Tuesday, February 1, 2011

February's Rhode Island Stories

Saturday nights are the neighborly place to be, thanks to Rhode Island Stories – a collection of independent films with a uniquely "Rhode Island" flavor. For an hour on Saturdays, from 7-8 P.M., visit with neighbors – the local people, places, and events that punctuate our history and reflect contemporary issues. Some subjects will be familiar; others will be more obscure. Either way, you can count on gaining deeper insight and new perspective you had not considered.

The films chosen for Rhode Island Stories must have a local connection: the documentaries feature Rhode Island in some way, or have been made by one of Rhode Island's many independent filmmakers. The current Rhode Island Stories collection includes a mix of new and previously broadcast programs, and may be a single hour-long documentary or two 30-minute films.

February's Rhode Island Stories will be:

2/5/2011 at 7 P.M. (re-broadcast 2/6 at 11 P.M.) – When the Reds Ruled the Roost 
Emmy award-winning former Rhode Island television sportscaster Joe Rocco produced this story of a 50-year love affair between a hockey team and its thousands of passionate fans. He spent 18 months conducting interviews, and collecting vintage photos and rare film clips that hadn’t been seen in decades. Narrated by Boston Bruins legendary announcer Fred Cusick, When the Reds Ruled the Roost creates a compelling visual history of the immensely popular Rhode Island Reds, and includes colorful stories from former players, hockey Hall of Famers, owners, general managers, and coaches.

2/12/2011 at 7 P.M. (re-broadcast 2/13 at 11 P.M.) – Old House Soul 
This documentary examines the life and work of Steve Tyson, Sr. (1942-2008). Tyson was a Rhode Island preservationist whose company has restored and preserved hundreds of historic buildings and houses across Rhode Island, including such Rhode Island landmarks as Slater Mill in Pawtucket, Smith's Castle, the Towers in Narragansett, and several buildings in Rogers Williams Park. The documentary pays tribute to Tyson, his legacy and the tradition of architectural preservation in Rhode Island.

2/19/2011 at 7 P.M. PREMIERE: Friday, 2/18 at 10:30 p.m. (re-broadcast 2/20 at 9 P.M.) – Face First: The Buck Starts Here 
Mark Twain is thought to have quipped, "If Washington should rise from the dead and not resemble the Stuart portrait, he would be judged an imposter." Such is the legacy of the so-called Athenaeum portrait. On several occasions in 1796, George Washington came to the Philadelphia home of the artist Gilbert Stuart to sit for a portrait. Those sittings produced what is, arguably, the most famous portrait ever created: the unfinished Athenaeum image of Washington that peers out from the dollar bill. First Face: The Buck Starts Here considers the circumstances leading to the creation of Stuart's portrait, and its subsequent life as the defining image of Washington and, ultimately, as an enduring symbol of America. The half-hour documentary is driven by the ironic contrasts between the mercurial Stuart and the highly controlled Washington, as well as contrasts between Washington the man and Washington the myth.

2/19/2011 at 7:30 P.M. – HERstory: The Founding Mothers of Johnson and Wales University profiles the lives of Gertrude Johnson and Mary Wales, founders of what is now known as Johnson and Wales University. These two enterprising women stepped out of the traditional female roles of their time period during a time when women in this country hadn't even gained the right to vote. In their Providence home, with just one typewriter and just one student, Johnson and Wales embarked on their mission to provide women, (and later, to provide men), with the skills needed to succeed in business careers.

PREMIERE 2/20/2011 at 9:30 P.M. - Jack Yena's Legacy: Finding A Sense of Place The film is the third in a trilogy about the history of Johnson and Wales University by filmmaker Marian Gagnon. The story focuses on a new force of strength and the different style of leadership of Jack Yena, from 1989 through 2004. Yena took the institution's name recognition and its reputation as a career university to an international level. Yena also led the charge to establish campuses in North Miami, Denver, and Charlotte, giving Johnson and Wales University a "sense of place" for the first time since its founding.

Special Memorial Encore Presentation 2/20/2011 at 11 P.M. 41 This award-winning documentary by Christian de Rezendes and Christian O'Neill, tells a remarkable story of The Station nightclub fire's youngest victim, Nicholas O'Neill (Christian O'Neill's brother). It paints a portrait of Nicky's 18 years - packed full in so short a time with prolific writing, composing, acting... and an obsession with the number 41. But what makes the film so remarkable is the story after the story: what happened - and continues to happen - after the deadly fire took his life on February 20, 2003. Signs are everywhere that Nicky's spirit continues to move among his family and friends. Even strangers. 41 is a story of uplifting hope, insight, and comfort. And it may change the way you think about life and death.

2/26/2011 at 7 P.M. (re-broadcast 2/27 at 11:00 P.M.) Johnson and Wales University's Men of Vision This film spans the years from 1947 (when Gertrude Johnson and Mary Wales retired) to the late 1980s, and focuses on the contributions made by Morris Gaebe and Edward Triangolo. The enduring friendship and professional partnership between these two men were so strong and well balanced that, as a team, they were unstoppable. They grew the small business school from 100 students to an internationally recognized university with more than 12,000 students from every state in the nation and more than 70 foreign countries.

2/26/2011 at 7:30 P.M. (re-broadcast 2/27 at 11:30 P.M.) – Jack Yena's Legacy: Finding A Sense of Place (see above)