Photo Walls: Aunt Kizzy's Back Porch Alex Chadwick introduces Jennifer and Mal Sharpe, a father-daughter radio team who've been documenting what they call "photo walls" -- pictorial histories that many small businesses collect and display.
NPR logo

Photo Walls: Aunt Kizzy's Back Porch

  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Photo Walls: Aunt Kizzy's Back Porch

Photo Walls: Aunt Kizzy's Back Porch

  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript


This is DAY TO DAY. I'm Alex Chadwick.

And we are beginning a new radio series today. It's called Photo Walls by a father-daughter radio team. Jennifer Sharpe is here in the studio with me.

Jennifer, hello.


CHADWICK: And her dad, Mal Sharpe, is hooked up with us from San Francisco. Mal, you are an old hand at radio, especially public radio.

Mr. MAL SHARPE: Yeah. I've been doing a lot of man-on-the-street interviews for years, but I don't feel that old, Alex.

CHADWICK: And, you know, you don't sound it, either.


CHADWICK: Jennifer, you're a photographer and graphic designer and you have radio experience, too.

Ms. SHARPE: Well, does pirate radio count?

CHADWICK: Yeah, you bet. Sure. You don't have an eye patch, though. All right, you're qualified. Let's begin. What are photo walls, Jennifer?

Ms. SHARPE: They're those clusters of black-and-white framed photos that you see when you walk into sort of older businesses that show the clientele and the history and the great moments of the business.


Mr. SHARPE: Yeah. Well, that's what they are. They're walls of photos, so we haven't complicated things, Alex. It's just a simple photo wall.

CHADWICK: Where are you beginning? What's your first place?

Mr. SHARPE: Well, the first one's in Marina Del Rey in Los Angeles, not far from you. It's called Aunt (pronounced ant)--or Aunt (pronounced ahnt) Kizzy's.

Ms. SHARPE: Aunt Kizzy's Back Porch.

Mr. SHARPE: There is a back porch in the restaurant, too.

CHADWICK: What do they serve?

Ms. SHARPE: Well, it's a soul food restaurant.

CHADWICK: OK. Jennifer and Mal Sharpe, piece number one, take it away.

Mr. SHARPE: All right. Well, we're walking in the door here.

How are you doing?

HUNIA(ph): Hello.

Mr. SHARPE: Who are you?

HUNIA: My name is Hunia, but please call me Nia, like papaya. It's easier to remember.

Mr. SHARPE: So, Nia, what do you do here in Aunt Kizzy's?

HUNIA: I welcome people to the restaurant. I get people seated at their tables.

Mr. SHARPE: You show everyone the photo wall.

HUNIA: I do that, too.

Ms. SHARPE: Do you mind if I take some pictures during the interview?

HUNIA: I would be absolutely thrilled if you took pictures.

(Soundbite of camera shutter)

Mr. SHARPE: What was the first picture in here?

HUNIA: Oh, the very first picture, oh, was that of Hal Williams, the actor from "Room 222." Hal Williams.

Mr. SHARPE: He has nice teeth.

(Soundbite of camera shutter)

Ms. SHARPE: Who's this guy? This looks like Wonder Woman.

HUNIA: His name is Sun-Man, S-U-N-M-A-N.

Mr. SHARPE: Describe him. Describe him.

HUNIA: Sun-Man--he's actually wearing gold wings.

Mr. SHARPE: Yeah, big, big, like butterfly wings. Right, Jennifer?

Ms. SHARPE: What's his superpower? He looks like he should have a superpower. What is it?

HUNIA: Well, the energy of the sun. I mean, evidently he's closely connected to it.

Ms. SHARPE: An ambiguous superhero on the walls of Aunt Kizzy's.

Mr. SHARPE: Oh, now here's someone over here I want to find out about. See that woman over there, that photo? She looks like she has an attitude. LaWanda Page.

HUNIA: Oh, the great comedian.

Mr. SHARPE: How would you describe that look in her eye there?

HUNIA: `Oh, I'll get you, sucker.' Isn't that what she used to say? I'm not sure but I think--oh, she wrote, `Send me one of those platters, sucker.'

(Soundbite of laughter; camera shutter)

Mr. SHARPE: How many pictures are up on the wall?

HUNIA: At least 500.

Mr. SHARPE: Mm-hmm.

HUNIA: When they say a picture's worth a thousand words, with my math--I'm not the math student--but is that 50,000.

Ms. SHARPE: I think that's 500,000 words.

Mr. SHARPE: What's that?

Ms. SHARPE: I think that's 500,000.

Mr. SHARPE: You said 50,000 words.

HUNIA: See, I'm glad Jennifer knew the right answer.

Mr. SHARPE: Now what is this photo over here? You're pointing to this one over here.

HUNIA: Yes, this picture with Janet Jackson and she's kind of leaning...

Mr. SHARPE: What does Janet Jackson eat?

HUNIA: She eats the catfish, she eats the greens and I believe I've seen her have some peach cobbler.

Mr. SHARPE: Mm-hmm.

HUNIA: Now I'm going to show you another picture. I'm glad we came up here, Hal and Jennifer.

Mr. SHARPE: Yeah. Mal. Yeah.

HUNIA: There's a picture that I want to show you, the lady in the orange, that is Ms. Joyce White(ph). She is the doll lady. And she...

Ms. SHARPE: Isn't that doll in the bathroom?

HUNIA: Yes, that is one of the dolls that she made and actually sets up on Sundays and sells those dolls here at the restaurant.

Mr. SHARPE: It's nice that you don't have to be a celebrity to get your picture up here.

HUNIA: This is true.

Mr. SHARPE: I mean, especially in Los Angeles, you know, which is so celebrity crazed.

(Soundbite of camera shutter)

Mr. SHARPE: Here's a band over here and I just love the name of that band. You want to just say it?

HUNIA: Oh, Jack Mack and the Heart Attack.

Mr. SHARPE: Yeah.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. SHARPE: Well, it's not too reassuring to mention the word `heart attack' in a restaurant that has a lot of deep-fried foods.

HUNIA: Well, as I said, we have a vegetarian platter. What did you have to eat? Let me find out?

Mr. SHARPE: We had--the guy talked us into--What was it?

Ms. SHARPE: We had the ox tail.

Mr. SHARPE: Yeah.

HUNIA: Oh, that's one of our most gourmet dishes.

Mr. SHARPE: You know what's great about these photo walls, Jennifer? They're like archaeology. If this was the only artifact of our civilization in a million years, it would be enough, your photo wall.

HUNIA: Well, now that Jennifer has taught me with 500 pictures, we have 500,000 words, I would have to agree to that. OK?

(Soundbite of laughter; restaurant noise)

CHADWICK: Aunt Kizzy's Back Porch hostess Nia, like papaya.

Jennifer and Mal Sharpe, where is the next photo wall we're going to?

Mr. SHARPE: Well, it's in a bowling alley out in the high desert in a place called Pioneer Town. Jennifer found it.

Ms. SHARPE: Yeah, it actually was built as a set where they shot a lot of Westerns. And Roy Rogers had the bowling alley built so that he'd have something to do up there.

CHADWICK: Pioneer Town, our next stop on the Photo Wall series. Till then, Jennifer and Mal Sharpe, thank you.

Ms. SHARPE: Thank you.

Mr. SHARPE: Thank you.

CHADWICK: And, of course, you can see pictures of the photo wall at Aunt Kizzy's. They are at our Web site,

Copyright © 2005 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.