My Top Five: Celebrity Encounters

As you might imagine, working at a TV station like UNC-TV allows a person to meet any number of celebrities, big and small. Some have appeared as guests on original programming we produce, others have assisted with on-air fund drives to promote their own shows. Some have stopped by to take part in events and others were just passing through. Regardless of how they got here, an encounter with someone whose name recognition far exceeds my own can range from run-of-the-mill to downright thrilling.

So I thought I’d put together My Top Five Public Television Celebrity Encounters. These only include folks I met in person – someone I talked with face to face, rather than just stood with in the same room (otherwise Julia Child and Bill Nye would be on the list). Also, the list does not include people with public broadcasting connections whom I met outside of work at, say, a Doctor Who convention (Elisabeth Sladen and Jon Pertwee, for example). And I obviously do not include celebrities that stopped by UNC-TV if I did not meet them in person (oh so close, James Taylor and Nathan Lane!).

Regardless, it’s a fun list. All these lovely people I did get to say hello to at least once. So enjoy MY TOP FIVE: PUBLIC TELEVISION CELEBRITY ENCOUNTERS. Continue reading

Monday Montage

What’s happening, what’s on and what’s interesting this week …

Join wildlife cameraman Colin Stafford-Johnson as he journeys along one of the most spectacular coastlines in the world. Experience the wildlife and wild places of Ireland’s Wild Coast – Wednesday at 8pm on UNC-TV.

Neil deGrasse Tyson gives tips on viewing the upcoming solar eclipse.

Explore a human history set against the most stunning backdrop imaginable as Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan present The National Parks: America’s Best Idea. Don’t miss a special presentation of this six-part 2009 mini-series beginning Thursday night at 9 on the North Carolina Channel.

Monty Python’s John Cleese is coming to Durham! The comedy legend will be answering absurd and ridiculous questions at the DPAC on November 8. Continue reading

Sounds Familiar

“The statue is only a symbol. The statue is only copper and granite and steel, iron. It’s what it speaks to us about what it makes us feel inside that’s so important. We are all the beneficiaries of those who’ve gone before us, who’ve worked, who’ve fought on occasion, who have cared immensely to the very depth of their soul to achieve liberty.”– David McCullough, The Statue Of Liberty (Ken Burns, 1985)

Burns Notice

Documentarian Ken Burns has been turning wars and other troubled American times into must-see and can’t-miss television since his landmark nine-part The Civil War series. Along the way, he’s tackled Prohibition, World War Two, The Dust Bowl, Baseball and Jazz. This fall on PBS, Burns unveils his latest epic – The Vietnam War – a series which will no doubt shed new light on this, relatively speaking, recent chapter in US and world history. But what’s next for this award-winning director, writer and producer?

Would you believe hip hop?

Earlier today, Florentine Films announced that the subject of Ken Burns’ next major project would be the legendary 1990s East Coast–West Coast hip hop rivalry which resulted in the deaths of Tupac Shakur and The Notorious B.I.G. The new film, entitled East vs. West: Hip Hop’s Deadliest Decade, is tentatively scheduled for 2018.

“Rap music is such an American touchstone and no film I’ve ever produced has combined the themes of music and war in such a vital and pertinent way,” Burns said. “I look forward to introducing the likes of the Wu-Tang Clan and N.W.A. to a potentially new audience on PBS.”

Ken Burns hopes to complete principal filmography sometime this summer and release East vs. West early next April.

Monday Montage

What’s happening, what’s on and what’s interesting this week …

Governor Roy Cooper delivers his first State of the State address to the General Assembly tonight and you can catch complete coverage live at 7pm on UNC-TV. Too early for you? A re-broadcast follows at 9pm on the North Carolina Channel.

Congratulations to Vivien Howard. The star of A Chef’s Life was awarded “cookbook of the year” by the International Association of Culinary Professionals for her book Deep Run Roots: Stories and Recipes from My Corner of the South.

Tom Paxton, Kathy Mattea, Janis Ian and more perform on Swannanoa Gathering: The 25th Anniversary Show. Tune in Tuesday night at 8 on the North Carolina Channel for this incredible concert.

Former American Experience host David McCullough will be the recipient of the very first Ken Burns American Heritage Prize. Continue reading