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Our Americana
A podcast exploring Small Town America and the stories that impact, cultivate, and challenge community.
Category: Society & Culture
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by Josh Hallmark
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August 18, 2016 12:35 PM PDT

This week, we're taking a travel break and talking about the origins of Our Americana, getting a preview of the next few episodes, and heading back to some of our favorite conversations and getting a behind the scenes look at them.

Our Americana is produced & hosted by Josh Hallmark.
Learn more at www.ouramericanapodcast.com //

Sponsor Our Americana at www.patreon.com/ouramericana -or- www.ouramericanapodcast.com //

Featured Music:
Dave Depper - Perspective;
Charles Atlas - Photosphere;
Alex Fitch - Secret Place;
Talvihorros - Twin Peaks Theme;
Future Islands - Inch of Dust;
Cloud Jumper - Orca

Music available at: www.freemusicarchive.com

August 11, 2016 09:53 AM PDT

What happens when the town you live in, your home, your culture, your community, becomes a trend? And then, what happens when people declare that trend dead? This week we go to the tiny West Texas art mecca, in the middle of nowhere, to find out.

It was 2010 when Huffington Post declared that Marfa was the next big tourist destination. And by 2015, they’d said it was over; that Marfa had killed itself, become a victim of itself.

When I read that 2015 headline and other scathing OpEds. in various media outlets, I couldn’t help but think of our time there. That it was more than just a trendy destination: It was a town, a community, people’s home, a history that reached far beyond the scope of being labeled cool and then uncool.

This week's guests:
John Patrick |
John is a co-founder of Communitie Marfa. He and his partner create sustainable art and apparel. John is passionate about art, and the integrity of art. //

LeAna & Glen Clifton |
LeAna & Glen have lived in Marfa since 2007. They moved there from South Africa, by way of Austin, to start their family and a porcelain jewelry business. //

Brit Webb |
Brit is an 88 year old Marfa staple; he's lived there for over 72 years. He pre-dates Donald Judd. We talked about the history of the town, adaptation to the constant of change, and the best pieces of his life well-lived.

Our Americana is produced & hosted by Josh Hallmark.
Learn more at www.ouramericanapodcast.com //

Sponsor Our Americana at www.patreon.com/ouramericana -or- www.ouramericanapodcast.com //

Featured Music:
Dave Depper - Perspective;
The Fucked Up Beat - Where Is Everybody/Marfa Ghost Lights;
Hank Hobson - Trip Across The Country;
MUTE - Thru The Dusty Clouds;
Josh Woodward - Gravity;
Will Bangs - Putting Up With The Bullshit
Music available at: www.freemusicarchive.com

August 03, 2016 07:38 AM PDT

This week we head to a small and sleepy island town, that somehow exists in quiet isolation in the shadow of New York City. 

In this episode, you'll meet a New York mother who wanted her kids to have the free and easy childhood she had in 1970s Oregon; the man who saved his family home by turning his father's hoarding into a business of selling nostalgia; and a young man who has used his political career to help revitalize the island he grew up on.

But just as I was about to finish the episode, something happened. A community came together to help save one of their own, in the most touching way.
This week's guests:
Jessica Wolk-Stanley |
Jessica is an illustrator and the creative dynamo behind The Friendly Robot Studio, headquartered on City Island in the Bronx. She and hard-working robots specialize in fun and silly illustrations for the children's and teenage market. If you ask very nicely though, she also does character design, caricatures, hand-lettering, comics, logos and even maps.
Dan Treiber |
Dan is a City Island native; a clam-digger. He turned his father's hoarding habit into an industry of selling nostalgia, first at the Brooklyn Flea, and then eventually to a storefront on City Island Avenue. He used this business venture, Dan's Parents' House, to buy the house he grew up in. And then to buy the building his store is in: a historic building on the island, which he is now restoring. Dan is at the forefront of the movement to turn City Island into a tourist destination.
John Doyle |
John has lived on City Island for twenty five years, since he was five. It was there that John first became involved in civic justice, organizing protests against the surge in Iraq and forums to support living wage jobs for college workers. John has been involved in politics ever since, and is now considered the unofficial mayor of City Island. He's currently running for City Council. 
Rabia Graney |
Rabia is a retired nurse and has lived on City Island for close to twenty years. She is an active member of the City Islanders & Friends Facebook group, which led to her taking the lead in the search and coordination of services for Jen.
Our Americana is produced & hosted by Josh Hallmark.
Learn more at www.ouramericanapodcast.com //

Sponsor Our Americana at www.patreon.com/ouramericana -or- www.ouramericanapodcast.com //

Featured Music:
Dave Depper - Perspective;
Modern Language - The Reprise;
Lee Rosevere - Let's Start At The Beginning;
Lee Rosevere - Looking Back;
Michael Howard - Child Come Home;
Alex Fitch - We Call This Home;
Aaron Mist - Whales Inside;
Alexandre Navarro - Dust v1
Music available at: www.freemusicarchive.com

July 26, 2016 12:09 PM PDT

Deep in the Santa Cruz mountains is a cluster of towns...

I think we all have that place; that place you run away to, to escape from the real world. This was mine.

I grew up about an hour and a half from the San Lorenzo Valley. And when I needed to escape and just be with my thoughts, I drove through the woods and up into the mountains to this eight mile stretch of one-lane highway. That, over time and through various visits, I'd come to realize had a rich, rich history and folklore.

This is an area where people believe in bigfoot, where they believe that ghosts haunt the woods, where during the 70s and 80s close to a dozen serial killers buried bodies and found victims. It's a place where people believe a spaceship is buried under the mountain that creates electromagnetic abnormalities. And despite all these weird things, it's a loving place with a strong community, where people look out for each other. 
This week's guests:

Kenn Sugiyama
Kenn and I have been friends since I was eighteen. He was one of my first gay friends, and we've shared a rather sordid history, including being scammed by the same con artist. When I was twenty, Kenn and I spent a weekend at the Brookdale Lodge, a notorious haunted hotel with a scandalous and mysterious history. In this episode we try to remember through the years and some mind-altering substances what exactly happened that strange, strange night.
Maryanne Porter
Maryanne is the founder and lead paranormal investigator of the Santa Cruz Ghost Hunters. She is also the author of Haunted Santa Cruz, which is being released by Arcadia Publishing in mid-September. We chatted about her explorations of the San Lorenzo Valley and why its community is so eccentric and accepting.
Lisa Robinson
Lisa and her family have lived in Boulder Creek since 1990. She is the board president for the San Lorenzo Valley Historical Museum. She is also the Volunteer Collections Manager at the San Lorenzo Valley Museum and volunteers at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, and at the Genealogy Room of the Santa Cruz County Library. She is a member of the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History (MAH) Landmark Committee, and is the chair of the Santa Cruz MAH Publications Committee. Her other interests include miniature model building, genealogy, local archaeology and all forms of digital media development. She is a member of the National Association of Miniature Enthusiasts (NAME). 
Michael Rugg
Michael is the founder and operator of the Bigfoot Discovery Project & Museum. He is a former digital artist, who worked with Apple and Atari throughout the 80s and 90s. His first bigfoot sighting was as a teen, and he has been collecting information and artifacts ever since. 
Meghan Costella
Meghan is a health care coordinator who recently relocated from the San Lorenzo Valley to Washington state. She was also my best friend in high school. I spent much of my high school and early college careers torturing and terrifying her by dragging her around Brookdale and the Brookdale Lodge. This podcast interview was the first time we'd talked in over fifteen years. //

Our Americana is produced & hosted by Josh Hallmark.
Learn more at www.ouramericanapodcast.com //

Sponsor Our Americana at www.patreon.com/ouramericana -or- www.ouramericanapodcast.com //

Featured Music:
Dave Depper - Perspective;
Future Islands - Inch of Dust;
Podington Bear - Morning Mist;
Maps and Diagrams - Last Train Home;
Duke Ellington - Washington Wobble;
David Szesztay - Romance;
Aaron Mist - Whales Inside;
All music available at: www.freemusicarchive.com

July 07, 2016 11:43 AM PDT

Sister, take the back door.

Morgantown is a place that defies expectations. Nestled in the lush, green foothills of the Appalachians, is the town that is home to West Virginia University, a large coal-mining population, and West Virginia's oldest gay bar. Against all odds, this gay bar, Vice Versa, has become the center of Morgantown's thriving and connected community. This week we talk to three "sisters" who refuse to be silenced.

This week's guests:

Asra Nomani - A former reporter for the Wall Street Journal, and the author of “Standing Alone: An American Woman’s Struggle for the Soul of Islam.” Asra was recently the subject of the PBS documentary, "The Mosque in Morgantown" and lead the Pearl Project, a faculty-student investigation into the murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.

Christina B. Morgan - A Morgantown native and the drag host at Vice Versa, West Virginia's oldest gay bar.

Ari May Lilli - A twenty year old trans girl who has documented her entire transition through a video blog on YouTube. www.youtube.com/channel/UCWTTwqjBpnVNVORLOdeIBjg/feed

Our Americana is hosted by Josh Hallmark.
Learn more at www.our-americana.com

Sponsor Our Americana at www.patreon.com/ouramericana -or- www.our-americana.com/podcast

Music by: Dave Depper, Will Bangs, Alex Fitch, Dr. Turtle, Podington Bear, and David Szesztay

June 22, 2016 01:48 PM PDT

On the peninsula of a peninsula, in the northwest of the Northwest, there is a town whose citizens pride themselves on being masters of trade; and that trade is less commodity and more currency. Some call it Busytown, others refer to it as Lynchian; we called it home for a month, while Andrew renovated Vantasia.

Today we head to Port Townsend, and tell stories of tazing deer, a boat race to Alaska, a family who dresses as superheroes, feasting on roadkill, and me slowly losing my mind in a cabin in the woods.

Our Americana is hosted by Josh Hallmark
Sponsor Our Americana at www.patreon.com/ouramericana -or- www.our-americana.com/podcast

This week's guests: Erica Dirksen, Matthew Nienow, and Xep Campbell

Music by: Dave Depper, Will Bangs, Alex Fitch, Podington Bear, and DR

June 10, 2016 02:39 PM PDT

The island of ponies... and food trucks.

Chincoteague is a small island off the coast of Virginia that is inhabited by wild ponies. You may remember the book "Misty of Chincoteague" - Yeah, that Chincoteague.

In this episode I chat with 3 pairs of Millennials (all of whom are foodies): A couple who runs a gourmet doughnut truck, sisters-in-law who recently arrived on the island and are still trying to find their footing there, and best friends who have spent most of their lives on Chincoteague. We talk about the food trucks craze, the importance of your local mailman, and, of course, those ponies.

This week's guests:

Brea Reeves & Ben Wang

Rosie & Kate Moot

Laura Davis & Morgan Ross

More info available at: www.our-americana.com | Support this podcast at: www.patreon.com/ouramericana | Hosted by: Josh Hallmark //

Music: Perspective by Dave Depper; I'll Miss You by Will Bangs; Serenity by Podington Bear; Starling by Podington Bear; Pink Blossoms by Podington Bear; Sepia by Podington Bear; Wavy Glass by Podington Bear; Daydreamer by Podington Bear; Stars Are Out by Podington Bear

June 02, 2016 06:48 AM PDT

It seemed only right that the first episode of Our Americana's podcast be about Petoskey. It was our favorite stop on the trip, and a place we've come to speak of us our own personal eden: that place you hope to end up.

In this episode, I chat with five Millennials who have recently moved (or returned) to Petoskey about what it was like leaving the big city for a small and rural town. We discuss the perks and challenges of small town living, dissect the paradigm shift of young people returning to small towns, and try to figure out what makes Petoskey such a magical place. Plus, lots of Gilmore Girls references. //

This week's guests:

Zoe Marshall-Rashid, 32
Zoe grew up in Petoskey and recently moved back after living in San Francisco, New York, and Mexico. Upon her return, she opened a dance studio in town: www.ZoeDance.net |

Kalin Sheick, 28
Kalin grew up outside of Detroit, traveling to Petoskey every summer as a child. Last year she and her husband decided to make Petoskey home. Kalin runs a boutique floral design studio from her lavender farm: www.stemsandsprigs.com |

Katie Potts, 23
Katie just decided to return home after finishing college in Chicago. She opened a cheese shop in downtown last October, where she's been making a name for herself as Petoskey's resident cheese monger: www.PetoskeyCheese.com |

Danielle Charles, 32
After graduating from Petoskey High School, Danielle lived in Seattle, Boulder, Vermont, and even England, before deciding Petoskey was truly where she belonged. She and her husband now own a very hip coffee shop in downtown Petoskey, where Andrew and I spent many mornings: www.DripworksCoffee.com |

Tracy Thomson, 31
Tracy had already performed ballet and modern dance all over the world when he decided that small town life was what made him happiest. He returned to his hometown, despite being anxious that he couldn't make a relationship or his career work there. Since his arrival, he's married the man of his dreams and started a successful career in event planning. //

More info available at: www.our-americana.com | Support this podcast at: www.patreon.com/ouramericana | Hosted by: Josh Hallmark //

Music: Perspective by Dave Depper; I'll Miss You by Will Bangs; Secret Place by Alex Fitch; I'm So Glad You Exist by Will Bangs; Pretty Build by Podington Bear; Sincerely Yours by Podington Bear

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