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Entries from July 2008

July 09, 2008

NOVA scienceNOW -- tonight and all summer

Let's say you can't make it to tonight's event on civic activism with the creator of NOW on PBS. And okay, so maybe an animated version of Car Talk doesn't crank your motor (eta: if it does, As The Wrench Turns premieres tonight at 8:00). It's okay--we still love you just for coming to our site and finding the KCTS 9 shows you do want to watch. Personally, I hope you'll check out NOVA scienceNOW, which airs Wednesday nights at 9:00 all summer. We have been talking about this show for weeks in part because host Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson's visited Olympia this spring for a KCTS 9-sponsored event at Evergreen State College, and inspired one family that attended to send us a letter after. David's going into his junior year this fall, and his mom, Maria, sent us this note:

David was soooooo inspired. He is normally very quiet. But after that lecture he was so talkative and reflective about so many of the topics presented. … I think that this experience is going to be life-changing for him. He was so happy to hear the humanistic perspectives of such a famous scientist. 

David loves space, and “possibilities.” We had been to the big island of Hawaii once and ventured to the 14,000 foot summit of Mauna Kea where the big radio telescopes are, then down to the 10,000 foot level to view the heavens through the telescopes. Although he has low vision he was very impressed to see what his eyes could see, and learn more about what he couldn’t see. He was very impressed by the tremendous amount of stars that were visible.

Dr. Tyson and KCTS 9 help people see with the eyes, mind, and heart.

Thank you for this very enjoyable experience for our family.

If you haven't watched NOVA scienceNOW, you are really missing one of our best shows--it's informative, it gets you involved in science even if you're really not a scientist, and Dr. Tyson is truly inspirational. That's our whole mission, in one show--and it's fun. Dr. Tyson even holds his own with Stephen Colbert--repeatedly.

So don't forget to tune in Wednesdays at 9:00 p.m., set your DVR, and catch it On Demand--it'll be worth your while!

July 06, 2008

Roughing It: Mongolia Interview

As promised earlier this week, we now present the full interview with host Keith Ochwat and producer Christopher Rufo of the exciting new show Roughing It: Mongolia. The guys had some great things to say about the show and really got me excited about watching it!

Interview by Lauren Robuck, KCTS 9 summer intern.

Was the idea of a travel show something you had wanted to do for a long time or was it a spontaneous endeavor?

KEITH: The whole project came together very quickly. We had both just graduated from college. Chris was working in Nicosia, Cyprus, and I was busy studying for the law school entrance exams in Sacramento. I called Chris to see how he was doing and, over the course of a few minutes, we hatched the plan to do a travel film. Chris immediately quit his job, I quit preparing for law school, and we began preparing for the journey.

Once you decided to make a travel show, what made you chose Mongolia, or did the location come before the idea?

CHRISTOPHER: Originally, the plan was to do the whole Trans-Siberian Railway from Moscow to the Sea of Japan. But once we got through the initial research, Mongolia looked much more interesting and Siberia looked much less interesting. It was our first show and we had to stand out—Mongolia was a good start.

What was your favorite experience in Mongolia, and can you describe it to me?

CHRISTOPHER: Hands down, the search for the Reindeer People. We rode for ten hours on horseback through snowy mountain passes and over miles of rocky, bumpy paths, to track down these nomadic reindeer herders.


Still from Keith and Christopher's trek to find the Reindeer People.

KEITH: Even though parts of the trek were miserable at the time, that experience was the most challenging and rewarding of my life.

You said that the mantra of the show is to capture the sight, the culture, and the adventure that exists off the beaten path. What would you say is the key element that separates your travel show from all the rest?

KEITH: Our show is unique because it focuses on the culture of the country as illustrated through the most telling characteristicits people. We've had amazing experiences when traveling abroad and while filming Roughing It, and we believe it's because of the people we meet along the way. 

CHRISTOPHER: We really made a serious effort to find Mongolia's most interesting people and learn about their lives. To put it another way, lots of travel shows wrap production on a half-hour episode in one or two weeks. We spent that much time roaming the taiga in search of the Reindeer People.

I read that Roughing It: The Great Pacific is next on your agenda. Has this trip already taken place or is it still in the planning stages? What type of information about the Great Pacific do you hope to take home with you?

KEITH: We're currently in the process of fundraising for Roughing It: The Great Pacific and plan on making the six month trek through the South Pacific in early Spring of next year. Look for a PBS release in late 2009. The reason this region of the world calls to us is that its done a better job fending off Western influence then anywhere else on the planet and we intend to experience these cultures that have endured for thousands of years.

What other places would you like to have a "roughing it" experience?

KEITH: Roughing It: The Great Pacific will take our viewers through some of the most exotic and remote countries on the planet. We're in the process of mapping out a rough path through Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea and East Timor.

CHRISTOPHER: But you can't always be  roughing it! We're planning six months of production for the Great Pacific seriesthat's a long time. After that, I'll definitely be looking for some peace and quiet. I already have my heart set on San Donato, Italy, my father's hometown.  It's a 2,000-person village tucked away in the Apennines between Rome and Naples. I can't imagine a better place to rest, think, and catch up on some reading.

Can you offer a few words of wisdom to fellow young, adventurous travelers?

CHRISTOPHER: Burn your guidebook, throw a dart at the map, and set out. And, most importantly, have a purpose--creating a film, book, photo essay, journal, anything. There is a book by one of my favorite travel writers, Bruce Chatwin, called What Am I Doing Here? The title says it all. It's that feeling of absurdity that every traveler suffers from on occasion. In a way, it's good. You're really getting out there, you're bewildered, you're primed to learn something. But what's going to help you get through that feeling is your project. 

KEITH: My best advice is to be curious. You have to think like a journalistmeet people, ask questions. Get over whatever timidity you might have. Hunt around in the strange parts of town, ask to go along with people. If you're respectful and genuinely interested, they will welcome you into their lives and culture.

Roughing It: Mongolia airs Sunday, July 6, at 6:30 p.m.

July 03, 2008

A treat for fans of NOW on PBS...

Ah, July 4, Independence Day. But no NOW on PBS this Friday?! Before you launch into angry diatribes about how unpatriotic that is--relax, watch the fireworks and rest assured that next week, we have a special treat for NOW fans.


Join us at the KCTS 9 Studio on Wednesday, July 9 at 7:00 p.m. to meet John Siceloff, renowned journalist and creator of NOW on PBS. He will be here to talk about his new book Your America: Democracy’s Local Heroes that focuses on how everyday people are truly living the American way by creating change in their own communities. Enrique Cerna, host of The New KCTS 9 Connects, will moderate a discussion that will feature Rueben Martinez, recipient of the MacArthur genius grant for his work supporting Latino Literacy; Roberto Maestas, executive director and co-founder of the Seattle-based civil rights organization El Centro de la Raz; and Siceloff.

Tickets are free, but seating is limited. Light refreshments will be served. To reserve your seat, please call 1.800.362.6463.

July 01, 2008

Roughing It: Mongolia

We're excited about a new program starting this summer that will satisfy both the armchair travelers and those looking for inspiration to get on the road themselves! Roughing It: Mongolia follows two adventurous spirits as they throw caution to the wind and strike out on their own map to make a travel show that encompasses all the excitement, culture and adventure Mongolia has to offer. Hosted by Kieth Ochwat, Roughing It: Mongolia premiers Sunday, July 6, at 6:30 p.m.

Here's a tantalizing preview that captures the essence of the film.

Be sure to check back later this week for a full interview with host Keith Ochwat and producer Christopher Rufo as they talk about what makes their show unique, their favorite Mongolian adventure and what you can expect from them in the future.