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.
Making Their Move (#223) Duration: 26:05 STEREO TVG
When successful local performers try to take their careers to another level, Spark asks, "Do they have what it takes?"
* They've been making music together for decades, but now the members of the Greek band Kymata want to move beyond the wedding circuit to create their own unique fusion of musical styles.
* Then, Beach Blanket Babylon's Matt Alber tries to make it into the big time as a country and western star.
* Lastly, ambitious young ballroom dancers go head to head at the Bay Area Ballroom Blitz
Percussion (#310) Duration: 25:16 STEREO TVG
Spark gets into the rhythm as it follows the beat of a different drum.
* Taiko master Seiichi Tanaka trains his pupils in the ancient form of Japanese drumming at the San Francisco Taiko Dojo.
* Then, meet Zakir Hussain, who brings the Indian art of tabla drumming to western audiences by maintaining a balance of classical music and traditional Indian percussion.
* And beatbox artist Kid Beyond pushes the limits of rhythm music by creating rich soundscapes using his mouth as his only instrument.
Looking East (#318) Duration: 25:24 STEREO TVG
* Blurring the boundaries between art installation and theatrical set, Theatre of Yugen stages an ambitious adaptation of Hemingway's The Old Man and The Sea, featuring glittering set pieces fashioned entirely from glass.
* Vietnamese-American sculptor Thai Bui escaped his homeland by boat during the Vietnam War. Decades later, his haunting and evocative sculptures reflect the ongoing struggles of an artist trying to find his way through a foreign culture.
* Chinese poet, sculptor, and painter Lu Huan creates exquisite sculptures of exotic insects and reptiles, each one painstakingly carved to follow the veins of semi-precious stone running through a single rock.
Arts + Social Issues (#902H) Duration: 26:46 STEREO TVG
Chinese artist and dissident Ai Weiwei explores themes of freedom of speech and imprisonment in a large scale art installation on the notorious former prison island of Alcatraz. Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony appeal to younger, more diverse audiences with a contemporary, classical music experience, video projections, and a cocktail bar. David Maisel's stunning aerial photographs reveal landscapes irrevocably altered by mankind, including the eerie salt flats of Owens Lake in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The Market Street Prototyping Festival engages innovative urban planning techniques to bring community and public art to a once neglected urban corridor.
Roots (#108) Duration: 25:53 STEREO TVG
In this episode, we meet performers who are preserving traditional art forms, handing them down from one generation to the next. For them, art is a way to understand and explore their ancestral roots, and maintain their unique cultural identity. Included are: five generations of Irish dancers with the Healy family; Hula Halau Aloha Pumehana 'o Polynesia; and San Jose's Mariachi Youth Program.
The Art of Improvisation (#111) Duration: 25:58 STEREO TVG
Nothing beats the thrill of being on stage without a script or a score. In this episode, we get a taste of excitement and dread of winging it in front of an audience.
* 3 For All- Widely regarded as 3 of the Bay Area's most talented and entertaining improvisational artists, Rafe Chase, Tim Orr and Stephen Kearin perform together just a few times a year as 3 For All. Spark is there as these three brave performers walk a theatrical high wire together, hitting the stage without a script and turning audience suggestions into narrative stories that amaze and amuse.
* Rova Saxophone Quartet- An insider's look this vanguard performance group, who have improvised their way along the cutting edge of the music and sound art scene for 25 years. We join them for their anniversary celebration, with a new take on John Coltrane's 1965 classic, Ascension.
* Ruth Zaporah- Ruth Zaporah is recognized world-wide as a master of improvisational theater, using a method she developed called Action Theater. We drop in on a master class with Ruth and her students, and get a sense of just how hard the art of improvisation can be.
Up from the Street (#226) Duration: 25:58 STEREO TVG
Artists whose work emanates from the street.
* Once a professional skateboarder, Tommy Guerrero channels the skate culture through his music and visual art work.
* Graffiti artist and self-described bad boy David Choe has moved from the streets of LA and San Jose into museums and galleries worldwide.
* Reflections of life on San Francisco's market street, with the four-wheeled interactive art work, Wowhaus.
Experimenting (#407) Duration: 28:39 STEREO TVG
Artistic boundaries are redefined through experimentation.
* Follow contemporary experimental dance troupe Kunst-Stoff as they attempt to understand sightlessness in a new piece that keeps changing up to the last minute.
* John Chiara takes photograph to an interesting limit by using a large-scale camera that has to be towed to and from locations.
* Legendary sound duo Matmos are creating a new work for the LA Museum of Natural History.
* Then, Ala Ebtekar explores identity by blending hip-hop imagery with Iranian images.