PBS

Havana may be crumbling a bit, but it's doing it cheerfully


Right now, Geoffrey Baer is back home in Chicago, filming the latest of his river-journey specials. On Tuesday, however, we'll see him far from his comfort zone, in an entertaining visit to Cuba. Here's the story I sent to papers:

By Mike Hughes

Geoffrey Baer is
used to criss-crossing the nation for PBS specials.

For Trace, this one is easy -- singing about soldiers


Each 4th of July, PBS offers great music and -- at times -- strong emotion. This year, some of that emotion comes from Trace Adkins, the towering country star with the chaotic-but-compelling life. Here's the story I sent to papers:

By Mike Hughes

Yes, Trace Adkins'
wild ride has had twists, turns and odd detours.

Wanna watch food shows? Settle in (and bring some snacks)


If you scroll down to the next story, you'll see a fun view of American food, via two master chefs. Along with that, however, I also sent papers a sampling of TV food shows. Here it is:

By Mike Hughes

Television is
stuffed with food shows these days – so many that viewers might
have little time to eat, much less cook. Here's a current sampling:

American food? It's the best ... or the worst ... just ask the experts


PBS viewers can soon catch a couple of nights of strong, food-oriented profiles. There are terrific new hours on James Beard (May 19) and Jacques Pepin (May 26), paired with reruns on, respectively, Julia Child and Alice Waters. That combination, however, leads to a fun and fascinating subject -- the state of American cooking, good or bad. Here's a story I sent to papers; next, I'll have an expanded list of TV-food shows.

By Mike Hughes

Maya Angelou's life was filled with eloquent transformations


Near the end of a brilliant Maya Angelou profile (Tuesday, Feb. 21, on PBS), there's a moment that brings things full-circle. A young, black hotel employee, in elegant uniform, tells Angelou about the speech cotests she's won by reciting Angelou's words.

Fresh views of Van Gogh -- from the ear to the soul


We expect TV to deliver lots of cops and crooks and such; we don't expect it to tell us much about history's great artists. But here we are, with two fascinating films just six days apart. Last Thursday was Pablo Picasso (see previous blog); tonight is a richly revisionist view of the night Vincent Van Gogh is known for. Here's the story I sent to papers:

By Mike Hughes

This grandma had a fascinating tale of lives saved


Yes, Ken Burns sometimes tackles sweeping subjects -- world wars, Prohibition, baseball and such. But he can also help break out small slices, individual heroes. One such tale is recounted in an excellent documentary that reaches PBS on Tuesday (Sept. 20); here's the story I sent to papers:

 

By Mike Hughes

It's time for a flash, Smokey 4th of July


On any 4th of July, PBS puts on a festive show, with a rich blend of music and the fireworks. This year, however, could be particularly fun, with Smokey Robinson at the core. That's one of three big-deal TV concerts on Monday, the 4th; here's the story I sent to papers:

By Mike Hughes

As July 4 nears,
skies and spirits seem to brighten.

National Anthem time for "Idol" winner: Stay calm and sing pretty


Each summer, two of the classiest TV events are the PBS concerts on Memorial Day eve and on the 4th of July. Now the former will be Sunday, ranging from country (Trace Adkins) to classical (Renee Fleming). This story is one of two I'm sending to papers, previewingSunday's concert. Coming up is a Beach Boys story; here's one on Trent Harmon, the 15th and final "American Idol" champion.

By Mike Hughes

Janis: A search for truth, joy and powerfully passionate music


Janis Joplin's life was perfect for "American Masters," filled with extreme high and lows, plus immense talent and moments of quiet subtlety. So it shouldn't surprise us that the film airing Tuesday (May3) is ... well, masterful. Here's the story I sent to papers:

By Mike Hughes

For Laura Joplin,
the letters were an unexpected treasure.