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Author: Chicago Public Media

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Classic radio meets contemporary cable drama in this fictional serial podcast about a failed Oklahoma utopian society and its eclectic residents. Betrayal, murder and hedonism abound in PleasureTown. Join the story at
50 Episodes
Unfamiliar with PleasureTown? If you ask some, PleasureTown was paradise on Earth, a place where anyone could be and do whatever they wanted without fear of judgment or retribution from their fellow man or woman. If you ask others, it was a powderkeg of sin just waiting to explode. And if you ask others still, it’s an interactive serial podcast that takes the best of classic radio shows and mashes it up with the dark sensibilities of a contemporary cable television drama. How are we interactive? Well, we invite our listeners to join the story by submitting original art, writings, videos…heck, you name it. Oh, and we are part of the WBEZ podcast network.
In this episode, Claude and Cyrus invite listeners to join them in retracing the steps that lead them to PleasureTown. Despite their contrasting personalities, both Claude and Cyrus share histories rooted in hardship. As the son of a Mississippi slave owner, Claude’s guilt drives him to search for a place where men are equal and the bourbon always flows. Similarly, Cyrus, a sharp but penniless misfit from New Mexico, is stricken by wanderlust and dreams of life beyond the futility of hard labor. After a chance meeting in a bar, the two dream up a place “to go after their happy.” Join Claude and Cyrus as they relive the moments leading up to meeting each other and their search for a place to call their own: PleasureTown.
Ep 102 - White Stone Path

Ep 102 - White Stone Path


As word spread of the strange, hedonistic town, more and more lost souls gravitated toward a place they believed could be their home. In this episode, we follow Shaman John, once a man of faith turned mystic, through his first day as a Pleasure Town resident. Meanwhile, Matilda Barker tells her tale of love, pain and the strange brew concocted when you mix the two. After years of silence, her husband Henry gets an opportunity to recount his side of the story.
As PleasureTown transformed into a budding settlement, the community began to see a flood of diverse immigrants. With all the activity, it didn’t take long for the media to catch wind of the diamond in the red dirt, and so a reporter from New York City ventured out West to immerse himself among the eccentrics of the budding community. While he is no stranger to experimental townships -- such as the likes of Oneida and the Harmony Society -- he recognizes in PleasureTown a unique charm. We also meet the town’s resident doctor and hear of his peculiar origins as well as the surprising secret he harbors within.
As the population of PleasureTown continued to swell, the settlement began to see an uptick in violence, lawlessness and murder. In this episode, town founders Cyrus and Claude engage in a heated battle of words, with one advocating for rule and order while the other holds firm on the town’s ethos of unfettered freedoms. We also meet Deuteronomy, an outsider who has been called to town for a special purpose. Unbeknownst to the residents, his arrival could very well mark the beginning of the end of their beloved community.
Ep 105 - Two Souls

Ep 105 - Two Souls


In this episode, we meet PleasureTown's barber, who tells the story of how he and his blind brother fled to the settlement after a particularly hairy run-in with a local bigot. We also revisit Shaman John and hear his tale of loss and woe. To cope, the Mormon-turned-mystic smokes an herbal mix and wanders into the woods... only to find himself face-to-face with the Devil himself. Will he give up his soul for the one thing he misses most?
In this episode, we learn the birth story behind PleasureTown's original holiday, The Feast of the Wretched. Meanwhile, Mattie Barker has left town, putting aside her frying pan to take up a pair of boxing gloves. Also, Shaman John begins a new ritual while in self-exile. Plus, a strange love affair sweeps the reporter off his feet, and Claude visits the barber for a trim... and leaves with a bruised ego.
Ep 107 - Flashes of Fire

Ep 107 - Flashes of Fire


As PleasureTown grew, it began to attract a different breed of wanderer. No longer were those drawn to the settlement society's rough and grizzled outlaws and misfits. Dreamers, poets and artists had begun to flock to PleasureTown to carve out their homes. Angie was one such dreamer, and she harbored a power far greater than anyone could have imagined.
A sudden revelation threatens the future of PleasureTown's star-crossed lovers, the Doctor and the Reporter. We hear from the Reporter's side of the story and discover just how their magnetic attraction first came to fruition all those years ago. Meanwhile, the somber and stoic Bartender shares his tale of violence and misery.
Tensions come to a head between the PleasureTown founders, as Claude and Cyrus duke it out in a battle of words for control of the town. Meanwhile, the children of PleasureTown embark on an adventure and make a wish that could change the course of their lives.
Ep 110 - Double Lives

Ep 110 - Double Lives


A mystery unfolds in PleasureTown as one of the pillars of this hedonistic society is found dead due to strange circumstances. Meanwhile, residents cope with the aftermath of a large and destructive fire. All is relayed by a new reporter, who brings her own unique, yet familiar flare for storytelling (yes, this is certainly an homage to This American Life).
Two of PleasureTown's long-time residents reach the end of the road. Ma Barker visits the grave of her deceased husband, Henry, and reflects on a life of hard knocks. Meanwhile, Shaman Jon's spiritual awakening reaches a new level of transcendence as the town convenes for a memorial.
In the season finale, an apocalyptic premonition could alter the course of Claude and Cyrus' lives forever. Meanwhile, the battle between the virtuous and the fallen comes to a head as Angie must save her beloved -- and PleasureTown itself -- from the clutches of the treacherous Sheriff.
In PleasureTown's first "minisode," we meet Esther, the town seamstress, who spins a yarn about her lost heritage and life under the watchful eye of the menacing Miz Janine. This is part of our "Write an Episode" contest, which follows the completion of our first season. Listen to Season One: The Story:
In PleasureTown's second "minisode," a local shopkeeper with an axe to grind has a run-in with a band of youthful hoodlums. But there's opportunity to set the children on the straight and narrow when a traveling carnival rolls into town and offers to take PleasureTown's young miscreants under its care. This installment marks a collaboration with the Reading Out Loud podcast. Join the Story:
In PleasureTown's third "minisode," we flash forward to the present, where we meet young Mason Bowen, a student at Enid State University. As part of his college thesis, he interviews Mr. Johnstone, an elderly man who visited the fabled PleasureTown as a boy. But is Mr. Johnstone's account as credible as he'd like Mason to believe? Written by Richard Izzo, this is part of our "Write an Episode" contest and features music by the band Axons.
In PleasureTown's fourth "minisode," we continue the story of Crandle Philing’s Fantasy Fair and Freak Show. Suspicions rise among the carnival workers as more strange happenings occur among the children. Will Buster, Sal and Pete escape, or will they remain trapped forever as one of Crandle's diligent servants? This installment marks a collaboration with the Reading Out Loud podcast.
In PleasureTown’s fifth minisode, we are introduced to smooth-talking huckster Nicholas Morrison, a new arrival who makes his living as a slinger of suspicious solutions. Soon after his arrival, Nicholas enlists the help of aging Darlin and drunken Mortimer to help con his way into the hearts and minds of the PleasureTowners. Will this not-so-saintly Nicholas succeed in relieving the citizens of their hard-earned money? Special thanks to Matthew Aaron Glover who wrote this minisode as part of our “Write an Episode” contest.
Ep Mini6 - The Shadows

Ep Mini6 - The Shadows


In the thrilling conclusion to the Fantasy Fair & Freak Show trilogy, tough-talking Frank and the mysterious Mirella come to Pete’s aid while Mr. Blythe attempts to confront Buster about their altercation. Will the unlikely trio be able to rescue Sal, Buster and all the other children from the clutches of Crandle Philing? This installment marks a collaboration with the Reading Out Loud podcast.
In PleasureTown's seventh and final "minisode," we meet a young New York City couple with big dreams of small town living. But money is tight and trouble abounds. Will the couple make it to the fabled utopia, or will they get lost along the way? Written by Bob Garick, this is part of our "Write an Episode" contest.
Comments (18)

derek ng


Jun 9th
Reply (1)

derek ng

agree with u there

Apr 25th


This episode got me right in the feels, thanks I appreciate it.

Apr 23rd


trigger warning for people sensitive to animal violence

Jul 30th
Reply (1)

Alex Jenkins

wait, how did she die? I'm confused.

May 1st

Bella Ring


Mar 4th

Helena Sullivan

I was hooked after first episode... Great podcast with lots of interesting characters and nice guitar & banjo music interludes. Very authentic setting!

Jan 25th

Brandon Hunter

Great episode

Jan 24th


I am in love 😫❤

Jan 19th

Lisa Lawson

10 NEON 20.18. GOD

Jan 18th

Tracey Venes

great podcast.

Dec 26th

Crystal Roberson

When is season 4 coming out?

Dec 5th

Timurul Hoque Kazi

Life gets tough. Work gets you down. I could listen to an educational or motivational podcast. Instead, I visit Pleasure Town. And I don't regret it for a single moment.

Oct 30th

Bella Ring

best ever. I have lisioned at least 3 times.

Feb 1st

Studio 2053 Bisbee

Dammit to hell, I love this podcast; But am I supposed to need Kleenex?

Dec 29th

Ron Chrzas

Great listen!

Jul 2nd
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