show episodes
 
Spectacle is a series that analyzes the cultural and societal implications of your guilty pleasures. From reality TV to true crime, Spectacle simultaneously celebrates and critiques the media, people and places that define us. SEASON 2: Las Vegas It's a city that has defined popular culture. An oasis in the desert, a mirage — a playground for adults replete with casinos, showgirls, and all-you-can-eat buffets. But how did Vegas become “Sin City”? From the genesis of shotgun weddings, to film ...
 
Smoke Screen is an investigative documentary series on people with complex motives and morals. Follow characters on the fringes of society — con artists, cult leaders, corrupt politicians — as they seduce their marks and bend communities to their will. Join us as we unravel their stories and bring justice to the people they’ve deceived. SEASON 4: Puppy Kingpin Americans are used to being on the lookout for a scam, but authorities are warning of a new kind of fraud. Puppy Kingpin shines a spo ...
 
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Room 20

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Room 20

Los Angeles Times

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The sign above his hospital bed called him Sixty-Six Garage. For more than 15 years, he would lay there unidentified and unconscious. Or so, everyone believed. From L.A. Times Studios and the team that brought you “Dirty John” and “Man in the Window,” comes “Room 20,” a story about the search for a man’s identity and the truth about his accident. Investigative reporter Joanne Faryon’s two-year journey is filled with twists and turns. Now, she'll finally reveal who Garage really is. But one i ...
 
Hosted by Laura Beil (Dr. Death, Bad Batch), Sympathy Pains is a six-part series from Neon Hum Media and iHeartRadio. For 20 years, Sarah Delashmit told people around her that she had cancer, muscular dystrophy, and other illnesses. She used a wheelchair and posted selfies from a hospital bed. She told friends and coworkers she was trapped in abusive relationships, or that she was the mother of children who had died. It was all a con. Sympathy was both her great need and her powerful weapon. ...
 
Welcome to the new normal. For so many of us around the globe, our lives have been forever changed by the coronavirus. And we will never be the same. On Mondays, Wednesday, and Fridays for the foreseeable future, Neon Hum's Jonathan Hirsch will bring you stories of people who are far away...up close. Stories of how each of us are learning to live through this pandemic.
 
In 1960s Los Angeles, after the catastrophic Watts riots, an outsized character emerged — one who found an unexpected way to unite people across race and class. Odds are you’ve never heard of him. From L.A. Times Studios, the team behind “Dirty John” and “Man in the Window,” comes “Larger Than Life,” a docu-series about Big Willie Robinson, a 6-foot-6, muscle-bound street racer who preached peace a quarter-mile at a time. Cops and criminals, movie stars and miscreants, even Crips and Bloods ...
 
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The Doodler

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The Doodler

SF Chronicle, Ugly Duckling Films, Neon Hum Media

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The Golden State Killer. The Unabomber. Ted Bundy. You’re probably familiar with these serial killers. But in the mid-1970s, another monster terrorized San Francisco’s gay community. He was coined “The Doodler,” and he may have been responsible for as many victims as the Zodiac Killer, yet you’ve probably never heard of him. Plagued by a complicated investigation, a frightened public, and the hesitation of many to come forward, the case went cold, and a killer walked free. Nearly 50 years la ...
 
Paperback reads. We love them cheap. We love them dirty. We love to ask: why are white men the only ones with inner lives or three-dimensional personalities? Hosts Amanda Meadows and Geoffrey Golden dig deep into the dollar bins of used bookstores and your grandmother’s storage unit, looking for pulp and sass. Dirt Cheap brings those long-lost stories to life, with a heavy dose of humor and a dash of schadenfreude. This season, we're reading Murder in the Glass Room, a Los Angeles noir novel ...
 
The VOTING WHILE BLACK podcast goes beyond the rhetoric to reveal how the Democratic candidates for president really think about race. There is no doubt that the promise of fighting racism—and creating a truly equitable, just and safe society for everyone—will play a powerful role in motivating voters in the 2020 election. We are at a critical turning point, and cannot confuse rhetoric with action. Produced by the leading Black voter mobilization program, Color Of Change PAC, and hosted by C ...
 
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show series
 
Americans are used to being on the lookout for a scam, but authorities are warning of a new kind of fraud. Puppy Kingpin shines a spotlight on Jolyn Noethe, a secretive businesswoman from Iowa who is accused of laundering puppies like drug money. Over the course of 7 episodes, investigative reporter and host Alex Schuman exposes the scheme and an u…
 
Last year, as the final episodes of The Sellout aired, LA TACO got a tip from a listener: for years, Jose Huizar had been awarding flashy scholarships to college-bound students from Boyle Heights and East LA. But some of those students say they never got the scholarship money promised to them. Was Huizar really stiffing high school students from hi…
 
Host Brent Holmes brings S1 host Mariah Smith on to talk true crime. In this episode, the two dish on three outrageous true crime stories to come out of Las Vegas. They'll dig into Heather Tallchief’s $3.1 million dollar casino heist, the problematic valorizing of LV casino legend and alleged murderer Benny Binion, and the serial killer you probabl…
 
Across the country, people who have known Sarah see the Dr. Phil show and learn the scope of her lies. Victims call police, who say they cannot prosecute Sarah because “it’s not a crime to fake cancer.” Soon, federal prosecutors learn of crimes they can prosecute Sarah for. But should her mental state be considered in the search for justice? See om…
 
From critically acclaimed podcast studios Pineapple Street and Wondery comes a new 8-part series called Will Be Wild that shines a light on the human stories left out of the headlines. It goes deep into the lives of people who took part in that day. People who saw it coming. And people who fear that January 6th was just the beginning of something, …
 
The Las Vegas residency hasn’t always had the best reputation. Cher, a resident singer herself, once told a journalist that Las Vegas was an “elephant graveyard, where talent goes to die.” But Cher and others have proven that’s not the case. Celine Dion went to Vegas when her career wasn’t exactly peaking and she broke records as the highest grossi…
 
In Vegas, during a fight weekend, everyone in town knows why you’re there. There’s a camaraderie. It's like no other city in the world. But how did Las Vegas become a boxing mecca to rival New York or Chicago? In this episode, host Brent Holmes talks to Fight Town author Tim Dahlberg and GQ contributor Alex Pappademas on the evolution of Vegas as t…
 
Films like Ocean’s 11 fulfill this fantasy of beating the house. But in reality, it’s a lot more complex. Because casinos are well-oiled machines. They’re watching everything. Not only that, they’re designed to subconsciously guide you where they want you to go – from the carpet design to the shape of a chair to the decibel level of the slot machin…
 
“What Happens Here, Stays Here” became the motto of Las Vegas in 2003. But for many, the 2009 movie The Hangover solidified that slogan. The guys in the film have a bachelor party replete with trashed hotel rooms, tigers in bathrooms and blackout nuptials. There’s a lot of toxic bro tropes – homophobic slurs, objectifying women. In this episode, me…
 
Las Vegas, for many, is a place where you can play by your own rules and get away with it too. And for Hollywood Madame, Heidi Fleiss, Nevada was the place where her dreams of creating an all-male brothel could come true, but it wasn’t that easy. Even though brothels are legal in parts of the state, its relationship with sex is still fraught. Las V…
 
Director Paul Verhoeven was considered kind of an auteur in the ‘90s. Basic Instinct got critical acclaim. So by 1995, when he announced his new film Showgirls, people were excited. It was intended to be a gritty expose on the legendary Vegas performers. But it wasn’t. At all. In this episode, Host Brent Holmes talks to former showgirls, learning t…
 
By the late 60s, that Vegas “anything goes” philosphy was fully solidified. And look no further than Hunter S. Thompson’s drug-fueled literary romp, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, to see this on full display. In making his surreal, snide and colorful portrait of Las Vegas – Thompson would later be accused of erasing the identity of the man who hel…
 
In Season 1 of “Binge Sesh,” co-hosts Matt Brennan and Kareem Maddox pull back the curtain on HBO’s “Winning Time” series about the L.A. Lakers of the 1980s, one of the sports’ most unforgettable dynasties. Every week, we bring you stories from the locker room, the soundstage, and the L.A. Times archives as we explore how “Showtime” transformed the…
 
Las Vegas has a way of forgetting its history. Like many cities across America, Vegas was segregated. From the ‘40s through integration, The Strip welcomed whites only, forcing Black people to live on the other side of the tracks. On the Westside. But they made it home, with hotels, restaurants and bars of their own. This week, Brent dives into the…
 
Las Vegas, through the eyes of Martin Scorsese, is where you went to be legit. It's where a criminal could operate out in the open. Dark alleys and dimly lit rooms were traded for c-suite offices. In Vegas, you could make real money. Casino was the perfect vehicle to show how the mobster went mainstream – in Vegas – and in our culture. In this epis…
 
In the final scene of Viva Las Vegas, Elvis and Ann Margaret stand in front of a wood-framed chapel, happily married, running out into the street as the credits roll. Nearly 60 years later, you can get married at that very same church -- by Elvis. Well, a fake Elvis. Numerous spur of the moment nuptials would solidify Las Vegas as the capital of fa…
 
Spectacle is back with a new season and this time the spectacle isn’t reality TV it's a place. it’s had many names over the years: Sin City, City of Lights, Glitter Gulch. In this season of Spectacle, we’re going to dive deep into all there is to know about the fabulous, the incorrigible… Las Vegas. In our first episode, Host Brent Holmes connects …
 
It's a city that has defined popular culture. An oasis in the desert, a mirage — it’s a city of buzzing neon, world-class performers, and fortunes made and lost. A city that invites you to explore your deepest desires: a playground for adults replete with casinos, showgirls, and all-you-can-eat buffets. But how did Vegas become “Sin City”? A place …
 
It was supposed to be a reality show with a twist. In a sun-drenched villa in Ibiza, six hot guys compete for a cash prize and for the love of the beautiful and mysterious Miriam. It’s meant to be her big break: the moment she becomes the superstar she was born to be. But this is the era of “cruel reality TV” and the show producers have a different…
 
Mariah talks to the Boyle Heights residents who watched as FBI agents raided Huizar’s home and offices. Three months into the pandemic, he’s arrested and pleads not guilty. The residents of CD14 are left in limbo. We look at what the FBI investigation reveals about Los Angeles’s housing and homelessness crisis. Learn more about your ad choices. Vis…
 
Huizar’s carelessness starts to catch up with him. After more than a dozen all-expenses paid trips to Vegas with plenty of perks, Huizar gets played by one of his own. A businessman turned FBI informant gives Huizar an envelope with $15,000 in cash, and then tells the Feds all about it. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices…
 
Gentrification comes in waves. Over years, a piece of downtown LA transformed from Skid Row, to a bastion for young artists, to a hipster neighborhood with some of the highest rents in the city. By 2018, Huizar was allegedly collecting bribes from developers planning a luxury high rise just a couple blocks from where some of his constituents were g…
 
No man is an island. Huizar couldn’t have pulled off the alleged corruption scheme without help. Host Mariah Castañeda tells the story of how Huizar allegedly built the criminal enterprise the FBI would eventually arrest him for. It all started when downtown was reassigned to his district. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoi…
 
When fancy new developments like The Gold Line expansion get proposed, residents of Boyle Heights wonder if it’s actually for them, or if these new new things are meant to attract future residents... a.k.a. gentrifiers. A mechanic is harassed by the city of Los Angeles after he refuses to sell his land to make way for construction. And Huizar's re-…
 
Alvin Parra worked for Huizar when he first got elected. He saw early warning signs that Huizar wasn’t the man of the people he made himself out to be. Parra tried to warn people about what he saw behind closed doors, but most of them weren’t ready to listen. He ends up doing something drastic to try to expose Huizar. Learn more about your ad choic…
 
A militant organization called Defend Boyle Heights protests encroaching gentrification, by any means necessary. We dig into two origin stories: how Huizar emigrated at the age of 4 and ended up at Berkeley and Princeton, and how Boyle Heights has had a history of resistance and displacement. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adc…
 
As a working-class Latinx neighborhood in Los Angeles faces gentrification, residents are ready to fight to defend their turf. Mariachis lead a rent strike and ask their councilman Jose Huizar for help. But what they don’t realize is that he’s allegedly been taking bribes from developers building luxury housing right across the river, in downtown L…
 
From Neon Hum Media and L.A. Taco, this is Smoke Screen: The Sellout, a podcast about a politician dogged by allegations of corruption, harassment and pathological pettiness. It’s about the residents who fought gentrification even as their neighborhoods were auctioned off to the highest bidder. And it’s about a community that feels the pain of betr…
 
Jonathan Hirsch, Neon Hum CEO and host of I Am Rama, introduces this season of Smoke Screen (it's called The Sellout!) and our new paid subscription service, Smoke Screen Plus. If you buy a paid subscription on Apple Podcasts, you’ll get three episodes of bonus content throughout the season. You’ll also get each episode without ads, and 24 hours ea…
 
Jose Huizar grew up in Boyle Heights – a working-class Latinx neighborhood in L.A. Eventually, he became their councilperson. And, for the most part, people trusted Huizar... until the day the FBI raided his home and offices, looking for evidence of corruption. The Feds would go on to say that Huizar led a criminal enterprise based in city hall. He…
 
In this episode, we explore all that Rama left behind: students, a charitable foundation, music, books, and a complicated legacy. I Am Rama is a Neon Hum Original podcast. Host and Executive Producer: Jonathan Hirsch Producer: Kate Mishkin Editor: Vikram Patel Executive Editor: Catherine Saint Louis Sound Designer: Scott Somerville Fact Checker: Ju…
 
Power trips to paradise and never-before shared knowledge -- were these golden times, or Rama’s way of saying goodbye? This episode explores the final years leading of Rama's life. I Am Rama is a Neon Hum Original podcast. Host and Executive Producer: Jonathan Hirsch Producer: Kate Mishkin Editor: Vikram Patel Executive Editor: Catherine Saint Loui…
 
As Rama’s image took a hit in the public sphere, his students circled the wagons around their teacher. In something of a last ditch effort to win over the media, Rama accepts an invitation to appear on Dateline. I Am Rama is a Neon Hum Original podcast. Host and Executive Producer: Jonathan Hirsch Producer: Kate Mishkin Editor: Vikram Patel Executi…
 
From Focus Features and L.A. Times Studios brand team comes the new podcast series, CONVICTED: ACROSS BORDERS. Hosted by famed lawyer and bestselling author, Marcia Clark, we'll hear straight from the mouths of the men and women who lived through these trials. Through these stories, we'll explore how seemingly benign actions can lead to incarcerati…
 
Multiple women accuse Rama of sexual misconduct and emotional manipulation. Many of Rama’s students defend their teacher. I Am Rama is a Neon Hum Original podcast. Host and Executive Producer: Jonathan Hirsch Producer: Kate Mishkin Editor: Vikram Patel Executive Editor: Catherine Saint Louis Sound Designer: Scott Somerville Fact Checker: Justin Klo…
 
Rama finds himself in the crosshairs of the Cult Awareness Network, a group dedicated to extricating people from what they consider to be cults by “deprogramming” them. But Rama’s students tell a much different story. I Am Rama is a Neon Hum Original podcast. Host and Executive Producer: Jonathan Hirsch Producer: Kate Mishkin Editor: Vikram Patel E…
 
A young woman follows Rama to New York, and mysteriously vanishes, leaving behind many to wonder what happened. In this episode, people who knew and loved Brenda Kerber piece her story back together. Contact White Plains Police Department I Am Rama is a Neon Hum Original podcast. Host and Executive Producer: Jonathan Hirsch Producer: Kate Mishkin E…
 
Will Arntz is a man of many talents, from filmmaker to laser physicist. In this episode, Will relives the time he spent studying with Rama and how it changed his life. I Am Rama is a Neon Hum Original podcast. Host and Executive Producer: Jonathan Hirsch Producer: Kate Mishkin Editor: Vikram Patel Executive Editor: Catherine Saint Louis Sound Desig…
 
Rama’s growth as a spiritual teacher in the mid-80s starts in California but takes him and his students all over the country. Rama defines his doctrine, turning his attention to the potential of the computer industry. But for his students, it’s not always easy to keep up with their teacher, or stay in his good graces. I Am Rama is a Neon Hum Origin…
 
This episode follows Frederick Lenz III from his early days and education through his introduction to spiritualism with his mentor, Sri Chinmoy, at the dawn of the New Age. Young Freddie becomes “Atmananda,” a recruiter for his mentor, until it becomes time to strike out on his own, as Zen Master Rama. I Am Rama is a Neon Hum Original podcast. Host…
 
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