About Jessica Lee

I'm the Online Content Manager at Wisconsin Public Television. Have a website suggestion? Tell me! I would also love to create new ways to engage online with you — our awesome Wisconsin viewers. If you have any creative ideas, I'd love to hear them. In my free time, I am likely away from my computer exploring the outdoors. Email: jessica.lee@wpt.org or find me on Twitter: @jessicalee27


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Wisconsin Week Recap: The Great Wisconsin Baking Challenge

And we’re back! After a three-week hiatus to allow for baking vacations and the Wisconsin Public Television summer fund drive (we welcome your support and donations anytime!), our Wisconsin Week challenge has finally concluded.

Many of our local bakers really upped their game for Week 8, with impressive presentations and ambitious blends of local ingredients. The Great Wisconsin Baking Challenge deviated slightly from the goals of Episode 8, which were to embrace the era of Henry VIII by baking creations to please the upper class at a fancy Tudor banquet. Rather, we wanted to see bakers bake for regular Wisconsin folk, tapping local farms, businesses and backyard gardens — and sourcing inspiration from our great state itself.

But don’t worry. You can find references to Game of Thrones in both.

GBBS Tudor-Week

It’s time to showcase the efforts of our local bakers and recap this week’s episode of The Great British Baking Show. Spoiler warning!

Continue reading Wisconsin Week Recap: The Great Wisconsin Baking Challenge

Week 6 Botanical Recap: The Great Wisconsin Baking Challenge

Seven contestants on The Great British Baking Show took on three very different challenges inspired by nature. All tested technique, creativity and patience. One person made quite the rebound to land Star Baker, despite magnificent creations by the more consistent bakers.

The Great British Baking Show S4E6

Our local bakers took on the botanical challenge with enthusiasm, tapping their gardens, markets, CSAs, farmers markets and friends for fresh ingredients. And, we were pleased to see the Wisconsin state tree and flower be honored in their creations.

Here’s our recap of both the show and all the submissions we received this week in The Great Wisconsin Baking Challenge. Read to the bottom to find out who our local featured bakers are for Week 6!

And as always, here’s our spoiler alert!

Continue reading Week 6 Botanical Recap: The Great Wisconsin Baking Challenge

WPT’s “Little Man” Featured in PBS Online Film Festival

Wisconsin Public Television is pleased to announce that the animated story “Little Man,” produced by our motion graphics designer Philip Ashby, has been accepted into the 2017 PBS Online Film Festival!

From July 17 to July 28, you can watch all 25 films included in the festival. Viewers are also encouraged to vote for and share their favorite films to win the “Most Popular” award.  And, for the first time ever, a distinguished panel of eight jury members will select their favorite film of the festival for the “Juried Prize”. Join the conversation online with #PBSFilmFest.

In this animated story, “Little Man” brings to life the words of Steven Rodriguez. While enrolled in the First Wave Hip Hop Spoken Word and Hip Hop Arts Learning Community at University of Wisconsin-Madison, Rodriguez composed a poem inspired by his younger brother nicknamed, “Little Man.”  He speaks to his brother’s struggles with discrimination as a Mexican American and tries to infuse his brother with a sense of hope for the future. He also discusses his experiences being born to a drug-addicted mother, and being a struggling — but dedicated — college student.

In a Q&A with PBS, Ashby discusses why he was inspired by the words of Steven Rodriquez and the creative process behind his animation.

“My creative process usually starts in my sketchbook. After I hear the voice track or read the script, I start doodling and what usually flows through my pencil is a character or a scene that evokes the atmosphere of what I experience with the piece,” Ashby explains. “Once I have a sense of the art direction I create a storyboard, which helps me think about scene transitions and the flow of the visual story.”

Speaking about his choice of color in the film, Ashby says: “The life circumstances of Steven and his brother are bleak. I wanted to express this by creating a dark environment with no light entering this space. By putting the characters onto a black background, I wanted the viewer to sense their isolation and desperation.”

“Little Man” premiered on Wisconsin Public Television in 2016 in an episode of Wisconsin Life.

“I hope the viewers find an appreciation for Steven’s art, which is sincere and authentic,” Ashby says. “Urban artists like Steven share personal expressions that give us an honest look at areas of our community that are unknown or ignored by most of us.”

Read the full Q&A.

Week 4 Batter Recap: The Great Wisconsin Baking Challenge

The nine remaining contestants didn’t know what to expect by the first-ever “batter” challenge, except that it was ripe for new puns.

The episode started in familiar territory with Yorkshire pudding, but then the lace pancakes and churro challenges really set the crew apart. Let’s just say a few of them took “a battering.”

Read on to see who our Week 4 featured bakers are in The Great Wisconsin Baking Challenge, but first, let’s reflect on what we learned from the latest episode of The Great British Baking Show. Spoiler alert!

Continue reading Week 4 Batter Recap: The Great Wisconsin Baking Challenge

Week 2 Cookies Recap: The Great Wisconsin Baking Challenge

In the second week of Season 4 of The Great British Baking Show, the 11 remaining contestants tackled three very challenging biscuit recipes: Iced Biscuits, Viennese Whirls and a 3-D Gingerbread Story.

Here in Wisconsin, hearing the word “biscuit” reminds us of chicken, glazed ham, gravy and doggie treats. So, we’re calling this week’s challenge what it really is: Cookies.

We put our local bakers to the test, asking them not only to follow suit and select one of these cookie varieties to tackle, but to add a Wisconsin twist to their creations. We know that you’ll be impressed!

Before we unveil our six new featured bakers for Week 2 below, let us quickly recap the latest episode. If you haven’t watched it yet, this warning is for you: Spoiler alert!
Continue reading Week 2 Cookies Recap: The Great Wisconsin Baking Challenge

Week 1 Cake Recap: The Great Wisconsin Baking Challenge

Season 4 of The Great British Baking Show had a sweet beginning: Cake. In the premiere episode, the 12 new contestants were challenged to bake and decorate three delicious creations: Drizzle Cake, Jaffa Cakes and Mirror Glaze Cake.

In the spirit of The Great British Baking Show, we asked our Wisconsin bakers to select just one of the three cake types to tackle in our kick-off challenge. Let’s recap the episode and see how our local bakers did!

If you have not watched this episode yet, then this is your official spoiler warning!

And read to the bottom to find out who our six featured Wisconsin bakers are!

Continue reading Week 1 Cake Recap: The Great Wisconsin Baking Challenge

‘American Epic’ and WPT’s Recorded Folk Music

The groundbreaking three-part documentary American Epic takes us around the country to explore how the music of ordinary Americans was recorded for the first time in the 1920s.

In the second part, “Blood and Soil,” airing tonight on WPT at 8 p.m., viewers will explore musical stories from the rural South. Charley Patton, Elder Burch and others made audio recordings of people performing early Delta blues, work songs, gospel, and protest tunes. If you missed “The Big Bang,” last week’s series opener, no worries! Watch it online.

The new series inspired us at WPT to dig into the archives of our decade-long live music program, 30-Minute Music Hour, to find past performances by people inspired by the music you will hear tonight on American Epic.

Here are a few feature performances, captured right here in the WPT studio, that we thought you would enjoy after tuning in.
Continue reading ‘American Epic’ and WPT’s Recorded Folk Music

Legacy of the USS Lagarto

The USS Lagarto began its life in a Manitowoc shipyard and went down fighting in a sea battle against a Japanese convoy. But its fascinating story didn’t end in the depths of the Gulf of Thailand.

Decades later, details have emerged about what happened to the 86 men who vanished along with the submarine.

Tonight on WPT at 8 p.m., Lost and Found: The Legacy of the USS Lagarto explores what happened to the submarine, its crew — and the families they left behind. 

Watch a preview provided by the Wisconsin Maritime Museum:

Continue reading Legacy of the USS Lagarto

Speak Up! Auctioneer Auditions Held April 4-5

This year’s Auction to benefit Wisconsin Public Television could feature you at the microphone!

WPT is holding auditions for volunteer auctioneers for our annual Auction, which will broadcast live on television May 31 through June 4. We’re looking for both adult and youth auctioneers!

Auditions will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the WPT studios on Tuesday, April 4 and Wednesday, April 5. To register for an auctioneer training and audition session, please complete the online form. 

At Auction, the auctioneer’s job is to introduce items and encourage high bids by reading copy on-air and announcing winning bids. During the auditions, we will provide you with examples of auctioneers in action and give you the opportunity to practice reading scripts with help from our friendly, expert coaches. No advance preparation is required — just bring your enthusiasm for public broadcasting and your best speaking voice!

Wisconsin Public Television studios are located at 821 University Avenue in Vilas Hall, on the corner of Park Street, on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus.

If auctioneering isn’t your forte, we can still use your help to make this year’s Auction a success. Visit our volunteer page for more information.  And thank you!

Preview: Wisconsin Film Festival 2017

The Wisconsin Film Festival is the state’s premier cinema event, featuring local filmmakers anmovies shot in the state, as well as a diverse range of national and international films. Celebrating its 18th year in 2017, it takes place in Madison from March 30 to April 6.

In this year’s Director’s Cut special episode Wisconsin Film Festival 2017, host Pete Schwaba sits down with the Jim Healy, the festival’s director of programming, to preview this year’s selection of films from a variety of categories. From American visionaries to films by new female directors and even pre-teen filmmakers, Healy’s selections on the program particularly showcase movies made right here in Wisconsin.

“We program thinking about the audience,” Healy says. “We’ve picked the best films from festivals around the world, and films that have been submitted to us in our Wisconsin zone section, to make a festival of festivals.”

With a look at five films screening at the festival, Schwaba and Healy are joined by:

Director Andrew SwantSilently Steal Away: The film explores the story behind the Jack Raymond Show, which has aired on an eccentric Chippewa Falls radio station. But who is Jack Raymond?

Director Mark Davis and subject Jan JensenThe Bear and the Owl: This short documentary film explores the story of an ailing young girl and the kindness of a stranger.

Director, producer and screenwriter Katherine AcostaDivided We Fall: This documentary looks back at the massive 2011 protests inside the Wisconsin State Capitol against Act 10. The investigation revisits many issues that remain relevant in a post-2016 election America.

Co-directors Wesley Morgan & Kate FeldtFake Jewels: This nostalgic and comedic movie explores a long-lost friendship as two women attempt to find a time capsule buried a decade ago.

Editor Luke Bassuener and fifth graders Jaeana Sabally and Jalen Baumback (directors, cast, writers)Daedalus and Icarus: Students in the 4th grade classes of Madison’s Crestwood Elementary School animate the classic Greek myth of Daedalus and Icarus, using block-print and paper-cuts. This film has been awarded one of only three 2017 Golden Badger Awards as a top Wisconsin’s Own honoreee.

Director’s Cut airs Monday, March 27 at 8 p.m. on Wisconsin Public Television.

Wisconsin Public Television is a proud sponsor of Wisconsin’s Own, hosting a brunch each year for the festival’s film industry guests. This year, more than 150 people submitted films to be considered for Wisconsin’s Own.