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 radiotopia.fm.
It’s February 23, 2021— and we’ve just received word that our dear friend and North Beach neighbor, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, has passed on at age 101.
In honor of Lawrence we’re sharing a story we produced for his 99th birthday, featuring the work of sound designer Jim McKee who, for more than 20 years, recorded and chronicled Lawrence’s life, poetry and world.
In this lushly produced soundscape, Lawrence talks about his youth, reads his poetry, and muses with his friend Erik Bauersfeld about life, death and the meaning of art.
160—Can Do: Black Visionaries, Seekers, and Entrepreneurs-with Host Alfre Woodard
Stories of Black pioneers, seekers and entrepreneurs — self-made men and self-taught women, neighborhood heroes and visionaries. People who said "yes we can" and then did, hosted by Alfre Woodard.
A man tapes the history of his town with a scavenged cassette recorder, a woman fights for social justice with a pie, a DJ ignites his community with a sound. Stories of Georgia Gilmore and the Club from Nowhere, a Secret Civil Rights Kitchen; of Hercules and of James Hemings, enslaved chefs of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson; of Walkin’ Talkin’ Bill Hawkins, Cleveland’s first black disc jockey; and more.
A compilation of stories produced by The Kitchen Sisters (Nikki Silva & Davia Nelson) and Roman Mars, with Nathan Dalton and Brandi Howell. The Kitchen Sisters are proud members of PRX’s Radiotopia network.
159 — Nomadland with Frances McDormand
Sometimes you read a book and it alters the course of your life. That’s what happened to Frances McDormand. Twice. First it was Olive Kitteridge, the HBO series she produced and starred in based on the book by Elizabeth Stroud. This time it's Nomadland.
Academy Award winning Frances McDormand talks about the making of Nomadland which is coming to Hulu and select theaters and drive-ins starting February 19, 2021.
Directed by Chloe Zhao, based on the nonfiction book Nomadland: Surviving in the Twenty First Century by Jessica Bruder, Nomadland is the first film to ever premiere at the Venice, Toronto and Telluride Film Festivals all on the same night — where it took home all the top prizes.
The story is a tale of our times centering on the very “now” many Americans find themselves in. People uprooted from their old jobs and old neighborhoods, places they've called home for decades, now living in DIY customized vans, migrating for work with the seasons. Christmas near the Amazon Fulfillment Center in Virginia, the sugar beet harvest in North Dakota, cleaning latrines and being campground hosts in National Parks. They were already on the road by the thousands before the pandemic uprooted even more.
Frances McDormand plays Fern, a woman in her sixties who, after losing everything in the Great Recession, sets out on a journey through the Midwest living as a van-dwelling itinerant worker — a modern day nomad.
Frances talks about her experiences making the film in the van-dwelling community with clips from director Chloe Zhao, author Jessica Bruder, van-dwelling guru Bob Wells, and clips from the film.
“…Zhao’s fable speaks to us, in 2020, as John Ford’s The Grapes of Wrath did to audiences eighty years ago.” Anthony Lane, The New Yorker
158 — A Plea for Peace: Leonard Bernstein, Richard Nixon, and the Music of the 1973 Inauguration
Music and poetry were powerful headliners at the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris signaling change and new beginnings. This was not the first time the arts have reflected the mood of the country and a new administration.
In January 1973, following the Christmas bombing of Vietnam, conductor Leonard Bernstein gathered an impromptu orchestra to perform an "anti-inaugural concert" protesting Richard Nixon's official inaugural concert and his escalation of the war in Vietnam. One of the main performances of the official inaugural was the 1812 Overture with its booming drums replicating the sound of war cannons.
In 1973, the United States was reaching the concluding stages of our involvement in Vietnam. And while the war would soon come to an end, the weeks leading up to the second inauguration of Richard Nixon were met with some of the most intense and deadly bombing campaigns of the war.
The anti-war movement was unhinged. They had marched, they protested — to seemingly no avail when it came to changing Nixon’s foreign policies. So what to do next...
Leonard Bernstein gathered an impromptu orchestra for an “anti-inaugural concert”— a concert for peace—following his belief that by creating beauty, and by sharing it with as many people as possible, artists had the power to tip the earthly balance in favor of brotherhood and peace.
This story was produced by Brandi Howell with special thanks to Michael Chikinda, Alicia Kopfstein, Matt Holsen, and Bernie Swain. Find more of her stories at: theechochamberpodcast.com
157 — Chido Govera—The Mushroom Queen of Zimbabwe
A mushroom farmer, food activist, business entrepreneur, foster mother to more than a dozen girls—Chido Govera is a kitchen visionary in Zimbabwe—a pioneer in the cultivation of mushrooms throughout Africa and the world.
Chido was orphaned at 7 when her mother died of AIDS. As a girl, who never had enough to eat, she began cultivating mushrooms when she was nine. Some people look at a mushroom and see a mushroom. Chido looked at a mushroom and saw a weapon for social change, a path out of hunger and poverty to empowerment and income for herself and other orphaned girls.
The founder of The Future of Hope Foundation, Chido has promoted mushroom cultivation as a sustainable source of food and income in impoverished regions of the world.
We met Chido in Sao Paolo at FRUTO, an international gathering of chefs, farmers, activists, fishermen, Amazonian tribal women organizers, botanists and more—organized by Brazilian chef Alex Atala, famous from Netflix’s Chef’s Table. Speakers from around the world delved deep into issues of food, zero waste, the destruction of coastal waters, agriculture and climate change, the rights and foods of indigenous people of the Amazon. The conference was profound—a global eye opener.
Special thanks to Alex Atala, Felipe Ribenboim, Lars Williams and the NOMA community in Denmark.
The Kitchen Sisters Present is part of Radiotopia from PRX, a curated collection of podcasts from some of the best independent producers around.
156 — The Amish Pandemic Sewing Frolic
It was Friday, April 10th, 2020. The pandemic was really starting to roar. PPE was scarce and the supply chains were already breaking down. Every hospital was scrambling to find enough masks, gowns and face shields. It was already every state, every institution for itself.
It was everywhere in the papers. Page 1, Page 2, Page 3. On Page 9 of the New York Times, dateline: Sugarcreek, Ohio, a headline caught our eye: “Abe Make a Sewing Frolic” — In Ohio The Amish Take on the Coronavirus.
This isolated, centuries-old, self-reliant community was rising to the occasion and collaborating with the world outside to fill the PPE needs of the massive Cleveland Clinic and beyond. The story inspired us and we headed to Sugarcreek with our microphone.
In the attempt to record this story in Amish country in the midst of social distancing and the ever deepening pandemic, a new collaboration was born — artist Laurie Anderson, Ohio-born designer Stacy Hoover and producer Evan Jacoby all joined with The Kitchen Sisters to bring these voices to air.
Today, The Kitchen Sisters Present… The Great Amish Sewing Frolic.