Spark: Why Can't We Be Friends? 11/14

Why Can’t We Be Friends? Fostering Civility in Political Dialogue

November 14 at 6:30 pm at The Moody
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In a world of fragmented media with a thousand choices for news, information and opinion, citizens can now chose to see, hear and read only what supports their position. With the media saturated culture of today, it is more important now than ever to learn how to take part in civil discourse. Mark McKinnon from Public Strategies, Matthew Dowd from Vianovo, Inc., and William Galston from the University of Maryland, discuss how to foster civility among Americans when political polarization is the norm.

Matthew Dowd has helped shape strategies and campaigns for CEOs, corporations, governments, candidates and presidents. Dowd was Chief Campaign Strategist for President George W. Bush and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and was on the staff of a Democratic Senator and two Democratic Representatives. He has counseled scores of high-profile organizations – from AT&T to the NBA – on marketing, advertising, research, public issues, and advocacy. He is an analyst for ABC News, columnist for The National Journal and author of The New York Times bestseller Applebee’s America.

Mark McKinnon has been helping solve complex strategic challenges for causes, companies and candidates, including George W. Bush, John McCain, Ann Richards, Charlie Wilson, Lance Armstrong and Bono. McKinnon has helped engineer five winning presidential primary and general elections. He has been awarded more than 30 Pollie and Telly awards, honoring the nation’s best political and public affairs advertising. He is co-founder of No Labels, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting more bipartisanship and civility in politics.

William A. Galston holds the Ezra Zilkha Chair in the Brookings Institution’s Governance Studies Program, where he serves as a Senior Fellow, and is a College Park Professor at the University of Maryland. From 1993 until 1995 Galston served as Deputy Assistant to President Clinton for Domestic Policy. Galston is the author of eight books and more than 100 articles in the fields of political theory, public policy, and American politics. His most recent books are Liberal Pluralism, The Practice of Liberal Pluralism and Public Matters.

Be sure to join us November 14th, for an insightful discussion about  fostering civility in a politically polarized society as Mark McKinnon, Matthew Dowd, and William Galston share their ideas on how we can better understand the benefits to creating an environment for civil discourse.

Women, War & Peace: Peace Unveiled 10/25

Women, War & Peace, a new five-hour series airing at 9pm Tuesdays through October and November, is a comprehensive global media initiative on women’s strategic role in global conflict.  A co-production of THIRTEEN and Fork Films, Women, War & Peace challenges the conventional wisdom that war and peace are men’s domain and places women at the center of an urgent dialogue about conflict and security. Featuring narrators Matt Damon, Tilda Swinton, Geena Davis and Alfre Woodard, the series reveals that the majority of today’s conflicts are not fought by nations and their armies, but rather by gangs, insurgent groups, and warlords armed with small arms and improvised weapons.  Women have become primary targets in these conflicts and though they are suffering unprecedented casualties they are simultaneously emerging as critical partners in brokering peace and as leaders in forging new international laws governing conflict.  With depth and complexity, Women, War & Peace spotlights the stories of women in conflict zones from Bosnia to Afghanistan, and Colombia to Liberia.

October 25 – Peace Unveiled

When the U.S. troop surge was announced in late 2009, women in Afghanistan knew that the ground was being laid for peace talks with the Taliban. Peace Unveiled follows three women who immediately began to organize to make sure that women have a seat at the negotiating table. One is a savvy parliamentarian who participated in writing the Afghan constitution that guarantees equality for women; another, a former midwife who is one of the last women’s rights advocates alive in Kandahar; and the third, a young activist who lives in a traditional family in Kabul. Convinced that the Taliban will have demands that jeopardize women’s hard-earned gains, they maneuver against formidable odds to have their voices heard in a peace jirga and high peace council. We go behind Kabul’s closed doors as the women’s case is made to U.S. Ambassador Karl Eikenberry, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues Melanne Verveer, General David Petraeus and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who promises the women that “peace and justice can’t come at the cost of women and women’s lives.” But will this promise be kept?  Narrated by Tilda Swinton. Directed by Gini Reticker. Written by Abigail E. Disney. Produced by Claudia Rizzi.

Review: Pearl Jam Twenty

If you’ve been around for the past two decades, there’s a good chance you are familiar with the band Pearl Jam. Likely it is also that you have heard the classic story of a band whose rise to fame accelerates too quickly, resulting in a blindsided superstardom and towards the inevitable result of tragedy (let it be applied towards substances and/or dismemberment of personal relationships). Does the story accompany the subject? Well, it’s a little bit more complicated than that.

Into the picture walks Cameron Crowe, established as both a successfully offbeat director (Almost Famous, Jerry McGuire) and former journalist for Rolling Stone magazine. A dabble in both spheres (along with being among the band’s inner circle when they formed) certainly qualifies Crowe as a contender for telling the story of Pearl Jam’s complicated yet lasting bond, a task which he grippingly accomplishes in the new documentary Pearl Jam Twenty.

The film traces the band’s early beginnings towards the chaos that ensued after being catapulted into celebrity status, their resulting digression from the spotlight in hopes of preserving the band’s values, and the making of an everlasting bond between the five members. Through grainy footage and raw recordings, we are given the ultimate perspective into Pearl Jam’s past as we are led through backstage antics and footage of a young Eddie Vedder singing timidly onstage as he notices violence ensuing in the crowd of their first performances. While some moments progress towards tragedy and dark problems, the band’s ability to learn from and adjust to fame work to make up the larger narrative: the premature development of a genuine rock band that both defined and survived the Grunge era.
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PBS Arts Festival: American Masters Pearl Jam Twenty 10/21

Art lovers, looking for something new to strike your fancy? Well in an effort to give you a weekly exclusive pass to see emerging art from around the nation, PBS Arts Fall Festival is showcasing full-length performances, artist and performer profiles, behind-the-scenes documentaries and mini-films about the art scenes in Miami, San Francisco, Cleveland, Chicago, the Blue Ridge Mountains and more.

On October 21, the festival commemorates the 20th anniversary of the Grammy-winning band Pearl Jam, with a program composed of 1,200 hours of rare and never-before-seen concert and interview footage. Part concert film, part insider hang, part testimonial to the power of music and uncompromising artists, PBS Arts from Seattle: American Masters Pearl Jam Twenty celebrates the freedom that allowed Pearl Jam a way to make music without losing sight of what mattered most to them — their fans and staying true to their art.

Then catch a mini-documentary that surveys the many sounds of the Seattle music scene.

Next up, learn how Austin City Limits reflects Austin’s lively music scene. See how the show has changed with the times and tastes of the local music scene over the past 36 years, and the role the program has played in securing Austin’s title as the Live Music Capital of the World.

Then revisit the sounds of Pearl Jam at 10:30 p.m., as the alternative rockers play favorites and tunes from their latest album on the Austin City Limits stage.

Highlights 10/16 to 10/22

Crow experts from around the world sing their praises and present us with captivating new footage of crows as we have never seen them before on Nature at 7 p.m. Sunday.

Masterpiece Mystery! at 8 p.m. Sunday presents part one of “Case Histories,” a brand new, three-part detective series set in contemporary Edinburgh. Adapted from Kate Atkinson’s best-selling novels, the program revolves around private investigator Jackson Brodie, a tough former soldier and policeman who is haunted by a past family tragedy and struggles to balance his personal and professional life while coming to the rescue of the bereaved, the lost and the dysfunctional.

Wes Cowan investigates a raid on the federal armory in Harpers Ferry, Eduardo Pagan wonders why U.S. troops were in Siberia during World War I and Elyse Luray sizes up a Ronald McDonald costume on History Detectives at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Women, War & Peace at 9 p.m. Tuesday presents “Pray the Devil Back to Hell” is the story of the Liberian women who took on the warlords and regime of dictator Charles Taylor in the midst of a brutal civil war, and won a once unimaginable peace for their shattered country in 2003.

Filmmakers and scientists set out to document the lives of the packs of wolves and other wildlife thriving in the “dead zone” that still surrounds the remains of Chernobyl on Nature at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Nova “Finding Life Beyond Earth” at 8 p.m. Wednesday immerses audiences in the sights and sounds of alien worlds, while top astrobiologists explain how these places are changing how we think about the potential for life in our solar system.

Georgian jam band Widespread Panic celebrates its 25th anniversary with songs spanning across their career on Austin City Limits at 10 p.m. Wednesday.

The Jazz genre is experiencing a revival in Austin and In Context Presents: Jazz in Austin at 7:30 p.m. Thursday goes behind-the-scenes to explore local talent. Performances include the stalwart of the Austin jazz scene–pianist James Polk, vocalist Pam Hart, Continental Graffiti and more in this one hour special from KLRU-TV, Austin PBS.

Join Chet Garner as he travels to Lockhart, Texas to conquer all four of the local Que joints in the BBQ capitol of Texas on The Daytripper at 8:30 p.m. Thursday.

Independent Lens at 9 p.m. Thursday presents “Donor Unknown”, the story of a women who goes in search of her sperm donor father. Following is “All About Me”, an exploration of family secrets, the power of genetic relationships and the impact of discovering your dad is, in fact, a sperm donor.

PBS Arts From Seattle at 8 p.m. Friday celebrates rock band Pearl Jam’s 20-year history with “American Masters: Pearl Jam.” As told by award-winning director and music journalist Cameron Crowe, the film is a definitive portrait of the groundbreaking band carved from never-before-seen archival footage and many hours of recently shot interviews and live performances. Followed Pearl Jam’s performance on Austin City Limits at 10:30 p.m.

The Decemberists and Gillian Welch showcase the best in contemporary songwriting on Austin City Limits at 7 p.m. Saturday

KLRU Collective goes Prime Time

It’s been almost a year since the launch of KLRU Collective, our online focus on Austin arts and artists. Tonight KLRU Collective makes a prime time debut during the PBS Arts Fall Festival. During the nine week festival PBS stations are given an option to include local pieces and we jumped at the chance to showcase some of Austin’s coolest arts.

The piece that will air tonight is a profile of a public art project at the University of Texas called Landmarks. KLRU staff was already well acquainted with one of these installations because it’s located outside of our building. Even though we see Peter Reginato’s Kingfish everyday we didn’t know it is part of twenty-eight modern and contemporary sculptures on long-term loan from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.  Now we look forward to visiting all the sculptures and checking out the new acquisitions the program is making.

The most memorable shoot was for a piece that will air the last night of the festival. We profiled Forklift Danceworks “The Trash Project” on the last night of their performance which happened to be on one of the hottest days of the year. To make it even tougher the performance was located at the old airport…meaning limited shade and endless tarmac. But these imperfect weather conditions didn’t keep thousands of Austinites from coming to enjoy an amazing tribute to our city’s Solid Waste Services department. The experience and dance was definitely a highlight for me on this project.

The Trash Project

The pieces airing during the festival have been produced by myself and Eve Tarlo with help from lots of KLRU staff. We’ve enjoyed sharing our viewpoint on Austin’s art scene this past year and we look forward to another great year of KLRU Collective.

-Sara Robertson

Sara Robertson is the Director of On-Air Marketing at KLRU. She has worked in television her whole career and feels lucky to work for Austin’s PBS station. In her spare time she enjoys coaching a women only swim program, reading and being crafty.

In the Studio: Overheard tapes Russell Banks 10/23

EDIT to show new time. Taping now starts at 2:15 p.m. instead of 2:45 p.m.

Please join KLRU’s Overheard with Evan Smith for an interview with Russell Banks on October 23, 2011 at 2:15 p.m. in KLRU’s Studio 6A (map). Doors open at 1:45. The event is free but an RSVP is required. RSVP Now

Russell Banks is an award winning and best selling writer of novels, poetry and short stories. His work has been translated into twenty different languages, and two of his novels — Affliction and The Sweet Hereafter — have been made into feature films. Banks is known for stories that are shaped by his working-class childhood, and for writing with empathy and humor even when his characters and stories turn tragic. Lost Memory of Skin, Banks’ newest work, was published late last month. We thank the Texas Book Festival for bringing Banks to town.

Join us as Overheard with Evan Smith launches a second season of great conversation with fascinating people, always on the news and always with a sense of humor. The show features in-depth interviews with a mix of guests from politics, the arts, literature, journalism, business, sports and more, and reaches PBS stations from California to Florida. We hope you’ll be there for the second season of this exciting program.Overheard airs on KLRU at 7 p.m. Thursdays and 12:30 p.m. Sundays. Episodes are also available online at klru.org/overheard

In the Studio: Overheard tapes Andy Borowitz 10/22

Please join KLRU’s Overheard with Evan Smith for an interview with Andy Borowitz on October 22,
2011 at 6:15 p.m. in KLRU’s Studio 6A (map). Doors open at 5:45 p.m. The event is free but an RSVP is required. RSVP now

Andy Borowitz is a writer and satirist known for his work in a wide variety of media. And he’s much
funnier than you. His work ranges from the NBC sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air to frequent pieces in The New Yorker and his own satirical news project called The Borowitz Report. Borowitz was recently chosen by The Library of America to edit an anthology called The 50 Funniest American Writers: An Anthology of Humor from Mark Twain to The Onion – a topic he certainly knows well. CBS News called Borowitz “one of the funniest people in America,” and we have to agree. Thank you, Texas Book Festival, for bringing Borowitz to town.

Join us as Overheard with Evan Smith launches a second season of great conversation with fascinating people, always on the news and always with a sense of humor. The show features in-depth interviews with a mix of guests from politics, the arts, literature, journalism, business, sports and more, and reaches PBS stations from California to Florida. We hope you’ll be there for the second season of this exciting program.Overheard airs on KLRU at 7 p.m. Thursdays and 12:30 p.m. Sundays. Episodes are also available online at klru.org/overheard

In the Studio: Overheard tapes Juan Williams 10/22

Please join KLRU’s Overheard with Evan Smith for an interview with Juan Williams on October 22, 2011 at 1:15 p.m. in KLRU’s Studio 6A (map). Doors open at 12:45 p.m. The event is free but an RSVP is required. RSVP Now.

Juan Williams has worked in media across the spectrum: newspapers, magazines, books, radio and TV. His work ranges from a bestselling book about the Civil Rights movement to his current position with Fox News, where he serves as a political analyst, panelist and frequent host. His new book, Muzzled: The Assault on Honest Debate, looks at public discussion of some white-hot issues, including abortion, immigration and NPR’s widely-debated decision to fire Williams after a 10-year career with that organization. We thank the Texas Book Festival for bringing Williams to town.

Join us as Overheard with Evan Smith launches a second season of great conversation with fascinating people, always on the news and always with a sense of humor. The show features in-depth interviews with a mix of guests from politics, the arts, literature, journalism, business, sports and more, and reaches PBS stations from California to Florida. We hope you’ll be there for the second season of this exciting program.Overheard airs on KLRU at 7 p.m. Thursdays and 12:30 p.m. Sundays. Episodes are also available online at klru.org/overheard

In the Studio: Overheard tapes Susan Orlean 10/22

Please join KLRU’s Overheard with Evan Smith for an interview with Susan Orlean on October 22,
2011 at 9:30 a.m. in KLRU’s Studio 6A (map). Doors open at 9:15 a.m. The event is free but an RSVP is required. RSVP Now .

Susan Orlean works as an author and staff writer for The New Yorker, exploring topics you never knew you were interested in with the depth of a journalist, the detail of a keen observer and the compassion of an insider. Her book The Orchid Thief became the basis for the movie Adaptation – a story she discussed with Evan when she was a guest on our previous show in 2008. And her other work ranges from the culture of Saturday night to the everyday life of a 10-year-old boy. Her latest book, about orphaned puppy turned canine movie star Rin Tin Tin, marries Orlean’s storytelling with her personal passion for dogs. We thank the Texas Book Festival for bringing Orlean to town.

Join us as Overheard with Evan Smith launches a second season of great conversation with fascinating people, always on the news and always with a sense of humor. The show features in-depth interviews with a mix of guests from politics, the arts, literature, journalism, business, sports and more, and reaches PBS stations from California to Florida. We hope you’ll be there for the second season of this exciting program.Overheard airs on KLRU at 7 p.m. Thursdays and 12:30 p.m. Sundays. Episodes are also available online at klru.org/overheard