Valley of Smoke

Audio documentaries of Southern California: microcosm of human experience, crossroads of everything. Each episode explores a different path through its subject matter, but all foreground personal histories and patiently unfolding narratives amidst original music, sound design, and affection for the minutiae of The Southland. Background, credits, sources, and partial explanations for every episode at . Created and produced by Alex MacInnis.

0 Likes     0 Followers     1 Subscribers

Sign up / Log in to like, follow, recommend and subscribe!

Audio documentaries of Southern California: microcosm of human experience, crossroads of everything.
🇬🇧 English
last modified
2019-07-31 04:54
last episode published
2018-05-21 18:05
publication frequency
122.35 days
Alex MacInnis owner   author  
Number of Episodes
Detail page
Society & Culture History



Date Thumb Title & Description Contributors

009 Buttons or Keys? Part 2

The accordion lets its hair down and finds its groove; from animal costume strip-tease to a tiny village in rural Colombia to Tommy Lasorda’s birthday and the world’s largest meatball.

008 Buttons or Keys? Part 1

The story behind one of the largest accordion schools in history, how impressionable young children were once recruited into esoteric pursuits by strangers appearing at their front door, and the rise and fall of the piano accordion in the USA.

007 No Direct Flights

Two urban metropolises almost exactly opposite on the globe are each home to over 14 million people. Each sits at the southern foot of a mountain range, and is infamous for traffic, smog, and a hot, dry summer. Each entered their modern age in the 1770...

006 Our Closest Neighbors, Part 2

By the late 19th Century, just when there aren't many wild predators left, we turn away from rural living. The deer are happy about this, and reproduce accordingly. And strangely enough (or perhaps, obviously), we then proceed to take animal tourism to...

005 Our Closest Neighbors, Part 1

The urban areas of The Southland are only getting more popular with the local wildlife. As coyotes and mountain lions become resigned to–if not delighted by–urban living, distinctions such as wilderness and civilization fall away. Scientists are beginn...

004 Working Without A Net

An essay on personal and collective responsibility amid shifting economic sands and elusive safety nets, focusing on one of Los Angeles' great economic engines: creativity.  Aerialists, singers, musicians, visual artists, science fiction writers, film ...

003 Your Boyfriend's No Rocket Scientist, Part 2

We've been in space for over fifty years, but it still requires enormous resources and risk to get there. As part of the quest to change that situation, Mojave, California–the small desert town with an oversized airfield–has evolved from a training gro...

002 Don't Want to Complain

The very personal story of the Siegel family, exploring the struggle of communicating bad news to loved ones, especially as the bad news piles on. Among many other things, here may be found: glimpses of Los Angeles through the later decades of the 20th...

001 Your Boyfriend's No Rocket Scientist, Part 1

Southern California was perhaps the world's single most important location for the development of the industry that came to be known as aerospace. Starting in 1910 and steadily building for three decades, the region came into its own in World War 2 and...