Show Previews

Director’s Cut: Carol Brandt, Pet Names

This week on Director’s Cut, it’s my pleasure to welcome director Carol Brandt, discussing her film Pet Names.

Pet Names | Official Trailer from Carol Brandt on Vimeo.

When her chemotherapy-patient mother urges her to take a vacation from playing nurse, grad school dropout Leigh invites her old high school boyfriend along on a camping trip. The two soon find that confronting old wounds during a weekend in the woods is anything but restful.

Read on for more about this film, and about my interview with director Carol Brandt!

Continue reading Director’s Cut: Carol Brandt, Pet Names

Tune In: “Breakthrough” presents Ideas That Changed The World

Through incredible, lesser-known stories of familiar history, the PBS series Breakthrough – The Ideas That Changed the World captures the secrets of today’s world through surprising accidents, colorful characters, and moments of joy and despair.

Artwork of an explosion with inventions – a jet, a car, a smartphone and more – emanate from the centerBreakthrough presents six iconic modern objects through thousands of years of historical precedents. What discoveries came first? Which inventions and ideas paved the way – and where, and why?

In the fourth episode, The Car, explore the history of the automobile, from its roots in dogsleds to scientists working on the next generation of self-driving cars.

Breakthrough – The Ideas That Changed The World: The Car premieres 9 p.m. Wednesday, May 8 on Wisconsin Public Television.

Read on to discover how 9,000 years of innovation set the stage for a machine that continues to excite and move us.

Continue reading Tune In: “Breakthrough” presents Ideas That Changed The World

Director’s Cut: Michael McGuire, “Aquarians”

Welcome to Season 12 of Director’s Cut on Wisconsin Public Television. Helping us shout “Action!” this Friday night is director Michael McGuire, discussing his film Aquarians.

AQUARIANS Official Trailer from Michael McGuire on Vimeo.

After an absence of several years, seminary student Daniel Sullivan returns to his wintry, Wisconsin hometown of Silver River. But if he’s to assist the dying Father Rob, he’s going to need to sway the skeptics who learn that he hasn’t spoken to his younger brother, Jake – a reclusive pot dealer – in years.  

With the help of a young woman from his past, Danny tracks his brother down, and the two embark on a ride of faith, ice fishing, temptation, drugs, and rock ‘n roll on the way to confronting their shared scars from a past tragedy that shaped their lives.

Read on for more about this film, and about my interview with director Michael McGuire!

Continue reading Director’s Cut: Michael McGuire, “Aquarians”

Q&A: Prof. Mike Leckrone, UW Varsity Band

Over his 50-year career leading the University of Wisconsin Bands, Prof. Mike Leckrone has often spoken of “moments of happiness” – the peaks in life that make the valleys easier to bear. He’s had many of those moments at Camp Randall Stadium and the Kohl Center.

Leckrone flies in with a “jet pack” at the 2019 Varsity Band Spring Concert.

So it’s fitting that “Moments of Happiness” is the title of his final Varsity Band Spring Concert.

Watch the legendary Leckrone take his final bow at the Kohl Center 7 p.m. Saturday, May 4 on WPT, with game day favorites, the best of popular and musical theater standards and (as always) many surprises.

Leckrone took time out of his still-busy schedule to speak with us. Read his reflections – including just what he plans to do after stepping down – in our Q&A below!

Continue reading Q&A: Prof. Mike Leckrone, UW Varsity Band

Click, Bid & Win! WPT Online-Exclusive Auction Runs May 1-14

For the first time ever, the annual Wisconsin Public Television Auction will be an online-exclusive event — and it all begins May 1!

We invite bidders to take part in the fun for a chance to win a wide variety of merchandise and services from Wisconsin businesses and individuals.

Proceeds from Auction support WPT programs, outreach and community engagement initiatives, and events that serve to enrich the Wisconsin community.

This year’s Auction will be held Wednesday, May 1 through Tuesday, May 14 and can be accessed online at auction.wpt.org.

With more than 2000 items donated by more than 700 different donors, this year’s Auction is sure to be a memorable one!

Read on to learn more!

Continue reading Click, Bid & Win! WPT Online-Exclusive Auction Runs May 1-14

Tune In: Meet the Hedgehogs Premiering on WPT April 7

Yes, that is rock legend and former lead guitarist of Queen, Brian May and yes, he is cradling a curled-up hedgehog. Featured in a new documentary hosted by British naturalist Steven Backshall (pictured at right), Meet the Hedgehogs uncovers the secretive life of the world’s most popular spiny mammal and reveals current efforts to protect them. Meet the Hedgehogs premieres on WPT Sunday, April 7 at 6 p.m.

Read on to learn more about this fun documentary!

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Meet the Cast of Les Misérables, Premiering on WPT April 14

There are some things you can always count on. The happiness that comes from that first cup of coffee — or tea — in the morning. The pure joy puppies bring. And, of course, some excellent MASTERPIECE programming on Sunday nights on Wisconsin Public Television. Thanks to the upcoming premiere of Les Misérables on April 14 on WPT,  Sunday nights are about to get even better.  Continue reading Meet the Cast of Les Misérables, Premiering on WPT April 14

Q&A: Andy Soth, Portraits From Rural Wisconsin

Portraits From Rural Wisconsin premieres 8 p.m. Thursday, April 11 on Wisconsin Public Television. Through a series of interwoven personal essays, see why some western Wisconsin residents still say that “rural life is the best life” – even in the face of hardship and change.

Andy Soth headshotProducer/reporter Andy Soth, whose work has appeared on Here & Now, WisContext and Wisconsin Life (among others), spoke to us about the multi-year process that has brought these unique visual essays to life.

Continue reading Q&A: Andy Soth, Portraits From Rural Wisconsin

Q&A: Pete Schwaba, Director’s Cut

Pete SchwabaFrom his home base in Marinette, writer, director and comedian Pete Schwaba remains connected to the independent film community as host of Director’s Cutas well as introducing documentaries shown on Independent Lens and POV.

Each year, the Director’s Cut season kicks off with a preview of the Wisconsin Film Festival. Join Schwaba and special guests – festival organizers and filmmakers – 9 p.m. Monday, April 1 on WPT to discuss some of the great offerings in store. Then, come on down to the fest itself from April 4-11, where Schwaba presents the Golden Badger Awards to the best of Wisconsin’s Own films.

Schwaba spoke with us to share some of his favorite indie film picks from past seasons, and what he loves about public TV. Read on!

Continue reading Q&A: Pete Schwaba, Director’s Cut

Tune in: Joni Mitchell Live at the Isle of Wight Festival 1970

What is it about Joni Mitchell that connects so deeply with audiences? Perhaps it’s because her songs can express things within ourselves that we sometimes struggle to put into words. We listen to her music and we understand. Whatever quality it is that grants a sense of clarity on both reality and the imaginary, Joni’s got it.

The daughter of a Canadian school teacher and flight instructor, her journey from the prairies of Saskatchewan to the hills of Laurel Canyon produced some of the 20th century’s greatest music.

Joni Mitchell Live at the Isle of Wight Festival 1970 premieres tonight at 9:30 on Wisconsin Public Television.

Read on to learn more about this upcoming special!

Continue reading Tune in: Joni Mitchell Live at the Isle of Wight Festival 1970