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.
James Baldwin: The Price of the Ticket (#309) Duration: 1:26:46 STEREO TVPG-L
This in-depth portrait of James Baldwin, one of the great American authors of the 20th century, features archival material that reflects Baldwin's worldwide influence and appeal, and includes interviews with family members, friends and notable colleagues such as Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison, William Styron, Amiri Baraka, Richard Avedon and Bobby Short, among others. Through his work as a writer, he helped mobilize the civil rights movement, brought new awareness and compassion to both black and white readers, and shed light on what it is like to be black in America.
- KQED World: Sat, Feb 7, 2015 -- 2:30pm email reminder
Cab Calloway: Sketches (#2502H) Duration: 55:46 STEREO TVPG
"Hi de hi de hi de ho ...," the popular refrain from Minnie the Moocher, was his signature song, and Harlem's famous Cotton Club was his home stage. A singer, dancer and band leader, he was an exceptional figure in the history of jazz -- a consummate musician, he charmed audiences across the world with boundless energy, bravado and elegant showmanship. His back glide dance step is the precursor to Michael Jackson's moonwalk, and his scatting lyrics find their legacy in today's hip-hop and rap. An ambassador for his race, Calloway was the first black musician to tour the segregationist South, as early as 1932. At the top of his game in the jazz and swing eras of the '30s and '40s, he toured as Sportin' Life in "Porgy and Bess," forever putting his personal stamp on "It Ain't Necessarily So. " His career flagged until he was rediscovered in the 1980's "Blues Brothers" and even on "Sesame Street," becoming a new cult hero of sorts.
August Wilson: The Ground On Which I Stand (#2705) Duration: 1:26:46 STEREO TVPG-L (Secondary audio: none)
From his roots as an activist and poet to his indelible mark on Broadway, this program captures the legacy of the man some call America's Shakespeare. Film and theater luminaries such as James Earl Jones, Viola Davis, Phylicia Rashad, Laurence Fishburne, Charles Dutton and others share their stories of the career and experience of bringing Wilson's rich theatrical voice to the stage. This film tells of his journey to the Great White Way, the triumphs and struggles along the path to such seminal works as Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Fences, Joe Turner's Come and Gone, the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Piano Lesson, Two Trains Running and four others before his untimely death in 2005. Directed by Emmy-winner Samuel Pollard.
- KQED 9: Fri, Feb 20, 2015 -- 9:00pm email reminder
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Alice Walker: Beauty In Truth (#2606H) Duration: 1:26:16 SRND51 TVPG-L
Most famous for her seminal novel The Color Purple, writer/activist Alice Walker celebrates her 70th birthday in February, 2014. 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. 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, Oprah Winfrey, Gloria Steinem, Toni Morrison, Quincy Jones, Yoko Ono, First Lady Michelle Obama -- and, of course, Walker herself.
- KQED 9: Fri, Feb 20, 2015 -- 10:30pm email reminder
- KQED 9: Sat, Feb 21, 2015 -- 4:30am email reminder
- KQED Life: Sun, Feb 22, 2015 -- 9:30pm email reminder
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Sister Rosetta Tharpe: The Godmother of Rock & Roll (#2602) Duration: 56:46 STEREO TVPG (Secondary audio: none)
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.
Dorothea Lange: Grab A Hunk of Lightning (#2704) Duration: 1:56:46 STEREO TVPG (Secondary audio: none)
Explore, through Lange's granddaughter's eyes, the life story of the influential "Migrant Mother" photographer. Never-before-seen photos and film footage, family memories and new interviews reveal the artist who challenged America to know itself.
Judy Garland: By Myself (#1704) Duration: 1:56:46 STEREO TVPG (Secondary audio: none)
Judy Garland had one of the most photographed faces ever to come out of Hollywood - it is stamped as a virtual imprint on our imaginations, a celluloid image frozen in time. She also had one of the most frequently recorded voices of the last century. She was magic, almost mythical. She is as iconic as she is misunderstood. There were her problems, to be sure, but the proof is in the performances, from The Wizard of Oz to the Palladium, from the Oscars to the Grammies. With singular entree to the MGM library, including vaulted screen tests and rehearsal footage, the film is wrapped in Judy's voice, actually telling her story in her own words. So many outsiders have tried to tell this story and so many friends and family have weighed in - now Judy gets center stage, all to herself. This is her ultimate comeback.