The Making Of
Our Sonic Signatures

Our Sonic Signatures

With each series we do we have theme music, a sonic signature, that ushers in the stories on NPR and our podcast, The Kitchen Sisters Present…

For our Peabody Award-winning series, Lost & Found Sound — we created a mix of a Tony Schwartz recording, Music in Marble Halls made in the early 1960s with Jimmy Giuffre playing clarinet and his wife walking on high heels in a Manhattan office building that we layered with sounds of the century, including the voices of  legendary Memphis DJ, Dewey Smith, the Watergate hearings, The Edison Phonograph, and Edward R. Murrow. We produced it in collaboration with the astounding Academy Award-winning sound designer, Randy Thom at Skywalker Sound.

The theme music for our first Hidden Kitchens series was a scrap from a recording on Arhoolie Records, by Csókolom a modern Gypsy-ish band we heard with legendary record producer, Chris Strachwitz at a Folk Arts Festival in Memphis in 1998. Chris was so taken with the band he got them to meet him at Sun Studios two days later and recorded the album, May I Kiss Your Hand. In the second season of the series we merged it with a recording Polish violist Wieslaw Pogorzelski made with our sound designer extraordinaire Jim McKee.

The music that opened all the stories in our Hidden World of Girls series on Morning Edition and All Things Considered was Asha Bhosle with Kronos Quartet, from their album collaboration, You Stole My Heart. The cut you hear is Piya Tu Ab To Aaja (Lover, Come to Me Now). It was a riveting curtain opener for those stories of coming of age, rituals and rites of passage, women who crossed a line, broke a trail, changed the tide.

Le Tigre and their song, Sixteen, was the theme music for our series, The Making Of… what people make in the Bay Area and why…, a collaboration with KQED and AIR’s Localore. We were scoring our story, The Making of the Homobile: A Story of Transportation, Civil Rights & Glitter and the Homobile founder, Lynne Breedlove was telling us about driving with Le Tigre blasting out of the car. We took a listen and a theme was born. Here it is with the trailer we did for the series.

The most recent season of Hidden Kitchens — War & Peace & Food on Morning Edition had it’s own theme music — the opening of Paul Simon’s lyrical, Can’t Run But.

And now, with the launch of The Keepers a new theme comes to herald these new stories — Moondog’s Stamping Ground. Thank you, Moondog for holding down your corner and endlessly blowing our minds with the music in your head.

The Making Of… a Karaoke Ice Cream Truck and More Stories

The Making Of… a Karaoke Ice Cream Truck and More Stories

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Stories of creativity and invention— the making of a jar of jam, the making of a fashionable 3-D printed covering for an artificial limb, the making of Muttville – a foster care rescue center for senior dogs, a Karaoke Ice Cream Truck, the arrangements for a father’s funeral, the un-making of the Typewriter, and more stories from The Making Of… What People Make in the Bay Area and Why. Produced with KQED and AIR.




Read about Frances Gabe, the creator of the self-cleaning house here.

The Making Of… at SFMOMA

The Making Of… at SFMOMA

The Kitchen Sisters and KQED present The Making Of… live at SFMOMA, inspired by our radio series “The Making Of…”  about what people make in the Bay Area and why.

On Thursday and Friday, May 30 and 31, and Saturday June 1, The Kitchen Sisters will host three days of drop-in demo and conversation tables along with presentations and daily maker talks. Over one hundred makers of all kinds will present their work, process, and expertise.

As SFMOMA prepares to temporarily close for two and a half years of expansion and renovation, a vast community of makers will come share their skills and crafts and tell their stories. The museum will be full of inventions, contraptions, art, food, stories, music, imagination, community.

This three-day event is part of SFMOMA’s Countdown Celebration and entrance to the museum is free.

Some of the people and projects to be featured include:

The Making of… Los Cenzontles: Linda Ronstadt & Eugene Rodriquez speak about the creation of a Mexican community art center in San Pablo.

The Making of… Cheese, with the whizzes from Cowgirl Creamery.

The Making of.. a Surfboard, with legendary maker, Danny Hess.

The Making of… Mushroom Furniture from The Workshop Residence in Dogpatch.

The Making of… The Karaoke Ice Cream Truck (Yes there will be ice cream. And pizza, and kimchi, and chocolate and more)

The Unmaking of the Typewriter from Jeremy Mayer who disassembes typewriters and reassembles the components into full-scale human and animal figures.

The Making of… The Submerged Turntable, a sound generating sculpture by Bay Area artist, Evan Holm.

The Making of…  The Homobile: A Story of Transportation, Civil Rights and Glitter with its founder, performance artist and former bike messenger dispatcher, Lynn Breedlove.

The Re-Making of… the Internet, with Zeega.

Radio producer extraordinaire, Roman Mars will perform a story live from 99% Invisible, a tiny radio show about design, architecture & the 99% invisible activity that shapes our world.

Artists, JD Beltran and Scott Minneman reveal the secrets of making the Cinema Snowglobe.

The Architects and Designers of the new SFMOMA reveal the story of The Re-Making of…a Museum.

The inspired folks behind Mission Street Food and Mission Chinese, along with restaurants from across the Bay Area, including Tartine Bakery, Bar Tartine, La Cocina, Tacolicious and more will demo and explore the making of a charitable food movement.

For a full list of participants, click here.

Who is making what and why? How do they do it? Who did they learn it from and who are they passing it on to? Is it a dying art or a living one? Does it matter? Come to SFMOMA and find out.

Way to Blue: The Songs of Nick Drake

Way to Blue: The Songs of Nick Drake

We go behind the scenes into rehearsal, sound check, and the making of Way To Blue, the new Nick Drake tribute record.

The Making of Edgelands

The Making of Edgelands

We visit the studio of Berkeley-based painter Judith Belzer as she prepares her new show, Edgelands, up now at the Morgan Lehman Gallery in New York through April 27.

This story was produced by The Kitchen Sisters and Lauren Benichou & Ashley Richardson.

See the paintings from Edgelands and more of Judith Belzer’s work at

The Making of the Karaoke Ice Cream Truck

The Making of the Karaoke Ice Cream Truck

Treatbot, the karaoke ice cream truck, is a silver bullet on wheels that churns out gorgeous ice cream and hot music as it plies the streets of San Jose. The flavors they make from scratch reflect the founder’s Filipino heritage and the cultural diversity of the neighborhoods in and around San Jose. So, grab a cone and a microphone and listen up:

Produced by Charla Bear and The Kitchen Sisters.

The Making Of… the Fairing

The Making Of… the Fairing

For our  Making Of… series on KQED we spent time with industrial designer Scott Summit, of Bespoke Innovations 3-D Systems, in San Francisco.

Scott, who has designed for Apple, Nike and many other companies in Silicon Valley,  is making something called Fairings — customized, individualized coverings for prosthetic legs. They look like sculpture or jewelry. And they’re made with a 3D printer. (He also showed us the guitar he 3D printed). Read more…

Zeega Launch Party & Workshop

Zeega Launch Party & Workshop

The Making Of… Zeega

The Kitchen Sisters invite you to
A Night of Stories, Invention & Surprise
Thursday January 17, 7-8:30 pm
SoundCloud, 500 Treat Ave., San Francisco

We’re launching Zeega’s new storytelling platform on our Making Of  site and hope you’ll come celebrate, find out more about the project and make a Zeega.

Zeega is a new experimental storytelling platform that lets users combine original content with media from across the web to create beautiful, surprising, immersive stories and works of art. Zeega has been holding “Maker Hours” every week in their storefront studio in Cambridge, MA, inviting a community of artists, designers and storytellers come together and invent.

On January 17, Zeega founders Jesse Shapins and Kara Oehler, will present “Zeega Maker Hours West” at SoundCloud’s San Francisco office. Anyone will be able to make Zeegas and contribute them to the project.

Bring your laptop or just come watch, listen and enjoy the food.

A collaboration between The Kitchen Sisters, KQED, AIR, Zeega, and SoundCloud. A Localore Project, funded in part by The Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Notch: It’s All About Stance and Style

Notch: It’s All About Stance and Style

View the story on Cowbird here.

Notch: It’s All About Stance and Style

My name is Ignacio Gonzales. People call me Notch. I build hot rods and I’ve got a thing for tiki bars. I build tiki bars on the side. I’m always moving around. I’m always twitching.

Born and raised in San Jose. I went to high school and that’s it. As a kid, growing up, I was fascinated with cartoons and movies. Star Wars especially. All my friends were building hot rod models, custom car models. I did that, then wanted to advance from that. So I got complex models – battleships and tanks that had 1,000 pieces. I got way into the details and making things look realistic.

Then I got into Halloween props. I wanted to make a zombie hand coming out of the mud. I’d make a hanger shaped as a hand. And I got flour dough, mixed it together and made it look gory. I put paint on it. That’s how it all started. Being creative.

Whenever I see something with my eyes, I take it apart and reverse engineer it. I’d watch a movie over and over again looking at the props they make and I thought, I want to do stuff like that. Star Wars. That’s where it started. I was blown away.

I wanted to grow up and build those things someday. I got a challenge from one of my friends, she worked for a prop company and she wanted me to make a spaceship. So I said I’d make an 8-foot long spaceship of Darth Vader’s Executioner and I made it without any blueprints or anything. I just looked at the pictures and made it in my garage. I just jump head first in. I don’t look back.

I started working on cars. First I went to work on my own personal car. I got into Volkswagens, heavy on, during school and after school. I tore them apart, put them together, got them running. Along with my friends, we went cruising. It turned into a hot
rod fascination after one car show. I gave away all my Volkswagen stuff, sold it all. I just wanted hot rods.

Nobody else in my family is creative. They all went to college and studied. I wanted to work with my hands. I’m the youngest out of 7. First one born in the United States.

My family are all from Mexico. Legally. They all came over legally.

My dad worked for construction, so I was around wood a lot and hammers and nails. There was a lot of land, so I was free to play wherever I wanted. I was always outdoors doing stuff. There were fields everywhere. We had dirt bikes and motorcycles. We made huts and had rock wars. We rode our bikes, made ramps and jumped. It’s all developed now. There’s no open spaces. It’s all houses.

I started working at a body shop, I’d say ’90 or ’91. It was one of my first jobs. I worked for Apple when I was a kid, assembling
stuff. I wish I could’ve kept that job. It was a good paycheck.

But then I started at a body shop just doing clean up. I scraped gum off the shop floor and pulled cars in and out. Anything they wanted me to do. Sweeping all day. I picked up real quick on body work, paint and prep. I learned everything about restoring a car there.

I went to a hot rod show and I was blown away by American hot rods. So, I’m going to work my hardest to own one. In the beginning, I worked at a body shop, learned the trade of metal work and repairing cars. Just doing paint, body work, suspension.

Then I got my first job at a hot rod shop. It started at Rods and Louvers. Then Moonlight Hot Rods. It was awesome. Making parts from nothing. We had to make each piece. So we’d chop the car and lower it, make body lines and do custom metal shaping inserts on the sides.

I loved it. Someone brought me an old car and said, “Let’s do some flames.” It was just natural for me.

My first flame job was in a book. It was just a small, little picture but it was my work. I was like, I could keep going. Anybody who wanted graphics would come to me. It was easy. “Did you go to school?” No, I would just look at pictures.

When I was working for a body shop, doing the same thing every day working on brand new cars, I wasn’t really happy. It felt like I was wasting my time. They were brand new 2008 or 2009. It was like I was wasting my artistic talent. When I work on these old cars, I know they’re being cherished. They have a family value. People take care of them as long as they’re around.
So, I feel like when I worked on these old cars, my time’s not being wasted.

So, I’m going to open a hot rod shop. Word of mouth got around. People would bring me work. I’m just going to do it. I took a big pay cut. Owning your own business for the first 5 years is tough.

We’re at my shop. It’s Top Notch Kustoms. Notch, you know, my name Notch. I didn’t even have a shop at the time and they would just call me Top Notch Kustoms. It’s enough room for four cars and other little projects.

It’ll be a little over four years I’ve been here. Started with nothing. All I had was a box of tools, a welder and a plasma cutter. Now I have a lot of tools.

My personal hot rod. It’s a major piece of work. A1935 Ford Pickup that’s chopped, channeled and sectioned. It’s got a Model A frame that’s boxed and it’s got over 170 lighting holes drilled throughout the frame. It’s heavily z’d in the rear and front. It’s got a quick-change rear end. It’s got a Merc-flathead with Kong heads. It’s got a drop-32 front axle with rotorflow shocks. All bare metal.

It’s super low and loud. It’s got to have flow and historical value. It’s all about the stance and style.

I used to always draw as a kid. I remember in 3rd grade, one of my teachers, Mrs. Baldastery said I was going to be a great artist one day. She wrote that in my autograph book. I still have it today. I always look at that. I’m like, she must’ve seen
something. I think I still have it in my toolbox.

From an interview with Ignacio Gonzales for The Making Of… Interview by Charla Bear. Story edited by The Kitchen Sisters.

Illustrations by Wendy MacNaughton.

The Making of a Violin

The Making of a Violin

Remo del Tredici began making violins in his 70s. Inspired by his neighbor, a volunteer for AmVets, and the memory of his brother who was killed during WWII, he began giving away his violins to vets.

LISTEN ABOVE to full radio story featuring Remo del Tredici, Bill Roberts, Robert Martin, & and Earl Annecston heard on The California Report, KQED
Produced by The Kitchen Sisters & Lisa Morehouse with Nathan Dalton

“See my name in there? It says Remo Del Tredici, San Francisco, 2009.” In a workshop, set behind a modest stucco house in San Francisco’s Sunset district, 92-year-old Del Tredici points at his signature, written on the inside of a violin. “See those necks hanging up there? Out of a block of wood that’s what I carve, no nails, no screws.”

Remo picks a violin up off his workbench. “This is curly maple,” he says tapping on the belly. “I can make one in a week if I work eight to ten hours a day. Then the varnishing will take another week.”

Bill Roberts used to live down the street from Del Tredici. “I saw Remo loading up someone’s trunk with a bunch of violins,” Bill says, “and I wondered, what’s this guy doing? Where did all those violins come from?” The two men became friends and Bill soon found out. Over the last fifteen or so Remo has been making violins — more than 100 of them. And giving them away. Read More…