A Look Ahead with WPT’s Director of Programming

May 10, 2013 Wisconsin Public Television Leave a Comment

10 Buildings That Changed America
When I was a kid growing up in Denver one of the most exciting things to happen was the building and opening of the city’s first indoor shopping mall, Buckingham Square. The building itself wasn’t remarkable from an architectural standpoint, but the fact that you could wonder around indoors and shop was quite the amazing new experience. Flash forward to now and Buckingham Square is a dilapidated eyesore blotting the landscape with third-rate stores and very little business.

In the new PBS special 10 Buildings That Changed America host Geoffrey Baer takes us on a tour of the history and importance of ten building that have had an impact on our culture. From the monumental importance of the Virginia State Capitol designed by Thomas Jefferson to the modern day wonder of Walt Disney Concert Hall designed by maverick Frank Gehry, this documentary weaves a set of stories that are surprisingly entertaining without being too technical.

See the complete list of 10 Buildings That Changed America

Along the way we take a tour of local architectural giant Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House in Chicago and one of my favorite structures in the country, Dulles International Airport in Virginia designed by genius Eero Saarinen. 10 Buildings That Changed America premieres 8 p.m. Monday, May 13.

Independent Lens The Invisible War
I don’t want to write a lot about this film because I want you to watch it and form your own emotions and opinions of the documentary.

“The Invisible War” from Independent Lens is an Academy Award-nominated documentary that examines the pervasive physical and sexual abuse suffered by female soldiers in the United States military. To be clear this film is about women who have been raped by male military personnel, and the institutions that both perpetuate and cover up these crimes. It’s a very emotional, enraging film that everyone should see. Independent Lens “The Invisible War” premieres on 9 p.m. Monday, May 13.

The airing of this documentary is quite timely. At a White House news conference Tuesday, President Obama said, “The bottom line is, I have no tolerance for this.”  Read more on the President’s response to the rise in sexual assaults in the military in a New York Times report.

American Masters “Mel Brooks: Make a Noise”
“It’s good to be King.” And that’s exactly what Mel Brooks is – the king of great comedy movies. I’ve seen “Blazing Saddles” at least eight times and will always stop on any channel that is airing a Brooks film. His comedy is quirky, bizarre, insulting, insensitive, observational, and above all brilliant. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t think “Young Frankenstein” is one of the funniest movies ever made.

In this new American Masters bio, the filmmakers take a brilliant and twisted look at Brooks’ career, using scenes from his numerous films and television appearances, and talking with his friends. Brooks himself is front and center in the film and provides an even greater glimpse into his mind and creative process. If you want a good, hearty laugh check out American Masters “Mel Brooks: Make a Noise,” which premiers 8 p.m. Monday, May 20 and encores on Wednesday, May 22 at 7 p.m.


Carole King: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize In Performance at the White House
I’m delighted that this late addition to the schedule came to reality. Just before putting the May schedule to bed we received word from PBS that Carole King was being honored with this prestigious award, and that it would be taped for broadcast in May. Because the show has not yet been taped I can’t tell you how awesome it is, but with the brilliance of Carole King and the grandiose setting of the White House you can bet this will be one very special hour of television. Carole King: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize In Performance at the White House premieres 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 28.

NOVA Manhunt – Boston Bombers
In the wake of the tragic bombing at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, the producers at NOVA went to work on this special that looks at the technical and scientific resources brought to bare to catch the culprits. The NOVA team took a meticulous step-by-step examination of the rapidly unfolding detective story to show how investigators used sophisticated technology and plain, old hard work to identify the bombers. NOVA “Manhunt – Boston Bombers” premieres on Wednesday, May 29 at 8 p.m. Those of you in the Madison viewing area can see the episode online at wpt.org or during its encore broadcast, Tuesday, June 4 at 11 p.m.

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