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The Kitchen Sisters Present

Author: The Kitchen Sisters & Radiotopia

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The Kitchen Sisters Present… Stories from the b-side of history. Lost recordings, hidden worlds, people possessed by a sound, a vision, a mission. The episodes tell deeply layered stories, lush with interviews, field recordings and music. From powerhouse producers The Kitchen Sisters (Hidden Kitchens, The Hidden World of Girls, The Sonic Memorial Project, Lost & Found Sound, Fugitive Waves and coming soon… The Keepers). "The Kitchen Sisters have done some of best radio stories ever broadcast" —Ira Glass. The Kitchen Sisters Present is produced in collaboration with Nathan Dalton and Brandi Howell and mixed by Jim McKee. A proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX. Learn more at
151 Episodes
We go to New Orleans for a kind of biblical reckoning. A story of science and prayer, with a cast of improbable partners—environmental architects and nuns—coming together to create a vision forward for living with water in New Orleans. Mirabeau Water Garden, one of the largest urban wetlands in the country designed to educate, inspire and to save its neighborhood from flooding. New Orleans. Surrounded by The Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain, besieged by hurricanes and tropical storms, permeated with man made canals, levees, pumping stations …. Water is a deep and controversial issue in New Orleans. What to do with it. Where to put it. How to get rid of it? How to live with it? David Waggonner, of Waggonner & Ball Architecture & Environment has been thinking and dreaming about these questions for years. One of the primary architects behind the Greater New Orleans Urban Water Plan, David envisions floating streets, pervious pavement, planting bioswales—“living with water” rather than pushing it down and pumping it out. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina the Sisters of St. Joseph convent in New Orleans was under 8 feet of water. A year later, on a clear blue day, the building was struck by lightning. The Sisters prayed for a sign. And in walked David Waggonner with a vision. The Mirabeau Water Garden will become one of the largest urban wetlands in the country and a campus for water research and environmental education, demonstrating best practices for construction and urban water management in the city's lowest-lying and most vulnerable neighborhoods. The 25-acre parcel was donated to the City of New Orleans by the Sisters of Saint Joseph on condition that it be used to enhance and protect the neighborhood to “evoke a huge systemic shift in the way humans relate with water and land.”
The Peabody Award winning Sonic Memorial Project, an intimate and historic documentary commemorating the life and history of the World Trade Center and its surrounding neighborhood, through audio artifacts, rare recordings, voicemail messages and interviews. The Sonic Memorial Project began in October 2001 as part of the Lost & Found Sound series. We came together—radio producers, artists, construction workers, bond traders, secretaries, ironworkers, elevator operators, policemen, widows, firefighters, archivists, public radio stations and listeners to chronicle and commemorate the life and history of the World Trade Center and its neighborhood. We opened a phone line on NPR for listeners to call in with their stories and audio artifacts relating to the September 11 attacks and the history of the World Trade Center. Hundreds of people called with testimonies and remembrances, music and small shards of sounds. In addition to these personal messages and remembrances you’ll hear interviews with: Guy Tozzoli, Director of the World Trade Center of New York; Minoru Yamasaki, the architect who designed the World Trade Center; Philippe Petit, the aerialist who walked a tightrope between the twin towers; Leslie Robertson, World Trade Tower structural engineer; Herb Ouida, Executive Vice President of the World Trade Centers Association; Professor Kenneth T. Jackson, Director of New York Historical Society; historian Robert Snyder; and sound artists and musicians who recorded and performed at the Trade Center including Stephen Scott, Ben Cheah, Nadine Robinson, Stephen Vitiello and more. The Sonic Memorial Project was produced by The Kitchen Sisters in collaboration with NPR, Ben Shapiro, Jay Allison, Joe Richman and independent radio producers, artists, writers, archivists, historians and public radio listeners throughout the country. Hosted by writer Paul Auster.
Picture this: 131 young people, 13 to 26 years old, from 37 countries—youth activists from around the globe— students, writers, poets, marchers, community leaders all gathered together in San Juan, Puerto Rico in August 2019, the week after the scandal-ridden government of Governor Ricardo Rosselló fell. A government brought down in large measure because of the resolve and activism of young people across the Hurricane Maria-battered island. This wasn’t part of the plan for the second meeting of the International Congress of Youth Voices. It was pure coincidence. But here they all are, coming from across the planet—jet lagged and lit from within—to learn from one another and an array of artists, writers and activists, to create a network, to tell their stories, to listen and to understand the forces that led this island to erupt. Politics of the world affect young people as much as anyone else, and they have little to no voice as major decisions are made. The International Congress of Youth Voices was founded as a means to amplify their ideas and energy and to unite young people for a weekend of collaboration. The International Congress of Youth Voices, founded by author Dave Eggers (co-founder of 826 National) and nonprofit leader Amanda Uhle, gathers the world's most inspiring teen writers and activists. They come from all over the world, including: Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, the United States, Colombia, Guatemala, Cuba, Australia, Denmark, Nepal, Russia, England, Thailand, South Africa, Ireland, Canada, Uganda, Pakistan, Burundi, France, India, and Puerto Rico. Student delegates are chosen based on their commitment to leadership and social justice and their passion and eloquence as writers. The event is designed to provide a path to leadership for all delegates and represents a continuum from students who have exhibited potential in local writing and tutoring programs to writers and activists who have already made notable achievements at a very young age. Youth on Fire: The International Congress of Youth Voices was produced by The Kitchen Sisters (Davia Nelson & Nikki Silva) in collaboration with Nathan Dalton, Brandi Howell, Rachel Templeton & Teddy Alexander. Mixed by Jim McKee. Story Intern: Jonathan Hsieh. Special thanks to Dave Eggers & Amanda Uhle and to all the delegates from around the country and around the world who came to Puerto Rico and shared their stories with us. Check out more on our new social media series #YouthOnFire. This story begins our new series Youth on Fire, stories of young activists and visionaries from around the world. We would love to hear from you if you are or if you know one. Podcasts, social media, poetry, playlists, manifestos… let us know what you’re doing. You can reach us @kitchensisters on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and at The Kitchen Sisters Present is part of the Radiotopia podcast network from PRX. Thanks to Sakara for sponsoring this episode. Funding for work of The Kitchen Sisters comes from The National Endowment for the Humanities, The Robert Sillins Family Foundation, The TRA Fund supporting our Intern Program, and Listener Contributions to The Kitchen Sisters Productions.
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 the role food plays in helping resolve or cause conflict between nations and communities.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
132 - The Pancake Years

132 - The Pancake Years


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.
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.
Comments (1)

Chia Xiao Ling

The music at 2:59 is so beautiful. Does anyone know more about it?

Jul 26th
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