Culture

David Rudman on the set of 'Jack's Big Music Show.' Photo: Courtesy Spiffy Pictures

The Path to Becoming a Puppeteer on Children's Shows

David Rudman plays Cookie Monster on Sesame Street and has created numerous children's shows with his brother Adam and their production company. Hear the stories of David's obsession with puppets and the Rudmans' journey from short cartoons to full-length series.
Nature Cat. Image: Courtesy of Spiffy Pictures

The Story of 'Nature Cat'

The PBS Kids show Nature Cat is produced in a small office park in a Chicago suburb by the four-person team of Spiffy Pictures. Explore the process of creating an animated children's show - it involves Skype and comedians from Saturday Night Live - and learn about the origins of Nature Cat.
Printers Row Lit Fest: Rita Dove, Jason Wambsgans, Mary Schmich, Amy Dickinson, Michael Eric Dyson, Scott Simon, Gillian Flynn.

The Authors of Printers Row Lit Fest on WTTW

Sample some of the writers who will be appearing at Printers Row Lit Fest this weekend, through interviews on Chicago Tonight and My Chicago. Gillian Flynn, Rita Dove, Amy Dickinson, NPR's Scott Simon and more are all here!
Poet Gwendolyn Brooks.

From the Archive: Gwendolyn Brooks

June 7 marks the centenary of Gwendolyn Brooks. The renowned poet was the first black author to win the Pulitzer Prize and Poet Laureate of Illinois from 1968 until her death in 2000. Hear her read two of her poems in this WTTW program from 1966.
Jack White recording in 'The American Epic Sessions.' Photo: ©2017 Lo-Max Records Ltd.

The Performers in 'The American Epic Sessions'

In The American Epic Session you can see Taj Mahal, Jack White, Nas, Bettye LaVette, The Avett Brothers, Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard, and more record on equipment from the 1920s, with all its warmth and challenges. Meet some of the musicians here.
Bernard MacMahon interviewing Homesick James, Robert Lockwood Jr. and Honeyboy Edwards. Photo: ©2017 Lo-­‐Max Records Ltd.

A Love Letter to America: 'American Epic'

American Epic "is musical to tell this story of what’s wonderful about America because music is perhaps America’s greatest gift to the world," says filmmaker Bernard MacMahon. 
The original poster for 'Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi.'

From the Archive: A Review of 'Return of the Jedi'

40 years ago on May 25, the first Star Wars movie was released. Relive the excitement of the release of Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi through a 1983 review and interviews with the director and C-3PO on WTTW's Sneak Previews
Stephen Bannon. Photo: REUTERS/Win McNamee/Pool

"Confrontation and Chaos": Frontline's Michael Kirk on 'Bannon's War'

“I think Trump really likes the internal struggle between all of his people,” veteran Frontline producer Michael Kirk says. "I think the constant so far, that I’ve seen, is that this thing that we call Bannonism is alive and well."
Okeh engineers with the Western Electric recording machine, and director Bernard MacMahon and engineer Nicholas Bergh. Photos: Maida Vale Music (top); ©2017 Lo-­‐Max Records Ltd.(bottom)

America Hears Itself

In the 1920s, homegrown American musicians recorded songs that became foundational in the development of American music, from country to blues to Cajun.The filmmaker of American Epic discusses those musicians and his documentary.
Beitar Jerusalem fans. Photo: Haim Tzah

'Forever Pure:' The Nationalism of an Israeli Football Team

Forever Pure follows the story of Israel's most popular and controversial football team, the only club to never sign an Arab, when it signs two Muslim players from Chechnya. Filmmaker Maya Zinshtein discusses the documentary.
An aerial view of a family compound in Afghanistan. Photo: Torsten Lapp

The Human Impact of Drone Warfare

The documentary National Bird shows the effect of drone warfare on the pilots operating the drones as well as the victims of strikes.  "The impact of these military drones goes far beyond just killing a civilian," says the documentary's director Sonia Kennebeck. 
Mel Brooks in 'The Last Laugh.' Photo: Ferne Pearlstein

What's Taboo? Nothing, for These Comedians

Monday, April 24 at 10:00 pm, Independent Lens: The Last Laugh explores what's taboo in comedy, focusing on the Holocaust. Meet some of the controversial and transgressive comedians who appear in the film, including Mel Brooks and Sarah Silverman.
Raney Aronson-Rath of 'Frontline.' Photo: Jonas Fredwall Karlsson

The Executive Producer of 'Frontline' on Journalism's Challenges Today

Raney Aronson-Rath believes that, for all its difficulties, the current period is "a golden age for serious journalism." The newest FrontlineThe Fish on My Plate, airs Tuesday, April 25 at 10:00 pm.
Vittorio Grigolo as Roméo and Diana Damrau as Juliette in Gounod's opera at the Met. Photo: Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera

Gounod's 'Roméo et Juliette' at the Met

On Friday, April 14 at 9:00 pm, watch the Met's production of Gounod's Roméo et Juliette on Great Performances. Revisit an interview with the director Bartlett Sher by our sister station WFMT from his time in Chicago in which he discusses Shakespeare and opera, and explore photos of the production.
Matthew Sandiford in the Great Performances broadcast of 'Young Men.' Photo: Sophie Harris-Taylor

World War I in Works of Art

April 6 marked the 100th anniversary of the United States' entry into World War I. The dance film Young Men dramatizes the effect of that war on the soldiers who fought in it. Explore other works of art that have grappled with the Great War.
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