Plus, why the actor was known as "the hound of the hallways" at Juilliard.
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Host Anna Sale and the logos for Death, Sex & Money and WNYC Studios, all on a beige background.
This week, The New York Times wrote a really nice piece about our show, and the winding path that led to my pitching it to my bosses at WNYC when I was still a politics reporter. This sentence made me laugh: "While covering Anthony Weiner’s second sexting scandal and ill-fated mayoral bid in New York the following year, pangs of doubt about the direction of her life returned." I definitely do remember sitting inside a crush of reporters at Weiner's press conference who were peppering him with questions about when and to whom he was sending explicit text messages, and thinking: huh, how did I get here?

The piece tracks what happened next and how that led to what we try to do every week here on the show: bring you intimate, meaningful conversations that you won't hear anywhere else. Sometimes, we hope you hear things that resonate and make you feel like you have a little more company around a hard moment in your life. Other times, we hope our show challenges you to make more room for life experiences very different from your own. Either way, our aim is that when you hear that last guitar chord at the end of every episode, you feel a little more connected than before you pressed play.

—Anna and the Death, Sex & Money team
This Week on Death, Sex & Money

Since March, actor Wendell Pierce has been hunkering down in his hometown of New Orleans, where his 95-year-old father still lives in the home Wendell grew up in. "This is an opportunity to spend this time with my dad," Wendell told me. "I was raised to believe that family is the greatest connection to your past and most likely to be there for you in the future."

Wendell's mom died in 2012, and he's been thinking about her a lot as he's been pondering whether or not to have children of his own. "We had conversations about this. She would always say, 'Oh, by the time you have kids, you're going to be too old!'" he told me. "I love my mother so much and I respect her opinion so much. And I trust her opinion so much that it's her voice that echoes in my head saying, 'Oh, you do not know that joy you're missing out on of having a child.'" Hear our conversation in your podcast feed now. 

Your Stories: Not Paying Rent
Last week we asked you all to tell us about whether you're paying your rent or mortgage right now, and if you're worried about continuing to afford your housing bills. We heard from those of you who are still managing to pay, but are wondering how long you can keep it up. And we heard from a few of you who have stopped paying, for both financial and political reasons, like this listener: 
"I'm a renter in Los Angeles who is not currently paying rent. Our decision to forgo our rent payments is more an act of civil disobedience than financial inability. We have been financially impacted by the pandemic and are eligible for the moratorium on evictions and rent relief, which Los Angeles still has in place, but it has been a calculated decision that rent would go unpaid instead of car repairs or keeping our hard earned savings.

My job loss was unrelated to the pandemic. I'm a white woman who made a good income, just over six figures with a master's degree and I am enrolled in doctorate program. I left my position with a severance package and unemployment insurance that took us out of the paycheck to paycheck cycle for the first time in my life. We moved to an artist loft to better serve my husband's career opportunities and we planned to create a gallery and event space. And then the pandemic hit.

There will now be no gallery events in our immediate future and obviously the job market is not ideal. I am concerned but not panicking yet. We still have some of the severance check and I did receive the 600 dollar increase with my regular unemployment. I continued to pay rent through May. But in June we decided to stop. With so much uncertainty it didn’t seem wise to burn through our savings. I’ve never not paid rent so this was a difficult decision for us. However we have decided that it is a once in a lifetime opportunity to tip the scales to support renters in a climate where greedy landlords have decimated communities for far too long.

You see, the artist community we moved into in had been a vibrant and protected space in Los Angeles for artists since the '70s when the founding members took a rundown conglomerate of brick buildings that had formerly been a furniture manufacturing plant and turned it into an oasis of artist lofts and gallery spaces at an affordable price. They had open community events and taught classes and served as a inspirational gathering space for creatives. On the edge of downtown surrounded by meat processing plants and recycling centers it’s hardly an up and coming neighborhood, in fact, it can be dangerous and downright gross. However an out of state corporate rental group that specializes in buying blighted buildings and turning massive profits by renting them for four times the price saw the potential and bought the colony two years ago. Once in ownership they forced the founding artists out of the community and tore down communal spaces and stopped doing repairs to force the rest of the artists out in favor of the tech community and social media office space.

The pandemic hit just as the artists were starting to fight back and try to buy the building back. With the current moratorium on evictions this might be tenants' only opportunity to balance the scales toward community growth instead of grotesque profit margins. Maybe we can outlast the greed and force the landlord to sell to us? I could pay rent tomorrow, but I won’t. I’m worried about eviction, about when money will start coming in again, about our health. But if not now, when?"

—Name withheld, Los Angeles

Listen to This: Audio We Love

This summer marks 100 years since the 19th Amendment was ratified, giving women the right to vote. The new podcast She Votes! looks back at how that battle was won, and at the sexism and discrimination that has persisted since. In the episode, "Are women people?" co-hosts and award-winning journalists Ellen Goodman and Lynn Sherr examine why "'We the People' did not include female people" — and share how long-held beliefs about women's inferiority to men continued to pop up in their own news careers decades after women were granted suffrage. 

Remember Friday nights? That feeling of getting out of work and seeing two days of freedom stretching ahead of you? The pandemic has changed a lot about what the weekend means, but if you need a reminder about what it used to feel like, check out a recent, beautiful episode of Welcome to L.A. Host David Weinberg weaves together tape he collected from years of visiting different places in Los Angeles on Friday nights, from a prom to a live music venue to junk yard where a couple is shopping for a used refrigerator. It's a window into the best time of the week, as it once was.

"The breadth and depth of issues you cover are wonderful. I learn a lot about the world and in a really human way."
—Ana, Chicago

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