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A collection of KCRW's best original programming from 2014.

Best of 2014 rectangle

Donut Man of East LA 7 MIN, 42 SEC

Carolina Miranda is an arts reporter who wrote a feature on Abel Nabor Campos in the winter edition of Lucky Peach magazine. Her story details how Abel Nabor Campos, hailing from Lagos de Moreno, Mexico, accidentally fell into doughnut-making upon crossing the border with some bakers. Doughnut-making is not his only talent, however, he's also a wrestler and fittingly refers to himself as the donero luchador.

Photo Credit: Naomi Harris

Music: Los Luchadores

(This segment originally aired on Good Food on March 1, 2014.)

Saying Goodbye to Hollywood Park 9 MIN, 58 SEC

The decline of horse racing as a favorite American sport means the decline, and now the fall, of Hollywood Park. It started in 1938. Walt Disney was an original shareholder. Bing Crosby, Desi Arnez, Lucille Ball and Ronald Reagan were horse owners and track regulars. Seabiscuit won the first Hollywood Gold Cup, and there’ve been other notable moments in the past 75 years. Independent producer David Weinberg describes one to begin this reminiscence before the last race is run this coming Sunday. (Weinberg's piece was brought to us by KCRW's Independent Producer Project.)

(This segment originally aired on Which Way, L.A.?)

David Weinberg, Host, Welcome to L.A. (@randomtape)

Transgender Kids, Tough Choices 15 MIN

What would you say if your three-year-old boy told you that he’s not a boy, he’s a girl: not just once, but over and over again? More and more people are identifying as transgender -- at younger and younger ages. Madeleine explores the world of transgender kids in L.A.: how they, their parents and their doctors navigate the tricky waters of gender identity at very young ages.

Dr. Jo Olson and Wes review paperwork at a support group group for parents and caregivers with gender non-conforming and transgender children, teens and young adults. Photo credit: Aydin Kennedy

(This segment originally aired on Press Play on October 28, 2014.)

'Real Rob' 10 MIN, 51 SEC

Rob Schneider; Credit: Stephen Downes

There’s a basic tenet in Hollywood that business is done with OPM: Other People’s Money. Rob Schneider is breaking this rule in a big way.

The Saturday Night live alum (who you may also know as Deuce Bigalow, Male Gigolo or The Hot Chick, among others) has created the new TV show Real Rob.

This time around he doesn’t have to deal with notes from network executives, but his project also has no network funding. Schneider is paying to make the series out of his own pocket and as of yet, he has no distributor.

Schneider plays an exaggerated version of himself and he’s cast his real-life wife and baby daughter in the show, too.

(This segment originally aired on The Business on July 26, 2014.)

Finishing Daniel Pearl's Last Story 6 MIN, 28 SEC

Twelve years ago yesterday, Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl drove off for an interview in Karachi, Pakistan and never came back. A month later, the FBI received a video ending with Pearl's killer holding his decapitated head. Pearl's friend and colleague spent years determining who the murderer really was. Asra Nomani is author of Standing Alone: An American Woman's Struggle for the Soul of Islam. She's also co-director of the Pearl Project.

(This segment originally aired on To The Point on January 24, 2014.)

Asra Nomani, Muslim Reform Movement / Pearl Project (@asranomani)

Use Big Words 2 MIN, 15 SEC

Yago Cura; Credit: Eric Pearse Chávez

Professor Yago Cura is helping inmates in LA County jails earn their high school diploma. His advice for when they leave jail, "Use big words!"

(This segment originally aired on Sonic Trace on August 11, 2014.)

Inside the 'Straight Outta Compton' Casting Call 6 MIN, 42 SEC

It's been more than 25 years since NWA released Straight Outta Compton, and band members Ice Cube and Dr. Dre are now making a film about the city and their rise to fame. But Compton's current Mayor hopes they're engaging in ancient history. There's no question that Compton has changed, and we talk with the new Mayor, Aja Brown, after we hear from KCRW's Avishay Artsy, who went to a casting call for the movie.

Aspiring actors dressed as members from the rap group NWA await to enter the Rosecrans Recreational Center to audition for roles in the film, Straight Outta Compton, in Gardena, California on March 9, 2014.
Photo by Jose Lopez.

For more photos of the casting call, including dozens of Dr. Dre lookalikes, go to the WWLA blog.

(This segment originally aired on Which Way, L.A.? on April 2, 2014.)

Aja Brown, City of Compton (@AjaLBrown)
Avishay Artsy, Producer, DnA: Design and Architecture (@heyavishay)

Smart Old Broad 12 MIN, 11 SEC

This is the story of Maureen "Mo" O'Neill. She spent her days mainly alone. She didn't have many friends, she was getting older, she didn't know who she was. After work she could never summon up the inspiration it took to get off the couch and leave the house. But that's when she discovered the solution that opened up the world to her, competitive air guitar.

Produced by Gideon Brower and Nick White. Thanks to Dan Crane and Eric Drachman.

You can see videos of Mo performing air guitar here or here

Mo with Bob Vaughan-Wheeler, her air guitar teacher and yoga instructor, in Bob's practice room.
Courtesy of Gideon Brower.

(This episode originally aired on UnFictional on March 11, 2014.)


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