Three-part PBS documentary shines spotlight on key abolitionists

0107 The Abolitionists

 "The Abolitionists" American Experience, PBS 10 p.m./9 p.m. Central, Jan. 8, Jan. 15 and Jan. 22Tonight, a three-part documentary premieres on PBS that tells the story of the abolitionists and the movement they created in the United States to end slavery. The series comes at the right moment by providing the historical context, biographies and background to the passage of the 13th Amendment as shown in the Steven Spielberg's film "Lincoln," now in theaters. Yet Abraham Lincoln's … [Read more...]

“Wreck It Ralph” and the shooting at the elementary school in Connecticut today

"Fourth of July parade, 2011, Independence, Calif.," by photographer Craig Semetko, from his project "America -- E Pluribus Unum" (©Craig Semetko, 2012)

Today, December, 14, a gunman killed 26 people in Newtown, CT, including 20 elementary school children."Wreck It Ralph" opened in November I didn't have a chance to see it until today. I was driving home from seeing the film and listening to the news on NPR. The newsperson described President Obama as wiping away tears as he spoke words of comfort to parents, his behavior noted by many news outlets.2012 has been a year marked by gun violence tragedies.On August 22 I recorded a video a … [Read more...]

“The Hobbit” is entertaining and inspiring hero’s tale

Martin Freeman stars in "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey." (CNS/Warner Bros.)

In the time before the great contests recorded in "The Lord of the Rings," the Shire, hobbit zone of Middle Earth, is a gentle place, and hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) is comfortable in his hobbit hole home. He loves his books and appears to be rather fussy. Enter the wizard Gandalf the Grey (Ian McKellan), who tries to entice Bilbo to come on an adventure. Bilbo is reluctant, but Gandalf has invited a band of 13 dwarves, led by Thorin (Richard Armitage), to gather at Bilbo's home. Bilbo … [Read more...]

A Royal Affair, Life of Pi, Chasing Mavericks

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In 1766, the little sister of Britain’s King George III, Princess Caroline Mathilde (Alicia Vikander), is betrothed to her cousin, King Christian VII (Mikkel Boe Følsgaard) of Denmark. The king, a mentally ill philanderer, has to be coaxed into fathering a child.The king’s ministers are concerned about the monarch’s instability, so they hire a German doctor, Johann Friedrich Struensee (Mads Mikkelsen), to be at his side. The king comes to trust the doctor. But when they return to court after … [Read more...]

PBS to revisit ‘Downton Abbey’ with Sunday special Nov 25

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"Who will marry whom?" and "Will Mr. Bates get out of prison?" are two of the driving questions that lingered as season two of PBS's highest-rated Masterpiece series came to an end in 2011. As a teaser and fundraising event, PBS is airing a special, hosted by Angela Lansbury, that revisits key moments of the first two seasons, sums up where the series left off and entices with clips about Downtown Abbey's upstairs/downstairs  folks post-World War I, coming up in season three. The new season … [Read more...]

Pianist brings mother’s Holocaust experiences to life

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Live theater is always fresh even when the story breaks your heart. The actors pour themselves into the feat of becoming another and convincing us that their pain, joy, dilemmas, tragedy and triumph are real.Through the kindness of friends, Daughter of St. Paul Sr. Marie Hunt and I were able to experience "The Pianist of Willesden Lane" at the Geffen Playhouse at UCLA.The Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater within the playhouse is intimate at only 115 seats, or parlor armchairs, arranged on … [Read more...]

“Weaving Life” “Where Do We Go Now?” and a “Girl with a Book” Images of peacemaking in the Middle East

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In the last month or so, a narrative film, a documentary and a poster on Facebook came across my desk. The films were sent for review, but the Facebook poster (or image) arrived in my newsfeed this morning, unbidden, a "share" from my youngest sister."Weaving Life" a documentary on The Life and Death of Peacemaker Dan Terry - is a film from MennoMedia that will air on participating ABC stations beginning Oct. 21 (check local listings). It is the story of Dan Terry, one of 10 humanitarian w … [Read more...]

Dexter, theology, the Bible and Christ-like non-violence

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I wondered on Facebook about Dexter's theology in last night's episode (season premiere) as well as all last year - which I missed (by choice). But for some unexamined reason I am drawn to Dexters murderous psychopathology. Given that I recently took a vow of non-violence I am thinking in expanded ways about what I watch. One of my nieces responded to my query about Dexter's theology with a link to this excellent article "Dexter's Theology: Shedding Blood in God's Name". The author, Christian … [Read more...]


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