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Get Up and Go With Wisconsin Public Television!

Get Up and Go! Day 2015

Wisconsin Public Television’s PBS Kids Get Up and Go! Day takes place one week from today: 10 a.m. to noon Friday, Aug. 7! Mark your calendar and join us at this fun-filled, free event that encourages children to live healthy and active lives.

PBS Kids Get Up and Go! Day
Visit WPT’s YouTube channel to watch archived video from Get Up and Go! Day 2014!

Get Up and Go! Day is held in locations across the state, and each location features music, dancing, favorite PBS Kids characters, hands-on activities and crafts, community organizations and more. Families, day care groups and other childcare organizations are welcome to attend! Continue Reading for information o

Continue reading Get Up and Go With Wisconsin Public Television!

A Hearty Helping of Wisconsin Supper Club Culture

Take a fresh look at an Upper Midwest culinary tradition with Wisconsin Public Television’s newest documentary, Supper Clubs 101. The documentary is available online now and makes its television debut 7:30 p.m. this Thursday, July 23.

The documentary takes a behind-the-scenes look at the hometown restaurants that are serving hearty meals and a dose of nostalgia. From the history of the term “supper club” to a look at supper clubs’ symbiotic relationship with state agriculture, you’ll get a tasty tour of Wisconsin’s culinary history.

Dive into the history of Friday fish fries, a tradition that caught on during Prohibition, and explore how supper clubs’ nightly menus have been shaped by deep-rooted traditions.

In addition to a look at the history of supper clubs, Supper Clubs 101 explains how modern research conducted at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is helping today’s supper clubs serve fresher produce, meat and dairy. It also includes a look at local brews with UW-Madison food science professor Jim Steele, who is supplying up-and-coming beer brewers with tools for better beer, thereby helping supper clubs draft pints with local flavor.

Be sure to watch online or tune in this Thursday!

Supper Clubs 101 is a co-production of Wisconsin Public Television and University Communications at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 

Your Daily Dose of Cute, 'Sesame Street' Style

It’s hard to decide which Sesame Street star is the cutest. Whether it’s a touching moment with Elmo or an important lesson from Grover, when it comes to adorable, heart-warming characters and scenes, Sesame Street’s got ’em. (Yes, Oscar, even you’re cute sometimes!)

To honor the spirit of all things cute, I’ve scoured the internet for the most adorable Sesame Street moment in history. My research has produced this gem starring two guests: the always lovable Kermit and an adorable little girl named Joey.

The clip begins with Kermit asking Joey if she can sing the “ABC Song.” “Yes I could,” Joey replies matter-of-factly. There’s only one catch: Joey’s version is a little different from the song we all know so well.

Take a look and let me know which version of the song you prefer! Have a favorite cute moment from Sesame Street you’d like to share? Reply below!

LGBT Pride Month: Special Programs Airing This June

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month (LGBT Pride Month) is celebrated each June to honor the 1969 Stonewall riots in Manhattan, a tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement in the United States. This June on Wisconsin Public Television, enjoy programs including:

Independent Lens “The New Black”
9 p.m. Monday, June 1
See how the African American community is grappling with gay rights in light of the gay marriage movement and the fight over civil rights. This program documents activists, families and clergy on both sides of the campaign to legalize gay marriage.

Independent Lens “We Were Here”
10:30 p.m. Friday, June 5
Both inspiring and devastating, David Weissman’s film revisits the arrival in San Francisco of what was called the “Gay Plague” in the early 1980s. It illuminates the profound issues raised by the AIDS epidemic as well as the broad political and social upheavals it unleashed, offering a cathartic validation for the generation that suffered through the onset of AIDS while opening a window of understanding to those who have only the vaguest notions of what transpired in those years.

Facing Fear
5:30 p.m. Sunday, June 14
This 30-minute documentary shows what happens when a former neo-Nazi skinhead and a gay victim of his hate crime attack meet by chance after 25 years.

Independent Lens “Limited Partnership”
9 p.m. Monday, June 15 
In 1975, when American Richard married Australian native Tony in one of the first same sex marriages performed in the U.S., they found themselves on the front lines in the battle for legal immigration status for same sex spouses.

POV “Out in the Night”
9 p.m. Monday, June 22 
Examine the uphill battle of a group of African American lesbians charged with attempted murder when they fought back after being threatened. The case reveals the role that race, gender identity and sexuality play in the criminal justice system.

Out and Proud in Chicago
11 p.m. Wednesday, June 24
Hosted by actress Jane Lynch, “Out & Proud” charts the history of Chicago’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community from the 19th century to the present.

Young Performers Shine During Birch Creek Concerts

Talented young performers take center stage on Wisconsin Public Television when Percussion at Birch Creek and Symphony at Birch Creek premiere this June. Both concerts were filmed at the picturesque Birch Creek Music Performance Center in Egg Harbor and feature young performers from across the country demonstrating techniques learned during intensive two-week sessions with world-class educators.

Percussion at Birch Creek, premiering 8 p.m. Monday, June 1 on WPT and online now, features the students demonstrating newly learned percussion techniques and performing a variety of musical styles including steel band, world percussion, and classical and popular music.

Symphony at Birch Creek, premiering 8 p.m. Monday, June 8 on WPT and online now, is a culmination of the young musicians’ symphony and chamber music session and features performances of full orchestral pieces. Two winners of the Burton Concerto Competition — trombonist Naomi Black and violinist Andrew Reed — are also featured.

Percussion at Birch Creek and Symphony at Birch Creek will be aired simultaneously via live stream on wpt.org during their WPT premieres. Both concerts are part of WPT’s multiyear Young Performers Initiative, a statewide effort to raise the visibility of the arts, celebrate the creative achievements of Wisconsin’s young people and support the arts in education.

Pick Your Poison: "Sugar vs. Fat" Pits Bacon Against Bread

Twin doctors Chris and Xand Van Tulleken go on special diets in "Sugar vs. Fat," premiering 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 6 on Wisconsin Public Television.
Twin doctors Chris and Xand Van Tulleken go on special diets in “Sugar vs. Fat,” premiering 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 6 on Wisconsin Public Television.

As a kid, I always wondered what it would be like to have an identical twin. Would we switch places to trick our friends? Would we become famous actresses, maybe even starring in Full House? One scenario I never considered, however, is what twin doctors (twin doctors … what are the odds?) Xand and Chris Van Tulleken decided to do with their genetic similarities.

In the twins’ documentary Sugar vs. Fat, premiering 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 6 on Wisconsin Public Television, the pair go on separate diets for four weeks, with Xand only eating foods with a high sugar content like breads, pasta, rice, potatoes, sweets and fizzy drinks, and Chris only eating high-fat foods, consuming as much butter, cheese, meat, burgers, cream and mayonnaise as he desires.

Throughout their dietary duel, they test how their minds and bodies cope with high-sugar and high-fat meals. By the end of their experiment, the twins are less healthy than when they began, but their health suffers in very different ways. The end result proves that while both sugar and fat are damaging, the combination of the two could be the most threatening of all.

While the fact that sugar and fat aren’t particularly good for us might be unsurprising, the documentary offers a unique look at how certain food groups affect our bodies. The twins are extremely entertaining throughout, offering a much-needed dose of humor to lighten up the otherwise serious topic.

And for the record, if I had the opportunity to eat one of these dietary menaces in excess without the harmful consequences, I’d be team sugar all the way.

"The Town" Offers Familiar Faces; Brand-New Mysteries

Coming home isn’t always easy, but in the miniseries The Town, premiering 8 p.m. tonight, Thursday, April 30 on Wisconsin Public Television, returning home proves especially difficult for 30-year-old Mark Nicholas (Andrew Scott, Sherlock). Having spent the last 10 years building a new life in London, independent Mark is forced to return home after a devastating family tragedy. Despite his reluctance, he’s quickly drawn back into the complicated world he left behind.

“The Town” premieres 8 p.m. tonight, Thursday, April 30 on Wisconsin Public Television.

You’ll likely recognize a number of the show’s cast members, including Martin Clunes (Doc Martin) and Julia McKenzie (Miss Marple). But despite the familiar faces, the drama, written by Mike Bartlett and directed by Colin Teague (Doctor Who), offers a refreshing new take on mystery.

“A thrillingly sinister take on suburbia … The atmosphere of menace and melancholy never dissipated, and Bartlett was brilliant at showing how shock reveals the weirdness of normality.” — Daily Telegraph

The Town’s premise and plot are captivating, but the scenery is an added bonus. It is set in contemporary Britain in the fictional market town of Renton, a place that’s not a city, and yet not the countryside. The people of Renton face the same challenges we all do, but are determined to enjoy life as much as they possibly can.

At the heart of The Town is a man struggling to find a place in the community he grew up in, while also fighting to find answers to the many questions that have arisen since he left.

“Playwright Mike Bartlett captures brilliantly the bleakness of a location you return to from duty not desire; the oppressiveness of being for ever the person you were as a teenager, rather than the adult you’ve become, coupled with the realization that everything and nothing has changed … Both surprising and intriguing.” — Guardian

Movie Night! "Victor, Victoria" Steals the Show

I refuse to watch a movie without checking the reviews first. Sure, I could form my own opinion after an hour or so, but why waste the time if others have already sat through the film and shared their thoughts? My quest for reviews usually leads me straight to Rotten Tomatoes, and I’m rarely disappointed by the information I find.

Victor, Victoria, airing tonight at 9:35 p.m. on Wisconsin Public Television, is a must-see based on its cast and reputation alone, but the good reviews don’t hurt. “Driven by a fantastic lead turn from Julie Andrews, Blake Edwards’ musical gender-bender is sharp, funny and all-round entertaining,” cheers Rotten Tomatoes.

The 1982 musical centers on an entertainer (Andrews) living in 1930s Paris, who is rescued from starvation by cabaret performer Robert Preston. Preston’s advice? Adopt a gimmick to rake in the cash. Andrews does just that, becoming a male impersonator pretending to be a female impersonator … and soon becomes the toast of Paris.

If you’re looking for a relaxing Friday evening like I am, Victor, Victoria won’t disappoint.

Meet This Year's WPT Auction Commemorative Artist

Ann Fischer Athas
Ann Fischer Athas

Art items created by artists from around the state will be available throughout Auction, May 27-31, including the work of Ann Fischer Athas, the 2015 Auction Commemorative Artist.

Ask Ann Fischer Athas to name her proudest artistic achievement and she won’t boast, even though her creations are remarkable. Instead she’ll cite the fact that she keeps producing. “Just when you think you’ve found something you like to do in printmaking, you find a million more things to explore,” she says.

Fischer Athas consistently turns her concepts into realities by producing one-of-a-kind prints often inspired by nature. Printmaking is a technical, step-intensive art form that has deep roots. Many printmaking techniques date back to the 1600s. The commemorative piece Fischer Athas has donated to Auction, titled “Winter on the Farm, February, 2015,” was created using the intaglio method, which is the exact opposite of a relief print. For this piece, the image was incised into the surface of the plate using acid, and the etched area held the ink prior to transfer.

Winter on the Farm, February, 2015

Like the origins of printmaking, Fischer Athas’ love of printmaking runs deep. She first experimented with printmaking while working on her B.A. at Knox College. After graduating with a degree in art, she worked as a graphic designer in marketing for years, until a move to Wisconsin brought printmaking back into her life.

After relocating, Fischer Athas heard about a printmaking class offered by UW-Extension and decided she wanted to try the medium again. So the then stay-at-home mom hired a babysitter for her daughters and headed back to the studio for the first time in years.

“I thought, ‘do it now or you’re never going to do it,’” she reflects. Looking back, she recognizes that decision as a pivotal moment in her life. She has now been making prints for more than 20 years.

“One of the things that’s interesting about the printmaking tradition is the collaboration between artists and printers,” she explains.

That rapport is showcased by the donated piece, which was created through collaboration between Fischer Athas and Master Printer Andrew Balkin, with Balkin serving as the printer for the edition.

To learn more about Fischer Athas’ prints, visit

Be sure to join us for this year’s Auction, May 27-31 as we celebrate our 40th year of fantastic fun! Help support Wisconsin Public Television as you bid on an array of goods and services donated by businesses and individuals from around Wisconsin and beyond. For details, visit auction.wpt.org.

Downton Abbey Ending After Season 6

Dowager CountessIt’s official … Masterpiece’s masterpiece, Downton Abbey, will call it quits after Season 6. PBS announced the news yesterday.

Gareth Neame, executive producer of Downton Abbey, said: “Millions of people around the world have followed the journey of the Crawley family and those who serve them for the last five years. Inevitably, there comes a time when all shows should end, and Downton is no exception. We wanted to close the doors of Downton Abbey when it felt right and natural for the storylines to come together and when the show was still being enjoyed so much by its fans. We can promise a final season full of all the usual drama and intrigue, but with the added excitement of discovering how and where they all end up.”

When I heard that Maggie Smith vowed to quit after Season 6 earlier this month, I must admit I wondered how the show could continue without her sassy spirit and quick wit. I guess we won’t have to face a season without the Dowager after all, but the news of Downton’s end is surely sad.

Luckily, it’s not time to say goodbye quite yet. We can look forward to Season 6, and perhaps entertain speculation about future Downton spinoffs. Downton has enjoyed unrivaled success during its run, receiving 51 Emmy nominations, “more than any other British show in Emmy history,” according to PBS. Season 5 was seen by 25.5 million people.

Julian Fellowes, writer and creator of Downton Abbey, said, “The Downton journey has been amazing for everyone aboard. People ask if we knew what was going to happen when we started to make the first series and the answer is that, of course we had no idea. Exactly why the series had such an impact and reached so many people around the world, all nationalities, all ages, all types, I cannot begin to explain. But I do know how grateful we are to have been allowed this unique experience. I suspect the show will always be a principal marker in most of our careers as we set out from here, and if so, I consider that a blessing and a compliment.”