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.
137- The Keepers - Archiving the Underground, 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, stories of the Hiphop Archive at Harvard, the Pack Horse Librarians of Eastern Kentucky, the Lenny Bruce Archive, the Internet Archive and more striking and surprising stories of preservation and civic life.
136 - The Lou Reed Archive with Laurie Anderson
Lou Reed—music icon, poet, photographer, Tai Chi master, vital force in the cultural life and underworld of New York City. Lou died in 2013 and left not a word of instruction about what he wanted done with his archive of
recordings, instruments, gear, his Tai Chi swords, jackets—from his days with The Velvet Underground, through his solo career and last recordings. He left everything to his wife, artist and musician Laurie Anderson. Over
the next six years Laurie and a team of Lou’s “keepers” created a vision.
In March 2019, on the occasion of his birthday, The Lou Reed Archive opened to the public at the New York Library for the Performing Arts with parties, friends, family, fanfare and a drone concert at the largest cathedral in the world. During that week and beyond we spoke to many of Lou’s archivists, family, and friends — Laurie Anderson, Curator Don Fleming, Jason Stern and Jim Cass who worked with Lou, drone wizard Stewart Hurwood, Producers Tony Visconti and Hal Willner, Carrie Welch from the New York Public Library, Curator Jonathan Hiam and a devoted crew of librarians and archivists at the New York Library for the Performing Arts, and Lisa Shubert at Cathedral of Saint John the Divine. Many thanks to all.
The Keepers, stories of activist archivists, rogue librarians, curators, historians and collectors, is produced by The Kitchen Sisters (Davia Nelson & Nikki Silva) in collaboration with Nathan Dalton & Brandi Howell and mixed by Jim McKee. Special thanks to story interns Sydney Stewart and Josh Gross.
The Kitchen Sisters Present is part of the Radiotopia Podcast Network from PRX. Support for The Kitchen Sisters comes from Radiotopia, the National Endowment for the Arts, The Grammy Museum Foundation, The Marin Community Foundation/ Susie Tompkins Buell Fund, Cowgirl Creamery, The Kaleta Doolin Foundation, The Robert Sillins Family Foundation, The Robert Lee Hudson Foundation, the TRA Fund and listener contributions to The Kitchen Sisters Productions.
“These are really terribly rough times and we really should try to be nice to each other as possible.” Lou Reed.
135 - Deep Fried Fuel - A Biodiesel Kitchen Vision - Celebrating Over the Road
In celebration of truckers everywhere and of Radiotopia’s new show Over the Road, The Kitchen Sisters visit some of their favorite Texas pitstops. First up — a truck stop in Carl’s Corner, Texas off I 35 between Dallas and Austin where Willie Nelson first introduced his BioWillie fuel in 2004.
Willie’s friend, Carl Cornelius, founded Carl’s Corner in the early 1980s in order to sell liquor in a mostly dry county. He opened up a truck stop —a trucker’s haven and tourist attraction —with hot tubs, dancing girls and 10 foot high dancing frogs atop the pumps. In 1987 Willie held his legendary 4th of July Picnic at Carl’s Corner. But a few years later, following a fire and some set major backs, the place fell on hard times. That’s where our story begins…with Willie Nelson bringing in BioWillie biofuel to save Carl’s Corner Truck Stop. We hear from Willie Nelson, Kinky Friedman, Carl Cornelius, Joe Nick Potaski, truckers and biodiesel disciples. And we visit a bio-diesel home brew class, where recipes are shared on how to make your own, in a blender, the kitchen way.
Next stop — Fuel City, downtown Dallas—with its long horn cattle, oil well, waterfalls, bikini clad “pool models,” DJs, and the best Texas tacos for miles around. Robin Wright talks about her family in Venus,Texas. And we visit the Conoco gas station and it’s gourmet Chef Point Cafe in Watauga, Texas.
133 - WHER - 1000 Beautiful Watts, The First All-Girl Radio Station in the Nation
When Sam Phillips sold Elvis’ contract in 1955 he used the money to start an all-girl radio station in Memphis, TN. Set in a pink, plush studio in the nation’s third Holiday Inn, it was a novelty—but not for long. He hired models, beauty queens, actresses, telephone operators. Some were young mothers who just needed a job. WHER was the first radio station to feature women as more than novelties and sidekicks. The WHER girls were broadcasting pioneers. Set against the backdrop of the civil rights movement, the women’s movement, Vietnam, and the death of Martin Luther King—the story of WHER follows the women who pioneered in broadcasting as they head into one of the most dramatic and volatile times in the nation’s history. “WHER was the embryo of the egg,” said Sam Phillips. “We broke a barrier. There was nothing like it in the world.”
This encore broadcast of one of the stories closest to our radio hearts is in honor of the women of WHER who have passed on since we interviewed them twenty years ago—Becky Phillips, Marge Thrasher, Janie Joplin, and Bettye Berger who passed on to that big radio station in the sky just last week.
Bettye was a pistol. A beautiful, blonde, smart, savvy business woman, she was one of the first WHER disc jockettes—hired by Sam Phillips in 1955. Later in her career she became an artist manager and booking agent—one of the few women in the field in the 1950s and 60s. She formed her own company—Continental Talent Agency representing stars like Charlie Rich, William Bell, Ivory Joe Hunter. She launched her own record label, Bet T. Records, in 1959. And she was a songwriter—writing songs for Ivory Joe Hunter and Rufus Thomas. Bettye was a pioneer in broadcasting and in the history of Memphis rock and roll and soul. She will be missed.