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APH 2011 Annual Conference — E x p a n d i n g   H o r i z o n s

What Do NPR and the 2011 APH Conference Have in Common?

Kitchen Sisters in shawl The Kitchen Sisters: Davia Nelson (L) and Nikki Silva (R)
Are you a frequent listener of Morning Edition on NPR? Then you have likely heard the DuPont-Columbia Award-winning series Hidden Kitchens by the Kitchen Sisters, Nikki Silva and Davia Nelson, who are extraordinary personal historians. We are thrilled to welcome Nikki Silva as a keynote speaker at our October meeting in Las Vegas.

Hidden Kitchens explores the world of secret, unexpected, below the radar cooking across America how communities come together through food. The series inspired their first book, Hidden Kitchens: Stories, Recipes, and More from NPR's The Kitchen Sisters, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year for 2005 and nominee for a James Beard Award for Best Writing on Food.

Nikki and Davia Nelson are the producers of two Peabody Award-winning NPR series, Lost & Found Sound and The Sonic Memorial Project. Their current project, The Hidden World of Girls, is a yearlong NPR series exploring the lives of girls and the women they become. The renowned sisters' radio documentaries also have been featured on NPR's All Things Considered, the BBC, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Radio Smithsonian, California Public Radio, Pacifica Radio, Soundprint, and others. To learn more about these fascinating women and their myriad accomplishments, visit their website at »»

The Families That Built Las Vegas

Michael Green
Image of Mike Green Michael Green

Mike Green can boast that he is a born and raised Las Vegan — an oddity in this young, transient city. He is considered the go-to guy on local history who often takes an ironic look at the cast of characters who built Las Vegas. With wit and charm, Mike will tell us the story of Las Vegas and the families (and not just the mob families) that built a real community on the desert.

A professor of history at the College of Southern Nevada, Mike earned his B.A. and M.A. at UNLV and his Ph.D. at Columbia University. His works on Nevada include Las Vegas: A Centennial History (with Eugene Moehring, University of Nevada Press, 2005); Nevada: A Journey of Discovery, a middle school textbook (Gibbs-Smith, 2004); A Liberal Conscience: Ralph Denton, Nevadan (University of Nevada Oral History Program, 2001), the oral history of a longtime Nevada attorney and politician; Las Vegas: A Pictorial Celebration (Sterling, 2006); and Nevada: Readings and Perspectives (with his late CSN colleague, Gary Elliott, Nevada Historical Society, 1997), a reader on the state's history.

Mike is now writing a college-level textbook on Nevada history and a history of the Great Basin in the twentieth century, editing a collection of essays on Abraham Lincoln, co-editing two major projects for ABC-CLIO, and co-writing a volume of biographical essays on prominent Nevadans. He writes the "Politics" column and blog for Vegas Seven,"Nevada Yesterdays" for Nevada Humanities and KNPR, and "Inside the Beltway" and "Books" for a newsletter, Nevada's Washington Watch. He edits the Nevada Historical Society Quarterly and the Wilbur S. Shepperson Series on Nevada History for the University of Nevada Press.

American Gypsy: A Journey Home

Oksana Marafioti
Image of Oksana Marafioti Oksana Marafioti

Born into a family of performers in Riga, Latvia, Oksana Marafioti, author of American Gypsy, has led a multi-cultural existence. However, not until a literary agent suggested she write a memoir about her experiences growing up in a Russian-Romani family, did she grasp the value of family roots.

Research and personal experiences drew the pages of her memoir together. Through faded photographs, tales of the elders, and interviews with relatives and influential Romani people, Oksana stumbled upon a fascinating history wrought by centuries of obscurity. She will describe what the road to a finished book has taught her about the significance of collecting and safeguarding personal history.

After years of touring Europe, Oksana immigrated to the United States and earned a B.S. degree in film from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She has contributed to several online publications, including The Nervous Breakdown, a literary author collective, and written short stories for the anthology, Writer's Bloc II, and The Perpetual Engine of Hope: Las Vegas Stories Inspired by Iconic Photographs. Her memoir, American Gypsy, is due to be released by McMIllan's Farrar, Straus & Giroux in 2012.

Video Biographies with a Message

Ben Patton
Image of Ben Patton Ben Patton

A seasoned documentary filmmaker with over 14 years of experience in media, Ben Patton established Patton Productions (»» in 2005, drawing on NYC's many talented editors, composers, and cinematographers to produce high-quality video biographies for individuals, families, and organizations. As the grandson of World War II General George S. Patton, Ben admits that history always formed a part of his family life. But he insists that while it may be fame that merited the recording of his family's history, it is actually the exercise of taking the time to listen that reveals the magnificence of any person's life, no matter how ordinary they may seem at first.

Ben will explain how exploring specific emotions can help the videographer get to the heart of the story, and he will describe the many unique creative narrative opportunities that videotaping offers. In other words, well done video biographies deliver a message and are definitely not about talking heads. He also will discuss his recent work with veterans suffering from PTSD, and the therapeutic benefits video biography can offer. In keeping with the notion that of those 'to whom much has been given, much will be required,' Patton Productions donates a portion of its annual earnings to veterans organizations, special needs groups, and other worthy causes.

A graduate of Georgetown University, Ben worked for five years at New York PBS affiliate WLIW21, where he was a development executive and producer prior to founding his company. One of his first jobs in the media industry was as a producer and marketing director at Pomposello Productions, the creators of signature themes for MTV, Nickelodeon, and many other TV networks. In 2009, he produced a short video for Smithsonian Magazine in connection with his featured article on the importance of recording your family's history. Ben now is completing Growing Up Patton, a book that follows his efforts to better understand what drove his father (also a general) and grandfather and the network of improbable family heroes he uncovered along the way. It is set for release by Berkley Caliber in early 2012.

»» Program Highlights