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Lost & Found Sound and Voices of the Dust Bowl

Lost & Found Sound and Voices of the Dust Bowl

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Fish mongers recorded on the streets of Harlem in the 1930s. An 8-year-old girl’s impromptu news cast made on a toy recorder in a San Diego store. Lyndon Johnson talking to FBI director J. Edgar Hoover a week after President Kennedy’s assassination in 1963. Sounds lost and found.

As The Kitchen Sisters prepare to launch their new series The Keepers, about activist archivists, rogue librarians, curators, collectors, historians and the collections they keep, they re-visit their own “accidental archive” of recordings amassed over the years.

And Voices from the Dust Bowl, produced by Peabody Award winning producer Barrett Golding for the Lost & Found Sound series.

In the 1930s, hundreds of thousands of people from Oklahoma and Arkansas traveled to California, fleeing the dust storms and poverty of the Depression.

In the summer of 1940, Charles Todd was hired by the Library of Congress to visit the federal camps where many of these migrants lived, to create an audio oral history of their stories. Todd carried a 50-pound Presto recorder from camp to camp that summer, interviewing the migrant workers. He made hundreds of hours of recordings on acetate and cardboard discs. Todd was there at the same time that John Steinbeck was interviewing many of the same people in these camps, for research on a new novel called “The Grapes of Wrath.” Producer Barrett Golding went though this massive, rare collection of Todd’s recordings to create this story of the Dust Bowl refugees narrated by Charles Todd.

Ep #97: Pan American Blues: The Birth of The Grand Ole Opry & “Harmonica Wizard” Deford Bailey

Ep #97: Pan American Blues: The Birth of The Grand Ole Opry & “Harmonica Wizard” Deford Bailey

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The story of the birth of the Grand Ole Opry on radio station WSM in Nashville, TN and the story of “Harmonica Wizard” DeFord Bailey, the Opry’s first African American performer.

WSM’s most popular show, the Grand Ole Opry, the longest running radio show in the US, started in 1925 as the WSM Barn Dance featuring a wealth of talent from the hills of Tennessee and all around the rural south—Uncle Dave Macon “The Dixie Dewdrop,” Roy Acuff and His Smokey Mountain Boys, Minnie Pearl and hundreds of others performed on the wildly popular Saturday night show.

Starting in 1928, the legendary “Harmonica Wizard” DeFord Bailey was on the show more often than any other person. In fact, one of DeFord’s most popular pieces, Pan American Blues, inspired the announcer to dub the show The Grand Ole Opry. DeFord suffered from polio as a child and started playing the harmonica when he was 3 years old. Four-and-a-half feet tall, always impeccably dressed in a suit, he had the uncanny ability of imitating and incorporating sounds into his harmonica playing—trains, animals, fox hunts. Because it was radio, the audience was unaware DeFord was the only African American among the all-white cast. But when he toured with the other Opry stars he could not stay in the same hotels or eat in the same restaurants. He had to sleep in the car. Sometimes Uncle Dave Macon would haul the back seat out of his car and tell the hotel DeFord was his valet so he could sleep inside his room.

The Pan American passenger train is a through line in this story. When we were working on Lost & Found Sound, a series about the history of recorded sound, we got a letter from a listener who said that “no collection of sounds from the 20th century” would be complete without the sound of the Pan American passenger train.

Every night at 5:08 pm from August 1933 until June 1945, listeners to the 50,000 watt WSM radio station would hear the live sound of the Pan American, Louisville and Nashville’s passenger train, as it passed the station’s transmitter tower. They actually had a guy out there holding a mic recording the train every night at 5:08—avid listeners all across the south and Midwest would set their clocks by it.

So we followed up on the sound. We went to Nashville to the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Country Music Foundation, where there are some real Keepers and Collectors of Sounds and stories. And as usual, stories beget stories… the sound of the Pan American train whistle and Radio station WSM led us to the story of the birth of the Grand Ole Opry, the oldest continuing running radio program… which led us to the remarkable story of the Grand Ole Opry’s first (and for many years only) African American performer, Harmonica Wizard Deford Bailey.

Episode #96: Cry Me a River — Keepers of the Environment

Episode #96: Cry Me a River — Keepers of the Environment

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The dramatic stories of three pioneering “Keepers” and environmental activists—Ken Sleight, Katie Lee, and Mark Dubois and the damming of wild rivers in the west.

Ken Sleight is a long time river and pack guide and activist in southern Utah who fought the damming of Glen Canyon and filling of Lake Powell from 1956-1966. An inspiration for Edward Abbey’s, Monkey Wrench Gang, Sleight is currently working on the campaign to remove Glen Canyon Dam.

Katie Lee, born in 1917, a former Hollywood starlet, ran the Colorado River through Glen Canyon long before it was dammed, and in 1955 was the 175th person to run the Grand Canyon. An outspoken conservationist, singer and writer, she spent her life fighting for rivers.

Mark Dubois, co-founder of Friends of the River, Earth Day and International Rivers Network, began as a river guide who opened up rafting trips to disabled people in the 1970s. Dubois protested the damming and flooding of the Stanislaus River by hiding himself in the river canyon and chaining himself to a rock as the water rose in 1979.

Ep #95: Give Space A Chance: Gastrodiplomacy in Orbit

Ep #95: Give Space A Chance: Gastrodiplomacy in Orbit

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Russians preparing dinner for Americans in space? Sounds good to us.

There’s been a lot of jabber these days about creating a “Space Force,” a sixth branch of the US military to dominate outer space. Over the years we’ve talked with astronauts about what it’s like up there – about the food they eat and the teams they work with daily while orbiting the earth. It turns out they have other ideas about what can happen in space, like educating our youth and “gastrodipolmacy”— the use of food as a diplomatic tool to help resolve conflicts and foster connections between nations.

NASA astronaut Bill McArthur talks about the power of sharing meals with Russian Cosmonaut Valery Korzu during their six months together on the Space Station.

South Korea’s first astronaut, Astronaut Soyeon Yi, describes Kimchi Diplomacy in space, the Korean government’s efforts to invent kimchi for space travel, and the special Korean meal she prepared for her Russian comrades in orbit. Soyeon Yi, one of 36,000 applicants, became South Korea’s first astronaut in 2008. She talks about how she was selected and about the power of food: “Having kimchi in space, you are far from your home planet,” she says. “When you eat your own traditional food it makes you feel emotionally supported. I can feel my home.”

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Bowled Over: A Look Back

Bowled Over: A Look Back

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Dear Friends,

It was Friday, the day after Bowling with Grace. I was texting with Vinny Eng from Tartine Manufactory thanking them for the astounding cakes they contributed to the night and for the Tartine Bread and Portuguese wine as well. I was trying to describe what it meant to us, their love and support across the years, the sweetness and generosity of their contributions. “We are all friends walking each other home,” Vinny texted me. Nikki and I were in the middle of an edit with our NPR editor on the third story for our upcoming series, The KeepersArchive Fever: Henri Langlois and The Cinémathéque Française. I read Vinny’s quote to Nikki and Jacob, we all stopped and just took it in.

That’s exactly what it felt like in the Alley, in that magic space that is Mission Bowling Club, in the spell of Amazing Grace Mulloy and all who came to support her and The Kitchen Sisters. We were all friends, bowling each other home.

From the bottom of our bowling ball, thanks to everyone who came and everyone who contributed. Thank you to all the businesses in this community who helped support The Kitchen Sisters Amazing Auction and who provided food, drink and chocolate-covered bacon for the event. Thank you Cowgirl Creamery for stepping out and becoming Lead Sponsor. “Bowling with Cheese” was our code name for the night.

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With Grace turning 95 this year our other code name for the night was “Summon the Elders.” The Elders must have heard us because they showed up in the form of two queens, legendary blues, jazz and folk singer Barbara Dane, 91 years old now, opening at Joe’s Pub next week. Barbara belted a verse of Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around that tore up the Bowling Alley. And the extraordinary Betty Reid Soskin, at 96, the oldest park ranger in the National Park Service, stationed at the Rosie the Riveter Museum in Richmond, a Civil Rights pioneer and social activist in the first circle.

Speaking of extraordinary, we were also graced by Bowlin’ Bonnie Raitt. Need we say more?

If we had been able to keep our wits about us during all this magic we would have introduced and congratulated Eleni Kounalakis who came to support The Sisters, who just ran a stunning primary campaign for California Lt. Governor and now goes into the November election the frontrunner. CONGRATULATIONS, Eleni. Don’t slow your roll.

And another thing — somehow the list of “Bowling Celebrities” got separated from the Cocktails created in their honor. Time to right that wrong.

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Those of you who couldn’t join us this year, next year Grace will be 95. We thought this year was the last, but the night was such a blast Grace wants to do it one more time. See you Thursday night, June 6, 2019, Mission Bowling Club. Bowling with Grace: The Legend Continues.

One last thing. Don’t put your checkbooks away just yet. The Amazing Auction is going back online in a few days with a few treasured, surprise items. Trust us, you won’t want to miss it.

In the meantime, to fill the boredom between now and the Auction, SUBSCRIBE to our Webby Award-winning podcast, The Kitchen Sisters Present…

All of you who took photos and videos of the night, we’re starving to see them. Upload, please. Remember how Michael Pollan called us Keepers? We’re creating an Archive for god’s sake.

All you Amazing Auction winners, you’ll be hearing from us shortly. Congratulations and thank you for bidding up The Kitchen Sisters.

Keep it rolling,

Davia & Nikki, Brandi & Nathan

—-

We leave you with this. Lawrence Ferlinghetti, who was on our minds daily as we summoned the elders, was unable to attend the fête, videotaped this poem to be shared that night. We share it with you and let Lawrence have the last word.

P.S. It’s not too late to contribute to our Bowling with Grace Fundraising Campaign. It’s your support that makes our stories possible. Thank you. You can donate here.

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All non-vintage photos by Roman Cho.

Episode #94 – Tequila Chamber of Commerce & The Birth of the Frozen Margarita

Episode #94 – Tequila Chamber of Commerce & The Birth of the Frozen Margarita

Subscribe to the podcast: iTunes | Stitcher | RSS

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The Agave Goddess with 200 breasts; jimadors stripping lethal thorny leaves off agaves; farmers battling cambio climatico (climate change); distillers contemplating mono-culture production and the environmental impact of tequila; generations-old tequila makers versus globalization. Stories of tequila from the Tequila Region in Mexico and beyond.

Tequila does not only mean alcohol—it means Mexico’s culture, history and future. The biggest tequila companies are not Mexican anymore. They are internationally owned. The Tequila Chamber of Commerce is helping producers promote the drink. They are expected to sell millions and millions of liters to China in the future.

Guillermo Erikson Sauza, the fifth generation to make tequila in his family talks about how his grandfather unexpectedly sold the company in 1978 and how he has worked to build up a small a distillery making his Fortaleza brand in the traditional way. And Carmen Villareal, a tequilera, one of the few women in Mexico to run a Tequila company—Tequila San Matais, now 127 years old.

And Mariano Martinez, from a fourth generation family restaurant business in Dallas,Texas. How he developed the first frozen margarita machine in 1971, based on the 7-Eleven Slurpee machine, using a soft serve ice cream maker “suped up like a car.” The machine is now at the Smithsonian.

Mariano pulling from the Original Frozen Margarita Machine in Bandido Outfit

The Amazing Auction is Live!

The Amazing Auction is Live!

 

 

Dear Friends,

Two exciting additions to The Bowling with Grace Experience — Roman Mars is joining our roster of Celebrity Bowlers and today our Amazing Auction is live online!  From now til next Wednesday, June 6, the bidding is open to all, whether you are joining us at Mission Bowling Club on Thursday or not. 

Check out these incredible items from our incredibly generous community. Many of the Bay Area’s wonderful restaurants, cheesemongers, kimchi makers and saltsmiths are offering a dazzling array of one-of-a-kind delicious experiences and unforgettable meals.   And many of the Bay Area’s cultural icons have donated their time, talent and tickets as well. Read on and see these exceptional offerings.

Deep thanks to all the businesses, individuals and icons who have contributed. Your story is told below.

And deep thanks to you, dear friends, for your spirit and support across the years.

Don’t slow your roll,
Davia & Nikki

All proceeds from this Amazing Auction go to support The Kitchen Sisters’ mission and work, our intern and mentoring program, and our efforts to bring seldom heard voices and perspectives to the air, to keep the airwaves vibrant, imaginative and public, to build community through the storytelling.

P.S. Tickets for Bowling with Grace are rolling out the door. Get yours!

Get Tickets Now

Dinner for 4 at Cala 

Gabriela Cámara, the restaurateur behind Mexico City’s groundbreaking long lunch seafood restaurant, Contramar, opened Cala in San Francisco just three years ago.  Mexican food so fresh and bright and unusual, handmade tortillas, beautiful tequilas, mezcals, and staffed in large measure by people who have been through the criminal justice system and are re-entering society and the workforce working in this stunning place.    Along with its food, drink, and commitment to social justice, we are inspired by the sound system  Meyer Sound created for Cala that let’s conversation, music and the music of making food all be well- heard together.  Bid now.

Dinner For Two at the Secret Kitchen Table in the Kitchen of Chez Panisse Restaurant 

This is a one-of-a-kind, dream meal for you and that special someone.  Tuck away inside the downstairs kitchen of this legendary restaurant that changed the course of food history in America.  Sit inches away from where the desserts are being crafted and the wood burning oven and small battery of chefs who are creating that night’s meals at Chez are working their magic.  An inside, in-the-thick-of-the-kitchen perch with the most of divine of dinners awaits.  Bid now.

Cowgirl Creamery Tour and Cheese Tasting for 4 at Tomales Bay Creamery & Shop in Pt. Reyes Station

A cheese-making demo at the original cheese works. of the ultimate kitchen sisters, Sue Conley and Peggy Smith in Pt Reyes Station with an extravagant cheese tasting for 4 to follow. Chase all that cheese down with a beautiful hike in the Point Reyes National Seashore.  One of the most delicious, environmental, community, and civic-minded of businesses in the Bay Area, and the nation, we thank The Cowgirls & Co for their years of support of stories of The Kitchen Sisters, MALT, The Edible Schoolyard and so many others.  Bid now.

Lunch for Four at 54 Mint

Treasure in San Francisco, 54 Mint.  Delicious flavorful food in a stylish room in historic Mint Plaza.  After a long morning at SFMOMA, The African Diaspora Museum, The Jewish Museum… how about Italian lunch for four… with wine.  A menu especially made for you, oh gentle bidder.  A joyous, elegant lunch to share with your people.  With thanks to our new friends at 54 Mint!  Bid now.

Lunch for 2 in Angelo Garro’s Forge    

A mythic lunch it will be.  Artisan blacksmith and saltsmith, Angelo Garro lives in his Forge, where for decades he has forged bronze staircases and gates and all manner of metal wonders, and where he now masterminds Omnivore Salt.  Angelo lives and cooks with the seasons, hunting and gathering, foraging, pickling, curing prosciutto, salumi, and olives. (His new, soon-to-be launched Caponata is an eggplant masterpiece)   Lunch at Angelo’s is a journey to another time and country.   You’ll be fighting The Kitchen Sisters for this one. Bid now.

Gnocchi-Making Lesson/ Dinner for Ten at Heirloom Cafe

Matt Straus is a Keeper — of wine and a way of eating and drinking.   Owner of Heirloom Cafe in SF and publisher of kitchen work, a quarterly journal about what and how we eat and drink,  Matt is a collector of wine and wine knowledge .  Matt will lead a private gnocchi-making class for ten people on a Sunday evening over the summer at his intimate kitchen at Heirloom Cafe.  The ‘class’ which lasts an hour will be followed by a private dinner with wine.  Sounds like a perfect summer Sunday. Bid now.

An Oral History of your choice done for you by The Kitchen Sisters

Davia & Nikki go Full-On Kitchen Sister recording and producing an oral history for you. Bid now.

A $200 Gift Certificate to Outerlands

One of our favorite Hidden Kitchens.  Ok, so it’s not exactly hidden, but it’s out there in the avenues and the fog and the surfers and the magic.  Breathtaking bread, one-of-kind-cooking, mostly biodynamic wines, and inspired cocktails, and a staff that rocks, a trip to Outerlands (45th & Judah) is a journey worth making.  Bid now.

Wendy MacNaughton Portrait

Wendy MacNaughton is an exceptional artist and activist amongst us.  She is a New York Times bestselling illustrator and graphic journalist and collaborator.  A short list of her credits include Meanwhile in San FranciscoSalt Fat Acid Heat, The Life, Art & Cookbook of Cipe Pineles: Leave Me Alone with the Recipes and other books.  In a great act of generosity to The Kitchen Sisters Wendy has offered to draw a portrait of your choice.   Bid now.

Bowling for Six at Mission Bowling Club

Our dear friends at Mission Bowling Club have generously donated an hour of Bowling for Six (with shoes) in their wonderful, soulful Alley.  Black leather couches, a wonderful bar with great cocktails, delicious food including the legendary Mission Burger.   You and your posse will have a time!!!  Bid now.

Two Tickets in the Front Row of the Conductor’s Box for a Michael Tilson Thomas Concert at the San Francisco Symphony

Jump on this one, music lovers.  MTT is moving into his last season with the San Francisco Symphony soon. Watch the Maestro conduct from his own private box in Louise Davies Symphony Hall.  Michael is in his prime and so is the Symphony. Seeing him from this view as he conducts some of the most classic and the most daring works is not to be missed. The only thing MTT and his husband, Joshua Robison like more than music is stories — stories, food, dogs, gardens, social justice… We thank them for for their spirit and support of our stories and our community.  Bid now.

Dinner for 6 at Nikki’s gorgeous Commune in Santa Cruz

One Kitchen Sister lives in San Francisco.  The other lives on a ten-acre 30 year-old commune in Santa Cruz County overlooking Monterey Bay and strawberry fields forever.  Three families have lived together there for decades.  What’s their secret?  THE KITCHEN.  Come explore their commune where artists, activists, stockbrokers, painters, golfers, builders and their brood all co-exist and COOK.  Enjoy the outdoor fireplace, the pizza oven, the grill, but most of all THE VISION of these friends and co-housers who have made a remarkable communal life together.  Bid now.

Kimchi Bonanza from Sinto Gourmet

“There is an old saying in Korea: Sinto buri. It is written ‘신토불이’ in Korean and literally translates to ‘body and soil can not be separated.’ Sinto buri means our bodies and spirits are at their best when eating foods that grow on the soil we step on. In Korea it is used to emphasize the importance of local food and where food comes from. At Sinto Gourmet we integrate sinto buri into all the food we prepare and everything we do.””Chef HyunJoo, Sinto Gourmet, SF

We met HyunJoo Albrecht, the creator of a wondrous world of kimchi products when we interviewed her for our Hidden Kitchens NPR story “Kimchi Diplomacy.”  Hyun Joo told us stories of the tradition of kimchi making and kimchi season in Korea. She also gave us a taste of her bounty. Now she’s sharing it with you. her kimchi’s are made with non-gmo products. with  a selection of her 4 kimchis — Spicy Red Napa Cabbage, Spicy Radish, Mild White Napa Cabbage, and ‘Plenty Roots’ Kimchi —  along with her new Gochu Jang, the fermented hot pepper paste that has a history over 1000 years.  All her kimchi’s are made with non-gmo products, HyunJoo wants to make sure you know that.

Bid now.

Red Sauce Dinner for Four at Tosca Cafe

The legendary Tosca Cafe, one of San Francisco’s most legendary bars, turns 100 this coming year.  Now a restaurant, Thursday night at Tosca is The Red Sauce Dinner — Caesar Salad of heirloom chicories, house-baked garlic knots, braised pork shank, sausage and meatballs in tomato sauce, and bucatini.  An Italian soul food dinner in one of the most historic and beautiful bars/restaurants. Think of Sam Shepherd when you’re there.  He loved Tosca and it’s owner, Jeannette Etheredge, who basically hosted a 30-year salon there that brought actors, cops, ice hockey players, artists, musicians, Russians, ballet dancers, beat reporters and the town together at its long bar and time capsule of a juke box.  Bid now.

Dinner for 8 in the Chandelier Room at Zuni Cafe

The jewel in the crown of San Francisco restaurants and this year’s recipient of the James Beard Best Service Award so you know you’re going to be treated ultra-well.  The Chandelier Room, a hidden gem upstairs at Zuni where you and your people can eat, drink, and make merry.  Zuni and Gilbert Pilgram have been stalwart supporters of The Kitchen Sisters for decades  and The Kitchen Sisters have been stalwart supporters of Zuni.  Bring your scene to Zuni for dinner and you’ll know why.  The food, the people, the staff, the politics, the compassion, the cocktails… Zuni supports artists, immigrants, civil liberties, farmers, musicians… They stand for the right things.  And then there’s the chicken…

Includes margaritas and Zuni wine.  Gratuity is NOT included.  Tuesday–Thursday 6:00 or 9:00pm  Bid now.

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Ep#93: Prince and the Technician

Ep#93: Prince and the Technician

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In 1983 Prince hired LA sound technician, Susan Rogers, one of the few women in the industry, to move to Minneapolis and help upgrade his home recording studio as he began work on the album and the movie Purple Rain. Susan, a trained technician with no sound engineering experience became the engineer of Purple Rain, Parade, Sign o’ the Times, and all that Prince recorded for the next four years. For those four years, and almost every year after, Prince recorded at least a song a day and they worked together for 24 hours, 36 hours, 96 hours at a stretch, layering and perfecting his music and his hot funky sound. We interviewed Susan, who is now a Professor at the Berklee School of Music in Boston, for our upcoming NPR series, The Keepers — about activist archivists, rogue librarians, collectors, curators and historians. It was Susan who started Prince’s massive archive during her time with the legendary artist.

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Ep #92 – The Working Tapes of Studs Terkel

Ep #92 – The Working Tapes of Studs Terkel

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In the early 1970s, radio producer and author Studs Terkel wrote a book called Working. He went around the country with a reel-to-reel tape recorder interviewing people about their jobs. The book became a bestseller and even inspired a Broadway musical. Working struck a nerve, because it elevated the stories of ordinary people and their daily lives. Studs celebrated the un-celebrated.

Radio Diaries and their partner Project& were given exclusive access to these recordings, which were boxed up and stored away after the book was published. Stories of a private investigator, a union worker, a telephone operator, a hotel piano player, and more.

As The Kitchen Sisters warm up for our new series “The Keepers,” stories of activist archivists, rogue librarians, historians, collectors, curators—keepers of the culture—we share these stories gathered by the ultimate Keeper: Studs Terkel.

Notes from The Kitchen Sisterhood / Spring 2018

Notes from The Kitchen Sisterhood / Spring 2018

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Dear Friends,

These Notes spring from a recording session we did last week in the basement studio of American Zoetrope where The Kitchen Sisters SF HQ is located. We were rehearsing the story we’re presenting on the Radiotopia Live 6-city East Coast tour that starts on Monday.

Lawrence Ferlinghetti, the legendary poet and proprietor of City Lights Bookstore, was in the studio when we arrived. For over a decade now, Lawrence, who just turned 99, has come into the studio almost every week with our sound engineer, Jim McKee, to record hundreds of his poems. They thought their work was complete, but about a week ago Lawrence realized there was one poem from his book A Coney Island of the Mind that he had missed. “I Am Waiting.” Lawrence stayed for our rehearsal, gave us his seal of approval and asked if he could jump on the bus as we roll from Atlanta to Boston.

There’s a lot of people’s projects in these Notes and a lot of news from The Kitchen Sisters. But at this moment, the most important item to us, is Lawrence’s poem. Lawrence wrote it some 60 years ago, but you’d swear it was yesterday. We hope you will take a moment and read it, maybe even aloud.

We hope to see lots of you at Mission Bowling Club in San Francisco on June 7th! And hope to see the rest of you on the road on the Radiotopia Live Tour, May 7-13.

Keep it rolling…

Davia & Nikki
The Kitchen Sisters

Radiotopia Live East Coast Tour

The Kitchen Sisters Present… and 6 more of your favorite Radiotopia shows go live on the road for a night of podcast magic. Host, Roman Mars. Come find us. Atlanta + Durham + DC + Brooklyn + New York + Boston. May 7-13. Get tickets here: radiotopia.fm/live

What We’re Watching

Movies

Hale County, This Morning, This Evening, a quiet, moving documentary from the Black Belt of Alabama. The first film by RaMell Ross. Lyrical, evocative, intimate moments of people in a struggling community.

Garry Winogrand: All Things Are Photographable. The legendary street photographer Garry Winogrand left 10,000 rolls of undeveloped film when he died suddenly at age 56. Director Sasha Waters Freyer dives deep into the life and art of this visionary.

Wild Wild Country, directed by Chapman and Maclain Way on Netflix

Plays

The Gangster of Love, a new play by Jessica Hagedorn now at the Magic Theater

Three Tall Women, written by Edward Albee at John Golden Theatre. Glenda Jackson, Laurie Metcalf & Alison Pill, need we say more?

Father Comes Home From the Wars, Parts I, II, III: A new American Odyssey by Suzan-Lori Parks at ACT, SF


Books on our Shelf

“It was late October 2012 and Hurricane Sandy was coming up from the south. It began as a tropical wave in the western Caribbean and quickly morphed into the biggest Atlantic hurricane on record. I had rushed back to the city to be with Lou when it made landfall. We watched the storm as it blew in across the Hudson River. Then the black water rose up over the banks, crossed the highway and turned our street into a dark silky river. 

Two days later I went down to the basement to have a look at the equipment and materials I had assumed were soaked but still salvageable. Nothing was left. The seawater had shredded and pulped everything. Even the electronic equipment was now a lumpy gray sludge. At first I was devastated. The next day I realized I would never have to clean the basement again…”

From All the Things I Lost in the Flood by Laurie Anderson

A Reckoning by Linda Spalding

How to Change Your Mind: The New Science of Psychedelics by Michael Pollan

Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century by Jessica Bruder

You Are Mighty: A Guide to Changing the World by Caroline Paul illustrated by Lauren Tamaki

The Historian As Detective: Essays on Evidence, Robin W. Winks, Editor

This Immeasurable Place: Food and Farming from the Edge of Wilderness, Recipe’s from Hell’s Backbone Grill by Blake Spaulding & Jennifer Castle with Lavinia Spalding

Fly Ranch, Nevada: In 2016, Larry Harvey and The Burning Man Project purchased 3,800 acres some 30 miles from where the annual Burning Man Festival takes place. Part of the vision behind the purchase is to expand the ten principles at the heart of Burning Man — civic responsibility, communal effort, gifting, immediacy, radical self-expression…  On Saturday, Larry Harvey went to The Big Playa in the Sky. What a vision of ritual and community he inspired.

“Larry Harvey, the guru-like driving force behind Burning Man, the globally celebrated anti-establishment, anti-consumerist festival that he and a friend began 32 years ago on a San Francisco beach, died on Saturday at a hospital in San Francisco. He was 70.” Read the New York Times obituary of this Nebraska born visionary.

How One Museum Curator Is Bringing Burning Man Out of the Desert
The outré scene of unrestrained revelry and cutting-edge art in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert comes to the Smithsonian.

Keepers We’re Following

The National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama

Events and Exhibitions We’re Attending (or Wish We Were)

New Strands Festival, A New Thao Nguyen Musical Project, ACT, May 19

Glen Canyon: A River Guide Remembers. Legendary river man, Ken Sleight is at the center of this homage to Glen Canyon. Opening night at John Wesley Powell River History Museum in Green River, Utah, Friday, May 4

Hiroshi Sugimoto, B.C. at Fraenkel Gallery, SF. Just closed. Dang. But Janet Cardiff & George Bures Miller’s The Poetry Machine and Other Works opens Thursday, May 3. And you know we would walk on hot coals to hear/see their installations. 40 Motets was one powerful, exhilarating, haunting experience.

Bowling Parties We’re Throwing

Bowling with GraceThe Kitchen Sisters 3rd Annual Bowling Party and Fundraiser, Thursday, June 7, Mission Bowling Club, San Francisco.

Come bowl or come hang with a whole new array of Celebrity BowlersAlice Waters, Cecilia Chiang, Rebecca Solnit, Michael Pollan, Judith Belzer, Wendy MacNaughton, Armistead Maupin, Ayelet Waldman, Amy Tan and more. Come for the shoes or come for the schmooze.  

All funds support our new series, The Keepers — stories of activist archivists, rogue librarians, collectors, curators, and historians — keepers of the culture and the cultures and collections they keep. The Keepers premieres on NPR’s Morning Edition this June.

Get tickets here

I Am Waiting
by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

I am waiting for my case to come up
and I am waiting
for a rebirth of wonder
and I am waiting for someone
to really discover America
and wail
and I am waiting   
for the discovery
of a new symbolic western frontier   
and I am waiting   
for the American Eagle
to really spread its wings
and straighten up and fly right
and I am waiting
for the Age of Anxiety
to drop dead
and I am waiting
for the war to be fought
which will make the world safe
for anarchy
and I am waiting
for the final withering away
of all governments
and I am perpetually awaiting
a rebirth of wonder

I am waiting for the Second Coming   
and I am waiting
for a religious revival
to sweep thru the state of Arizona   
and I am waiting
for the Grapes of Wrath to be stored   
and I am waiting
for them to prove
that God is really American
and I am waiting
to see God on television
piped onto church altars
if only they can find   
the right channel   
to tune in on
and I am waiting
for the Last Supper to be served again
with a strange new appetizer
and I am perpetually awaiting
a rebirth of wonder

I am waiting for my number to be called
and I am waiting
for the Salvation Army to take over
and I am waiting
for the meek to be blessed
and inherit the earth   
without taxes
and I am waiting
for forests and animals
to reclaim the earth as theirs
and I am waiting
for a way to be devised
to destroy all nationalisms
without killing anybody
and I am waiting
for linnets and planets to fall like rain
and I am waiting for lovers and weepers
to lie down together again
in a new rebirth of wonder

I am waiting for the Great Divide to be crossed   
and I am anxiously waiting
for the secret of eternal life to be discovered   
by an obscure general practitioner
and I am waiting
for the storms of life
to be over
and I am waiting
to set sail for happiness
and I am waiting
for a reconstructed Mayflower
to reach America
with its picture story and tv rights
sold in advance to the natives
and I am waiting
for the lost music to sound again
in the Lost Continent
in a new rebirth of wonder

I am waiting for the day
that maketh all things clear
and I am awaiting retribution
for what America did   
to Tom Sawyer   
and I am waiting
for Alice in Wonderland
to retransmit to me
her total dream of innocence
and I am waiting
for Childe Roland to come
to the final darkest tower
and I am waiting   
for Aphrodite
to grow live arms
at a final disarmament conference
in a new rebirth of wonder

I am waiting
to get some intimations
of immortality
by recollecting my early childhood
and I am waiting
for the green mornings to come again   
youth’s dumb green fields come back again
and I am waiting
for some strains of unpremeditated art
to shake my typewriter
and I am waiting to write
the great indelible poem
and I am waiting
for the last long careless rapture
and I am perpetually waiting
for the fleeing lovers on the Grecian Urn   
to catch each other up at last
and embrace
and I am awaiting   
perpetually and forever
a renaissance of wonder

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A renaissance of wonder

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