Tom Strini

Hey! We’re on TV!

By - May 17th, 2010 04:00 am
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Just about a year ago, ThirdCoast co-publisher Jon Anne Willow got a bright idea for a local television show that would showcase the vibrant arts community in Southeast Wisconsin. Jon Anne proposed such a show to Milwaukee Public Television, and her proposal happened to coincide with a national Public Broadcasting System push to develop such shows across the country.

It has happened here first. Art Digest premieres at 8 tonight (Monday, May 17, 2010) on MPTV’s channel 10.

Jon Anne has television and radio experience —she’s a regular on WTMJ-TV’s What’s Hot, for example. That’s good, because I’m a beginner.

Composer Daron Hagen

Composer Daron Hagen

We’re very proud of our first show. Composer Daron Hagen flew in for an interview about his opera, Amelia, which the Seattle Opera is about to premiere. Daron lives in New York, but he’s a New Berlin native and his music has been played a lot in Milwaukee.  In fact, Amelia began life at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, at Present Music’s 2006 Thanksgiving concert, as Flight Music, for chamber ensemble and women’s choir.

Last fall, Milwaukee’s Theatre Gigante staged Malcolm Tulip’s “And… Action!”, a fascinating play about actors waiting to audition for roles in a movie. At one point, the three actors in turn stop to ponder the pluses and minuses their own faces. John Kishline, Isabel Kralj and Mark Anderson recreated those moments for Arts Digest. They make very unusual television. That’s the point. We don’t want Arts Digest to be usual television.

Mad Hot students audition for “Forever Tango” last fall

Jon Anne took crews out of the MPTV studios to Clark Street School and the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center for a story on the wildly successful Mad Hot Ballroom program. Professionals from Danceworks— a non-profit that operates a modern dance company, a studio, a studio theater and all manner of education outreach programs— go into schools to teach the kids how to tango and salsa. Mad Hot has enriched the lives of thousands of kids already and is expanding apace.

Jon Anne also visited the Pfister Hotel to look into its unique artist in residence program, now starting its second year. The Pfister gives a visual artist free studio space in the hotel and a monthly stipend. In exchange, the artist works in public, chats with curious guests and gives occasional tours of the hotel’s rich collection of Victorian art. Jon Anne interviewed general manager Joe Kurth and the outgoing and incoming artists in residence, Reginald Baylor and Katie Musolff, about the program.

MATC animation student Keith Kamikawa makes his TV debut with a short piece that’s as unique as it is visually arresting.

We’re grateful that John McGivern — who is as funny and charming offstage as he is onstage — is part of Arts Digest. John will end each show with some fun from an unexpected place. His first bit is from… oh, wait; that’s a secret. You’ll have to tune in to find out.

We’re grateful, also, to MPTV — general manager Ellis Bromberg, executive producer Raul Galvan, producer-director Lois Maurer and the wonderful videographers and technicians — for giving us this chance and for being so patient as we learn how to make a television show.

The show that airs tonight is the first of two pilot programs. The second is in progress and will air intermittently through the summer. We hope that funding will be forthcoming for a full season of monthly shows. So please spread the word. If you miss it tonight, try again; the show will air eight more times. The MPTV website has the complete schedule.

Thanks for watching, and here’s a little taste: Kamikawa’s animation short.

0 thoughts on “Hey! We’re on TV!”

  1. Anonymous says:

    This is GREAT!!! Wonderful idea.
    Let me know if you want me to come on as a guest and tell all my HILARIOUS ballet jokes. 😉

  2. Anonymous says:

    Congrats! Very exciting!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Nice job. Show really fills a niche. Good luck.

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