Dreamtown: The Story of Adelanto

Crooked Media

What happens when a city on the verge of collapse tries to reinvent itself? How much will it cost? Who will pay the price? Reporter David Weinberg spent years following one city in California’s Mojave desert as it tried to transform itself from a city of prisons to a city of pot. And it worked…for a while. Until it, spectacularly, didn’t. From Crooked Media, this is Dreamtown: The Story of Adelanto. Coming June 7th wherever you get your podcasts. read less

Our Editor's Take

"Adelanto" is a Spanish word that means progress. But the Southern California town with the same name might be the exact opposite. That is, until an intriguing character moves into this sleepy town in Dreamtown: The Story of Adelanto. This Crooked Media podcast comes from the company behind Pod Save America.

Experts refer to Adelanto as a bedroom community, as most of its residents work outside of town. There's not much to do in its borders-no nightlife, no department stores, not even a movie theater. There are only a few restaurants and shops and several prisons. Progress is the last word that anyone would choose to describe Adelanto. Or at least, according to the podcast, that was the case until Johnny Bug Woodard Jr. decided to move in. Dreamtown: The Story of Adelanto explains what happened next.

Bug, as anyone called him, was a hippie-type older man with a cheery disposition. When he came to Adelanto in 2014, he had no real political experience. Still, he decided that he wanted to run for the city council. Not only that, he had the most unconventional platform. According to the podcast, Bug wanted to legalize cultivating cannabis in Adelanto. As he saw it, it would be the best way to bring the small desert city back to life after the recession.

The new podcast Dreamtown: The Story of Adelanto follows the tale of that odd man with an unusual vision. The true crime podcast brings the listeners through the highs of trying to visualize a dream to the lows of confronting reality. Lies, corruption, and scandals lead to the FBI getting involved.

David Weinberg is the voice behind Dreamtown: The Story of Adelanto. The journalist worked on the podcasts Welcome to LA and The Superhero Complex. Weinberg engages the listeners in the desert town of Adelanto. The sound design is immersive, and the people are out of this world. He interviews key characters, including Bug himself, and weaves them through the narrative. Each episode ends with a cliffhanger, making it impossible not to continue listening.

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