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Betty Reid Soskin #KeeperoftheDay

Betty Reid Soskin #KeeperoftheDay

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#KeeperoftheDay – Betty Reid Soskin, 98-year-old National Park Ranger, and subject of the new documentary, No Time To Waste: The Urgent Mission of Betty Reid Soskin, premiering this Fourth of July on NBC Bay Area.

Rosie Lee Tompkins #KeeperoftheDay

Rosie Lee Tompkins #KeeperoftheDay

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“A triumphal retrospective at the Berkeley Art Museum confirms her standing as one of the great American artists — transcending craft, challenging painting and reshaping the canon.”

Read the article in the New York Times.

Gert McMullin #KeeperoftheDay

Gert McMullin #KeeperoftheDay

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#KeeperoftheDay Gert McMullin. Gert knows the power of sewing. She taught herself to sew at age 9 after her mother died. In the 1980s she began working on the AIDS Quilt and has stewarded it, repaired it, traveled with it for some 33 years. Gert is now making masks for healthcare workers using leftover material from the quilt.

Listen to our story about Gert and the Quilt.

The Kitchen Sisters receive a GRAMMY Museum Grant

The Kitchen Sisters receive a GRAMMY Museum Grant

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We are thrilled to announce that we received a grant from the GRAMMY Museum to catalog, digitize, preserve, and ultimately make publicly available the many music-centered stories and related recorded material in The Kitchen Sisters Archive. Read the official press release below and learn about the other projects being honored this year.

GRAMMY MUSEUM® GRANT PROGRAM AWARDS $200,000
FOR MUSIC RESEARCH AND SOUND PRESERVATION 
FUNDS WILL PROVIDE SUPPORT FOR ARCHIVING AND PRESERVATION PROGRAMS AND RESEARCH EFFORTS THAT EXAMINE THE IMPACT OF MUSIC ON HUMAN DEVELOPMENT

LOS ANGELES (June 16, 2020) — The GRAMMY Museum® Grant Program announced today that $200,000 in grants will be awarded to 13 recipients in the United States to help facilitate a range of research on a variety of subjects, as well as support a number of archiving and preservation programs.

“The GRAMMY Museum Grant Program to date has awarded more than $7.5 million to more than 400 grantees,” said Michael Sticka, President of the GRAMMY Museum. “As a nonprofit cultural organization that relies on annually applying to grants to help fund our education programs, we are well apprised of how much of an impact an approved grant can make. The work we help fund through our grants program, with the Recording Academy as our partner, includes an impressive array of projects that are at the forefront of exploring music’s beneficial intersection with science, and that maintain our musical legacy for future generations. The initiatives announced today exemplify the Museum’s mission to uphold music’s value in our lives and shared culture.”

Generously funded by the Recording Academy®, the GRAMMY Museum Grant Program provides funding annually to organizations and individuals to support efforts that advance the archiving and preservation of the recorded sound heritage of the Americas for future generations, in addition to research projects related to the impact of music on the human condition. In 2008, the Grant Program expanded its categories to include assistance grants for individuals and small to mid-sized organizations to aid collections held by individuals and organizations that may not have access to the expertise needed to create a preservation plan. The assistance planning process, which may include inventorying and stabilizing a collection, articulates the steps to be taken to ultimately archive recorded sound materials for future generations.

The deadline each year for submitting letters of inquiry to the Grant Program is Oct. 15. Guidelines and the letter of inquiry form for the 2020 cycle will soon be available at www.grammymuseum.org.

Scientific Research Grantees

Ryerson University— Toronto
Awarded: $20,000
Older adults often face formidable challenges to psychological and social well-being, including depression and loneliness. Group singing appears to mitigate some of these core challenges. This project will assess the impact of group singing on the psychosocial wellbeing of older adults. It will also clarify the neurobiological underpinnings of these benefits. These findings may help promote non-pharmaceutical methods for supporting well-being in older adults.

Music and Health Sciences Research Collaboratory, Faculty of Music, University of Toronto — Toronto
Awarded: $20,000
The purpose of this study is to investigate the prevalence of the Val66Met BDNF polymorphism, a genetic mutation associated with deficits in motor learning, in a sample of musicians versus the general population. This will give insight into the roles of genes (the Val66Met polymorphism) and music training on brain plasticity. Should musicians with the polymorphism exist, this serves as possible evidence for effective compensatory motor learning strategies.

Princeton University — Princeton, New Jersey
Awarded: $19,758
Previous work has revealed a hierarchy of brain regions that organize acoustic input at multiple timescales, but less is known about how the brain organizes information during the production of sound. Researchers will ask expert pianists to play musical pieces, which will have been structurally manipulated at different timescales, in the fMRI scanner. This will enable the investigation of diverse questions regarding motor planning, prediction, and learning in the context of naturalistic music performance.

The Research Foundation for the SUNY, University at Albany — Albany, New York
Awarded: $19,320
Prior studies have found that speakers of a tone language (TL), in which pitch changes alter word meaning, show advantages in music perception. To control for culture and second language experience, University at Albany researchers Ron Friedman and Lauren Clemens will examine this effect with speakers of Copala Triqui, an indigenous Mexican TL, and newly test whether TL use influences the perception of musical emotion. Results will inform the development of training programs to enhance linguistic and musical skills.

University of Oregon — Eugene, Oregon
Awarded: $20,000
This project explores the link between empathic social processing and music emotion recognition. By examining neural activation that overlaps when people make inferences about both social and musical stimuli, this project will help to explain how music connects people to others through neurobiological architecture that helps people understand and process the social world. Results may inform novel treatment for people with social cognitive impairment, such as autism.

Preservation Assistance Grantees

Experimental Sound Studio — Chicago
Awarded: $5,000
Experimental Sound Studio will create an integrated plan for digitization and online dissemination of the Malachi Ritscher Collection, which contains more than 4,000 live recordings documenting the diverse underground music scene at the turn of the 20th century.

Texas Folklife — Austin, Texas
Awarded: $5,000
Texas Folklife has an extensive archive of audio recordings and related material of Texas folk and traditional arts performances, field recordings, and artist interviews dating from 1984. For this project, they will identify potential project partners, update catalog records, and develop a long range plan for digitization, long-term storage, backup, widespread dissemination, and accessibility of the overall collection.

Preservation Implementation

Freight & Salvage — Berkeley, California
Awarded: $20,000
From an existing archive of 2,500-plus recordings, this project will focus on transferring 600 hours of recorded music by digitizing data from formats at the greatest risk of deterioration and by showcasing the influential traditional/roots musicians who performed at Freight & Salvage coffeehouse (1969–1989). They will disseminate the digitized archives through a partnering internet library that provides free access to musicians, researchers, and the public.

The Kitchen Sisters Productions — San Francisco
Awarded: $11,461
The Kitchen Sisters will catalog, digitize, preserve, and ultimately make publicly available the many music-centered stories and related recorded material in the Kitchen Sisters Archive, a collection of some 7,000 hours of interviews, oral histories, music, and field recordings — a deep archive of American story, music and cultural expression gathered across 40 years from the Peabody Award-winning NPR series, podcasts and stories.

Missouri State University Libraries— Springfield, Missouri
Awarded: $18,000
The Ozark Jubilee Digitization Project, a collaborative effort between the Missouri State University Libraries and the UCLA Film & Television Archive, will continue the processes of digitizing, describing, and providing free public access to a series of rare kinescopes of the Ozark Jubilee, a live, nationally broadcast, weekly country music program on ABC-TV originating from Springfield, Missouri. The program aired from January 1955 until September 1960.

Smithsonian Folkways Recordings — Washington, D.C.
Awarded: $20,000
Folkways Recordings will prepare and digitize approximately 400 audio reels and corresponding materials related to Arhoolie Records’ recordings of blues artists for preservation and online archival access.

Roulette Intermedium — Brooklyn, New York
Awarded: $10,000
This project will preserve, restore, catalog, and prepare for distribution and acquisition of 600 audio recordings captured between 2003–2011 at the legendary New York concert hall. These recordings are part of a 4,000-plus historic collection capturing significant achievements in contemporary music dating back to 1980 and continuing to this day. The archive mirrors the cultural and social transitions of the last 40 years, documenting singular achievements in American music.

The University of Pittsburgh Library System — Pittsburgh
Awarded: $11,461
The University of Pittsburgh Library System (ULS) will digitize and preserve 210 hours of performances from its Emerging Masters Collection, which documents the University of Pittsburgh Concert Series. The endangered recordings are currently housed on 395 open reel audio tapes. Once transferred to digital files, the recordings will be openly available to researchers worldwide on the ULS Digital Collections website.

About the grammy museum
The GRAMMY Museum is a nonprofit organization dedicated to cultivating a greater understanding of the history and significance of music through exhibits, education, grants, preservation initiatives, and public programming. Paying tribute to our collective musical heritage, the Museum explores and celebrates all aspects of the art form — from the technology of the recording process to the legends who’ve made lasting marks on our cultural identity.

For more information, visit www.grammymuseum.org, “like” the GRAMMY Museum on Facebook, and follow @GRAMMYMuseum on Twitter and Instagram.

Coming Home Pasta, an excerpt from Always Home by Fanny Singer

Coming Home Pasta, an excerpt from Always Home by Fanny Singer

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There are a few things, or, I should say, a few dishes, that I associate with coming home after a long period away. The main one, of course, is Coming Home Pasta. Whenever my family left for a stretch of weeks— what as a child resembled an eternity—we would come home to our strange-feeling house and immediately set about orienting ourselves through food. To be fair, we oriented ourselves through food wherever the place or the time or the country or the continent, but the fact that such an orientation felt necessary even at home I think does speak to our family’s particular brand of devotion.

I can very distinctly remember the feeling of coming home to the Berkeley house after a long trip. As we spilled through the front door, the house would creak under our luggage, as if in our absence, it had grown unaccustomed to the weight both of us and of our cargo. The house smelled a bit stale and of dust, always, a scent amplified by the ancient floor heaters as they were switched on and began to roast the particles accumulated after so many weeks of disuse. We always seemed to be returning after nightfall, and so these memories of nostos (a bit of Homerian vocabulary feels warranted her) are tinged with the inky hue of night, or rather have since taken on a fuzzy, winedark haze, much like the color Homer paints of the Odyssean seas. And indeed it was always a moment for opening a bottle of wine, usually red, because that meant that no one had to have remembered to chill it before leaving, Plucked from the cellar, it could be counted on to immediately slake parental thirst. One or the other guardian (or Bob) would descend through the trapdoor in the kitchen floor—an architectural feature I am so used to as to be inured to its eccentricity, though this detail is never lost on new visitors to the house—and proceed to the musty-smelling cellar below where, during my father’s tenure at least, a very considerable wine inventory was stored.

alwayshomeNo one unpacked. Rather a wordless series of actions was set into motion: the putting on of a pot of water to boil, the burning of a parched rosemary branch left out in the basket on the table (our family’s incense), the lighting of a candle, the rustling in the pantry drawers for a bag of pasta, opened or unopened—it didn’t matter. I was usually dispatched to the garden with a flashlight to pick a few handfuls of herbs. This generally meant parsley, sometimes a bit of oregano—only the herbs that could withstand a good stretch of neglect and whose flavor didn’t change too much if they’d mostly gone to seed. Sending me out into the dark of the back garden had the added benefit of giving my mom a brief window in which to quickly extract a few anchovies from under salt in their container in the fridge and add them to the sauce (if you could even call the frugal dressing characteristic of Coming Home Pasta a sauce). I would have balked at their inclusion; once anchovies were incorporated into a dish and decently disguised, however, I would eat them contentedly. Other things were rummaged for: some still-firm cloves of garlic to mince and fry in oil in the gleaming blue-black lap of my mother’s favorite cast-iron pan; some chili flakes to join the garlic there in its hot oil shimmy. The smell of the house would begin to transform.

There was reliably a nubbin of ancient Parmesan in the fridge, blooming with pale age spots but unspoiled. It would taste fine, even good, grated and married with the other heady flavors of garlic and chili and herbs and anchovy and sometimes a handful of coarsely chopped salt-packed capers, whose flavor was pleasantly abrupt and tangy. Sea salt, black pepper, and a good, voluptuous pour of olive oil at the end. This was Coming Home Pasta. We ate this concoction in relative silence. The darkness made it seem frivolous to switch on music; conversation felt redundant after so many hours trapped together in transit. So we twirled our next-to-naked noodles and ate to know that we had made it—made it back home again to the table.

Making Coming Home Pasta scarcely requires more articulation of method then I’ve already given it—it is very open to interpretation and should to be adapted to whatever you have on hand. Alice Trillin, the very beloved wife of Calvin “Bud” Trillin—the man I think of as my Jewish godfather, though I realize that’s a contradiction in terms— wrote me a not-dissimilar recipe called Lonely Girl Pasta for Fanny’s Exclusive College Survival Cookbook, the book my parents and Bob presented to me as a high school graduation gift. Alice submitted her recipe the year she passed away, and I’ve always felt more than a pang of sadness reading over its gentle and pragmatic instructions and economical ingredients. Still, I believe her recipe presumed the presence of at least a bell pepper or broccoli floret in the refrigerator, still fresh enough to merit inclusion. Such was not the case in our house, both because bell peppers and broccoli were generally frowned upon (I think my mom associated them with the insipid canned vegetables of her youth) and because her obsession with voiding the icebox of its contents prior to our departure bordered on compulsion. Her close friends and I tease her that one of her biggest pet peeves is an abundantly stocked fridge.

But despite the spareness of the ingredients and the unfussiness of the preparation, this is in fact a delicious pasta recipe. The Italians— progenitors of time-tested dishes whose names are nice-sounding translations of things as uncomplicated as “cheese and pepper” (cacio e pepe), “garlic, oil and chili” (aglio, olio, e peperoncino), and “tomato” (al pomodoro)—can be trusted on this subject: often the best-tasting dishes are the simplest.

The second you walk through the door, put the water on to boil. Even if it comes to a boil before you’ve gathered your wits or prepared the other components, there’s something about the way a pot of simmering water immediately lends atmosphere to a room and imparts a sense of homeliness. Salt the water abundantly. Locate whatever leftover, desultory dry pasta you may have in your pantry. If you are feeding more than one person and have a little bit of three kinds and not enough of any one, boil three separate pots of water. (Do not be tempted, as I often have, to boil different shapes or types of pasta in the same pot; it’s a guaranteed disaster of under- and overdoneness.) I don’t mind combining the varieties afterward so long as they’re all more or less the same species, although this admission no doubt amounts to some form of sacrilege—just try not to mix a fusilli with a linguine, etc.

Garlic—garlic is the next most important ingredient. Yes, this pasta can be made with an onion instead—that lesser allium—diced and softened in olive oil in a pan, but garlic is the flavor that I think most brings you back into yourself, most provokes that necessary feeling of reembodiment after a period of travel. Still, use the garlic only if its cloves are very firm and shiny once unsheathed, and the smell, when sliced open, is peppery and fresh and not at all dusty or stale. Mince the garlic (the more cloves the merrier) and fry in a heavy-bottomed pan in a good glug of olive oil. Once the garlic starts to smell fragrant, add a few pinches of chili, if you like spice, and then a couple of chopped anchovy fillets (the best I’ve ever tasted—and this from a former skeptic—are the high-quality Spanish varieties packed in olive oil). A few chopped capers are also welcome at this stage, but be sure to rinse them if they’ve been kept in salt. Be careful that the garlic never begins to brown or burn while your attention is elsewhere. Turn off the flame immediately if it starts to migrate in that direction.

Your pasta should be al dente, both because the toothiness of the noodles in some way compensates for the slightness of other ingredients, but also because you will be coming home hungry from a trip and will want to remove the noodles at the first possible moment. Heed this impulse. Use a spider or tongs to transfer the pasta directly into your frying pan, adding a bit of the salted cooking water if you feel it needs lubrication. Grate a generous amount of Parmesan into the pan and add a handful of chopped parsley if you have fresh herbs in your garden or in a window box. Correct with extra olive oil, a squeeze of lemon and a generous showering of zest, a pinch of salt, or some ground pepper, if necessary. When it tastes just right, yell out, “À table!” as my mother did before every single meal, as if calling not just her child, but the whole neighborhood, to the table. There’s always enough food for one more.

Excerpted from Always Home by Fanny Singer. Copyright © 2020 Fanny Singer. Excerpted by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Photos by Brigitte Lacombe.

Lou Reed Archive

Lou Reed Archive

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#KeeperoftheDay – The Lou Reed Archive at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts

“The Lou Reed Archive documents the history of Reed’s life as a musician, composer, poet, writer, photographer, and tai-chi student through his own extensive papers, photographs, recordings and other materials. The archive spans Reed’s creative life—from his 1958 Freeport High School band, the Shades, to his final performances in 2013.”

Listen to our story about the birth of the Lou Reed Archive on The Kitchen Sisters Present… podcast.

Dorothy Lazard on Rightnowish #KeeperoftheDay

Dorothy Lazard on Rightnowish #KeeperoftheDay

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Dorothy Lazard is head librarian in the Oakland Public Library’s History Center. She is the gatekeeper to a long list of books, periodicals, photos and other documents that tell the story of this city. Many of these items would be difficult to find anywhere else, such as “Blacks in Oakland 1852-1987,” written by Donald E. Hausler. This important piece of literature documents of a century’s worth of African American life in this major American city; and I wouldn’t have found the book without the help of Lazard.

Listen to the latest episode of Rightnowish on KQED.org

The people trying to save scents from extinction #KeeperoftheDay

The people trying to save scents from extinction #KeeperoftheDay

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#KeeperoftheDay – The people trying to save scents from extinction

“The smells of ordinary life, from traditional pubs to old books, are part of our culture and heritage – and many of them are in danger of being lost.”
BBC Future, 01.12.20

Jason Polan #KeeperoftheDay

Jason Polan #KeeperoftheDay

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#KeeperoftheDay – Jason Polan, 1982-2020.

“Jason Polan, an incessant sketcher whose eclectic drawings and art projects — one was called “The Every Piece of Art in the Museum of Modern Art Book” — made him one of the quirkiest and most prolific denizens of the New York art scene, died on Monday in New York. He was 37.” – New York Times

The Potato Museum #KeeperoftheDay

The Potato Museum #KeeperoftheDay

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#KeeperoftheDay – The Potato Museum, “the first museum about a vegetable.”

“Tom Hughes and his wife, Meredith Sayles Hughes, are the couple behind the world’s first Potato Museum, the Food Museum Online, and the Food Heritage Center. The museums research, collect, preserve, exhibit and explain the history and social significance of the world’s foods, and bring artifacts and programs to audiences of all ages.”