American Masters, 8 pm Friday, Aug. 29: Her haunting "migrant mother" photo came to represent the suffering of the Great Depression.
Her celebrated photograph “Migrant Mother” is one of the most recognized and arresting images in the world, a haunting portrait that came to represent the suffering of America’s Great Depression. Yet few know the story, struggles and profound body of work of the woman behind the camera: Dorothea Lange (May 26, 1895 – Oct. 11, 1965).
American Masters — Dorothea Lange: Grab a Hunk of Lightning, premiering on WILL-TV at 8 pm Friday, Aug. 29,, explores the life, passions and uncompromising vision of the influential photographer. Her enduring images document five turbulent decades of American history, including the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl and World War II Japanese American internment camps. Peabody- and five-time Emmy award-winning cinematographer Dyanna Taylor — the granddaughter of Lange and writer/social scientist Paul Schuster Taylor — directs and narrates this intimate American Masters documentary.
Taylor, who learned to see the visual world through her grandmother’s eyes, combines family memories and journals with never-before-seen photos and film footage to bring Lange’s story into sharp focus. The result is a personal documentary of the artist whose empathy for people on the margins of society challenged America to know itself.
The film features newly discovered interviews and vérité scenes with Lange from her Bay Area home studio, circa 1962-1965, including work on her unprecedented, one-woman career retrospective at New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). Showcasing more than 800 works by Lange, her first husband Maynard Dixon and second husband Paul Schuster Taylor combined, American Masters — Dorothea Lange: Grab a Hunk of Lightning reveals the camera as Lange’s first muse and the confluence of artists at work and in love. Explaining the impact of these relationships on Lange’s life and documentary photography style, filmmaker/narrator Dyanna Taylor demonstrates the challenges of balancing artistic pursuits and family.
The documentary weaves Lange telling her own story with new interviews of family, friends and colleagues, including Lange’s son Daniel Dixon; Lange’s goddaughter and biographer Elizabeth Partridge; Richard Conrad, Lange’s assistant for the MoMA exhibit; photographer Rondal Partridge, Lange’s assistant and son of photographers Imogen Cunningham and Roi Partridge; Becky Jenkins, Maynard Dixon’s granddaughter; Dr. Margot Taylor-Fanger, Paul Schuster Taylor’s daughter; and many others.
“My grandmother’s photographs grew out of her depth as a person. Ever since I began my career in filmmaking, I’ve wanted to make a film which would express the true breadth of her work and the ways she perceived the world,” said Dyanna Taylor, whose past work on American Masters films includes Ernest Hemingway: Rivers to the Sea and F. Scott Fitzgerald – Winter Dreams. “During my young years, as we spent time together, she taught me how to see, to understand that nothing is as it appears at first glance.”
3 pm Sundays and 10 am Mondays on WILL-AM: A clear-eyed look at all media.
While maintaining the civility and fairness that are the hallmarks of public radio, OTM tackles sticky issues with a frankness and transparency that has built trust with listeners and led to more than a tripling of its audience in five years.
Since OTM was re-launched in 2001, it has been one of NPR's fastest growing programs, heard on more than 300 public radio stations. It has won Edward R. Murrow Awards for feature reporting and investigative reporting, the National Press Club's Arthur Rowse Award for Press Criticism and a Peabody Award for its body of work.
For more on the history of On the Media, and how it fits in to the rest of public radio, check out the "manifesto" written by OTM managing editor Brooke Gladstone for Transom.org back in 2004. You can find it here.
A huge thank you to everyone who helped us raise almost $50,000 during our August TV fundraising drive!
Jeff Bossert looks at her ties to the area, including performances at Krannert and the Virginia, and a friendship with the director of The Chorale. Redpath died Thursday.
As summer draws to a close, Lisa Bralts happens upon writer Ava Chin's memoir, Eating Wildly, and discovers that being in the weeds isn't always a bad thing.
5 pm Saturday, Aug. 30, WILL-AM: We explore the evolutionary origins of sleep and whether novel technologies could cut down on our need for those zzzzzs.
We’ve all hit the snooze button when the alarm goes off, but why do we crave sleep in the first place? We explore the evolutionary origins of sleep … the study of narcolepsy in dogs … and could novel drugs and technologies cut down on our need for those zzzzs.
Plus, ditch your dream journal: a brain scanner may let you record – and play back – your dreams.
And, branch out with the latest development in artificial light: bioluminescent trees. How gene tinkering may make your houseplants both grow and glow.
Emmanuel Mignot – Professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, and director of the Stanford Center for Sleep Sciences and Medicine, Stanford University
Kyle Taylor – Molecular biologist at Glowing Plant
Jerry Siegel – Neuroscientist and professor of psychiatry, the University of California, Los Angeles
Jack Gallant – Professor of psychology and neuroscience, University of California, Berkeley
7:30 pm Tues., Sept. 9: Get a sneak preview of the series and hear local experts react.
Join us at Clark-Lindsey Village, 101 W. Windsor Rd. in Urbana, for a special 40-minute sneak preview and discussion of The Roosevelts: An Intimate History at 7:30 pm Tuesday, Sept. 9. No RSVP is required.
After we view clips from the series, Presidential speeches expert John Murphy, University of Illinois associate professor of communication, and Mark Leff, professor emeritus of history, will react to the videos and make brief remarks before answering questions from the audience.
Murphy studies the rhetoric of the U.S. presidency and contemporary politics; presidential war rhetoric and campaign speeches. Leff specializes in post-1900 public policy and social movements, war and society, and civil liberties.
For those who live near Bloomington-Normal, there's another preview event, sponsored by WTVP and WILL, at 7 pm Monday, Sept. 8, at the Normal Theater, 209 W. North St., in Uptown Normal. New Illinois Public Media and WTVP CEO President Moss Bresnahan will be there to greet guests.
The Roosevelts: An Intimate History airs on WILL-TV over seven consecutive nights beginning at 7 pm Sunday, Sept. 14.
The film weaves the stories of Theodore, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, three members of one of the most prominent and influential families in American politics. The series marks the first time their individual stories have been woven into a single narrative.
“The Roosevelts have played significant roles in other stories we’ve told before, from the National Parks to World War II,” said filmmaker Ken Burns. “It’s impossible, in fact, to visit many parts of the American experience without encountering their presence. But beyond simply sharing a bloodline or political success, they each shared a passionate belief that America is at its strongest when everyone has an equal chance. And on a personal level, they each struggled to overcome their own fears while maintaining a public face of courage.”
The Roosevelts follows the family’s story for more than a century, from Theodore’s birth in 1858 to Eleanor’s death in 1962. Over the course of those years, Theodore would become the 26th president of the United States, and his beloved niece, Eleanor, would marry his fifth cousin, Franklin, who became the 32nd president. Together, they redefined the relationship Americans had with their government and with each other, and redefined, as well, the role of the United States within the wider world. The series encompasses all the history the Roosevelts helped to make — the creation of National Parks and the digging of the Panama Canal, the New Deal and the defeat of Hitler, and the postwar struggles for civil rights at home and human rights around the world in which Eleanor Roosevelt played a central role. But it is also an intimate human story about love and betrayal, family feeling and personal courage and the conquest of fear.
Legendary actress Meryl Streep portrays Eleanor Roosevelt in readings from her personal letters and writings. Of her performance, Burns said, “As we’ve seen time and time again, Ms. Streep is a magician. Here, she completely transformed herself into Eleanor Roosevelt, simply through her voice. It was remarkable to witness. The entire cast delivers what I consider to be some of the finest voice-over work we’ve ever been fortunate enough to present.”
Joining Streep are Paul Giamatti as the voice of Theodore Roosevelt and Edward Herrmann, two-time Emmy Award nominee for his performance as Franklin Roosevelt, as the voice of FDR.
Rounding out the cast are Patricia Clarkson, Adam Arkin, Philip Bosco, Keith Carradine, Kevin Conway, Ed Harris, John Lithgow, Josh Lucas, Carl Lumbly, Amy Madigan, Carolyn McCormick, Pamela Reed, Billy Bob Thornton and Eli Wallach.
Get more information about the series.
Watch a preview:
Sesame Street has a new half-hour program at 2 pm weekdays.
The Moth Radio Hour has joined WILL-AM’s schedule at 10 am Tuesdays, as NPR’s Tell Me More goes out of production. The Moth Radio Hour features true stories told live on stage without scripts, notes, props or accompaniment. Each show mixes humorous, heartbreaking, and poignant tales that captivate, surprise, and delight audiences with their honesty, bravery and humor.
The Moth was originally formed by the writer George Dawes Green as an intimate gathering of friends on a porch (where moths would flutter in through a hole in the screen). Today, The Moth is a nonprofit organization with ongoing programs such as StorySlam competitions that contribute their best stories to The Moth Radio Hour.
“I love the feeling of The Moth,” says program producer Jay Allison. “You can feel the risk each storyteller takes, getting up before us to recount something spellbinding and real. It makes you recognize how rare it is to hear truly honest, vulnerable voices on the airwaves.”
To replace Tell Me More, we’ll be offering a different program each day at 10 am Monday through Friday, with some of our most popular weekend programs repeated to give you another chance to hear them.
In other changes, This American Life moves from 1 pm to noon Saturday; Travel with Rick Steves moves from noon Saturday to 6 pm Sunday.
Here's the rest of the 10 am weekdays schedule:
Mondays: On the Media
While maintaining the civility and fairness, On the Media tackles sticky issues with a frankness and transparency .
Wednesdays: Big Picture Science
Big Picture Science takes on big questions by interviewing leading researchers and weaving together their stories of discovery in a clever and off-kilter narrative style. The show reveals science as an adventure.
Thursdays: TED Radio Hour
Hosted by Guy Raz , the program is a journey through fascinating ideas: astonishing inventions, fresh approaches to old problems, new ways to think and create. Based on talks given by riveting speakers on the world-renowned TED stage, each show is centered on a common theme, and injects soundscapes and conversations that bring these ideas to life.
Fridays: State of the Re:Union
Hosted by Al Letson, the program takes a journalistic, documentary-style approach, with each episode focusing on one city or region.
Suzanne Linder, an English teacher at Urbana’s University Laboratory High School for 17 years, will join the staff of Illinois Public Media Aug. 18 as education outreach coordinator.
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