO

Presenting an interview with author and Associate Professor in the Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice at the University of Chicago, William Sites.

ep108


THE ART OF THE INTERVIEW & NEW BEGINNINGS with JIMMY CHAIRMAN

An introduction to producer, writer, filmmaker, and media expert Jimmy Chairman. From 2006 until 2020 Chairman interviewed 10,000+ celebrities for a living. 

ep107


ROW with DANIEL GOLDSTEIN

Celebrating, through an interview with director and playwright Daniel Goldstein, the release of the inspiring new musical Row, adapted from the moving memoir A Pearl in the Storm by Tori Murden McClure.

ep106


LOUDER THAN BOMBS with ED VULLIAMAY

Presenting an interview with Ed Vulliamy, former reporter for The Guardian and The Observer and his latest book Louder Than Bombs — part memoir, part reportage — a story of music from the front lines of war.

ep105


UP FROM NOTHING with JOHN HOPE BRYANT

Featuring an interview with entrepreneur, author, philanthropist, and prominent thought leader John Hope Bryant, in a thought-provoking episode which centers on Bryant’s latest book, Up From Nothing.

ep104


SAINT DISRUPTION’S JEFF FIREWALKER SCHMITT

Presenting an interview with musician, folk healer, ceremonialist, and scientist Jeff Firewalker Schmitt. Schmitt, along with renowned jazz musician John Medeski (of Medeski Martin & Wood), have formed a musical collaborative called Saint Disruption.

ep103


CHICAGO SOUL MUSIC & BLACK CULTURAL POWER with AARON COHEN

Featuring an interview with Aaron Cohen, author of Move On Up: Chicago Soul Music and Black Cultural Power

ep102


SANYA N’KANTA

Presenting an interview with Sanya N’Kanta, the Jamaican born and Charlotte-based musician who has made a name for himself with his genre-blurring style, bringing together rock, reggae, hip-hop, house music, and electro-pop.

ep101


THE REVISIONARIES with A.R. MOXON

This episode explores “The Revisionaries,” a new book by A.R. Moxon, and an achievement in fiction writing. It’s a tour de force of a novel heralded by critics as a “modern classic” and a “spectacular invention.”

ep100


HOW TO DO NOTHING with JENNY ODELL

This thought-provoking 100th episode presents an interview with Oakland, California-based artist, writer, & educator, Jenny Odell. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, New York Magazine, The Paris Review, The Believer, McSweeney’s, & Sierra Magazine. 

ep99


RUNNING TO PROTEST & ABOUT THE PEOPLE with COFFEY

Presenting an interview with Brooklyn-based filmmaker & activist Coffey. Formerly the fashion editor of the hip-hop magazine XXL and the founder of the Define New York Run Club, Coffey is one of the leaders behind the Running To Protest movement.