Humanities and Arts

Breakthrough into Performance

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The first public radio station in the United States, KPFA in Berkeley, California, began broadcasting in April 1949. A legendary counter-cultural enterprise, its initial program months aired a daily fifteen-minute performance of one of the most consequential literary works of late Modernist world literature, Jaime de Angulo’s ethnopoetic masterpiece Old Time Stories (announced as “Indian Tales”). The musicologist, composer, and writer Peter Garland has justly called it a “story-epic . . . unique in American literature.”1 It is unique not because of its epic extent and ambition. It is unique because of its oral performance, which in its currently authorized but incomplete state runs for some twenty-two hours