Tag Archives: American Masters

Celebrate LGBTQ Pride this June on WPT!

Diverse perspectives contribute greatly to our knowledge and understanding of the culture and diversity of Wisconsin residents. Fifty years after the Stonewall riots on June 28, 1969 (read more here!), Wisconsin Public Television is pleased to share Pride Month programs honoring many facets of LGBTQ life and history.

Read on for a selection of scripted and nonfiction programs airing this month, as well as exciting multimedia content from StoryCorps – that needs your story, too!

Continue reading Celebrate LGBTQ Pride this June on WPT!

Celebrate Women’s History Month 2019!

Birgit Nilsson performs the title role in Turandot, wearing a dramatic Chinese-themed trainFighters, feminists and “firsts” take the screen this month, showcasing the contributions of women in the modern world.

Wisconsin Public Television offers a full lineups of broadcast programs and online extras to enjoy, from American Masters to pledge specials featuring favorite musicians.

Read on to see what’s in store!

Continue reading Celebrate Women’s History Month 2019!

Celebrate African-American History Month 2019 with WPT

Any day is a great day to recognize the many contributions that African-Americans have made to American history and culture. But February offers special opportunities to celebrate and recognize African-Americans, both famous and not-so-famous, who have made a difference.

Read on for a selection of upcoming programs airing on WPT – and don’t forget our many offerings available anytime online!

Continue reading Celebrate African-American History Month 2019 with WPT

Celebrate Women’s History Month on WPT! Part 1

Anne Morrow Lindbergh poses in a leather aviators capFighters, feminists and “firsts” take the screen this month, showcasing the contributions of women in the modern world.

As we created this post, we actually got overwhelmed by the amount of amazing content out there – what a nice problem to have! So we’ve broken these offerings into two posts.

Read on for Part 1: broadcast highlights in the month to come. And keep your eyes open for Part 2: online resources, podcasts, interactive media and more!

Continue reading Celebrate Women’s History Month on WPT! Part 1

Celebrate African-American History Month with WPT!

A female college graduate smiles in a still from "Tell Them We Are Rising" Any day is a great day to recognize the many contributions that African-Americans have made to American history and culture. But February offers special opportunities to celebrate  and recognize African-Americans, both famous and not-so-famous, who have made a difference.

Read on for a selection of upcoming programs airing on WPT – and don’t forget our many offerings available anytime online.

Continue reading Celebrate African-American History Month with WPT!

Celebrating Bob Dylan

A young Bob Dylan on the street with a tireTo some, the choice of Bob Dylan as the 2016 Nobel laureate in Literature might be surprising. To others, who have followed the path of his lyrics since before he went electric, it’s an honor many years in the making.

Public broadcasters have often captured Dylan’s long career in film and discussion. Here are some WPT-approved options for reacquainting yourself with the wide scope of Dylan’s life and legacy.

Got any stories about Bob Dylan and how his words have made an impact on your life? We bet you do. Please share them in the comments!

Continue reading Celebrating Bob Dylan

A Look Ahead with WPT’s Director of Programming: Fall 2015

 “There are only 21 hours of prime time in the week. We can’t expand time.” – Garry Denny, Director of Programming

The summer is growing short, and as kids get excited about fresh crayon sets, adults anticipate a new broadcast season full of zombies, dragons and political intrigue. I spoke with our director of programing, Garry Denny, to see what exactly goes into crafting a successful fall schedule.

Whitechapel premieres in October

“As with all fall schedules, there’s a great deal of optimism,” Denny says. “We feel like everything we put on the air has a great deal of value to our viewers. Having said that, there’s a certain amount of reality that sets in. There’s a lot of competition out there.” Continue reading A Look Ahead with WPT’s Director of Programming: Fall 2015

A Look Ahead with WPT's Director of Programming: Spring 2015

“My job is not to put great programming on television; My job is to keep really bad programming off television. There’s far more bad television than there is good television to consider.” – Garry Denny, Director of Programming

Each year, WPT Director of Programming Garry Denny sifts through a mind-boggling amount of content. Denny may have started his career entering logs by typewriter at Howard University’s WHMM (now WHUT), but for the past 17 years he’s ensured that WPT brings you – our viewers – the highest quality programming available on public television. With the New Year fast approaching, Denny sat down and told me about some of his upcoming favorites for 2015:

The Story of Cancer
In the short term, I think we’re all excited about the new production from Ken Burns Florentine Films. Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies is directed by Barak Goodman and based off of the book, which did really well. The six-hour series is heartbreaking, but to some degree it’s also hopeful. The film will be broadcast in the early springtime, and it’s full of personal stories from cancer patients. Some of them do well and some of them don’t, but it gives you an overview of how cancer has really become this – as it says in the book – emperor of all maladies. It’s difficult to treat and it’s difficult to cure even 30 or 40 years after the Nixon administration launched a so-called war on cancer.

Bigger Than Vegas
Frontline has a new documentary which has been delayed and won’t broadcast until next fall because of continued reporting. They’re featuring Macau, a small region of China that’s become the gambling capital of the world. It not only rivals but outdoes Vegas in terms of the number of casinos and the amount of money that’s exchanged. The upcoming program talks about how corruption is prevalent because of all of the gambling.

I’m looking forward to seeing this episode, as I am with all new episodes of Frontline. I sit down to watch certain episodes thinking, “Well, I might be interested in this,” and then I get sucked in. They do a fantastic job. People can argue with me if they want, but I still think it’s the best journalistic documentary series on television anywhere. Continue reading A Look Ahead with WPT's Director of Programming: Spring 2015

Dorothea Lange: Grab a Hunk of Lightning

Dorothea Lange, Self-Portrait, 1935. “Dorothea Lange: Grab a Hunk of Lightning” premieres 4 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 31.

“Sometimes you annihilate yourself. That is something one needs to be able to do” – Dorothea Lange

Dorothea Lange was no stranger to losing herself in the lives of others. Her photographs capture intimate moments that would otherwise have gone unnoticed had she not set out to document the undocumented.

New Jersey-born Lange documented nationwide struggles, but she also experienced her fair share of setbacks. Her father abandoned the family when she was a child, prompting her to change her surname from Nutzhorn to Lange, her mother’s maiden name, at the age of 12. At the age of 7, Lange contracted polio that left her with a limp, a vestige that she was all too aware of throughout her life. “It formed me, guided me, instructed me, helped me and humiliated me,” Lange said of her altered gait. “I’ve never gotten over it, and I am aware of the force and power of it.”

Lange’s best-known photo was taken during the Great Depression, when Lange visited a camp for seasonal agricultural workers located north of Los Angeles, California.  “Migrant Mother” is a striking still of a 32-year-old mother, flanked by her children. Her facial expression conveys the pain of poverty. The Library of Congress states that it is just one of a series of photographs Lange took of Florence Owens Thompson and her children in February or March of 1936.

“Migrant Mother,” Dorothea Lange.

According to Lange, when the photo was taken, the mother had just sold the tires off of her car, and her family was surviving on scavenged vegetables and small birds killed by her children. After “Migrant Mother” was published in a San Francisco paper, the government rushed to provide aid to the camp to prevent starvation.

This image is just one example of how, by essentially losing herself to see the world through other’s eyes, Lange was able to take photos that actually impacted the course of her subject’s lives. In 1960, when reflecting on her visit to the impoverished encampment, Lange said of Thompson “[she] seemed to know that my pictures might help her, and so she helped me.”

Despite the obvious power of “Migrant Mother,” Lange’s work and life produced much more than one stunning image. American Masters’ Dorothea Lange: Grab a Hunk of Lightning illuminates the life of the talented photographer and tells the complete story of the woman behind the camera. Tune in for a glimpse into what inspired Lange to document life, not as she saw it, but as others lived it.

“Dorothea Lange: Grab a Hunk of Lightning” premieres 4 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 31. View the full film online now

Remembering Pete Seeger in Song

We are all sad to hear of the passing of folk legend Pete Seeger Monday at his home in New York at 94. To celebrate his life and music, we went back and found this 1976 performance of “This Land is Your Land” from a Soundstage tribute to Woody Guthrie on PBS.

Author and humorist Studs Terkel introduces the song, which is performed by Seeger, Judy Collins, Fred Hellerman and Arlo Guthrie. You can also watch clips and interviews from the 2008 American Masters: The Power of Song online here.