The Keepers
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

Martin Scorsese and The Film Foundation #KeeperoftheDay

Martin Scorsese and The Film Foundation #KeeperoftheDay


The films of Martin Scorsese are astounding. As are his efforts to preserve and save the history and heritage of American cinema through The Film Foundation, a nonprofit he founded in 1990 along with Francis Ford Coppola, George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and half a dozen other of the world’s leading film directors. Martin Scorsese is a Keeper. A steward of American and global cinema. One of our heroes and inspirations.

Last month the San Francisco Film Society invited Mr. Scorsese to San Francisco to honor his non-fiction film work and premier his latest feature, The Irishman. We were so taken with Scorsese’s onstage interview with Rachel Rosen, Director of Programming for the Festival, that we asked The Festival if we could share it on the Kitchen Sisters Present podcast. They were kind enough to say yes.

On #GivingTuesday | Martin Scorsese: Try Anything | We Give You our Latest Podcast

On #GivingTuesday | Martin Scorsese: Try Anything | We Give You our Latest Podcast


Dear All,

Raging Bull, Taxi Driver, Goodfellas… to name but a few. The films of Martin Scorsese are astounding. As are his efforts to preserve the history and heritage of American cinema and through his trailblazing Film Foundation, nearing its 30th year.

Martin Scorsese is a keeper, a steward of American and global cinema. One of our heroes and inspirations. The sound mix of Raging Bull had a big impact on the kind of mixes we thought were possible for our fledgling Kitchen Sisters stories. And his soundtracks! The way the man weaves music into his stories. Or doesn’t weave it. Just shocks you with it. Or soothes you with it. His scores and soundtracks are like no others.

And then there are his documentaries. His non-fiction films, starting with Italianamerican, a portrait of his own family, The Last Waltz, his ode to George Harrison, Bob Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue, and our own personal favorite, My Voyage to Italy.

Earlier this month the San Francisco Film Society invited Mr. Scorsese here to honor his non-fiction film work. We were so taken by his onstage conversation that we asked for a copy of the recording so we could make a podcast of it for you.

Deep thanks to The San Francisco Film Society for sharing this tape with us. And even deeper thanks to you for your support, for giving us the power to bring you stories from around the world about people keeping our cultural heritage alive and vibrant.

$upport the $tories

On Giving Tuesday we ask that you give to The Kitchen Sisters to help $upport More $tories. There’s going to be a lot that need telling in 2020. Thank you for helping make that happen!

Keep it coming,
Davia & Nikki

Archie Motley #KeeperoftheDay

Archie Motley #KeeperoftheDay


“Archie knew more about the history of Chicago–of working people–than anyone in town. He knew about labor battles better than anyone. Archie Motley knew about the Bronzeville renaissance as well as anyone. He knew Chicago history from the bottom up, that’s the thing. He was a chronicler, the unofficial chronicler of Chicago working people’s history.” -Studs Terkel

Read more about this incredible keeper in this 2002 obituary from the Chicago Tribune.

Betty Corwin, 1920-2019 #KeeperoftheDay

Betty Corwin, 1920-2019 #KeeperoftheDay


#KeeperoftheDay – Betty Corwin, Founder & Director of the New York Public Library’s Theater on Film and Tape Archive.

“By definition, live theater vanishes in the moment; Ms. Corwin pushed to have shows videotaped and deposited in a library collection, which she ran for decades.” Read more about this incredible keeper on the New York Times.

And listen to this remembrance on NPR’s All Things Considered:

Leah Esguerra #KeeperoftheDay

Leah Esguerra #KeeperoftheDay


#KeeperoftheDay – San Francisco Public Library’s Leah Esguerra, the nation’s first full-time library social worker.

Learn more about her and how she is helping her community in this 2015 segment on PBS NewsHour.

Greta Thunberg #KeeperoftheDay

Greta Thunberg #KeeperoftheDay


Keeper of the Day is climate keeper Greta Thunberg who is taking part in the youth climate strike in LA today.

Thunberg is the most prominent face of the youth climate movement that has swept the globe since she began launching school strikes in her home country last year. She traveled to the U.S. in a zero-emissions sailboat in August, delivering a powerful speech at the United Nations climate summit in September excoriating world leaders for their inaction and “empty words.”

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.

Outsider Art Fair #KeeperoftheDay

Outsider Art Fair #KeeperoftheDay


Outsider Art Fair is happening now in Paris. Exhibitors include Oakland’s own Creative Growth!

Image: Zina Hall, Untitled (ZH 27), 2019, Embroidery, 9×11

Elijah Cummings, 1951-2019 #KeeperoftheDay

Elijah Cummings, 1951-2019 #KeeperoftheDay