Our own Mystery Man, Anthony DiFato, investigates the Ivy Frost detective series and more.
Life-Wire News Service had a spectacular first full year. Here are our most popular stories of 2016.
Our crew reviewed the PBS/BBC documentary Koko: The Gorilla Who Talks. Koko lives at the Gorilla Foundation with Penny Patterson, who taught her sign language. -Anthony Pabon
Eric’s video helps people understand what it is like to live with Down Syndrome. We are all the same inside. -Joseph Padalino
People with disabilities can do anything, even in fashion. I photographed model Madeline Stewart – she is so sweet. Because I’m short, the other photographers let me move to the front row. At the runway show, I stayed in one spot right in front and didn’t move. I also met model Shaholly Ayers and singer Meredith O’Connor – I loved the dress she was wearing. -Meredith Arout, photographer.
History comes alive in Great Performances’ Hamilton’s America on PBS. You get to see all the actors and actresses put their heart into it in behind-the-scenes interviews. We reviewed the documentary, and our colleagues Larry Oliveri and Meredith Arout covered the premiere. Check out their interviews with star of the show. Lin Manuel-Miranda, Ron Chernow and many others. -Salvatore DiBenedetto, reviewer.
I remember how tired I was and how my feet hurt. It was different. I never thought I’d cover the Emmys, but I did it. Please check out my photos. -Meredith Arout
She did a magnificent job. I hope to work closely with Meredith in the near future. -Joseph Padalino
It was an experience for me. I got to interview people from all over Africa and I enjoyed it. -Anthony Kefalinos
It got really bad when I lived at Willowbrook. I hope it never comes back. Geraldo’s interview tells us how things are better now. Never again. -Anthony Buscarello
I think this video inspires everyone to help people with disabilities find housing. Don’t give up the fight. Watch this video and learn hat you can do. -Joseph Padalino
This is a Catholic parade for Good Friday in Ferrol, Spain. I found it interesting and some people find it unfamiliar.
MakerSpace is an interesting place to work. They have tools and machines you can use to build all kinds of interesting things. When I was there, I met a guy making a replica of rhythmicon, an instrument that only two exist in the world. -Anthony DiFato
The 1934 version of “The March of the Wooden Soldiers” is an annual holiday treat for the whole family. Also known as “Babes in Toyland,” the black and white classic will be shown on Christmas Day from noon to 2 p.m. on WPIX 11.
Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy star as Stan Dee and Ollie Dum. They live with the Old Woman in the Shoe and are trying to save Little Bo Peep from marrying Silas Barnaby, the heartless landlord. In the end everyone unites with the Wooden Soldiers to fight him and the Bogeymen.
The plot involves a comical misinterpretation of Santa’s orders – just part of the many laughs for all ages provided by slapstick and hilarious punchlines. Music, nursery rhyme characters, including Mother Goose, and a rousing community spirit add to the movie’s appeal for kids and adults.
“Watching a classic movie together provides great memories,” says Sal DiBenedetto.
“And you learn to never turn your back on a cannon,” adds Anthony DiFato.
– Sal DiBenedetto, Anthony DiFato, and Sam Stone with Kathryn Carse.
In Secrets of the Dead: Van Gogh’s Ear, Researcher Bernadette Murphy travels back in time to learn the truth about Vincent Van Gogh. Premiering December 14, 10 p.m. on PBS (check local listings), the program explores if the infamous story of Van Gogh cutting off his own ear on December 23, 1888.
Van Gogh’s Ear will give you insight into the life of the artist. The documentary is a really intriguing mystery of his days in Arles, answering the questions – was the story of his ear a fake, and who was the mystery girl ‘Rachel’ who they say received his gory gift?
- By Joseph Padalino, edited by Edward Gregory.
From the time he was a young boy, Darius McCollum was fascinated by trains. The trains were his hiding spot to get away from his troubles. But when he took it upon himself to steal trains, he became infamous.
Off the Rails, a film by Adam Irving that tells Darius’ story, gets its United States theatrical run this November, qualifying it for Oscar consideration. It can be seen in Los Angeles at the Laemmie Music Hall, November 4 through 10, and in New York City at the Metrograph Theater, November 18 through 24.
McCollum, who is said to have Asperger’s Syndrome, has been in jail more than 30 times for taking trains and buses for joy rides (often with passengers unaware), trespassing, and impersonating various mass transit personnel. A panel of individuals with disabilities reviewed the film, making their own observations.
“I never saw someone who took so much pride in his job,” said reviewer Joseph Padalino. “He doesn’t hurt the passengers. He calls out the stops with more enthusiasm than the real drivers. I wouldn’t even care about his disability. I would ride with him.”
“It makes you wonder how safe the train system is,” according to Anthony DiFato. “You have him in jail and there is no counseling. The criminal justice system is not fair. It’s not like he killed someone.”
McCollum’s story is also being considered for a feature film, starring Julia Roberts as McCollum’s attorney, Sally Butler. Meanwhile, Darius sits in jail since November 2015 for his latest escapade and is facing a possible 15-year sentence behind bars. A $15 million lawsuit has been filed by Butler on McCollum’s behave, citing the lack of mental health services that he has received thus far in prison.
-Written as a group, including Dolores Palermo, Joseph Jones, Anthony DiFato, Joseph Padalino, Anthony Kefalinos, Anthony Buscarello, Jonathan Chernock, Andre Fitzgerald, and others, edited by Edward Gregory and Kathryn Carse.
- For more information on Off the Rails, visit the film’s website at Off the Rails Movie online..
Hamilton’s America is revolutionary documentary that tells how Lin-Manuel Miranda and his collaborators made a hit Broadway musical. Premiering Friday, October 21 on PBS’ Great Performances (9 p.m. Eastern – check local listings), the documentary, three years in the making, is a before-and-after look at the making of Hamilton, the hottest show on Broadway.
Miranda read Alexander Hamilton, Ron Chernow’s book about the man and his life-long conflict with Aaron Burr. He imagined the characters speaking and he wrote a rap song. Then he kept adding more until he had a full musical. We follow Lin and his collaborators through the tag-team process all the way to the show’s Broadway opening.
In Hamilton’s America, we meet the Chernow and filmmaker Alex Horwitz, who made the film for Great Performances. We also meet presidents Barack Obama and George Bush, and other national leaders along with musical theater luminaries Stephen Sondhiem and John Weidman, late night host Jimmy Fallon, and musicians Questlove, Black Thought, and Nas.
-Written as a group, including Salvatore DiBenedetto, Joseph Jones, Joseph Padalino, Meredith Arout, Gregory Perosi, and others, edited by Edward Gregory using their content and PBS press materials.
Life-Wire News Service was on hand at Great Performances’ Hamilton’s America preview on October 17 at the United Palace in Washington Heights. Lawrence Oliveri interviewed the stars in the following video and Meredith Arout captured the red carpet event in photos below:
Photos: Meredith Arout for Life-Wire News Service.
Check out more about WNET’s Hamilton’s America preview at Washington Height’s United Palace Theatre here.
To use Great Performance’s Hamilton’s America in your classroom, check out the resource page on PBS Learning Media here.
Find out more about Ron Chernow’s book, Alexander Hamilton, that inspired the musical here, on Good Reads.