Ken Burns

Burns bio views both-brained Ben

Many of us might feel mired in one side of our brain. We’re left-brained scientists and engineers, right-brained artists and authors.
But there are rare exceptions, the both-brained sort. They’re as exotic as Leonardo da Vinci … or as down-to-earth as Benjamin Franklin, the subject of Ken Burns’ latest PBS documentary (8 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, April 4-5, repeating at 10).
“He was able to connect art and science, able to connect the humanities and the technology,” biographer Walter Isaacson said of Franklin (shown here in an artist’s rendition). “He cared about everything you could possibly learn about, from art to anatomy, math to music.” Read more…

PBS this fall: Serious subjects abound

Peeking ahead to PBS’ fall schedule, one thing is clear:
These people are serious. Other networks may have become a bit lighter and brighter and simpler, but you won’t find that here.
In a three-day stretch of virtual press sessions, PBS took the Television Critics Association through imposing subjects, from Muhammad Ali (shown here) to the aftershocks of Sept. 11.
Yes, the network can sometimes be fun – especially on Sundays, when it has dramas and (on Aug. 29) a concert version of “Wicked.” But often, it will be serious, including: Read more…

Hemingway: a large life, a larger image

Ernest Hemingway’s fame soared in two ways.
As a writer, he was popular and praised. As a person, he was something more.
People knew him (shown here) as a pop-culture figure who traveled the globe and did it all – food, drink, romance, adventure – to excess. It was an impressive reputation … even if some of it wasn’t true.
“The public persona became such a burden to him,” said Lynn Novick, who combined with Ken Burns to mold “Hemingway,” a compelling, three-night documentary that starts Monday (April 5) on PBS, So it was “wonderful to discover him young, before he became that stereotype.” Read more…

Even in a pandemic, PBS is busy

The world may be in a slow-down, shut-down mode, but you can’t prove it by PBS.
The network – now in a three-day stretch of press conferences with the Television Critics Association – somehow seems busier than ever.
There is Ken Burns (shown here), juggling films. “I am, like an idiot, working on eight projects,” he said.
And Henry Louis Gates, doing a four-hour, February film about Black churches … and glad that the church portions were filmed early. “This is not exactly the safest place to be at the time of a pandemic.” Read more…