People Who Create • People Who Make a Difference
Matthew Félix On Air features Matthew and guests discussing writing, travel, and whatever else piques Matthew’s interest, from spirituality to cultural happenings to the outdoors to anything with a good story worth exploring.
Matthew's guests have included New York Times best-selling novelist Jasmin Darznik (Song of a Captive Bird), one of the world’s most successful photographers, Bob Holmes (Geo, Wine Spectator, Life, Time), and legendary travel writer Don George (BBC, National Geographic, Lonely Planet). Jesper Luth, production manager for Hall and Oates, Tears for Fears, and the Moody Blues; Anne Devereux-Mills, founder of Parlay House, Executive Director of the Emmy-nominated The Return, and Chairwoman of the Board of Marchex, Inc.; and, Zoë Elton, Director of Programming for the Mill Valley Film Festival, are other recent guests.
See below for descriptions of and links to archived episodes.
Episode 19 (22 July 18)
Empowering with Words • Inspiring with Images
Founded by author Dave Eggers and educator Nínive Calegari, 826 Valencia is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting under-resourced students ages six to eighteen with their creative and expository writing skills and to helping teachers inspire their students to write. Program Coordinators Shelby DeWeese and Ricardo Cruz told us all about 826 Valenica’s history, mission, and awesome podcast program!
In my second segment I talked with San Franciso-based painter Colette Hannahan about the challenges and joys of living a creative life. We also talked about some about her work, her unique approach to learning and practicing her art, and some incredible mentors she’s had along the way.
Episode 18 (15 July 18)
Killer Ducks & Killer Chocolate
Not to be outdone by Don George singing in Japanese, Outside magazine founding editor and legendary travel writer Tim Cahill wowed the show by telling a moving story about penguins in the Barcelona zoo—en español! Tim also shared his 25-year battle with malaria, going deep while writing, and why dying didn’t change much.
Then Dandelion Chocolate’s Greg D’Alesandre told us what it’s like to travel the world eating chocolate. He also talked about the craft chocolate movement, why relationships with producers matter, and much more about the story behind both Dandelion itself and the beans behind the bars!
Episode 17 (8 July 18)
The Evil of Hope & Madonna Expresses Himself
I had a great discussion with Falk Cammin about the importance of the humanities, why hope was once considered an evil, and the Humanities Mellon Scholars Program. Dr. Cammin is the Program Director at Foothill College and DeAnza College, which partner with the University of San Francisco to provide a diverse population of students with the advantages of a humanities-infused education—and some incredible opportunities.
In my second segment, award-winning artist and writer Paul Madonna talked about the joys and lingering challenges of a trip to France, how his All Over Coffee series and novel Close Enough for the Angels deconstructed then rethought the relationship between words and images, and his new series in the Nob Hill Gazette, Quotable City.
Episode 16 (1 July 18)
Litquake and Life Underground
Over 18 years ago at a bar in San Francisco, a free one-day reading series was born. Last year, it featured 850 authors, had 14,300 attendees, and held 180 events, 86% of which were free. That event is Litquake, and author, journalist, and public speaker Jane Ganahl is its co-founder. I’ll talk with Jane about the organization’s origins, its incredibly successful namesake festival, its year-round initiatives, and more.
In my second segment, award-winning filmmaker and cinematographer Hervé Cohen talks about his latest project. Life Underground is both an online experience and an immersive installation, allowing viewers to meet subway passengers from all over the world and listen to their personal stories, dreams, and deepest thoughts. Hervé also worked on feature Ayiti Mon Amour, which was on the list for Best Foreign Language Film in the 2018 Oscars.
Episode 15 (17 June 18)
Volunteering at a Refugee Camp in Greece
Northern California journalist Cathy Miller recently spent three weeks volunteering at a refugee camp in Greece. We’ll talk about the refugee crisis, life in the camps, and Cathy’s incredible experiences on the frontline of a tragedy most of us only read about in the headlines. Cathy is a contributor to the North Coast Journal, The Eureka Times-Standard, and the Willits News, as well as a volunteer with Refugee Support Europe, a charitable non-governmental organization of 400+ volunteers and staff based in London.
My second guest was a no-show because of a family emergency. So, rather than come up with 45 minutes of filler, I wrapped up the show early. Lesson learned! I will have a “spare show” prepared as back-up going forward…
Episode 14 (10 June 18)
Don George Travels & MALT Preserves
Legendary travel writer and editor Don George makes his triumphant return to my show! We’ll talk travel, Don’s collection The Way of Wanderlust, which chronicles 40 years of inspired writing on the road, and the upcoming Book Passage Travel Writers and Photographers Conference—as well as much more.
In my second segment, Jamison Watts of the Marin Agricultural Land Trust (MALT) will talk about MALT’s history and mission, their recent successes and current goals, and how agricultural land is preserved—and why it matters. MALT has worked with 85 farming families to preserve over 52,000 acres!
Episode 13 (3 June 18)
Yes We Cannes! & Cascading Empowerment
Recently back from the Cannes Film Festival, Director of Programming for the Mill Valley Film Festival, Zoë Elton will be my first guest. I’ll talk with Zoë about her experience at Cannes, as well as film festivals in general and what goes into putting on one of our own country’s most successful festivals. In addition to a who’s who of A-listers, including past guests Helen Mirren, Ryan Gosling, Glenn Close, Edward Norton, and too many others to mention, every year the 11-day Mill Valley Film Festival welcomes more than 200 filmmakers and 60,000 attendees from around the world.
In my second segment, Anne Devereux-Mills, founder of Parlay House, Executive Director of the Emmy-nominated The Return, and Chairwoman of the Board of Marchex, Inc. will be in the studio. Anne will discuss how starting over lead her to look at how we—and women, in particular—can not only have deeper, more meaningful interactions but how they can have an inspiring, empowering cascade effect on others. As a single mom, a top executive in New York's competitive advertising scene, and a cancer survivor, Anne experienced challenging times, ultimately leading her to found Parlay House, over 1000 “women who come together to connect, grow, learn and thrive.”
Episode 12 (27 May 18)
Spirit in Spain & the Female Form
Award-winning author, filmmaker, and LitWings founder Erin Byrne will talk about someplace I myself know well: España! From leading fellow writers in search of Lorca’s duende to her own profound spiritual experiences to the film she’s currently producing there, Erin has lots to say about Spain—and writing and travel and so much more. Erin is the author of Wings: Gifts of Art, Life, and Travel in France, and the editor of two Vignettes & Postcards anthologies. She was just named Travel Writing curator for The Creative Process Exhibition.
In my second segment, photographer and author Lone Mørch will talk about her new book, Embody: Intimate Photographic Encounters with Women. Currently based in Copenhagen, Lone has worked with CARE International in Nepal and been team manager at the Kaospilots in San Francisco. Her essays have been published in Danish, American and Nepalese newspapers, anthologies, and magazines, including InStyle, Cosmopolitan, and The Huffington Post. Her memoir, Seeing Red: A Woman's Quest for Truth, Power and the Sacred is about her soul-baring quest for liberation.
Episode 11 (20 May 18)
From Refugee To CEO
A New Edition & Wildlife Byways
Back from hiatus!!!
My first guest this week will be Tania Romanov, author of the new book Mother Tongue, the true-life saga of three generations of Balkan women. A writer, traveler, and award-winning photographer, Tania was born in Serbia and spent her early years in a refugee camp in Trieste, Italy. Tania attended San Francisco public schools, U.C.Berkeley, and the Stanford Graduate School of Business, and she served as CEO of three IT companies. Tania will share incredible experiences that might seem like abstract events in faraway lands, but that she lived firsthand.
In my second segment, I’ll talk with my first-ever repeat guest! Award-winning author Sabine Bergmann is co-founder and Editorial Director of online travel magazine Hidden Compass. She’s also a freelance writer and editor, as well as a conservation activist. Sabine’s stories have appeared in Sierra Magazine, Wired, and Geographic Expeditions, among others. We’ll talk about the latest edition of Hidden Compass, Sabine’s recent eight-page feature in Bay Nature magazine, and much more.
Episode 10 (15 Apr 18)
Baboon Bait & Meditation
My first guest this week will be explorer, photographer, and award-winning author James Michael Dorsey. James has traveled extensively in 48 countries, his main pursuit of the last 15 years being remote cultures, mostly in Asia and Africa. In addition to being featured in Lonely Planet, Travelers’ Tales, and Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies, James is a frequent contributor to the Los Angeles Times, the Christian Science Monitor, and United Airlines’ Hemispheres magazine. We’ll discuss travel and his new book Baboons for Lunch.
In my second segment, I’ll talk with Sukanya Belsare and Kyoko Kimura from the San Francisco Brahma Kumaris center. We’ll talk about the hows, whys, and much more about meditation, as well as the mission and initiatives of the Brahma Kumaris organization, which is celebrating their 40th year promoting meditation in the United States. Sukanya and Kyoko will even lead us in a guided meditation!
Episode 09 (8 April 18)
Lights, Camera, World Tours!
Cinematographer, performer, and award-winning author of Showdown at Shinagawa, Bill Zarchy will be my first guest. Bill’s tales from the road, technical articles, and personal essays have appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul and Travelers’ Tales anthologies, as well as the San Francisco Chronicle and magazines such as American Cinematographer, Emmy, and Kyoto Journal. Bill will talk to us about the art of filming and his adventures in over 30 countries, which included photobombing the red carpet in Cannes, sharing former president Bill Clinton’s pain, and a lot of bumps on the head.
In my second segment, I’ll talk with production designer and manager Jesper Luth. Jesper has designed and managed big-name concert tours all over the world, starting his career at the ripe young age of just fifteen years old. He has worked with Hall and Oates, Tears for Fears, System of a Down, Michael McDonald, Nick Jonas—and even Barack Obama. Jesper will tell us what goes into designing a concert stage, what life’s like on the road, and how he has grown professionally and personally over his long, successful career.
Episode 08 (1 April 18)
Making the Most of Life
My first guest will be the "Before You Die Guy," Ryan Waters. Ryan’s entertaining and informative web series shows viewers how to realize their bucket-list dreams all over the world—and on a budget. Swim with manatees! Shoot a rocket launcher! Skydive from a helicopter! I’ll talk with Ryan about how he got started, how to cross things off our own bucket lists, and his plans to take his series from the Web to TV.
In my second segment, I’ll talk with life coach Chris Eng (email@example.com). After successful careers as a sous chef and in corporate brand management and advertising at companies such as Bristol Myers Squibb, JP Morgan Chase, and Visa, Chris made yet another change—becoming a life coach, so he could help others make positive changes of their own.
We'll wrap up the show with an 8-min crash course in how to meditate, including the challenges and benefits.
Episode 07 (25 March 18)
Visiting Oakland & Biking in San Francisco
My first guest will be travel writer, editor, and proud Oaklander Jessie Fetterling. Jessie is a contributor to Time.com, Mother Earth News, The Press Democrat, Sonoma Magazine, and Ravishly.com, amongst many others. She’s also author of "100 Things to Do in Oakland Before You Die." Jessie will give us a comprehensive crash course on the many reasons why crossing the Bay Bridge is wonderfully worthwhile, for locals and tourists alike.
In my second segment, I’ll talk with San Francisco Bicycle Coalition’s Communications Director, Chris Cassidy. We’ll discuss the Coalition’s history, mission, and initiatives. Chris will also clue us into the the state of biking in San Francisco, including issues facing bikers and progress being made toward an increasingly bikable city--and world.
Episode 06 (18 March 18)
A Groundbreaker & a New York Times Bestseller
A belated homage to March 8’s International Women’s Day!
My first guest will be educator, traveler, and writer Diane LeBow. Diane is recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from Rutgers University for “her long career in writing, photojournalism, college teaching, and women’s rights work.” We’ll talk about her experiences, adventures, and her in-progress book about her search for the best of all possible worlds.
In my second segment, I’ll talk with New York Times best-selling author Jasmin Darznik about her new novel, Song of a Captive Bird, a fictional account of Iran’s trailblazing woman poet, Forugh Farrokhzad. Jasmin, who was born in Teheran, Iran and came to the United States when she was five years old, is also the author of The Good Daughter: A Memoir of My Mother’s Hidden Life. Her essays have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times.
Episode 05 (11 March 18)
Book Covers, Cuba, & Making a Difference
My first guest will be award-winning graphic designer Erica Heitman-Ford, live from New York City! We’ll discuss the art of the book cover, design, and more. Erica’s work graced Print Magazine’s 75th anniversary edition, and she has designed for Victoria's Secret, Barnes & Noble, and Whole Foods, among many others.
In my second segment, authors and adventurers Michael Shapiro (A Sense of Place, National Geographic Traveler, the Washington Post) and Jackie Yau (Inspirato, Travelers’ Tales anthologies, and the Travel Guide to California) talk about their recent travel to Cuba. We'll not only discuss their trip, but how they used it to make a difference in a lot of Cuban kids' lives.
Episode 04 (04 March 18)
Photography, Travel, and Overcoming Chronic Disease
My first guest will be one of the world’s most successful photographers, Robert Holmes. Bob has worked for National Geographic, Geo, Wine Spectator, and many more over his 35-year career. We’ll discuss photography, his adventures, and more.
In my second segment, my guest will be my friend Susan Violante. In her 20s, Susan was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, a chronic autoimmune-system-related disorder. Her diagnosis, however, was a long-time coming—and is an unbelievable story. We'll talk about Susan's experience, as well as how she managed the disease into remission and now leads a happy, healthy life.
Episode 03 (25 Feb 18)
Morocco Workshop and Trash
My first guest will be Travelers’ Tales’ Larry Habegger. Larry is about to head to Morocco to lead a Deep Travel writing workshop. We’ll discuss workshops, the upcoming Morocco one, and Larry’s work teaching and coaching writers.
In my second segment, my “trashy friends” Chuck and Geoff will talk about how doing a good deed in Point Reyes became a habit. We’ll discuss the work they do, what motivates them to do it, and some of the more exciting discoveries they’ve made in the process.
Episode 02 (18 Feb 18)
Hidden Compass & Antarctica
Today’s show starts off with Sivani Babu and Sabine Bergmann from online travel magazine Hidden Compass.
Their new issue is just out, and it’s full of work by award-winning writers and photographers who have been featured in publications such as National Geographic, Geo, and Time, as well as the Washington Post, BBC Travel, and on NPR.
In the second segment, Sivani will hang around to tell us about her love affair with Antarctica, where she has been three times–including very recently.
Episode 01 (11 Feb 18)
Weekday Wanderlust & FCCFree Radio
First episode! Excited to welcome my first guests to the show! None other than travel-writing legend Don George and freelance writer, traveler, and champagne lover Kimberley Lovato will fill us in on their long-running, incredibly popular Weekday Wanderlust, in the run-up to their upcoming event on Thursday, 2/15.
And I’ll start things off with FCCFree Radio’s very own John Miller, founder and general manager, who will give us an intro to the station and how it came to be.