Invincible Summer

by NJG

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Remembering Anne Winter (1964-2009)

Anne Winter, record store owner and free-speech advocate, dies at 45
from The Kansas City Star

Kansas City’s alternative music and free-speech communities are mourning the death of Anne Winter, longtime music promoter and proprietor of Recycled Sounds, a midtown record shop which closed in 2006.

Winter, 45 and a mother of two, died Thursday at her home.

Winter, a native Nebraskan, was well-known in the local music scene by virtue of the independent music store she owned with her husband, Kurt von Schlemmer, for 18 years. She often employed local musicians to work behind the counter and at one point hosted her own music show on KKFI-FM as “Little Orphan Annie.”

“She was the only person playing punk-rock music,” said Mark Manning, another KKFI music host, who said he has a radio show mainly because of Winter’s encouragement.

But Recycled Sounds was more than a store. Timothy Finn, The Star’s pop music writer, described it this way in 2006: “It became a haven for people who wanted to know what was happening in the city’s underground culture, for local bands and visual artists who needed a place to peddle their music or promote their shows and exhibits, for musicians who needed a stopgap part-time job.”

In the wake of congressional hearings in the 1980s on “indecent” lyrics in rock and rap and politicians’ intense criticism of the National Endowment for the Arts, Winter became heavily involved in anti-censorship advocacy and served a term as president of the Greater Kansas City Free Speech Coalition.

In 1994 several area school districts either removed or considered removing a book for young people, “Annie on My Mind,” from library shelves because of complaints that it endorsed homosexuality. The coalition invited author Nancy Garden to speak as part of its annual Culture Under Fire free speech celebration.

“Sometimes we forget how important (our) rights are or the fact that Americans have this right, whereas in a lot of countries people aren’t allowed to present ideas that may be a little bit more on the fringe,” Winter said at the time.

Echoing others, DJ Robert Moore wrote to her on Facebook Friday: “You gave me my first job when I moved to KC. You talked me into getting involved with KKFI. You encouraged me to do my own show. … Thank you, Annie.”

Friends planned to establish an education fund for Winter’s children, Max and Eva, though details were unavailable Friday.


Anne Winter is someone who drastically changed the course of my life. She was the first person to carry my zine in her record store when I was 14, she got me involved in community organizing and the Greater Kansas City Free Speech Coalition Board at 16, and offered unflinching support and friendship through my teen years and into my twenties. I owe so much to her. She created community and served as a mentor. She was a supportive, encouraging, and practical member of the community around her and we are forever grateful.

Please consider this blog my best version of a candle in the doorstep of Recycled Sounds from 2000 miles away.

She will be greatly missed.

Please take a moment today to think of Anne Winter, and to consider making a donation to her family.

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