Visit California: Exploring San Diego

To listen:

On this episode of the California Now Podcast, host Soterios Johnson explores the vibrant city of San Diego with a group of fascinating locals.

First, Johnson speaks with Chris Ryall, Comic-Con Museum consultant and executive producer of Netflix’s Locke & Key. From niche subculture to global phenomenon, Ryall shares just how far Comic-Con has come since its humble beginnings as a 300-person gathering at a San Diego hotel. The lifelong comic book collector and creator geeks out with Johnson while sharing his insights into the museum’s incredible exhibits on Spiderman, Gene Roddenberry, Pac-Man, and more.

Next up, Maya Madsen, owner of Black-owned vegan cookie shop Maya’s Cookies, takes the California Questionnaire. The San Diego entrepreneur decrees a state culinary experience, describes her perfect California dream day, and even performs a mini rendition of her favorite California-themed song.

Lastly, Johnson is joined by three members of the San Diego soul band, Thee Sacred Souls. Hear members Josh Lane, Alex Garcia, and Sal Samano explain the inspiration behind their sound and how the song “Can I Call You Rose?” came together. Plus, the men share behind-the-scenes details from the song’s music video, shot in San Diego.


Chris Ryall, Comic-Con Museum consultant and executive producer of Netflix’s Locke & Key

Maya Madsen, owner of Maya’s Cookies

Josh Lane, Alex Garcia, and Sal Samano of Thee Sacred Souls


Chris Ryall is best known as the former president, publisher, and chief creative officer of IDW Publishing, and as a writer in the comic book industry. He currently serves as a consultant to the Comic-Con Museum.

Comic-Con Museum


San Diego

Balboa Park

Comic-Con Museum – Exhibits

Maya Madsen is the founder and CEO of Maya’s Cookies, America's number-one black-owned, gourmet vegan cookie company.

Maya’s Cookies

San Diego – Little Italy

Little Italy Mercato Farmers’ Market

Coronado Island

Hotel del Coronado

Tacos El Gordo

Chula Vista

Santa Ynez


San Francisco – Financial District


Josh Lane, Alex Garcia, and Sal Samano are the main trio behind San Diego soul band Thee Sacred Souls. The band released its self-titled debut album this summer.

Thee Sacred Souls

Thee Sacred Souls

“Lady Love”

“Can I Call You Rose?”

Imperial Beach

City Heights

Barrio Logan


Soterios Johnson, formerly the local host of National Public Radio’s Morning Edition on radio station WNYC, moved from New York City to Davis in 2016. By combining his journalistic instincts with his personal curiosity, Johnson uses the California Now Podcast platform to develop a deeper understanding of his adopted home.

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