Goran Ivanovic is a native of Croatia. Andreas Kapsalis grew up in Chicago to first-generation Greek parents. They join host Kevin Kelly for live music in the studio. More info about the duo.
University of Illinois assistant professor Carol Tilley has always felt strongly about the fact that kids need comics. And she’s not the only one. We’ll talk with Tilley about how comics played a huge role in her childhood and why she thinks it’s so upsetting that they are less widely available and more expensive than they once were. Award-winning graphic novelist and nationally syndicated cartoonist Josh Elder also joins us. He’s creating a new series of graphic textbooks for elementary and middle school teachers. We’ll talk with him and Tilley about what sets comics apart and why they’re useful in the classroom.
Over the course of his 50-year career, filmmaker Marian Marzynski has occasionally turned his cameras on himself and his story of surviving the Holocaust, which claimed the life of his father and millions of other European Jews.
In his latest film, Marzynski returns to Poland and the Jewish ghettos of his childhood. But this time, he is not alone. In Never Forget to Lie, Marzynski chronicles the poignant, painful recollections of other child survivors. The film rescues haunting pieces of the past while exploring the conflicting feelings about national, cultural, and religious identity that mark many survivors.
“The Holocaust story has been told by others; this is our turn,” Marzynski says. “In our old bodies, we are still children.”
In Never Forget to Lie, Marzynski attends an annual Warsaw gathering of Holocaust survivors. He accompanies some of them to the Warsaw ghetto from which he and others escaped through the aid of sympathetic Christian friends. Their childhood memories bear the stain of Nazi oppression: Marzynski recalls playing a wartime version of hide and seek, whereby one Jewish child would shout “Germans!,” and the others would hide until told to come out.
“I remember boots—clean, beautiful, awesome, shiny boots,” a woman recalls of the Nazi soldiers who marched into Poland. “I was afraid of those boots.”
Lilian Boraks-Nemetz, a writer from Vancouver, relives the day her family was marched to the transportation for the death camps. “I am digging my nails into my mother’s flesh. We start marching, and we walk and we walk. I keep crying and asking my mother, ‘Where are we going?’”
At the last moment, Boraks-Nemetz and her mother were saved when they were shoved out of line and behind a gate by her father, who was working as a “Jewish policeman” charged with assisting in the deportations.
“He hated what he was doing, but he did it,” she says, “because to survive in that insane jungle, he told me, you have to become an animal yourself.”
Never Forget to Lie tells of parents who did anything possible to save their children, entrusting them to Christian friends, priests and orphanages. Many of the children were baptized as Catholics in order to provide them with the documents that could mean the difference between life and death. Some survivors recall the challenges of assuming their Jewish identities after the war.
Halina Kramarz fled her hometown with her mother to hide with Christian friends in Krakow during the war; her father died on an overcrowded train bound for a death camp. Yet she recalls being shocked after the war when her mother confessed that they were Jewish.
“I said, ‘I can’t be Jewish! I have nothing personally against the Jews, but I don’t want to be one!’”
Marzynski—who relished his role as an altar boy while hiding with a Catholic priest—also admits that his religious faith dissolved because of his wartime experiences.
“My mother used to say that during the Holocaust, God was taking a long nap—and I agreed,” he says. “So I call my religion ‘survival.’”
War, deception and art come together in The Ghost Army, the astonishing true story of American G.I.s — many of whom would go on to have illustrious careers in art, design and fashion — who tricked the enemy with rubber tanks, sound effects and carefully crafted illusions during the Second World War. A remarkable story of a top-secret mission that was at once absurd, deadly and amazingly effective, The Ghost Army airs on WILL-TV at 7 pm Tuesday, May 21.
In the summer of 1944, a handpicked group of G.I.s landed in France to conduct a special mission. Armed with truckloads of inflatable tanks, a massive collection of sound effects records, and more than a few tricks up their sleeves, they created a traveling road show of deception on the battlefields of Europe, with the German Army as their audience. From Normandy to the Rhine, the 1,100 men of the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops, known as the Ghost Army, conjured up phony convoys, phantom divisions and make-believe headquarters to fool the enemy about the strength and location of American units. Every move they made was top secret, and their story was hushed up for decades after the war’s end.
Each deception required that they impersonate a different (and vastly larger) U.S. unit. Like actors in a repertory theater, they would mount an ever-changing multimedia show tailored to each deception. The men immersed themselves in their roles, even hanging out at local cafes and spinning their counterfeit stories for spies who might lurk in the shadows. Painstakingly recorded sounds of armored and infantry units were blasted from sound trucks; radio operators created phony traffic nets; and inflatable tanks, trucks, artillery and even airplanes were imperfectly camouflaged so they would be visible to enemy reconnaissance. The Ghost Army staged more than 20 deception operations in France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany, often operating dangerously close to the front lines. In the final days of the war, they faced their ultimate test: a deception along the Rhine in which thousands of lives depended on their delivering a convincing performance. What they accomplished was kept secret for nearly 50 years.
Many of the men chosen to carry out these deceptions were young artists recruited from art schools across the country. In their spare time, they painted and sketched their way across Europe, creating a unique and moving visual record of their war. Some would go on to become famous, including fashion designer Bill Blass, painter Ellsworth Kelly and photographer Art Kane.
Interviews with 19 Ghost Army veterans are the heart of the film. The Ghost Army may be one of the last World War II documentaries told in the words of the men who served. Filmmaker Rick Beyer devoted a major portion of the last eight years to the project, after being introduced to the story in a Lexington, Mass., coffee shop. “The niece of a Ghost Army veteran brought me an armload of her uncle’s wartime watercolors and sketches and told me the story. I was hooked,” he says, “and since then I’ve been determined to bring the amazing story of these creative soldiers to the world.”
More than 65 years after the end of the war, the surviving members of the Ghost Army are proud that they used artistry and creativity to save lives. Theirs is not just another war story, but a multi-layered tale of showmanship, creativity and humanity.
For more information, visit www.ghostarmy.org.
University of Illinois grad, PADI divemaster and U.S. Paralympian Ryan Chalmers has pushed himself more than 2,000 miles in the last few weeks, journeying the length of three to four full-length marathons every day. He’s trying to cross the U.S. in his racing wheelchair in 71 days, a distance of nearly 3,000 miles. Host Jim Meadows talks with Chalmers about his trek and what inspired him to do it. We’ll also talk with him about his career as a wheelchair athlete -- at the U of I, in marathons around the country and the 2012 Paralympic games in London.
Watch a video about his attempt.
10 BUILDINGS THAT CHANGED AMERICA, a new PBS special about 10 influential American buildings that changed the way we live, work, and play, premieres on Sunday, May 12, 2013 at 9 pm on WILL-TV. Written and produced by Dan Protess and hosted by Geoffrey Baer, the program was shot on location from Massachusetts to Los Angeles, and features rare archival images, distinctive animation, and interviews with some of the nation’s most insightful historians and architects, including Frank Gehry and Robert Venturi.
“You may not have heard of all of these ten buildings, but their influence is all around you,” says Baer. “There’s a good chance that these revolutionary works of architecture inspired your local city hall or library, the mall where you shop, the office building or factory where you work, and maybe even your own house,” he added.
10 BUILDINGS THAT CHANGED AMERICA is a journey that takes viewers inside these groundbreaking works of art and engineering and reveals the shocking, funny, and even sad stories of how these buildings came to be. From the glorious Trinity Church, designed as “an envelope” for the voice of Rector Phillips Brooks (best known today as the writer of “O Little Town of Bethlehem”) to the Highland Park Ford Plant, designed by Jewish architect Albert Kahn, whose partnership with Henry Ford flourished despite Ford’s anti-Semitic writings, the program explores how their construction had consequences — some unintended — on cities and communities across the country. Ultimately, the program is a journey inside the imaginations of a group of architects who dared to create these influential structures.
The ten buildings in chronological order are:
Virginia State Capitol, Richmond, VA (1788) – Designed by Thomas Jefferson, it marked the beginning of the American tradition of modeling government buildings on Roman and Greek temples.
Trinity Church, Boston, MA (1877) – Created by architect H.H. Richardson, Trinity was the first example of the/his Richardsonian Romanesque style, which was later used in churches, city halls and county courthouses across America.
Wainwright Building, St. Louis, MO (1891) – Louis Sullivan’s Wainwright Building was not the first skyscraper, but it gave the modern, steel-frame skyscraper its form. Historian Tim Samuelson said it “taught the skyscraper to soar.”
Robie House, Chicago, IL (1910) – Considered a masterpiece of Frank Lloyd Wright’s prairie style, it transformed the American home and even inspired the ranch houses of the mid-20th century.
Highland Park Ford Plant, Highland Park, MI (1910) – The first home of Henry Ford’s revolutionary moving assembly line, Albert Kahn’s “daylight factory” design revolutionized industrial architecture.
Southdale Center, Edina, MN (1956) – America’s first fully enclosed, indoor regional shopping mall, it established the formula that all indoor malls followed for decades. Its architect, Victor Gruen, was a socialist who ironically thought shopping malls would cure suburban sprawl.
Seagram Building, New York, NY (1958) – Mies van der Rohe’s tower on Park Avenue was the model for modernist skyscrapers built across the country in the mid-20th century: a dark glass box, set back on an open plaza.
Dulles International Airport, Chantilly, VA (1962) – Designed by Eero Saarinen, this was the first airport in the world created expressly for jets.
Vanna Venturi House, Philadelphia, PA (1964) – Considered by many to be the first “postmodern” building. In an age of austere glass boxes, Robert Venturi dared to design a home that looked like a child’s typical drawing of a house.
Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles, CA (2003) – Frank Gehry’s swooping stainless steel design was a radical departure from the traditional, even stuffy, idea of a concert hall. It inspired other architects to set their imaginations free.
Accompanying the broadcast is a robust companion website, wttw.com/10buildings, a mobile-optimized online destination packed with rich media content including text, photos, video, animation and interactive features that bring the stories of American architecture to life. The site will feature the stories of the ten buildings covered in the program, ten more buildings exclusive to the web, and ten trends in architecture. Visitors to the site will also have the opportunity to share their own picks. Also included will be a curriculum designed for grades 6-12 which will include five lesson plans, focusing on five different subjects: art, English, mathematics, science, and social studies.
Tuesday at 7 pm on The Evening Concert, it's the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Guest conductor Michael Tilson Thomas conducts music of Beethoven and Brahms including Beethoven’s 3rd Piano Concerto with soloist Jeremy Denk. Also on the program Mathieu Dufour is the soloist in Mozart’s Flute Concerto No. 1.