Press Play with Madeleine Brand-logo

Press Play with Madeleine Brand


Host Madeleine Brand looks at news, culture and emerging trends through the lens of Los Angeles.

Host Madeleine Brand looks at news, culture and emerging trends through the lens of Los Angeles.


Santa Monica, CA




Host Madeleine Brand looks at news, culture and emerging trends through the lens of Los Angeles.




Marcel the Shell confronts real size of his ambition in new film

“Marcel the Shell With Shoes On” debuted on YouTube in 2010 in a three-minute video, which has gained more than 32 million views. Now the seashell’s story continues in a full-length film. Critics review new film releases: “Minions: The Rise of Gru,” “The Forgiven,” “Mr. Malcolm's List,” and “Accepted.” This term, the Supreme Court struck down the constitutional right to an abortion, expanded gun rights, and chipped away at the separation of church and state. The Supreme Court’s decision...


At crisis pregnancy centers, info is driven by religion, not science

Crisis pregnancy centers may offer free pregnancy tests, diapers, and other supplies. They aren’t places where you can get abortions or even sound medical advice. Former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson delivered an intimate look at former President Donald Trump’s behavior during the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Globally, more people travel by bicycle than any other mode of transportation, according to Jody Rosen, author of “Two Wheels Good.” His book looks at the history and...


Utah’s Great Salt Lake is a ticking, ecological time bomb

In the 1980s, the Great Salt Lake spanned more than 3,000 square miles. Now it sits at less than 1,000 square miles. Its soil contains toxic chemicals, including arsenic. After the Dobbs ruling, the Democratic Party responded by asking voters for donations. What’s the party’s strategy moving forward? WNBA player Brittney Griner’s trial begins this week in Moscow. She was arrested in February, just days before the country’s invasion of Ukraine. Following the Russian missile strike on a...


Abortion pills are safe and legal, even as SCOTUS overturns Roe

On the day the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, staff at a San Antonio abortion clinic had to turn away patients who were already scheduled for the procedure there. Anyone can receive abortion medications in the mail, even if they live in states where the procedure is banned, says human rights attorney Kate Kelly. The Supreme Court ruled today that a high school football coach has a constitutional right to take a knee in prayer after his team's games. The court recently also said...


Abortion rights end. What could be next for contraception, Biden, Democrats?

The Supreme Court today overturned the nationwide right to an abortion. Congressman Adam Schiff says the court’s opinion could lead to other rights being taken away. Law professor Jessica Levinson says in the short term, the feds could cut regulations on abortion pills. KCRW also hears from David Turok, one of the few doctors who perform abortions in Utah, and Sue Dunlap, head of Planned Parenthood Los Angeles. How are they mobilizing now? Meanwhile, anti-abortion activists say the Supreme...


Who’s most likely to become homeless? LA uses new prediction tool

More than 66,000 people are unhoused in LA County. UCLA researchers are trying to predict who is most likely to become homeless, so officials can intervene before it happens. The Supreme Court issued two sweeping decisions today on gun rights and Miranda rights. LeBron James joined the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2003, and the team’s fans waited 13 years for their first NBA championship. A new play looks at the star through the eyes of two Cavs fans. Critics review the latest film releases:...


Our lives are too controlled: Residents after Larry Ellison buys Lanai island

Oracle’s Larry Ellison bought most of the Hawaiian island of Lanai for $300 million, becoming the boss and landlord to residents. Many ended up struggling financially, and some moved off the island. What can humans learn about sex and gender from chimpanzees and bonobos? That’s the focus of a new book by primatologist Frans de Waal. Canned wine lends itself to wines that may not benefit from the air exchange of a corked bottle. And the metal of the can is perfect for a quick chill. KCRW...


Mental health crisis is intensifying among CA firefighters

Cal Fire’s workforce endures PTSD, suicidal ideation, and endless work rotations. CalMatters has chronicled the agency’s mental health crisis. If Roe v. Wade gets overturned, President Joe Biden might employ executive orders, as he said on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” earlier this month. What can — and can’t — he do legally? Herding cattle isn’t a profession left to the days of the wild west. A new documentary, “Bitterbrush,” follows two female range riders as they herd cattle in Idaho. Summer —...


Kill gas tax or give $200 checks? Lawmakers are at odds

California has the highest gas prices in the nation, and a $0.03 per gallon tax increase will kick in this July. Lawmakers keep debating whether to suspend the gas tax or give rebates. “Woman-Ochre,” a long-lost masterpiece by Willem de Kooning, is now on view at the Getty Center. The painting’s theft and recovery is like a heist movie plot. Martha Mitchell invited two journalists to rifle through Watergate papers to “nail” her husband John Mitchell, the disgraced Nixon attorney general...


More young people identify as trans, but backlash grows to LGBTQ+ visibility

About 1.6 million Americans now identify as transgender, and nearly half of them are teenagers or young adults, according to UCLA. The demographic shift comes at a socio-politically fraught time. A debate over providing gender-affirming health care is growing. Right-wing backlash is exacerbating the conversation. Adam Laxalt, the Trump-endorsed former Nevada attorney general, has won the GOP nomination for Nevada's Senate seat. What this could mean for Democrats' tenuous hold of the...


‘Squid Game’ star Lee Jung-jae on season 2, stardom and disparity

Korean actor Lee Jung-jae reached global fame as Seong Gi-hun, or Player 456, in Netflix’s “Squid Game.” He says he’s grateful for so many fans and is eager to shoot season two. The “millennial subsidy economy” is over, and many tech companies are changing their business models that have become unprofitable, says Atlantic writer Derek Thompson. The value of Bitcoin has fallen more than 65% from all-time high last year, while crypto companies Celsius and Binance have frozen its users’...


Juneteenth: Hollywood Bowl welcomes all-Black orchestra for first time

The all-Black Re-Collective Orchestra will make history on June 19 when it performs at the Hollywood Bowl’s “Juneteenth: A Global Celebration of Freedom” event. Need summer book ideas? Try “Carnality” by Lina Wolff, “Trust” by Hernan Diaz, and “The Latecomer” by Jean Hanff Korelitz. Paradise, CA, now has an inventory of new real estate after the 2018 Camp Fire devastated the town. People are moving back — or moving there for the first time. Day two of the January 6 insurrection hearings...


Summit of the Americas: Not all countries of the Americas are there

As President Biden attends the Summit of the Americas in LA, a caravan of of thousands of Central and South American migrants is heading to the U.S.-Mexico border. HBO’s new documentary, “The Janes,” details an underground collective of women who provided safe abortions in Chicago before Roe v. Wade. Critics review new film releases: “Jurassic World: Dominion,” “Hustle,” and “Wyrm.”


Takashi Murakami wants to always mask up, is fascinated by NFTs

“Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow” is Takashi Murakami's first solo exhibit at The Broad. The interactive show explores pandemic life, natural disasters, augmented reality, and NFTs. In the November runoff, if LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva’s opponents consolidate to support former Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna, Villanueva will have a tough fight. Voters recalled San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin on Tuesday. What does it mean for the progressive prosecutor movement,...


Vacationing this summer? COVID isn’t. Doctor talks safety precautions

It’s the season for graduations, summer vacations, and possibly more time in air-conditioned spaces. How should people approach the pandemic now? Gas prices, inflation, and interest rates are climbing, but more than two-thirds of U.S. adults say they could handle a $400 emergency with spare cash, according to the Federal Reserve. An oak tree has been growing for 86 years in the LA backyard of high jumper Cornelius Johnson’s childhood home. But it’s sickly and developers are considering...


Ads galore, low awareness: Most don’t seem to care about CA primary

Tuesday is the last day to vote in the California primary, and 13% of registered voters have returned a ballot so far. KCRW looks at who’s voted, and who’s leading the race for LA mayor. Over the weekend, shootings in Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Arizona and Tennessee left more than a dozen people dead. What will it take to break the nearly three-decade federal impasse on gun reform? Here’s what to watch for during the first televised hearing of the House committee on the January 6...


Paxlovid helps prevent hospitalization but could produce rebound COVID

The CDC warned this week that some people who take antiviral drug Paxlovid can develop rebound COVID symptoms a few days after they recover. The U.S. is steeped in gun culture, and much of that mythology comes from what we see in film, TV, and video games. Is there a link between media violence and gun violence? A legal case involving Atlanta rapper Young Thug is sparking renewed conversation over whether song lyrics should be used as evidence in court. Critics review new film releases:...


History of airport security could be roadmap for gun control

There are parallels between the fight over airline regulations and today’s debate over gun safety, says journalist Brendan Koerner. The Republican National Committee is training poll workers in Democratic-heavy areas to stop people they believe are voting illegally, tapes show. Today California’s reparations task force released its initial report that examines how governments have harmed Black Californians, and suggests how to pay reparations. Haitians agreed to pay their former slave...


‘Top Gun: Maverick’ soars at box office. Is theater-going back?

“Top Gun: Maverick” grossed $156 million at the U.S. box office and $252 million worldwide during its opening weekend. Does this signal a strong summer for movie theaters? “Elon Musk’s Crash Course” is a documentary looking at the accuracy of Tesla’s claims that some of its vehicles are self-driving. Paola Prestini combines music with film, dance, and virtual reality. She’ll premiere her new album, “Houses of Zodiac,” this weekend at The Broad Museum. As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to...


Memorial Day special: LA mayoral candidates debate homelessness solutions

Los Angeles voters have identified homelessness as the top issue in the election for LA’s next mayor. So KCRW and The LA Times hosted a debate among some of the candidates — Karen Bass, Kevin DeLeon and Gina Viola — to find out how they would solve that problem. KCRW’s Anna Scott and LA Times Times columnist Gustavo Arellano hosted the event. On this Memorial Day, tune into a special rebroadcast of the debate, which was recorded in front of an audience.