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From the Vault is looking for a few dedicated volunteers to help with scheduling, research, digitizing, transcribing, website support, and more. If you're interested, please contact From the Vault.

FTV 480 Townes Van Zandt – A Houston Songwriting Legend

Posted in Update on July 24th, 2015

This week on From the Vault we feature some rare and outstanding live music performed in Pacifica station KPFT’s studios, from one of the great Houston songwriters. Special From the Vault guest host Roark Smith (host of Wide Open Spaces on KPFT) takes us on a musical adventure to celebrate Townes Van Zandt, one of the most important musicians hailing from Texas in the late 60’s and 70’s, among peers Steve Earle, Guy Clark, Nanci Griffith, Vince Bell, Lyle Lovett, Robert Earl Keen, and Eric Taylor.

Townes Van Zandt was as tragic a figure as he was talented. In the early 1960’s, he was diagnosed as manic depressive and underwent a controversial insulin shock therapy procedure which erased much of his long term memory. Van Zandt subsequently fought a continuous battle with substance abuse with alcohol and narcotics his entire life that ended at the age of 52 in 1997. Although his lifestyle kept him, as he said, “living out of a suitcase and singing for his meals,” Van Zandt’s songwriting remains some of the most beautiful and highly influential to this day.

While living in Houston, Townes Van Zandt made several visits to the one station that appreciated good songwriting, Pacifica Radio KPFT 90.1 FM. In this episode of From the Vault, we’ll listen to classic sets recorded at KPFT in 1972 and 1973, which includes some of his most well-known songs like “Pancho and Lefty” and “To Live is Fly.”

From the Vault is presented as part of the Pacifica Radio Archives Preservation and Access Project, funded in part by an award from the GRAMMY Foundation and the National Historical Publications and Records Commission at the National Archives and Records Administration, and past grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ford Foundation, and the American Archive funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, along with the generous support of Pacifica Radio Listeners. We also thank our partners and collaborators at the Pop-Up Archive, Amara, Other Minds Archives, George Blood Audio, and the California Audio Visual Preservation Project.

PURCHASE a copy of this program or learn more about the historic archival recordings used within this episode. To purchase a CD copy of this program by phone, please call Pacifica Radio Archives at 800.735.0230 x 262.

FTV 479: A Picture of Oscar Wilde, Part 2 of 2

Posted in Update on July 17th, 2015

This week on From the Vault we feature the conclusion of a two-hour documentary dramatizing the life of Irish author, playwright and poet Oscar Wilde, written, produced and broadcast in 1963 on KPFK by Ruth Seymour (then Ruth Hirschman). A Picture of Oscar Wilde was broadcast as a month-long tribute to Oscar Wilde that included airings of “The Picture of Dorian Gray”, “The Importance of Being Earnest”, “The Ballad from Reading Gaol”, and “De Profundis”.

These source materials were used to create the original audio documentary:
The Complete Letters of Oscar Wilde, edited by Rupert Hart-Davis, 1962
Famous Trials Oscar Wilde, H. Montgomery Hyde, 1962
Oscar Wilde and Myself, Lord Alfred Douglas, 1914
Oscar Wilde, His Life and Confessions, Frank Harris, 1916
My Father Oscar Wilde, Vyvyan Holland, 1954
Oscar Wilde: A Present Time Appraisal, St. John Ervine, 1951
The Importance of Being Oscar, written and performed by Michael MacLiammoir, 1960

From the Vault is presented as part of the Pacifica Radio Archives Preservation and Access Project, funded in part by an award from the GRAMMY Foundation and the National Historical Publications and Records Commission at the National Archives and Records Administration, and past grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ford Foundation, and the American Archive funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, along with the generous support of Pacifica Radio Listeners. We also thank our partners and collaborators at the Pop-Up Archive, Amara, Other Minds Archives, George Blood Audio, and the California Audio Visual Preservation Project.

PURCHASE a copy of this program or learn more about the historic archival recordings used within this episode. To purchase a CD copy of this program by phone, please call Pacifica Radio Archives at 800.735.0230 x 262.

FTV 478: A Picture of Oscar Wilde, Part 1 of 2

Posted in Update on July 13th, 2015

This week on From the Vault we feature the first part of a two-hour documentary dramatizing the life of Irish author, playwright and poet Oscar Wilde, written, produced and broadcast in 1963 on KPFK by Ruth Seymour (then Ruth Hirschman). A Picture of Oscar Wilde was broadcast as a month-long tribute to Oscar Wilde that included airings of “The Picture of Dorian Gray”, “The Importance of Being Earnest”, “The Ballad from Reading Gaol”, and “De Profundis”.

These source materials were used to create the original audio documentary:
The Complete Letters of Oscar Wilde, edited by Rupert Hart-Davis, 1962
Famous Trials Oscar Wilde, H. Montgomery Hyde, 1962
Oscar Wilde and Myself, Lord Alfred Douglas, 1914
Oscar Wilde, His Life and Confessions, Frank Harris, 1916
My Father Oscar Wilde, Vyvyan Holland, 1954
Oscar Wilde: A Present Time Appraisal, St. John Ervine, 1951
The Importance of Being Oscar, written and performed by Michael MacLiammoir, 1960

From the Vault is presented as part of the Pacifica Radio Archives Preservation and Access Project, funded in part by an award from the GRAMMY Foundation and the National Historical Publications and Records Commission at the National Archives and Records Administration, and past grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ford Foundation, and the American Archive funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, along with the generous support of Pacifica Radio Listeners. We also thank our partners and collaborators at the Pop-Up Archive, Amara, Other Minds Archives, George Blood Audio, and the California Audio Visual Preservation Project.

PURCHASE a copy of this program or learn more about the historic archival recordings used within this episode. To purchase a CD copy of this program by phone, please call Pacifica Radio Archives at 800.735.0230 x 262.

FTV 477: Watts Rebellion 50th Anniversary – The Fire This Time

Posted in Update on July 10th, 2015

This week on From the Vault we commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the 1965 Watts Rebellion by featuring a documentary titled The Fire This Time, which draws from Pacifica Radio’s coverage of the events as they unfolded, including actuality from events in the streets, community leaders, educators, residents, aid workers, police, radio commentaries and listener call-ins. The Fire This Time was produced by Trevor Thomas.

From the Vault is presented as part of the Pacifica Radio Archives Preservation and Access Project, funded in part by an award from the GRAMMY Foundation and the National Historical Publications and Records Commission at the National Archives and Records Administration, and past grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ford Foundation, and the American Archive funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, along with the generous support of Pacifica Radio Listeners. We also thank our partners and collaborators at the Pop-Up Archive, Amara, Other Minds Archives, George Blood Audio, and the California Audio Visual Preservation Project.

PURCHASE a copy of this program or learn more about the historic archival recordings used within this episode. To purchase a CD copy of this program by phone, please call Pacifica Radio Archives at 800.735.0230 x 262.

FTV 476 Gay Pride Month – Diminished Capacity

Posted in Update on June 26th, 2015

This week on From the Vault we celebrate Gay Pride Month with a 1979 documentary titled Diminished Capacity, about the social impact of the voluntary manslaughter conviction of San Francisco City Supervisor Dan White, who killed San Francisco Mayor George Mascone and fellow City Supervisor Harvey Milk on November 27, 1978. According to his lawyer, White, who was overly distressed about losing his position on the Board of Supervisors, acted without malice, deliberation or premeditation – the necessary conditions for a first-degree murder conviction in California. White’s legal team argued for acquittal of first-degree murder charges (and instead conviction of much less severe voluntary manslaughter charges) on the concept that White was afflicted with the condition of “diminished capacity.” White would serve only five years of a seven-year sentence before his release. The original documentary Diminished Capacity was produced by Greg Gordon, longtime host of the international LGBT radio magazine This Way Out, who also interviewed Milk in 1978 shortly after his election to City Supervisor. We conclude this episode of From the Vault with that interview.

From the Vault is presented as part of the Pacifica Radio Archives Preservation and Access Project, funded in part by an award from the GRAMMY Foundation and the National Historical Publications and Records Commission at the National Archives and Records Administration, and past grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ford Foundation, and the American Archive funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, along with the generous support of Pacifica Radio Listeners. We also thank our partners and collaborators at the Pop-Up Archive, Amara, Other Minds Archives, George Blood Audio, and the California Audio Visual Preservation Project.

PURCHASE a copy of this program or learn more about the historic archival recordings used within this episode. To purchase a CD copy of this program by phone, please call Pacifica Radio Archives at 800.735.0230 x 262.

FTV 475 Jean Ritchie – An American Treasure

Posted in Update on June 19th, 2015

This week on From the Vault we celebrate the life of Jean Ritchie, an American folk treasure who died June 1, 2015. Born in Viper, Kentucky on December 8th, 1922, Ritchie was the youngest of fourteen children who became known as the “Singing Ritchies of Kentucky.” Eventually, Jean would pack her bags and move to New York City in 1947, to begin a career as a social worker. In the course of work, she would teach traditional folk songs she knew to the children; word of her music education efforts came to the attention of folklorist and field recording collector Alan Lomax, who would record her for the Library of Congress.

Ritchie – who could sing a capella and play the mountain dulcimer and autoharp – performed alongside legends such as Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Dave Van Ronk, as well as the underground folk masters of New York and beyond. Her creative efforts not only popularized the Appalachian folk tradition, but also raised awareness of the hazards of strip mining and coal mining in her beloved mountains of Kentucky.

In this 1978 interview on Pacifica Station WBAI in New York City, Ritchie sat down to sing and chat with producer Lynn Schoenfeld about music, family,and life in her home town.

From the Vault is presented as part of the Pacifica Radio Archives Preservation and Access Project, funded in part by an award from the GRAMMY Foundation and the National Historical Publications and Records Commission at the National Archives and Records Administration, and past grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ford Foundation, and the American Archive funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, along with the generous support of Pacifica Radio Listeners. We also thank our partners and collaborators at the Pop-Up Archive, Amara, Other Minds Archives, George Blood Audio, and the California Audio Visual Preservation Project.

PURCHASE a copy of this program or learn more about the historic archival recordings used within this episode. To purchase a CD copy of this program by phone, please call Pacifica Radio Archives at 800.735.0230 x 262.

FTV 474 Twelve Years of Lesbian Activism, Part 2 of 2

Posted in Update on June 12th, 2015

This week on From the Vault we feature the second part of a two-part 1981 program on the lesbian movement called Twelve Years of Lesbian Activism. In this episode, we feature a panel discussion on issues facing lesbians in the 1980’s, interspersed with music. Topics include the state of the lesbian movement and its leadership, the role of culture and separatism, the importance of the ERA and pro-choice issues, measurement of progress, and the strategy to deal with threats from the New Right. The panel discussion is hosted by Barbara Price, and the panelists include Ginny Berson, Pat Parker, Meg Christian, and Barbara Cameron.

This program was produced by Susan Elisabeth and Ginny Berson, and engineered by Susan Elisabeth; production assistance from Amber Hollibaugh of the Lesbian and Gay History Project, and Lynn Fanfa at the Lesbian Herstory Archives.

From the Vault is presented as part of the Pacifica Radio Archives Preservation and Access Project, funded in part by an award from the GRAMMY Foundation and the National Historical Publications and Records Commission at the National Archives and Records Administration, and past grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ford Foundation, and the American Archive funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, along with the generous support of Pacifica Radio Listeners. We also thank our partners and collaborators at the Pop-Up Archive, Amara, Other Minds Archives, George Blood Audio, and the California Audio Visual Preservation Project.

PURCHASE a copy of this program or learn more about the historic archival recordings used within this episode. To purchase a CD copy of this program by phone, please call Pacifica Radio Archives at 800.735.0230 x 262.

FTV 473 Twelve Years of Lesbian Activism, Part 1 of 2

Posted in Update on June 5th, 2015

This week on From the Vault we feature the first part of a two-part 1981 program on the lesbian movement called Twelve Years of Lesbian Activism. In this episode, we’ll hear an oral history of lesbian life and activism in the United States, with a particular emphasis on 1969-1981; movements and events are described with relevant songs, music, and actualities interspersed throughout. This two-part program was, in part, celebrating the 1981 opening of the West Coast Lesbian Collections in Oakland, which was moved six years later to Los Angeles and renamed the June L. Mazer Lesbian Archives in honor of June Mazer, a community activist and an invaluable supporter of the collection.

This program was produced by Susan Elisabeth and Ginny Berson, and engineered by Susan Elisabeth; production assistance from Amber Hollibaugh of the Lesbian and Gay History Project, and Lynn Fanfa at the Lesbian Herstory Archives.

From the Vault is presented as part of the Pacifica Radio Archives Preservation and Access Project, funded in part by an award from the GRAMMY Foundation and the National Historical Publications and Records Commission at the National Archives and Records Administration, and past grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ford Foundation, and the American Archive funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, along with the generous support of Pacifica Radio Listeners. We also thank our partners and collaborators at the Pop-Up Archive, Amara, Other Minds Archives, George Blood Audio, and the California Audio Visual Preservation Project.

PURCHASE a copy of this program or learn more about the historic archival recordings used within this episode. To purchase a CD copy of this program by phone, please call Pacifica Radio Archives at 800.735.0230 x 262.

Play

FTV 472 Walk to Freedom (1961-Albany, GA)

Posted in Update on May 29th, 2015

This week on From the Vault we will hear an extraordinary documentary about the events that transpired in Albany, Georgia in November, 1961. Produced by Alan Lomax, renowned folklorist and field sound collector, and Guy Carawan, longtime music director of the Highlander Research and Education Center in Tennessee, this program masterfully weaves field recordings and narrative to tell the story of the residents of Albany and their efforts to eliminate segregation in their city through the voter registration movement. Civil Rights scholars recognize that while not every goal of the Albany campaign was successful, the protests in Albany did achieve the primary goal of desegregating the town, and there is general agreement that the Albany movement was a formative learning experience and critical benchmark in the career of Martin Luther King, Jr., who participated in the protests at the invitation of local city leaders. The 1961 Albany march is now credited with educating and energizing the Civil Rights Movement for future actions in Birmingham (1963), Washington (1963), Mississippi (1964), and Selma (1965), to name a few.

Our special guest is Mr. W. Frank Wilson, Executive Director of the Albany Civil Rights Institute, who comments on the Albany campaign in relation to the national Civil Rights movement at the time.

From the Vault is presented as part of the Pacifica Radio Archives Preservation and Access Project, funded in part by an award from the GRAMMY Foundation and the National Historical Publications and Records Commission at the National Archives and Records Administration, and past grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ford Foundation, and the American Archive funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, along with the generous support of Pacifica Radio Listeners. We also thank our partners and collaborators at the Pop-Up Archive, Amara, Other Minds Archives, George Blood Audio, and the California Audio Visual Preservation Project.

PURCHASE a copy of this program or learn more about the historic archival recordings used within this episode. To purchase a CD copy of this program by phone, please call Pacifica Radio Archives at 800.735.0230 x 262.

FTV 471 Robert Frost Reads His Own Poetry

Posted in Update on May 22nd, 2015

This week on From the Vault we present a 1956 reading with Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Robert Frost.

Born in San Francisco in 1874, Frost would spend his early years in urban Massachusetts, and then working on a family farm in New Hampshire, where he found plenty of inspiration for his poetry from rural observation, but little financial success in either farming or poetry. Discouraged, he moved to England in 1912 with the hopes of finding a new market for his literary talents; there, Frost finally found a publisher for his first collection, and subsequently built friendships with poets Ezra Pound and Edward Thomas – who offered Frost advice, inspiration, and encouragement. When Frost eventually returned back to the United States, he found that publishers were now more than happy to work with him, resulting in prosperity and, ultimately, four Pulitzer Prizes.

Then, in his 80’s, Frost made his way back to Berkeley, California to give a poetry reading, which was broadcast on Pacifica Station KPFA on June 11, 1956. From this incredible and insightful reading we are left with an amazing historic recording, which we proudly feature in this episode of From the Vault. Frost, on occasion, stops mid-poem to offer up insight and witty anecdotes about his intentions and creative motivations, making for an exceptionally unique and authoritative study of the poets own work.

This particular recording was brought to our attention thanks to an inquiry by KPFK Program Director Alan Minsky; we start with his story about what motivated him to seek out this jewel in our collection.

From the Vault is presented as part of the Pacifica Radio Archives Preservation and Access Project, funded in part by an award from the GRAMMY Foundation and the National Historical Publications and Records Commission at the National Archives and Records Administration, and past grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ford Foundation, and the American Archive funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, along with the generous support of Pacifica Radio Listeners. We also thank our partners and collaborators at the Pop-Up Archive, Amara, Other Minds Archives, George Blood Audio, and the California Audio Visual Preservation Project.

PURCHASE a copy of this program or learn more about the historic archival recordings used within this episode. To purchase a CD copy of this program by phone, please call Pacifica Radio Archives at 800.735.0230 x 262.