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Headshot of a man.
Photo courtesy of Jeffrey Palmer

Filmmaker

Christmas has come early this year: filmmaker Jeffrey Palmer has made N. Scott Momaday: Words from a Bear a documentary about novelist, poet and painter N. Scott Momaday. Momaday is an artistic force of nature, and it's a nature embedded in Kiowa art, culture and history. He's received many awards; most notably the 1969 Pulitzer Prize for Literature--the first and only time it's been awarded to Native-American writer--and the 2007 National Medal of Arts. For his long career, N. Scott Momaday has been profoundly influential for Native artists and extremely significant for anyone interested in American culture. Although they are generations apart, Momaday was an influence on Jeffrey Palmer. Kiowa and born in the same area of Oklahoma as Scott, Jeffrey met him when he was a kid and while overwhelmed by his size and deep voice, (Jeffrey remembers it was like shaking hands with a catcher's mitt), he also was instantly inspired by him and the possibilities he represented. And thirty years later, he found himself making a documentary about M. Scott Momaday for American Masters. Jeff and I talk, of course, about Scott Momaday and his deep importance to American culture, as well as Jeff's decision to present Scott's story within the larger story of the Kiowa and add visual elements of magical realism. (It's a visually stunning film that partners beautifully with Scott's poems and stories.) We also have a couple of excerpts from the documentary, so you'll get to hear N. Scott Momaday distinctive voice and get a sense of his captivating presence. He is a national treasure.

Eddie Palmieri

Photo by by Jason Goodman

2013 NEA Jazz Master

Pianist, bandleader, composer and 2013 NEA Jazz Master, Eddie Palmieri talks about his innovative music which blends Afro-Cuban rhythms with jazz. [32:21]

Pratibha Parmar
Photo by Donald Maclellan

Filmmaker

Pratibha Parmar discusses making the recent documentary about an iconic American writer, Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth, which can be seen on the American Masters’ website. [27:59]

The Paschall Brothers

Photo courtey of Virginia Folklife Program

Tidewater Gospel Group, 2012 National Heritage Fellowship recipients

Three generations of Paschalls have brought beautiful harmonies to their community. [35:21]

 Sailja Patel
Photo by Heather Lewis

Poet, theater artist, and activist

With a trunk full of her mother’s saris, Kenyan author and performer Shaija Patel reclaims a lost history. [29:28]

Benjamin Percy
Photo by Jennifer May

NEA Literature Fellow

In his current novel, Red Moon, Ben Percy serves up a hybrid of horror and literature to tell a story about our lives today. [35:10]

Carla Perlo
Photo by Enoch Chan

Founder and Artistic Director of Dance Place

How Dance Place’s open door policy helped transform an underserved neighborhood into a vital arts district.

Collage of headshots.

Director and cast of the documentary, Personal Statement

Director of the documentary Personal Statement Juliane Dressner and the cast students Karoline Jimenez, Christine Rodriguez, and Enoch Jemmott join me to talk about the film which documents the challenges New York public school students have when applying to college—especially when they are the first generation in their family to make the leap. There is a profound lack of college counselors in public schools which often leaves students on their own to negotiate applications, financial forms, and personal statements. But back in 2005, students themselves got together and created a peer counseling program where they can get the training to help not just themselves but their fellow students as well. Karoline, Christine and Enoch, although they’re facing challenges of their own and struggle with their own college possibilities, embrace their roles as peer counselors and pour their hearts and souls into helping their classmates succeed.

Dr. Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw and John Vick standing side by side facing the camera
Dr. Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw and John Vick, curators of Represent: 200 Years of African American Art at the PMA

With a new exhibit and catalogue-- both titled REPRESENT, the Philadelphia Museum of Art puts its extensive collection of African American art on view

Organizing curator John Vick and consulting curator/editor Dr. Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw tell us about its rich history.

Nathaniel Philbrick
Courtesy of Nathaniel Philbrick

Author, National Book Award winner

In a slim, lucid and compulsively readable book, Nathaniel Philbrick makes an enthusiastic case for taking a look at Melville’s classic Moby-Dick.

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