"The other Desert—the real Desert—is not for the eyes of the superficial observer, or the fearful soul or the cynic."
- Randall Henderson, Desert Magazine, 1937
Season 1: The Real Desert, with Steve Brown
Season 2: Southwest Stories with Steve Brown
Season 3: Southwest Stories with Steve Brown
(national PBS distribution, Roku)
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I suppose it all began thousands of years before Randall Henderson started Desert magazine back in 1937. In that first issue though, he wrote about two kinds of desert - one, that to a superficial observer, appeared hostile and barren; the other, a welcoming paradise for those who look deeper and longer into this land.
The more I wander the desert, the more I find it to be beautiful, fascinating, inspiring, and healing to body and soul. I've tried to document my love of the desert, and my passion for preserving and honorint it, during the past decade and a half through my magazine, The Sun Runner, The Journal of the Real Desert.
In 2012, we began a new adventure, The Real Desert with Steve Brown, a series for public broadcasting, that began airing on KVCR PBS, September 16, 2013. The show was well received, airing twice a week at 7:30 p.m. on Mondays, and 5 p.m. Sundays.
In 2015, we continued to expand our horizons to include a broader swatch of the Southwest, and to better identify the show geographically, The Real Desert, with Steve Brown, transformed to Southwest Stories with Steve Brown.
The goal with Southwest Stories with Steve Brown, has been to highlight the natural beauty, history, cultures, and the people of the Southwest. We featured artists, musicians, naturalists, and all the diversity of creative and intriguing folks who call the region home.
Our second season began airing March 16, 2015, and continued on Monday evenings at 6:30 p.m. through May, 2016. This second season of Southwest Stories with Steve Brown road tripped with you to a living ghost town, a remote canyon with the largest concentration of Native American petroglyphs in the western hemisphere, an Old West movie set, an Old West movie set that's now a real town, an exclusive French desert resort, Lake Havasu, the Arizona deserts, the town of Felicity with its incredible Museum of History in Granite, Yuma, a border swap meet, a sizzling hot race track, and more. As usual, we spent time with some of our favorite desert personalities - artists, historians, musicians, and other creative spirits, and we participated in every kind of experience we could think up, from kayak fishing and mechanical bull riding, to leading an old time singalong and flying high in a hot air balloon.
Our third season was just beginning production in 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted our plans. Our crew partnered with nonprofit organizations to write grant applications during the pandemic to produce historical trails video projects in 2021. We received several state-level humanities grants in California, Missouri, and South Dakota. As a result, our crew produced short documentary films on the Butterfield Overland Trail in California, the Old Spanish Trail (California/Nevada), and the Wire Road/Butterfield Overland Trail/Trail of Tears in Missouri, as well as a documentary for public broadcasting on an accomplished South Dakota wagon and stagecoach maker and restorer. Our television documentaries are being broadcast on various PBS stations and nationally on the FNX (First Nations Experience) network, in 2022.
Southwest Stories was produced by Sun Runner Media, Turquoise MultiMedia in Season 2, and is produced by Sun Runner Media and Blue Highways Media in Season 3 with cinematic 4K and higher production values for national PBS distribution, Roku, Amazon Fire, and a range of other platforms. Additional episodes and content are always being planned and produced, along with more tour options to get you off the couch and out with us, and we hope you'll join us on the road - for some exciting Southwest Stories!
With our Southwest Stories magazine and the Southwest Stories podcast, coming fall 2022, we're creating a multi-platform media approach to our storytelling that allows us to include more people in more ways to share the wonders of this incredible region. We're looking at book projects as well, and we're always open to collaboration and partnerships, so please feel free to reach out if you're interested.
- Steve Brown