Podcast

The Kitchen Sisters Present

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...more

Episodes

  • 126 - Lawrence Weschler—Archivist of the Odd, the Marvelous, the Passionate and Slightly Askew

    Oct 08 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 c...more

  • 125 - The Passion of Chris Strachwitz—Arhoolie Records

    Sep 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, ...more

  • 124 - The Brothers Burns — A Conversation with Filmmakers Ken & Ric Burns

    Sep 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...more

  • 123- San Francisco—Stories from the Model City, Part Three

    Aug 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...more

  • 122 - Burning Man — Archiving the Ephemeral

    Aug 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 va...more

  • 121 - San Francisco—Stories from the Model City, Part Two

    Aug 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,” fo...more

  • 120 - San Francisco—Stories from the Model City, Part One

    Jul 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 ...more

  • 119 - Nancy Pearl—Librarian Action Figure

    Jul 08 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 shu...more

  • 118 - The Nation's 10th Keeper—David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States

    Jun 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 ...more

  • 117 - Dieter Kosslick’s Last Red Carpet Ride

    Jun 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 wee...more

  • 116 - The Bob Dylan Archive - A Curveball Comes To Tulsa

    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 per...more

  • 115 - You Too Can Barbecue - Stubb's Blues Cookbook Cassette & More

    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.

  • 114 - Chamelecon—Below the Border in Honduras with Scott Carrier

    Apr 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.

  • 113 - Filmmaker Agnés Varda — A Conversation

    Apr 08 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. Ag...more

  • 112 - Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Celebrating 100 years

    Mar 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 Lawren...more

  • 111 - Palaces for the People—Author Eric Klinenberg from The Librarian Is In

    Mar 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 ...more

  • 110 - Filmmaker Wim Wenders - The Entire Caboodle

    Feb 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, Unt...more

  • 109 - Linda Spalding - A Reckoning

    Feb 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 m...more

  • 108 - The Dark Side of the Dewey Decimal System

    Jan 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 Schoo...more

  • 107 - William Ferris—Keeper of Southern Folklife

    Jan 08 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 t...more

  • 106 - 21 Collections—Every Object has a Story

    Dec 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 ...more

  • Bonus Episode - The Free-Range Archivist: Jason Scott

    Dec 04 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.

  • 105 - The Keepers: The Unrelenting Oral Histories of Eddie McCoy

    Nov 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 passi...more

  • 104 - The Keepers: Emily Dickinson's Hidden Kitchen

    Nov 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 c...more

  • 103 - The Keepers: The Lenny Bruce Collection

    Oct 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’...more

  • 102 - Archive Fever: Henri Langlois and the Cinémathèque Française

    Oct 09 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 obsess...more

  • 101 - The Keepers: The Pack Horse Librarians of Eastern Kentucky

    Sep 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 ...more

  • 100 - The Keepers: Archiving the Underground—The Hip Hop Archive

    Sep 05 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 bein...more

  • 99 - Lovers of Lost Fans

    Aug 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 colle...more

  • 98 - Lost & Found Sound and Voices of The Dust Bowl

    Aug 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 arc...more

  • 97 - Pan American Blues: The Birth of The Grand Ole Opry & "Harmonica Wizard" Deford Bailey

    Jul 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 ...more

  • 96 - Cry Me a River — Keepers of the Environment

    Jul 09 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 starl...more

  • 95 - Give Space A Chance: Gastrodiplomacy in Orbit

    Jun 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 di...more

  • 94 - Tequila Chamber of Commerce & The Birth of the Frozen Margarita

    Jun 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 i...more

  • 93 - Prince and the Technician

    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 wor...more

  • 92 - The Working Tapes of Studs Terkel

    May 07 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 box...more

  • 91 - Mimi Chakarova: Love, Art and Anger

    Apr 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 s...more

  • 90 - Jorge Amado: The Ballad of Bahia

    Apr 09 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 Americ...more

  • 89 - Poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti — Celebrating 99 Years

    Mar 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, Ferlin...more

  • 88 - Frances McDormand Hosts Hidden Kitchens

    Mar 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...more

  • 87—Guillermo Cabrera Infante: Memories of an Invented City

    Feb 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 el...more

  • 86 - The Mardi Gras Indians—Stories from New Orleans

    Feb 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 Chi...more

  • 85 - House of Night - The Lost Creation Songs of the Mojave People

    Jan 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 t...more

  • 84 - Levee Stream Live from New Orleans

    Dec 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 v...more

  • 83 - Chicken Pills - A Hidden World of Girls Story from Jamaica

    Nov 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...more

  • 82 - First Day of School—1960, New Orleans

    Nov 09 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 ...more

  • 81 - Sonic Prayer Flags - New Orleans

    Oct 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...more

  • 80 – Thad Vogler: A Short History of Spirits

    Oct 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. His bar is like library, each bottle rich with story. “Any bottle of rum you take off of the shelf, you have to think about the Caribbean, about the African diaspora, the indigenous culture, the merchant cultures, the colonizing European country, the sugar plantations controlle...more

  • 79 – Pati’s Mexican Jewish Table

    Sep 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.

  • 78 – The Galveston Hurricane of 1900: No Tongue Can Tell

    Sep 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. Survivors struggled to save themselves amid the towering waves, rocking debris, and floating wreckage of their city. As part of our Lost & Found Sound series, producer John ...more

  • 77 – New Orleans Visions – King’s Candy & Living with Water

    Aug 22 2017

    Robert King Wilkerson (aka Robert Hillary King) was imprisoned at Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, Louisiana for 31 years. Twenty-nine of those years he was in solitary confinement. During that time he created a clandestine kitchen in his 6×9 cell where he made pralines, heating the the butter and sugar he saved from his food tray over a tiny burner concocted from a Coke can and a toilet paper roll. King’s case was overturned in 2001 and he was released. He was living in New Orleans durin...more

  • 76 – Liberace and the Trinidad Tripoli Steel Band

    Aug 08 2017

    In 1967 thirty men left Trinidad with 97 steel drums to represent their country at the World’s Fair in Montreal. None of them had ever been off their island before. They were members of the Esso Trinidad Tripoli Steel Band, all playing “pan,” the steel drums of Calypso, hammered from the leftover oil drums of World War II. The band took Expo ’67 by storm. And their sound and performance caught the ear of one of the most popular entertainers of the day: Liberace. The glittery piano virtuoso hire...more

  • 75 – The Making Of a Karaoke Ice Cream Truck and More Stories

    Jul 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, the making of Muttville – a foster care rescue center for senior dogs, a Karaoke Ice Cream Truck, the arrangements for a father’s funeral, the un-making of the Typewriter, and more stories from The Making Of…What People Make in the Bay Area and Why. Produced with KQED and AIR.

  • 74 – What Is It About Men and Meat and Midnight and a Pit?

    Jul 11 2017

    Barbecue, burgoo, mopping the mutton, the fellowship of stirring. Hidden Kitchens stories of conflict, competition and resolution in the backyards and fire pits of our nation. From the all night communal roasting rituals in Owensboro Kentucky, to the cotton fields, German meat markets, and chuckwagons of west Texas. We hear from men’s cooking teams, African American Trail Riders, Willie Nelson and his bass player Bee Spears, Stubb Stubblefield…And we contemplate David Klose’s  BBQ pit on the moo...more

  • 73 – Basque Sheepherders Ball

    Jun 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, and listened to The Basque Radio hour beaming to Idaho, Washington, Colorado, California, traditional music and messages between the herders out in the isolated countryside. “You say Bas...more

  • 72 – Warriors vs Warriors

    Jun 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 us to a recent showdown between these two mighty Bay Area teams. Featuring Draymond Green, Kevin Durant, Bob Myers, and Golden State Warriors’ support staff — and San Quentin Warriors players, inmate spectato...more

  • 71 – Hidden Kitchen Gaza: A Palestinian Culinary Journey

    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 daily life, El-Haddad paints a vivid picture of her family’s homeland and some of the issues facing people living in Gaza and the Middle East. We also hear from Jon Rubin, co-founder of Conflict Kitchen, a restaurant/art project in Pittsburg PA that sells food from countries the United States is in conflict with. One of the...more

  • 70 – The Egg Wars

    May 09 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, to feed the ever-growing migration of newcomers lured by the Gold Rush.

  • 69 – The Romance and Sex Life of the Date

    Apr 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 explorer, Walter Swingle, to Algeria to study the date. As Swingle took temperature readings and soil temperature, he realized that the conditions were very much like those ...more

  • 68 – Tony Schwartz: 30,000 Recordings Later

    Apr 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 was 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. It was 1947 when Tony first stepped out of his apartment in midtown Manhattan with his microphone to capture the sound of his neighborhood. He wa...more

  • 67 – The Hidden World of Girls with Tina Fey

    Mar 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, science fiction writer Pat Cadigan, Estonian activist Tiina Urm and her “Let’s Do It Campaign” and more stories about girls and the women they become.

  • 66 – Sugar in the Milk: A Parsi Hidden Kitchen

    Mar 13 2017

    Niloufer Ichaporia King lives in a house with three kitchens. She prowls through six farmer’s markets a week, at least, in search of unusual greens, roots and seeds, and traditional food plants from every immigrant culture. She is an anthropologist, a kitchen botanist, a one-of-a-kind cook, a Parsi from Bombay living in San Francisco, and the author of My Bombay Kitchen: Traditional and Modern Parsi Home Cooking. Niloufer is known for her ritual celebrations of Navroz, Parsi New Year, on the fi...more

  • 65 – Sam Phillips, Sun Records, and the Acoustics of Life

    Feb 28 2017

    Recording sound pioneer 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.” With stories from his son Knox Phillips, his wife Becky, his biographer Peter Guralnick, and one of his first artists, Ike Turner. Hear recordings from the archive of interviews we did with Sam beginning in 1998—...more

  • 64 – Kimchi Diplomacy: Hidden Kitchens – War and Peace and Food

    Feb 13 2017

    Kimchi in space. The Kimchi Bus. Government-sponsored chefs and restaurants spreading the word of Kimchi around the globe. South Korea is one of the nations most involved in branding itself through its food, using food as a part of it’s “soft power.” It’s called “Gastrodiplomacy” — the use of food as a diplomatic tool to help resolve conflicts and foster connections between nations. “Kimchi is like air in Korea,” says Hyunjoo Albrecht, a San Francisco-based chef and owner of Sinto Gourmet who g...more

  • 63 – War and Food and Manga

    Jan 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. “Manga is a cradle to grave phenomenon,” says Deb Aoki, writer for Anime network and Publisher’s Weekly. It’s a...more

  • 62 - Black Cake: Emily Dickinson’s Hidden Kitchen

    Jan 10 2017

    Black cake, gingerbread, slant rhyme, secret loves, family scandals, poems composed on the back of a coconut cake recipe —we journey into the steamy, myth-laden, hidden world of poet Emily Dickinson through her kitchen. In her lifetime, Emily was probably better known as a baker than a poet. Filled with mystery, intrigue and readings by Patti Smith, Thornton Wilder, Jean Harris and an array of passionate poets and experts.

  • 61 – Rattlesden

    Dec 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. 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 last year.  In his honor, we share the journey with...more

  • 60 – Milk Cow Blues: The Apple Family Farm and the Indiana Cow Share Association

    Dec 13 2016

    A journey into the mysterious and controversial world of raw milk. Tucked away in the vanishing farm land on the outskirts of Indianapolis, the Apple Family and their neighbors created a kind of fellowship of milking. Milk Cow Blues tells the story of the Apples’ effort to bring raw milk to their community. Jo Apple and her husband owned the Apple Family Farm in McCordsville Indiana for over 50 years. It was originally a dairy farm, but it became too much for the couple. It wasn’t financially ...more

  • 59 – Weenie Royale: The Impact of the Internment on Japanese American Cooking

    Nov 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 were incarcerated 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. Akemi Tamaribuchi, a third generation Japanese American, artist Howard Ikemoto, Berkeley graduate Tami Takahashi,  Jeanne Wakatsuki...more

  • 58 – The Kiosk Strategy, Lisbon — Hidden Kitchens: War & Peace & Food

    Nov 08 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. For more than a century, Lisbon’s public spaces were graced by beautiful Art Nouveau and Moorish-style kiosks — small, ornate structures that provided...more

  • 57 – War and Peace and Coffee

    Oct 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. And an interview with Anastacia Marx de Salcedo author of “Combat Ready Kitchen: How the U.S. Military Shapes the Way You Eat.” The Civil War:  War, freedom, slavery, secession, union – these are some of the big themes you might expect to find in the diaries of Civil War soldiers. At least, that’s what Jon Grinsp...more

  • 56 – Operation Hummus and More Stories of War and Peace and Food from Israel and Ramallah

    Oct 11 2016

    Nothing is simple in Mideast relations. Not even hummus. Lebanon, Israel and Palestinians are entangled over who owns the dish. Not even the title of world’s largest hummus platter — more than 11 tons — settled the matter. In this episode, stories from 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 Hidden Kitchens stories of War and Peace and Food from Israel and Ramallah —C...more

  • 55 – Between Us, Bread and Salt: Lebanon Hidden Kitchens with Kamal Mouzawak

    Sep 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. We visit farmer’s markets, restaurants, and guest houses known as Souk el Tayeb that he and his kitchen community have created. This story is part of Hidden Kitchens: War and Peace and Food, a series of stories about food and conflict, about the role food plays in helping resolve confli...more

  • 54 — Walking High Steel: Mohawk Ironworkers at the World Trade Towers

    Sep 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 to dismantle what their elders had helped to build.

  • 53 — Garden Allotments—London’s Kitchen Vision

    Aug 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. London’s “allotment” gardens are an unusual and vibrant system of community gardens across the entire city. Tended by immigrants, retirees, chefs and fans of fresh food, the allotments make up a kitchen community like no other. Wedged between buildings, planted in abandoned open spaces and...more

  • 52 – Hunting & Gathering with Angelo Garro

    Aug 09 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 a few words from Werner Herzog about Angelo and his Omnivore Salt.

  • 51 – Harvest on Big Rice Lake

    Jul 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, out onto Big Rice Lake in a canoe, to see how one tribe is supporting itself and changing the diet of its people through community kitchen projects. And we talk with the founder of White Earth Land Recovery Project...more

  • 50 – An Unexpected Kitchen: The George Foreman Grill

    Jul 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. So many immigrants, homeless people and others of limited means living in single-room occupancies (SROs) have no kitchens, no legal or official place to...more

  • 49 – The Cabyard Kitchen

    Jun 28 2016

    A lot of Kitchen Sisters stories are born in taxicabs. The Hidden Kitchens series was conceived in the back of a Yellow. Davia lives in San Francisco and hates to drive. She started noticing that every time she got into a Yellow cab, the driver was from Brazil. And not just from Brazil, but from the same town in Brazil: Goiânia. Inevitably, these cab ride conversations turned to music and food. That’s when the story of Janete emerged, a woman from their same hometown, who comes every night to a...more

  • 48 – Kibbe at the Crossroads: Lebanese Cooking in the Mississippi Delta

    Jun 14 2016

    We travel to the Mississippi Delta into the world of Lebanese immigrants —where barbecue and the blues meet kibbe, a kind of traditional Lebanese raw meatloaf. Lebanese immigrants began arriving in the Delta in the late 1800s, soon after the Civil War. Many worked as peddlers, then grocers and restaurateurs. Kibbe — a word and a recipe with so many variations we don’t know where to start. Many love it raw. Ground lamb or beef mixed with bulgur wheat, cinnamon, salt and pepper. However it’s made...more

  • 47 – The Chili Queens of San Antonio

    May 24 2016

    Some kitchens are hidden by place, some by time—like the saga of the chili queens. For over 100 years, young women came at twilight to the Alamo and the plazas of San Antonio with makeshift tables and big pots of chili to cook over open fires. The plazas teemed with people—soldiers, tourists, cattlemen and the troubadours — who roamed the tables, filling the night with music. From San Antonio’s earliest days as a Spanish military encampment, life in the town revolved around the plazas. They wer...more

  • 46 – Stubb Stubblefield: The Archangel of BBQ

    May 10 2016

    C.B. “Stubb” Stubblefield, namesake of the legendary club in Austin, Texas, had a mission — to feed the world, especially the people who sang in it. When he started out in Lubbock, he generously fed and supported both black and white musicians, creating community and breaking barriers. From 1968 to 1975 in Lubbock, Texas, C.B. “Stubb” Stubblefield ran a dilapidated barbecue joint and roadhouse that was the late-night gathering place for a group of local musicians who were below-the-radar and ri...more

  • 45 – Hidden Kitchen Mama

    Apr 26 2016

    Kitchens and mothers. The food they cooked or didn’t. The stories they told or couldn’t. In honor of mothers from around the world, The Kitchen Sisters linger in the kitchen — the room in the house that counts the most, that smells the best, where families gather and children are fed, where all good parties begin and end. The room where the best stories are told. Stories of mothers and kitchens from playwright Ellen Sebastian Chang, cookbook author Peggy Knickerbocker, designer Cristina Salas-P...more

  • 44 – Black Chef, White House: African American Cooks in the President’s Kitchen

    Apr 12 2016

    Hidden Kitchens turns its focus on the president’s kitchen and some of the first cooks to feed the Founding Fathers — Hercules and James Hemings — the enslaved chefs of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Hercules, described as a “dandy,” had eight assistants — stewards, butlers, undercooks, waiters. He cooked in a huge fireplace — hearth cooking.  He walked through the streets of Philadelphia in a velvet waistcoat and a gold-handled cane. When Washington was getting ready to leave Philadel...more

  • 43 – Carmen Miranda: The Life and Fate of the Brazilian Bombshell

    Mar 22 2016

    Carmen Miranda—Brazil’s Ambassador of Samba, the highest paid woman entertainer in the world in the 1940s. When she died, hundreds of thousands of Brazilians lined the streets of Rio to pay homage to her. Over 50 years after her death she is still Brazil’s most famous celebrity. Her iconic turban, piled high with fruit, her moves, her rapid fire Portuguese lyrics, her wild lens of samba, rhumba,  along with her epic dance numbers in 1930s Busby Berkeley musicals, captured the imagination of the ...more

  • 42 – Hidden World of Traveller Girls

    Mar 08 2016

    Stories of young Irish Traveller women. Travellers—the people of walking. Sometimes called the gypsies of Ireland. They speak of non-Travellers as “the settled people.” Mistrusted for the most part and not well-understood, Travellers historically have lived as nomads, moving in caravans, living in encampments on the side of the road. We go to Hazel Hill Halting site, a government experiment in Traveller housing on the lower slopes of Dublin Mountains to talk with Helen Connors and Shirley Marti...more

  • 41 – A Secret Civil Rights Kitchen: Georgia Gilmore and the Club from Nowhere

    Feb 23 2016

    In the 1950s, a group of Montgomery, Alabama women baked goods to help fund the Montgomery bus boycott. Known as the Club from Nowhere the group was led by Georgia Gilmore, one of the unsung heroes of the civil rights era. This story comes from Can Do: Portraits of Black Visionaries, Seekers, and Entrepreneurs, hosted by Alfre Woodard.

  • 40 – New Orleans—Cowboys, Indians, Broncos & Boudin

    Feb 09 2016

    New Orleans stories from The Kitchen Sisters—including the world of unexpected, down home convict cooking at The Angola Prison Rodeo, an event that draws some seventy thousand people annually to this agricultural prison in a remote corner of the state. Tootie Montana, the legendary chief of chiefs of the Mardi Gras Indians tells of the African American Indian tradition of masking and parading. And stories of Tennessee Williams, the classic soul food Two Sisters cafe, the Court of Two Sisters in ...more

  • 39 – One Big Self: The Hidden World of Deborah Luster & C. D. Wright

    Jan 26 2016

    Our show today is in honor of the beloved poet C. D. Wright who unexpectedly passed away recently. We interviewed C. D. in 2009 as part of a story we produced for our Hidden World of Girls series on NPR. And like all of our stories there are hours and hours of tape behind every minute of what you hear in the final piece. So today we’re going to play our original story—a story of family, crime and the power of art to grapple with the unimaginable. And then we’re gonna let it roll. To hear CD read...more

  • 38 – Walkin’ Talkin’ Bill Hawkins

    Jan 12 2016

    In 1948, Bill Hawkins became Cleveland’s first black disc jockey. He had a jiving, rhyming style. People gathered on the street to watch him broadcast from a glass booth at the front of his record store. His popularity grew rapidly. Over the next decade Hawkins was heard on up to four different stations on the same day. He had plenty of imitators and influenced a whole generation of DJs. Hawkins also had something else – a son he never knew. William Allen Taylor didn’t find out Hawkins was his ...more

  • 37 – Bone Music: A Collaboration with 99% Invisible

    Dec 22 2015

    Before the availability of the tape recorder and during the 1950s, when vinyl was scarce, ingenious Russians began recording banned bootlegged jazz, boogie woogie and rock ‘n’ roll on exposed X-ray film salvaged from hospital waste bins and archives. “Usually it was the Western music they wanted to copy,” says Sergei Khrushchev, son of former Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev. “Before the tape recorders they used the X-ray film of bones and recorded music on the bones, bone music.” “They would ...more

  • 36 – Tupperware

    Dec 08 2015

    “Somewhere in the world there’s a Tupperware Party starting every 10 seconds.” And we’re going to one with The Kitchen Sisters. Parties. Rallies. Sales sessions. More than a way of storing leftovers in covered plastic bowls, for many it’s a way of life. Earl Tupper took the plastics he developed for WWII into post-war American kitchens. The Tupperware Party is one of the ways women have come together to swap recipes and kitchen wisdom, get out of the house and support each other’s entrepreneuri...more

  • 35 – Way To Blue: The Songs of Nick Drake

    Nov 24 2015

    Nick Drake was a British singer songwriter from the early 1970s. His music has attracted a passionate, loyal following and influenced countless musicians. He’s often called a musician’s musician. But during his brief musical career he had little commercial success. Shy and private, Nick was never great on stage – but his guitar playing was brilliant and his songs were beautiful, melancholy, compelling. For years, he suffered from serious depression, and on November 25, 1974 he overdosed on anti-...more

  • 34 – The Vietnam Tapes of Michael A. Baronowski

    Nov 09 2015

    Michael Baronowski was a 19-year-old Marine when he landed in Vietnam in 1966. He brought with him a reel-to-reel tape recorder and used it to record audio letters for his family back in Norristown, Pennsylvania. He was killed in action in 1967. Produced by Jay Allison & Christina Egloff as part of Lost & Found Sound.

  • 33 – WHER: 1000 Beautiful Watts—The First All Girl Radio Station in the Nation—Part 2

    Oct 27 2015

    When Sam Phillips sold Elvis’ contract in 1955 he used the money to start WHER, an all-girl radio station in Memphis, TN. In this episode we move from the pink plush studio in the Holiday Inn, with undies hanging on clotheslines in the lobby,  into the 1960s and a new studio in the Mid-City building, Memphis. 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 continues following the women who pioneered in br...more

  • 32 – WHER: 1000 Beautiful Watts—The First All Girl Radio Station in the Nation—Part 1

    Oct 13 2015

    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 nations’ 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. From 1955 into the mid-1970s they ruled the ...more

  • 31 – Waiting for Joe DiMaggio

    Sep 22 2015

    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 budg...more

  • 30 – The Building Stewardesses: Construction Guides at the World Trade Center

    Sep 07 2015

    As construction commenced in 1968 on the largest building project since the pyramids, questions and controversies swirled around Lower Manhattan. How tall? Why two? What’s a slurry wall? A kangaroo crane? Where are the small businesses going to go? What’s a world trade center and who needs it anyway? Guy Tozzoli, the Port Authority visionary behind the building of the Twin Towers, had an inspiration—”Construction Guides.” Friendly co-eds in mini-skirt uniforms were posted at corner kiosks on the...more

  • 29 – King’s Candy: A New Orleans Prison Kitchen Vision

    Aug 25 2015

    Robert King Wilkerson was imprisoned at Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, Louisiana for 31 years. Twenty-nine of those years he was in solitary confinement. During that time he created a clandestine kitchen in his 6×9 cell where he made pralines, heating the the butter and sugar he saved from his food tray over a tiny burner concocted from a Coke can and a toilet paper roll. King and two of his friends started a chapter of the Black Panthers in Angola Prison during the 1970s. King’s case w...more

  • 28 – Wall Street: San Quentin’s Stock Market Wizard

    Aug 19 2015

    Everyone in San Quentin calls him Wall Street. Curtis Carroll aka Wall Street teaches his fellow prisoners about stocks. Through friends and family on the outside, he invests and he’s also an informal financial adviser to fellow inmates and correctional officers. When Wall Street was put in prison almost two decades ago he couldn’t read or write. One day he stumbled on the financial section of the newspaper thinking it was the sports section, which his cellie used to read to him. An inmate aske...more

  • 27 – Braveheart Women’s Society: Coming of Age in South Dakota

    Aug 11 2015

    The Braveheart Women’s Society, a group of Yankton Sioux grandmothers and tribal elders, have re-established an almost forgotten coming of age ritual for young girls—the Isnati, a four day traditional ceremony on the banks of the Missouri River in South Dakota. The girls learn to set up their own teepee, collect traditional herbs and flowers used for remedies. They are not allowed to touch food or feed themselves for four days; they are fed and given water by their mother or other women at the c...more

  • 26 – Horses, Unicorns & Dolphins

    Jul 28 2015

    Horses and dolphins and unicorns—creatures that possess the imagination of so many young girls—borderland creatures—gateway animals to other worlds. “They let us be cowgirls and oceanographers and mermaids and princesses, wizardessess.”

  • 25 – Hidden Kitchens Texas with host Willie Nelson

    Jul 13 2015

    Willie Nelson and Dallas-born actress Robin Wright, along with some wild and extraordinary tellers, take us across Texas and share some of their hidden kitchen stories. Gas station tacos, ice houses, the birth of the Frito, the birth of 7-Eleven, the birth of the frozen margarita, and more.  

  • 24 – Route 66: The Mother Road, Part 2

    Jun 23 2015

    John Steinbeck called it the “Mother Road.” Songwriter Bobby Troup described it as the route to get your kicks on. And Mickey Mantle said, “If it hadn’t been for Highway 66 I never would have been a Yankee.” For the Dust Bowl refugees of the 1930s, for the thousands who migrated after World War II, and for the generations of tourists and vacationers, Route 66 was “the Way West.” Route 66, the first continuously paved highway linking east and west was the most traveled and well known road in Ame...more

  • 23 – Route 66: The Mother Road, Part I

    Jun 09 2015

    The birth of the Main Street of America—songwriter Bobby Troup tells the story of his 1946 hit Get Your Kicks on Route 66; Gladys Cutberth, aka Mrs. 66 and members of the old “66 Association” talk about the early years of the road. Mickey Mantle explains “If it hadn’t been for US 66 I wouldn’t have been a Yankee.” Stirling Silliphant, creator of the TV series “Route 66” talks about the program and its place in American folklore of the 60s.

  • 22 – War and Separation: Life on the Homefront During World War II

    May 26 2015

    For Memorial Day — a portrait of life on the homefront during World War II featuring 4 women’s stories, rare home recorded letters sent overseas to soldiers, archival audio, music and news broadcasts from the era.

  • 21 – The Secret (and Not So Secret) Life of Theresa Sparks

    May 12 2015

    Theresa Sparks has lived more than one life. Born a guy’s guy, a man’s man, cowboy boots, motorcycles, a stint in the army, married his childhood sweetheart, kids, big successful business. But the truth was more complicated than that. In this episode one of San Francisco’s most respected and outspoken transgender activists tells her truth, that she was walking around in the wrong suit for 50 something years. “Transparent” years before the series saw the light of day.

  • 20 – The Birth of Rice-A-Roni: The San Francisco, Italian, Armenian Treat

    Apr 28 2015

    The worlds of a young Canadian immigrant, an Italian pasta-making family, and a 70-year-old survivor of the Armenian Genocide converge in this story of the San Francisco Treat. A Canadian women (Lois DeDomenico) marries an Italian immigrant (Thomas DeDomenico) whose family started Golden Grain Macaroni in San Francisco. Just after WWII the newlyweds rent a room from an old Armenian woman (Pailadzo Captanian) who teaches the young pregnant 18 year old woman how to cook. Yogurt, baklava, pilaf… A...more

  • 19 – America Eats: A Hidden Archive

    Apr 13 2015

    Potlucks, church picnics, fish fries, family reunions — during the 1930s writers were paid by the government to chronicle local food, eating customs and recipes across the United States. America Eats, a WPA project, sent writers like Nelson Algren, Zora Neale Hurston, Eudora Welty, and Stetson Kennedy out to document America’s relationship with food during the Great Depression.

  • 18 – A Man Tapes his Town: The Unrelenting Oral Histories of Eddie McCoy

    Mar 24 2015

    Eddie McCoy owned a janitorial service in Oxford, North Carolina, a tobacco town of some 10,000 people. When he was badly injured in a car wreck, frustrated and unable to work, a doctor told him, “Try using your head instead of your hands.” Eddie took his passion for local history and a scavenged cassette recorder from a trash can and began taping his town. Eddie records the who, what, when, where and why of slavery times, sharecropping, the civil rights era, and of who poured the first concrete...more

  • 17 – Unfinished Business: Ali vs Frazier VI, Daughters of Destiny

    Mar 10 2015

    In 2001, a quarter-century after boxing’s celebrated “Thrilla in Manila,” Ali and Frazier were once again poised to enter the ring. But this time it was the daughters of the legendary combatants scheduled to battle at the Turning Stone Casino on the Oneida Indian Nation in upstate New York. Laila Ali, 22-year-old daughter of Muhammad Ali; and Jacquelyn Frazier-Lyde, 39-year-old daughter of Joe Frazier. The 2001 bout, broadcast on pay-per-view TV, was billed as “Ali vs. Frazier IV” —a continuatio...more

  • 16 – The Green Street Mortuary Band

    Feb 24 2015

    Lawrence Ferlinghetti wrote a poem about them. Amy Tan’s mother was serenaded by them as she lay in state. Jessica Mitford’s memorial procession was led by them. And more than 300 Chinese families a year hire the Green Street Mortuary Band to give their loved ones a proper and musical send-off through the streets of Chinatown.The band traces its roots back to 1911 and the Cathay Chinese Boys Band, the first marching group in Chinatown.

  • 15 – Electronic Memories: R.A. Coleman’s Memphis

    Feb 10 2015

    In the early 1950s, at the same time legendary record producer Sam Phillips was making recordings of the pageants and events happening in Memphis’ white community—across town, R.A. Coleman, an African American photographer, was making recordings of the black community—weddings, church choirs, nightclubs and dance halls.

  • 14 – Taylor Negron: Portrait of an Artist as an Answering Machine

    Jan 27 2015

    A look into the life of Taylor Negron—actor, comedian, and telephone message hoarder—told through the voicemails on his machine. We produced this piece with with Taylor’s dear friend producer Valerie Velardi in 1999 as part of the Lost & Found Sound series on NPR. Taylor died on January 10, 2015. We present this story in his honor.

  • 13 – Sam Phillips and the Early Years of the Memphis Recording Service: We Record Anything, Anywhere, Anytime

    Jan 13 2015

    Before Elvis walked through the door, before Sun Studios put Memphis on the map—Sam Phillips, a young man with a tape recorder, lived by the motto, “We Record Anything, Anywhere, Anytime.” Weddings, funerals, marching bands, the Miss Memphis Pageant—Sam recorded them all—anything to keep his fledgling Memphis Recording Service open to record Howlin’ Wolf, B.B. King, Little Junior, Ike Turner, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Elvis Presley. The raw and rocking, unrecorded music of the 1950...more

  • 12 – The Nights of Edith Piaf

    Dec 16 2014

    She rose every day at dusk and rehearsed, performed, ate and drank until dawn. Then slept all day, woke up and began to create and unravel again as the sun went down. Nearly every song Edith Piaf sang came from a moment of her life on the streets of Paris. She would tell her composer and musician lovers a story, or describe a feeling or show them a gesture and they would put music and words to her pain and passion, giving her back her own musical autobiography. Charles Aznavour, Francis Lai, Geo...more

  • 11 – Cigar Stories: El Lector—He Who Reads

    Nov 25 2014

    Narrated by Andy Garcia. At the turn of the century until the 1930s in the cigar factories of Tampa and Ybor City, a well dressed man in a panama hat with a loud and beautiful voice sat atop a platform and read to the cigar workers as they rolled. These readers, known as Lectores de Tabaqueres, read Cervantes, Zola, Victor Hugo, Karl Marx, Jules Verne…. It was the voices and words of these lectores – before radio and mechanization, who informed, organized, and incited the cigar workers, who labo...more

  • 10 – Dissident Kitchens

    Nov 13 2014

    Part 3 of the Hidden Kitchens World Trifecta with host Frances McDormand: Hidden Kitchens Russia, stories of the role of the kitchen in the downfall of the Soviet Union. 

  • 9 – Atomic Wine

    Oct 30 2014

    Part 2 of the Hidden Kitchens World Trifecta with host Frances McDormand and special guests Werner Herzog, Gael Garcia Bernal and Stories of Atomic Wine and The Romance and Sex Life of the Date.

  • 8 – The Pizza Connection

    Oct 14 2014

    A Hidden Kitchens World Podcast Trifecta with Frances McDormand and The Kitchen Sisters. In this episode Salman Rushdie talks about his Hidden Kitchen. We travel to Sicily for The Pizza Connection—a story of fighting the mafia through food. And on to England for the seldom heard saga of a small dog bred to run in a wheel that turned a roasting spit in medieval kitchens—The Turnspit Dog: The Rise and Fall of the Vernepator Cur.

  • 7 – Just Girls: The Hidden World of Patti Smith and Judy Linn

    Sep 03 2014

    Just about anytime we walk out of The Kitchen Sisters office in San Francisco we stop and stare in the windows of City Lights bookstore, soaking in the covers of the new arrivals. A while back, we were stopped in our tracks by a book of photographs of Patti Smith – Patti staring down the camera, holding a movie camera herself. It turns out Patti wasn’t just the muse of photographer Robert Mapplethorpe in the Sixties, she was also muse and model for Judy Linn, an art student and budding photograp...more

  • 6 – Cry Me A River: A story of three pioneering river activists and the damming of wild rivers in the west

    Jul 31 2014

    The story of three pioneering river activists and the damming of wild rivers in the west. Ken Sleight, now in his late 80s, is a long time river and pack guide in southern Utah who fought the damming of Glen Canyon and filling of Lake Powell. The inspiration for Ed Abbey’s character Seldom Seen Smith in his book The Monkey Wrench Gang, Sleight is currently working on the campaign to remove Glen Canyon dam. Katie Lee, born 1919, a former Hollywood starlet, ran the Colorado through Glen Canyon lo...more

  • 5 – The Making of the Homobile: A Story of Transportation, Civil Rights & Glitter (and further stories of making…)

    Jun 24 2014

    The Kitchen Sisters ride the nightshift with The Homobile. Homobiles is a non-commercial, volunteer, 24/7 ride service created by Lynne Breedlove for the LGBTQ+ community and others around San Francisco who feel the need for safe, dependable rides, outside traditional services. “Moes getting hoes where they needs to goes,” is their motto. Homobiles is for people who feel at risk because they don’t conform to sexual or gender norms and have been targets of rudeness or shame or violence, says Lynn...more

  • 4 – The French Manicure – The Long Shadow of Shirley Temple

    May 15 2014

    Shirley Temple died on February 10. 2014. Watching the parade of clips from her 1930s movies on TV that night brought back the magic she had as a child to delight and entertain. How many hours did we spend watching her tap her way through hard times and good? It was actually Shirley Temple who triggered the story you’re about to hear. The year was 1999. I had been getting manicures for awhile at a Vietnamese nail shop in San Francisco from a woman named Shirley. Over the months I had come to kn...more

  • 3 – Eel Pie Island

    Apr 12 2014

    The Kitchen Sisters  take us to a little-known, hidden corner of London — to Eel Pie Island, a tiny slice of land in the middle of the Thames. Now a small bohemian community of artists, inventors, river gypsies and boat builders, on the edge of Twickenham, Eel Pie Island has a flamboyant history that stretches from Henry VIII to The Rolling Stones. Eel Pie Island is produced by The Kitchen Sisters with Nathan Dalton, mixed by Jim McKee / The Hidden World of Kate McGarrigle, produced by the Kitc...more

  • 2 – Tennessee Williams: The Pennyland Recordings

    Feb 27 2014

    In 1947 Tennessee Williams and his lover Pancho stepped into a recording booth at a penny arcade in New Orleans and recorded 8 cardboard discs. Lost in a trunk under a friends bed for some 50 years, The Kitchen Sisters unearth these forgotten Pennyland Recordings and tell the story of Tennessee’s fugitive waves. Fugitive Waves is produced by The Kitchen Sisters in collaboration with Tom Corwin and mixed by Jim McKee

  • 1 – The Rise and Fall and Rise and Fall and Rise of Thomas Alva Edison

    Feb 04 2014

    Look around your daily life. There’s a little piece of Thomas Edison almost everywhere.  Your desk lamp. That x-ray you got when you broke your arm. The battery in your car. The movie you saw last night. The recording of this story that you’re about to hear…  Welcome to Fugitive Waves. Today, a story from our Lost & Found Sound series on NPR, The Rise and Fall and Rise and Fall and Rise of Thomas Alva Edison.   Fugitive Waves is produced by The Kitchen Sisters in collaboration with Tom Corw...more