Archive for October, 2014

FTV 442 Woody Guthrie: Better World A’Comin’

Posted in Update on October 31st, 2014

Up in the piney woods they were makin’ moonshine.. dodging the government revenuers who hunted them between the trees like wild game. Each dawn the hollers echoed with the news they had survived another night. These cries were set to music. Blue ridge and blue grass. The voice of the people.

Then they headed for the mines. The coal beneath their homes wasn’t going to walk into the daylight by itself. It had to be dynamited loose, hacked out, shoveled out Load by load, man and boy it had to be dragged to the surface.

Down South, meanwhile, it was King Cotton and the chain gang. The songs dripped with sweat this time, and heavy to match the delta heat and boggy fug. At night they plucked the banjo and slapped away the strings of another backbreaking day spent sharecropping another man’s land.

Out in Oklahoma, meanwhile, the folks simply fled. Their land stripped to bare dust, they took to the road, to the rails, to the wind. Like yesterday’s news, they blew along the byways to the four corners of the nation. Always lookin’ for a hand up, sometimes reduced to a hand-out, seeking a melody to match their flat-iron twang, a voice for their homeless lyrics.

Most headed west. One was named Guthrie. Woodrow Wilson Guthrie.

Uprooted from the heartland, Woody would take the pulse of the nation, and set it to the rhythm of the rails. Migrant and restless, hard traveling would tune his senses to the plight of his country and its people. On the anvil of the land he traveled, he would pound the ringing hammer of cold truth and give voice to the very wind that blew them from their homes. From California to New York they were the songs of freedom, and justice… and they would resound from shore to shore.

In this week’s episode, From the Vault delves into the Pacifica Radio Archives collection to find interviews with Woody’s wife Marjorie, longtime friend Will Geer, best friend Beth Lomax Hawes, along with classic music and interviews with Woody himself.

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 and purchase copies of 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.

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FTV 441 Sun Ra

Posted in Update on October 24th, 2014

This week on From The Vault we take a look at one of the most innovative artists and creative forces of our time, jazz musician and composer Sun Ra. Guided by two KPFK – Los Angeles music programmers and Sun Ra admirers, Mark Maxwell and Carlos Niño, we’ll explore some of the more abstract ideas of Sun Ra. The Pacifica Radio Archives has two landmark interviews with Sun Ra, including one of the oldest known recorded interviews conducted by Dennis Irving in 1968, and a 1991 interview with KPFK producer Jay Green titled, “Getting Better than Good, Notes from the Omniverse.” Through these recorded interviews, Sun Ra gives us a glimpse of his unique perspective on humanity’s existence and place in the Universe, and guests Mark and Carlos explain the impact Jazz legends had on Sun Ra… and the impact Sun Ra had on others.

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 and purchase copies of 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.

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FTV 440 Sorry, Wrong Number

Posted in Update on October 17th, 2014

“Operator! Operator! — I — I’m in desperate trouble — I — I don’t dare speak louder. I — There’s someone listening. Can you hear me now? But you’ve got to hear me. Oh — please… You’ve got to help me. There’s someone in this house — someone who’s going to murder me — and you’ve got to get in touch with the — Oh, there it is. Did you hear it? He’s put it down. He’s put down the extension phone. He’s coming up the stairs. Give me the police department. Give me the police. I can hear him. Hurry — hurry AHHHHH!”
~Mrs. Stevenson from Lucille Fletcher’s radio drama Sorry Wrong Number

Radio Drama is on the verge of becoming nothing but a nostalgic memory in the US collective conscience. In the first half of this week’s episode of From the Vault, we will honor the art of radio drama by presenting a recent Pacifica Radio Archives production of one of the most famous plays penned specifically for radio. Sorry, Wrong Number was written by Lucille Fletcher, stars Miss Shirley Knight and Ed Asner, and is directed by Erik Bauersfeld. This broadcast is as creepy today as it was in 1943!

In the second half of this week’s program, we’ll touch on the history of Sorry, Wrong Number and a learn a bit about the author, Lucille Fletcher. We’ll also hear excerpts of the original 1943 broadcast starring Agnes Moorehead, and have a discussion with the director and star of the 2003 radio production, Erik Bauersfeld and Miss Shirley Knight, about radio drama and the behind-the-scenes making of Sorry Wrong Number.

2003 production of Sorry Wrong Number cast and crew list:

Ed Asner
Steve Barker
Samantha Bennett
Maurice Chasse
Denise Dowse
Ana B. Gabriel
Shirley Knight
Sharon Madden
Lynn Marta
Stephen Ramsey

Producer: Brian DeShazor
Director: Erik Bauersfeld
Sound Designer: Jim McKee
Sound advisors: Steve Barker, Randy Thom
Special thanks to: Cristine Blosdale, Tim Forrest, Eva Georgia, Steven Starr, Mark Torres

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.

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FTV 439 Marian Seldes

Posted in Update on October 10th, 2014

This week on From the Vault we remember the actress Marian Seldes, who passed away October 6, 2014 at the age of eighty-six. Ms. Seldes was a phenomenal presence both on the stage and on the big screen. Her career on the Broadway stage spanned 60 years, in which she appeared in over 24 plays including Tennessee William’s “The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore” (1964), three plays by Edward Albee (“Tiny Alice,” (1964), “A Delicate Balance,” (1966) and “Three Tall Women” (1993)), and Terrence McNally’s “Deuce” (2007) alongside Angela Lansbury. She was nominated for five Tony Awards (winning twice) and was the recipient of a 2010 Antoinette Perry Lifetime Achievement Award.

We pay homage to Ms. Seldes by sharing with you a 1974 interview conducted by Bruce Kenyon at Pacifica station WBAI in New York City. Ms. Seldes begins by reading a poem, and then touches on virtually every facet of her craft, in addition to sharing memories of such coworkers as Judith Anderson, John Gielgud, Colleen Dewhurst, and shows such as “Medea,” “Tiny Alice,” and “Equus.”

This interview with Marian Seldes was recently digitized as part of the project American Women Making History and Culture: 1963-1982, funded in part by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission at the National Archives. At a recent reception for the project held at the Feminist Majority world headquarters in Beverly Hills, California, we recorded comments from guests who had just heard newly restored recordings of anthropologist Dr. Margaret Mead, comedian Lily Tomlin, and author Anais Nin, among others. We proudly share these inspiring comments with you as well.

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.

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FTV 438 Blues Legacies and Black Feminism

Posted in Update on October 3rd, 2014

This episode of From the Vault is all about the blues. The blues are commonly thought of as one of the most important and influential popular music styles originating right here in America. In 1998, Angela Davis focused her pen on three blues legends in her book Blues Legacies and Black Feminism: Gertrude “Ma” Rainey, Bessie Smith, and Billie Holiday. Davis explored the music of these original blues women to illustrate the struggle, heartbreak, and victories of women throughout the 20th century. We’ll hear Davis speak in Los Angeles on a stop in her 1998 book tour.

Then we’ll showcase a special live performance from blues legend Alberta Hunter from 1978. Born in 1895, Hunter began her career in the early 1920’s. A contemporary of “Ma” Rainey and Bessie Smith, Mrs. Hunter became hugely successful with a string of hits like Downhearted Blues and My Man is Such a Handy Man. In 1928 she played Queenie opposite Paul Robeson in the first London production of Showboat. But by the 1950’s she retired from show business and began a career as a nurse. When the hospital forced her to retire in 1977, she began to perform again. Pacifica was there in 1978 to record this Alberta set. Thanks to a grant by the Grammy Foundation we were able to re-master this rare 1978 recording with Alberta Hunter and now present her performance for the first time in many years.

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.

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