Produced by KQED Public Television, this series is about Bay Area artists and arts organizations/ It is a weekly television show, an educational outreach program and a website. More than a showcase for art objects and the artists who make them, SPARK* takes the audience inside the creative process to witness the challenges, opportunities and rewards of making art.
The Next Generation Speaks (#107) Duration: 25:44 STEREO TVG
Especially in these turbulent times, young people have a lot on their minds, as this episode demonstrates. We see how several innovative programs give young people powerful and eloquent ways to express themselves through the arts at venues such as the Youth Speaks Poetry Slam, the East Palo Alto Mural Art Project, and Oakland's Destiny Arts Center.
Playwright Carlos Baron, and Other Stories (#508H) Duration: 28:24 STEREO TVG
* Head to Chile with playwright Carlos Baron along with his cast of actors, dancers and musicians from "Poeta Pan."
* Visit Yosemite where Julia Parker is helping to revive the art form of basket weaving.
* Get a deeper look at the haunting drawings of Josephine Taylor.
FYCO, McCormick, and Guerrero (#706H) Duration: 27:00 STEREO TVG
* San Jose's Firebird Youth Chinese Orchestra offers Chinese-American kids a chance to learn to play the traditional instruments from their ancestral homeland. This spring, the100 member orchestra will accompany the famed Shaolin Monks with a new composition.
* Next, follow environmental artist Daniel McCormick as he creates and installs a new site-specific, temporary sculpture in the wilds of West Marin. McCormick's biodegradable woven forms are helping to rehabilitate threatened watersheds and prevent creek bed erosion.
* Then, artist Jaime Guerrero translates imagery from his Mexican heritage into blown glass.
Kitka, May, Arts and the Economy (#707H) Duration: 28:08 STEREO TVG
* For 30 years, the all-female vocal group Kitka has performed music rooted in Eastern European musical traditions. In a recent trip to rural Ukraine, they studied Slavic folk songs that previously only existed in the memories of the old women who live there. Spark joins Kitka as they rehearse and perform a new performance based on the songs and stories that were passed down to them.
* Next, the mixed-media work of Santa Cruz artist Victoria May is inspired by the intricate process of custom dress-making. A former seamstress by trade, May now makes sculptural textile pieces that blend traditional hand sewing techniques with evocative and unexpected materials.
* Then, in a special collaboration with PBS' The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, we investigate how the current economy is affecting artists in the Bay Area. How are they coping with the economic downturn? Some scholars and activists think hope lies in government support. What can we learn from the historic WPA programs that provided employment for 8.5 Million Americans during the 1930's?
Frontiers of Dance (#205H) Duration: 25:59 STEREO TVG
Spark explores the frontiers of the dance world with some of the Bay Area's most innovative choreographers and performers.
* Butoh artist Ledoh - The Bay Area has become a flourishing center for butoh, a modern dance of darkness that originated in post-war Japan. Spark goes into rehearsals with veteran butoh dancer Ledoh, as he uses this contemporary Japanese form to explore the ancient, agrarian roots of his Ka-Ren ancestry in Burma.
* AXIS Dance Company's Dust - AXIS Dance Company has a long history of delivering performances that stun and delight, combining the work of dancers with and without physical disabilities. This season marks the world premiere of a new work by well-known choreographer Victoria Marks called Dust, a provocative choreo-portrait of AXIS that challenges the viewer's assumptions about each of the performers. Spark is backstage throughout the process, from first tentative improvisation to opening night.
* The Art of Poi - At the Crucible, an industrial arts center in Oakland, dance teacher Belva Stone instructs her students in the art of poi, an ancient fire dance first practiced by the Maori people of New Zealand. Swinging fiery balls on cords, students struggle to overcome their fears and spin fire.
Marshall, Hoyle, and LEVYdance (#705H) Duration: 28:10 STEREO TVG
Spark joins renowned visual artist Kerry James Marshall as he creates new murals in the atrium of San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Like much of Marshall's work, the murals will explore racial identity, urban experience, and the impact of the Civil Rights movement. Then, Dan Hoyle, son of famed Bay Area circus performer Geoff Hoyle, works on a new one-man show. Entitled "Right?," it's based on his travels across small-town and rural America, and the people he met along the way. Next, Ben Levy and his modern dance company, LEVYdance, collaborate on a new work based on a previously untold family history.
Favianna Rodriguez, Ben Levy and Julio Morales (#516H) Duration: 28:28 STEREO TVG
* Favianna Rodriguez is part of a tradition of Chicano graphic artists that dates back to the 60's. A 28-year-old self-taught artist, Rodriguez spent her teen years in Oakland's Fruitvale neighborhood attending free community art workshops. Spark watches as she creates silkscreen and offset posters and follows her to a Day Laborer's Conference to create dialogue around her latest work.
* Though only 5 years old, LEVYdance has made a big splash in the SF dance community. The artistic director Ben Levy, a 29 year old UC Berkeley grad, was named one of the "Top 25 to watch" by Dance Magazine. Levy is choreographing a new work tentatively called "Patterns of Flight", based on the veiled past of his Iranian-Jewish parents. He's collaborating with composer Keeril Makan, couture designer Colleen Quen, and industrial furniture designer Rick Lee.
* Laurie Antonioli is a singer and lyricist, and also a teacher. Last year she returned from a 4 year teaching stint near Vienna. Now heading the vocal department at Berkeley's Jazz School, Laurie is working with a new quartet to rehearse and record her collection of "new standards."
* Artist and Curator Julio Morales explores the confluence of Mexican and US culture in his latest work at Galleria de la Raza.