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PBS TO OFFER SPECIAL PROGRAMMING FOR
HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH
September 15 - October 15, 2005


Alexandria, VA - August 24, 2005 - PBS features year-round programming both created by and about Hispanic Americans. In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, PBS offers a variety of new and encore presentations that celebrate the diversity of the Latino community and explore its history and culture. The topics range from a teacher who uses Shakespeare to teach Latin-American immigrant children to the new adventures of twins Maya and Miguel to Mexican artist Frida Kahlo to an exploration of New York's hip-hop culture. Reflecting the diversity of ethnicities, experiences and regions with a breadth and depth that can't be found anywhere else, these compelling programs examine the rich history, cultural contributions and distinguished heritage of Hispanic Americans.

Press Preview Copies of Programs Available Upon Request

September 2005

P.O.V. "The Hobart Shakespeareans" (New)
Tuesday, September 6, 2005, 10:00-11:00 p.m. ET (check local listings)
Teacher Rafe Esquith has a point of view - a very strong one - about educating children of immigrants. Teaching in Los Angeles at one of the nation's largest inner-city grade schools, Hobart Elementary, Esquith leads his class of mostly Latin-American and Korean fifth graders through an uncompromising curriculum of English, mathematics, geography and literature. He inspires them with cross-country trips to learn history firsthand. And at the end of the semester, every student performs in a full-length Shakespeare play: in this case Hamlet, with advice from actors Ian McKellen and Michael York. Despite language barriers and poverty, these "Hobart Shakespeareans" move on to attend outstanding colleges, motivated by a teacher honored with a National Medal of Arts.

VISIONES: LATINO ART AND CULTURE (Encore)
Sundays, 9/4-25/05, 10:30-11:00 p.m. ET;
rpt. Wednesdays, 9/7-21/05, 10:30-11:00 p.m. ET (check local listings)

Latino artists across the United States take center stage in this series. Viewers experience the world of Latino artistic expression as the series journeys throughout the country, capturing rich stories about theater, music, dance, spoken word and the visual arts. From New York City's hip hop culture to mural painters in Los Angeles and Chicago to theater in Texas, the series offers a unique cross section of Latino artists working today.

Episode Three--The third episode features Luis Valdez and the legendary Teatro Campesino, a segment on San Antonio, the Texas Day of the Dead Celebration, the image of the Virgen de Guadalupe as a Latina icon, experimental border filmmaker Willie Varela and a profile of Chicago's soapbox artist Carlos Cortez.

Episode Four--This episode begins with New York's Latino hip-hop dance and culture, then travels to Miami and its unique Afro-Cuban sound, and ends in Los Angeles with modern dance pioneer Rudy Perez. The first segment documents the movement, history and culture of hip-hop and looks at the new wave of Latinos who took hip-hop and created a culture that revolutionized the genre. New York hip-hop dancing couple Rokafella and Kwikstep are featured. The second segment highlights the Miami Sound, music that is a blend of traditional Cuban music, explosive jazz and American pop. The featured artist is Willie Chirino. Rudy Perez, whose story is uncovered in the third segment, is a pioneer of the post-modern dance movement. Though legally blind, he continues to create and inspire as teacher. Perez also choreographs for his Los Angeles-based modern dance Company. The episode also highlights El Paso-based experimental filmmaker Willie Varela, whose independent personal films explore themes of urban and border life.

Episode Five--The fifth episode highlights the Taco Shop Poets of Southern California, early tent theater of the Southwest called Carpas and performance art in San Francisco. Featured performance artists include Guillermo Gomez-Peña, performance troupe ASCO, and the performance art pioneers Royal Chicano Airforce. The San Diego-based Taco Shop Poets, Chicano poets who blend the spoken word with lively beats, strive to take their social and political poetry to where people are likely to congregate - the taco shops.

Episode Six--The final episode features the history of salsa music and dance in Philadelphia, the first Mexican-American prima ballerina Evelyn Cisneros, Tejana music pioneer Lydia Mendoza and the father of Chicano music and National Medal of Arts recipient Lalo Guerrero. The salsa segment includes commentary on renowned performers Celia Cruz and Tito Puente. Lydia Mendoza was part of the early emerging recording industry in the United States. At a time when Spanish language music was exclusively imported from Mexico and Latin America, she began recording the original music in Texas. She along with Lalo Guerrero made a mark in American music. Guerrero is best known for his musical parodies.

BEYOND THE BORDER (Encore)
Monday, September 12, 2005 (check local listings)
This program traces the transition made by four sons in the Ayala family as they leave behind their parents and sisters in Michoacan, Mexico, and struggle to overcome cultural, class and language barriers in Kentucky.

COME AND TAKE IT DAY (Encore)
Monday, September 12, 2005 (check local listings)
The century-old legend of the lost treasure of Tejano folk hero Gregorio Cortez changes the lives of four present-day Texans, each working in a tourist trap restaurant on the San Antonio Riverwalk, in Jim Mendiola's one-hour feature. The program stars Jesse Borrego (Follow Me Home, Lone Star), Jacob Vargas (Traffic, Mi Familia, Selena), Maria Candelaria and Rick Delgado in a witty, stylish Tejano noir that explores the class structure of San Antonio's multi-layered Latino community while telling a fascinating story of obsession, betrayal and death.

INDEPENDENT LENS
"Foto-Novelas 2: 'Junkyard Saints' and 'Broken Sky'" (Encore)
Tuesday, September 13, 2005 (check local listings)
In a continuation of the series that explores the Latino experience through the prism of dreams, memories and reality, "Foto-Novelas 2" consists of two half-hour dramas: "Broken Sky," a fictionalized account based on the real-life 1948 plane crash that killed 28 Mexicans in Fresno, California, and "Junkyard Saints," a spiritual thriller set in a South Texas automotive graveyard.

"Los Angeles Now" (Encore)
Tuesday, September 13, 2005 (check local listings)
Presented in HD: Friday, September 23, 2005, 9 p.m. ET (where available)
Once an empty, bucolic space, Los Angeles is now a disorienting megalopolis. Once the whitest city in America, Los Angeles is now the most multicultural city in the world. What is the future of this rapidly changing area? "Los Angeles Now" looks beyond "Baywatch" and Blade Runner to create a fresh, candid portrait of America's second-largest city.

"Chavez Ravine: A Los Angeles Story" (Encore)
Tuesday, September 13, 2005 (check local listings)
Narrated by Cheech Marin and scored by Ry Cooder, this film shows how a community was betrayed by greed, political hypocrisy and good intentions gone astray. Don Normark's haunting photographs evoke a lost Mexican-American village, in the heart of downtown Los Angeles, razed in the 1950s to build Dodger Stadium.

THE LIFE AND TIMES OF FRIDA KAHLO (Encore)
Wednesday, September 14, 2005 (check local listings)
Never before has the extraordinary life of the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo been framed in relation to the full spectrum of the historical and cultural influences that created her. THE LIFE AND TIMES OF FRIDA KAHLO explores the 20th-century icon who became an international sensation in the worlds of modern art and radical politics. Among those interviewed in the documentary are Carlos Fuentes and Carlos Monsivais. The film is narrated by Rita Moreno; Mexican singer Lila Downs is the voice of Frida Kahlo.

MAYA AND MIGUEL
PBS KIDS GO!sm
Monday-Friday, continuing series (check local listings)
MAYA & MIGUEL presents culture and language learning as fun, relevant and rewarding for all children, with a special emphasis on the Latino population. Lively and colorful, MAYA & MIGUEL chronicles the adventures, and sometimes misadventures, of 10-year-old twins Maya and Miguel Santos and features their family, friends and a richly diverse neighborhood. This never-a-dull-moment situation comedy revolves around Maya's well-intended meddling in her family's and friend's lives, ultimately creating new quandaries to fix. While every episode takes humorous twists and turns, the underlying message is the importance of doing good for the family and community, and the philosophy that shared happiness is greater than personal gain. Sprinkled throughout the series are values of friendship, family and a positive, culturally rich portrayal of Latino family, language and cultures.

October 2005

MAYA AND MIGUEL
PBS KIDS GO!SM
Monday-Friday, continuing series (check local listings)
MAYA & MIGUEL presents culture and language learning as fun, relevant and rewarding for all children, with a special emphasis on the Latino population. Lively and colorful, MAYA & MIGUEL chronicles the adventures, and sometimes misadventures, of 10-year-old twins Maya and Miguel Santos and features their family, friends and a richly diverse neighborhood. This never-a-dull-moment situation comedy revolves around Maya's well-intended meddling in her family's and friend's lives, ultimately creating new quandaries to fix. While every episode takes humorous twists and turns, the underlying message is the importance of doing good for the family and community, and the philosophy that shared happiness is greater than personal gain. Sprinkled throughout the series are values of friendship, family and a positive, culturally rich portrayal of Latino family, language and cultures.

DO YOU SPEAK AMERICAN? (Encore)
Fridays, October 14-28, 10:00-11:00 p.m. ET (check local listings)
Why is the English spoken by Maine lobstermen so different from that spoken by cowboys in Texas? Does Spanish pose a threat to English as the dominant language in America? And what on earth do yins, wickety wack, ayuh, catty whompus and stomping it clean mean? Celebrated journalist and writer Robert MacNeil travels cross-country to answer these questions and examine the dynamic state of American English - a language rich with regional variety, strong global impact and cultural controversy. DO YOU SPEAK AMERICAN? is a celebration of Americans as seen - and heard - through the way we speak.

Hispanic Heritage Month recognizes the accomplishments of Hispanic-American citizens (currently more than 37 million) and was first created by the U.S. government as a weeklong celebration in 1968. September 15th was chosen to commemorate the anniversary of independence for five Latin-American countries - Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Mexico declared its independence on September 16, and Chile on September 18.

PBS is a private, nonprofit media enterprise that serves the nation's 348 public noncommercial television stations, reaching nearly 90 million people each week. Bringing diverse viewpoints to television and the Internet, PBS provides high-quality documentary and dramatic entertainment, and consistently dominates the most prestigious award competitions. PBS is the leading provider of educational materials for K-12 teachers, and offers a broad array of educational services for adult learners. PBS' premier kids' TV programming and Web site, PBS KIDS Online (pbskids.org), continue to be parents' and teachers' most trusted learning environments for children. More information about PBS is available at pbs.org, the leading dot-org Web site on the Internet. PBS is headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia.


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