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Ep #90 – Jorge Amado: The Ballad of Bahia

Ep #90 – Jorge Amado: The Ballad of Bahia

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Jorge Amado, the beloved Brazilian author of Gabriela, 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 American Fiction.” The Ballad of Bahia explores the life and writings of the author through interviews, music and readings and dramatizations of his work.

Ep #89: Poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti — Celebrating 99 Years

Ep #89: Poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti — Celebrating 99 Years

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In honor of poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s 99th birthday we celebrate with Rivers 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, Ferlinghetti’s fight for First Amendment rights and more.

Lawrence Ferlinghetti, opened City Lights bookstore in 1953, one of the first paperback bookstores. He also began publishing the Pocket Poet Series featuring poems by Beat Poets of the 1950s and 60s. In 1956 he published “Howl and Other Poems,” by Allen Ginsberg and was brought to trial on obscenity charges. The landmark first amendment case paved the way for the publication of other “banned books.”

San Francisco luminary and famed poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti in the middle, sound designer Jim McKee on left, dramatist Erik Bauersfeld on right

San Francisco luminary and famed poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti in the middle, sound designer Jim McKee on left, dramatist Erik Bauersfeld on right

Ep #88 – Frances McDormand Hosts Hidden Kitchens

Ep #88 – Frances McDormand Hosts Hidden Kitchens

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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.

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**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. Public radio listener Jon Wheeler cooks for the drivers, haulers, pit crews, sponsors and owners on the racing circuit. He called the Hidden Kitchens hotline line to tell us about his world.

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**Hunting & Gathering with Angelo Garro: Blacksmith, Angelo Garro forges and forages, recreating in wrought iron and in cooking the life he left behind in Sicily. The Kitchen Sisters join Garro along the coast of Northern California as he follows the seasons, harvesting the wild for his kitchen and his friends.

Ep #87 – Guillermo Cabrera Infante: Memories of an Invented City

Ep #87 – Guillermo Cabrera Infante: Memories of an Invented City

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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 electroshock and lithium.

He was the author of over a dozen books, translated James Joyce’s Dubliners into Spanish, and wrote a screenplay adaptation of Under Volcano and the script for the film Vanishing Point.

Cabrera Infante’s cinematic, jazz-like writing, comes to life in this story rich with music and interviews with cinematographer Nestor Almendros, painter Jesse Fernandez, activist Saul Landau, and the writer himself. Actors Lazaro Perez, and Ilka Tanya Payan are heard in dramatizations from Cabrera Infante’s acclaimed novel, “Tres Triestes Tigres.”

Cabrera Infante lived in London with his wife Miriam Gomez until his death in 2005.

Produced by The Kitchen Sisters as part of NPR’s series Faces, Mirrors, Masks: Twentieth Century Latin American Fiction.

Episode #86: The Mardi Gras Indians—Stories from New Orleans

Episode #86: The Mardi Gras Indians—Stories from New Orleans

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Tootie Montana

Tootie Montana

 

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 Chief Tootie Montana’s death at the podium in City Council Chambers defending the rights of the Mardi Gras Indians to parade without harassment.

A collection of stories and interviews in honor of the Mardi Gras Indian tradition in New Orleans. With thanks to the Library of Congress, Nick Spitzer and American Routes, WWOZ and all of the Keepers of the Mardi Gras Indian Culture.

Jelly Roll Morton

Jelly Roll Morton

 

Big Queen Ausettua, Photo by Marcello Amari

Big Queen Ausettua, Photo by Marcello Amari

Episode #85: House of Night: The Lost Creation Songs of the Mojave People

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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 to the Colorado River Indian Reservation in Parker, Arizona with his portable reel-to-reel tape recorder with the idea of recording the Mojave Indians. There he met Emmett Van Fleet, an elder of the tribe and the last of the Creation Song singers. Over the course of several years, Guy Tyler made his weekend pilgrimages, and slowly and meticulously the two men recorded the 525 song cycle that recounts the legend of the creation and origin of the Mojave people, their traditions, and their oral maps that describe historical journeys, sacred sites, and directions about how to safely cross the Mojave Desert. Emmett Van Fleet left the tapes to his nephew Llewllyn Barrackman. As years went by and technology changed, the tapes were unplayed and forgotten until Phillip Klasky and the Storyscape Project worked to get the the tapes transferred and preserved.

In 1995, when action was taken to turn Ward Valley into a nuclear waste dump, traditional Mojave songs and song cycles helped save the endangered Ward Valley and Colorado River by proving the historic connection the Mojave have with this sacred land.

In 1999 The Kitchen Sisters travelled to the Mojave Reservation with writer and environmentalist Phil Klasky, to meet with LLewllyn Barrackman and other Mojave elders, birdsong singers and activists in the Ward Valley struggle.

Produced with Phillip Klasky, Director of the Storyscape Project.

Ep #84: Levee Stream Live from New Orleans

Ep #84: Levee Stream Live from New Orleans

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Nikki, Davia, host Cole Williams, Jamal Cyrus from Otabenga Jones & Associates

 

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 visionaries taking place in the back seat of a cut-in-half 1959 pink Cadillac Coup de Ville with giant speakers in the trunk on Bayou Road, one of the oldest roads in the city.

Hosted by WWOZ DJ Cole Williams the show features interviews with Robert King and Albert Woodfox, members of the Angola 3 who were released from prison after decades of living in solitary confinement. Civil Rights pioneers Leona Tate and A.P. Tureaud Jr. Prospect.4 curator Trevor Schoonmaker and artists Hank Willis Thomas, Maria Berrio, and Jeff Whetstone. With music by legendary Hammond B3 organ player Joe Krown, contemporary jazz luminaries Kidd and Marlon Jordan,The Jones Sisters, DJ RQ Away and DJ Flash Gordon Parks.

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DJ RQ Away

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Davia with Jeff Whetstone

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Davia with Prospect.4 Artistic Director Trevor Schoonmaker

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The Jones Sisters

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Houston’s DJ Flash Gordon Parks

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Joe Krown

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Marlon Jordan

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Jamal Cyrus from Otabenga Jones & Associates with Hank Willis Thomas

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History of Conquest by Hank Willis Thomas

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Wildflowers by Maria Berrio

Ep #83: Chicken Pills – A Hidden World of Jamaican Girls

Ep #83: Chicken Pills – A Hidden World of Jamaican Girls

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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 a the national debate going on in the music, the dancehalls and on the streets.

In Jamaica, especially in poorer areas, there is a saying among men, ” I don’t want a “maga” (meager) woman.” A maga woman, a slight or thin woman, says to the world that a man is poor and doesn’t have means to provide for her. A larger woman is a way of showing you have means and that you can afford to keep this woman fed.

“If you have no meat on your bones the society can’t see your wealth, your progress, your being,” said Professor Sonjah Stanley-Niaah. “This African standard of beauty, and it’s very much present in Jamaica. The body must be healthy and that health is expressed in some amount of fat. You musn’t just be able to slip through the arms of a man. The healthy body girl is anywhere from 160 to 210 pounds.So there’s a high level of interest and activity around modifying the body.”

In the 1990s, some women in Jamaica, longing to be large, started taking “Chicken Pills,” hormones sold to plump up the breasts and thighs of chickens.

In Jamaica we talked with twenty-one year old Raquel Jones who was cast in an independent film called “Chicken Pills,”by Jamaica born playwrightStorm. The film is about two teenage girls. One is getting more attention from the boys in the class. The other character, Lisa, is having self esteem problems so she turns to the chicken pills. “Here in Jamaica it’s pressure on teenage girls and women. We do stuff that increases these physical appearances, getting our bodies to look a certain way.

Episode #82: First Day of School, 1960, New Orleans

Episode #82: First Day of School, 1960, New Orleans

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U.S. Marshals escort Leona Tate, Gail Etienne, and Tessie Prevost from McDonogh #19, November 14, 1960.

U.S. Marshals escort Leona Tate, Gail Etienne, and Tessie Prevost from McDonogh #19, November 14, 1960.

 

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 Etienne thought they were going to kill her.

Four years after the Supreme Court ruled to desegregate schools in Brown v Board of Education, schools in the south were dragging their feet. Finally, in 1960, the NAACP and a daring judge selected two schools in New Orleans to push forward with integration — McDonogh No.19 Elementary and William Frantz.

An application was put in the paper. From 135 families, four girls were selected. They were given psychological tests. Their families were prepared. Members of the Louisiana Legislature took out paid advertisements in the local paper encouraging parents to boycott the schools. There were threats of violence.

When the girls going to McDonogh No. 19 arrived in their classroom, the white children began to disappear.
One by one their parents took them out of school. For a year and a half the girls were the only children in the
school. Guarded night and day, they were not allowed to play outdoors. The windows were covered with brown paper.

The story of integrating the New Orleans Public schools in 1960 told by Leona Tate, Tessie Prevost
Williams, and Gail Etienne Stripling, who integrated McDonogh No.19 Elementary School, and retired Deputy U.S. Marshals Herschel Garner, Al Butler, and Charlie Burks who assisted with the integration efforts at the schools.

Leona Tate in 2017. Photo by Deborah Luster.

Leona Tate in 2017. Photo by Deborah Luster.

 

McDonogh No. 19 in 2017. Photo by Nikki Silva.

McDonogh No. 19 in 2017. Photo by Nikki Silva.

 

This story is part of Levee Stream, our Prospect 4 New Orleans project in collaboration with Otabenga Jones and Associates.

Made possible in part by Ruth U. Fertel Foundation and Project&

Special Thanks to:

Leona Tate — Leona Tate Founation for Change 

Keith Plessy and Phoebe Fergussen — PlessyandFerguson.org

Brenda Square — Amisted Research Center

Brenda Flora — Audiovisual Archivist at Amisted Research Center, Tulane University

Tulane University and their Through a Crowd Bravely Program— Several of the voices in our story were recorded on November, 2010 at Tulane University as part of a reunion and panel discussion on the 50th Anniversary of the integration of public schools in New Orleans. Voices featured from these archival recordings include: Leona Tate Tessie Prevost Williams, Gail Etienne Stripling, and retired Deputy US Marshals Charlie Burks, Herschel Garner and Al Butler. This gathering was the first time the women and the marshals had reunited since November 1960.  

For the WSBN archival news footage thanks toTaylor Chicoine and Ruta Aeolians, Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection UGA, Special Collections Library

Thanks to National endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts

Episode #81 – Sonic Prayer Flags – New Orleans

Episode #81 – Sonic Prayer Flags – New Orleans

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Photo by Nikki Silva. Mural by Langston Allston, André Cailloux & Fr. Maistre: The Life, Death of a Black Patriot, 2017, on the former St. Rose De Lima Church, 2541 Bayou Road, produced in partnership with Broad Community Connections.

Photo by Nikki Silva. Mural by Langston Allston, André Cailloux & Fr. Maistre: The Life, Death of a Black Patriot, 2017, on the former St. Rose De Lima Church, 2541 Bayou Road, produced in partnership with Broad Community Connections.

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, skateboarders, civil rights activists, musicians, teachers, and more. Listening to the sounds and moods of the City.

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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 city. The first Prospect New Orleans was created in the aftermath of Katrina – exploring the role of art and artists in the rebuilding of the city. The theme of this fourth Prospect is “The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp.”

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Our project is called “Levee Stream” a five-hour live, street-corner pop-up Cadillac radio station installation on Bayou Road. We’re collaborating with the Houston based artists collective Otabenga Jones & Associates – Jamal Cyrus, Jabari Anderson – who have created a cut-in-half pink Cadillac, with giant speakers in the trunk, and a white plush leather upholstered back seat where guests can sit and converse and be interviewed live on the air. It’s a roving radio station that’s toured to neighborhoods in Houston and Brooklyn – and now New Orleans. The event will take place on Bayou Road and the stories, prayer flags, videos and images will be online at kitchensisters.org and prospectneworleans.org.

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Voices heard in this episode include: David Waggoner, Quintron, Skylar Fein, “Mama” Vera Warren Williams at the Community Book Center, Tootie Montana, Andaiye Alimayu of Zion Trinity and King & Queen Emporium, Carla Williams at Material Life, Keith Plessy, and Aaron Frumin from unCommon Construction.