Stories From California

Sometimes I want to write more than just journalistically about my experiences as a reporter. That is why I started to write down my thoughts, observations and emotions beyond scripts for radio, print and TV. This experiment is a lot of fun and scary at the same time. But, as they say, you have to get out of your comfort zone.

It Is Expensive To Be Poor


I did not understand a word of anything the women, men, teenagers and kids around me were saying. All I could tell was that they had exteremely friendly faces and asked me to sit in the best of their chairs at the living room table. Half an hour after I started my interviews conducted with the help of a translater bowls of rice, soup and fried fish were steaming in front of me. The six-bedroom-house in West Hollywood is part of a 'Promise Zone', dedicated by the Obama administration. Six families from Thailand live here - that's a lot of people in not a lot of space. "We can only survive because we help each other," Liam told me. She and her two daughters came to Los Angeles three years ago to finally live with their father again. 

Literarische Melancholie in der Villa Aurora


Vor wenigen Tagen trafen sich in der Villa Aurora, dem ehemaligen zu Hause von Lion und Marta Feuchtwanger zwei Buchliebhaber der besonderen Art zum Kamingespräch: Denis Scheck, Literaturkritiker, -agent und -übersetzer aus Deutschland und Michael Silverblatt, Bücherwurm des lokalen Radiosenders KCRW. Seine wöchentliche Sendung wird in den USA von rund 50 Radiostationen ausgestrahlt. Die Überraschung des Abends: der Deutsche ist optimistischer als sein US-Gegenüber was die Zukunft der Literatur angeht.

Why Art?

A chance encounter in Watts results in surprising insight


Teenagers playing basketball, couples flirting on picnic benches, mothers watching their kids on a colorful playground - this is not what I expected from my Watts-neighborhood tour with Shanice Joseph, a 22 year old student who grew up here. "When I tell people I am from Watts they mostly think of the riots in 1965 and second of the Watts Towers," Shanice told me. That was exactly what I had been thinking. I also hat pictures of shootings, yellow caution tape and worried residents in my mind from reports I regularly see on the evening news. And who would have thought we would end up with a thought-provoking interview about art during our project for Reporter Corps?

Uncle Sam's Poor Care


I was in for a big surprise when a few days ago I was talking with patients at the Free Clinic staged in Los Angeles' Sports Arena. People had been standing in line for hours, even camping outside the place overnight, to secure a seat in the dentists' chairs or get glasses. Even after ten years of living in the United States I can hardly comprehend this concept of health care for the poor. I grew up in Germany expecting nothing less than universal care. The surprise: a majority of patients trusted this system more than the new Affordable Care Act. Most had not even bothered to look into 'Obamacare'. Including Cornel who had two teeth knocked out playing basketball and came to the clinic to see a dentist. 

Oper im Ohr - Magisch und Cool


Im Hauptbahnhof von Los Angeles geschehen derzeit wundersame Dinge: unter die Wartenden, Durcheilenden und Obdachlosen, die sich in den tiefen Sesseln des Wartesaals ausruhen mischen sich professionelle Sänger, Tänzer und Menschen mit drahtlosen Kopfhörern. Alle in Union Station sind - wissentlich und unwissentlich - Teil einer Inszenierung: Invisible Cities, eine Oper nach dem Buch von Italo Calvino, inszeniert vom jungen Opernstar Yuval Sharon, komponiert von Christopher Cerrone und technisch umgesetzt von Tonmeister E. Martin Gimenez. 

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