Cantos Latinos 2011

By Michelle Michalos
Friday, August 26th, 2011

THIRTEEN continues the tradition of celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month throughout September with a wide range of documentaries and films spotlighting Latino people and their contributions to music, history, politics and more.

Check out our list of programs below, and share your own stories with us.

Israel "Cachao" Lopez (Photo credit: Jakub Mosur)

American Masters – Cachao: Uno Mas is a portrait of the late Afro-Cuban bassist Israel Cachao Lopez, and centers on a sold-out concert at Bimbo’s 365 Club in San Francisco. The film was produced and narrated by Andy Garcia. Airs Friday, September 2 at 9:30 p.m.

Abita: Toda Una Vida – Cuban Masterworks captures the Havana-born songstress and composer Albita Rodriguez as she records a studio album. Airs Sunday, September 4 at 3 p.m.

Paraiso For Sale explores the impact of American retirees and developers in Bocas del Toro on the local community. Airs Sunday, September 18 at 10:30 p.m.

2501 Migrants: A Journey explores the story of the thousands of primarily poor and young Mexicans who abandon their native homes in search of jobs and the promise of a brighter economic future. This documentary chronicles the personal experience of Oaxacan artist Alejandro Santiago, who returned to his village after more than a decade living abroad, only to find a virtual ghost town. Airs Sunday, September 18 at 11:30 p.m.

The Storm that Swept Mexico (Photo credit: SINAFO – Fototeca)

Storm that Swept Mexico takes a look at the Mexican Revolution, the first major political and social revolution of the 20th century, which not only changed the course of Mexican history, but also profoundly impacted its relationships with the rest of the world. This program looks at the complex historical, social, political, economic and cultural forces that shaped the Mexican Revolution, influenced its course, and determined its consequences and legacy. Airs Monday, September 19 at 10 p.m.

Pati’s Mexican Table brings authentic Mexican flavors, colors, textures and warmth into American kitchens. Airs Sundays at 4:30 p.m.

Mexico: The Royal Tour explores the extraordinary locations and landmarks of Mexico; hosted by Peter Greenberg and led by Mexican President Felipe Calderon. Airs Thursday, September 22 at 8 p.m.

Placido Domingo (Photo credit: Jake Landis/PBS)

On Great Performances – Placido Domingo: My Favorite Roles, the celebrated tenor reflects on his favorite roles from opera houses around the world. Airs Friday, September 23 at 9 p.m.

In Not in Our Town: Light in the Darkness, the Mayor of Patchogue, New York leads residents to confront the anti-immigrant bias in their town. Airs Friday, September 23 at 3 a.m.

In Pedro Ruiz: Coming Home, a WNET film crew accompanies dancer and choreographer Pedro Ruiz as he returns to his native Cuba for an unprecedented collaboration with the Havana dance troupe Danza Contemporarea.   The crew also joins Pedro on his first visit to his hometown since he left Cuba 30 years ago. Airs Thursday, September 29 at 8 p.m.

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Watch a Preview: Il Trovatore

By Michelle Michalos
Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

Marcelo Álvarez as Manrico (Photo: Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera)

This week on Great Performances at the Met, Verdi’s Il Trovatore comes to life in David McVicar’s production, starring Marcelo Álvarez as Manrico, Sondra Radvanovsky as Leonara, and Dolora Zajick as Azucena.

Reknowned soprano Renée Fleming will host the broadcast and will interview the opera’s stars during the intermission.

Il Trovatore airs Thursday, August 25 at 8 p.m. on THIRTEEN.

Watch a preview here:

(View full post to see video)
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The Singing Revolution: A Q&A with Filmmakers Maureen Castle and Jim Tusty

By Michelle Michalos
Thursday, August 18th, 2011

Filmmakers Jim Tusty and Maureen Castle

The Singing Revolution tells the story of how hundreds of thousands of Estonians gathered publicly to sing forbidden patriotic songs and share protest speeches, risking their lives to proclaim their desire for independence from the Soviet Union.

Here, filmmakers Maureen Castle and Jim Tusty discuss what inspired them to make the film, and what makes Estonia and its people so special.

The Singing Revolution airs Saturday, August 20 at 3 p.m. and Sunday, August 21 at 11 p.m. on THIRTEEN.

Q:  How did The Singing Revolution project get started?

Maureen Castle: Jim and I were in Estonia, teaching a three-month film course at the first university to teach film after the departure of the Soviets. People started to share stories with us: casually at first, sitting over dinner, through friendships. But as the tears would flow, these powerful stories and images began to unfold. When we returned home, it was amazing to tell the story outside of Estonia. Maybe history would have been different if the rest of the world understood the Estonian situation in 1939.  Maybe this film can help prevent something like this happening again.

Jim Tusty: The story of the Estonian occupation, the Singing Revolution, and then independence were all current events for those then living in Estonia.  We were afraid that Estonians might feel that two people who live 5,000 miles away didn’t have the right to tell their story.  But we were told by Estonians that this is a story that needed someone from the outside to tell it—someone with no prior bias but who also didn’t have to start from scratch to understand the situation.

I’m a dual citizen—my father was born in Estonia and came over during the pre-Stalin years. Most Estonians who fled Stalin in 1944 formed incredibly tight communities and, to this day, third and fourth generations still speak fluent Estonian. They always planned on going back when it was finally safe to do so. But my father came over in 1924 when he was 10. He came through Ellis Island and wanted nothing more than to be an American. He married a non-Estonian, and English was the language of my household. This would create a unique position for me because I wasn’t raised in one of the strictly Estonian communities, yet I have been very aware of Estonia from early childhood.

Q:  What were some of the issues that you thought about while making the film?

Maureen Castle: One of the major questions it brought up to us was if we were there ourselves, what would we have done? Estonians feared a replay of Hungary 1956, when Soviet tanks came in and mercilessly suppressed an independence movement.  Up until that time, Estonians held hope that the British and the US would eventually pressure the Soviets to leave the Baltics, but when they saw that the British and Americans left Hungary to its fate, they understood they were alone.  It changed the country’s mindset about the future.

The Soviets had a history of doing their dirty work under the cover of another international incident.  That way, their actions were less likely to make the front page.  For example, Soviet tanks rolled into Hungary massacring its citizens under the cover of the Suez Canal crisis of 1956.  Similarly, in 1991, Soviet soldiers killed peaceful Lithuanian demonstrators (Soviet tanks killed 14, injured 200 as their tanks ran over those demonstrating) just as Desert Storm started.  A short time later, they killed six more people in Latvia.  We doubt that was a coincidence.  It was intended to teach the independence-minded Baltic people a lesson.

You can hope that you’d stand up to this aggression, but you don’t know until you’re faced with the decision.

Q:  Tell us a bit about the events that led to the Estonians standing up to the Soviets.

Jim Tusty: Gorbachev gave Estonians their opportunity when he announced perestroika (economic restructuring) and glasnost (free speech). The Estonians calculated that they could use these concepts to their advantage.  By rigorously staying away from violence (which would have given the Soviets a reason to crackdown and jail any protestors), they could push and push at the walls surrounding them until they collapsed.

Estonian lawmakers even made the hammer and sickle (the Soviet official symbol) illegal, and under glasnost there was little the Soviets could do about it!  Gorbachev furiously reprimanded Estonia, but his bluff was called and he actually did little.

Boris Yeltsin and Mikhail Gorbachev had a rivalry building about where the Soviet Union was headed.  This was basically a standoff of modeling Western democracies (Yeltsin) vs. maintaining Communist control (Gorbachev). Six months before the fall of the Soviet Union and the declaration of independence by Estonia, Yeltsin signed a “mutual respect” pact with all three of the Baltic nations, effectively saying that should anything happen, each country agreed to respect the decision of each of the other countries. So when Estonia reaffirmed its independence in August of 1991, it was very logical that Yeltsin announced independence the next day for Russia.

Maureen Castle: It was the perfect storm adding up to the fall of the Soviet Union: a weakening Soviet economy, Gorbachev’s ascension to power (who never understood feelings of nationalism in the Soviet occupied countries), U.S.-Soviet geopolitics, together with determined action by the Estonians and the other Baltic States.

Q:  What is it about this small country and its people that make it so special?

Maureen Castle: Estonia is an amazing nation.  Just look at the power of—the undeniable strength of being able to say — “I am Estonian.”

Estonians have inhabited Estonia for 5,000 years or more.  But for 700 years, from 1228 to 1918, they were not the ruling class. The country has incredibly valuable trading ports, yet in recent history the Estonian people were always in the service of others. Finally, the people of the land said “we want to rule ourselves again”. It’s time Estonia and Estonian identity rises. Their culture and the history of the land are so interconnected. Estonia is one of the oldest continuously inhabited lands in the world. When you’re on the land for 8,000 years, you can survive anything.

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Watch Online: Making War Horse

By Michelle Michalos
Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

Making War Horse is the story of how Michael Morpurgo’s young adult novel became one of the most popular and acclaimed productions in the National Theatre’s history.

From its early development in the NT Studio, viewers see how Adrian Kohler and Basil Jones of the Handspring Puppet Company created the groundbreaking techniques that brought lifelike horses to the stage.  Behind the scenes and in the rehearsal room, the film features interviews with the cast and creative team to document this unique theatrical collaboration and the creation of a stage classic.

Watch the full program here:
(View full post to see video)

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WNET Launches Arts & Culture Mobile App

By Michelle Michalos
Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

WNET has announced the launch of THIRTEEN Arts, the first mobile app from New York’s public media provider available for both iPhone and Android.

THIRTEEN Arts offers New Yorkers and tourists on the-go access to the city’s rich cultural offerings, with a curated guide to the city’s top arts events, ranging from the performance arts to the fine arts.

WNET’s on-air content will play a major role in the THIRTEEN Arts’ Staff Picks section, which features video clips from the station’s award-winning local arts series SundayArts. The app will eventually integrate content from WNET’s newest site MetroFocus, among other relevant programs.

Working in partnership with the Alliance for the Arts, THIRTEEN Arts will tap into the organization’s database to build on the app’s Venue List feature, a comprehensive list of arts organizations, institutions and venues in the New York City area, and the Event Calendar section, which gives users a preview of the top shows for the coming weeks.

Additionally, an interactive map that uses geolocation helps users choose from events and venues based on their location.

Explore and download the app here.

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WNET Launches One-on-One with Steve Adubato

By Michelle Michalos
Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

Steve Adubato with Neal Shapiro, President & CEO, WNET at a One-on-One with Steve Adubato taping at the Tisch WNET Studios at Lincoln Center

Beginning on August 15, THIRTEEN will air One-on-One with Steve Adubato weekdays Monday — Thursday at 12:30 a.m. One-on-One discusses real life stories and features political leaders, CEOs, television personalities, professors, artists and educational innovators who each share their experiences and accomplishments.

“We are thrilled that One-on-One now joins THIRTEEN/WNET’s prestigious late night television line-up airing nightly after Award winning PBS programs Charlie Rose and Tavis Smiley,” says Adubato, President/Executive Producer at Caucus Educational Corporation.

Watch last week’s episode of One-on-One with Steve Adubato here:

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Director Jim Brown Discusses Legends of Folk: The Village Scene

By Michelle Michalos
Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

The Lovin' Spoonful perform “Do You Believe in Magic” (Photo credit: Courtesy of David Gahr)

Director Jim Brown has created some of the most popular and critically acclaimed programs on American music in the last three decades, including The Power of Song, Peter Paul & Mary: Carry It On, The Weavers: Wasn’t That a Time!, A Vision Shared: A Tribute to Woody Guthrie and Leadbelly, and the series, American Roots Music.

Here, he discusses his latest project, Legends of Folk: The Village Scene, which celebrates the folk movement in Greenwich Village in the 1960s. The program features rare  performances by Bob Dylan, Peter, Paul & Mary, Joan Baez, Judy Collins, The Mamas and the Papas, Neil Diamond and others.

Legends of Folk: The Village Scene airs Tuesday, August 9 at 8 p.m. on THIRTEEN.

Get the CD and DVD of the program here.

Q: You’re known as a director of documentaries about the history of American music.  What is your background and why have you been interested in bringing these biographies to light?

A: I grew up outside of New York and was around 12 just as the Folk Revival went into full swing.  I played guitar in a little jug band and later a rock-and-roll band and made frequent pilgrimages to Greenwich Village.  Peter Torkelson, who lived in the Village (and became Peter Tork of the Monkees), was my guitar teacher.  The poetry of the new singer-songwriters like Dylan, Paxton, Ochs, and Hardin blew me away as did the confluence of youth culture, political and social action, and “folk music.”  I was lucky enough to see most of the artists that appear in Legends of Folk: The Village Scene as a fairly young kid.  It was a special time and there was a strong feeling of optimism.  As a teenager I worked as a gardener for Lee Hays after he moved to Croton where I lived.  Lee was one of the founders of The Almanac Singers and The Weavers and was a close friend and song writing partner with Pete Seeger.  I learned a lot just listening to Lee talk.  I went to the film school at NYU (where I now teach) and began working at WNET right after college, making short films about pollution on the Hudson River for The Fifty-First State, one of the first magazine shows.  For about five years I made documentaries that focused on social change and environmental issues with George Stoney who had been a teacher of mine at NYU.  Around 1980 I directed The Weavers: Wasn’t That A Time! which was a hit and it opened a lot of doors.  It played in theaters in several countries and then was used as a fundraiser on PBS for the next 15 years. (PBS renewed it this year).  From the 80′s onward I mostly made documentaries about American music and also produced and directed live concerts for television.  I got to work with a lot of great musicians and they have all influenced me…but Pete Seeger, who I have worked with the longest probably influenced me the most.  I worked with some big record companies and some of the networks and cable stations…but by and large and happily mostly for Public Television.

Q: Your films have focused primarily on folk music.  What is it about this genre that speaks to you?

A: The evolution of American folk music or American roots music is one of the great stories about American democracy.  Various ethnic groups bought folk music from their homelands, and in America this music cross-fertilized and morphed into new and distinctly American music genres.  It happened in a relatively short period and was stimulated in part by the advent of radio and records, but also by the development of railroads and highways.  Gospel, Blues, Bluegrass, Cajun, and Zydeco are just some of the examples of these exciting cross-fertilizations that make up the basis of American folk music, and rock-and-roll which is an extension of the process.  It’s all great music.

Q: Legends of Folk focuses specifically on the music scene in Greenwich Village in the 1960′s…what was it about that time and place that made it the pinnacle of the folk music scene?

Neil Diamond (Photo credit: Courtesy of David Gahr)

A: Greenwich Village has often been a cauldron for alternative and artistic movements. Many of the abstract expressionists lived in the Village, there was an important  jazz scene and the “Beat” all of which preceded the Folk Scene.  In 1950, The Weavers started playing at the Village Vanguard and they were held over for six months.  Some people consider this the start of the Folk Revival.  In the 50′s, Village clubs featured singers like Josh White and later Odetta, Dave Van Ronk, The Clancy Brothers and the Kingston Trio.  Pete Seeger and the ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax and the legendary record producer John Hammond lived in the Village.  Pete got people singing in Washington Square in the fifties and by the sixties it became so big that the City had to close it down.  Also, Oscar Brand had a regular folk show that was broadcast from Cooper Union.

In the early 60′s, the folk scene in Greenwich Village really caught fire. I think the successes of Peter, Paul & Mary and Bob Dylan attracted a lot of young “folk singers,” fans, and tourists to the Village.  On Sundays in Washington Square you could find dozens of musicians playing for free.  There were bluegrass bands, jug bands, topical songwriters, old time music groups, acoustic “rockers,” doo wop groups, and even opera singers. It was splendid.  Also there were dozens of coffee houses and clubs and some of them offered live folk and folk rock music from early afternoon till late at night.  The Gaslight, Gerdes Folk City, The Night Owl, The Cafe Wha, The Cafe au Go Go, The Village Gate and the Bitter End all served as a training camp showcasing some of the country’s best folk artists and singer songwriters. The folk community was vibrant  and small and mostly centered around the clubs on Bleecker and MacDougal Streets. Izzy Young’s Folklore Center sold songbooks and instruments and was a general clearing house for folksingers. Also, the Friends of Old Time Music were important in that they brought traditional blues and folk musicians up from the South and put on concerts with them. So, in a way, the younger musicians were influenced by the masters. There was also a dynamic political component and folk music and topical songwriting were intertwined with the Civil Rights Movement and the Peace Movement. It was a very exciting time and the Village produced some of the best and most important music America has ever witnessed.

Q: What material was most difficult to edit out of Legends of Folk?

A: Legends Of Folk: The Village Scene features 17 early performances by Bob Dylan, Peter, Paul & Mary, Simon and Garfunkel, Richie Havens, Judy Collins, Phil Ochs, The Lovin Spoonful, Tom Paxton, Don McLean, Tim Hardin, Neil DIamond, The Mamas and Papas and others. We worked with the artists and managers to find the best performances during this period and each is riveting in its own way. Watching these performances is like taking a time machine back to the Village in the 60′s. As a result, there isn’t room for lots of documentary material in the show and taking some of that out was a bit hard. The good news is that for someone who wants to learn more about the Village Scene in the 60′s there are over two hours of documentary material and complete interviews with the artists on the DVD. Time-Life has also worked with us putting together a special 6 CD set also titled “Legends of Folk: The Village Scene” that has some of the best music from that period for those people who really want to go back and revisit the 60′s.

Q: What are you working on now?

A: I am currently working on a project that summarizes the career of my friend Don McLean, who I first met at Lee Hays’ house back in Croton when I was a teenager. Don is best known for “American Pie,” but has written, recorded, and performed an incredible body of work.  I think he is one of America’s best songwriters and an amazing performer.  He just played for over 100,000 fans last month at a concert in the U.K.

I am also finishing a documentary about the “soft power” of rock music and the role it played in ending the Cold War. It’s a joint effort between some creative people from the United States and some musicians and film makers in countries that used be part of the Soviet Union.

Over the past few months I’ve been working with a team from Hollywood to transform some of the musical stories I came across doing documentaries into feature films. There is also talk of a follow-up to Legends of Folk: The Village Years focusing on the folk rock and singer-songwriter scene.

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Take a Bite out of THIRTEEN

By Michelle Michalos
Friday, August 5th, 2011

(Photo credit: PBS Food)

Searching for new recipes to try at your next barbecue or family gathering? Look no further! Check out our guide to some of  best food shows and sites from THIRTEEN and PBS.

PBS Food: a site where cooking shows, blogs and recipes from PBS and local stations across the country come together. From Julia Child to local restaurant reviews, PBS Food celebrates the iconic chefs and culinary treats you love from PBS. Enjoy a sneak preview of the site, featuring the new Fresh Tastes blog featuring Jenna Weber and Marc Matsumoto.

Mike Colameco’s Real Food: Join Mike Colameco for an insider’s guide and behind the scenes look from a chef’s perspective on how some of the best restaurants in the world put together their dishes.

Airs Saturdays at 6 p.m. on THIRTEEN.

Lidia’s Italy: Travel to Italy with chef Lidia Bastianich to explore elaborate food markets, fishing villages and farms and learn to prepare her favorite Italian meals at home.

Starting on September 10, the series shifts its spotlight from Italy to America, where Lidia brings viewers on a road trip into the heart of Italian American cooking on Lidia’s Italy in America.

Airs Saturdays at 6:30 p.m. on THIRTEEN.

Made in Spain: Watch online - a series exploring the culinary and cultural riches of Spain, hosted by chef Jose Andres.

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Everyday Food: Watch online - A television series based on the Everyday Food magazine and book, featuring tasty and easy to prepare recipes.

(View full post to see video)
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Watch Online: Full Episodes of Zen

By Michelle Michalos
Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

Masterpiece fans: if you’ve missed out on the Zen series (or just couldn’t get enough), all three episodes are now available to watch online! Vendetta, Cabal, and Ratking will be available through August 30.

Starring Rufus Sewell (Aurelio Zen), Caterina Murino (Tania Moretti), and Ed Stoppard (Vincenzo Fabri), Zen is based on the Aurelio Zen mysteries by Michael Dibdin.

Watch the series here:

Vendetta:

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Cabal:

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Ratking:

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Watch Live: Obama to Make Statement on Debt Ceiling

By Michelle Michalos
Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011

Today, PBS NewsHour will be presenting a live stream of President Obama’s address on the debt ceiling at 12:15 p.m. ET from the Rose Garden of the White House.

The statement follows the measure passed by the House of Representatives on Monday evening to increase the U.S. debt ceiling by a vote of 269-161. If approved by the Senate Tuesday afternoon, the measure would immediately grant the Treasury Department $400 billion in additional borrowing authority only hours before the Aug. 2 deadline.

Watch the live stream here:

Live broadcasting by Ustream

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