Detailed
Compact
Art
Reverse
August 11, 2020
On Tuesday August 4th, a massive explosion devastated Beirut, shattering the port and the heart of the city. Over 150 people have lost their lives, some 5000 people have been injured, hundreds of thousands have lost their homes — all while the people of Lebanon are facing catastrophic levels of the coronavirus and devastating economic collapse. Our love and our sorrow are with the people of  Beirut. In 2015 Davia traveled to Lebanon for our Hidden Kitchens series to chronicle the work of the Lebanese kitchen visionary, Kamal Mouzawak — an astounding man who builds community through food throughout the country. His Beirut restaurant, Tawlet, that employs dozens of village women cooking their traditional village dishes, was destroyed in the explosion. Kamal Mouzawak and his restaurant team have been at the forefront of the Beirut rescue efforts in collaboration with Chef Jose Andres and the World Central Kitchen. Kamal’s kitchen prepared the first fresh meals for local hospitals, isolated seniors, and first responders throughout the city. Hummus sandwiches, kefta sandwiches of yellow onion, sumac, parsley and hummus and molokhia, a traditional Sunday meal of chicken that reminds everyone who knows it of home. In homage to the people of Lebanon, The Kitchen Sisters Present a journey through the hidden kitchens of Lebanon with kitchen activist and restaurateur Kamal Mouzawak, a man with a vision of re-building and uniting this war-ravaged nation through its traditions, its culture and its food. We visit farmer’s markets, restaurants and guest houses known as Souk el Tayeb that he and his kitchen community have created. This story, produced by Samuel Shelton Robinson and The Kitchen Sisters, is part of Hidden Kitchens: War and Peace and Food, a series of stories about about the role food plays in helping resolve or cause conflict between nations and communities.
July 28, 2020
In honor of the many people who work in nail salons across the country who are struggling to keep their businesses from going under during these long closures, The Kitchen Sisters Present French Manicure —Tales from Vietnamese Nail Shops in America, a story produced as part of the Lost and Found Sound series on NPR. Currently it is estimated that more than 40% of the nail salon technicians in America are Vietnamese women. In California the numbers are estimated at more than 75%. The majority of these women are Vietnamese immigrants. Arriving in this country, Vietnamese immigrants, like those from other countries, have looked for a place to make their own economic niche. Many found one taking care of people’s hands and nails. The training is short – sometimes as little as three months. They not only acquire a new set of professional skills, but a new identity as well. Sound plays a part in merging into a new life—American TV and radio, language study tapes, naturalization tapes, the soundtrack of new citizenship and a new life. Then there are the lost sounds of home – music cassettes brought from Vietnam, Vietnamese videos from the Saigon bookstore in a San Jose shopping mall. These audio artifacts merge with stories from manicurists in Vietnamese salons. One such story comes from Shirley Nguyen at JT Nails. Shirley: I came here in 1983. Just by myself at 14. I escaped by boat to Thailand, to Philippines, then came here. Supposed to be a whole family come together but we separate to small boats. Some make it some didn't make it, get caught by the communists. We separate. And I was wondering, I asked "Where's my mom, where's my mom?" The owner say, "She will be here, she will be here." Gone. As she polishes, she tells her stories - how she got here - what to do about dry cuticles - how she learned her English from tapes - why French Manicure is better than silks - how she lost her family in Vietnam - about the "sad songs" of Vietnam and the sounds of Saigon streets. About how she got her name. Shirley: [In the U.S.], I lived with a foster parent. I have my own room and a TV she let me have it. Usually I watch a lot of Shirley Temple. I like Shirley Temple a lot. I watch a lot of her movie. She's happy. She's dancin' tap. And she's very pretty lady ... When I become US citizen I change directly to Shirley Nguyen. My Vietnamese name kind of like difficult to pronounce, Hang - H-A-N-G. I changed to Shirley." Contributors to this program include: Shirley Nguyen, Tina Truong and Jackie LE of JT Nails Salon in San Francisco; Betty Ha, May An Quang, Boi Ha and Tina Nguyen of Fancy Nails in Berkeley, Calif.; Dian Dinh of Cole Valley Nails in San Francisco; Tina Perry, Leonette Motta, Maria Elena Alvarado, Hien Hong and Nancy DeGroat of Hilltop Beauty School in Daily City, Calif.; Sophia Tran, Nhung Tran and Lan Xuan Thi Truong of Evergreen Beauty College in San Jose, Calif.; Alan Cox, Helene Luc Tran, Mrs. Nu and Mrs. Chu La of Hayward Beauty College, Hayward, Calif. Special Thanks also to: Ellen Sebastian Chang, Flawn Williams, Chris Tsakis and Janet Dang.
July 14, 2020
Louis Jones, Field Archivist, is a Keeper. For 27 years he has worked building and caring for the largest labor archive in North America—the Reuther Library at Wayne State University in Detroit. Home to numerous union and labor collections from around the country, the Reuther Library also actively collects material documenting Detroit’s civil rights movement, women’s struggles in the workplace, the LGBTQ Archive of Detroit and more. Born in New York City, the grandson of a Pullman porter, Louis Jones takes us through the archives with stories of the UAW, Cesar Chavez, Utah Phillips, A. Philip Randolph and the Civil Rights Movement, the 1967 Detroit uprising, and how archivists are examining and re-imagining their roles in the midst of Covid-19 and the Black Lives Matter movement. Special thanks to the Reuther Library at Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan; Nancy Beaumont and the Society of American Archivists (SAA); Paulina Hartono; The National Endowment for the Humanities; and supporters of The Kitchen Sisters Productions.
June 19, 2020
In 1985, Gert McMullin was one of the first San Franciscans to put a stitch on the AIDS Quilt, the quilt that began with one memorial square in honor of a man who had died of AIDS, and that now holds some 95,000 names. Gert never planned it this way, but over the decades she has become the Keeper of the Quilt and has stewarded it, repaired it, tended it, traveled with it and conserved it for some 33 years now. Gert knows the power of sewing. In 2020, when COVID-19 hit, Gert was one of the first Bay Area citizens to begin sewing masks—PPE for nurses and health care workers who were lacking proper protection—masks she makes from fabric left over from the making of the AIDS Quilt. The comfort, outrage and honoring of an earlier pandemic being used to protect people from a new one. In January of 2020 The AIDS Memorial Quilt, now part of The National AIDS Memorial, returned home to the Bay Area after 16 years in Atlanta. It took six 52-foot semis to get it there. The over sixty tons of quilt, is made up of about 48,000 panels, each 3 x 6 feet, the size of a grave. The extensive AIDS Archive, which Gert gathered, collected and protected since its earliest days, is now part of The American Folklife Center at The Library of Congress in Washington, DC. The story of Gert McMullin and the AIDS Memorial Quilt, the Gay Rights Movement in San Francisco, Harvey Milk, The White Night Riots. With interviews with LGBT Rights activist Cleve Jones who worked with Harvey Milk and conceived of the AIDS Memorial Quilt, and John Cunningham, Executive Director of the National AIDS Memorial.
June 9, 2020
November 14, 1960, New Orleans. Three six-year-old girls, flanked by Federal Marshals, walked through screaming crowds and policemen on horseback as they approached their new school for the first time—McDonogh No. 19. Leona Tate thought it must be Mardi Gras. Gail Etienne thought they were going to kill her. Four years after the Supreme Court ruled to desegregate schools in Brown v. Board of Education, schools in the South were dragging their feet. Finally, in 1960, the NAACP and a daring judge selected two schools in New Orleans to push forward with integration—McDonogh No.19 Elementary and William Frantz. An application was put in the paper. From 135 families, four girls were selected—Leona Tate, Tessie Prevost, Gail Etienne and Ruby Bridges (who attended William Frantz Elementary). They were given psychological tests. Their families were prepared. Members of the Louisiana Legislature took out paid advertisements in the local paper encouraging parents to boycott the schools. There were threats of violence. When the girls going to McDonogh No.19 arrived in their classroom, the white children began to disappear. One by one their parents took them out of school. For a year and a half the girls were the only children in the school. Guarded night and day, they were not allowed to play outdoors. The windows were covered with brown paper. The story of integrating the New Orleans Public schools in 1960 told by Leona Tate, Tessie Prevost Williams, and Gail Etienne Stripling, who integrated McDonogh No.19 Elementary School, and retired Deputy U.S. Marshals Herschel Garner, Al Butler, and Charlie Burks who assisted with the integration efforts at the schools. We also hear from archivist, historian and pastor of Beecher Memorial United Church of Christ, Brenda Billips Square and from Keith Plessy, Co-Founder of the Plessy & Ferguson Foundation. We produced this story a few years back. We want to put it out there again a because it seems critical, particularly now, to remember and pay tribute to the many Keepers of the archives, the stories, the truth about our past and the long fight for what is fair and just.
May 26, 2020
Eel Pie Island, a tiny bit of land in the River Thames has a flamboyant history involving King Henry VIII, Charles Dickens, The Rolling Stones, Pete Townshend, Rod Stewart, Anjelica Huston, Trad Jazz, Rock and Roll… and eel pie—a disappearing London delicacy. The story goes that Henry VIII in the 16th century would be rowed up the Thames on the Royal Barge and would stop at the island for an eel pie. Charles Dickens immortalized it in his novel Nicholas Nickleby. In the 1950s a jazz club was started on the island featuring Skiffle and Trad Jazz with people like Ken Colyer, Acker BIlk, and Lonnie Donegan. “Eel Pie Island was where they used to fish out the eel up through the 1960s. The eels would be sold in the front of fishmonger shops, big, fat, some as thick as your arm, lying around on the marble slabs,” remembers actress Anjelica Huston who grew up in London in the 60s and made the pilgrimage to Eel Pie Island, an early rock and roll mecca. Eric Clapton did a lot of his early playing on the island. “When I was a beatnik back in the early 60s, that was the only thing there was.” “The hotel stood alone, I remember it a little bit like a Charles Addams drawing,” recalls Huston. “It was a time when a lot of the old ways were meeting new ways out of the rations and the hardships of WWII and the blitz, and the hunger. Eel Pie Island, the eels that had been cut up on the white marble slabs since the days of Henry the VIII were suddenly meeting the Youth Quake.” Ronnie Wood, who would later join the Rolling Stones, called it a great melting pot. “You might bump into Mick Jagger in the bar, Pete Townshend came by, Ray Davies, Keith, Bowie…” Paul Jones who played in the 60s band Manfred Mann said, “Any band that was worth its salt had to play there. Till you ticked off that one on your itinerary, you hadn’t really arrived.” The place was proclaimed a health hazard in 1967 and forced to shut down. Squatters immediately came into the space and the UK’s largest hippie commune was born. The building eventually burned down and eighteen townhouses were constructed in its place. Today, Eel Pie Island has a couple of hundred inhabitants. Artists and craftspeople maintain studios on the island along with some boat works. “Eel Pie Island, it’s a very specific little place in space and time,” says Huston. “A little point of liberation on the Thames. But very alive, just like the eels.”
May 12, 2020
An intimate, inspiring, hopeful conversation with Mexican chef and cookbook author, Pati Jinich, host of the James Beard Award winning PBS series Pati's Mexican Table and resident chef at the Mexican Cultural Institute in Washington D.C. On a walk through Oaxaca's Enthnobotanical Garden, Pati tells stories of her Jewish grandparents immigration to Mexico during WWII, her upbringing in Mexico and her move to Texas and Washington D.C. as a young mother. She shares her thoughts on immigration, The Wall, life choices and how she found her way into the kitchen.
April 17, 2020
Al Gore is back and he’s got a new slide show. Better take heed. Last October the former Vice President, Nobel Prize-winner and Academy Award-winner for An Inconvenient Truth, together with activist, restaurateur, and founder of The Edible Schoolyard, Alice Waters, gathered farmers, ranchers, scientists, chefs, researchers, policymakers on Al's family farm in Carthage, Tennessee for a riveting set of conversations about the role of food and regenerative agriculture in solving the climate crisis. They called the two day event, The Climate Underground. Along with the conversations, some of Nashville’s hottest chefs and dedicated regenerative farmers joined Alice to create a sustainable organic school lunch for the 350 participants to highlight the power of local, school supported agriculture in nurturing the health of children and the land. This event happened long before the moment we all find ourselves in right now, as the coronavirus pandemic sweeps across the planet. But it holds the seeds and hope for a different approach to our future and the fate of the planet we all share. In honor of Earth Day, The Kitchen Sisters Present...The Climate Underground.
April 14, 2020
April 1993: A small village in Sicily prepares for the first visit of 78-year-old baseball legend Joe DiMaggio to the town where his parents were born and raised. Fishermen, artisans, grandmothers — some 3,000 villagers brush up on The Yankee and Marilyn Monroe. Italian and American flags are strung from the buildings, two thousand baseballs are purchased for Joltin’ Joe to autograph. A feast of sea urchins, calamari, pasta sarda and marzipan is cooked in his honor. Nearly the entire annual budget of the town is spent preparing to celebrate the homecoming of the Yankee Clipper. The Mayor, the City Council, the Police Commissioner and hundreds of other Sicilian well-wishers gather at the airport in Palermo waiting to greet their “native son.” But he never comes.
March 24, 2020
The Keepers, from The Kitchen Sisters and PRX with host, Academy Award-winning actress Frances McDormand. Stories of activist archivists, rogue librarians, curators, collectors and historians. Guardians of history, large and small. Protectors of the free flow of information and ideas. Keepers of the culture and the culture and collections they keep. In this hour, Bob Dylan’s Archive, Henri Langlois’ legendary Cinémathéque in Paris, The Keeper of the National Archives, Nancy Pearl: the first librarian action figure, The Dark Side of the Dewey Decimal System and stories of Prince’s epic Vault in Minneapolis. All these tales and more.
March 10, 2020
The Keepers, from The Kitchen Sisters and PRX with host, Academy Award-winning actress, Frances McDormand. Stories of activist archivists, rogue librarians, curators, collectors and historians. Guardians of history, large and small. Protectors of the free flow of information and ideas. Keepers of the culture and the culture and collections they keep. In this hour, stories of the Hiphop Archive at Harvard, the Pack Horse Librarians of Eastern Kentucky, the Lenny Bruce Archive, the Internet Archive and more striking and surprising stories of preservation and civic life.
February 25, 2020
Lou Reed—music icon, poet, photographer, Tai Chi master, vital force in the cultural life and underworld of New York City. Lou died in 2013 and left not a word of instruction about what he wanted done with his archive of recordings, instruments, gear, his Tai Chi swords, jackets—from his days with The Velvet Underground, through his solo career and last recordings. He left everything to his wife, artist and musician Laurie Anderson. Over the next six years Laurie and a team of Lou’s “keepers” created a vision. In March 2019, on the occasion of his birthday, The Lou Reed Archive opened to the public at the New York Library for the Performing Arts with parties, friends, family, fanfare and a drone concert at the largest cathedral in the world. During that week and beyond we spoke to many of Lou’s archivists, family, and friends — Laurie Anderson, Curator Don Fleming, Jason Stern and Jim Cass who worked with Lou, drone wizard Stewart Hurwood, Producers Tony Visconti and Hal Willner, Carrie Welch from the New York Public Library, Curator Jonathan Hiam and a devoted crew of librarians and archivists at the New York Library for the Performing Arts, and Lisa Shubert at Cathedral of Saint John the Divine. Many thanks to all. The Keepers, stories of activist archivists, rogue librarians, curators, historians and collectors, is produced by The Kitchen Sisters (Davia Nelson & Nikki Silva) in collaboration with Nathan Dalton & Brandi Howell and mixed by Jim McKee. Special thanks to story interns Sydney Stewart and Josh Gross. The Kitchen Sisters Present is part of the Radiotopia Podcast Network from PRX. Support for The Kitchen Sisters comes from Radiotopia, the National Endowment for the Arts, The Grammy Museum Foundation, The Marin Community Foundation/ Susie Tompkins Buell Fund, Cowgirl Creamery, The Kaleta Doolin Foundation, The Robert Sillins Family Foundation, The Robert Lee Hudson Foundation, the TRA Fund and listener contributions to The Kitchen Sisters Productions. “These are really terribly rough times and we really should try to be nice to each other as possible.”  Lou Reed.
February 11, 2020
In celebration of truckers everywhere and of Radiotopia’s new show Over the Road, The Kitchen Sisters visit some of their favorite Texas pitstops. First up — a truck stop in Carl’s Corner, Texas off I 35 between Dallas and Austin where Willie Nelson first introduced his BioWillie fuel in 2004. Willie’s friend, Carl Cornelius, founded Carl’s Corner in the early 1980s in order to sell liquor in a mostly dry county. He opened up a truck stop —a trucker’s haven and tourist attraction —with hot tubs, dancing girls and 10 foot high dancing frogs atop the pumps. In 1987 Willie held his legendary 4th of July Picnic at Carl’s Corner. But a few years later, following a fire and some set major backs, the place fell on hard times. That’s where our story begins…with Willie Nelson bringing in BioWillie biofuel to save Carl’s Corner Truck Stop. We hear from Willie Nelson, Kinky Friedman, Carl Cornelius, Joe Nick Potaski, truckers and biodiesel disciples. And we visit a bio-diesel home brew class, where recipes are shared on how to make your own, in a blender, the kitchen way. Next stop — Fuel City, downtown Dallas—with its long horn cattle, oil well, waterfalls, bikini clad “pool models,” DJs, and the best Texas tacos for miles around. Robin Wright talks about her family in Venus,Texas. And we visit the Conoco gas station and it’s gourmet Chef Point Cafe in Watauga, Texas.
January 28, 2020
When Sam Phillips sold Elvis’ contract in 1955 he used the money to start an all-girl radio station in Memphis, TN. Set in a pink, plush studio in the nation’s third Holiday Inn, it was a novelty—but not for long. He hired models, beauty queens, actresses, telephone operators. Some were young mothers who just needed a job. WHER was the first radio station to feature women as more than novelties and sidekicks. The WHER girls were broadcasting pioneers. Set against the backdrop of the civil rights movement, the women’s movement, Vietnam, and the death of Martin Luther King—the story of WHER follows the women who pioneered in broadcasting as they head into one of the most dramatic and volatile times in the nation’s history. “WHER was the embryo of the egg,” said Sam Phillips. “We broke a barrier. There was nothing like it in the world.” This encore broadcast of one of the stories closest to our radio hearts is in honor of the women of WHER who have passed on since we interviewed them twenty years ago—Becky Phillips, Marge Thrasher, Janie Joplin, and Bettye Berger who passed on to that big radio station in the sky just last week. Bettye was a pistol. A beautiful, blonde, smart, savvy business woman, she was one of the first WHER disc jockettes—hired by Sam Phillips in 1955. Later in her career she became an artist manager and booking agent—one of the few women in the field in the 1950s and 60s. She formed her own company—Continental Talent Agency representing stars like Charlie Rich, William Bell, Ivory Joe Hunter. She launched her own record label, Bet T. Records, in 1959. And she was a songwriter—writing songs for Ivory Joe Hunter and Rufus Thomas. Bettye was a pioneer in broadcasting and in the history of Memphis rock and roll and soul. She will be missed.
January 14, 2020
The Archive House, The Listening House, The Stony Island Arts Bank, The Dorchester Projects. Theaster Gates is a keeper of Greater Grand Crossing, his neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago. He first encountered creativity in the music of Black churches on his journey to becoming an urban planner, potter, and artist. Gates creates sculptures with clay, tar, and renovated buildings, transforming the raw material of urban neighborhoods into radically reimagined vessels of opportunity for and of the community. Gates resurrects old dilapidated neighborhood buildings, transforming them into living archives, institutes of music, culture, film and gathering, preserving and renewing neighborhoods that have been ignored, overlooked and underserved. The proceeds of these unusual, imaginative endeavors are used to finance the rehabilitation of entire city blocks and the communities that inhabit them. This story was produced by Alyia Renee Yates in collaboration with The Kitchen Sisters.
December 24, 2019
For five years Davia’s father, Lenny Nelson, asked her to go to Rattlesden, England, to visit the Air Force base where he was stationed during WWII and to find an old photograph hanging in the town pub honoring his 8th Air Force squadron. It was still there, over 50 years later, he told her. Finally, one fine Sunday, Davia headed out in search of the pub and a piece of her father’s past—the piece he was proudest of. Lenny died on Christmas Eve 2015. In his honor, we share the journey with you. Samuel Shelton Robinson helped produce this story with The Kitchen Sisters. He’s from London. It seemed only right.
December 10, 2019
Since we started our intern and mentoring program in 2000, over 100 young people, ranging from age 15 to 35, have come through our doors at Kitchen Sisters Central in the historic Zoetrope building in San Francisco to work on the art and craft of audio storytelling. Many have stayed long enough to helm their own pieces and produce their first ever stories in collaboration with us. They never fail to shock and amaze. Their takes are varied, their styles singular, their voices original and provocative. About 8 years ago we had an especially eccentric group. They somehow all found their way to us in the same moment — Matt Beagle who was a stand-up comic, Patty Fung, Tess Kenner, Caroline Bins, Anne Wootton, Madalyn Fernandez, Julia DeWitt… the place was on fire. Matt was doing stand-up at the Purple Onion, the revered comedy club across the street from our North Beach office that once hosted Lenny Bruce, Woody Allen, Phyllis Diller, Richard Pryor… and everyone was going to see him. We began to envision a night of all these talented, funny, emerging producers and storytellers live onstage in an evening we would call “The Kitchen Sisters Present… Night of the Living Intern.” It happened. But only in our minds. The Purple Onion closed, the interns moved on to their first jobs and places on the staffs of some of the major news and story organizations in the country, and the evening remained a dream. Until today. This past year Josh Gross, a high school senior, took our workshop and then started showing up one, two, three times a week after school. Watching Josh and the group of interns in the room with him kicked up Night of the Living Intern once again and as Josh’s internship drew to a close we asked him to dig through some of the stories Kitchen Sisters interns had produced in the past and create a podcast. Today’s piece features excerpts from "The Queen’s Beekeeper," produced by Justine Thieriot; "21 Collections" and "Agnes Varda: Keep Faith in Art" produced in collaboration with Selene Ross; "Jason Scott: Free Range Archivist" by Juliet Gelfman Randazzo; a piece about the Israeli artist/archivist, Hadassa Goldvicht and a story called "The Other F Word" by Josh Gross.
December 5, 2019
They say the average woman dies with a pound of lipstick in her stomach. “I have a feeling when I go they’ll find five,” says Davia Nelson of The Kitchen Sisters. Along with radio and podcasting, lipstick is a bit of an obsession. Over the years of producing and fundraising for our stories, we began to merge the two and started thinking that an intriguing way to raise money for public media storytelling might just be our own line of lipstick. The Kitchen Sisters are Dreaming in Public of starting a line of lipstick, partnering with the right makeup company to raise new monies for podcast and public radio producers for stories coming from new and exciting lips. And they are dreaming of chronicling the creation of this line in a podcast series called — Lipstick Traces. Sort of a StartUp for Makeup. Ours will be a sound and story themed line of lipsticks—Sonic Boom, Phantom Power, The Truth, Room Tone, The Allusionist… Lipstick Traces—Dreaming in Public of the power of a lipstick to seed new stories from new rouged lips. Dreaming in Public is the theme of this year’s Radiotopia Fundraiser mini features. All of the podcast creators in Radiotopia’s Network are producing works about the kinds of stories we might do with enough story-making funds—funds that allow us to to go deeper and further, out on the next limb with our stories. Your support for Radiotopia, a network of 18 fiercely independent shows, makes realizing those dreams possible. Take a listen to all of the Dreaming in Public stories at radiotopia.fm. Make your mark. Support The Kitchen Sisters Present and all of your favorite Radiotopia shows. Donate at radiotopia.fm
November 26, 2019
An onstage conversation with this master filmmaker about his extraordinary documentary work. Raging Bull, Taxi Driver, Goodfellas, Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore… to name but a few. The films of Martin Scorsese are astounding. As is his effort to preserve and save the history and heritage of American cinema through The Film Foundation. Martin Scorsese is a Keeper. A steward of American and global cinema.  One of our heroes and inspirations. Beloved for his epic fiction features, Martin Scorsese’s non-fiction films are also some of his best work. Whether depicting tales of American life, illuminating the history of cinema, or capturing the exuberant spirit of contemporary music, his documentaries are insightful and often playful, revealing his curiosity and passion. And then there are his documentaries. His non-fiction films, starting with Italianamerican, a portrait of his own parents and family. The Last Waltz, Rolling Stones Shine a Light, Living in the Material World, his ode to George Harrison, My Voyage to Italy, Il Mio Viaggio a Italia, and his most recent documentary, but not quite documentary, Bob Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Review. The San Francisco Film Society invited Mr. Scorsese to San Francisco to honor his non-fiction film work and premier his latest feature, The Irishman. We were so taken with Scorsese’s onstage interview with Rachel Rosen, Director of Programming for the Festival, that we asked The Festival if we could share it on the Kitchen Sisters Present podcast. They were kind enough to say yes. Thanks to The San Francisco Film Society, to Rachel Rosen, and most of all to Martin Scorsese, film master and film keeper. The Kitchen Sisters Present is part of PRX’s Radiotopia, a network of some of the most creative independent producers and podcasts out there. Make your mark. Go to radiotopia.fm to donate today.
November 12, 2019
November 14, 1960 — Four six-year-old girls, flanked by Federal Marshals, walked through screaming crowds and policemen on horseback as they approached their new schools for the first time. Leona Tate thought it must be Mardi Gras. Gail thought they were going to kill her. Four years after the Supreme Court ruled to desegregate schools in Brown v Board of Education, schools in the south were dragging their feet. Finally, in 1960, the NAACP and a daring judge selected two schools in New Orleans to push forward with integration — McDonogh No.19 Elementary and William Frantz. An application was put in the paper. From 135 families, four girls were selected. They were given psychological tests. Their families were prepared. Members of the Louisiana Legislature took out paid advertisements in the local paper encouraging parents to boycott the schools. There were threats of violence. When the girls going to McDonogh No.19 arrived in their classroom, the white children began to disappear. One by one their parents took them out of school. For a year and a half the girls were the only children in the school. Guarded night and day, they were not allowed to play outdoors. The windows were covered with brown paper. The story of integrating the New Orleans Public schools in 1960 told by Leona Tate, Tessie Prevost Williams, and Gail Etienne Stripling, who integrated McDonogh No.19 Elementary School, and retired Deputy U.S. Marshals Herschel Garner, Al Butler, and Charlie Burks who assisted with the integration efforts at the schools. We produced this story a few years back. We want to put it out there again as part of our Keepers Series because it seems critical, particularly now, to remember and pay tribute to the many Keepers of the archives, the stories, the truth about our past and the long fight for what is fair and just.
October 22, 2019
Award winning producer Robert Krulwich talks about storytelling techniques and his early career in radio and television as part of Talking Story, a panel hosted by The Kitchen Sisters at the first Third Coast International Audio Festival in Chicago in 2001. Robert Krulwich tells the improbable story of how he first got into radio covering one of the biggest stories of the decade — the Nixon impeachment. He deconstructs one of his early pieces — Kraslansky, and talks about the danger of creating radio Part of The Keepers series, this recording is part of the Third Coast Audio Festival Archive a vast — and ever-growing — collection containing thousands of carefully curated audio stories and Third Coast Conference sessions featuring work by makers from all over the world. Robert Krulwich, co-host of the Peabody Award winning show Radiolab, serves as a science correspondent for NPR. He has worked in television and radio at ABC, CBS, NPR and Pacifica. He has created pieces for ABC’s Nightline, World News Tonight, PBS’s Frontline, NOVA and NOW with Bill Moyers. Robert won an Emmy Award for his investigative work on privacy and the Internet, as well as for his ABC special on Barbie. He lives in New York with his wife, Tamar Lewin, a national reporter forThe New York Times.
October 8, 2019
As part of The Keepers, The Kitchen Sisters series about activist archivists, rogue librarians and keepers of the truth and the free flow of information, we query Lawrence Weschler, archivist of "the odd, the marvelous, the passionate and slightly askew.” Lawrence Weschler leads us into the world of pronged ants, horned humans, mice on toast and other marvels of the mind of David Wilson and his “cabinet of wonder,” the Museum of Jurassic Technology. We take a deep dive into the discovery of a cache of thousands of reels of nitrate film stock buried under the permafrost in Dawson City, the heart of the gold rush in the Klondike, and the making of Bill Morrison’s film Frozen Time. Weschler weaves stories of memory palaces, archives of misery, the early history of museums, obsessed collectors and more. Lawrence Weschler was a staff writer for the New Yorker for 20 years. He is a contributing editor to McSweeney’s, The Threepenny Review and The Virginia Quarterly Review. He is the author of numerous books including Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonder: Pronged ants, Horned humans, Mice on Toast and other Marvels of Jurassic Technology. Seeing is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees: A Life of Contemporary Artist Robert Irwin. True to Life: Twenty Five Years of Conversation with David Hockney. Waves Passing in the Night: Water Murch in the Land of Astrophysicists. And his most recent book, How Are You, Dr. Sacks?: a Biographical Memoir of Oliver Sacks. The Kitchen Sisters Present is produced by The Kitchen Sisters, Nikki Silva & Davia Nelson, with Nathan Dalton and Brandi Howell. Special thanks to our Kitchen Sisters’ production intern Grant MacHamer, for his work on this story. The Kitchen Sisters Present is part of PRX’s Radiotopia, a curated network of some of the best podcasts around. Visit kitchensisters.org for more.
September 24, 2019
Chris Strachwitz is a man possessed. “El Fanatico,” Ry Cooder calls him. A song catcher, dedicated to recording the traditional, regional, down home music of America, his adopted home after his family left Germany at the close of WWII. Mance Lipscomb, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Mississippi Fred McDowell, Big Mama Thornton, Clifton Chenier, Rose Maddox, Flaco Jimenez… the list is long and mighty. Chris Strachwitz is a keeper. His vault is jam-packed with 78s, 33s, 45s, reel-to-reels, cassettes, videos, photographs — an archive of all manner of recordings. And an avalanche of lifetime achievement awards — from the Grammy’s, The Blues Hall of Fame, The National Endowment for the Arts – for some 60 years of recording and preserving the musical cultural heritage of this nation through his label, Arhoolie Records. Featuring interviews with Linda Ronstadt and Bonnie Raitt. “The Passion of Chris Strachwitz” was produced by The Kitchen Sisters (Nikki Silva & Davia Nelson) with Nathan Dalton and Brandi Howell, mixed by Jim McKee. For The Goethe Institute’s Big Pond series.
September 10, 2019
PBS is going to be juiced this year with two remarkable projects from The Brothers Burns — Ken and Ric. The Kitchen Sisters Present an onstage conversation with the two on Labor Day at The Telluride Film Festival. Both were there to screen their new works. On September 15, Ken comes with a new American epic, Country Music, the latest in his expansive exploration of the tangled history of this nation. Eight episodes, sixteen hours, the series covers the evolution of country music over the course of the 20th Century and the rugged, eccentric trailblazers who shaped it. The Carter Family, Jimmie Rodgers, Hank Williams, Bill Monroe, DeFord Bailey, Patsy Cline,Loretta Lynn, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Charley Pride, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton and so many more. Jammed with intimate interviews and astonishing archival footage that spans the history of this American art form. Produced over the course of ten years, as Ken and his collaborators also created The Vietnam War and The Roosevelts, Burns continues to grapple with who we are as Americans.  Eleven months younger, a filmmaker as well, Ric Burns has also been chronicling the country for decades. He too is no stranger to monumental filmmaking. Ric was in university when Ken asked him to come join him in the making of The Civil War in 1985.  He did, and they have never worked together since. On the heels of that experience Ric knew that filmmaking was his path as well. Perhaps known best for his eight-part, seventeen and a half hour series, New York: A Documentary Film and his documentaries on Coney Island, Andy Warhol, and Ansel Adams, Ric came to Telluride to screen his riveting new documentary, Oliver Sacks: His Own Life, about the renowned writer, neurologist and storyteller, whose pioneering books, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and an Anthropologist on Mars broke ground in the study of human beings in their most extreme neurological conditions. Sacks devoted his life to people who seemed as hard to reach as a human being can be, and as Ric Burns said, “He showed, God Damn it, that there’s somebody in there. You think nobody’s home, but the light’s on.” Filmed over the course of the last year of Dr. Sacks' life after he received word that he only had a few months to live, the film is also a transcendent masterclass on dying. The story of a man trying to spill his heart before the clock runs out. Ken and Ric rarely come together onstage, so this Telluride conversation is a bit of a rare gem.
August 27, 2019
In the late 1930s, during the depths of the Depression, 300 craftspeople came together for two years to build an enormous scale model of the City of San Francisco — a WPA project conceived as a way of putting artists to work and as a planning tool for the City to imagine its future. The Model was meant to remain on public view for all to see. But World War II erupted and the 6000 piece, hand carved and painted wooden model was put into storage in large wooden crates “all higgledy piggledy,” for almost 80 years. The story of this almost forgotten, three-dimensional freeze frame of the City in 1938 leads us on a journey through the streets and neighborhoods of San Francisco — contemplating the past and envisioning the future with poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti, historian Gary Kamiya, writer Maya Angelou, the current “Keeper of the Model,” Stella Lochman, and many more. In this final episode of Stories from the Model City, we visit Chinatown, Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s City Lights Bookstore, The Mission District. We ride along in the Homobile and travel to Playland at the Beach in the 1950s. And we hear more from the citizens of San Francisco about their ideas for the future of their beloved City. The Kitchen Sisters produced this story for SFMOMA’s Raw Material podcast in conjunction with their Public Knowledge program, “Take Part” in which the museum partnered with the San Francisco Public Library and artists Bik Van Der Pol to engage the community in a series of talks and events around the Model.
August 21, 2019
"Hello Kitchen Sisters, I am a rogue archivist, the archivist for Burning Man.  Come to Burning Man headquarters and I’ll show you the collection. Cheers.” — LadyBee, Archivist & Art Collection Manager, Burning Man On the night of Summer Solstice 1986, Larry Harvey and Jerry James built and burned an eight-foot wooden figure on San Francisco's Baker Beach surrounded by a handful of friends. Burning Man was born. This weekend, the 34th annual Burning Man gathering begins to assemble on a vast dry lake bed in Nevada's Black Rock Desert, the nomadic ritual's home since 1990. An estimated 80,000 people will come. How do you archive an event when one of it's driving principles is "leave no trace?" Where The Burning Man is in fact burned? What is being kept and who is keeping it? As part of The Keepers Series, The Kitchen Sisters take a journey into the archives of this legendary gathering to find out.
August 13, 2019
In the late 1930s, during the depths of the Depression, 300 craftspeople came together for two years to build an enormous scale model of the City of San Francisco — a WPA project conceived as a way of putting artists to work and as a planning tool for the City to imagine its future. The model was meant to remain on public view for all to see. But World War II erupted and the 6,000 piece, hand carved and painted wooden model was put into storage in large wooden crates “all higgledy piggledy,” for almost 80 years. The story of this almost forgotten, three-dimensional freeze frame of the City in 1938 leads us on a journey through the streets and neighborhoods of San Francisco — contemplating the past and envisioning the future with poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti, historian Gary Kamiya, writer Maya Angelou, the current “Keeper of the model,” Stella Lochman, and many more. In this episode, part two of three, the San Francisco model triggers stories of urban development and identity in a city poised on the edge of the continent, built on landfill, steep hills, and the dreams of immigrants and pioneers. We visit the Fillmore, Irish Hill, North Beach. We hear stories of The Glen Park Freeway Revolt and a plan to pave over the Bay. The Kitchen Sisters produced this story for SFMOMA’s Raw Material podcast in conjunction with their Public Knowledge program, “Take Part” in which the museum partnered with the San Francisco Public Library and artists Bik Van Der Pol to engage the community in a series of talks and events around the model.
July 23, 2019
In the late 1930s, during the depths of the Depression, 300 craftspeople came together for two years to build an enormous scale model of the City of San Francisco—a WPA project conceived as a way of putting artists to work and as a planning tool for the City to imagine its future. The Model was meant to remain on public view for all to see. But World War II erupted and the 6,000 piece, hand carved and painted wooden model was put into storage in large wooden crates “all higgledy piggledy,” for almost 80 years. The story of this almost forgotten, three-dimensional freeze frame of the City in 1938 leads us on a journey through the streets and neighborhoods of San Francisco — contemplating the past and envisioning the future with poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti, historian Gary Kamiya, writer Maya Angelou, the current “Keeper of the Model,” Stella Lochman, and many more. In Part One we travel to the Golden Gate Exposition on Treasure Island where the model was first put on display in 1939. We visit Angel Island with SF Jazz Poet Laureate Genny Lim where her father and other Chinese immigrants were once detained. We ride along with bicycle historians Chris Carlsson and LisaRuth Elliott of Shaping San Francisco as they visit the 1938 model on display at libraries throughout the City. We hear from geographer Gray Brechin who helped save the model from the dumpster at UC Berkeley, and from the Dutch artists, Bik van der Pol, who imagined bringing this this gigantic object back to the people of San Francisco to stimulate conversations and ideas about the future of this City. The Kitchen Sisters produced this story for SFMOMA’s Raw Material podcast in conjunction with their Public Knowledge program, “Take Part” in which the museum partnered with the San Francisco Public Library and artists Bik Van Der Pol to engage the community in a series of talks and events around the Model.
July 8, 2019
Nancy Pearl—she’s been called “one of the 10 coolest librarians alive.” She’s the bestselling author of “Book Lust: Recommended Reading for Every Mood, Moment and Reason,” and a regular commentator about books on NPR’s Morning Edition. She’s the creator of the much loved and imitated If All Seattle Read The Same Book project, encouraging everyone in the city to read the same book at the same time. And then, of course, there’s the Nancy Pearl Librarian Action Figure with amazing push-button shushing action. A brilliant and entertaining storyteller, Nancy reveals how she became the “five-inch tall, plastic, non biodegradable librarian action figure with amazing push button shushing action.” She talks about her childhood library in Detroit—how it changed her life and provided refuge from her dysfunctional family. She gives tips on how to select books for people, and explains her Rule of 50 about when to give up on reading a book. She also talks about how “our leaders should be readers.” Raised in Detroit, Michigan, Nancy earned her master’s in library science at the University of Michigan and became a children’s librarian at her hometown library. She moved to Oklahoma with her husband, professor Joe Pearl, and raised two daughters while earning a masters degree in history. In Tulsa she worked in an independent book store and the Tulsa City-County Library System. In 1993 she was recruited to join the Seattle Library where she later became executive director of the the library system’s Washington Center for the Book. In addition to Book Lust, Nancy is the author of several other books including: Now Read This: A Guide to Mainstream Fiction 1978–1998 (and Now Read This II 1990-2001); Book Crush: For Kids and Teens; Book Lust To Go, Recommended Reading for Travelers, Vagabonds, and Dreamers; and her novel, George and Lizzie. Among her many awards, including the Library Journal’s 2011 Librarian of the Year Award, Nancy Pearl is the recipient of the coveted Kitchen Sisters’ Keeper of the Day Award (and trophy) presented at the American Library Association’s Conference in January 2019, at a special party sponsored by EveryLibrary, the national political action committee dedicated to the future of libraries, and bibliotheca, which connects libraries and their communities in new and effective ways. Nancy Pearl Librarian Action Figure is part of The Kitchen Sisters’ series, The Keepers, about activist archivists, rogue librarians, historians, collectors, curators —keepers of the truth and the free flow of information. Heard on NPR’s Morning Edition, on The Kitchen Sisters Present podcast, and at kitchensisters.org. The Kitchen Sisters Present is part of PRX’s Radiotopia, a collective of some of the best podcasts and audio storytellers on earth.
June 25, 2019
“From the very beginning the intent was that the American people needed to be able to access the records so that we would be able to hold the government accountable for its actions.” David Ferriero We talk with David Ferriero, the 10th Archivist of the United States, about the the beginnings of the National Archives under Franklin Roosevelt, stories of early “Keepers” like Stephen Pleasonton, a brave civil servant who saved the Constitution and Declaration of Independence as the British burned Washington during the War of 1812, and the Map Thief who utilized dental floss to steal treasures from presidential libraries and special collections. Ferriero talks of some of his favorite artifacts in the National Archives — a letter from Fidel Castro to President Roosevelt requesting a $10 dollar bill, and a letter from Annie Oakley to William McKinley volunteering to rally 50 women sharp shooters to fight in the Spanish Civil War. Selected as Archivist of the United States in 2010 by President Obama during the time of his Open Government Initiative, Ferriero has worked to make the system more transparent and accessible to the public. He talks about his early career and influences — from his first library experiences in a tiny branch housed in a flower shop in North Beverley Massachusetts, to serving as Director of the New York Public Library. With a collection of about 13 billion pieces of paper, 43 million photographs and miles and miles of film and video and about 6 billion electronic records, Ferriero believes “we are responsible for documenting what is going on.” He says, “I think my favorite times are twice a year when we do naturalization ceremonies in the Rotunda and between 50 and 200 new citizens are sworn in in front of the Constitution. Just to see them experiencing the documents outlining the rights that are now theirs. Those are powerful moments.”
June 11, 2019
Dieter Koslick is is one of the film world’s most gregarious, hilarious and controversial Film Festival Directors. He’s put his stamp on the legendary Berlin Film Festival for 18 years and kicked up a lot of dust in the process. The Kitchen Sisters Present a portrait of Dieter, who celebrated his last Festival in 2019, and the Berlinale's dramatic history. The Berlin International Film Festival, features some 400 films across 14 theaters across 10 days. The Festival unfolds across the first weeks of February and Berlin’s piercing cold is legend. For 18 years Dieter Kosslick, in his black Fedora and red wool scarf on the red carpet at theaters around the city, has been welcoming filmmakers and filmgoers from around the globe to film screenings  film screenings that provoke, pay homage, compete, ignite.
May 28, 2019
It may come as no surprise but Bob Dylan is a Keeper. Bob and his team have been archiving his music, notebooks, paintings and journey for some five decades. Thousands of artifacts comprise this collection of American treasure. Bob kept just about everything — a massive private archive of a notoriously private person housed in storage facilities in New York, Minneapolis, Malibu and Jersey. So it made headlines when word got out that this secret archive had been sold and was headed to its new permanent, public home in Tulsa, Oklahoma. A curveball nobody saw coming. Some archives are for scholars — devotees of a writer, scientist or historical figure. Some archives are tourist attractions. Few are part of a vision for the civic rejuvenation of a once thriving American city. Today, The Kitchen Sisters Present… The Bob Dylan Archive: A Curveball Comes To Tulsa, produced by The Kitchen Sisters — Davia Nelson & Nikki Silva, in collaboration with Olivia Ware and Samuel Shelton Robinson.
May 13, 2019
In celebration of National Barbecue Month, which is every month in our book, stories from C.B. “Stubb” Stubblefield and his Blues Cookbook Cassette, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Joe Nick Patoski, Robb Walsh, Tom T. Hall, Willie Nelson’s bass player Bee Spears and more.
April 22, 2019
On the gang-ridden streets of Chamelecon in Honduras, artists are protected and respected — exempt from the ongoing war that is driving families to leave their homes and seek asylum in the US. Producer Scott Carrier, under the protection of a hip hop artist, takes us to the outskirts of San Pedro Sula, a city known in 2014 as the Murder Capital of the World. This story is part of Home of the Brave, a podcast produced by Scott Carrier.
April 8, 2019
Today we honor pioneering filmmaker Agnés Varda, part of the French New Wave of the 1960s, who died on March 29, 2019 at home at age 90. Varda broke ground in many mediums — features, documentaries, photography and art installations. Her work often focused on feminist issues and social commentary with a distinctive experimental style. One of her most recent films “Faces Places,” a collaboration with the activist French photographer JR, was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary. Agnés herself received an honorary Oscar for her life’s work in 2017 and recently the Berlin Film Festival honored her with their highest award. We interviewed Agnés for our story about Henri Langlois and the Cinémathèque Française, part of “The Keepers,” series — stories of activist archivists and rogue librarians. Today, the Kitchen Sisters Present a short commemoration we produced for NPR and the full interview Davia did with her in her home in Paris in 2017.
March 26, 2019
Lawrence Ferlinghetti, the famed poet of North Beach, San Francisco, creator of City Lights Bookstore, publisher of the beat poets of the 1950s and 60s, champion of free speech and First Amendment rights. Lawrence is turning 100 this year, and we’re celebrating. From an Arbor Day tree planting ceremony in honor of Lawrence across the street from Via Ferlinghetti in North Beach featuring Alice Waters, SF Supervisor Aaron Peskin, and the Italian Consul General — to a sound rich journey with Lawrence to his cabin in Bixby Canyon, Big Sur produced by sound designer Jim McKee — poems, stories and deep history surround this legendary poet and activist celebrating a wild century of life.
March 11, 2019
As part of our series, The Keepers, The Kitchen Sisters Present an episode of the New York Public Library’s podcast The Librarian Is In featuring Eric Klinenberg, author of Palaces for the People about the power and promise of the public library and its critical role in the future of our society. Eric Klinenberg believes that the future of democratic societies rests not simply on shared values but on shared spaces: the libraries, childcare centers, bookstores, churches, synagogues places where people gather and linger, making friends across group lines and strengthening the entire community. In his book, Palaces for the People: How Social Infrastructure Can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization, and the Decline of Civic Life, Klinenberg calls this the “social infrastructure.” When it is strong, neighborhoods flourish; when it is neglected, as it has been in recent years, families and individuals must fend for themselves. Special thanks to The Librarian Is In, the New York Public Library's podcast about books, culture, and what to read next. Gwen Glazer and Frank Collerius interview guests, discuss the books they're reading, pop culture and the literary zeitgeist, and the world of libraries. If you enjoyed this podcast, please write a review on iTunes. It's a great way to help new listeners discover the show. And please say hello on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. For more information about The Kitchen Sisters — our podcast, our NPR stories, our events, our workshops, our T-shirt, and other news from The Kitchen Sisterhood — visit kitchensisters.org and sign up for our Newsletter.
February 21, 2019
Filmmaker Wim Wenders talks about his early influences — Cinémathèque Française, Henri Langlois, Lotte Eisner — and tells stories of Werner Herzog and the films that have impacted his work. Ernst Wilhelm “Wim” Wenders, filmmaker, playwright, author, photographer, is a major figure in New German Cinema and global cinema. His films include Paris, Texas, Wings of Desire, The American Friend, Alice in the Cities, Kings of the Road, Buena Vista Social Club, Pope Francis: A Man of His Word, Pina, Until the End of the World, and many more. We were gathering interviews for The Keepers story, Archive Fever: Henri Langlois and the Cinémathèque Française, about one of the earliest and most important film archives in the world, started in Paris in the 1930s, still thriving today. When we dug in to the filmmakers that had been shaped by this archive and its eccentric archivist, along with all of the French New Wave — Truffaut, Godard, etc. — surfaced the name of a filmmaker we have long admired, whose movies open the door of the lonely, the mystical, the musical, the landscape, with performances that tear your heart. Wim Wenders. In our interview with Wim he told us about the impact Henri Langlois and the Cinémathèque had on his own filmmaking, but then the stories began to move in new directions — Lotte Eisner, Werner Herzog, and more. On the eve of the Academy Awards — an award Wim Wenders has been nominated for 3 times — we share his story. Produced by Vika Aronson and The Kitchen Sisters. Mixed by Jim McKee. Special thanks to Tom Luddy, Robb Moss, Homi Bhabha, Haden Guest, Sophia Hoffinger, Brandi Howell and Nathan Dalton. And most of all, to Wim Wenders who has inspired us across the years. If you enjoyed this podcast, please write a review on iTunes. It's a great way to help new listeners discover the show. And please say hello on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. For more information about The Kitchen Sisters — our podcast, our NPR stories, our events, our workshops, our T-shirt, and other news from The Kitchen Sisterhood — visit kitchensisters.org and sign up for our Newsletter.
February 11, 2019
Best selling author Linda Spalding is a keeper. A keeper of her family history, a keeper of words, a keeper of truth. In this episode of The Kitchen Sisters Present, Spalding reads from her new book and talks about how discovering her family's dark history as slave holders inspired her novels A Reckoning and The Purchase. “Writing historical fiction is a mug’s game,” says Spalding. “Are we recreating the past, or creating it? While writing, I am imagining things that never happened, trying to make it seem like they did, like they were part of the actual pageant of history, like they make as much sense as the history we all learned in school, some of which was also a fiction. While writing, I am leaning backward from my 21st century chair and hoping to smell things that no longer even exist, to create medicines and foods and conversations I have never heard or seen or tasted." Other books by award winning author Linda Spalding include Who Named the Knife, The Paper Wife, Daughters of Captain Cook, A Dark Place in the Jungle, Mere and Brick a literary magazine she and a group of Canadian writers have been publishing for years. Born in Topeka, Kansas she lived in Mexico and Hawaii before moving to Toronto in 1982. She has two daughters, Esta and Kristin Spalding, from her first marriage to photographer Philip Spalding. She is currently married to Canadian novelist Michael Ondaajte. A professor of English and writing, Spadling has taught at several universities including University of Hawaii, New York University, University of Toronto. She was writer in residence at Brown University and has taught creative writing at Humber College’s School for Writers.
January 22, 2019
Melvil Dewey, the father of library science and the inventor of the most popular library classification system in the world, was a known racist and serial sexual harasser. Forced out of the American Library Association, which he co-founded, his 19th century world view and biases are reflected in the classification system that libraries around the world have inherited. Molly Schwartz of the Metropolitan New York Library Council and producer of the podcast Library Bytegeist visits Bard High School Early College in Queens to find out about how students there are rebelling against the Dewey Decimal System. She also talks with Greg Cotton (Cornell College), Barbara Fister (Gustavus Adolphus College), and Dorothy Berry (Umbra Search Project).
January 8, 2019
Folklorist and Professor Bill Ferris, a Grammy nominee this year for his "Voices of Mississippi" 3 CD Box set, has committed his life to documenting and expanding the study of the American South. His recordings, photos and films of preachers, quilt makers, blues musicians and more are now online as part of the Southern Folklife Collection at the University of North Carolina. Bill Ferris grew up on a farm in Warren County, Mississippi along the Black River. His family, the only white family on the farm, worked side by side with the African Americans in the fields. When he was five, a woman named Mary Gordon would take him every first Sunday to Rose Hill Church, the small African American church on the farm. When Bill was a teenager he got a reel-to-reel tape recorder and started recording the hymns and services. “ I realized that the beautiful hymns were sung from memory—there were no hymnals in the church—and that when those families were no longer there, the hymns would simply disappear.” These recordings led Bill to a lifetime of documenting the world around him—preachers, workers, storytellers, men in prison, quilt makers, the blues musicians living near his home (including the soon-to-be well known Mississippi Fred McDowell). Bill became a prolific author, folklorist, filmmaker, professor, and served as chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities. He is a professor of history at UNC–Chapel Hill and an adjunct professor in the Curriculum in Folklore. He served as the founding director of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi, where he was a faculty member for 18 years. He is associate director of the Center for the Study of the American South. Bill’s has written and edited 10 books and created 15 documentary films, most dealing with African-American music and other folklore representing the Mississippi Delta. His thousands of photographs, films, audio interviews, and recordings of musicians are now online in the William R. Ferris Collection, part of the Southern Folklife Collection at the University of North Carolina. This story was produced by Barrett Golding with The Kitchen Sisters for The Keepers series.
December 11, 2018
Paper airplanes, photographs of men in rows, birds nests, gay bar matchbooks, dolls hats —an untraditional take on what warrants our attention. As part of The Kitchen Sisters’ series THE KEEPERS, we wander through a curated collection of collections at the Los Angeles Central Library examining the role collections play in telling our stories. As research for this project, Curator Todd Lerew visited over 600 museums, libraries, archives, and public and private collections, identifying those he felt told the most compelling and memorable stories. We also hear from callers to THE KEEPERS HOT LINE —The Unofficial Archivist of Mt. Everest—Elizabeth Hawley; The Radio Haiti Archive; 19th & 20th century women scientists at Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics Glass Plate Collection; Christian Schwartz, 21st century naturalist and collector; Bobby Fulcher recorder and keeper of traditional rural Tennessee folk music and more.
December 4, 2018
We've got something extra for you today as part of the Radiotopia fundraiser that is happening now. You can join the Radiotopia community and support The Kitchen Sisters Present... and all of your favorite shows in this beautiful network at radiotopia.fm. And while you're doing that, here's a little gift from us. A special Radiotopia "Hear the World Differently" bonus feature from our series, The Keepers: The Free-Range Archivist: Jason Scott.
November 27, 2018
After a devastating car accident that made his work as a janitor impossible, civil rights activist Eddie McCoy, picked up a scavenged tape recorder and began taping anyone and everyone in his town—from the oldest person on down—piecing together the little known history of the African American community in Oxford, North Carolina. Hidden stories of slavery times, sharecropping, the civil rights era and more. Eddie McCoy’s recordings and interviewing style are like no others. With energy and passion, Eddie documented the lives of teachers, railroad workers, doctors sharecroppers in his community as far back as the end of the 19th century. A self-taught historian and avid researcher, he jokes cajoles, and sympathizes with his interviewees drawing out candid stories that provide a window into life in small, southern tobacco town of some 10,000 people. McCoy’s more than 140 interviews have become part of the Southern Oral History Project at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His story is part of The Kitchen Sisters series “The Keepers” — stories of activist archivists, rogue librarians, curators, collectors and historians. Keepers of the culture and the cultures and collections they keep. Guardians of history, large and small, protectors of the free flow of information and ideas.
November 13, 2018
Deep in the hidden archives of Harvard’s Houghton Library are the butter stained recipes of Emily Dickinson. Who knew? Emily Dickinson was better known by most as a baker than a poet in her lifetime. In this story a beautiful line up of “Keepers”— dedicated archivists, librarians, historians, Thornton Wilder, Patti Smith, and more—lead us through the complex labyrinth of Emily Dickinson’s hidden kitchen. A world of black cake, gingerbread, slant rhyme, secret loves, family scandals, and poems composed on the backs of coconut cake recipes and chocolate wrappers.
October 23, 2018
One of the most controversial, outspoken men of the last century, comedian Lenny Bruce spent much of his life in court defending his freedom of speech and First Amendment rights. His provocative social commentary and “verbal jazz” offended mainstream culture and resulted in countless arrests on obscenity and other charges. Over the decades, since his death from a heroin overdose in1966, Lenny’s only child Kitty Bruce, became his keeper, gathering and preserving everything related to her father’s life. We follow the saga of this collection from daughter Kitty's attic — to archivist, Sarah Shoemaker, who drove a van to Kitty’s house in Pennsylvania to gather this historic collection to take to Brandeis University. With the help of an endowment from Bruce's long time friend and supporter Hugh Hefner, creator of Playboy Magazine, and his daughter Christie Heffner, the collection is now cataloged and open for use by all. The archive comes alive in the story of this brilliant, pioneering, complicated man who paved the way for comedians like George Carlin, Richard Pryor and Lewis Black.
October 9, 2018
Keepers: people possessed with a passion for preservation, individuals afflicted with a bad case of Archive Fever. The Keepers continues with the story of one such man, Henri Langlois, founder and curator of one of the world’s great film archives, the Cinémathèque Française. Henri Langlois never made a single film — but he's considered one of the most important figures in the history of filmmaking. Possessed by what French philosopher Jacques Derrida called "archive fever," Langlois begin obsessively collecting films in the 1930s — and by the outset of World War II, he had one of the largest film collections in the world. The archive's impact on the history of French cinema is legendary — as is the legacy of its controversial keeper.
September 24, 2018
During the Depression, those horrible years after 1929, the Appalachians were hit hard. Coal mines were being shut down. Many people were living in dire poverty with no hope. In 1936, as part of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, the Kentucky WPA began to hire pack horse librarians, mostly women, to carry books to isolated cabins, rural school houses and homebound coalminers. The routes were rugged and treacherous. The “bookwomen” followed creek beds and fence routes through summer heat and frozen winters — their saddlebags and pillowcases stuffed with Robinson Crusoe, Women’s Home Companion, Popular Mechanics. Many people were illiterate and the women often stayed and read to them. The pay was $28 a month. Each woman was required to supply her own horse or mule, their food and boarding. When the program closed in 1943 as America entered World War II, nearly one thousand pack horse librarians had served 1.5 million people in 48 Kentucky counties.
September 5, 2018
This is the first episode in our new series THE KEEPERS—stories of activist archivists, rogue librarians, curators, collectors and historians—Keepers of the culture and the cultures and collections they keep. We begin at The Hip Hop Archive and Research Center at Harvard. In the late 1990’s the students of Dr. Marcyliena Morgan, Professor of Linguistics at UCLA, started falling by her office, imploring her to listen to hip hop. They wanted her to hear this new underground sound and culture being created, the word play, the rhyming, the rapping. They wanted her to help them begin to archive this new medium. “Hip Hop *is *an archive," they told her. Dr. Morgan wasn’t an archivist and she didn’t listen to hip hop. But she listened to her students and saw a new kind of soundtrack emerging from the cracks. Bit by bit she opened her office and her resources and began to collect the history and material culture of hip hop. Some 15 years later the Archive has gone from her office at UCLA to Harvard, where she and Professor Henry Louis Gates founded The Hiphop Archive & Research Institute at the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute whose mission is to “facilitate and encourage the pursuit of knowledge, art, culture, scholarship and responsible leadership through Hiphop.” Along with gathering everything about hip hop for preservation and study, the Archive created the Nasir Jones Fellowship for scholarly research in the field, named for Nas, one of hip hop’s titans, and the “Classic Crates Project,” a collection that aims to archive 200 seminal hip hop albums in the same Harvard music library that houses the works of Mozart, Bertolt Brecht and Edith Piaf. The first four—Nas’ “Illmatic,” “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill,” Kendrick Lamar’s “To Pimp a Butterfly” and “The Low End Theory” by a Tribe Called Quest have been inducted into the University’s Loeb Music Library. You’ll hear from Professor Marcyliena Morgan, Nas, Professor Henry Louis Gates, Nas Fellow Patrick Douthit aka 9th Wonder, The Hip Hop Fellows working at the Archive, an array of Harvard Archivists, and students studying at the Archive and the records, music and voices being preserved there. And we take a look at the Cornell University Hip Hop Collection, founded in 2007, through a sampling of stories from Assistant Curator Jeff Ortiz, Johan Kugelberg author of “Born in the Bronx,” and hip hop pioneers Grandmaster Caz, Pebblee Poo, Roxanne Shante and more.
August 28, 2018
In 2000 we received a call to the NPR Lost & Found Sound Hotline from Willard Mayes, a member of the Antique Fan Collectors Association, who was concerned about the vanishing sound of electric fans. Willard leads Jay Allison, Curator and “Keeper” of the Quest for Sound Hotline, to the Vornado Fan factory, Michael Coup and the Antique Fan Museum, where passionate collectors can tell the make, model and year of a fan by its whir. Also, NPR producer Art Silverman plunges into the sound collection of one of America’s giant corporations — AT&T — exploring how this one-time monopoly chronicled its own history and sold itself to America.
August 14, 2018
Fish mongers recorded on the streets of Harlem in the 1930s. An 8-year-old girl’s impromptu news cast made on a toy recorder in a San Diego store. Lyndon Johnson talking to FBI director J. Edgar Hoover a week after President Kennedy’s assassination in 1963. Sounds lost and found. As The Kitchen Sisters prepare to launch their new series The Keepers, about activist archivists, rogue librarians, curators, collectors, historians and the collections they keep—they re-visit their own “accidental archive” of recordings amassed over the years. And Voices from the Dust Bowl, produced by Peabody Award winning producer Barrett Golding for the Lost & Found Sound series. In the 1930s, hundreds of thousands of people from Oklahoma and Arkansas traveled to California, fleeing the dust storms and poverty of the Depression. In the summer of 1940, Charles Todd was hired by the Library of Congress to visit the federal camps where many of these migrants lived, to create an audio oral history of their stories. Todd carried a 50-pound Presto recorder from camp to camp that summer, interviewing the migrant workers. He made hundreds of hours of recordings on acetate and cardboard discs. Todd was there at the same time that John Steinbeck was interviewing many of the same people in these camps, for research on a new novel called "The Grapes of Wrath." Producer Barrett Golding went though this massive, rare collection of Todd's recordings to create this story of the Dust Bowl refugees narrated by Charles Todd.
July 23, 2018
The story of the birth of the Grand Ole Opry on radio station WSM in Nashville, TN and the story of “Harmonica Wizard” DeFord Bailey, the Opry’s first African American performer. WSM’s most popular show, the Grand Ole Opry, the longest running radio show in the US, started in 1925 as the WSM Barn Dance featuring a wealth of talent from the hills of Tennessee and all around the rural south—Uncle Dave Macon “The Dixie Dewdrop,” Roy Acuff and His Smokey Mountain Boys, Minnie Pearl and hundreds of others performed on the wildly popular Saturday night show. Starting in 1928, the legendary “Harmonica Wizard” DeFord Bailey was on the show more often than any other person. In fact, one of DeFord’s most popular pieces, Pan American Blues, inspired the announcer to dub the show The Grand Ole Opry. DeFord suffered from polio as a child and started playing the harmonica when he was 3 years old. Four-and-a-half feet tall, always impeccably dressed in a suit, he had the uncanny ability of imitating and incorporating sounds into his harmonica playing—trains, animals, fox hunts. Because it was radio, the audience was unaware DeFord was the only African American among the all-white cast. But when he toured with the other Opry stars he could not stay in the same hotels or eat in the same restaurants. He had to sleep in the car. Sometimes Uncle Dave Macon would haul the back seat out of his car and tell the hotel DeFord was his valet so he could sleep inside his room. The Pan American passenger train is a through line in this story. When we were working on Lost & Found Sound, a series about the history of recorded sound, we got a letter from a listener who said that “no collection of sounds from the 20th century” would be complete without the sound of the Pan American passenger train. Every night at 5:08 pm from August 1933 until June 1945, listeners to the 50,000 watt WSM radio station would hear the live sound of the Pan American, Louisville and Nashville’s passenger train, as it passed the station’s transmitter tower. They actually had a guy out there holding a mic recording the train every night at 5:08—avid listeners all across the south and Midwest would set their clocks by it. So we followed up on the sound. We went to Nashville to the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Country Music Foundation, where there are some real Keepers and Collectors of Sounds and stories. And as usual, stories beget stories… the sound of the Pan American train whistle and Radio station WSM led us to the story of the birth of the Grand Ole Opry, the oldest continuing running radio program… which led us to the remarkable story of the Grand Ole Opry’s first (and for many years only) African American performer, Harmonica Wizard Deford Bailey.
July 9, 2018
The dramatic stories of three pioneering “Keepers” and environmental activists—Ken Sleight, Katie Lee, and Mark Dubois and the damming of wild rivers in the west. Ken Sleight is a long time river and pack guide and activist in southern Utah who fought the damming of Glen Canyon and filling of Lake Powell from 1956-1966. An inspiration for Edward Abbey’s, Monkey Wrench Gang, Sleight is currently working on the campaign to remove Glen Canyon Dam. Katie Lee, born in 1917, a former Hollywood starlet, ran the Colorado River through Glen Canyon long before it was dammed, and in 1955 was the 175th person to run the Grand Canyon. An outspoken conservationist, singer and writer, she spent her life fighting for rivers. Mark Dubois, co-founder of Friends of the River, Earth Day and International Rivers Network, began as a river guide who opened up rafting trips to disabled people in the 1970s. Dubois protested the damming and flooding of the Stanislaus River by hiding himself in the river canyon and chaining himself to a rock as the water rose in 1979.
June 25, 2018
Russians preparing dinner for Americans in space? Sounds good to us. There’s been a lot of jabber these days about creating a “Space Force,” a sixth branch of the US military to dominate outer space. Over the years we’ve talked with astronauts about what it’s like up there - about the food they eat and the teams they work with daily while orbiting the earth. It turns out they have other ideas about what can happen in space, like educating our youth and “gastrodipolmacy”— the use of food as a diplomatic tool to help resolve conflicts and foster connections between nations. NASA astronaut Bill McArthur talks about the power of sharing meals with Russian Cosmonaut Valery Korzu during their six months together on the Space Station. South Korea’s first astronaut, Astronaut Soyeon Yi, describes Kimchi Diplomacy in space, the Korean government’s efforts to invent kimchi for space travel, and the special Korean meal she prepared for her Russian comrades in orbit. Soyeon Yi, one of 36,000 applicants, became South Korea’s first astronaut in 2008. She talks about how she was selected and about the power of food: “Having kimchi in space, you are far from your home planet,” she says. “When you eat your own traditional food it makes you feel emotionally supported. I can feel my home.”
June 12, 2018
The Agave Goddess with 200 breasts; jimadors stripping lethal thorny leaves off agaves; farmers battling cambio climatico (climate change); distillers contemplating mono-culture production and the environmental impact of tequila; generations-old tequila makers versus globalization. Stories of tequila from the Tequila Region in Mexico and beyond. Tequila does not only mean alcohol—it means Mexico’s culture, history and future. The biggest tequila companies are not Mexican anymore. They are internationally owned. The Tequila Chamber of Commerce is helping producers promote the drink. They are expected to sell millions and millions of liters to China in the future. Guillermo Erikson Sauza, the fifth generation to make tequila in his family talks about how his grandfather unexpectedly sold the company in 1978 and how he has worked to build up a small a distillery making his Fortaleza brand in the traditional way. And Carmen Villareal, a tequilera, one of the few women in Mexico to run a Tequila company—Tequila San Matais, now 127 years old. And Mariano Martinez, from a fourth generation family restaurant business in Dallas,Texas. How he developed the first frozen margarita machine in 1971, based on the 7-Eleven Slurpee machine, using a soft serve ice cream maker "suped up like a car." The machine is now at the Smithsonian.
May 22, 2018
In 1983 Prince hired LA sound technician, Susan Rogers, one of the few women in the industry, to move to Minneapolis and help upgrade his home recording studio as he began work on the album and the movie Purple Rain. Susan, a trained technician with no sound engineering experience became the engineer of Purple Rain, Parade, Sign o’ the Times, and all that Prince recorded for the next four years. For those four years, and almost every year after, Prince recorded at least a song a day and they worked together for 24 hours, 36 hours, 96 hours at a stretch, layering and perfecting his music and his hot funky sound. We interviewed Susan, who is now a Professor at the Berklee School of Music in Boston, for our upcoming NPR series, The Keepers — about activist archivists, rogue librarians, collectors, curators and historians. It was Susan who started Prince’s massive archive during her time with the legendary artist.
May 7, 2018
In the early 1970’s, radio producer and author Studs Terkel wrote a book called Working. He went around the country with a reel-to-reel tape recorder interviewing people about their jobs. The book became a bestseller and even inspired a Broadway musical. Working struck a nerve, because it elevated the stories of ordinary people and their daily lives. Studs celebrated the un-celebrated. Radio Diaries and their partner Project& were given exclusive access to these recordings, which were boxed up and stored away after the book was published. Stories of a private investigator, a union worker, a telephone operator, a a hotel piano player, and more. As The Kitchen Sisters warm up for our new series “The Keepers,” stories of activist archivists, rogue librarians, historians, collectors, curators —keepers of the culture—we share these stories gathered by the ultimate Keeper —Studs Terkel.
April 23, 2018
Mimi Chakarova is a Bulgarian-American filmmaker, photographer, journalism professor, activist, immigrant and single mother. Her documentary “Men a Love Story” premiered at the Telluride Film Festival in 2017 where Davia Nelson of The Kitchen Sisters interviewed her on stage. How can you not be mesmerized by a woman who makes a film called “The Price of Sex,” about women throughout Eastern Europe who are pushed into prostitution and who goes underground into that world herself to document the story. “I didn't intend to spend more than a year covering human trafficking,” says Mimi. It ended up taking a decade. “I didn't intend on reporting in more than two countries,” she says. “So, how did I end up in nine?” Mimi said, “Before my trips my mom used to ask, ‘It took us so many years to get out of poverty, why do you keep returning there?’ I would sit in her kitchen and the only answer that would come to mind was, it was so damn familiar.” Now Mimi has a new series of documentaries, “Still I Rise,” premiering online Friday, April 27th at stillirisefilms.org. “Still I Rise” is a short film series whose title pays homage to Maya Angelou's famous poem. It features individuals who've journeyed from the depths of hardship and struggle and have come out the other side. As an immigrant herself Mimi creates a platform where other immigrants can tell their own stories and show how even in the face of adversity they fight to rise.
April 9, 2018
Jorge Amado, the beloved Brazilian author of Gabriella, Clove and Cinnamon, Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands, Tent of Miracles – wrote over 30 books in his lifetime. His works have been translated into 49 languages and adapted for film, television, and theater. In 1984, The Kitchen Sisters interviewed Jorge Amado, his wife  Zelia Gattai, Brazilian composer and singer Dorival Caymmi,  and singer and activist Harry Belafonte as part of the NPR series “Faces Mirrors Masks – 20th Century Latin American Fiction.” The Ballad of Bahia explores the life and writings of the author through interviews, music and readings and dramatizations of his work.
March 27, 2018
In honor of poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti's 99th birthday we celebrate with River’s of Memory, produced by Jim McKee of Earwax Productions. Over the last 20 years, Jim McKee has been chronicling Lawrence and Lawrence’s good friend radio dramatist Erik Bauersfeld (voice of Star Wars' Admiral Ackbar). Set to a rich soundscape that travels throughout San Francisco, the piece features poetry, interviews, and overheard conversations about Ferlinghetti’s life, work, the San Francisco beat culture, Ferlinghetti’s fight for First Amendment rights and more. Lawrence Ferlinghetti, opened City Lights bookstore in 1953, one of the first paperback bookstores. He also began publishing the Pocket Poet Series featuring poems by Beat Poets of the 1950s and 60s. In 1956 he published “Howl and Other Poems,” by Allen Ginsberg and was brought to trial on obscenity charges. The landmark first amendment case paved the way for the publication of other “banned books.”
March 12, 2018
Two-time Academy Award winning actress Frances McDormand hosts Hidden Kitchens—secret, underground, below the radar cooking—how communities come together through food. Stories of NASCAR Kitchens, Hunting and Gathering with Angelo Garro, listeners calls to the Hidden Kitchens hotline and more. **NASCAR Kitchens—Feed the Speed: Behind every car race is a kitchen—hidden in the crew pit, or tucked between the hauler and the trailer of the trucks that transport NASCAR and Indy cars from city to city. Public radio listener Jon Wheeler cooks for the drivers, haulers, pit crews, sponsors and owners on the racing circuit. He called the Hidden Kitchens hotline line to tell us about his world. **Hunting & Gathering with Angelo Garro: Blacksmith, Angelo Garro forges and forages, recreating in wrought iron and in cooking the life he left behind in Sicily. The Kitchen Sisters join Garro along the coast of Northern California as he follows the seasons, harvesting the wild for his kitchen and his friends.
February 27, 2018
A sound portrait of Cuban writer Guillermo Cabrera Infante, a one-time leader in the Cuban cultural revolution who fell from favor and went into exile in London in 1965. Intense and compelling, Cabrera Infante was passionate about cinema, satire, puns, tongue twisters, and about his lost love — Cuba. In 1967 he wrote his best-known work—Three Trapped Tigers—a steamy, experimental journey into 1950s nightlife in Havana. In the 1970s he suffered a massive mental breakdown and was treated with electroshock and lithium. He was the author of over a dozen books, translated James Joyce’s Dubliners into Spanish, and wrote a screenplay adaptation of Under Volcano and the script for the film Vanishing Point. Cabrera Infante’s cinematic, jazz-like writing, comes to life in this story rich with music and interviews with cinematographer Nestor Almendros, painter Jesse Fernandez, activist Saul Landau, and the writer himself. Actors Lazaro Perez, and Ilka Tanya Payan are heard in dramatizations from Cabrera Infante's acclaimed novel, "Tres Triestes Tigres." Cabrera Infante lived in London with his wife Miriam Gomez until his death in 2005. Produced by The Kitchen Sisters as part of NPR’s series Faces, Mirrors, Masks: Twentieth Century Latin American Fiction.
February 13, 2018
Jelly Roll Morton talks of being a “Spy Boy” in the Mardi Gras Indian parades of his youth. Bo Dollis, of the Wild Magnolias, tells of sewing his suit of feathers and beads all night long. Tootie Montana masks for the first time after Mardi Gras started up again after being cancelled during World War II. Big Queen Ausettua makes connections between the black Mardi Gras Indian traditions of New Orleans and Africa. Sister Alison McCrary, a Catholic nun and social justice attorney, tells of Big Chief Tootie Montana’s death at the podium in City Council Chambers defending the rights of the Mardi Gras Indians to parade without harassment. A collection of stories and interviews in honor of the Mardi Gras Indian tradition in New Orleans. With thanks to the Library of Congress, Nick Spitzer and American Routes, WWOZ and all of the Keepers of the Mardi Gras Indian Culture.
January 19, 2018
The story of an aging pile of forgotten reel-to-reel tapes discovered on the shelf of a tribal elder on the Fort Mojave Reservation. Recorded by an amateur ethnographer in the 1960s, these tapes of the last Creation Song singer of the tribe recount the legends and origin of the Mojave people. They are oral maps of the desert region that were instrumental in helping to save the Ward Valley from becoming a nuclear waste dump site. In the 1960s, a CBS radio engineer out of Los Angeles, drove out to the Colorado River Indian Reservation in Parker, Arizona with his portable reel-to-reel tape recorder with the idea of recording the Mojave Indians. There he met Emmett Van Fleet, an elder of the tribe and the last of the Creation Song singers. Over the course of several years, Guy Tyler made his weekend pilgrimages, and slowly and meticulously the two men recorded the 525 song cycle that recounts the legend of the creation and origin of the Mojave people, their traditions, and their oral maps that describe historical journeys, sacred sites, and directions about how to safely cross the Mojave Desert. Emmett Van Fleet left the tapes to his nephew Llewllyn Barrackman. As years went by and technology changed, the tapes were unplayed and forgotten until Phillip Klasky and the Storyscape Project worked to get the the tapes transferred and preserved. In 1995, when action was taken to turn Ward Valley into a nuclear waste dump, traditional Mojave songs and song cycles helped save the endangered Ward Valley and Colorado River by proving the historic connection the Mojave have with this sacred land. In 1999 The Kitchen Sisters travelled to the Mojave Reservation with writer and environmentalist Phil Klasky, to meet with LLewllyn Barrackman and other Mojave the elders, birdsong singers and activists in the Ward Valley struggle. Produced with Phillip Klasky, Director of the Storyscape Project.
December 12, 2017
Levee Stream— a live neighborhood pop-up, Cadillac, radio station installation in New Orleans. Presented by Otabenga Jones & Associates and The Kitchen Sisters in collaboration with Project& as part of Prospect.4 New Orleans, an international exhibit of 73 artists creating artworks and events throughout New Orleans. Part block party, part soap box—Levee Stream is a lively mix of music, DJs, and conversations with artists, activists, civil rights leaders, neighborhood entrepreneurs and visionaries taking place in the back seat of a cut-in-half 1959 pink Cadillac Coup de Ville with giant speakers in the trunk on Bayou Road, one of the oldest roads in the city. Hosted by WWOZ DJ Cole Williams the show features interviews with Robert King and Albert Woodfox, members of the Angola 3 who were released from prison after decades of living in solitary confinement. Civil Rights pioneers Leona Tate and A.P. Tureaud Jr. Prospect.4 curator Trevor Schoonmaker and artists Hank Willis Thomas, Maria Berrio, and Jeff Whetstone. With music by legendary Hammond B3 organ player Joe Krown, contemporary jazz luminaries Kidd and Marlon Jordan,The Jones Sisters, DJ RQAway and DJ Flash Gordon Parks.
November 27, 2017
Every culture has its idealized woman, its standard of beauty that is valorized. Everywhere women are altering themselves in small and major ways to attempt the look that is celebrated. History is full of methods, home grown and scientific, used to attain these ideals— footbinding, corsetting, liposuction, emaciation, molding of the skull, face lifts, lip stretching… In this story Hidden World of Girls travels to Jamaica — where cosmetic folk treatments and changing ideals of beauty are part of a the national debate going on in the music, the dancehalls and on the streets. In Jamaica, especially in poorer areas, there is a saying among men, ” I don’t want a “maga” (meager) woman.” A maga woman, a slight or thin woman, says to the world that a man is poor and doesn’t have means to provide for her. A larger woman is a way of showing you have means and that you can afford to keep this woman fed. “If you have no meat on your bones the society can’t see your wealth, your progress, your being,” said Professor Sonjah Stanley-Niaah. “This African standard of beauty, and it’s very much present in Jamaica. The body must be healthy and that health is expressed in some amount of fat. You musn’t just be able to slip through the arms of a man. The healthy body girl is anywhere from 160 to 210 pounds.So there’s a high level of interest and activity around modifying the body.” In the 1990s, some women in Jamaica, longing to be large, started taking “Chicken Pills,” hormones sold to plump up the breasts and thighs of chickens. In Jamaica we talked with twenty-one year old Raquel Jones who was cast in an independent film called “Chicken Pills,”by Jamaica born playwright, Storm. The film is about two teenage girls. One is getting more attention from the boys in the class. The other character, Lisa, is having self esteem problems so she turns to the chicken pills. “Here in Jamaica it’s pressure on teenage girls and women. We do stuff that increases these physical appearances, getting our bodies to look a certain way.”
November 9, 2017
November 14, 1960 — Four six-year-old girls, flanked by Federal Marshals, walked through screaming crowds and policemen on horseback as they approached their new schools for the first time. Leona Tate thought it must be Mardi Gras. Gail thought they were going to kill her. Four years after the Supreme Court ruled to desegregate schools in Brown v Board of Education, schools in the south were dragging their feet. Finally, in 1960, the NAACP and a daring judge selected two schools in New Orleans to push forward with integration — McDonogh No.19 Elementary and William Frantz. An application was put in the paper.  From 135 families, four girls were selected. They were given psychological tests. Their families were prepared. Members of the Louisiana Legislature took out paid advertisements in the local paper encouraging parents to boycott the schools. There were threats of violence. When the girls going to McDonogh No. 19 arrived in their classroom, the white children began to disappear. One by one their parents took them out of school. For a year and a half the girls were the only children in the school. Guarded night and day, they were not allowed to play outdoors. The windows were covered with brown paper. The story of integrating the New Orleans Public schools in 1960 told by Leona Tate, Tessie Prevost Williams, and Gail Etienne Stripling, who integrated McDonogh No.19 Elementary School, and retired Deputy U.S. Marshals Herschel Garner, Al Butler, and Charlie Burks who assisted with the integration efforts at the schools.
October 24, 2017
A string of sonic prayer flags —voices and sounds from New Orleans and Bayou Road, the oldest street in the city. Local visionaries, neighborhood entrepreneurs, artists, skate boarders, civil rights activists, musicians, teachers, and more. Listening to the sounds and moods of the City. We’ve been recording in New Orleans lately for a project we’re doing as part of Prospect 4 – an exhibit of works by artists from around the world who’ve been invited to create events and artworks throughout the city. The first Prospect New Orleans was created in the aftermath of Katrina – exploring the role of art and artists in the rebuilding of the city. The theme of this fourth Prospect is “The Artist in Spite of the Swamp”. Our project is called “Levee Stream” a five-hour live, street-corner pop-up Cadillac radio station installation on Bayou Road. We’re  collaborating with the Houston based artists collective Otabenga Jones – Jamal Cyrus, Jabari Anderson and associates-- who have created a cut-in-half pink Cadillac, with giant speakers in the trunk, and a white plush leather upholstered back seat (which now is the front seat because the car has been cut in half!) where guests can sit and converse and be interviewed live on the air — it’s a roving radio station that’s toured to neighborhoods in Houston and Brooklyn – and now New Orleans. The event will take place on Bayou Road and the stories, prayer flags, videos and images will be online at kitchensisters.org and Prospectneworleans.org.
October 10, 2017
Thad Vogler, creator of San Francisco's Bar Agricole and Trou Normand, travels the world in search of hand made spirits — rum, scotch, cognac, mescal — and the hidden stories of the people and places behind these spirits. Thad talks about his life and philosophy, about the impact of prohibition, alcohol as agriculture, tracing ingredients to their source, and the bar as a kitchen.
September 25, 2017
A walk through Oaxaca's Ethnobotanical Garden with chef and cookbook author Pati Jinich, host of the Emmy and James Beard nominated PBS series Pati's Mexican Table and resident chef at the Mexican Cultural Institute in Washington DC. Pati talks about her Jewish heritage, growing up in Mexico, immigration, life choices and how she found her way into the kitchen.
September 11, 2017
The Great Galveston Hurricane arrived on a Saturday, September 8, 1900 — almost without warning. Galveston, the grand dame of Texas, a vibrant port city sitting haughtily on a sand bar facing the Gulf, was reduced to a splintered wasteland. Some 6,000 people perished on the island and at least 4000-6000 on the mainland in the deadliest natural disaster in US history.
August 22, 2017
Robert King Wilkerson was imprisoned at Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola for 31 years, twenty-nine of those years in solitary confinement. During that time he created a clandestine kitchen in his 6×9 cell where he made pralines. And Julia Kumari Drapkin director of ISeeChange, a community weather and climate journal project talks about creating water gardens, floating streets and living with water in New Orleans.
August 8, 2017
In 1967, the Esso Trinidad Tripoli Steel Band performed at the Montreal World's Fair and caught the ear of one of the most popular entertainers of the day: Liberace. The flamboyant pianist was so taken by this new, luminous sound that he took the Band on tour with him for two years around the world and through the segregated south. One flamboyant rhinestoned white piano player and 30 black steel drummers from Trinidad playing Flight of the Bumble.
July 25, 2017
Stories of creativity and invention— the making of a jar of jam, the making of a fashionable 3-D printed covering for an artificial limb, Muttville-a foster care rescue center for senior dogs, a Karaoke Ice Cream Truck— and more stories from The Making Of...What People Make in the Bay Area and Why.
July 11, 2017
Barbecue, burgoo, mopping the mutton, the fellowship of stirring. Stories of conflict, competition and resolution in the backyards and fire pits of our nation.
June 27, 2017
In the 1930s and 40s, hundreds of Basques were brought to the western United States to do the desolate work that no one else would do—herding sheep. Alone for months at a time with hundreds of sheep the Basque's improvised songs, baked bread in underground ovens, carved poetry and drawings into the Aspen trees, listened to The Basque Radio hour traditional music and messages between the herders out in the isolated countryside—looking forward to The Annual Sheepherder’s Ball.
June 12, 2017
For the last five years The Golden State Warriors have been going inside San Quentin, the legendary maximum security California State prison, to take on The San Quentin Warriors, the prison’s notorious basketball team. The Kitchen Sisters Present team up with Life of the Law Podcast to take you to a recent showdown between these two mighty Bay Area teams.
May 23, 2017
Author and journalist, Laila El-Haddad takes us into the hidden world of Gaza through the kitchen. Interweaving history, personal experiences and stories of food, family and recipes, El Haddad paints a vivid picture stories of food, family and daily life and some of the issues facing people living in Gaza and the Middle East.
May 9, 2017
A hidden Gold Rush kitchen when food was scarce and men died for eggs… We travel out to the forbidding Farallon Islands, 27 miles outside San Francisco’s Golden Gate, home to the largest seabird colony in the United States, where in the 1850s egg hunters gathered over 3 million eggs, nearly stripping the island bare, […]
April 25, 2017
In 1898, the United States Department of Agriculture created a special department of men, called “Agriculture Explorers,” to travel the globe searching for new food crops to bring back for farmers to grow in the U.S. These men introduced exotic specimens like the mango, the avocado, and the date. In 1900, the USDA sent plant […]
April 10, 2017
Cab drivers, children's jump rope rhymes, folk songs, dialects, controversial TV ads, interviews with blacklisted artists and writers during the McCarthy Era—Tony Schwartz, one of the great sound recordists and collectors of the 20th Century. An audio portrait of a man who spent his life exploring and influencing the world through recorded sound.
March 27, 2017
Stories from The Hidden World of Girls with host Tina Fey: Nigerian writer Chris Abani tells about his English-born mother enlisting him at age 8 to be her translator in Nigeria as she travels door to door through the villages teaching women the Billings Ovulation Method of birth control. Plus stories from singer/actress Janelle Monae, […]
March 13, 2017
Niloufer Ichaporia King—a kitchen botanist, a one-of-a-kind cook, a Parsi from Bombay living in San Francisco, and author of "My Bombay Kitchen," prepares an elaborate ceremonial meal for Parsi New Year, the first day of spring.
February 28, 2017
Sam Phillips — the father of Sun Records, the man who discovered Howlin’ Wolf, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash…, the creator of WHER, The First All Girl Radio Station in the World — talks about his journey, his adventures and “the acoustics of life.”
February 13, 2017
Kimchi in space. The Kimchi Bus. Korean government-sponsored chefs and restaurants spreading the word of Kimchi around the globe. A story of “Gastrodiplomacy” — the use of food as a diplomatic tool in helping nations resolve conflict and foster connections between them and spread their “brand.” South Korea is one of the countries most involved in using its food to spread its influence. They call it “Kimchi Diplomacy.”
January 24, 2017
Manga, the ubiquitous Japanese comic books written on just about every subject—sports, music, sex, shooting pool—represent about 40% of all books published in Japan. In recent decades ‘food manga’ has exploded. Stories of food and conflict and competition abound in mangas like Soldier of Food, Food Wars, Cooking Papa…The Kitchen Sisters Present—Hidden Kitchens: War and Food and Manga.
January 10, 2017
We enter the secret, steamy, myth-laden world of Emily Dickinson through her kitchen.
December 27, 2016
For five years Davia's father, Lenny Nelson, asked her to go to Rattlesden, England, to visit the Air Force base where he was stationed during WWII and to find an old photograph hanging in the town pub honoring his 8th Air Force squadron. Lenny died on Christmas Eve last year. In his honor, we share the journey with you.
December 13, 2016
A journey into the mysterious and controversial world of raw milk.
November 22, 2016
During World War II, in desolate inland internment camps in the US, like Manzanar, Topaz, and Tule Lake some 120,000 Japanese and Japanese Americans lived for the duration of the war — their traditional food replaced by US government commodities and war surplus — hotdogs, ketchup, spam, potatoes — erasing the traditional Japanese diet and family table.
November 8, 2016
A story from the plazas of Portugal, where small ornate kiosks that served traditional snacks and drinks once graced the city and brought people together. Neglected by time and pushed into abandonment by a dictator’s regime that suppressed public conversation and gathering, this tradition is now being revived, drawing people back to public space.
October 25, 2016
“Nobody can soldier without coffee,” a Union calvary man wrote in 1865. Hidden Kitchens looks at three American wars through the lens of coffee: the Civil War, Vietnam and Afghanistan.
October 11, 2016
The "Hummus Wars" and the battle for the Guinness World Record title for the world’s largest plate of hummus and the deeper meanings of this Middle Eastern food war. And more Hidden Kitchens stories of war and peace and food from Israel and Ramallah.
September 26, 2016
A road trip through the hidden kitchens of Lebanon, with kitchen activist, Kamal Mouzawak, a man with a vision of re-building and uniting this war-ravaged nation through its traditions, its culture and its food.
September 12, 2016
Six generations of Mohawk Indian ironworkers, known for their ability to work high steel, have helped shape New York City’s skyline. Hundreds of Mohawks still commute to Manhattan each week from reservations in Canada to work on the city’s skyscrapers and bridges. In September 2001, a new generation returned to the World Trade Center site […]
August 23, 2016
A Hidden Kitchens story about London’s long tradition of urban garden allotments — and the story of Manor Garden Allotments, a 100 year old community, that found itself in the path of London’s 2012 Olympics.
August 9, 2016
Sometimes it’s the kitchen that’s hidden, sometimes it’s the food itself. Blacksmith Angelo Garro forges and forages, recreating in wrought iron and in cooking the life he left behind in Sicily. The Kitchen Sisters join Angelo along the coast of Northern California as he follows the seasons, harvesting the wild for his kitchen and his friends. And […]
July 26, 2016
Each fall, the Ojibwe tribes of northern Minnesota harvest wild rice by hand. It's a long process that begins with families in canoes venturing into the tall grasses, where rice is poled and gently brushed with knockers into the bed of the canoe. We journey to White Earth Reservation to see how one tribe is supporting itself and changing the diet of its people through community kitchen projects.
July 12, 2016
Sometimes life without a kitchen leads to the most unexpected hidden kitchen of all—The George Foreman Grill. How immigrants and homeless people without official kitchens use The George Foreman Grill, hidden crock pots, and secret hot plates to make a meal and a home. Featuring an interview with boxing champion and grill-master, George Foreman about his life and growing up hungry.
June 28, 2016
Many Kitchen Sisters stories are born in taxi cabs. Hidden Kitchens was conceived in the back of a Yellow. Each time The Kitchen Sisters took a cab in San Francisco they noticed the driver was from Brazil, specifically the same town in Brazil, Goiânia. Cab ride conversations led to talk of music and food. That’s when the story of Janete emerged, a woman from their same hometown who came every day after dark to the industrial street outside the cab yard and set up a makeshift, rolling, Brazilian night kitchen.
Loading earlier episodes...
    15
    15
      0:00:00 / 0:00:00