What Do You Think? Mayor Bloomberg Wins Re-Election Bid

November 4th, 2009

Despite polls that showed Michael Bloomberg with a double-digit lead in New York City’s mayoral election, the incumbent squeaked by Comptroller William Thompson to win a third term as mayor Tuesday night. With 100% of New York City precincts reporting, Bloomberg edged out Thompson, the Democratic challenger, by 51 percent to 46 percent. Bloomberg becomes the fourth mayor of New York City to serve at least three terms.

What do you think of Mayor Bloomberg’s victory? Are three terms too much? Please post your comments below.

Ask The Governor: Tough Economic Times

November 3rd, 2009

This Thursday at 9 p.m. on THIRTEEN, New York Governor David Paterson will appear in a special town hall meeting to answer questions from New Yorkers about the economic climate in the state.

Got a question for the governor? Submit your question to Gov. Paterson in our comments section below — it may be asked in Thursday’s town-hall meeting.

Submission deadline: Wednesday, Nov. 4 at 3 p.m.

At Friends of THIRTEEN Board Meeting, PBS President Paints a Bright Picture for the Future of Public Media

October 27th, 2009

Paula Kerger – President and CEO of the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) – returned “home” to WNET.ORG on October 21st to address the Board of Directors of the Friends of THIRTEEN. Kerger, who began her public broadcasting career at THIRTEEN, was the keynote speaker in a meeting that also featured presentations by WNET.ORG President and CEO, Neal Shapiro, and WNET.ORG Vice President for Education, Ron Thorpe.

Neal Shapiro, President and CEO of WNET.ORG, and Paula Kerger, President and CEO of PBS

Kerger is a familiar face in the halls of WNET.ORG’s headquarters in midtown Manhattan. During her 13-year tenure with public television in New York, she held a series of leadership positions and was instrumental in overseeing the growth and diversification of THIRTEEN, WLIW21 and their many channels and services. In 2006, she was serving as WNET’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer when she was tapped to become the head of PBS in Washington. (more…)

Share Your Thoughts: The Band that Changed the World

October 27th, 2009

Ev’rybody’s talkin’ ’bout
Bagism, Shagism, Dragism, Madism, Ragism, Tagism
This-ism, that-ism, ism ism ism
All we are saying is give peace a chance
All we are saying is give peace a chance

– Lyrics from Give Peace a Chance, John Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band

John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s famous song was written and performed during their “Bed-In” in a hotel room in Montreal in June of ‘69. But it didn’t become a true anti-war anthem until Pete Seeger led nearly a quarter of a million people to sing the song during the largest anti-Vietnam war protest in America in November of that year in Washington, D.C.

This is just one example of the power that music, and the artists that create it, can have to change the world. And it’s the message of How The Beatles Rocked the Kremlin, a documentary coming to THIRTEEN on November 9th. The film tells the surprising story about how The Beatles and their music instilled rebelliousness in Eastern Bloc youth, ultimately bringing down the Soviet Union.

To celebrate music as a force for social change, THIRTEEN is asking viewers to go online – www.thirteen.org/beatles — to nominate bands or musicians that have changed the world. (more…)

Q&A: "You Cannot Start Without Me" director Allan Miller

October 26th, 2009

Allan Miller has produced and directed over 35 films and television programs around the world, documenting some of the most important musical events of the last two decades. He has won 2 Academy Awards: best Feature Length Documentary for his 1979 film “FROM MAO TO MOZART – Isaac Stern in China,” and in 1975 for “THE BOLERO,” best short feature, with Zubin Mehta and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. “SMALL WONDERS,” the story of a violin program in the public schools of East Harlem, was nominated for an Academy Award in 1996. His newest film, YOU CANNOT START WITHOUT ME – Valery Gergiev – Maestro, a co-production of Thirteen in association with White Nights Foundation of America and WNET.ORG premieres at Symphony Space on November 2nd thru Nov 7th 2009 with Sunday screenings on Nov 8th, 15th and 22nd. The film is an intimate portrait of Russian dynamo Valery Gergiev, one of the leading conductors of our time. The film moves between rehearsal and performance sequences in major capitals around the world, and provides a glimpse of Gergiev’s demanding life as administrator of the enormous Mariinsky theater in St. Petersburg. (more…)

"New York on the Clock" on a New York Staple – Coffee

October 15th, 2009

In the latest installment of New York on the Clock, Carlos Sarabia starts work when most people are asleep. He drives to Long Island City to pick up his breakfast cart and sets it up down the block from Thirteen’s offices. Among his faithful customers is Daniel Greenberg, executive producer of New York on the Clock, who realized the crucial but often unnoticed role coffee plays in the city. After talking with Carlos and hearing about his long hours and his efforts to raise his son, who is headed into the U.S. Air Force, Daniel suggested the New York on the Clock team go out and conduct an interview.

Thirteen.org: How long have you been going to Carlos?

Daniel Greenberg: I’ve been getting coffee every work day from Carlos for nearly four years.

Thirteen.org: What do you order from him?

DG: I start every morning with a large coffee, “light and sweet.” I can’t resist his pastries; they’re all delicious, and I have a sweet tooth. On Mondays I order a chocolate glazed doughnut. On Tuesdays I order a chocolate chip muffin. On Wednesdays I order a bear claw. On Thursdays, a French cruller and on Fridays, a blueberry muffin. Occasionally I order egg and cheese on a roll when I want something healthier…lol!

Thirteen.org: Why is Carlos important to New York City?

DG: Coffee is integral to the daily life of practically every New Yorker. Without coffee, the subways wouldn’t run, teachers would fall asleep in class, cops wouldn’t catch robbers, dogs wouldn’t chase squirrels – the city would grind to a halt. Coffee’s what makes the city run on time. Carlos supplies the fuel.

Thirteen.org: Why did you choose Carlos as a subject for New York on the Clock?

DG: After going to him every morning for 4 years, Carlos is, as they say in Spanish, “mi hermano” – like a brother. He and I talk everyday, about our families, our work, everything. Choosing to film Carlos was insprired by a conversation about his workday. I was blown away by his dedication to his business and to his family – he wakes up every morning at 1:30 am and doesn’t get home until 3pm – I have a lot of respect for Carlos.

Thirteen.org: What’s in store for upcoming New York on the Clock episodes?

DG: We have so many great and diverse New York characters coming up. We’re very excited about all of our profiles, including a hairdresser in Brooklyn, a street artist in Greenwich Village, and a tech-savvy mohel.

Watch Carlos Sarabia and more original videos about the people who make New York tick at New York on the Clock.

Video: Extended preview of "Obama's War" on FRONTLINE

October 12th, 2009

Season premieres Tuesday, October 13 at 9pm on THIRTEEN

FRONTLINE examines U.S. counter-insurgency strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan — a fight that promises to be longer and more costly than most Americans understand — through interviews with top commanders on the ground, embeds with U.S. forces and fresh reporting from Washington.

Watch a 24-minute rough cut of the first act of FRONTLINE’s season premiere,
“Obama’s War.”

Q&A: "Craft in America" creator and executive producer Carol Sauvion

October 5th, 2009

The second season of the Emmy-nominated and Peabody Award-winning series Craft in America , a filmed journey of the history, artists and techniques of the nation’s rich craft culture, continues the excursion into the diverse and ever-evolving world of American craft. Season two premiere on THIRTEEN on Wednesday, October 7 at 8 pm with “Origins” and “Process.” Inside THIRTEEN spoke with Carol Sauvion, the creator and co-executive producer of Craft in America, and a potter in her own right.

Q. Many of the crafts that you explore – pottery, beadworking, blacksmithing – are rooted in hundreds of years of American history. What are some ways that these craft traditions are passed down from generation to generation?

As potter Mark Hewitt says in the “Origins” episode of the new Craft in America series, the best way to pass craft traditions down is through family. He is referring to Jugtown Pottery on Seagrove, North Carolina, where Travis Owens, a fourth generation potter receives information from his father. Through working with his parents and being surrounded with early North Carolina pots, Travis will learn methods of making pots and firing the kiln that are the product of generations of experimentation and knowledge.

This method of passing down information exists in many craft practices, from bead working to quilt making to woodworking.

Q. You do you own craft, in a way, by creating the “Craft in America” series; but is there a craft you’ve come across during your production work that you wished you could do?

After producing two seasons of Craft in America, I know that filmmaking is definitely a craft and I have enjoyed learning it. Filmmaking reminds me of craft production because several people – the producer, director, director of photography, assistant cameraman, sound recordist, gaffer, grip, and editor – collaborate on a film, each bringing skills and artistry to the project. The collaboration and dedication to the final product are reminiscent of the processes craft workshops have used for thousands of years.

I have made pottery since 1969, when I learned to throw on the wheel and fell in love with clay. However, producing the Craft in America series has brought me into the studios of many artists working in the other craft mediums of wood, glass, metal and fiber. I have felt a strong attraction to weaving after visiting the studio of Jim Bassler, who is featured in the “Origins” episode. Jim pares weaving down to its most simple form. I would love to learn discontinuous weave, the technique he is now using, which, as he says, only requires two sticks and thread. It is quite different from the complicated, and I think, difficult process of setting up a loom. If I could learn to weave, I would also want to learn wedge weave, anther technique Jim uses that allows for diagonal weaving. Jim learned this technique from studying Navajo rugs.

Q. We live in an age where most of the everyday objects around us are produced quickly and cheaply. Do you think that the traditional ways of handmade crafting are in danger of dying out?

“Kiowa Princess Beaded Shoes” by Teri Greeves

Rather than dying out, I think there are several reasons why traditional crafting techniques are experiencing a rebirth now, at the beginning of the 21st century.

The first and most important reason is the universal urge to create that seems stronger than ever in this time of political and financial uncertainty. People, and especially young people, are turning to handwork for emotional and economic reasons.

Making something by hand gives one a sense of accomplishment and individuality that buying something does not. As Scott, the violin maker in the “Process” episode says, it is amazing to start with a piece of wood and end up with a violin.

In this time of disconnection with the sources of the objects we use, it is wonderful to make something by hand and incorporate that personal expression into our lives.

Q. So what inspires people in this day and age to pursue a career in craft? Is there a particularly inspiring story from your series that comes to mind?

There are several factors that inspire people to pursue a career in the crafts. A person who decides to work with their hands has the satisfaction of being able to express their creativity in a life that offers independence. In the “Process” episode of the new Craft in America series, Miguel Gomez Ibanez at the North Bennet Street School says it is quite different to finish a workday having made something as opposed to finishing the day having returned any number of phone calls.

Craft objects, the physical manifestations of the artist’s creativity, stand as a positive force that enriches the lives of the people who acquire them. If the objects are functional, the owners interact with them in a way that changes and humanizes their lives. The sense of touch is important to both the maker and the user of these objects. Touch is the one of our seven senses that is all but missing from contemporary experience.

Additionally, artists making craft objects are a part of the continuum that started with the first humans who learned to use tools to make things to improve their daily lives. This continuum, which is present in the pots, quilts, glass vessels, jewelry, ironwork, furniture, books and clothing being produced by craft artists today, is a vital part of who we are as a culture. In addition, the traditions of ornamentation and embellishment that accompanied the earliest crafts also exist today in objects that may not have a functional purpose but are created to inspire or satisfy emotional needs.

Eudorah Moore, who was instrumental in presenting the crafts in California in the last decades of the 20th century, commissioned a book entitled Craftsman’s Lifestyle: The Gentle Revolution. The last thing I’d like to mention is the importance of the lifestyle that accompanies a career in the crafts. Independence and an environment filled with beauty are essential elements of the craft artist’s world. The relationships a craft artist has with friends and family are the cornerstones of a community that thrives on creativity and independence. That means a lot nowadays.

Working with CUNY Students on National Parks: New Yorkers’ Memories

October 2nd, 2009

By Daniel T. Allen
Community Engagement Coordinator
Friends of Thirteen, Inc.

Watch National Parks: New Yorkers’ Memories

In 2007, as an intern for Friends of Thirteen, I was the first line of defense in screening the 1,500+ user generated war stories for our producer to use in a local companion to Ken Burns’ The War . From that experience I learned the ropes of “localizing” a national program and the potential for such projects to engage new communities.

So when WNET.ORG President Neal Shapiro asked Friends of Thirteen to help recruit college students to help produce a local program related to Burns’ latest, The National Parks: America’s Best Idea, the answer was a resounding yes!

Film student Daniel Cowen hangs around on location in a Brooklyn rock climbing gym.

I first turned to Daniel Cowen, a Macaulay Honors Scholar (MHC) and film student at Hunter College here in Manhattan. He founded the CUNY Film Festival last year and works hard to cultivate the cross-campus CUNY film community.

Daniel introduced me to Andres F. Otero from Hunter College, an accomplished documentarian who has free-lanced for the NY Daily News and NY Post, and Davi Santos, another MHC Scholar who hosts a TV program at Lehman College in the Bronx.

At our first pre-production meeting with producer Cyndee Readdean and project researcher Michael Skocay, the students were charged with creating a pilot video that would illustrate how each National Parks interview would flow.

Decision 2009: Ask New Jersey's gubernatorial candidates your questions

September 30th, 2009

What’s the #1 issue in New Jersey’s race for Governor?

On October 6 at 10 p.m. TUNE in for On the Line: Decision 2009. Emmy Award-winning anchor Steve Adubato will be joined by Governor Jon Corzine, Republican candidate Chris Christie and Independent candidate Chris Daggett. Broadcast LIVE on THIRTEEN, NJN Public Television , WBGO Jazz 88.3 FM and on the web at NJ.com and NJN.net.

Submit your question for the candidates below.

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