Monday, December 21, 2020



This is the first post on the new web site of yours truly, Frances Anderton. In late 2020, after 22 very interesting years at KCRW, I took a staff buyout and embarked on a new path, as an independent.

The break came with the same fear and excitement that I felt in June 1991 when I boarded an airplane at London't Heathrow Airport at age 27 for a new life in Los Angeles. Except that now I was 30 years older. Not necessarily the best age for new beginnings. And I don't even own a house. So the fear was at once greater, but it was also lesser. This is because by now I had established a life in Los Angeles and had made many friends and had great collaborations. And it is with those friends and collaborators that I will move forward.

One friend calls this phase in life, when people of a certain age start over, Act 3. For me Act 3 won't be too much different from Act 2, in that I will still be preoccupied by design, architecture and land-use (as described on this web site), dreams of being a goat farmer notwithstanding.

The topic too is deep in my DNA to do otherwise -- literally. My father was an artist-builder; my grandfather was a plumber; my mother can make anything. So, with thanks to KCRW, I will keep the name DnA alive in future programming around design and architecture.

In the meantime, I just wrapped a series still to air on KCRW. Every week for two months, starting January 4, reporter Caleigh Wells and I explore waste, in a series is called “No Such Place as Away: Neat Solutions to the Dirty Problem of Waste.” It is supported by California Arts Council.

“No Such Place as Away” may seem like a mouthful, but it is an evocative term that we kept hearing from people in the world of waste management and sustainability. It refers to the fact that when we throw things away we think they’ve gone away, as in disappeared for good. But they haven’t. Many of our recyclables used to go offshore, or "away," to China, but that country now takes far less of them. So waste is piling up in landfills in California, leeching toxins and burping out methane.

The fact is, everything is made of finite resources and many designers and manufacturers are thinking more and more about the end of life of products. Take Charlie Hodges, guest in the first episode, who tries to reinvent Barbie's Dreamhouse, absent the plastic that makes up 97% of the toy mansion.

In researching waste of all sorts, we got many shocks, including the fact that our EV and solar panel future may not be quite as clean as we had hoped. Photovoltaic cells and lithium ion batteries are -- boohoo -- a major source of deeply toxic e-waste when they reach their end-of-life.

But there is also beauty to be found in waste. Inspired by our research into the glut of packaging in this year of ordering in, my daughter Summer and I turned some of our excess cardboard and styrofoam into this holiday tree.

I'm posting it here by way of greetings. I hope you have as good a holiday as possible and that 2021 brings much joy and renewal.

    This is the first post on the new web site of yours truly, Frances Anderton. In late 2020, after 22 very interesting years at KCRW, I to...