Author M. G. Lord to Discuss Early JPL History on Friday’s Episode of ‘Pasadena Monthly with Justin Chapman’


Pasadena Media’s local TV talk show, “Pasadena Monthly with Justin Chapman,” formerly known as the award-winning “NewsRap Local with Justin Chapman,” continues this Friday at 5 p.m. PT on Pasadena Media’s cable TV channels and streaming apps. The episode will feature a discussion on the history of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory with author and podcast host M. G. Lord.


Lord is the host of “Blood, Sweat, & Rockets,” a new podcast from LAist Studios about early JPL history, and the author of Astro Turf: The Private Life of Rocket Science, a family memoir about Cold War aerospace culture and JPL’s dark origin story. She is also the author of Forever Barbie: The Unauthorized Biography of a Real Doll and The Accidental Feminist: How Elizabeth Taylor Raised Our Consciousness and We Were Too Distracted by Her Beauty to Notice. Her work has appeared in The New York Times Book Review, Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Hollywood Reporter, and Los Angeles Times. A graduate of Yale, Lord was for 12 years a syndicated political cartoonist based at Newsday. She is an Associate Professor of the Practice of English at USC.


“‘Blood, Sweat, & Rockets’ tells the true story of such fascinating characters as Jack Parsons, Frank Malina, and others at Caltech who built the foundations of rocket science, but also got wrapped up in controversies related to communism, black magick, drugs, espionage, mysterious explosions, and more—all right here in Pasadena,” Chapman said. “We’ll talk to M. G. Lord about her new LAist Studios podcast, her book Astro Turf, and the wild early history of JPL.”


“Pasadena Monthly” airs at 5 p.m. PT on the fourth Friday of every month on Pasadena Media’s Arroyo Channel and streaming apps, available on channel 99 on AT&T U-verse, channel 32 on Charter Spectrum, YouTube, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and Roku. The show is written, hosted and produced by Chapman, directed and edited by Jeffrey Stanfill and executive produced by George Falardeau, CEO and executive director of Pasadena Media.


“This is must-watch television each month for everyone who cares about this city,” Falardeau said.


Guests on “NewsRap Local” included Congress member Judy Chu (D-27); Congress member Adam Schiff (D-28); Assembly member Chris Holden (D-41); Pasadena Mayor Victor Gordo; Pasadena city manager Miguel Márquez; LA County Supervisor Kathryn Barger; and many others.


Chapman was the youngest elected official in LA County when he served on the Altadena Town Council at age 19. He has served on a number of local boards and wrote hundreds of articles for two dozen print and digital publications, including KPCC/LAistAlta JournalHuffington PostLA WeeklyBerkeley Political ReviewPasadena Weekly, Pasadena Star-NewsPasadena Now and many others. He currently serves as the District 6 Council Liaison to Pasadena City Councilmember Steve Madison.


Last year, Chapman won several LA Press Club journalism awards, including 1st place in the Travel Reporting category and 3rd place in the TV/Public Affairs category for hosting “NewsRap Local,” which launched in April 2021. In March 2022, “NewsRap Local” won a 2nd place award in News Programming at the Alliance for Community Media West’s WAVE video awards.


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