New York’s THIRTEEN, the flagship station of PBS, celebrates 50 years of setting the gold standard for television and providing exceptional community and educational services to the New York metropolitan area.
This six-part, six-hour series, is the first documentary film to air since 1968 that chronicles the full sweep of African American history, from the origins of slavery on the African continent through over four centuries of remarkable historic events right up to today—when America has a black President yet remains a nation deeply divided by race. Written and presented by noted Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr., the series is Gates’ most personal story yet and draws on some of America’s top historians and heretofore untapped primary sources. The series will guide viewers on an engaging journey across two continents to shed new light on the experience of being an African American. By highlighting the complex internal debates and divisions within the black experience, viewers of Many Rivers to Cross will learn that the African American community, which the black abolitionist Martin R. Delany described as “a nation within a nation,” has never been a truly uniform entity and that its members have been debating their differences of opinion from their very first days in this country. The series will emphasize the idea that African American history encompasses multiple continents and venues, and must be viewed through a transnational perspective to be fully understood.
One of the nation’s leading opera companies, San Francisco Opera has been the site for many memorable Great Performances productions. In October 2012, GP partnered with SFO once again to record composer Jake Heggie and librettist Gene Scheer’s acclaimed adaptation of the classic Herman Melville novel Moby Dick. Joshua Kosman in The San Francisco Chronicle dubbed the opera “a masterpiece of clarity and intensity, with a score that is at once thematically compact and richly inventive.” Fresh from his headline-making appearance as a last minute replacement in the title role of Siegfried in the Met Opera’s epic Ring Cycle, Jay Hunter Morris stars as the obsessive Captain Ahab. Richard Scheinin in the San Jose Mercury News raved that the tenor “sang with a pressurized fury that practically shook the seats of the War Memorial Opera House.”
This new documentary unveils previously unseen performance footage – such as the 1968 Miami Pop Festival –and home movies while sourcing an extensive archive of photographs, drawings, family letters and more to provide new insight into the musician's personality and genius with interviews with Hendrix himself, commentary from well-known friends and musicians including Paul McCartney, Noel Redding, Mitch Mitchell, Billy Cox, Eddie Kramer, Steve Winwood, as well as revealing glimpses into Jimi from those closest to him. The film details the meteoric rise of the Experience, the creation of his groundbreaking music, the building of Electric Lady Studios, his state of the art recording facility in Greenwich Village, and concludes with poignant footage from his final performance in Germany in September 1970, just 12 days before his death at age 27. A pioneering electric guitarist, Hendrix had only four years of mainstream exposure and recognition, but his influential music and riveting stage presence left an enduring legacy. Directed by two-time Grammy-winner Bob Smeaton (The Beatles Anthology; Festival Express).
Thirteen/WNET New York is proud to be the home of many of public television's most exciting programs: