Episodes

 

Ear Hustle brings you the stories of life inside prison,
shared and produced by those living it.  

The podcast is a partnership between Nigel Poor, a Bay Area visual artist
and Earlonne Woods, currently incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison,
 and was co-founded with fellow inmate Antwan Williams.


 
Episode 22: This Place
 

This time on Ear Hustle we’re trying something different: we’re diving into San Quentin’s 166-year history. Normally, we get the guys inside to tell stories. But this place itself does speak, and it’s not always through words.

A heads-up: this episode contains graphic descriptions of violence — listener discretion is advised.

Below, find the images described in this episode. Click through to view them all.

Thanks to George “Mesro” Coles-El, Richard Richardson aka Bonaru, John Robb, Norman Willhoite, Gregg Sayers, Lee Jasper, Lt. Sam Robinson and Warden Clinton T. Duffy for sharing their stories.

This episode includes music by David Jassy, with contributions from Antwan WIlliams. We’re grateful to Lt. Sam Robinson and Warden Ron Davis, for their support of the show. And thanks to Nectar, for supporting this episode.

You can find out more about the San Quentin Archive project on Nigel’s website, and information about Nigel’s show in Milwaukee through the Milwaukee Art Museum. Plus, learn more about Warden Clinton T. Duffy and check out his book.

P.S. Have you ordered one of our brand new Ear Hustle mugs to match your T-shirt yet?

 Illustration by Antwan Williams

Illustration by Antwan Williams

 
Nigel Poor
Episode 21: Future on Ice
 

Being an immigrant in an American prison can pose unique challenges, like deciding which racial group you’ll identify with. But sometimes the biggest hurdles don’t become apparent until the day you are released.

Thanks to Martin Gomez, Miguel Sifuentes, Wayne Boatwright, Phoeun You, David Jassy, Ai Borey (aka PJ) and Marco Villa for sharing their stories with us. And thanks to Jose Diaz, Vicente Gomez and Gerardo Sanchez-Muratalla, the Three Guitarists.

This episode was scored with music by David Jassy, with contributions from Antwan Williams. As always, much gratitude to Lt. Sam Robinson and Warden Ron Davis for their continued support of Ear Hustle.

P.S. Have you gotten one of our brand new Ear Hustle mugs to match your T-shirt yet?

 Illustration by Antwan Williams

Illustration by Antwan Williams

 
Nigel Poor
Episode 20: Birdbaths and a Lockbox
 

During a San Quentin lockdown, the prison grinds to a halt, and men are confined to their cells 24 hours a day. On the heels of a summer lockdown, we’re kicking off season three by looking into what causes one, and how guys survive the wait when boredom, uncertainty, hunger and isolation can push them over the edge.

A heads-up: this episode contains discussion of suicide and self-harm — listener discretion is advised. You can reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

Thanks to Michael Williams, Jason Perry, Aaron Taylor, Jessie Vasquez and Lee Jasper for sharing their stories with us. Thanks also to Gregg Sayers for performing his song “Lost in Time,” with additional vocals by Eric Abercrombie, aka Maserati E.

This episode was scored with music by David Jassy, Antwan Williams, Lee Jasper, E. Phil Phillips and Earlonne Woods. As we dive into season three, much gratitude to Lt. Sam Robinson and Warden Ron Davis for their continued support of Ear Hustle. You can find the transcript for this episode on our transcripts page.

P.S. Now you can buy a brand new Ear Hustle mug to go with your t-shirt!

 Illustration by Antwan Williams

Illustration by Antwan Williams

 
Nigel Poor
Season 3 preview
 

Ready for more stories about life inside? We bet. Season three of Ear Hustle drops September 12. In the meantime, enjoy this taste of what’s to come.

Ear Hustle is a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX.

 Illustration by Antwan Williams

Illustration by Antwan Williams

 
Nigel Poor
Episode 19: So Long
 

Leaving an organization or community often calls for an exit strategy – even in prison. In this final episode of season two, four men who are preparing to leave San Quentin share stories about what they’ve learned on the inside, and their aspirations, big and small, for life on the outside.

Thanks to Chayne Hampton, Gus Lumumba Edwards, Michael Thompson, and Anouthinh Pangthong, aka Choy, for sharing their stories with us.  

Learn more about Re:store Justice, the organization that Choy now works for.

Ear Hustle is produced by Nigel Poor and Earlonne Woods with help from outside produce Pat Mesiti-Miller, who also comes in to lead the sound design team. So Long was scored with music by Antwan Williams and contributions from David Jassy. Here's a transcript, and you can download the episode here.

Our story editor is Curtis Fox and our executive producer for Radiotopia is Julie Shapiro. And here's one last season two shout out to Lt Sam Robinson and Warden Ron Davis, for their support of the show.

Thanks so much for hanging with us this season! We’ll be back with more stories in September. In the meantime, stay current on all things Ear Hustle by signing up for up for our monthly newsletter, The Lowdown. Or tell us what you want to hear more about next season, by sending a kite.

Ear Hustle is a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX.

 Illustration by Antwan Williams

Illustration by Antwan Williams

 
Nigel Poor
Episode 18: Down Low
 

Of the thousands of people incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison, no one is openly gay. No one. And only a few people are comfortable enough to talk about LGBTQ life inside. In this episode we dive in: Lady Jae returns to talk about living as a woman in SQSP, and another inmate, who identifies as bi-sexual, shares his story.

Thanks to: Lady Jae and Mike Adams for sharing their perspectives on LGBTQ issues, all the guys who contributed to the yard talk, and to White Eagle for telling us about the sweat lodge at SQ, and sharing his friendship song.

Down Low was scored and sound designed with music by Antwan Williams and contributions from David Jassy. Here's a transcript and you can download the episode here. Now and always: props and gratitude to Lt. Sam Robinson and Warden Ron Davis for their support of Ear Hustle.

Thanks to Nectar Sleep for supporting the show.

p.s. Happy Pride month, Ear Hustlers! 

 "Lady Jae" by Antwan Williams

"Lady Jae" by Antwan Williams

 
Nigel Poor
Episode 17: The Row
 
 
 

San Quentin houses California’s only death row for male inmates. And though it’s technically not far from the media lab, access to this area of the prison is highly restricted. Still, Earlonne and Nigel figured out a way to reach out to the guys there, and interviewed three men about daily life on death row.

Thanks to: Kevin Sawyer for recounting his memory of the execution that took place at San Quentin in 1999, Father George Williams and Rabbi Paul Shleffar for sitting down with us in the media lab, and Steve Champion, Joseph Manuel Montes and Daniel Wozniak for speaking to us from death row. 

The Row was scored and sound designed with music by Antwan Williams and contributions from David Jassy. Here's a transcript, and you can download the episode here. Now and always: thanks to Lt. Sam Robinson and Warden Ron Davis for their support of Ear Hustle.

 Illustration by Antwan Williams (Nigel and Earlonne conducting phone interviews for this episode)

Illustration by Antwan Williams
(Nigel and Earlonne conducting phone interviews for this episode)

Human Element
By Mesro Coles-El

(Featured in Count Time)

I wanted to shine like Magnesium
But my enthalpy was too low. 
So I tried to convert to Helium, 
But my Hydrogen was too slow. 
I weigh like ten kilograms per mole. Blast! 
I need to drop a few pounds, 
But my structure's like a noble gas
With no electrons to pass around. 
I wanted to change my name and symbol
To fit in the periodic table. 
Potassium and Tungsten giggled
When Iron said I wasn't able. 
Gold and Silver and Copper were on my side
With Mercury to lend a hand, 
But those metals don't react or collide — 
Results aren't in the plans. 
Sodium was salty I dated Chlorine. 
I was just trying to be nice. 
Iodine red on the scene — 
Conversion won't come out right. 
I want to balance my equation. 
Limited reagents cause precipitation
Instead of combustion. 
Now I hang with the sun, who is patient, 
Showing light from my spectrum and state functions.

 
Nigel Poor
Episode 16: Catch a Kite 2
 

You've asked (via postcard) and we have answers!

A “kite” is prison slang for a written note. Since Ear Hustle launched, we’ve encouraged listeners to send in their questions about the show and life inside via postcards, or “kites.” In this episode, Earlonne and Nigel dig into the pile of 1021 (!) postcards that have arrived from all over the world.

So many people contributed to this episode: Thanks to all the men in blue and volunteers who tried to guess the most common question we get asked. Thanks to Kevin Sawyer for talking books; Adnan Khan, Eddie Herera, Khalifa Christensen and Shadeed Wallace-Stepter for talking TV; Luke Colondres, Antwan Williams, Kevin Sawyer, Greg Eskridge, E Phil Phillips and Jason Jones for singing TV theme songs; Bruce Brew Fowler for explaining his tattoos; Rodney Card Man Wiley for performing his magic; Maserati E for performing music for us, and big thanks for Officer Girard for being the first Corrections Officer to get on the mic. Now and always: thanks to Lt Sam Robinson and Warden Ron Davis for their support of Ear Hustle.

Catch a Kite 2 was scored and sound designed with music by David Jassy and Antwan Williams. Here's a transcript and you can download the episode here.

Thanks to NECTAR Sleep for supporting the show. And find out how to send us your own kite.

p.s. The answer to that question about whether or not we t-shirts for sale? Why yes, we do!

 Illustration by Antwan Williams

Illustration by Antwan Williams

 
Nigel Poor
Episode 15: Thick Glass
 

Parenting is never easy, but from prison it's especially challenging. In this episode, incarcerated fathers share their stories of striving to be present in their children's lives. One inmate reconnects with his son after 20 years. Another stays very involved through letters and visits. And a third gets the opportunity to give his teenaged son son a haircut.

Thanks to the fathers who shared their stories: Derrick Holloway, John Newman and Maverick, and thanks also to Derrick Jr. for talking with us.

Thick Glass was scored and sound designed by David Jassy and Antwan Williams, with contributions from Lee Jasper, Maserati-E and Charlie Spencer. Here's a transcript for Thick Glass, and you can download the episode here.

Still and always: Eternal thanks to SQSP's Lt. Sam Robinson and Warden Ron Davis for supporting the show.

p.s. Speaking of looking good, have you ordered your Ear Hustle t-shirt yet?

 "Thick Glass" by Antwan Williams

"Thick Glass" by Antwan Williams

 
Nigel Poor
Episode 14: The Workaround
 

Looking good and feeling good matters just as much on the inside, as on the outside. But in prison, you can't just walk to the barbershop, or stop by the store for the products you need, to accomplish either. In this episode, guys share their favorite workarounds that help them feel more human in prison, both physically and mentally.

Thanks to David Jassy, Wall Street, Jason Jones, Jesse Vasquez, Andres Yancey, Lady Jae, Eric Durr, George “Mesro” Coles-El and Nicola Bucci for sharing their workaround stories. This episode included music by David Jassy, Lee Jasper and Antwan Williams. Here's a transcript for The Workaround, and you can download the episode here.

To hear more about Bucci and more about food and eating in prison, check out this episode of the Sporkful food podcast, featuring a special outtake from this episode, alongside a story about a prison riot that was defused with ramen. 

Also! Eternal thanks to SQSP's Lt. Sam Robinson and Warden Ron Davis for supporting the show.

p.s. Speaking of looking good, have you ordered your Ear Hustle t-shirt yet?

 Illustration by Antwan Williams

Illustration by Antwan Williams

 
Nigel Poor