California City

California City

Deep in the Mojave Desert, there is a little town with a big name and a bizarre history: California City. For decades, real estate developers have sold a dream here: if you buy land now, you’ll be rich one day. Thousands of people bought this dream. Many were young couples and hard-working immigrants looking to build a better future. But much of the land they bought is nearly worthless. In this new podcast from LAist Studios, host Emily Guerin tells a story of money, power and deception.

Episodes

May 26, 2022 31 min

In the early 1990’s, hateful anti-immigrant political rhetoric roused California’s Chicano student rights movement, and college student and radio host Oscar Gomez was one of its most prominent voices. Some thought he was going to be the next Cesar Chavez. But on November 17, 1994, Oscar was mysteriously found dead on the Santa Barbara shore. 

Imperfect Paradise: The Forgotten Revolutionary follows host and reporter Adolfo Guzman-Lo...

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Introducing Human/Nature, from LAist Studios, a podcast with a wild yet inspiring thesis: if you step outside and reconnect with nature in your own city, you’ll feel better, reconnect with yourself, and find your place in the world. This podcast will empower you to reclaim your attention. 

In Episode 1, host and nature activist Marcos Trinidad talks with Jenny Odell, an artist and author of the book, “How to Do Nothing: Resisting t...

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December 22, 2020 24 min

Silver Saddle Ranch gets sold, and the people who still believe it’s worth something stage a protest. Plus, a former employee comes forward with a disturbing story.

This program is made possible in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people.

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September 11, 2020 51 min

For decades, Californians have been obsessed with trying to profit off desert land. In this bonus episode of California City, host Emily Guerin, the Desert Oracle’s Ken Layne, and artist and curator Kim Stringfellow explore the myths of the Mojave Desert as "wasteland," failed schemes and utopias, Instagram-driven tourism and coronavirus refugees. The audio was recorded during a live virtual event on September 3, 2020 and p...

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August 24, 2020 35 min

Silver Saddle gets shut down and accused of fraud. Will the company - and the dream Ben Perez believed - survive?

California City is a limited series with 8 episodes. Show support by subscribing wherever you get your podcasts.

California City sponsors include:

Sun Basket is offering $35 off your order when you go right now to SUNBASKET.com/calcity and enter promo code calcity at checkout.

Try SimpliSafe today at SimpliSafe.com/CALC...

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August 17, 2020 30 min

Fear, rumors, and looking the other way. How salesmen have sold the fantasy of California City for so long.

California City is a limited series with 8 episodes. Show support by subscribing wherever you get your podcasts.

California City sponsors include:

Sun Basket is offering $35 off your order when you go right now to SUNBASKET.com/calcity and enter promo code calcity at checkout.

Try SimpliSafe today at SimpliSafe.com/CALCITY. Y...

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August 10, 2020 28 min

Emily confronts the owner of Silver Saddle and walks away doubting herself. Plus, Ben becomes part of Silver Saddle's sales machine.

California City is a limited series with 8 episodes. Show support by subscribing wherever you get your podcasts.

California City sponsors include:

Sun Basket is offering $35 off your order when you go right now to SUNBASKET.com/calcity and enter promo code calcity at checkout.

Try SimpliSafe today...

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August 3, 2020 22 min

Ken Donney is a hero to some, but most people would call him a villain. 

California City is a limited series with 8 episodes. Show support by subscribing wherever you get your podcasts.

California City sponsors include:

Sun Basket is offering $35 off your order when you go right now to SUNBASKET.com/calcity and enter promo code calcity at checkout.

This LAist Studios podcast is sponsored by BetterHelp and our listeners get 10% off ...

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July 27, 2020 38 min

Nat builds an army of salespeople to sell his dream. And then, then Ralph Nader intervenes.

California City is a limited series with 8 episodes. Show support by subscribing wherever you get your podcasts.

California City sponsors include:

Sun Basket is offering $35 off your order when you go right now to SUNBASKET.com/calcity and enter promo code calcity at checkout.

This LAist Studios podcast is sponsored by BetterHelp and our lis...

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July 20, 2020 38 min

The vision that Ben Perez was sold in 2017 began in 1958, with one man's dream to build a utopian desert city from scratch.

This LAist Studios podcast is sponsored by BetterHelp and our listeners get 10% off their first month of online therapy at BetterHelp.com/LAist

Support for this podcast is made possible by Gordon and Dona Crawford, who believe that quality journalism makes Los Angeles a better place to live.

This program is...

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July 13, 2020 47 min

In 2017 Ben Perez goes to a Mojave Desert resort for a free vacation and ends up signing away his life savings. Turns out Ben is one of tens of thousands to believe a version of this dream over the past 60 years.

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It was supposed to be a simple story about the California drought. Instead, reporter Emily Guerin became obsessed with the bizarre history of a sprawling, half-built desert city.

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