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21 Collections: Every Object Has a Story #KeeperoftheDay

21 Collections: Every Object Has a Story #KeeperoftheDay

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#KeeperoftheDay – 21 Collections: Every Object Has a Story at the Los Angeles Central Library. Open now thru 1/27/19. Entrance is FREE to the public.

For those of you who can’t make it to downtown LA by the end of January to catch 21 Collections listen to latest episode of our podcast and you will see it, take a walk through with us…

Emily Dickinson #KeeperoftheDay on Her Birthday

Emily Dickinson #KeeperoftheDay on Her Birthday

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On the occasion of Emily Dickinson’s 188th birthday, we once again salute her as a keeper of the cake, keeper of the rhyme, keeper of the soul. Listen to Black Cake: Emily Dickinson’s Hidden Kitchen. #KeeperoftheDay

#KeeperofthePodcast – Radiotopia

#KeeperofthePodcast – Radiotopia

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#KeeperofthePodcast: Radiotopia

Join the Radiotopia community and support The Kitchen Sisters Present and all your favorite #podcasts in this beautiful network at radiotopia.fm

#KeeperoftheDay

Bonus Episode – The Free-Range Archivist: Jason Scott

Bonus Episode – The Free-Range Archivist: Jason Scott

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We’ve got something extra for you today as part of the Radiotopia fundraiser that is happening now. You can join the Radiotopia community and support The Kitchen Sisters Present… and all of your favorite shows in this beautiful network at radiotopia.fm.

And while you’re doing that, here’s a little gift from us. A special Radiotopia “Hear the World Differently” bonus feature from our series, The Keepers: The Free-Range Archivist: Jason Scott.

This story was produced by Juliet Gelfman-Randazzo & The Kitchen Sisters. Mixed by Jim McKee.

The Kitchen Sisters Present… is produced by The Kitchen Sisters with Nathan Dalton and Brandi Howell.

#KeeperoftheDay – The Lenny Bruce Collection

#KeeperoftheDay – The Lenny Bruce Collection

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One of the most controversial, outspoken men of the last century, comedian Lenny Bruce spent much of his life in court defending his freedom of speech and First Amendment rights. His provocative social commentary and “verbal jazz” offended mainstream culture and resulted in countless arrests on obscenity and other charges. Over the decades, since his death from a heroin overdose in 1966, Lenny’s only child Kitty Bruce, became his keeper, gathering and preserving everything related to her father’s life. We follow the saga of this collection from daughter Kitty’s attic — to archivist, Sarah Shoemaker, who drove a van to Kitty’s house in Pennsylvania to gather this historic collection to take to Brandeis University. With the help of an endowment from Bruce’s long time friend and supporter Hugh Hefner, creator of Playboy Magazine, and his daughter Christie Hefner, the collection is now cataloged and open for use by all. The archive comes alive in the story of this brilliant, pioneering, complicated man who paved the way for comedians like George Carlin, Richard Pryor and Lewis Black.

Read more and listen to the podcast: Episode #103: The Lenny Bruce Collection

Episode #102: Archive Fever: Henri Langlois and the Cinémathèque Française: The Director’s Cut

Episode #102: Archive Fever: Henri Langlois and the Cinémathèque Française: The Director’s Cut

Last month, The Keepers premiered on NPR’s Morning Edition. Story #3 took us to Cinémathèque Française in Paris where we met its legendary founder and keeper, Henri Langlois. Now listen to the “Director’s Cut” version of the story on our podcast, The Kitchen Sisters Present…

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Keepers: people possessed with a passion for preservation, individuals afflicted with a bad case of Archive Fever. The Keepers continues with the story of one such man, Henri Langlois, founder and curator of one of the world’s great film archives, the Cinémathèque Française. Henri Langlois never made a single film — but he’s considered one of the most important figures in the history of filmmaking. Possessed by what French philosopher Jacques Derrida called “archive fever,” Langlois begin obsessively collecting films in the 1930s — and by the outset of World War II, he had one of the largest film collections in the world. The archive’s impact on the history of French cinema is legendary — as is the legacy of its controversial keeper.

Read more here…

The Keepers – A New NPR & Podcast Series

The Keepers – A New NPR & Podcast Series

This week, we launch a new series — The Keepers — stories of activist archivists, rogue librarians, curators, collectors and historians. Keepers of the culture and the cultures and collections they keep. Guardians of history, large and small. Protectors of the free flow of information and ideas.

Story #1: Archiving the Underground: The Hiphop Archive at Harvard premieres tomorrow on NPR’s Morning Edition.

The Kitchen Sisters invite you to create The Keepers with us. Along with the NPR stories and podcast, the project includes a year-long daily feature called Keeper of the Day—short stories and imagery for social media and the web highlighting groundbreaking archivists, community keepers and passionate collectors through photographs, graphics, short videos, recordings, powerful quotes and vignettes. #KeeperoftheDay will draw on a vast array of intriguing archiving communities, large and small, across the globe.

Tell us. What do you keep? And why? Who are keepers we need to know about? Who is protecting, collecting and preserving in your world? We’re looking for stories, images, ideas and recordings.

Call us on The Keeper Hotline: 415-496-9049 / Reach out to us on InstagramTwitter, or Facebook / Or send us an email using the form here.

You can hear the Director’s Cut of Archiving the Underground and all the upcoming stories from The Keepers series on our award-winning Radiotopia podcast, The Kitchen Sisters Present…

Ep #99: Lovers of Lost Fans

Ep #99: Lovers of Lost Fans

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In 2000 we received a call to the NPR Lost & Found Sound Hotline from Willard Mayes, a member of the Antique Fan Collectors Association, who was concerned about the vanishing sound of electric fans. Willard leads Jay Allison, Curator and “Keeper” of the Quest for Sound Hotline, to the Vornado Fan factory, Michael Coup and the Antique Fan Museum, where passionate collectors can tell the make, model and year of a fan by its whir.

Also, NPR producer Art Silverman plunges into the sound collection of one of America’s giant corporations — AT&T — exploring how this one-time monopoly chronicled its own history and sold itself to America.

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.