News from Burbank-based KCET

There has been a lot of news coming from the Burbank-based KCET, our local independent public television station.

The best news is that film expert Pete Hammond is back hosting the KCET Cinema Series. Santa Monica is the location for the summer edition of the quarterly film program, running from June 4 to July 30 at the Aero Theatre. There are still tickets available and the public is welcome to come and enjoy the Tuesday night 7 p.m. screenings that preview new films prior to their local release, followed by a Q&A with actors and/or filmmakers. Plus a classic Johnny Mercer scored film will be part of the series. The presenting sponsors are The Johnny Mercer Foundation and the E. Hofert Dailey Trust. Call (747) 201-5800 for information.

In other news from KCETLink, which was formed by the merger between KCET and Link Media, is the announcement that the Los Angeles Archival History Video Series has been launched. KCETLink and the USC Libraries have partnered to create a series of online videos drawing upon the collections of libraries, museums, and private archives from the “L.A. as Subject” group. The inaugural episodes reveal the history of Angels Flight and other incline railways that once fulfilled an essential transportation function throughout Los Angeles.

The first installment covers the Angels Flight and Court Flight railways, or funiculars, in downtown Los Angeles. Future episodes tell the stories of Mt. Washington, Catalina Island, and Echo Mountain railways. “The resources found in USC’s and L.A. as Subject’s archives have played a vital role in understanding the region’s past and sense of place. They have an important place in storytelling and contextualizing today’s news,” says Zach Behrens, editor-in-chief of blogs for KCETLink.

“USC supports the global community of scholars who study Los Angeles and Southern California,” said Catherine Quinlan, dean of the USC Libraries. “This series with KCET will showcase to a wide audience the role of the USC Libraries — as well as that of L.A. as Subject — as vital resources for understanding Los Angeles’ past, present, and future as a Pacific Rim metropolis.”

KCET’s award-winning arts and culture series Artbound announced the launch of a bi-weekly series showcasing the innovative project “Songs in the Key of Los Angeles” from the Los Angeles Public Library and the Library Foundation. The multiplatform series, on line and on air, will spotlight the world’s only collection of Southern California sheet music through a contemporary lens. Helping to create the unprecedented archive was USC professor Josh Kun, director of The Popular Music Project at USC Annenberg’s Norman Lear Center, and a group of his students. Artbound will feature mini-documentaries every two weeks, highlighting recording sessions of local artists performing songs from the collection. And to complement each installment, Kun will offer his insight about the historical significance of the music that will range from pop to jazz, and Mexican folk to the blues.

Musicians take note, there’s another show you should check out. KCET will air the inspiring documentary Playing for Change, directed by Grammy-winning producer Mark Johnson. The film explores our connections in a world overwhelmed with division through the universal language of music. Bono is featured in the film, along with a diverse lineup of musicians from across the globe. The show will have breaks hosted by L.A. disk jockey Cynthia Fox (KLOS) with Mark Johnson discussing the impact of music motivating, uniting, and bringing harmony across the globe.

Something else to check out is KCETLink’s new series City Walk. It’s a show that wants to inspire viewers to get out and walk around neighborhoods and discover urban areas on foot.

And congratulations are in order for Juan Devis, who has been promoted to vice president, Arts and Culture Programming. He reports to Mary Mazur, chief operating officer for KCETLink. Recently Devis was happy to announce that KCETLink’s original performing arts and culture series Live @ the Ford was honored with a Telly Award.

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