00:00:00 | 3:02:50




Castaway 12 MIN, 21 SEC

When Brian Finkelstein first watched Castaway, he was drawn to the emotional seclusion of living on a desert island. The heartbreak only comes when Tom Hanks comes back to society, he thought. And that's how he lived for most of his life – in a state of self-imposed emotional isolation. Then, he met someone, and slowly realized he wanted – needed – emotional intimacy. But, as he finds out, desert islands are hard to escape.

Brian Finkelstein is a writer and a comedian living in Los Angeles.

A photo Brian and his wife used at their wedding.
Courtesy of Brian Finkelstein

Prom Queen 10 MIN, 16 SEC

As any former high schooler knows, prom is a big deal. That was especially true for Landon Patterson, whose bid for prom queendom at her Missouri high school came complete with a wave international media attention – and a visit from the haters.

Produced by Esther Honig, with editing by Nick White.

Landon Patterson has set up a fundraising page to help fund her transition.

Landon with her mom and her friends (banner holders)
Courtesy of Landon Patterson and Teresa DiGirolamo

A Star Is Born 17 MIN, 32 SEC

For Kenny Tarr, hoaxing wasn't a way to make quick a buck, it was his art. And the world of daytime television was his canvas. A gypsy, an adulterous trucker, a plumber trapped in a mortuary - Tarr pretended to be all these characters and more. He successfully tricked his way onto a significant number of different talk shows. But did his quest for fame ultimately backfire?

Produced by UnFictional's Nick White.

Kenny Tarr as a teenager on Ricki Lake
Courtesy of Alex Ward

Lightning Strikes Once 6 MIN, 35 SEC

On July 27, 2014, a bolt of lightning struck Venice Beach in Los Angeles. Nick Fagano, a 20-year-old student, died from the strike. Robert Kilroy, a chiropractor and lifeguard, was also at Venice Beach that day, and was struck by the same bolt. We spoke to Kilroy and his daughter, Emily, about what changed after his shock to the system, and what – didn't.

Robert Kilroy and his daughter, Emily Kilroy
Photo by Bob Carlson

Bob Carlson (center) with Robert and Emily Kilroy
Photo by Bob Carlson

We Are Not Alone 9 MIN, 58 SEC

The desert means different things to different people. It can be a magical, meditative place. It can also be a place of loneliness - profound solitude amidst the nothingness.

But for a couple thousand people once a year, Joshua Tree is a place of togetherness. It's where they come to find other people like them - people who believe that we're not alone in this universe. They're there for a yearly conference, called Contact in the Desert. Nick White and David Weinberg went to the conference last year, and on this special we present an excerpt from their story.

The story was produced by David Weinberg and Nick White.

Photo by David Weinberg

Photo by David Weinberg


Bob Carlson

Bob Carlson
Nick White

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