Upcoming National Broadcast of StoryCorps Short “The Last Viewing”

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StoryCorps Animated Short The Last Viewing will be broadcasted nationally on PBS’ POV on June 29th (10pm Eastern/9pm Central). POV is the premiere showcase for independent documentary work in the United States and is in its 28th season.
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In The Last Viewing, Vietnam veteran Allen Hoe honors the memory of his son, Nainoa, who was killed while serving in Iraq in 2005. Directed by the Rauch Brothers, the short originally premiered as a part of StoryCorps’ commemoration of Veterans Day 2014, which shared some of the most powerful stories from our Military Voices Initiative. The initiative provides a platform for veterans, military members, and their families to share their stories. It also provides a wonderful way for civilians to gain a deeper understanding of their service and sacrifice. The Last Viewing, along with 1st Squad, 3rd Platoon, The Nature of War, and Germans in the Woods represent just a few of the experiences recalled during the 1,000 plus hours of interviews recorded by Military Voice Initiative.

At the end of May, The Last Viewing was also honored with a screening at the GI Film Festival during their “Best of the Fest” awards show in Fairfax, Virginia. Both the festival screening and the upcoming national broadcast are meaningful acknowledgments of the work of the Military Voices Initiative, the animation team, and everyone at StoryCorps.

GI Film Festival 2015

GI Film Festival 2015

We couldn’t be prouder that this short continues to connect with viewers because the need for these stories to reach wide audiences is clear. For civilians. For veterans. For military families. Sylvie Lubow, Program Manager of MVI, comments, “There’s not a lot of space when you are in active duty to reflect on what’s happening to you. You are reacting. Whether you are listening or telling your own stories it’s a different way to process what has happened. It can be hard, but it’s powerful.”

We hope that The Last Viewing will encourage people to listen more to our veterans and their families- and that it will encourage other military families to share their own stories, too. And we hope all who view it will honor Allen Hoe’s sacrifice and dedication, whether they recognize his experience in their own lives, a loved one’s service, or simply as a compassionate civilian.

Allen Hoe & Paula Couglin

Allen Hoe & Paula Couglin

POV has long been a broadcast partner of StoryCorps and we encourage you to enjoy the diverse and compelling lineup they are presenting this summer and fall. Find your local PBS broadcast schedule here.

From Our Archive: Stories of Older Adults & Their Families

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In partnership with the 2015 White House Conference on Aging, StoryCorps is pleased to recommend these Animated Shorts and Audio selections from our archive that celebrate and capture the unique stories and experiences of older Americans and their families.

 

1. Danny & Annie (Animated Short)perasa_lg

“If we’re going anywhere, we’re going down the aisle, because I’m too tired, too sick, and too sore to do any other damn thing.” This remarkable couple personifies the eloquence, grace, and poetry that can be found in the voices of every day people if we take the time to listen.

Pictured: Annie and Danny Perasa.

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2. “What’s your life like now, Dad?”morganstern_lg

Priya Morganstern and Bhavani Jaroff interview their father, Ken Morganstern, who has Alzheimer’s disease.

Pictured: Priya Morganstern (left), Ken Morganstern and Bhavani Jaroff.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. “Do you remember when we were 19, cote_whitacre_lg
totally in love, and couldn’t tell anyone?”

Bobbi Cote-Whitacre and her wife, Sandi, talk about their relationship.

Pictured: Bobbi Cote-Whitacre (left) and her wife, Sandi Whiteacre.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Me & You (Animated Short)millerj_325NL

On May 25, 1971, Jackie Miller and her husband brought home their son, Scott, whom they adopted. 37 years later, Scott brought his mother to StoryCorps, where they shared a conversation about Jackie’s decision to adopt him, their profound love for one another, and Scott’s trepidation at what the future holds.

Pictured: Scott Miller (left) with his late mother, Jackie Miller.

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jenkins_lg5. “She bought me a bra that you blow up…”

94-year-old Betty Jenkins remembers a gift from her mother.

Pictured: Betty Jenkins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

curre_lg6. “What happened on that day is tattooed on your soul.”

On December 7, 1941, thousands were killed when the Japanese bombed the U.S. military base at Pearl Harbor in Oahu, Hawaii. Frank Curre was still a teenager then. He had enlisted just the year before and ended up at Pearl Harbor aboard the U.S.S. Tennessee. At StoryCorps, Frank remembered how he got from his Texas hometown to an island in the Pacific Ocean.

Pictured: Frank Curre.

 

 

 

 

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7. “You and your sister couldn’t tell us apart. And we couldn’t tell you two apart.”

Elliot Reiken remembers how he and his identical twin brother, Danny, met and married another set of identical twins, Hunny and Bunny Feller.

Pictured: Hunny Reiken (left) with her husband, Elliot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

williamsth8. “He wasn’t the biggest guy, but people reacted to him like he was a giant.”

Thompson Williams grew up in Oklahoma as one of eight children. His father, Melford Williams, was a tribal leader of the Caddo Nation and a World War II veteran who had a big impact on Thompson’s life. At StoryCorps, Thompson’s son, Kiamichi-tet, sat down with his dad to learn more about his grandfather.

Pictured: Thompson Williams (left) with his son, Kiamichi-tet.

 

 

 

 

 

9. “I grew up when that happened.”aguilar_lg

In 1933, Ruben Aguilar was deported to Mexico as part of a largely forgotten Mexican Repatriation Program run by the U.S. government. Ruben had been born in the United States, but his parents were not citizens, and the entire family was deported. Ruben was six years old at the time. He told his story to his friend Bill Luna.

Pictured: Bill Luna (left) with Ruben Aguilar.

 

 

 

 

 

10. No More Questions! (Animated Short)wang_lg

Kay Wang was a strong-willed grandmother who was brought to StoryCorps by her son and granddaughter. Though Kay was reluctant at first, she still had stories to tell.

Pictured: Kay Wang (center) with her granddaughter, Chen, and her son, Chang.
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Mother’s Day Playlist

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All week long, leading up to Mother’s Day, we will be sharing stories from inspiring Moms across the country and generations, from our archive.
We love it when we see you share a story with a friend by tagging them in the comments. This week, we invite you to share a story with your mom, to say #thanksmom.

Enjoy this collection of funny, heartfelt, sensational stories with your mom!

1. Icing on the Cake
In StoryCorps’ animation “Icing on the Cake,” Blanca Alvarez, tells her daughter she wishes she could have spent more time with her. But her daughter Connie reveals, her mother was her biggest inspiration. Watch here:
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2.Barbra Moore & Olivia Fite
Olivia talks with her strong mother, Barbara Moore, who was a bricklayer in #Baltimore for more than 40 years. She remembers telling boys bullying on her, “You better watch out my mom is a bricklayer and she’ll come beat you up if you mess with me.” #thanksmom
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3. “That was one of the most important moments in my life, I was 10 feet tall.”
Mom Mary, recalls the overwhelming pride of watching her son graduate with a doctorate. William reveals his mother was his greatest influence. In a post script, William and his sister Valerie return to StoryCorps, to remember their mother.
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4. “I told everybody and anybody who would listen to me, that I had a gay son, and that I was very proud.”
90-year-old Rita recalls a conversation with her son, Jay, back in the 1980s, when he first came out. Listen to her remember bursting with pride during her son’s wedding. #thanksmom
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5. Me & You
In one of StoryCorps’ most iconic animated shorts, Jackie Miller and her son Scott thought they knew everything about each other until a conversation they recorded at at StoryCorps revealed surprises from both of them. Watch “Me and You” to celebrate Mother’s Day.
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Animated Short “Clean Streets” Q&A with the Rauch Brothers

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Mike & Tim Rauch (1)

Mike and Tim Rauch

In honor of May Day we bring you our latest animated short, “Clean Streets.” This animation features two longtime New York City sanitation workers, Angelo Bruno and Eddie Nieves, who worked together for almost 10 years.

This animation came to life with the help of Rauch Bros. Animation. They worked behind the scenes sketching away for months, from initial sketches to building the animation frame by frame. Here you can learn all about their process behind the creation of this sweet animated short, in our quick Q&A:

 
What is the first step in your process once you get the story?

The first thing we do is listen to the interview several times until we have a strong internal sense of it’s timing, the visual possibilities, and what research we might want to gather.

 
In the course of making the animation, how many times do you listen to the interview? What are you listening for?

By the time we finish the cartoon, we’ve listened to the story an uncountable number of times. You’re always listening for something different as you go through the process from start to finish. At the outset though, during the story selection process, we’re always listening to evaluate the animation potential inherent in the story.
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How do you come up with the design for the characters? What about people you don’t get to meet?

The character designs come from our understanding of the personality of the people in the story, their relationships to one another, and basic principles of appealing and functional animation design. We work with whatever we have to inform our ideas photographs, in-person visits, video, historical research, verbal descriptions, and our own personal reference points and tastes. The character design is also a product of a process between our team and StoryCorps. That tends to start with us working loose, cartooned, and expressive. We’re trying to capture some essential quality of the person. Not necessarily just “what they look like in real life.” Otherwise, it would be a lot easier to just go get a camera.

 

This story is set in the West Village in New York City. Did you visit the area for inspiration?

We lived in New York City until recently, so we had a very good idea of the setting. However, anybody who knows the city knows that it’s constantly changing and has many faces. So it was important to get a better understanding of the particular time and place, especially as Eddie and Angelo saw it and experienced it. Their perspective was the most valuable thing in forming our ideas of how to depict the setting. We were aiming for a version of New York that was both real and optimistic. That seemed to echo the way Eddie and Angelo see it and live it.

 

What was it like meeting Angelo and Eddie? What did you learn about their work that surprised you?

Tasty! We all had lunch together at Junior’s in Times Square. We had a great time getting to know them. Even in just a couple hours, you feel you’ve made a new friend and gotten to know them very well.

It was interesting to learn how much their profession has changed since Angelo first began his career. It seems that over time, the job has become more regulated, structured, and less personal. That’s part of what makes Eddie and Angelo so unique. Their eagerness to go beyond the job description people might imagine, and form personal relationships with the people they serve is part of what creates the fabric of a truly special city. The personal relationships that develop on a New York city block are some of the most vibrant, special, and meaningful connections people make.
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The Real Angelo Bruno and Eddie Nieves.
 

StoryCorps: What inspired the recurring bird/pigeon?

We did several difficult StoryCorps shorts last year – heavy subjects, heavy workloads. When we got to Eddie and Angelo’s story, we wanted to let loose and have some fun. The pigeons were a good tool for that. Thankfully, they also helped add some entertainment value and worked with our idea for a simultaneously real and optimistic take on New York City.

Pigeons also happen to be a recurring character in many of our projects, going all the way back to very early comics and animation that Tim was doing as he graduated college. There’s a good chance they’ll keep popping up in our work.
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StoryCorps: What artists worked on this animation in addition to you two? What did they bring to the table?

Rafael Rosado did the storyboard, Bill Wray painted the backgrounds, and Brandon Denmark was Tim’s animation assistant. Sal Elvezio helped with character color.

They all have a foundation in solid design and drawing skills, visual storytelling, and share our passion for doing the best work possible within the possibilities allowed by the story, our resources to bring it to the screen, and any other creative limitations of the project

 

How long did the process take? What was the most fun?

The production of this short ran something like 2-3 months. For us, the fun was finding ways to really introduce some strong personality and cartooning in the design and animation. Eddie and Angelo have personality in spades, so that gave us a great place to start from.

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Manhattan’s West Village.

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Early Clean Streets Sketches

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Watch “Clean Streets” on our site, here

Women’s History Month Playlist

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For your listening pleasure we went into our archive and collected stories about and from powerful leading, inspiring women.

“A lot of the older guys didn’t think I should be there.”

Barbara Moore spent more than 40 years working as a bricklayer in Baltimore. She was only 21 years old when she became the first woman to join her local bricklayers union. At StoryCorps she tells her daughter, Olivia, how she first got into the trade.
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“Hello my name is Yusor Abu-Salha.”
One of the young victims of the tragic Chapel Hill shooting recorded a StoryCorps interview with her third grade teacher, Mussarut Jabeen. All three of the Chapel Hill victims attended Jabeen’s school. Mussarut Jabeen returned recently to talk about Yusor’s life.
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“I wasn’t very nice..”
Eighty-seven year old Kay Wang talks with her son Cheng, and granddaughter Chen, about her childhood and a life with no regrets.
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“If you need me to hold your hand I’m there.”
Paquita Williams, an MTA train conductor, helped comfort her passengers during a time of crisis. Her passenger and now friend, Laura Lane, remembers that day with her.
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“You told me you were so tired that you had fallen asleep at a red light.”
Tina Vasquez talks with her mother Sonia about witnessing how hard she worked, in many different jobs. Together they reminisce over their Friday nights at Denny’s.
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“I got married the day of my 22nd birthday.”
Mala Fernando tells her daughter Ashanthi Gajaweera about the early days of her marriage in Sri Lanka and finding herself as she grew older.
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“It was the first time I met openly gay people.”
During Clea Rorex’s first term as Boulder County Clerk in 1975, she began issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples.
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“Do you remember when we were 19, totally in love, and couldn’t tell anyone?”
Bobbi Cote-Whiteacre and her wife, Sandi, talk about their relationship.
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“He said to me ‘I will make sure every day is a living hell for you.'”
Tia Smallwood tells her daughter, Christine, about becoming a business woman in the 1970s. During her first job interview she was asked to get up and turn around, after refusing to do so she was hired.
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“We go to cemeteries along the border…”
Dr. Lori Baker is a forensic scientist at Baylor University in Texas. She tries to identify remains and match them with families looking for lost relatives. Thousands of people have died trying to cross the border from Mexico into the United States. Their unidentified remains often end up in unmarked graves in small border town cemeteries. She sat down for StoryCorps with her husband, Erich Baker, to talk about how she got started.
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“Do you remember the first dinner together?”
Yelitza Castro has been cooking meals for homeless men and women in Charlotte, North Carolina since 2010. Through this work she met Willie Davis, who sits down with her for a StoryCorps interview and talks about how it all began.
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“I went as macho as I could be to mask what I was underneath.”
Earlier this month, Dave shared four classic StoryCorps interviews with the audience at TED. Those eight voices helped everyone attending see why we believe preserving your story is so important. The following conversation is between Alexis and her daughter Lesley. Born Arthur Martinez, she joined a Chicago gang while growing up, later transitioning to the woman she was always meant to be.
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Preserving Pieces of History at Howard University

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This month, we are highlighting some wonderful stories we have collected from Howard University, one of our great partners in Washington, D.C.

StoryCorps has partnered with the university’s Legacy Initiative three times to record conversations between some of Howard’s influential retirees and their colleagues and loved ones. The Howard University Legacy Initiative celebrates and preserves the legacy of the college’s retiring faculty and staff – people who have helped shape Howard University into what it is today.

Each time we’ve been able to hear stories about a wide range of experiences, but back in August we were lucky to hear two stories of personal encounters with major leaders in the Civil Rights and Black Power movements.

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Dr. Loretta Easton (left) and Darline Dugger (right)

Dr. Loretta Easton spoke with Darline Dugger of the Legacy Initiative about going to college at Howard University and becoming a physician. In 1959, after graduating from Howard, Dr. Easton moved to Hawaii to continue her education. Shortly after arriving, she met a man who introduced himself and invited her to dinner. Dr. Easton had forgotten his name shortly after meeting and was struggling to remember. She shared the pivotal moment of realization, which occurred when they were sitting down at dinner.

“Still I could not figure out who this man was. I looked at the tie-clasp that he had on, and there were the initials ‘MLK’ and I had just had dinner with Martin Luther King.”

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Martin Luther King Jr. is pictured above marching from Selma, wearing leis provided by the Hawaiian delegates to the march.

In another conversation, Dr. Delores H. Carpenter talked to her former student and Rev. Sindile Dlamini about her work as a student in the Divinity School at Howard, becoming a professor, and working in the community. Dr. Carpenter shared her memories of the emerging Black Power movement and how she perceived its message at the time.

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Dr. Delores H. Carpenter (right) and Sindile Diamani (left)

“I was in the graduate theological school at Howard, and I remember the very famous Stokely Carmichael and Rap Brown being on campus when the words ‘Black Power’ were brand new to the country…there was this new Black consciousness awakening, which was wonderful because the theme was ‘Black is Beautiful.’ That had a profound impact on me and on the nation.”

Stokely Carmichael
Stokely Carmichael

These personal reflections are so essential in understanding the impact the Civil Rights movement had on our country, and how it continues to inform the national dialogue today. We look forward to recording and preserving more stories like these from across the country.

Chicago School Closings: Watch and Respond

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StoryCorps is partnering with The School Project, a six-part documentary series on public education releasing six segments over the 2014-2015 school year. As a whole, this series explores the local perspectives on recent mass school closings in Chicago, the expansion of charter schools, the controversy surrounding standardized testing, school discipline policies, and the history of reforms and educational models. StoryCorps is incredibly excited to colloborate with such an important project, as we work to record and share the personal stories of people in the Chicago area on the issues surrounding public education.

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Want to learn more? The second installment of this series “Chicago Public Schools: Closed,” will premiere January 22nd! This short documentary follows Rousemary Vega, a parent turned activist, through the maze of hearings and protests that preceded the largest school closings in American history. “Chicago Public Schools: Closed” features major figures in public education–Terry Mazany, Linda Lutton, Andrea Zopp, Karen Lewis, David Vitale, and Jitu Brown–who help connect the dots between decades old education policies, demographic shifts, and the challenges facing CPS today. You can hear the StoryCorps interview from WBEZ when the schools originally closed in 2013.

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Photos by Bill Healy

For those of you in the Chicago area, this film will premiere with a free public screening in the Performance Hall at the University of Chicago Logan Center on Thursday, January 22 at 6:30pm. The screening will be followed by a presentation of new research on school closings by the University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research and a subsequent panel discussion moderated by Laura Washington of the Chicago Sun-Times. Interested? The event is FREE and all can RSVP here.

StoryCorps wants to help record your own experiences with school closings. Whether you’re a teacher, parent, student, community member, we want to hear how school closings have impacted you. How has your neighborhood changed? How have your children been effected? What is the social environment of your new school like now? Make your appointment on our website today! Just mention “The School Project” during your StoryCorps recording to our facilitators to be included!

From our StoryCorps in Chicago team member, Andre Perez.

Five Best Books: Dave Isay on Lost Worlds

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You may remember listening to one of our most recent broadcasts between Gay Talese and Bob Walsh, as they discuss the construction of New York City’s Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. Laced within this story, you will notice beautiful passages from Mr. Talese’s book titled, “The Bridge,” which documents the Verrazano’s construction.

“The Bridge,” was on one of StoryCorps’ founder Dave Isay’s “Five Best Books on lost worlds” list which originally ran earlier this year in the Wall Street Journal. Today, we are happy to be sharing this list with you!

Enjoy getting lost in Mr. Isay’s recommendations and happy reading!

REVIEW — Books — Five Best: Dave Isay on lost worlds
The Wall Street Journal
(Copyright (c) 2014, Dow Jones & Company, Inc.)

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“The Jollity Building”

By A.J. Liebling (1962)

1. This paperback collects some of the legendary New Yorker writer’s best-known profiles of midtown Manhattan characters, including the classic title piece, which documents the human ecosystem of the Jollity Building on Broadway somewhere in the upper 40s — a place populated by scam artists, two-bit orchestra leaders, hat-check concessionaires, struggling sign painters and casting agents, all under the watchful eye of Morty Ormont (ne Goldberg), the rental agent. The lowest rung on the Jollity’s totem pole is the Telephone Booth Indians who operate their “businesses” from eight pay phones in the lobby. At the top of the heap, tenants who have the luxury of an office with a door. Alongside tenants like Skyhigh Charlie, Three-to-Two Charlie and Hairynose, “There is a fellow known as Paddy the Booster, who sells neckties he steals from haberdashers, and another known as Mac the Phony Booster who sells neckties which he pretends to have stolen but are really shoddy ties he has bought very cheaply. Naturally, Paddy looks down on Mac, whom he considers a racketeer.”

“They Called Me Mayer July”

By Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett and Mayer Kirshenblatt (2007)

2. Folklorist Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett spent 40 years interviewing her father about Apt, the small Polish town in which he grew up. After decades of prodding from his daughter, Mayer, a retired house painter, picked up a brush at the age of 73 and began painting his memories of the town as well. The resulting collection is breathtaking — a building-by-building, person-by-person re-creation of Apt. A hand-drawn map at the front of the book lays out the streets, alleys and stores that come to life in the pages that follow — along with the characters who inhabited them. The book’s text is composed entirely of Mayer’s oral histories, amounting to a priceless portrait of a world wiped off the face of the earth. “The places I remember exist no more,” he tells his daughter. “They are only in my head, and if I die they will disappear with me.” Mayer Kirshenblatt died two years after the book was published. His memories and paintings live on in this book, as do the spirit and stories of the Jews of Apt.

“Cheap Novelties”

By Ben Katchor (1991)

3. Ben Katchor’s sublime collection of 91 cartoon strips chronicles the wanderings of Julius Knipl, a rumpled photographer-for-hire taking pictures of buildings in a gently surreal streetscape that vaguely resembles Manhattan’s financial district of old. Knipl laments a fading world of dairy cafeterias, tchotchke salesmen and trophy manufacturers. On one page, eight exquisite frames serve as a memorial to the eternal flame beneath a stainless-steel sauerkraut pan. On another, an ode to elevator inspection certificates (“One elevator inspector caught Mr. Knipl’s eye / with his distinctive signature. / He was here five years ago on April 27 / to examine not only the elevator’s mechanical operation / but more importantly to peer into the dismal void which lies at the heart of most buildings.”) Don’t miss the Knipl-esque comic-book novelties for sale on the covers of the book: a torn-sock repair kit, a 15-cent adenoid remover . . . and a radiator hot-dog steamer (“Popular in rooming houses all over the world . . . Perfectly legal . . . 50 cents”).

“The Bridge”

By Gay Talese (1964)

4. This superb work by Gay Talese is an ode to the men who built the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, which connects Brooklyn to Staten Island and remains America’s longest suspension bridge. Talese notes that he had often asked himself: “Whose fingerprints are on the bolts and beams of these soaring edifices in this overreaching city?” “The Bridge” honors the men who “drive into town in big cars, and live in furnished rooms, and drink whiskey with beer chasers, and chase women they will soon forget. They linger only a little while, only until they have built the bridge.” Men like Edward Iannielli Jr., who tells Talese about visiting his ironworker father on a job when he was 13 or 14 and getting his permission to climb up: “As I stood up there, all of a sudden, I am thinking to myself, ‘This is what I want to do.’ ” During the construction of the Verrazano, it was Iannielli’s hands that a fellow ironworker named Gerald McKee clung to on Oct. 9, 1962, before plunging 350 feet to where “the water is like concrete.” After which Iannielli began to weep and began to slip over, too, until another worker jumped on top of him and held him tight to the catwalk.

“McSorley’s Wonderful Saloon”

By Joseph Mitchell (1943)

5. This remarkable volume of New Yorker profiles includes a fabulous history of McSorley’s, which was already New York’s oldest bar, whose motto at the time was “Good ale, raw onions and no ladies.” But my favorite piece is “Mazie,” Mitchell’s astonishing profile of Mazie P. Gordon, the foul-mouthed ticket taker/bouncer/angel of a low-rent movie theater on the Bowery called the Venice. Mazie works out of a phone-booth-size ticket cage seven days a week, lording over the theater and its patrons. At 11 p.m. each night, she leaves her booth and sets off on her “Samaritan tour of the Bowery.” When she finds men passed out on the street in the winter, Mitchell writes, “she badgers them until they awaken. She punches them in the ribs with her umbrella and, if necessary, gets down on her knees and slaps their faces.” Mazie will then guide the man to the nearest flophouse, pay for his lodging, and get him undressed with the help of a clerk. (Full disclosure: My daughter Mazie was named in honor of Gordon.) In the author’s note at the front of this collection Mitchell writes: “The people in a number of these stories are of a kind that many have recently got in the habit of referring to as ‘little people.’ I regard this phrase as patronizing and repulsive. There are no little people in this book. They are as big as you are, whoever you are.”

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SCL 2015: Looking for a Few Good Libraries!

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StoryCorps @ your library and the American Library Association wants YOU to apply to be a part of our 2015 program!

It’s no secret that StoryCorps loves working with libraries. We understand the importance of libraries as critical community anchors, and appreciate the valuable services that libraries provide to their patrons. That’s why, in 2011, we partnered with the American Library Association to create a unique program that put tools and resources to create oral history programming directly in the hands of librarians–StoryCorps @ your library (SCL).

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Library staff and volunteers practice recording interviews at the Octovia Fellin Public Library in Gallup, NM.

In creating the program, we began with the premise that the people who work at public libraries know their communities better than anyone else. We decided to create a national project that would provide StoryKits–portable sets of professional recording equipment–to librarians and library volunteers and allow them the opportunity to record and celebrate the unique stories of their patrons and others. During the pilot year, we received over 200 applications for ten program slots, and we chose–through a peer-review process moderated by the American Library Association–a cohort of libraries that included small, rural libraries; large, multi-branch library systems; and everything in between. Over the course of a year, we traveled the country to visit these libraries, delivering intensive two-day trainings and providing programmatic guidance. Then, following the trainings, we worked closely with the pilot libraries to provide them with technical and outreach support as they began to record the voices and stories not often included or represented in mainstream media.

Our SCL team with a few of the 2014 SCL libraries. From L to R: Smithville, TX; San Francisco, CA. Bottom: Tampa, FL.

Our SCL team with a few of the 2014 SCL libraries. From L to R: Smithville, TX; San Francisco, CA. Bottom: Tampa, FL.

At the end of the program, our library partners had collected over 420 stories collectively, from Greensboro, NC all the way to Gallup, NM. At the Nashville Public Library, Andrea Blackman recruited community college studies to record stories with their classmates, and those stories are now housed in the NPL’s Special Collections Division. In Chicago, students at DePaul University recorded interviews with a variety of Chicagoans; some interview participants spoke of taking part in the Great Migration; others described arriving in Chicago from Eastern Europe, and still others, patrons at the CPL’s Talking Book Center, discussed their experiences as visually-impaired individuals. In Tampa, FL, the Tampa-Hillsborough County Library System created a program, “Our Lives, Our Legacies: The Hillsborough Black Experience,” in which each month a specific theme was celebrated. The Multnomah County Library collected interviews from library patrons in celebration of its centennial year, and in Smithville, TX, the Smithville Public Library recorded stories with veterans and others that will eventually become a walking tour of the town of Smithville.

Now, we are delighted to announce the next call for applications for the StoryCorps @ your library program. As in the pilot program, StoryCorps will select ten libraries to train and support, and also enhance our suite of freely available tools and resources. StoryCorps will enhance existing web-based resources, present at the annual ALA and Association for Small and Rural Libraries conferences, and support the development of DIY tools to ensure that all libraries can create programs to celebrate the unique stories of their communities.

Interested? Find more information and apply right here!

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The 2014 National Day of Listening!

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Happy National Day of Listening to one and all!

On Friday, November 28th, join us in celebrating the 7th Annual National Day of Listening (NDL). Get lost in conversation instead of Black Friday’s long shopping lines!

What is NDL? Every year on the day after Thanksgiving, The National Day of Listening offers a holiday alternative to Black Friday shopping sprees. It is an effort to encourage people of all backgrounds and beliefs to interview a friend, loved one, or member of their community about their lives.

It’s easy to participate! Check out our handy instruction guide below for all you “DIY-ers” out there and be sure to visit StoryCorps DIY for even MORE vital information. Happy Listening!

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Who will you be recording your story with for this year’s National Day of Listening? Tell us below!