Sunday, December 25, 2016

ARTS IN EXILE goes national



Arts in Exile: Tibetan Treasures in Small Town America has its first national airing today on the WORLD channel.  The documentary begins at 12:30 Eastern Standard time.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Museum hosts the New York City premiere of Arts in Exile

Editor Michael Hansen, Jacques Marchais Museum Executive Director Meg Ventrudo, producer Paul Larson, painter Tsering Phuntsok and wood carver Tashi Dholak at the New York City premiere of "Arts in Exile."
A Mountain Lake PBS documentary is sharing the story of a successful festival in Plattsburgh, New York around the state, the country and the world.  The film Arts in Exile: Tibetan Treasures in Small Town America had its New York City premiere this week at a Tibetan Museum.  Airings on PBS stations across the country will follow.

Producer Paul Larson introduces "Arts in Exile" at the screening in the Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art.


Arts in Exile producer Paul Larson and editor Michael Hansen presented the film to an audience at the Jacques Marchais Museum of Tibetan Art on Staten Island on Sunday, November 13.  Larson introduced the film and participated in a lively panel discussion afterwards, joined by Hansen, and two artists featured in the film, thangka painter Tsering Phuntsok and wood carver Tashi Dholak.




"I've enjoyed sitting in theaters before in New York City when directors or film experts have spoken at a screening,” Larson said.  “I was excited and humbled to accept the invitation to speak about the film. It's an honor for Mountain Lake PBS to be invited to share our work with this audience."

"The viewers were engaged, and a few suggested university groups who may be interested in hosting more screenings," Larson added.  "Also, a high official in the Tibetan community of New York City said the film nearly moved him to tears at the end."

"The North Country is full of creative people and inspiring stories. This premiere is one of many great opportunities we have to share that with a much larger audience,"  Hansen said.

Arts in Exile chronicles the creation of the Tibetan arts festival held last year in Plattsburgh, exploring how the city was moved by the culture of Tibet from across the globe.  The documentary examines how several Tibetan refugees tackle the global problems they face and keep their culture alive, armed with the arts.

The film features insight from Tibet House President Dr. Robert Thurman, and the talents of photographer Sonam Zoksang, who owns a Tibetan store in Lake Placid, freedom singer Techung, who lives in Lake Placid, and many other visual artists and performers.

The prestigious screening at the Jacques Marchais marks another honor the film has received, after it won an Emmy award for "Outstanding Documentary" in the Boston/New England Region, and a New York State Broadcasters Association Award. 

This month, PBS stations across the country will have the chance to show the film to their viewers as well.  The National Educational Telecommunications Association (NETA) has picked up Arts in Exile for distribution to stations all over the U.S.  It will have its first national broadcast December 25, on the World channel.

Small audiences of Tibetans in world capitals such as London, Paris and Berlin have also seen Arts in Exile, thanks to screenings organized by Tenzin and Yangchen Dorjee, who own Himalaya Restaurant in Plattsburgh, and who helped coordinate the Tibetan arts festival.  The Dorjees say they have plans for higher profile screenings in the future.

The Arts in Exile by Mountain Lake PBS documentary is one component of the 2015 Festival of Tibetan Arts & Culture of the Adirondack Coast.  The festival, organized in part by the Dorjees and SUNY Anthropology Professor Amy Mountcastle, included performances by the Adirondack Youth Orchestra, an exhibition at SUNY Plattsburgh, and the creation of a tile mural led by artist Sue Burdick Young and the Plattsburgh Renewal Project with support from the Strand Center for the Arts. This festival was funded, in part, by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

This multi-partner, collaborative community initiative was envisioned and facilitated in large part by Janine Scherline, Director of Development at Mountain Lake PBS, who also served as the grant writer, through the Regional Economic Development Council Consolidated Funding Process.

“This documentary skillfully tells the story of this year-long multi-partner initiative showcasing the unique ability of the arts to build communities, and at the same time explores how one small community can be impacted by a global issue as large and distant as the Tibetan diaspora,” Scherline said. “I hope the project and film will inspire communities to discover their unique connections to the world at large.”

More information about Arts in Exile: Tibetan Treasures in Small Town America  - http://artsinexile.mountainlake.org/

SPOTLIGHT and a BACON BROTHER grace the big screen!




The gala event at the Lake Champlain International Film Festival will feature a variety of short films tonight, including the music video and behind-the-scenes story for Michael Bacon's summer song "It's an Adirondack Thing." 

Viewers will hear the song, see the humorous video shot in August on Blue Mountain Lake, and learn about the inspiration behind both the song and the video.

This marks the first time a story produced for Paul Larson's Spotlight segments will grace the big screen.  Larson produced, directed and wrote the piece, which was shot and edited by Daniel McCullum. 

This is the third year film lovers are heading to the Lake Champlain International Film Festival for five days of motion pictures from Nepal, Spain, Iran, Canada, the United States and more.  Works of comedy, drama, horror and documentary, panel discussions, and the chance to meet visiting filmmakers are drawing people to the yearly celebration of cinema. 

For the third year, Larson will appear on stage at the festival to answer questions about his work.

GALA EVENT:  Doors open at 6pm at the Strand Center Theatre in Plattsburgh.  "Films from around the world and close to home" begin at 7pm.

Buy your tickets at www.strandcenter.org or call (518) 563-1604.
For schedule and info: www.lcifilmfest.com

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Singer Michael Bacon finds humor in roughing it, Adirondack style.

Musician Michael Bacon and producer Paul Larson relax during takes of the music video for "It's an Adirondack Thing."
The Adirondacks have a brand new anthem, thanks to composer Michael Bacon.  One half of the duo the Bacon Brothers, Michael has been visiting the Adirondacks every summer, to spend a few weeks each year at his family camp. When the Adirondack Museum asked Bacon to sing at the first Music Fest this summer, the performer wrote a new song for the occasion, one that humorously pays tribute to the time he spends roughing it in a camp with no electricity "just to feed that ol' black fly, for three weeks in July."  When his friends ask him why he drives five hours from Manhattan to be away from the Big Apple, he replies with the title of the new song, "It's an Adirondack Thing."  Producer Paul Larson and Cinematographer Daniel McCullum created a music video for the song on Blue Mountain Lake, near the museum.  Enjoy the song, and hear Michael Bacon explain the inspiration behind it, in this Spotlight segment from Mountain Lake PBS.   The segment will have its television premiere tomorrow night on Mountain Lake Journal at 8:00.  You may also enjoy the music video of the song 
here.    
Larson and Cinematographer Daniel McCullum collaborated with Bacon on the music video.
An Adirondack forest proved an appropriate backdrop for scenes in the music video.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Author Glenn Pearsall and I chat about the Civil War

     



     Families torn apart by the Civil War, a frantic writing process and maple sugar all found their way in as topics for my interview with author Glenn Pearsall this month in North Creek, New York.  He and I sat in front of an audience at the Tannery Pond Center to discuss his first novel Leaves Torn Asunder.  We spoke for more than half an hour, a live version of my "Author Visits" series.   
     We talked about plot, characters and history, but it was his writing process I found the most interesting. Glenn said he did not outline the book, but would instead frantically type the words and paragraphs as they came to him.  Sometimes he said the ideas would rush at him much faster than he could type.  The author also admitted he'd sometimes have whole Civil War battles playing out in his mind as he tried to engage in dinner conversation with his wife Carol!  His wife, by the way, acted as editor and critic during the creation of the novel.
     Board member of the Johnsburg Historical Society Suzie Anderson wrote after the event, "The interviewer, Paul Larson, and Glenn Pearsall easily moved from discussing broad themes, such as the specter of slavery hovering over the nation, to small details of the soldiers' daily life.  The audience appeared fully engaged in the dialogue between Larson and Pearsall from start to finish."
     It was an enjoyable evening that also included a slide show from Glenn showing real places and people who had inspired his work of Adirondack war fiction.  Glenn's showcase of photo concepts for the book cover that did not succeed, plus the one that did, revealed how many authors and book publishers also struggle over decisions about the visual representation of a book.
     Leaves Torn Asunder focuses on subjects rarely covered in Adirondack literature, those of farming families facing the horrors of war, on the battlefield and at home.
     The book release party in North Creek concluded with refreshments and a book signing by the author.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Enjoy your ADIRONDACK JOURNEYS



Enjoy two segments of the "Adirondack Journeys" series this week on Mountain Lake Journal.  

The series highlights tourist destinations throughout the region in all four seasons.  

Producer Paul Larson takes us to the Museum Without Walls on the campus of SUNY Plattsburgh.  You'll learn how one monumental sculpture on the grounds encouraged others to sprout up around it. 

He also explores the Wildlife Refuge and Rehabilitation in Wilmington, New York, home to animals who can't survive in the wild and require care.  

Mountain Lake Journal airs Friday at 8pm, with repeats Saturday at 7pm, Sunday at 10am, and Thursday at 1pm.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Iowan Memories of Gothic Horror


In 1982, thirty-four years ago this month, the Iowa Public Broadcasting Network was wrapping up a series of twelve Vincent Price films, presented in a unique way, with introductions and final thoughts presented by the actor himself.  He delivered his insight seated comfortably within the spacious rooms of Salisbury House, a Gothic mansion in my home town of Des Moines, Iowa.

Three years ago, I asked the powers that be at Iowa Public Television (as the network is now called) for their help to rescue the rare introductory footage of Vincent Price from almost certain disappearance, just in time for the release of some of the films on Shout! Factory's Blu-Ray disc set The Vincent Price Collection.

This month, I'm thrilled to unearth some other precious items from this era:  scans of newspaper clippings centering on the Vincent Price series in Iowa, and the time he spent in Salisbury House.  These press items come courtesy of newspapers.com, and I enjoyed the few hours I spent digging for all the printed publicity surrounding The Vincent Price Gothic Horrors.

From the damp vaults below The Des Moines Register emerge some exciting articles about Mr. Price in Des Moines.

Our discoveries begin with the very first images I saw of the Vincent Price series, from the Iowa TV paper that came out on Sunday, March 14, 1982, promoting the broadcast of the first film on Saturday the 20th.


This is the cover of "Iowa TV" that week.  I was hooked at first glance.














Inside the edition, a two page spread further convinced me that I'd be watching public television that approaching Saturday night.


 

 
Festival part 1: Larger print


Festival part 2: Larger print


 
Festival part 3: Larger print





















When Saturday finally arrived, an ad ran on the stock pages, reminding readers of something I'd been looking forward to the whole week.






















Finally, an article that my vivid memory refused to conjure up, because this news item had completely escaped my attention in 1982.  It's an article I had not seen until this month.  The piece reveals an interview conducted with Vincent Price while at Salisbury House in January of 1982, and it previewed the Gothic Horrors series two months before the first air date.  If only I had seen this article when it ran... I missed out on two full months of anticipation!



Monster part 1, Larger print



Monster part 2, Larger print


While looking at the newspaper scans, I also took note of the original air dates for The Vincent Price Gothic Horrors.  I had remembered that they didn't exactly run for twelve weeks in a row, but my memory did play a scary trick on me...  First, the air dates:

The Fall of the House of Usher    Saturday, March 20, 1982  8pm

Pit and the Pendulum    Saturday, March 27, 1982  8pm  (The Wizard of Oz began at 7pm on CBS... I had to make a major decision that night, but I chose to watch the Vincent Price film.)

Master of the World    Saturday, April 3, 1982  8pm

Then, a break from the series... Live from Lincoln Center:  Lucia Di Lammermoor  Saturday, April 10, 1982  7pm

Tales of Terror    Saturday, April 17, 1982  8pm

The Raven    Saturday, April 24, 1982  8pm

The Haunted Palace    Saturday, May 1, 1982  8pm

The Comedy of Terrors    Saturday, May 8, 1982  8pm

The Masque of the Red Death    Saturday, May 15, 1982  8pm

A second break from the series... Horowitz in London:  A Royal Concert  Saturday, May 22, 1982  8pm

The Conqueror Worm    Saturday, May 29, 1982  8pm  Oops!  Price had said The Tomb of Ligeia would be the next film, and it was skipped!  I have no memory of being traumatized by this.

Scream and Scream Again    Saturday, June 5, 1982  8pm

An Evening of Edgar Allan Poe    Saturday, June 12, 1982  8pm

The Tomb of Ligeia    Saturday, June 19, 1982  8pm   Ahh, I finally got to see the skipped movie a week after the series had its finale.  At least it still ended with Poe (and with Price mistakenly saying The Conqueror Worm would air next time).

My heartfelt thanks go to Iowa Public Television for this incredible series that was made ever so personal for Iowans, by inviting Vincent Price inside a treasure of Des Moines, Salisbury House.  I enjoyed the movies in 1982, and am enjoying sharing some memories with you from The Des Moines Register.
 
BUT... through all these years, my memory reassembled the series so that The Tomb of Ligeia had been broadcast in its proper place, and An Evening of Edgar Allan Poe was the final episode aired.  Guess my memory is the one that errored.  SCARY!
Paul Larson, Monster Kid of the Year, 2013
 

Monday, June 13, 2016

EMMY win for ARTS IN EXILE!

 
 Editor Michael C. Hansen, producer, writer and director Paul Larson, and director of photography Daniel McCullum created the film Arts in Exile:  Tibetan Treasures in Small Town America.

LIGHTNING STRIKES TWICE FOR MOUNTAIN LAKE PBS EMMY WIN!

Mountain Lake PBS has claimed a second Emmy statuette for a documentary, a twin to sit beside its first. The film Arts in Exile: Tibetan Treasures in Small Town America won in the "Outstanding Documentary" category at the 39th Boston/New England Regional Emmy Awards ceremony this month.  This marks the second Emmy win for arts producer Paul Larson, whose last major documentary also took home the award.

"The competition is tough every year," Larson said, "but this time it felt exceptionally hard.  We set out to tell the story of how one small American community is enriched by the Tibetan arts and connected to the rest of the world through them.  The unexpected benefits of the arts is my absolute favorite theme for programs I produce.  I'm elated the judges have honored our entire community-wide effort with their decision."  

Arts in Exile chronicles the creation of the Tibetan arts festival held last fall in Plattsburgh, New York, exploring how the city in northern New York was inspired by the culture of Tibet from across the globe.  The documentary examines how several Tibetan refugees use the arts to raise awareness about the global problems they face and to keep their culture alive.  

The program features insight from Tibet House President Dr. Robert Thurman, and the talents of photographer Sonam Zoksang, freedom singer Techung, thangka painter Tsering Phuntsok, monks Lobsang Dorjee and Yeshi Dorjee, wood carver Tashi Dholak, and many other visual artists and performers.  

"Collaborating with world-class artists who demonstrated traditions that are centuries old, traditions struggling for survival now, added a polish to the credibility of the story, in addition to the interview with one of the world's leading Tibetan issues experts, Dr. Thurman," Larson said.  

Larson said he shares this award with the director of photography Daniel McCullum and editor Michael C. Hansen.  

"Their talents helped give this film a very slick presentation that plays well at home, as well as on the big screen, which we saw when the Strand Center for the Arts honored it with a premiere in its historical auditorium," Larson said, adding that other large screen showings are in the works.  

Arts in Exile producer Paul Larson took home a regional Emmy for his 2013 documentary Songs to Keep:  Treasures of an Adirondack Folk Collector, which also included the talents of videographer Daniel McCullum.  

Also this spring, Arts in Exile received a New York State Broadcasters Association award in the "Outstanding Documentary" category.  

“This is a wonderful example of how important community partnerships are to our ability to fulfill our mission and our promise to engage and serve our entire viewership area. I could not be more proud of the talented team here at Mountain Lake PBS,” Bill McColgan, Director of Production and Content at Mountain Lake PBS, said.    

“This project was major undertaking for team here, and I’m honored by this award. This Emmy belongs not just to Mountain Lake PBS, but to the entire community who came together to bring this entire project to life,” said Erik Nycklemoe, President and CEO of Mountain Lake PBS.  

The Arts in Exile documentary is one component of the 2015 Festival of Tibetan Arts & Culture of the Adirondack Coast.  The festival, organized in part by restaurant owners Tenzin and Yangchen Dorjee and SUNY Anthropology Professor Amy Mountcastle, included performances by the Adirondack Youth Orchestra, an exhibition at SUNY Plattsburgh, and the creation of a tile mural led by artist Sue Burdick Young and the Plattsburgh Renewal Project with support from the Strand Center for the Arts. This festival was funded, in part, by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.  

This multi-partner, collaborative community initiative was envisioned and facilitated in large part by Janine Scherline, Director of Development at Mountain Lake PBS, who also served as the grant writer, through the Regional Economic Development Council Consolidated Funding Process.  

“This documentary skillfully tells the story of this year-long multi-partner initiative showcasing the unique ability of the arts to build communities, and at the same time explores how one small community can be impacted by a global issue as large and distant as the Tibetan diaspora,” said Scherline. “I hope the project and resulting film will inspire communities to discover their unique connections to the world at large.”  

Arts in Exile:  Tibetan Treasures in Small Town America tied with Omaha Beach Honor and Sacrifice from the World War II Foundation/Ocean State Video for the Emmy, in a contest among six nominated documentaries.  The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences distributes Regional Emmy® Awards in 20 regions across the United States.  

To celebrate the Emmy win, Mountain Lake PBS will air Arts in Exile on Friday, July 8 at 10pm, Sunday, July 10 at 6pm, and Wednesday, July 13 at noon.  

More information about Arts in Exile: Tibetan Treasures in Small Town America  - http://artsinexile.mountainlake.org/ 

Monday, June 6, 2016

Arts in Exile takes home a NYSBA award!

Editor Michael C. Hansen, Producer Paul Larson, and Director of Photography Daniel McCullum celebrate the NYSBA win of Arts in Exile.
The New York State Broadcasters Association has honored Arts in Exile:  Tibetan Treasures in Small Town America with an award in the "Outstanding Documentary" category. Arts producer Paul Larson produced and wrote the program, with Michael Hansen as editor and Daniel McCullum as director of photography.  The show celebrates Tibetan culture in the North Country by focusing on a Tibetan arts festival held in Plattsburgh, New York. 

The documentary is one component of the 2015 Festival of Tibetan Arts & Culture of the Adirondack Coast.  The festival, organized in part by restaurant owners Tenzin and Yangchen Dorjee and SUNY Anthropology Professor Amy Mountcastle, included performances by the Adirondack Youth Orchestra, an exhibition at SUNY Plattsburgh, and the creation of a tile mural led by artist Sue Burdick Young and the Plattsburgh Renewal Project with support from the Strand Center for the Arts. This festival was funded, in part, by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Hosting Mountain Lake Journal this week!

Hosting Mountain Lake Journal in Trinity Park
I enjoyed getting outdoors in the beautiful May weather to host Mountain Lake Journal this week.  It's my first time as guest host since we updated the format of the program.

The show has an arts and Adirondacks theme this week. I did my introductions from Trinity Park, the site where musicians will perform on Friday nights this summer at the Downtown Rising events.  Simon Conroy and Danielle Giordano are organizing these events to showcase produce from local farmers, artwork from regional artists, and music from local bands.

The park also serves as a great spot to catch the progress of a mural creation happening across the street.  "Outside Art:  Plattsburgh Pubic Art Project" has coordinated the painting of a whimsical Adirondack wildlife mural on the brick wall of the Cornerstone Book Shop.  Amy Guglielmo and Julia Devine founded "Outside Art" to beautify Plattsburgh and improve the quality of business and residential life in the city.

Interviewing artist Norman Taber and "Outside Art" Co-director Julia Devine

You'll learn more about the mural and downtown events on the show this week.  Also, Jack LaDuke attended a concert which gave the public a preview of an opera in the works.  The Adirondack Folk Opera will focus on a farm colony near Lake Placid dedicated to giving free African Americans the right to vote, before the dawn of the Civil War.

Finally on the show, naturalist Ed Kanze and producer Josh Clement explore the Avalanche Pass near Lake Placid, to view wonders that are "Curiously Adirondack."

I had a great time producing the show this week while Thom Hallock was on vacation, and I hope you enjoy seeing the results.

Mountain Lake Journal airs Friday at 8pm, Saturday at 7pm and Sunday at 10am.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Arts in Exile celebrates its EMMY nomination!

Director of Photography Daniel McCullum, producer Paul Larson and editor Michael Hansen





The documentary Arts in Exile: Tibetan Treasures in Small Town America will compete against six other programs this June, vying for the title of "Outstanding Documentary" at the Boston/New England Regional Emmy Awards ceremony.  The selected programs were announced last night at a nomination party in Boston.

Arts in Exile chronicles the creation of the Tibetan arts festival held last fall in Plattsburgh, New York, exploring how the city in northern New York was inspired by, and connected to the culture of Tibet from across the globe.  The documentary examines how several Tibetan refugees use the arts to raise awareness about the global problems they face and keep their culture alive.

The program features insight from Tibet House President Dr. Robert Thurman, and the talents of photographer Sonam Zoksang, freedom singer Techung, thangka painter Tsering Phuntsok, monks Lobsang Dorjee and Yeshi Dorjee, wood carver Tashi Dholak and many other visual artists and performers.

“This project was a huge undertaking for this station. The documentary was just one part of a much larger initiative that engaged the community on many levels, from a 10-foot tile mural installed in downtown Plattsburgh to a multi-week festival of exhibitions and performances. This nomination honors not only Mountain Lake PBS, but everyone involved in this community project,” said Erik Nycklemoe, President & CEO of Mountain Lake PBS.

“The team here at Mountain Lake PBS works diligently to bring the unique stories of our region to the wider world, and we’re proud to be recognized for doing it well,” said Bill McColgan, Director of Production and Content at Mountain Lake PBS.

Arts in Exile producer Paul Larson took home a regional Emmy for his 2013 documentary Songs to Keep:  Treasures of an Adirondack Folk Collector, which included the talents of videographer Daniel McCullum. McCullum and editor Michael C. Hansen collaborated with Larson on Arts in Exile, and were previously honored with a regional Emmy nomination for the documentary On Home Ground, produced by Tomeka Weatherspoon.

Mountain Lake PBS will celebrate its current Emmy nomination with five airings of Arts in Exile, beginning on Sunday, May 1 at 7pm.  Other airings follow on Monday, May 2 at 10pm, Tuesday, May 3 at 3am, Wednesday, May 4 at noon, and Thursday, May 5 at 4am. 

"I hope people who haven't seen the program before will get the chance to enjoy it in May," Larson said.  "We aimed to make an entertaining documentary, while highlighting creative ways people are spreading awareness about the issues Tibetans face overseas and in our own country."

The documentary is one component of the 2015 Festival of Tibetan Arts & Culture of the Adirondack Coast.  The festival, organized in part by restaurant owners Tenzin and Yangchen Dorjee and SUNY Anthropology Professor Amy Mountcastle, included performances by the Adirondack Youth Orchestra, an exhibition at SUNY Plattsburgh, and the creation of a tile mural led by artist Sue Burdick Young and the Plattsburgh Renewal Project with support from the Strand Center for the Arts. This festival was funded, in part, by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

The 39th Boston/New England Regional Emmy Awards Ceremony takes place Saturday, June 4 in Boston.

More information about Arts in Exile: Tibetan Treasures in Small Town America  - http://artsinexile.mountainlake.org/

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Share some SONGS TO KEEP with your Valentine!




This Valentine's Day, share some Adirondack treasures with your treasured one. Mountain Lake PBS will air its love letter to the Adirondacks, Songs to Keep: Treasures of an Adirondack Folk Collector, this Sunday at 11am. 

The program focuses on the passion one Adirondack historian had for the folk songs of her beautiful region.  Journalist Marjorie Lansing Porter recorded folk songs from the aging population who knew them, saving them from disappearing forever.

Contemporary singers including Alex Smith, the Bacon Brothers, Sue Grimm Hanley and Jamie Savage still enjoy performing songs that were popular a century ago. 

Folk legend Pete Seeger recorded an album of Porter's collection, and producer Paul Larson conducted the final television interview with the singer for this regional Emmy award-winning documentary. 

You may learn more about the Songs to Keep project in the current issue of Voices, the Journal of New York Folklore.


Thursday, January 21, 2016

BIG SCREEN PREMIERE

Arts in Exile:  Tibetan Treasures in Small Town America had its big screen premiere at the Strand Theater in Plattsburgh last night.

More than 200 people attended the screening.  It was a pleasure to see our production assistant Evan Clarke, back from India, who gifted me with a beautiful Tibetan Thangka Painting.


     Our partners in the project joined me on stage afterwards for a question and answer session with the audience.  Restaurant owner Yangchen Dorjee, describing the screening, said "I have no words to express my gratitude."  The documentary tells the story of her peaceful activism, using an arts festival as a way to bring the Tibetan cause to a new audience in Plattsburgh.
     Director of Photography Daniel McCullum, Editor Michael Hansen and I received a lot of positive feedback from those in the audience last night.
     Here's an e-mail that I found very touching from tile mural designer Sue Burdick Young:

Dear Paul,
          I was so moved by the premiere of your documentary last night.  You showcased the art and culture of Tibet so well and went deep into the plight of their country.  I can relate to what a daunting task it was to put this documentary together.  It was just a year ago that I started to research the Tibetan decorative style and was overwhelmed by the depth of meaning that every element and motif symbolized.  It made for a very challenging task to extrapolate this into a community art project.
          All of the interviews you put together really put a face on this plight.  I didn't know all of Yangchen's story, her passion and dedication to the Tibetan people is inspiring.  Amy's statement in the film comparing the Tibetan exile and occupation to what happened to the native Americans in this country 200 years ago really drove home the gravity of what is at stake here.  I've been watching the Ken Burns documentary series about the West and have been horrified by the genocide that took place.  Some of those tribes are lost forever, whole cultures wiped out.  The awareness that your documentary will bring to what is going on in Tibet will help keep this culture alive.
          One of the last questions to the panel last night was "What can people do to help the Tibetans?"  My response to that would be to show this documentary to everyone you know.  If you're from other areas of this country urge your hometown PBS to show this documentary.
          I so hope this will go viral and will do what I can to spread the word.  Also I have to say the title "Arts in Exile" is brilliant.
          Congratulations on a masterpiece that will hopefully resonate globally. 

Most Sincerely,
Sue Young

     Arts in Exile airs tonight at 8, on Mountain Lake PBS.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

PILGRIMAGE at Harvard University




Students hear a story about my visit to the Brothers Grimm statue in their birthplace of Hanau, Germany.

DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE... UP THE BEANSTALK... INTO HARVARD!

Thanks to everyone in the Academic Writing and Critical Reading course for being a wonderful audience! Dr. Elisabeth Sharp McKetta instructs the class. She uses fairy tales as the texts for her students to ponder. She invited me to the Philosophy Building at Harvard University, to speak to her class on the pilgrimages I make to sites associated with literature, films and live performances I enjoy.

For this occasion I created a new presentation entitled Pilgrimage: Touching the Real Deal in a Fantasy World. It takes the audience on a journey through the tales of the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen, by exploring actual locations where the authors lived, including places that inspired elements of their written tales. In his tale The Tinder Box, Andersen wrote about a dog whose eyes were each as "large as the Round Tower." He means the Round Tower, an observatory standing in Copenhagen since 1642, which I've had the pleasure of visiting. I've also visited the forest where Hansel and Gretel lose their way in the famous opera by Engelbert Humperdinck, and Rapunzel's tower, all the while avoiding visiting places tourists are told have connections to famous tales when they actually do not.

One of my favorite topics centers on private places I have visited which are hard, or nearly impossible for tourists to enter. My presentation addresses the elated feeling I experience when accessing different private rooms in which the Grimm Brothers, Lewis Carroll and other literary figures lived and wrote. 



The Grimms' boyhood home stands in Steinau an der Strasse, Germany.
Thanks to my research before going on these trips, I once managed to attract the attention of a newspaper reporter in Visby, Sweden, who wrote a two page article about the American tourist visiting their city. I was also informed by the architects behind some renovations of a Yorkshire hotel that Lewis Carroll used to frequent that they "took my suggestion" and incorporated Lewis Carroll themed artwork and informative plaques about the author's stays in the lobby.

My lecture concludes with literary pilgrimage spots much closer to home. These include the Old Dutch Church in Sleepy Hollow, New York, immortalized by Washington Irving in his unforgettable Legend of Sleepy Hollow, and the Almanzo Wilder Homestead in Malone, New York, boyhood home of Laura Ingalls Wilder's husband of the Little House series, and a site we'll feature soon on Mountain Lake PBS after I fell under its spell. 

I appreciated how engaged the students were during the entire hour, and I enjoyed answering their thought-provoking questions afterward. Dr. McKetta and I are now talking about other audiences who might enjoy this presentation, so perhaps I'll bring it to a venue near you!

Dr. Elisabeth Sharp McKetta writes books of poetry. She and I share an interest in classic fairy tales, and the stories have informed much of her writing and academic journey.

The Philosophy Building at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts