An ongoing series of award-winning primetime specials examining the lives, works, and creative processes of our most outstanding cultural artists. Created in 1984, the series is both a celebration and an exploration of creativity in America, documenting the role important individuals, groups, and movements have played in the formation of our cultural identity.
American Masters Previous Broadcasts
Harper Lee: American Masters (Episode #2504)
KQED Life: Sun, Oct 20, 2013 -- 10:00 PM
Reading "To Kill a Mockingbird" has been a national pastime for five decades - it is still selling nearly a million copies a year, its classic popularity and power are a common reference. And the courtroom image of Gregory Peck, as the passionate Atticus Finch, gave us an enduring picture for the novel's message. Behind it all was a young Southern girl named Nelle Harper Lee, who once said she wanted to be Alabama's Jane Austen.
This program explores her life and unravels its mysteries, particularly why she never published again. Illuminated with family photos, revealing personal letters and an exclusive interview with her sister, Alice Finch Lee (100 years old), the film is steeped in the texture of the novel's Deep South and the social changes it inspired. Tom Brokaw, Rosanne Cash, Anna Quindlen, Scott Turow, Oprah Winfrey and Andrew Young reflect on how "Mockingbird" shaped their lives.
- KQED Life: Mon, Oct 21, 2013 -- 4:00 AM
Charles & Ray Eames: The Architect and the Painter (Episode #2404H)
KQED Life: Sun, Oct 6, 2013 -- 10:00 PM
From 1941 to 1978, this husband-and-wife team brought unique talents to their partnership. He was an architect by training, she was a painter and sculptor. Together they are considered America's most important and influential designers, whose work helped, literally, shape the second half of the 20th century and remains culturally vital and commercially popular today. Ray and Charles Eames are, perhaps, best remembered for their mid-century modern furniture, built from novel materials like molded plywood, fiberglass-reinforced plastic, bent metal wire and aluminum -- offering consumers beautiful, functional, yet inexpensive products. Revered for their designs and fascinating as individuals, the Eames have risen to iconic status in American culture. But their influence on significant events and movements in American life -- from the development of modernism, to the rise of the computer age -- has been less widely understood.
- KQED Life: Mon, Oct 7, 2013 -- 4:00 AM
Cachao: Uno Mas (Episode #2304)
KQED World: Sat, Oct 5, 2013 -- 5:30 AM
The Grammy winning bassist Israel "Cachao" Lopez died in Coral Gables, Florida, in March 2008, at almost 90 years of age. A maestro of legendary status on the world stage and ultimately considered one of the greatest Afro-Cuban musicians of all time, he had made his home in the United States for the past four decades. However, he continued playing the Havana clubs and dance halls with his brother Orestes. Together, they revolutionized the heart of Cuban music -- their spontaneous improvisations and innovations established the basis of, and the influence of, contemporary Latin jazz and salsa, rock 'n roll and rhythm and blues. The basis of this film is a sold-out 2005 concert at Bimbo's 365 Club, a famous San Francisco nightclub. Cachaos's life and work are palpable. "Cachao: Uno Mas" is produced and narrated by actor Andy Garcia, a friend and ardent fan, who helped reinvigorate Cachao's career in the 1990s -- and who appears in this film playing the bongos.