Prisons, Princes, and Playgrounds - Jillian Lauren

“I was being invited to be the personal guest of the prince of Brunei.”

Photo by Sarah Stacke

Prisons, Princes, and Playgrounds

A woman sets off in search of transformation and ends up in a harem in Bandar Seri Begawan; a teacher discovers her playground has turned into a 3rd grade war zone; singer-songwriter Suzanne Vega debates whether to take the stage at The Glastonbury Music Festival in the face of a death threat; and Damien Echols describes life after spending 18 years on death row for a crime he didn't commit.

Stories in this Episode

The Prince and I

by Jillian Lauren

A woman boards a plane for Brunei in search of a modern day fairy tale.

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War Games

by Micaela Blei

A teacher discovers her playground has turned into a 3rd grade war zone.

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Stage Fright

by Suzanne Vega

A singer struggles to keep her cool in front of her largest audience ever.

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Life After Death

by Damien Echols

A man reflects on his time on death row and his journey to the other side.

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Extras From This Episode

Jillian Lauren

Jillian Lauren Extra 1

Jillian as a dancer in New York City.

Jillian Lauren Extra 2 1

Jillian at the harem in Brunei.

Jillian Lauren Extra 3 1

Jillian and her family today. All photos courtesy Jillian Lauren.

Micaela Blei

Micaela, showing off her “teddy bear teacher” skills

Micaela Doing A Reading 465X348

An artist’s interpretation of Micaela reading to her students.

Ugly Mermaid 465X348

Micaela’s favorite piece of fan mail.

Acrostic Poem 465X620

An acrostic poem by a secret admirer. All pictures courtesy Micaela Blei.

Suzanne Vega

Suzanne performing at the 1989 Glastonbury Music Festival while wearing a bulletproof vest.

Damien Echols

Damien Echols Extra

Damien and the other members of the West Memphis Three, at the press conference announcing their release.

Damien Echols Extra 2

Damien’s first snowfall.

Damien Echols Extra 3

Damien and his wife Lori. All photos courtesy Lori Echols.

The music in this story