Mushroom Anna here! Since last June I've been producing "Crazy About Mushrooms: Conversations With Fungus Fanatics", which is an hour long radio documentary about mushrooms and the people who love them.
Listen to the finished documentary here!
This whole project came about because of a conversation I had with my dad when I went to visit Washington state for my little sister's high school graduation. My father, who's worked in media for decades, was truly mystified when I fell in love with mycology and mushrooms a few years back. However, as all good parents and advisors do, he encouraged me to follow my mycological passion because it was so evident that I found it to be a source of joy and it truly sparked my intellectual curiosity.
However, I was stumped about what to do next, and was wrestling with how to pursue my fungal fancies...would it make sense to return to school, starting from scratch to get a degree microbiology? Should I join WWOOF and work for free on a mushroom farm? Should I drop out of society and pick wild mushrooms for a living? My dad asked me what other crazy mushroom people do with themselves, and I found that I was short on answers. Although I was a mushroom club member, avid forager and cultivator and read tons of books about mushrooms, I didn't have a large community of mycophilic mentors and friends.
It occurred to me that interviewing the mushroom people would be a great way to learn more, and to build a network of mentors. Given that I have a background in radio journalism, I decided it might also make a good documentary piece, if I managed to get some mushroom heads to agree to let me record them.
Shortly after that, I received a generous grant from KVMR-FM in Nevada City, CA to make "Crazy About Mushrooms". The funding, which comes from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, permitted me to plan a trip all over the west coast during the fall of 2010. I met with hundreds of mushroom freaks from all over the world during that season, and stacked up an archive of interviews and field recordings with some of the brightest minds in American mycology.
It is my sincere hope that this piece will help folks who don't know about mushrooms to understand their mystery and appeal. It's also my hope that I've helped to capture some of the excitement of discovery that makes the fungus fanatics tick.
"Crazy About Mushrooms" Was Funded By:
Corporation for Public Broadcasting
KVMR-FM, Nevada City CA
The Olympia Food Co-op, Olympia WA
My Kickstarter backers...I love you guys!
Chief Advisory Squad/Web and Recording Gear Ninjas:
Joe and Paula McHugh
Taarka: Kudzu (main theme), The Swallow, Michael's Raindrop, Othello
Joe Craven: Uke Pick Waltz, Soldiers of Joy
Darryl Cherney: Jesus Was A Mushroom
Larry Evans and Friends: Everything Has A Fungus, Chanterelle, Fungal Boogieman
Additional Thanks To:
Oregon Mycological Society
Mycological Society of San Francisco
Sonoma County Mycological Association
Oregon Truffle Festival
Far West Fungi