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Playlist: PRX Upfronts Jan. 23, 2013

Compiled By: PRX Editors

Curated Playlist

Pieces and producers highlighted in PRX's Upfronts Webinar.

Hidden Kitchens: The Raw & The Cooked

From The Kitchen Sisters | Part of the Hidden Kitchens series | 54:56

An hour-long journey into the world of clandestine cooking, kitchen rituals and traditions. Tales of kitchens that suddenly pop up, kitchens that stay underground to survive, kitchens that are the keepers of a culture. Cooking traditions that spring from the most unlikely moments of history. Hosted by Academy Award-winning actress, Frances McDormand.

Hk-raw_cooked-weenieroyale_small We travel the country and we travel in time in search of hidden kitchens and little-known corners of American food culture. From the Crossroads in Mississippi to the Birth of Rice-a-Roni in San Francisco. From the Sheepherder's Ball in the Basque Country in Boise to the Breadbasket of California's Central Valley. We hear kitchen stories and music from Michael Pollan, Rosemary Clooney, Robert Johnson, Super Chikan and more.

Entertaining, surprising, and soulful, a Kitchen Sisters' portrait of American life through food.

Some of the stories that are heard in this richly-layered documentary hour include: 

Kibbe at the Crossroads: A Delta Kitchen Vision: A story from the crossroads, in Clarksdale, Mississippi where barbeque, the blues and a kind of Lebanese meatloaf, meet.

Weenie Royale: Many hidden kitchen traditions come out of dark times, when surviving means adapting. We peer into a corner of America's not-too-distant past—the internment camps of World War II, where more than 100,000 people of Japanese descent—most American citizens—were incarcerated without trial for the duration of the war. Their homes, livelihoods, traditions and food taken from them. The Kitchen Sisters explore the impact of the internment on Japanese cooking and culture in America.  

The Sheepherder's Ball: Basque people fleeing Francisco Franco's dictatorship in Spain flocked to America. Many took jobs herding sheep across the West. We explore the world of Basque sheepherders and their outdoor, below-the-ground, Dutch oven cooking traditions.

Hidden Kitchen Mama: Kitchens and mothers. The food they cooked, or didn't. The stories they told, or couldn't.   

Breadbasket Blues: Travel down Interstate 5, straight into the agricultural heart of the California Central Valley, the nation's breadbasket, where the rates of juvenile obesity, type 2 diabetes and malnutrition are some of the highest in the country. The Kitchen Sisters explore some of the hidden causes of this epidemic and the local kitchen visionaries grappling with it.      

The Birth of Rice-a-Roni: Sometimes we find the story. Sometimes the story finds us. Nikki sat down next to this one at an NPR event in the Napa Valley. We were onstage interviewing Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore's Dilemma. The topic was corn, and we played a little excerpt from our Hidden Kitchen story on the 1930s kitchen visionary who invented the Frito. Over dinner, the 80-year-old woman seated by Nikki confided that she too had a hidden kitchen, and began to tell the complicated saga of the birth of Rice-a-Roni.

And we take a little detour to visit Mozart's Hidden Kitchen.

Hidden Kitchens: The Raw & The Cooked. Stories from across America about the transformative power of food. With host, Academy Award-winning actress, Frances McDormand.

Generation Putin - Hour Special

From Seattle Globalist | Part of the Generation Putin series | 59:01

"Generation Putin" is an hourlong special on young people and politics in the former Soviet Union.


It's been over 20 years since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Young people in Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Georgia are facing unemployment, democratic pressure, and the legacy of repression, while being influenced by the West, punk music, and the Pussy Riot trials. PRX sent a reporting team from the Seattle Globalist to explore the tensions in these countries, described by The Atlantic as 'uneasily suspended' between two political eras.

Join host Brooke Gladstone for Generation Putin, an in-depth look at the millennial generation in the post-Soviet states. Embed, stream and share the special and segments on SoundCloud.

Left Behind, Dropping Out

From Connecticut Public (WNPR) | 52:00

Every year, more than a million kids drop out of school. Without a diploma, they will have a tough time succeeding. But the problem starts much earlier than high school. This hour, we'll ask the big question: What works?

Originally created for American Graduate Day in September, this special continues to be a timely look at education in America.


Every year, more than a million kids drop out of school. Without a diploma, they will have a tough time succeeding. But the problem starts much earlier than high school. This hour, we'll ask the big questions: Why are students dropping out? What's the cost? And, what works to keep them in school and graduate? We’ll talk to Arne Duncan, the education secretary in charge of turning around the problem. And we'll look at the dropout crisis through the eyes of the kids themselves. You'll hear stories from:
  • Chicago, Duncan's hometown, where we try to find out why students leave school in the first place.
  • San Diego, where a mentoring program has helped cut dropout rates substantially.
  • Washington, DC, where we examine the cost of dropouts to families.
  • Boston, where we look at whether the President's call for a "dropout age" of 18 could really work.
  • And New Haven, Connecticut, where students are given the "promise" of college if they work hard and stay in school.
This special is hosted by former NPR correspondent Andrea Seabrook, now host of her own blog DecodeDC.

It's part of American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen, a public media initiative, supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), to help students stay on the path to graduation and future success. 

Listen to the full interview with U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan.  
Listen to the full interview with Russell Rumberger, author of Dropping Out: Why Students Drop Out of School and What Can be Done About It.   

Culture Shock 1913

From WNYC | 59:00

What a year was 1913! Many have called it the true beginning of 20th century culture. From New York, where the first large-scale show of modern art alarmed viewers, to Vienna and Paris, where music by Schoenberg and Stravinsky sparked audience riots --- it was a year of artistic upset and audience apoplexy! A hundred years later, WNYC’s Sara Fishko and guests tell the story of this Mad Modernist moment of sweeping change, and the ways in which it mirrors our own uncertain age.

Culture Shock 1913

Cslogoforweb_small Culture Shock 1913, 59 minutes (2 floating breaks)
From WNYC, New York Public Radio

Producer/Host Sara Fishko
Guests: Museum of Modern Art’s Ann Temkin; author Philipp Blom; pianist Jeremy Denk; Neuroscientist and Nobel Laureate Dr. Eric Kandel; The New Yorker’s Joan Acocella and Alex Ross; author Frederic Morton; Conductor and educator Leon Botstein; others

The Kindness of Strangers

From Kirsty McQuire | 06:15

One woman's philanthropic mission comes full circle.

Kindness_4th-sept-2011_small During the leap year of 2012, Bernadette Russell embarked on a mission to complete 366 Days of Kindness. Her efforts were prompted by the riots that spread through her adopted home town of London and across English towns and cities, between 6th and 10th August 2011.

Bernadette has left sweets in phone boxes, books on trains, £5 notes on buses. She has given away balloons, cakes, flowers and lottery tickets, written letters to a soldier returned from Afghanistan and offered her socks to the homeless. She practiced ‘targeted’ rather than ‘random’ acts of kindness but she says she ‘expected nothing in return.’

Bernadette is now turning her 366 philanthropic experiences into a stage play, in collaboration with Jacksons Lane Theatre in London and with support from Birmingham Rep and Forkbeard Fantasy.