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The Kitchen Sisters Present

The Kitchen Sisters Present… Stories from the b-side of history. Lost recordings, hidden worlds, people possessed by a sound, a vision, a mission. The episodes tell deeply layered stories, lush with interviews, field recordings and music. From powerhouse producers The Kitchen Sisters (Hidden Kitchens, The Hidden World of Girls, The Sonic Memorial Project, Lost & Found Sound, Fugitive Waves and coming soon… The Keepers). "The Kitchen Sisters have done some of best radio stories ever broadcast" —Ira Glass. The Kitchen Sisters Present is produced in collaboration with Nathan Dalton and Brandi Howell and mixed by Jim McKee. A proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX. Learn more at radiotopia.fm.

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67 – The Hidden World of Girls with Tina Fey

Stories from The Hidden World of Girls with host Tina Fey: Nigerian writer Chris Abani tells about his English-born mother enlisting him at age 8 to be her translator in Nigeria as she travels door to door through the villages teaching women the Billings Ovulation Method of birth control. Plus stories from singer/actress Janelle Monae, science fiction writer Pat Cadigan, Estonian activist Tiina Urm and her “Let’s Do It Campaign” and more stories about girls and the women they become.

25mins

27 Mar 2017

Rank #1

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123- San Francisco—Stories from the Model City, Part Three

In the late 1930s, during the depths of the Depression, 300 craftspeople came together for two years to build an enormous scale model of the City of San Francisco — a WPA project conceived as a way of putting artists to work and as a planning tool for the City to imagine its future. The Model was meant to remain on public view for all to see. But World War II erupted and the 6000 piece, hand carved and painted wooden model was put into storage in large wooden crates “all higgledy piggledy,” for almost 80 years. The story of this almost forgotten, three-dimensional freeze frame of the City in 1938 leads us on a journey through the streets and neighborhoods of San Francisco — contemplating the past and envisioning the future with poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti, historian Gary Kamiya, writer Maya Angelou, the current “Keeper of the Model,” Stella Lochman, and many more. In this final episode of Stories from the Model City, we visit Chinatown, Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s City Lights Bookstore, The Mission District. We ride along in the Homobile and travel to Playland at the Beach in the 1950s. And we hear more from the citizens of San Francisco about their ideas for the future of their beloved City. The Kitchen Sisters produced this story for SFMOMA’s Raw Material podcast in conjunction with their Public Knowledge program, “Take Part” in which the museum partnered with the San Francisco Public Library and artists Bik Van Der Pol to engage the community in a series of talks and events around the Model.

25mins

27 Aug 2019

Rank #2

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92 - The Working Tapes of Studs Terkel

In the early 1970’s, radio producer and author Studs Terkel wrote a book called Working. He went around the country with a reel-to-reel tape recorder interviewing people about their jobs. The book became a bestseller and even inspired a Broadway musical. Working struck a nerve, because it elevated the stories of ordinary people and their daily lives. Studs celebrated the un-celebrated. Radio Diaries and their partner Project& were given exclusive access to these recordings, which were boxed up and stored away after the book was published. Stories of a private investigator, a union worker, a telephone operator, a a hotel piano player, and more. As The Kitchen Sisters warm up for our new series “The Keepers,” stories of activist archivists, rogue librarians, historians, collectors, curators —keepers of the culture—we share these stories gathered by the ultimate Keeper —Studs Terkel.

37mins

7 May 2018

Rank #3

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79 – Pati’s Mexican Jewish Table

A walk through Oaxaca’s Ethnobotanical Garden with chef and cookbook author Pati Jinich, host of the Emmy and James Beard nominated PBS series Pati’s Mexican Table and resident chef at the Mexican Cultural Institute in Washington DC. Pati talks about her Jewish heritage, growing up in Mexico, immigration, life choices and how she found her way into the kitchen.

18mins

25 Sep 2017

Rank #4

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122 - Burning Man — Archiving the Ephemeral

"Hello Kitchen Sisters, I am a rogue archivist, the archivist for Burning Man.  Come to Burning Man headquarters and I’ll show you the collection. Cheers.” — LadyBee, Archivist & Art Collection Manager, Burning Man On the night of Summer Solstice 1986, Larry Harvey and Jerry James built and burned an eight-foot wooden figure on San Francisco's Baker Beach surrounded by a handful of friends. Burning Man was born. This weekend, the 34th annual Burning Man gathering begins to assemble on a vast dry lake bed in Nevada's Black Rock Desert, the nomadic ritual's home since 1990. An estimated 80,000 people will come. How do you archive an event when one of it's driving principles is "leave no trace?" Where The Burning Man is in fact burned? What is being kept and who is keeping it? As part of The Keepers Series, The Kitchen Sisters take a journey into the archives of this legendary gathering to find out.

18mins

21 Aug 2019

Rank #5

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3 – Eel Pie Island

The Kitchen Sisters  take us to a little-known, hidden corner of London — to Eel Pie Island, a tiny slice of land in the middle of the Thames. Now a small bohemian community of artists, inventors, river gypsies and boat builders, on the edge of Twickenham, Eel Pie Island has a flamboyant history that stretches from Henry VIII to The Rolling Stones. Eel Pie Island is produced by The Kitchen Sisters with Nathan Dalton, mixed by Jim McKee / The Hidden World of Kate McGarrigle, produced by the Kitchen Sisters Fugitive Waves is produced by The Kitchen Sisters in collaboration with Tom Corwin

18mins

12 Apr 2014

Rank #6

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4 – The French Manicure – The Long Shadow of Shirley Temple

Shirley Temple died on February 10. 2014. Watching the parade of clips from her 1930s movies on TV that night brought back the magic she had as a child to delight and entertain. How many hours did we spend watching her tap her way through hard times and good? It was actually Shirley Temple who triggered the story you’re about to hear. The year was 1999. I had been getting manicures for awhile at a Vietnamese nail shop in San Francisco from a woman named Shirley. Over the months I had come to know her a bit, she would ask about our radio shows, I would ask about her daughter Crystal. One day as we talked it occurred to me, why is this woman named Shirley? She is from Vietnam. There are no Shirley’s there. When I asked how she came to be Shirley she told the most harrowing story of her passage to America as a young girl, her separation from her brother and mother as they escaped Vietnam by boat, how she washed ashore in America alone, sick and scared out of her mind, speaking no English. She said in Vietnam her name was Hang, which means ‘Lonely woman looking at the moon.” Hang was hospitalized. In the hospital room she watched the black and white TV on the wall. Over and over she saw a little girl dancing, who was happy. She told herself she had to stop crying for her mother and brother. She was in America. She had to be happy too. Someone told her the little girl’s name was Shirley, Shirley Temple. So she took that name. Shirley led us into her world. We spent months in Vietnamese nail salons, chronicling the lives of the women working there. Today we call this story “French Manicure: The Long Shadow of Shirley Temple” Listen…..

22mins

15 May 2014

Rank #7

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96 - Cry Me a River — Keepers of the Environment

The dramatic stories of three pioneering “Keepers” and environmental activists—Ken Sleight, Katie Lee, and Mark Dubois and the damming of wild rivers in the west. Ken Sleight is a long time river and pack guide and activist in southern Utah who fought the damming of Glen Canyon and filling of Lake Powell from 1956-1966. An inspiration for Edward Abbey’s, Monkey Wrench Gang, Sleight is currently working on the campaign to remove Glen Canyon Dam. Katie Lee, born in 1917, a former Hollywood starlet, ran the Colorado River through Glen Canyon long before it was dammed, and in 1955 was the 175th person to run the Grand Canyon. An outspoken conservationist, singer and writer, she spent her life fighting for rivers. Mark Dubois, co-founder of Friends of the River, Earth Day and International Rivers Network, began as a river guide who opened up rafting trips to disabled people in the 1970s. Dubois protested the damming and flooding of the Stanislaus River by hiding himself in the river canyon and chaining himself to a rock as the water rose in 1979.

33mins

9 Jul 2018

Rank #8

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95 - Give Space A Chance: Gastrodiplomacy in Orbit

Russians preparing dinner for Americans in space? Sounds good to us. There’s been a lot of jabber these days about creating a “Space Force,” a sixth branch of the US military to dominate outer space. Over the years we’ve talked with astronauts about what it’s like up there - about the food they eat and the teams they work with daily while orbiting the earth. It turns out they have other ideas about what can happen in space, like educating our youth and “gastrodipolmacy”— the use of food as a diplomatic tool to help resolve conflicts and foster connections between nations. NASA astronaut Bill McArthur talks about the power of sharing meals with Russian Cosmonaut Valery Korzu during their six months together on the Space Station. South Korea’s first astronaut, Astronaut Soyeon Yi, describes Kimchi Diplomacy in space, the Korean government’s efforts to invent kimchi for space travel, and the special Korean meal she prepared for her Russian comrades in orbit. Soyeon Yi, one of 36,000 applicants, became South Korea’s first astronaut in 2008. She talks about how she was selected and about the power of food: “Having kimchi in space, you are far from your home planet,” she says. “When you eat your own traditional food it makes you feel emotionally supported. I can feel my home.”

19mins

25 Jun 2018

Rank #9

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93 - Prince and the Technician

In 1983 Prince hired LA sound technician, Susan Rogers, one of the few women in the industry, to move to Minneapolis and help upgrade his home recording studio as he began work on the album and the movie Purple Rain. Susan, a trained technician with no sound engineering experience became the engineer of Purple Rain, Parade, Sign o’ the Times, and all that Prince recorded for the next four years. For those four years, and almost every year after, Prince recorded at least a song a day and they worked together for 24 hours, 36 hours, 96 hours at a stretch, layering and perfecting his music and his hot funky sound. We interviewed Susan, who is now a Professor at the Berklee School of Music in Boston, for our upcoming NPR series, The Keepers — about activist archivists, rogue librarians, collectors, curators and historians. It was Susan who started Prince’s massive archive during her time with the legendary artist.

24mins

22 May 2018

Rank #10

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94 - Tequila Chamber of Commerce & The Birth of the Frozen Margarita

The Agave Goddess with 200 breasts; jimadors stripping lethal thorny leaves off agaves; farmers battling cambio climatico (climate change); distillers contemplating mono-culture production and the environmental impact of tequila; generations-old tequila makers versus globalization. Stories of tequila from the Tequila Region in Mexico and beyond. Tequila does not only mean alcohol—it means Mexico’s culture, history and future. The biggest tequila companies are not Mexican anymore. They are internationally owned. The Tequila Chamber of Commerce is helping producers promote the drink. They are expected to sell millions and millions of liters to China in the future. Guillermo Erikson Sauza, the fifth generation to make tequila in his family talks about how his grandfather unexpectedly sold the company in 1978 and how he has worked to build up a small a distillery making his Fortaleza brand in the traditional way. And Carmen Villareal, a tequilera, one of the few women in Mexico to run a Tequila company—Tequila San Matais, now 127 years old. And Mariano Martinez, from a fourth generation family restaurant business in Dallas,Texas. How he developed the first frozen margarita machine in 1971, based on the 7-Eleven Slurpee machine, using a soft serve ice cream maker "suped up like a car." The machine is now at the Smithsonian.

13mins

12 Jun 2018

Rank #11

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108 - The Dark Side of the Dewey Decimal System

Melvil Dewey, the father of library science and the inventor of the most popular library classification system in the world, was a known racist and serial sexual harasser. Forced out of the American Library Association, which he co-founded, his 19th century world view and biases are reflected in the classification system that libraries around the world have inherited. Molly Schwartz of the Metropolitan New York Library Council and producer of the podcast Library Bytegeist visits Bard High School Early College in Queens to find out about how students there are rebelling against the Dewey Decimal System. She also talks with Greg Cotton (Cornell College), Barbara Fister (Gustavus Adolphus College), and Dorothy Berry (Umbra Search Project).

22mins

22 Jan 2019

Rank #12

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138 - The Keepers - Archive Fever, with host Frances McDormand

The Keepers, from The Kitchen Sisters and PRX with host, Academy Award-winning actress Frances McDormand. Stories of activist archivists, rogue librarians, curators, collectors and historians. Guardians of history, large and small. Protectors of the free flow of information and ideas. Keepers of the culture and the culture and collections they keep. In this hour, Bob Dylan’s Archive, Henri Langlois’ legendary Cinémathéque in Paris, The Keeper of the National Archives, Nancy Pearl: the first librarian action figure, The Dark Side of the Dewey Decimal System and stories of Prince’s epic Vault in Minneapolis. All these tales and more.

55mins

24 Mar 2020

Rank #13

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36 – Tupperware

“Somewhere in the world there’s a Tupperware Party starting every 10 seconds.” And we’re going to one with The Kitchen Sisters. Parties. Rallies. Sales sessions. More than a way of storing leftovers in covered plastic bowls, for many it’s a way of life. Earl Tupper took the plastics he developed for WWII into post-war American kitchens. The Tupperware Party is one of the ways women have come together to swap recipes and kitchen wisdom, get out of the house and support each other’s entrepreneurial efforts. This story, which is used by instructors teaching audio classes around the country, was produced by The Kitchen Sisters in 1980, one of the first stories they created together. In this podcast the Sisters deconstruct the making of the piece and talk about the experiments and accidents  that led to the development of their production style. We also hear from Tupperware historian Dr. Allison Clarke, Professor of Design Theory & History, University of Applied Arts, Vienna, and Tupperware consultant Lynn Burkhardt, and we hear vintage Tupperware ads from the Prelinger Archive—in a piece produced by Brandi Howell.

18mins

8 Dec 2015

Rank #14

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133 - Theaster Gates — Keeping the South Side

The Archive House, The Listening House, The Stony Island Arts Bank, The Dorchester Projects. Theaster Gates is a keeper of Greater Grand Crossing, his neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago. He first encountered creativity in the music of Black churches on his journey to becoming an urban planner, potter, and artist. Gates creates sculptures with clay, tar, and renovated buildings, transforming the raw material of urban neighborhoods into radically reimagined vessels of opportunity for and of the community. Gates resurrects old dilapidated neighborhood buildings, transforming them into living archives, institutes of music, culture, film and gathering, preserving and renewing neighborhoods that have been ignored, overlooked and underserved. The proceeds of these unusual, imaginative endeavors are used to finance the rehabilitation of entire city blocks and the communities that inhabit them. This story was produced by Alyia Renee Yates in collaboration with The Kitchen Sisters.

14mins

14 Jan 2020

Rank #15

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107 - William Ferris—Keeper of Southern Folklife

Folklorist and Professor Bill Ferris, a Grammy nominee this year for his "Voices of Mississippi" 3 CD Box set, has committed his life to documenting and expanding the study of the American South. His recordings, photos and films of preachers, quilt makers, blues musicians and more are now online as part of the Southern Folklife Collection at the University of North Carolina. Bill Ferris grew up on a farm in Warren County, Mississippi along the Black River. His family, the only white family on the farm, worked side by side with the African Americans in the fields. When he was five, a woman named Mary Gordon would take him every first Sunday to Rose Hill Church, the small African American church on the farm. When Bill was a teenager he got a reel-to-reel tape recorder and started recording the hymns and services. “ I realized that the beautiful hymns were sung from memory—there were no hymnals in the church—and that when those families were no longer there, the hymns would simply disappear.” These recordings led Bill to a lifetime of documenting the world around him—preachers, workers, storytellers, men in prison, quilt makers, the blues musicians living near his home (including the soon-to-be well known Mississippi Fred McDowell). Bill became a prolific author, folklorist, filmmaker, professor, and served as chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities. He is a professor of history at UNC–Chapel Hill and an adjunct professor in the Curriculum in Folklore. He served as the founding director of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi, where he was a faculty member for 18 years. He is associate director of the Center for the Study of the American South. Bill’s has written and edited 10 books and created 15 documentary films, most dealing with African-American music and other folklore representing the Mississippi Delta. His thousands of photographs, films, audio interviews, and recordings of musicians are now online in the William R. Ferris Collection, part of the Southern Folklife Collection at the University of North Carolina. This story was produced by Barrett Golding with The Kitchen Sisters for The Keepers series.

32mins

8 Jan 2019

Rank #16

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106 - 21 Collections—Every Object has a Story

Paper airplanes, photographs of men in rows, birds nests, gay bar matchbooks, dolls hats —an untraditional take on what warrants our attention. As part of The Kitchen Sisters’ series THE KEEPERS, we wander through a curated collection of collections at the Los Angeles Central Library examining the role collections play in telling our stories. As research for this project, Curator Todd Lerew visited over 600 museums, libraries, archives, and public and private collections, identifying those he felt told the most compelling and memorable stories. We also hear from callers to THE KEEPERS HOT LINE —The Unofficial Archivist of Mt. Everest—Elizabeth Hawley; The Radio Haiti Archive; 19th & 20th century women scientists at Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics Glass Plate Collection; Christian Schwartz, 21st century naturalist and collector; Bobby Fulcher recorder and keeper of traditional rural Tennessee folk music and more.

26mins

11 Dec 2018

Rank #17

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50 – An Unexpected Kitchen: The George Foreman Grill

Sometimes life without a kitchen leads to the most unexpected hidden kitchen of all—the George Foreman Grill. How immigrants and homeless people without official kitchens use the George Foreman Grill, hidden crock pots, and secret hot plates to make a meal and a home. Featuring an interview with boxing champion and grill-master, George Foreman. So many immigrants, homeless people and others of limited means living in single-room occupancies (SROs) have no kitchens, no legal or official place to cook. To get a hot meal, or eat traditional foods from the countries they’ve left behind, they have to sneak a kind of kitchen into their places. Crock pots, hot plates, microwaves and toaster ovens hidden under the bed. And now, the appliance that comes in so many colors it looks like a modern piece of furniture: the George Foreman Grill. We had never considered such a hidden kitchen. So we called him. George Foreman talks about growing up hungry and violent, about his his time in the Job Corps, about cooking for his friends and his work with kids. “Feed them,” he says. “Hunger makes you angry.” And we contacted the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless. They put us in touch with Jeffrey Newton who has been homeless or in shelters most all his life, from boy’s homes, to reformatories, to prison by age 17. Then he moved out on the streets, where every day he goes “trailblazing” — looking for food, shelter, work, the resources he needs to make it through the day. Jeffry learned to cook from his grandmother. He feels an urge to cook, especially for other people — under the overpass on Chicago’s Wacker Drive; on a George Foreman Grill plugged into a power pole; with a hot clothing iron to toast a grilled cheese sandwich. Pat Sherman lived for quite some time in SROs with no kitchen, where cooking was forbidden. She now has a home and works in Glide’s Memorial Church in San Francisco’s Tenderloin District. Sherman was quite ingenious when it came to cooking. Her Crock-Pot doubled as a flower pot — nothing that would arouse suspicion. When nobody was around to check, she would slow-cook her beans while she went to school, then come home to a hot meal.

20mins

12 Jul 2016

Rank #18

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12 – The Nights of Edith Piaf

She rose every day at dusk and rehearsed, performed, ate and drank until dawn. Then slept all day, woke up and began to create and unravel again as the sun went down. Nearly every song Edith Piaf sang came from a moment of her life on the streets of Paris. She would tell her composer and musician lovers a story, or describe a feeling or show them a gesture and they would put music and words to her pain and passion, giving her back her own musical autobiography. Charles Aznavour, Francis Lai, Georges Moustaki, Henri Contet, some of France’s great musicians and writers recall their nights with Edith Piaf. The Nights of Edith Piaf was Produced by The Kitchen Sisters in collaboration with Raquel Bitton, who hosts and translates the program.

29mins

16 Dec 2014

Rank #19

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100 - The Keepers: Archiving the Underground—The Hip Hop Archive

This is the first episode in our 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. We begin at The Hip Hop Archive and Research Center at Harvard. In the late 1990’s the students of Dr. Marcyliena Morgan, Professor of Linguistics at UCLA, started falling by her office, imploring her to listen to hip hop. They wanted her to hear this new underground sound and culture being created, the word play, the rhyming, the rapping. They wanted her to help them begin to archive this new medium. “Hip Hop *is *an archive," they told her. Dr. Morgan wasn’t an archivist and she didn’t listen to hip hop. But she listened to her students and saw a new kind of soundtrack emerging from the cracks. Bit by bit she opened her office and her resources and began to collect the history and material culture of hip hop. Some 15 years later the Archive has gone from her office at UCLA to Harvard, where she and Professor Henry Louis Gates founded The Hiphop Archive & Research Institute at the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute whose mission is to “facilitate and encourage the pursuit of knowledge, art, culture, scholarship and responsible leadership through Hiphop.” Along with gathering everything about hip hop for preservation and study, the Archive created the Nasir Jones Fellowship for scholarly research in the field, named for Nas, one of hip hop’s titans, and the “Classic Crates Project,” a collection that aims to archive 200 seminal hip hop albums in the same Harvard music library that houses the works of Mozart, Bertolt Brecht and Edith Piaf. The first four—Nas’ “Illmatic,” “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill,” Kendrick Lamar’s “To Pimp a Butterfly” and “The Low End Theory” by a Tribe Called Quest have been inducted into the University’s Loeb Music Library. You’ll hear from Professor Marcyliena Morgan, Nas, Professor Henry Louis Gates, Nas Fellow Patrick Douthit aka 9th Wonder, The Hip Hop Fellows working at the Archive, an array of Harvard Archivists, and students studying at the Archive and the records, music and voices being preserved there. And we take a look at the Cornell University Hip Hop Collection, founded in 2007, through a sampling of stories from Assistant Curator Jeff Ortiz, Johan Kugelberg author of “Born in the Bronx,” and hip hop pioneers Grandmaster Caz, Pebblee Poo, Roxanne Shante and more.

32mins

5 Sep 2018

Rank #20