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KCET is honoring Native American Heritage Month in November with several documentaries that celebrate how Native Americans have shaped the nation. From stories of hardship and triumph (Navajo veterans of Canyon de Chelly) to influential leaders (Sitting Bull) and historical events (pow wows), KCET pays tribute to the vast contributions American Indians have made in enriching our country's identity and cultural heritage. With the exception of "Sitting Bull: A Stone in My Heart," this marks the KCET debut for all the films.
Here's this month's slate of programming. Click here for more Native American Heritage Month content.
Monday, November 3 at 9 p.m.
Celebrated as one of America's greatest horse tribes, the 21st century Nez Perce brought horses back to their land with the unlikely help of a charismatic Navajo horseman, Rudy Shebala. His mentorship has guided at-risk teenagers toward recreational equestrian activities, and his equine skills have brought historic Nez Perce horse culture to modern renown. But his personal demons imperil both accomplishments. "Horse Tribe" is an epic story about the connection of human to animal, history to life, individuals to community, grief to resolve, and values to action.
Wednesday, November 5 at 9 p.m. and Sunday, November 9 at 11:30 p.m.
Navajo veterans of Canyon de Chelly, Ariz. served as code talkers during World War II, Army Rangers in Vietnam, and most recently, in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, their dedication and courage in battle has not protected them from the formidable challenges facing them when they return home. The film documents how strong women, traditional healing, and talk therapy are helping these warriors return.
Friday, November 14 at 9 p.m.
An official selection at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, "Grab" offers an intimate portrait of the rarely documented Grab Day in the villages of New Mexico's Laguna Pueblo tribe. This community-wide prayer of abundance, thanks, and renewal exists at the intersection of traditional native and contemporary Western cultures.
Each year, Laguna Pueblo villagers honor Catholic saints and family members by showering food and gifts from the rooftops of their homes upon the community gathered below. "Grab" explores the origins and evolution of this 300-year-old custom, from its introduction by Spanish settlers to its modern-day twists. The film, narrated by actress Parker Posey, follows three families as they prepare for the annual event, chronicling their lives for the year leading up to Grab Day.
Sunday, November 16 at 11:30 p.m.
"Sacred Stick" examines the historical, cultural, and spiritual aspects of lacrosse. From the ancient Mayans to the world-famous Iroquois Nationals team, the movie explores the cultural diffusion and transmutation of a uniquely indigenous sport that, like Native Americans themselves, adapted and endured within the dominant culture.
Friday, November 21 at 9 p.m.
The documentary examines the efforts of contemporary Native performers to recast themselves in the 21st century. Told through original performance footage and the artists' own words, "For the Generations" explores health and fitness issues that plague Native youth on and off the reservation.
Sunday, November 23 at 11:30 p.m.
"As Long as We Dance" is a glimpse inside the 11th and final "New Faces of an Ancient People Traditional American Indian Powwow" held in State College, Pa. It features the stories of American Indian dancers, drummers, vendors, and organizers from various tribes who travel thousands of miles to participate in the event each year and shows the impact it's had on them and the surrounding central Pennsylvania community. The powwow is a place where people find themselves, connect with their culture, and pass on their traditions to the next generation.
Tuesday, November 25 at 9 p.m.
This compelling documentary invites viewers into the lives of contemporary Native American role models living in the U.S. midwest. It dispels the myth that American Indians have disappeared from the American horizon, and reveals how they continue to persist, heal from the past, confront the challenges of today, keep their culture alive, and make great contributions to society.
Friday, November 28 at 9 p.m.
This award-winning documentary makes extensive use of Sitting Bull's own words (as portrayed by Adam Fortunate Eagle), giving the viewer an intimate portrait of one of America's most legendary, yet least known, figures in all his complexities as a leader of the Sioux Nation. The movie presents the story of a warrior, spiritual leader, and skilled diplomat.
Augmented by the narrative's historic perspective, over 600 images, and a compelling original score, the film brings to life the little-know side of Sitting Bull, as well as the story of a great man's struggle to maintain his people's way of life against an ever-expanding westward movement of white settlers.
If (hotel) walls could talk, they would speak with a charming British accent that sounds an awful like Richard E. Grant. The "Withnail & I" actor charts unscripted territory to explore the world's most remarkable hotels on his travel show -- fittingly titled "Hotel Secrets with Richard E. Grant" -- which makes its U.S. debut on Sept. 30 at 9 p.m. on KCET. Here's what you need to know about the new series.
What can I expect from the show?
Hotels. Humor. History. Hijinks. Grant travels the globe, profiling different cities through their hotels in each episode. He tells the untold tales behind the glamorous facades of iconic and often infamous establishments. From murders to sex scandals, from warring hotel dynasties to the extravagances of rich and famous guests, the show paints a portrait of a fascinating and mostly hidden world.
Who is Richard E. Grant?
If you're not familiar with the legendary British actor's body of work, you should get acquainted with it. Grant is best known for his titular character in the cult classic "Withnail & I" and for his role in "Bram Stoker's Dracula." He also voiced Barkis Bittern in Tim Burton's "Corpse Bride."
Grant played the Tenth Doctor on "Doctor Who" and provided the voice for an animated version of the Ninth Doctor. He's one of only three people to have played two separate incarnations of the Doctor.
Most recently, he made recurring appearances on "Girls" and "Downton Abbey," in addition to starring in the dramedy "Dom Hemingway" opposite Jude Law.
What hotels does Grant visit?
Grant checks into the George V and Bastille's L'Hotel in Paris, the Four Seasons (lodging in its $44,000-a-night Ty Warner Penthouse) and Chelsea Hotel in New York, the MGM Grand and Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, the Savoy and Dorchester in London, and the Chateau Marmont and Barkley Pet Hotel (where furry friends are treated to room service and surfing lessons) in Los Angeles.
Who does he meet/interview along the way?
He talks to some of the biggest names in the luxury hotel industry, including billionaire businessman Donald Trump, renowned hotelier Ian Schrager, and Andre Balazs, whose portfolio of hugely successful hotels includes the Chateau Marmont and The Standard.
At the Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles, Grant interviews a wedding planner to the stars who organized nuptials for Katy Perry, Gwen Stefani, and Nicole Richie. He also chats with KISS bassist Gene Simmons and former madam Heidi Fleiss (and her 40 macaws), who spills about sex scandals.
He also stops by Paris' Le Meurice, where Salvador Dali visited annually for three decades. He meets the surrealist artist's muse, Amanda Lear, who talks about Dali's antics, as well as how his legacy is still celebrated in the hotel today.
What does he uncover?
In addition to hearing about that time Peter O'Toole bathed in champagne, Mariah Carey demanded golden faucets, and Elizabeth Taylor had a pink marbled bathroom installed, Grant learns more about Charlie Chaplin when he sits at his favorite table at the Beverly Hills Hotel.
He visits the Chateau Marmont on Hollywood's Sunset Boulevard, where Howard Hughes famously holed himself up in the penthouse, Jean Harlow and Clark Gable carried out a torrid affair, and Lindsay Lohan was temporarily banned for not paying a bill.
Grant also heads to the Dorchester in London's Mayfair, where Britt Ekland shares her memories of meeting and falling in love with Peter Sellers there in 1964.
In New York, he talks to former mobster Louis Ferrante about a robbery at the Pierre Hotel in 1972 in which $10 million worth of cash and jewelry were stolen.
When does the show air?
The show premiered on Sky Atlantic in the U.K. in 2012. KCET will air all eight episodes of season one on Tuesdays at 9 p.m., following our new Tuesday night comedy block of "Moone Boy" and "Spy." The second season premiered on Sky in August, but a date hasn't been set yet for its U.S. premiere. The second season covers Hong Kong, Tokyo, Miami, New Orleans, Venice, and Berlin.
If you haven't seen Simeon Goulden's Brit-com "Spy," that's because up until now, it was only available online on Hulu and in the U.K. on Sky1.
"Spy" is just one of a handful of shows that pioneered the movement from television to online-only international distribution. Originally broadcast on Sky1 in 2011, "Spy" has finally made its rounds from TV to tablet to TV again. The sitcom will make its U.S. television premiere on KCET on September 30 at 8:30 p.m.
"Spy" is your run-of-the-mill family sitcom about a single dad, Tim Elliot (Darren Boyd), who accidentally becomes an MI5 agent (that ol' chestnut) in an attempt to impress his demanding son, Marcus. This show manages to take standard sitcom storylines and infuse some originality in them.
The Unapologetically Harsh Ex
Tim's ex-wife, Judith, is the most unredeeming, cold, manipulative character ever seen in a comedy. Often, when dealing with divorced parents on television, even the parent the audience is supposed to dislike shows us something that appeals to our humanity. You think, "Sure, that person's a deadbeat, but they really do love their child." "Spy" doesn't paint that portrait. We don't have to like Judith, and her rigid insistence on treating Tim poorly makes his lack of confidence all the more believable.
The Boneheaded Dad
Let's open a can of worms for a minute and talk about the way dads are often portrayed on modern sitcoms and commercials. Dads. Total dopes, aren't they? Why is that? They're lovable, sure, but does every dad we see have to be unintelligent in order for us to find him endearing? At first, Tim seems like every other dumb TV dad. But we rapidly find that he's rather brilliant and talented. While he never quite sees it in himself, he's an easily lovable character, despite his basic blunders.
The Unattainable Love Interest(s)
Nearly everyone on this show seems to be in love with the wrong person. Tim's in love with another agent. The completely insane social worker is in love with Tim. Marcus' headmaster is in love with Judith, who doesn't seem capable of caring about anyone. And Tim's boss at MI5, "The Examiner," played by the always-brilliant Robert Lindsay, is infatuated with Tim. In the typical sitcom, there is only one long, drawn-out plotline of yearning that keeps you coming back week after week to see if they're finally going to get together. With "Spy," there is constant relationship mayhem and the results are delightful.
The Secret Double Life
Without leaking too many plot-spoiling secrets, let's just say that trying to get a better job than working at an electronics store, then landing the coolest job on earth is fun enough as a storyline. Add to it the fact that Tim only wanted a new job to win his son's respect, but can't tell him about his amazing career, and you find yourself pulling for the guy whose underdog status in the eyes of the world doesn't reflect reality.
The Precocious Child
Unlike Judith, Marcus does have redeeming qualities, mostly stemming from the plain and simple fact that he's a child. While it's clear that he's an intelligent kid, it's also evident that he thinks he's smarter than he actually is. It's easy to forgive him once you factor in the fact that he doesn't really see the whole picture, and his craftiness with schemes shows that he'll become a mastermind one day.
Previously only available in the U.S. on Hulu, Chris O'Dowd's "Moone Boy" makes its U.S. TV debut on KCET on September 30 at 8 p.m. as part of our new Tuesday night comedy block.
Created, co-written by, and co-starring O'Dowd, the coming-of-age story has been hailed as "one of the most charming series on television" by The Hollywood Reporter and dubbed "a finely crafted little jewel of a show" by the Los Angeles Times.
There was "Roseanne" in the 1990s and "Malcolm in the Middle" in the 2000s, and now "Moone Boy," with all the heart of any family comedy of the past, with a few important twists. The show is set in Ireland in the late 80s, early 90s and told from the perspective of a 12-year-old boy, David Rawle's Martin Paul Kenny Dalglish Moone (who The Guardian called the most life-affirming delight to have hit our screens in a long time"), who often consults his imaginary friend, O'Dowd's Sean Murphy for advice.
Based on O'Dowd's actual childhood in Ireland, "Moone Boy" could never be accused of taking the piss when it comes to the decade, the family, or the fact that being 12 is kind of awful. And while this show may be seen from young Martin's unflinchingly upbeat viewpoint, every family member -- from each of his older, tougher sisters, to his good-natured mother, to his genuine father -- brings his/her own charm. Perhaps because it's based on reality, none of these characters are caricatures. Mom has her own life. Dad isn't some Irish boozehound, and even the school bullies are ... scratch that. There's nothing lovable about the Bonnor twins.
The nostalgia of the show is much greater than you could imagine until you've watched it, and that's because even if you never grew up in the west of Ireland, Martin's every move will take you back to what "growing up" really feels like.
You Thought Turning 12 Would Change Everything
The pilot episode opens on the very eve of Martin's 12th birthday, and even though he takes a pummeling, he's certain that everything is about to change for the better. Maybe, as an adult, 13 seems like the real magic number, but if you think back, you'll probably recall how 12 was the starting point toward your independence.
You Can Talk Yourself Into Terrible Ideas
Okay, lets suppose that technically Martin's imaginary friend is giving Martin advice. But Sean makes it clear from the start that he's not some master of hijinx. He's really just telling Martin exactly what Martin wants to be told. Maybe you never had an imaginary friend, but how many times have you had a conversation in your head in which you told yourself what you wanted to hear? Call it the opposite of intuition. Call it justification. Call it anything you want, but we call it just plain hilarious.
As a Child, Anything Felt Possible
Martin is a doodler. His drawings, used as animations throughout the show, often come to life and show things exactly as he'd want them to happen.
You Learned That Being 12 Did Change Everything...
...just maybe not the way you thought it would. Moving between the world of childhood and adolescence, there is a place where you are too young to be taken seriously, yet too old to be coddled. During that time, you have to take yourself extremely seriously because you're trying to make a point of teaching everyone else who you are. The moments in "Moone Boy" that are the most captivating to watch aren't the ones in which he's embarrassed, but when he doesn't understand how embarrassed he should be. That was a gift we all possessed once, and the moment it went away, that sealed our fates as grown ups.
There's a Moone Boy in all of us, and in each episode, you'll find yourself laughing at unexpected moments as you remember who that person once was.
In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, KCET will air special programming from September 15 to October 15 celebrating Hispanic culture. These shows, which cover topics ranging from identity and history to politics and law, highlight the histories and legacies of Americans whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.
Here's this month's slate of programming:
Sunday, Sept. 14 through Friday, Sept 26 @ 7:30 p.m.
Huell Howser traces the establishment of all 21 California Missions, stretching from San Diego in the south to San Francisco in the north. The 10-part miniseries features three missions in each 30-minute episode as well as profiles of the Pala Indian Reservation, mission gardens, and mission art. This series details not only the individual missions and their unique architecture, but also the religious and political motivation of the Spanish missionaries who built the churches during the 18th and 19th centuries for the indigenous people along El Camino Real.
Saturday, Sept. 20 @ 7 p.m.
This two-part documentary, presented back-to-back, journeys into the soul of Cuba. Adventure filmmaker and author Karin Muller hitchhiked around Cuba for three months, living with fisherman and farmers, Santeria priestesses and country doctors. She was arrested over a dozen times, but managed to get beyond the propaganda and rhetoric to capture the true character of the Cuban people. "Cuba's Secret Side" is an entertaining, insightful, and often humorous look at a side of Cuba that few foreigners get to see.
Saturday, Sept. 20 @ 10 p.m.
Award-winning artists Little Joe y La Familia, Ruben Ramos and the Mexican Revolution, and Joel Guzman, Sarah Fox and their band take the stage for live performances. "Vamos al Baile" ("Let's Go to the Dance") captures the different styles of Mexican-American music and the family atmosphere of the dance halls in which they are performed.
Saturday, Sept. 20 @ 11 p.m.
This feature documentary about the modern immigrant rights movement highlights the struggle of Elvira Arellano, a single mother from Chicago who fought her deportation. The film also interweaves the stories of individuals, organizations, activists, and community leaders united by a concern for justice. This film illustrates the opposition to the controversial HR4437 immigration bill, as well as the ongoing struggle and demand for comprehensive immigration reform.
Friday, Sept. 26 @ 8:30 p.m.
Johnny Martinez was known as the Godfather of Salsa in Los Angeles, but his influence spanned worldwide. Martinez started playing bass in the 1940s and worked with the great bands of Perez Prado, Chuy Reyes, Celia Cruz, Noro Morales, Tito Rodriguez, Carmen Cavallero, and Migalito Valdez. Martinez's orchestra recorded albums for Capitol Records, RCA, Liberty, Columbia, Decca, Tropicana, Fiesta, and Musimex/Sono Tropic. Martinez recalls the pivotal moments of his career and how much he loved watching people dance to his music.
Monday, Sept. 29 @ 9 p.m.
Climbing to the top of the music industry is a feat for any artist, especially if you're a woman in the male-dominated music world. Linda Ronstadt is one of the few female rock icons who not only broke through the glass ceiling, but remains one of the most adored performers of our era. Award-winning journalist and radio personality Patt Morrison interviews the legendary singer about her latest memoir, "Simple Dreams." Ronstadt reveals the long and difficult road to becoming the most successful rock star of the '70s, and her inability to ever sing again due to Parkinson's disease.
Monday, October 6 @ 9 p.m.
"Cubamerican" is the stirring story of how the Cuban Revolution shattered the Cuban family. The film, which spans the past 60 years of Cuban history, evokes this tragedy and its universal themes of loss, freedom, assimilation, struggle, and triumph through the stories of Cuban exiles who have achieved acclaim in diverse fields in the U.S., rendering a mosaic of bittersweet exile experiences. The pro-immigrant story grapples with the agony of displacement, ruminates on the future of Cuba, and highlights the importance of exercising human rights.
Wednesday, Oct. 8 @ 9 p.m.
Seen from the perspective of two young boys, this moving film explores the experiences of children growing up in an area of major conflict near Colombia's Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta (a region controlled by one of the country's illegal armed groups) where violence can erupt at any time.
Wednesday, Oct. 15 @ 9 p.m.
"Stranded" is the tale of Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571, which crash-landed in a desolate glacial valley high in the Andes mountains. Fifteen people died, including the pilot, five were severely injured, and 29 miraculously lived. Over three decades after the crash, 16 survivors revive long-buried emotions and intimate memories. They take viewers, moment by agonizing moment, through their suffering as their hope turned into despair and as hours stretched into weeks. With death by starvation drawing ever nearer, the survivors realized that in order to live, they had to eat their teammates who died alongside them.
Nothing says quintessential KCET programming quite like a Huell Howser show and a British police procedural. So it's only fitting that we're cerebrating our 50th anniversary with marathons of Huell's "California Missions" and the critically-acclaimed (on both sides of the Atlantic) Helen Mirren drama "Prime Suspect," among other programs.
KCET begins its semicentennial commemoration on Sunday at 7 p.m. with 10 episodes of "Missions." The eps will re-air Monday, September 15 through Friday, September 26 in the regular Huell weeknight timeslot at 7:30 p.m.
Huell visited all 21 missions, stretching from San Diego in the south to San Francisco in the north, to share California's rich history and cultural heritage. The 10-part miniseries features three missions in each 30-minute episode as well as profiles of the Pala Indian Reservation, mission gardens, and mission art.
This series details not only the individual missions and their unique architecture, but also the religious and political motivation of the Spanish missionaries who built the churches for the indigenous people along El Camino Real.
"Prime Suspect" (the original series, not the NBC reboot) will also pay homage to the station's historic past from Monday, September 15 at 8 p.m. through Sunday, September 21.
The award-winning show, which originally ran on ITV from 1991 to 2006, earned Mirren two Emmys for her iconic role as Jane Tennison, one of the first female Detective Chief Inspectors in London's Metropolitan Police Service. The drama follows the no-nonsense detective as she battles to prove herself in a male-dominated profession.
The show, which was featured on KCET after the station's split from PBS, not only blazed new trails for the portrayal of women in detective series, as KCET forged a new independent path in public media, but redefined the crime genre.
The Wednesday hump just got easier to climb.
KCET is launching a new Wednesday night documentary block, beginning September 3 at 9:30 p.m. PT, that will jump-start your mid-week grind. The fall slate includes groundbreaking films that explore human rights, the environment, politics, and other global issues.
The series debuts with "The Hungry Tide," which profiles NGO worker Maria Tiimon's fight to help pass a treaty that would mitigate the negative impact of climate change in the Pacific.
Here's the schedule for September:
Wednesday, Sept. 3 at 9:30 p.m. PT
Originally from the Kiribati Islands, NGO worker Maria Tiimon fights to pass a global treaty that would mitigate the negative impact of climate change in the Pacific. The film exposes the stark global inequalities driving the global warming phenomenon. Only decisive action will save Kiribati from disappearing.
Wednesday, Sept. 10 at 9:30 p.m. PT
When a rural Appalachian community in West Virginia realizes that severe illnesses may not be an act of God, but of environmental wrongdoing, locals take on coal company Massey Energy over contaminated water that may be the cause of widespread sickness. The film brings to light one of the worst yet least publicized U.S. industrial contamination disasters, and a community's effort to defend the human right to clean water.
Wednesday, Sept. 24 at 9:30 p.m. PT
This film explores the tragicomic tale of the 10-year battle over America's largest proposed clean energy project -- and a microcosm of the obstacles the country faces in the larger struggle to move towards more sustainable forms of energy. When energy entrepreneur Jim Gordon first proposed Cape Wind, a project to put 130 wind turbines in fabled Nantucket Sound, he had no idea that a huge firestorm of opposition would erupt. "Cape Spin!" reveals how America's first proposed offshore wind farm triggered an unexpected schism in this idyllic coastal region. Neighbor was pitted against neighbor, environmentalist against environmentalist, and unexpected alliances were forged -- including Kennedys and Kochs on the same side.
Find out what classic episodes of "Visiting" and "California's Gold with Huell Howser" are airing on KCET this week! Read more about KCET's Huell-centric programming here and share your memories of Huell with other fans here.
Monday @ 7:30PM -- "Movie Beach"
Huell meets up with Harry Medved, author of "Hollywood Escapes" -- a book about popular movie locations in California. Harry tells Huell all about the long history of Leo Carrillo State Beach and why it's probably the most filmed beach in the world.
Legendary filmmaker Roger Corman then joins Huell to discuss some of the films he's shot at this location, including one of his earliest "Attack of the Crab Monsters."
Tuesday @ 7:30PM -- "Art City"
Huell visits a special gallery in Ventura, which provides sculptors with raw materials, a place to work, and a supportive place to show their art.
Watch a preview:
Find out what classic episodes of "Visiting" and "California's Gold with Huell Howser" are airing on KCET this week! Read more about KCET's Huell-centric programming here and share your memories of Huell with other fans here.
Monday @ 7:30PM -- "Pear Fair"
Huell travels to the Sacramento Delta to learn about California pears. We start our adventure with a family who has been farming in the Delta for five generations. The soil and climate have made the area a perfect place to grow agriculture since the Gold Rush. Huell ends up at the 26th annual Pear Fair in Courtland, where he eats everything from pear ice cream to pear vinegar.
Tuesday @ 7:30PM -- "Wooden Boats"
They come in all shapes and sizes and many date back to the early part of this century. All have been lovingly restored by their owners and are meticulously maintained. In short, they're some of the most beautiful wooden boats ever made.
Host Huell Howser gets a close look at these boats as he attends the 24th annual Concours d' Elegance dedicated to the preservation and celebration of the wooden vessels that have graced Lake Tahoe since the 1920s. He not only talks with the owners about the rich history of their boats, but joins them for a ride on the historic lake.