Keep it Rolling | Support the Stories

Keep it Rolling | Support the Stories


“Truth is like the sun. You can shut it out for a time, but it ain’t goin’ away.”
— Elvis Presley

Dear Friends,

Greetings as the year turns. We write to wish you well and to ask for your support for a new year of strong stories — stories full of heart, truth, empathy and surprise.

A new strand of Kitchen Sisters stories is ahead in 2020, the election year, one of the most critical in our nation’s history. Along with continuing to chronicle the nation’s Keepers, we are beginning a series of stories of youth activists and visionaries from around the world.

In August we traveled to Puerto Rico with Dave Eggers for the second gathering of The International Congress of Youth Voices — 137 young activists and writers from 26 different countries focused on pressing, pulsing issues around the world — climate change, gun control, human rights, the arts, LGBTQ rights, race, food, immigration, governance… We are staggered by the voices, stories and imaginations of fearless, funny, activated young people around the globe and we’ll be turning our microphone in their direction in the year ahead.

We write to ask for your support and your collaboration to bring these new, provocative stories to air in this monumental coming year. The heart of our work, and a central part of our mission is to bring new voices and perspectives into the public discourse, to grapple with big issues in profound, unusual and inspiring ways.


We close 2019 with the launch of two new hour-long, sound-rich, hope-filled Keepers Specials narrated by that Academy Award-winning wonder, Frances McDormand now being broadcast by PRX, NPR and public radio stations nationwide. Check your local stations to find out when The Keepers airs in your town. We thank you for making these startling and surprising stories of archiving, keeping and the free flow of information and ideas possible.

Also in 2019, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art commissioned us to produce San Francisco: Stories From the Model City, an unusual look at the cascade of issues bearing down on the Bay Area and cities everywhere — tech, housing, homelessness, gentrification, city planning, neighborhood activism. Roman Mars featured this hour-long Kitchen Sisters documentary on his path-breaking design podcast, 99% Invisible. Take a listen.

Our Radiotopia podcast, The Kitchen Sisters Present… is brimming with rich, deeply layered stories — of keepers, of gutsy girls, pioneering women, sonic pioneers, of food visionaries and kitchen cultures. If you haven’t already, please subscribe. The more subscribers, the more stories we can tell. Stories that ignite and engage.

The Keepers continues in 2020 — Lou Reed’s Archive, the repatriation of 1890’s Oglala Lakota recordings from the Library of Congress to the tribe in South Dakota, Theaster Gates: Keeping the South Side. Food and climate will be a focus as well. This past year we recorded a remarkable series of interviews at FRUTO in Brazil, a gathering of activist chefs, farmers and indigenous peoples, and at The Climate Underground Summit at Al Gore’s farm on the role of soil and regenerative agriculture in combating climate change.

We’re all in this together. Thank you for being such a vital part of The Kitchen Sister and Brotherhood, for supporting the stories and our internship, training and mentoring program. Your participation, your tax-deductible contribution, the stories you share with us, the music you make, the causes you tell us about… all of it adds up. All of it stirs the pot.

Wishing you and your family peace and a fair election in the coming year.

Keep it rolling,

Davia & Nikki
The Kitchen Sisters

Third Coast Audio Library #KeeperoftheDay

Third Coast Audio Library #KeeperoftheDay


For those of you heading to the Third Coast International Audio Festival this weekend, we salute you! If you can’t make it to Chicago, check out their vast audio library with conference sessions of past.

And listen to the latest from The Kitchen Sisters Present podcast, Robert Krulwich — Talking Story, a panel hosted by The Kitchen Sisters at the very first Third Coast International Audio Festival in Chicago in 2001.

The Passion of Chris Strachwitz

The Passion of Chris Strachwitz

passionofchrisstrachwitz copy20190906_2

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, photographs — an archive of all manner of recordings. And an avalanche of lifetime achievement awards — from the Grammy’s, The Blues Hall of Fame, The National Endowment for the Arts – for some 60 years of recording and preserving the musical cultural heritage of this nation through his label, Arhoolie Records.

For The Big Pond, The Kitchen Sisters Present… the never-ending Passion of Chris Strachwitz.

Featuring interviews with Linda Ronstadt and Bonnie Raitt.



Most of the music in this podcast is from the Arhoolie Records catalog now housed at The Smithsonian Institution and available from Smithsonian Folkways Recordings and at record stores (including Down Home Music) and all online platforms.

Special thanks: Linda Ronstadt, Bonnie Raitt, Adam Machado & The Arhoolie Foundation, Arhoolie Records, Maureen Gosling & Chris Simon, Janet Stark, John Boylan, Annie Heller-Gutwillig, Brooke Wentz & Sharath Jana, KPFA-FM At Smithsonian Folkways: Huib Schippers, William Griffin & Jonathan Wiliger. At The Big Pond / Goethe Institut: Verena Hutter, Savanah Beck, Dario Radisic & William Gilcher And to Chris Strachwitz, who lights the path.


The Passion of Chris Strachwitz was produced by The Kitchen Sisters (Davia Nelson & Nikki Silva) with Nathan Dalton & Brandi Howell and mixed by Jim McKee for The Big Pond and The Kitchen Sisters Present…

Photo of Linda Ronstadt, circa 1970, by Henry Diltz
Photo of Bonnie Raitt and Mississippi Fred McDowell, 1970, Courtesy of Estate of David Gahr
Photo of Chris Strachwitz & the Treme Brass Band, 2011 by Mike Melnyk, courtesy The Arhoolie Foundation

Gary Kamiya #KeeperoftheDay

Gary Kamiya #KeeperoftheDay


#KeeperoftheDay – Gary Kamiya, historian and author of Cool Gray City of Love: 49 Views of San Francisco and the San Francisco Chronicle’s “Portals of the Past” column. We love the way Gary spins a yarn. Hear him on our podcast, “San Francisco–Stories from the Model City” a collaboration with SFMOMA’s Raw Material podcast.

Nancy Pearl–Librarian Action Figure

Nancy Pearl–Librarian Action Figure

Subscribe to the podcast: iTunes | Stitcher | RSS


She’s been called “one of the 10 coolest librarians alive.” She’s the best selling 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 shushing action.

A brilliant and entertaining storyteller, Nancy reveals how she became a “five-inch tall, plastic, non biodegradable librarian action figure.” She talks about her childhood library in Detroit—how it changed her life and provided refuge from her dysfunctional family. She gives tips on how to select books for people, and explains her Rule of 50 about when to give up on reading a book. She also talks about how “our leaders should be readers.”

Raised in Detroit, Michigan, Nancy earned her master’s in library science at the University of Michigan and became a children’s librarian at her hometown branch library. She moved to Oklahoma with her husband, professor Joe Pearl, and raised two daughters while earning a masters degree in history. In Tulsa she worked in an independent book store and the Tulsa City-County Library System. In 1993 she was recruited to join the Seattle Library where she later became executive director of the the library system’s Washington Center for the Book.

In addition to Book Lust, Nancy is the author of several other books including: Now Read This: A Guide to Mainstream Fiction 1978–1998; Book Crush: For Kids and Teens; Book Lust To Go, Recommended Reading for Travelers, Vagabonds, and Dreamers; and her novel, George and Lizzie.

nix trophy
Nikki Silva & Nancy Pearl at the
EveryLibrary Party, ALA, Seattle WA
January 2019
Nancy Pearl’s Keeper of the Day Award,
presented by The Kitchen Sisters


Among her many awards, including the Library Journal’s 2011 Librarian of the Year Award, Nancy Pearl is the recipient of the coveted Kitchen Sisters’ Keeper of the Day Award (and trophy) presented at the American Library Association’s Conference in January 2019, at a special party sponsored by EveryLibrary, the national political action committee dedicated to the future of libraries, and bibliotheca, which connects libraries and their communities in new and effective way

The Kitchen Sisters Present is part of PRX’s Radiotopia, a collective of extraordinary, cutting edge podcasts.Nancy Pearl Librarian Action Figure is part of The Kitchen Sisters’ series, The Keepers, about activist archivists, rogue librarians, historians, collectors, curators—keepers of the truth and the free flow of information. Heard on NPR’s Morning Edition, on The Kitchen Sisters Present podcast, and at Take a look at the Keeper of the Day Gallery.

Dieter Kosslick’s Last Red Carpet Ride

Dieter Kosslick’s Last Red Carpet Ride

Our New Podcast Collaboration with the Goethe-Institut


Ask anyone who’s been to The Berlin Film Festival—The Berlinale they call it—what they remember most about it. Maybe it’s the scale—some 400 films across 14 theaters across 10 days. Maybe it’s the weather—the Festival unfolds across the first weeks of February and Berlin’s piercing cold is legend—but I bet money most will tell you what they remember most is Dieter Kosslick in his black fedora and red wool scarf on the red carpet at theaters around the city welcoming filmmakers and filmgoers from around the globe to their screenings—screenings that provoke, pay homage, compete, ignite.

Dieter is one of the film world’s most gregarious, hilarious and controversial film festival directors. He’s put his stamp on this legendary festival for 18 years and kicked up some dust in the process. This most recent festival, the 69th Berlinale, was Dieter’s last.

Along with Dieter, some of the voices heard in this podcast include Agnés Varda, Juliette Binoche, Rajendra Roy, Alice Waters, Michael Pollan, Eric Schlosser, Mick Jagger and more.

Here, for The Big Pond, Dieter Kosslick’s Last Red Carpet Ride, Produced by The Kitchen Sisters with Nathan Dalton and Brandi Howell and mixed by Jim McKee.


Special Thanks | Danke Schoen: Dieter Kosslick, Agnès Varda, Tom Luddy, Tommy Struck, Thomas Hailer, Juliette Binoche, Rajendra Roy, Sandra Schulberg, Alice Waters, Michael Barker, Rudolf Biermann, Mick Jagger, Bee Thiam Tan, Alain Gomis, Dian Sastrowardoyo, Eric Schlosser, Michael Pollan, Alberto Barbera, Daniela Michel, Ute Roche, Julie Huntsinger, Martin Böttcher, Kronos Quartet, DJ Spooky,Ted Saverese, yMusic & Judd Greenstein, Blue Dot Sessions. Staff at The Berlinale: Laura Brandes, Julia Boxler, Sabine Gebauer, Kerstin Bückert and the many people at The Festival who helped make this podcast possible. At the Goethe-Institut: Verena Hütter, Dario Radisic, William Gilcher & Savannah Beck.

“Weeding is Fundamental” #KeeperoftheDay

“Weeding is Fundamental” #KeeperoftheDay


On the latest episode of 99% Invisible, a story from San Francisco, and the controversial purging of books from library shelves—or weeding as it’s called in the biz—after the 1989 earthquake. This episode also includes our story The Pack Horse Librarians of Eastern Kentucky from The Keepers series. Two library stories in one. Listen up.

C.B. “Stubb” Stubblefield #KeeperoftheDay

C.B. “Stubb” Stubblefield #KeeperoftheDay


On the latest episode of The Kitchen Sisters Present… we celebrate National Barbecue Month with stories of C.B. “Stubb” Stubblefield: legendary BBQ man, sauce master, keeper of community, keeper of the flame, archangel of BBQ.”>The Kitchen Sisters Present… we celebrate National Barbecue Month with stories about CB “Stubb” Stubblefield: legendary BBQ man, sauce master, keeper of community, keeper of the flame, archangel of BBQ.

Scott Carrier #KeeperoftheDay

Scott Carrier #KeeperoftheDay


Scott Carrier is one of our favorite producers. You’ve probably heard his stories on This American Life and All Things Considered. His voice, his storytelling style. They’re unique and memorable and compelling. On the latest episode of our podcast, The Kitchen Sisters Present… we’re thrilled to bring you a story from his podcast, Home of the Brave. A story from below the border in Chamelecon, Honduras.

Eric Klinenberg, Author of Palaces for the People #KeeperoftheDay

Eric Klinenberg, Author of Palaces for the People #KeeperoftheDay


The latest episode of The Kitchen Sisters Present… is a re-broadcast from the New York Public Library’s podcast, The Librarian Is In, featuring Eric Klinenberg, author of Palaces for the People: How Social Infrastructure Can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization, and the Decline of Civic Life.

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 people gather and linger, making friends across group lines and strengthening the entire community. He calls this the “social infrastructure.” When it is strong, neighborhoods flourish; when it is neglected, as it has been in recent years, families and individuals must fend for themselves.