Results tagged “television” from ARTicles

In Dallas, KERA public media's nearly two-year-old Art&Seek initiative combines radio, television and online cultural coverage, much of it by former print journalists -- among them reporter/producer Jerome Weeks, a 1999-2000 NAJP fellow. Anne Bothwell, the director of Art&Seek, discussed the project in an e-mail interview.

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The team you lead at Art&Seek includes journalists who, like you, are former arts staffers from The Dallas Morning News, which drastically cut its newsroom -- and, consequently, its arts coverage -- in 2006. What did, or does, the absence of strong cultural coverage in the local daily paper mean for Dallas, a city of more than a million people? When Art&Seek was launched in 2008, was that an effort to fill the void?

Like so many other newspapers, the Morning News covered local arts as an almost exclusive franchise. But like so many other papers, the cutbacks in staff affected that franchise. Similar cutbacks at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram have led both papers to 'share' coverage, underscoring their dwindling, now-sometimes solitary voice in the community. As coverage waned, artists, presenting and performing organizations and other cultural institutions found it harder to get the word out about their work. Art&Seek was launched in part to fill that need.

Exposure to information about the arts makes it more likely you'll be inspired to pick up a paintbrush or join a dance class. And the theater, dance, music and visual arts we support as a community say a lot about who we are. At their best, cultural coverage and criticism provide a framework to reflect on and talk to each other about what this means. A city without robust cultural coverage is also full of folks missing many opportunities to engage with the arts -- and with each other.

March 24, 2010 12:00 AM |
The Fox series "24" aired its 2-hour special "Redemption" Sunday night, a season 7 prequel which bridges the new season with the last.  It's been about a year and a half since "24" brought us its adrenaline-charged, real-time, terrorist-ridden action.  This time its president is America's first female commander-in-chief (played by Tony award-winner Cherry Jones).  

"24's" virtual drama got me thinking about the nation's real-life drama.  When I look back at the "24" Hall of Presidents, I can't help but wonder: Did Fox actually help President-elect Barack Obama get elected?

When "24" entered the American post-9/11 zeitgeist in the fall of 2001, it introduced us to a major party's first African-American presidential candidate (who incidentally was also a senator).  By the second season, David Palmer had become president.  Played with aplomb, smarts and empathy by actor Dennis Haysbert, President Palmer proved to be a president to love, one worthy of being saved, repeatedly, by hero Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland).  

"24" became an addictive hit, and viewers initially thought, "Wow, an African-American president.  That's a novel idea."  But Fox made Palmer believable, as if he could happen in real life. "24" addicts became so accustomed to a black man leading them into action week after week that many (including me, I'll admit) wanted Palmer to run for president in 2004.  Now he could have beaten George W. Bush.  

This year America skeptically asked itself if the US would really elect an African-American president.  But the 12 million Americans who watched "24" had not only accepted a black leader, but had rooted for him.  So is it possible that Palmer paved the way for Obama?  Haysbert seems to think so.

Now that "24: Redemption" has introduced the series' first female president, will the show go 2-for-2 as a presidential predictor?  Could this mean a victory finally for Hillary Clinton?  Or God forbid, Sarah Palin...  

*****

Speaking of Palin, don't miss her recent television interview on KTUU News.  Palin may need to retake some of her college journalism classes.  According to Andrew Sullivan's Daily Dish, she chose the shot for her own interview, but broke the cardinal media rule: Never give an interview in front of a man killing turkeys.  Happy Thanksgiving!

November 27, 2008 12:43 PM |

Just watched Penn Jillette low ball it on "Dancing with the Stars" with Kym. He tried illusion on the judges and it almost worked, sort of. I know that's redundant, but Jillette may be one of the few "from the other side" in the business (no matter how famous he is, his origins --authentic, off-B'way, 99 -seat theater or less -- stick) who would venture into this commercial TV show and retain his hip.

I'm a huge fan of the TV dance shows, especially "So You Think You Can Dance" in part because they teach critical skills through subterfuge. And, in other part, because they seriously promote choreographers. Those judges can be tough and very often they are right. Save for Debbie Allen, who is so loaded with pomposity and 'tude she registers as nothing but false and massively egotistical. She can't judge without plugging her LA studio. There is something to be learned from that about what NOT TO DO. About the separation between advertising and editorial.

But I digress...Penn Jillette and "Dancing with the Stars"...last week The Los Angeles Herald-Examiner held a reunion. Her-Ex theater critic Jack Viertel "discovered" Penn & Teller. I know he did. I remember him returning to the office -- ahhh the days when we critics wrote in the office around communal pillars on computers the size of carry-on luggage, reading our ledes aloud, smoking cigarettes and editing each other's copy in ink on cog-marked, green and white striped printout paper.

(For the most incisive nostalgic report on the Her-Ex old days, see John Schwada's Reunion blog for Fox News Channel 11. He captures the Herald perfectly -- and why so many true blue die hard reporters and critics came out of there. And why this was journalism in all its romantic glory.)

But on one of those days, Jack Viertel returned beside himself over Penn & Teller. The rest is history, and Jack got it. Critics meant something then. They still can and do. It just takes guts. By which I mean listening to your gut.

Choreographers on TV and film have always been a big deal inside the circle of Those Who Care, but something is happening right now that is different and monumental and we ought to pay attention. "So You Think You Can Dance" will start up soon (the search for the next Top 20 began on March 1 in NYC).

The only thing missing from most of its contenders is ballet. Perhaps the only reason ballet should exist right now is because it provides (still) the best training a human dance body can get. The choreographers on the show don't come from ballet, but they value it. They value good movement, period. (Mia Michaels often scrapes emotions raw, a good thing, to my mind, and exceptional on television.)

As a result, it's impossible as a dance-lover not to value them, the choreographers. They give the contestants new works, often in styles that are alien, each week. To see those kids perform -- I mean, think if, on "American Idol," the singers didn't get to choose their songs but had to sing something completely original each week -- is to see budding artists on the line. The choreographers reign.

In acknowledgment of the ascendancy of the on-camera choreographers...If you are one, you may want to submit your work for a Choreography Media Honor. Go to www.dancecamerawest.org for a submission form. The 2nd annual CMHs will be held on June 13 at the Directors Guild of America (DGA in Hollywood). A potentially fabulous opportunity to see a lot of film and/or TV work by choreographic talent known and unknown. For tickets, contact Teresa Taylor at teresa.taylor@mac.com.

March 17, 2008 9:15 PM |


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