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Late night radio

I think I discovered Joe Frank driving down from Idyllwild late one night. Exhausted, dehydrated, trying to pass all the RVs ignoring the pullouts and signs that say “Slow Traffic Pull Over”, so I could get back in time to get a shower and collapse into bed before work for a few hours, before going to work beaten and bruised and scraped by the offwidth of the day. The fingernail moon was hanging in the sky, changing position with every curve.

The stories sounded like a dream I’d had but didn’t remember. If I had been Jewish and grown up in LA in the seventies amidst EST and therapy and drugs and money. I’m not, and I didn’t, but I was hanging out with people who did, and it felt like an alternate life. Many of us transplanted natives feel that way, since we grew up living a dream life watching LA in the movies and TV. Listening to LA bands singing about LA on FM radio. Joe Frank felt like what I imagined my life would have been like if I had grown up in the right place, at the right time.

I could never afford to give him money. I’d love to have his collected works, but not for close to two grand, especially not as a broke postdoc. I set up a program to record WBAI and KCRW Saturday nights at 11, in that short magical time before podcasting, but after radio stations started streaming online. Roughly Napster-era.

I spent a lot of nights listening to Joe Frank, driving back late at night from the mountains, desert, LA, ocean, fighting to stay awake, that voice somewhere between a dream and someone else’s reality.