Summer is heating up and so is the music programming on NPT! Tune in for a range of performances, including Brandi Carlile in Concert – A Bluegrass Underground Special airing Friday, August 10, at 7 p.m.; and the annual Vienna Philharmonic Summer Night Concert, on Friday, August 17, at 9 p.m. on Great Performances. If there’s one music show made for summer it’s Grateful Dead – Downhill from Here, recorded in July 1989, airing Friday, August 24, at 7 p.m.
WOMEN TO WATCH
Dionne Warwick’s elegant presentation and silky-husky voice resulted in a string of hits from the 1960s to the 80s. Dionne Warwick: Then Came You, a new My Music special airing Sunday, August 19, at 7 p.m., includes archival performances of signature tunes “Do You Know the Way to San José,” “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again,” and “Then Came You,” her hit with The Spinners.
For proof of nonagenarian Betty White’s versatility, compare her treacly portrayal of Rose Nylund on 1990s sitcom The Golden Girls with her ambitious, man-crazy Suzanne Nivens 20 years earlier on The Mary Tyler Moore Show—not to mention her 2010 Super Bowl commercial for Snickers. Betty White: First Lady of Television, premiering Tuesday, August 21, at 7 p.m., chronicles a career that spans the history of the medium.
Double Take: The Art of Elizabeth King offers an inside look at the sculptor’s hyperrealistic heads and figures. King often gives her clay pieces motion through automation or animated film shorts, and her work was part of the Frist Art Museum’s 2016 Phantom Bodies: The Human Aura in Art exhibition. The documentary airs Tuesday, August 14, at 11 p.m.
THE WRITTEN WORD
Still Tomorrow is a poignant profile of Yu Xihua, author of what has become China’s best-selling poetry book for the past two decades. Her story is intriguing not only because she never completed high school, but also because she has cerebral palsy. The 60-minute film explores the conflict between women of Yu’s and her mother’s generations, as well as Yu’s search for love and independence. Beijing-based filmmaker Jian Fan’s documentary premieres Monday, August 6, at 9 p.m. on POV.
Ben-Hur is considered one of Charlton Heston’s definitive roles; the real-life story of its author is as fascinating as that of the character. Lew Wallace: Shiloh Soldier, Ben-Hur Bard airs Thursday, August 9, at 8 p.m. and tells how the Union Army’s youngest major general—and Battle of Shiloh veteran—came to write the bestselling historical novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ. At 9:30 p.m., NPT’s original production Shiloh: The Devil’s Own Day shines light on why Wallace found the battle so hard to shake.
Photographer John Guider’s history-inspired river project is chronicled in NPT’s original documentary Voyage of Adventure: Retracing Donelson’s Journey airing, Wednesday, August 22, at 8:30 p.m. and Saturday, August 25, at 10:30 p.m. The Grand Canyon is a classic summer destination; see it as few do in Wings Over Grand Canyon, airing Friday, August 24, at 9 p.m. These stunning aerial views follow the Colorado River from Castle Valley in Utah to the Grand Canyon in Arizona and Lake Mead in Nevada. Ancient Invisible Cities, Wednesdays, August 29 through September 12, at 8 p.m., offers a different perspective on familiar landmarks in Cairo, Istanbul, and Athens.
Encore presentations of many of NPT’s shows are broadcast on NPT2; enjoy 24/7 children’s programming on NPT3 PBS Kids. To donate to NPT, please call during pledge broadcasts this month or go to wnpt.org and click the donate button.