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.
Dorothea Lange: Grab A Hunk of Lightning (#2704#) Duration: 1:56:46 SRND51 TVPG
More than six decades of 20th-century America are seen through the prism of Dorothea Lange's life and lens. Known for her powerful images from the Great Depression, Lange's haunting "Migrant Mother" remains emblematic of that period. As young America matured into a world power, Lange continued to bear witness, bringing subjects alive, transmitting raw emotions and capturing the human condition. This film is made by Dyanna Taylor, Lange's granddaughter, who began her artistic vision, literally, at Lange's feet.
Sister Rosetta Tharpe: The Godmother of Rock & Roll (#2602H) Duration: 56:46 STEREO TVPG
During the 1940s, 50s and 60s, Southern-born, Chicago-raised and New York-made Sister Rosetta Tharpe introduced the spiritual passion of her gospel music into the secular world of popular rock 'n roll, inspiring the male icons of the genre. This flamboyant African-American gospel superstar, with her spectacular virtuosity on the newly electrified guitar, was a natural-born performer and a rebel - one of the most important singer-musicians of the 20th century. She is acknowledged as a major influence not only on generations of black musicians - including Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Isaac Hayes and Etta James - but also on white stars such as Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash.
Alice Walker: Beauty In Truth (#2606) Duration: 1:26:46 STEREO TVPG-L (Secondary audio: none)
Most famous for her seminal novel "The Color Purple," writer / activist Alice Walker celebrates her 70th birthday. Born February 9, 1944, into a family of sharecroppers in rural Georgia, her life unfolded during the violent racism and seismic social changes of mid-20th century America. Her mother, poverty and participation in the Civil Rights Movement were the formative influences on her consciousness, becoming the inherent themes in her writing. The first African-American woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for Literature, Walker continues to shine a light on global human rights issues. Her dramatic life is told with poetry and lyricism, and includes interviews with Steven Spielberg, Danny Glover, Quincy Jones, Howard Zinn, Gloria Steinem, Sapphire, and Walker herself. 90 minutes.
- KQED World: Sat, Oct 18, 2014 -- 5:00am email reminder
Lennon NYC (#2306H) Duration: 1:55:46 SRND51 TVPG-L
In October 2010, John Lennon would have been 70 years old. In December 2010, he will have been dead for 30 years. Yet, his art still haunts us. It still matters deeply and it is still deeply relevant. It still speaks to millions of people. This film establishes Lennon as an American artist. It is, essentially, a classic immigrant tale: Lennon and Ono left London in 1971 in search of freedom, both artistic and personal. We hear Lennon's song New York City and follow into their life - their commitment to peace and political activism, their struggles to remain in America and, of course, the greatest music from that period and the concert footage from Lennon's first two albums, Plastic Ono Band and Imagine. With unprecedented and exclusive cooperation from Yoko Ono, access to never-before-seen material from the Lennon archives and conversations with those closest to him - Ono, Elton John, the photographer Bob Gruen, Ringo Starr -- this program tells John Lennon's story as it has never been told before -- and as it will never be told again.
Tanaquil Le Clercq: Afternoon of a Faun (#2703H) Duration: 1:25:46 SRND51 TVPG
She was a dancer of uncommon style and beauty, full of candor, passion and humor, the love object of arguably the two leading 20th century choreographers working in America - the muse to both George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins. Balanchine married her and Robbins created his famous version of Afternoon of a Faun for her. She also inspired the great ballets Western Symphony, LaValse and Metamorphosis. Recognized as uniquely gifted - her vivacity, her unbelievably long legs, her sinuous figure, her theatricality and spirit - she was a ballerina of rare versatility. No one was thought to have a brighter future until it suddenly stopped. On a tour of Europe in 1956, Tanny was struck down by polio at age 27. In an iron lung with a dire prognosis, she never danced again. Balanchine devoted himself to her recuperation and, eventually, her personal tragedy became another kind of artistic triumph - paralyzed from the waist down and wheel chair ridden, her story is ultimately one of great courage and fortitude.