Show cover of Death, Sex & Money

Death, Sex & Money

Death, Sex & Money is a podcast about the big questions and hard choices that are often left out of polite conversation. Host Anna Sale talks to celebrities you've heard of—and to regular people you haven't—about the Big Stuff: relationships, money, family, work and making it all count while we're here. WNYC Studios is a listener-supported producer of other leading podcasts including Radiolab, On the Media, The Experiment, The New Yorker Radio Hour and many others.


Your Estrangement Calls Answered Live
This week, we bring our estrangement series to an end with a live call-in show co-hosted by Anna Sale and WNYC’s Kai Wright, host of the Notes from America podcast. Kai and Anna heard from listeners all around the country about how stark disagreements — particularly around politics and key values — led to estrangement with families, long-time friends and also long-time romantic relationships. Plus, Rebecca Martinez Fitzgerald, a therapist based in Durham, North Carolina, offered advice on how to move forward. If you’re living with estrangement, check out some of our listener recommendations on what’s helped, and listen to Kai’s show, Notes from America, wherever you get podcasts or on WNYC's YouTube channel.
37:14 1/25/23
From Fan to Friend: The Unlikely Friendship Between Pico Iyer and Leonard Cohen
When writer Pico Iyer drove to a California monastery in 1995 to profile famed singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen for a story, he was a longtime fan of his music. That fateful meeting turned into a deep friendship that lasted over 20 years. “He did have that rare gift for making me feel as if there was nothing I couldn't say,” Pico said. And the men were both drawn to periods of solitude. In his 30s, Pico left his glamorous and exciting dream job in New York to travel to a Japanese monastery, but found the monastic life wasn’t for him. However, that visit to Japan introduced him to his wife and his new home. Anna talks with Pico — whose new book "The Half-Known Life," is a chronicle of his visits to holy sites and sacred places — about the chance encounters that shaped his life, how he’s learned to let go, and how much he still misses his friend, Leonard Cohen.
31:56 1/18/23
Why the Creators of "Everything Everywhere All At Once" Treat Their Partnership Like a Marriage
When Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert first met as film students at Emerson College, they didn’t like each other. But after a summer camp job, they embarked on a creative partnership that’s lasted for over a decade, from producing the music video for “Turn Down for What,” to 2016’s Swiss Army Man, and the hit 2022 film Everything Everywhere All At Once. The movie stars Michelle Yeoh as Evelyn, a woman whose family laundromat is being audited by the IRS, while she’s also tasked with a mission to save the multiverse. The film’s inspired repeat watching, many fan costumes, and has won a plethora of awards. As the directors adjust to the spotlight, they reflect on how their personal relationship has changed over time, from Daniel Kwan’s ADHD diagnosis, to exploring their masculinity, and the intimacy of their partnership. “I always say I watch movies about marriage and I'm like, ‘Ooh, yes. This reminds me of Dan,’” said Daniel Scheinert.
37:13 1/11/23
Jenny Slate and Dean Fleischer-Camp Talk About Their Divorce, Anxiety, and Slowing Down
When we looked back on the movies we loved in 2022, Marcel the Shell with Shoes On was one of our favorites. The film stars Marcel (voiced by actress and comedian Jenny Slate), a small, animated shell who is the subject of a documentary by a newly divorced man named Dean (played by director Dean Fleischer-Camp). Jenny and Dean first came up with Marcel over a decade ago, back when they were a couple living together in Brooklyn. In the years since, Jenny’s career took off, with roles on shows like Parks and Recreation, Big Mouth, Saturday Night Live, and Bob’s Burgers. They also moved across the country, got married and then divorced, and still made a feature-length film together over the course of seven years. “Being Marcel, I don't have to think about it,” Jenny said. “And you can't be Marcel unless you're with Dean.” They talk about negotiating their creative partnership while ending their marriage, anxiety, and holding space for grief and joy at the same time.
34:01 1/4/23
Trevor Noah Talks Depression, Radical Honesty, and Braiding Hair
*This episode originally ran in 2019. When Trevor Noah started hosting The Daily Show in 2016, he says he told his head writer early on that he might sometimes be late to work. "I'm suffering from depression and sometimes I do not see the purpose of getting out of my bed or living life," he told him. "And he was like, 'Wait, what?'"  Trevor and guest host Dr. Tressie McMillan Cottom talk about why radical honesty around mental health can be liberating. Plus, they talk about Trevor's feelings of being an outsider growing up in apartheid South Africa, his evolving relationship with his mother, and how he got so good at doing hair.    Sociologist Dr. Tressie McMillan Cottom first joined us on Death, Sex & Money in 2017 to discuss student loan debt during our live call-in. Listen to that, and our two-part series featuring your stories about student loan debt, here.
23:15 12/28/22
Radiolab’s Lulu Miller Steals All Her Best Ideas From Her Kids
Before Radiolab co-host Lulu Miller became a parent, she worried having children would zap her creativity. “I had a really patronizing view of them,” she said. “Like, you gotta use dumb, simple words and keep it real easy and safe.” And given the sometimes parasitic nature of child rearing, she wondered if she would even have the energy to create? These days, she has two small kids, and she’s enthralled with their curiosity, their resilience, and how they tell stories about the world around them. As she shares with Anna, her kids have informed and deepened her work, and inspired her new podcast series for kids, Terrestrials. In this episode, you’ll hear clips from the Terrestrials episode “The Water Walker,” but we recommend you check out the whole incredible series here. And for the curious kids in your life, watch some bonus video extras here.    
17:46 12/21/22
Estrangement’s Alternate Endings
In our last episode, we look at how estrangement changes shape over the course of a life: how it can bend or harden, and how it affects new relationships, old memories, and the idea of family. Siobhan hasn’t seen her children since 2008 and has slowly built a new identity; Juliet seeks to reconcile with her mother at the end stages of her life; and Kristen, who has been estranged from her mother since she was a teenager, is now pregnant, and thinking about how to have a relationship with her child that is different from what she experienced.
34:19 12/14/22
Then I Blocked Them: How Estrangement Became Official
When we first asked for your stories on estrangement, we wondered if it was like a slow pulling away, or like a flipped switch? In episode two of our three-part series, we talk to four listeners for whom estrangement might have been a long time coming, but the choice to cut ties was recent and abrupt: Juan was kicked out of a group chat; Dinona sent a text to her siblings; Megan received a surprise note on her doorstep from her daughter, and Sonia blocked her parents’ numbers.
41:19 12/7/22
Estrangement Purgatory
Brian is on the fence. On the one hand, he no longer believes in the religion he was raised in. “It’s high control,” he told us, “rules on everything from what to watch on TV," and "what you do in the bedroom.” On the other hand, leaving the religion would mean losing contact with his parents and wife. “If I told my mom and my dad where I was, the phone would simply go dead.” In our first episode of Estrangement, we talk through the stakes—what could you gain by cutting ties, and what feels impossible to lose?
27:05 11/30/22
Fran Lebowitz’s Guide to Life (And Parties)
Earlier this year, Anna interviewed writer and humorist Fran Lebowitz onstage at the Berkeley Repertory Theater in California. But for most of her adult life, Fran’s lived in New York City, where she found early success with her first two books, Metropolitan Life and Social Studies, in the late 1970s and early 1980s. In the years since, she hasn’t published much, citing a decades-long writer’s block. So she’s become a professional talker, which you may recognize from Martin Scorsese’s multi-part Netflix series, Pretend It’s A City, and which you’ll definitely hear in this conversation as Fran never misses an opportunity to make her audience laugh. In front of a live audience in Berkeley, Anna and Fran talk about her early years in New York, her strategies for navigating all types of parties, and why her 40+ year old sofa is her favorite place to read.
33:15 11/23/22
Estrangement: We Were Close, Now I Don’t Know You
In Death, Sex & Money’s new three-part series about estrangement, we talk to listeners about cutting family ties, leaving religion, and ending friendships. We also talk to listeners on the other side of estrangement, still desperately wishing for contact, and about what happens after the break.
00:59 11/21/22
Race and Friendship After 2020: An Update
In January 2020, we released an episode with our listeners’ stories about when race became a flashpoint in their friendships. Today, we’re holding a reunion of sorts – checking back in with those same listeners about the way race, identity, and racism have impacted their friendships since. Antoinette told us she would have handled an interaction with a white coworker much differently today. “It's kind of like with kids… when they're upset with each other, you want them to talk it out and then hug it out and then everything's okay,” she said. “And I think I'm making more peace with the fact that everything might not be okay."”  Since 2020, Matt has met other people who share his background as a Korean adoptee, and a new diverse group of work friends has also made him feel more comfortable. Chrishana and Sarah have grown even closer, despite changes in their personal lives that could have pulled them apart. And Devan, like Antoinette, told us he’s more quick to disengage with people who don’t share his values. Check out Matt’s photo series of other Korean adoptees, Where are you really from?. And Chrishana and Sarah talked about reading Big Friendship, Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman’s book – we recorded an episode with them in the summer of 2020. Plus, the Pandemic Toolkit we mentioned, full of activities and coping mechanisms for stress and isolation, still lives here.
32:27 11/16/22
Between Friends: Stories About Race and Friendship
*This episode originally ran in 2020 A text message gone wrong. A bachelorette party exclusion. A racist comment during the 2016 debates. When we asked you all about moments when race became a flashpoint in your friendships, we heard about awkward, funny, and deeply painful moments. "The fact that she could drop me so easily really stung," one listener, Ashley, told us about a childhood friendship that suddenly ended because her friend's parents didn't want her "hanging out with Black kids." Another listener, who we're calling Kathleen, wrote in about the regret she felt about not confronting an ex-friend who posted a racist comment on Facebook. "I don't know if I could have changed her mind," she told us. "But at least [I could have] let her know that what I thought was so wrong about what she was saying, instead of just quietly clicking 'unfriend.'"  Today, we're sharing your stories about how race, identity, and racism have impacted your friendships. And listen to the episode from our partners at the NPR podcast Code Switch, featuring expert advice on navigating those flashpoint moments around race—and explaining why it's so hard to make, and maintain, cross-racial friendships.  
46:10 11/9/22
An Update from the Sex Worker Next Door
*This episode originally ran in 2015, with an update recorded in 2017. Anna first talked with a woman we're calling Emma in 2015. At the time, Emma was supporting her family as a sex worker and wrote Anna an email – she wanted to share her story about how she got into sensual massage and why she didn't feel any guilt about working with married clients. Am I facilitating cheating? “I guess so," she wrote. "Can I sleep at night? Mostly." After Anna spoke with Emma that first time, Emma called her back, saying their interview made her realize how much she needed to get away from her job. She canceled her appointments and took some time off. She also asked us not to use her interview. But after a few months, she started seeing clients again – and told Anna that she wanted to talk. She said she was trying to figure out a way to go back to school and put sex work behind her, but wasn't sure how she'd pull it off. Then, in 2017, Anna reached back out to Emma to check-in and hear about what had happened in Emma’s life since they talked. As it turns out, a lot had changed.
41:25 11/2/22
Sandra Cisneros on Sex, Aging, and the Paranormal
Sandra Cisneros is one of America’s most celebrated coming of age writers. Her book The House on Mango Street is a staple in American classrooms and has been translated into more than 20 languages. Her latest book is a collection of poetry called Woman Without Shame. Sandra brought that same shameless spirit to this conversation, including everything from finding birth control and a mode of sexual freedom that worked for her as a working-class Mexican American in the 1970s, to her questionable taste in romantic partners and her decision to move across the border in her late 50s to start a new life for herself and her dogs in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. A powerful intuitive sense has guided all of these choices, Sandra told Anna. She says she’s been sensitive to the world around her since she was a kid – it’s something her mother saw as a weakness. But as Sandra puts it, “I just have a big radar disc.” Over the years, that radar disc has helped her translate natural beauty into poems and receive spiritual messages. It’s been a little less helpful in pointing her away from disastrous relationships, but she’s taken those in stride. “When I was young, it was more like, ‘Where is that other half? Where is he?’” Sandra says, “[But now] I feel a sense of joy and completeness that I didn't feel when I was younger.”
34:27 10/26/22
Singing in the Pain: Hrishikesh Hirway on his Mother, Grief and Creativity
Hrishikesh Hirway is a musician and the host of one of Anna’s favorite podcasts, “Song Exploder,” which describes how a song is built track by track by the artists who made it. Music has always been at the heart of Hrishikesh’s life as his mother, Kanta, loved to sing (and to hear Hrishikesh sing). Kanta married his father when she was 24 and they moved to the US from India that same year. Hrishikesh remembers his mother as the bubbly, social center of her friends and family, but towards the end of her life Kanta developed a degenerative neurological condition – PSP, which stands for progressive supranuclear palsy – that limited her mobility, and eventually, her ability to communicate. Kanta died in the fall of 2020 and Hrishikesh has been releasing new solo music this year about the grief of losing his mother when she was in her early 70s, and in the years leading up to her death. Anna talks to Hrishikesh about Kanta, about the eight years it took to get her a diagnosis, and about her life before her illness.
32:55 10/19/22
Conversations with My Dead Mother
Elaine Mitchell came of age in the counterculture of second wave feminism. When she was diagnosed with likely curable rectal cancer at age 66, she decided to exclusively pursue alternative cures, instead of conventional medicine. Rachel, Elaine’s kid, was 30 at the time, and they spent years trying to convince her to get surgery. But Elaine never wavered. Despite all their painful disagreements, Rachel became Elaine’s primary caretaker as she was dying. Rachel and Elaine’s dynamic never followed a typical mother-child script (if there is such a thing). Elaine modeled independence and self-reliance for Rachel, always letting Rachel make their own decisions – including when Rachel dropped out of high school to become a traveling hippie. Eventually, Rachel started working as a radio producer for the CBC. There, they created an award-winning audio piece called, “Dead Mom Talking,” which first aired on The Sunday Edition (and which is excerpted in our conversation). Rachel also released a memoir, Dead Mom Walking: A Memoir of Miracle Cures and Other Disasters, which was just published in the U.S.. In this episode, Rachel talks about the ways autonomy drove both of their lives, and about the humor at the heart of their relationship, even as they argued about Elaine’s end of life choices. “Our relationship wasn’t perfect,” Rachel says, “but it was great.”
34:08 10/12/22
I Wanted To Be A 'Good Girl'
*This episode originally ran in 2019.  Andrea grew up attending an evangelical church in Texas, where she was taught to abstain from sex until marriage and keep herself sexually "pure." That early sex education—and her decision to have premarital sex anyway—had long-lasting impact, well into her adulthood.  This episode was part of our month-long series called Our Sex (Mis)Educations. Find the entire series here.
23:43 10/5/22
India Walton: I Knew It Was Gonna Be Tough, But I Didn't Expect it to Get Nasty
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.  
45:39 9/28/22
Inside John Waters' Home (But Not Inside His Colon)
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.” 
32:06 9/21/22
How Clothes Help Us Find Our People and Ourselves
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.
31:16 9/14/22
Lucinda Williams Says Whatever the Hell She Wants
*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.
30:19 9/7/22
Big Freedia Bounces Back
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:
26:21 8/31/22
Finding Meaning After My Husband's Public Death
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.   
35:10 8/24/22
Knock Knock, Who's There? Bob the Drag Queen
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.
30:52 8/17/22
What's Going On With Student Loans?
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.       
39:39 8/10/22
"This Isn't Just About Abortion": What the End of Roe Means to You
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.
37:27 8/3/22
Bottled Up: Your Stories About Alcohol
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.
41:26 7/27/22
The Highs and Lows of Being a Starbucks Union Organizer
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.  
29:16 7/20/22
“No Call Goes Unanswered”: A Lifeline in Wyoming
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.
30:43 7/13/22