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November 25, 2019

Leandro’s Don’t Miss List: December 2019

WNET’s very own Leandro Mejia, a self-proclaimed public media superfan, writes a monthly column of his must-see recommendations on THIRTEEN. Check out his suggestions for new and encore programs you won’t want to miss. And if you want to expand your vocabulary, click on the hyperlinked words for a definition.


This is a list you will want to check twice, for the programing is nothing but nice! Happy Holidays!

NYC-ARTS: Profile: Jeffrey Gibson (December 1 at 11AM). A recent MacArthur Fellowship recipient, Mr. Gibson works with myriad media, ranging from bead work, ceramics, sculpture and painting to create beautiful art forms of minimalist and abstract bent. Though he currently works in Hudson, New York, in a studio converted from an elementary school, he spent his childhood in Korea and China. Those formative experiences abroad, his Choctaw and Cherokee parentage and cultural background, along with an interest in digital music, greatly inform his body of work. One of his great inspirations has been the transition of club music from analogue to digit​al, which, in turn, have lead to parallel comparative explorations of one transitions from media to the other. For example, beaded triangles, to painted triangles, to, finally, woven triangles. Furthermore, he invites visitors to his studio to partake in remixing, remaking and reconstructing alongside with him, providing a truly immersive consumption of art experience.

Sesame Street: 50 Years & Still Sunny! (December 10 at 8PM). As a very special year ends (Sesame Street turned 50!), look back with archival footage from the iconic children’s program.

Crime + Punishment (December 9 at 10PM). An inspiring documentary about a dauntless group of black and Latino (the “NYPD12”) police officers and an equally sedulous private investigator, whose whistle-blowing have brought to light illegally deleterious policing practices.

Carol Burnett: A Celebration (December 10 at 9:30PM). Along with Sesame Street, this year is a golden anniversary for this timeless comedienne.

Independent Lens: “Attla” (December 16 at 10PM). Next time the inevitable frigidity of winter makes you cold, think of the triumphs of this Alaska Native dogsled racer warm you back up.

The Ornament of the World (December 17 at 8PM). The three Abrahamic faiths — Judaism, Christianity and Islam — found a good measure of concordance in cities Cordoba to Granada in Medieval Spain. Though this peaceful coexistence eventually ended, the documentary shows us that peace is possible, even amongst seemingly irreconcilable adversaries. A timely documentary not only for the holiday season but one apropos to the divisiveness of our current cultural moment.

Voces on PBS: “The Pushouts” (December 20 at 10PM). Ex-gang member and high school drop out Victor Rios is now a professor and award-winning author working to help at-risk youths that have been “pushed out” of school and in danger of being pushed into prison or worse, by circumstances.

POV: Midnight Traveler (December 30 at 10PM). This IFP Gotham Awards nominee (for “Best Documentary”) chronicles the flight of Afghan director Hassan Fazili to safety. He captures the onerous odyssey he and his family took from their homeland all the way to Europe to escape the bounty the Taliban put out on him. The documentary humanizes migrants, at a time where they are often being maligned.

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