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[beeping] [Intro music] Welcome to Primetime Wisconsin. The weekly arts and entertainment magazine produced by Wisconsin Public Television. On tonight's program the sparks of commentary fly as blacksmith and amateur philosopher, Carol Sakowski, hammers out a few theories of her own. Madison's Fire Town band has high hopes for success with the national release of its homegrown music video. And we'll profile Stockholm, Wisconsin, an unlikely home to a growing arts community. All in this half hour of
Primetime Wisconsin. Here is your host Carlos Pagan. Good evening. It's nice to have you with us for this week's edition of Primetime Wisconsin. As we mentioned in our open this is an arts and entertainment magazine, but it's also our aim to celebrate the variety of people and places that make up our composite portrait of Wisconsin. Our stories come from all corners of the state. Our first piece produced by Brian Gongola and narrated by Joy Cardin takes us to the Menominee Indian reservation in the town of Keshina. To those that live in the region it's a gathering place with a proud Indian heritage. A heritage which now has the chance to be documented on television. The programs are put together by a group of budding young TV producers on location and rolling tape for Menominee posterity. The tribal reservation is a special place to the Menominee Indians who live there. This group of Menominee high school students wanted to show how special it was. So last
summer they made their own television documentaries about it. The project was part of a summer youth job training program sponsored by Farmers Union. It not only taught them job skills but teamwork, responsibility, and pride in themselves and their community. Seven students worked on the project. ??Bill ??was one of them. I feel really good about it, because I got it accomplished. We did it. And that's good and I just saw our finished product. It was great and I thought, "Hey we did really good." I got out of it learning how to talk to people, how to get no..get questions...get answers I don't...that you wanted but they aren't giving you like say you want to know how they felt about nuclear waste and say it's bad but that wasn't enough. I wanted to see it. So to I know how to do that. Plus, I learned how to how to set up the interviews, and I got over my shyness of
people. So you got a good variety of stuff here. Producer Mark Doremus from New ?Asis 7? was television production advisor on the project and helped the students to document important tribal activities like the Menominee artists who painted a unique mural on an old railroad trestle in the ?opit?. They got a mural project. You can show them that that would do something for the community. There's the fact that can be seen by anybody that drives by me. It make you feel like better than what you... What has been the reaction community feel. [Indecipherable] People come by. They thank us...or shake our hands, and I think that's pretty nice. How bout you Joyce? Are you comfortable with your requirment up there? Learning how to produce television programs was challenging but careful planning with Louis ?Hapatas?, project
coordinator and a personal commitment to getting the job done made the project a success. Well it's really hard in what people think it is. They just go out there and shoot like that, but you gotta prepare for it, and set up questions for the interview and stuff like that. We all got along good. We...we each took turns on sharing the equipment, and we each had an opportunity to do each of the certain jobs working the camera and audio. By the end of the summer three programs had been produced: a gift to ?Neopet? documenting the mural project. Growing up proud interviews with community members about local issues affecting the Menominees. And finally a documentary about an important social event on the reservation. A Menominee powwow. It was a summer they'll never forget. The finished programs
are available to the community to watch and enjoy for years to come. Louis ?Hapatas? credits the success of the project to the kids and the community that raised them. What happens here is...was all of disadvantages with the high rate of unemployment and then some kind...some instances of higher rate of crime, we still produce super kids that's the way I believe. We still produce super kids here. The quiet Mississippi River town of Stockholm, Wisconsin is about an hour's drive south of the nearest big city Minneapolis. But it has twice as many artists per capita. That surprising statistic may have something to do with the size of the burgeoning population of Stockholm which at last count stands at 104. To those speeding past
on the Great River Road, the arts attraction of the town may not be readily apparent. My producer Art ?Jackno? and narrator Rosemary Jacobson say a brief visit to Stockholm may help to explain the town's charm. To me I think what makes Stockholm more peaceful or more quaint is the fact that it's a totally different world so you know you know in a very healthy way. Very different. Very small town. And yet the attitudes of people don't tend to be real hick or real backwoodsy. There's a lot of culture in the area. People involved in the arts and music and dance and it's just kind of exciting to see something like that in a small-town area.
In the early 1970s, Stockholm Wisconsin, because of its scenic locations, small town atmosphere, and inexpensive real estate began to attract a number of artists and craftspeople from the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. Many were associated with the counterculture movement of the time. They came to Stockholm seeking an environment conducive to the pursuit of their art and a place to establish and preserve an alternative lifestyle. We moved here because my husband was into wind energy and taught at the energy center, and I got into spinning and weaving um when we first moved out to our place, and I thing led to another meeting people and the artists. There aren't many fiber artists out here, but I do see the other artists. They inspire me with their work that they do you know. And it encourages you to spend all day spinning or weaving and creative time. While weaver Sandy Mashad and potter Daryl Bowman came to Stockholm seeking the peace and
serenity of its countryside. Nadine Nelson was attracted here for another reason. The Stockholm area is the source of a rare gem that has become the centerpiece of her work. One time I was at an auction and saw a pearlview auction. I asked where it came from and they said it was harvested in the Mississippi River. For the mother of pearl, for the cultured pearl in Japan. Most of the pros go to New York but a lot of them stay here in Stockholm, Wisconsin where I have my shop. When I take a pearl, I look at it and then I decide what design it's going to have and I work around the pearl. The pearl dictates each design that I make. There's two different kinds of pearls. There's a round pearl which comes out of a clam one per 10,000 clams. And there's a baroque pearl that comes one time out of a hundred clams--extremely rare. There's maybe two or three places in the world where they're harvested nowadays.
Nadine Nelson's Mississippi River pearls are but one of many hidden treasures to be found in Stockholm. Others can be found within the walls of this simple building which contains a surprisingly wide variety of work produced by local artists. Since the red balloon gallery opened in 1982, its owner, Mark Edwards, has specialized in representing artists living in the Stockholm area. When I started the gallery I started with about 10 people realizing that there are more people around. But not really how many because we live so far apart from each other-- communication was was difficult. But as the gallery developed, more people came from different areas that I had never known before. People that I had never met. And were walking into the gallery and saying, "I have this. Would you be interested?" And I would look at their things and I soon realize that there are a lot of people out there that were artists. Ross Madsen is one of the early settlers, so to speak, as far as far as artists are concerned. He's lived in town here um
for many years, and he's...before he came here he was dipping candles. One of the unique things about Russell's candles is consistency and in this process a hand dipping, which is all very laborious technique in that he uses his hands to dip candles into vats of wax and then he mixes colors and he has some recipes but every time there's a new batch it seems like a new color comes out, because it's a little different each time he mixes them up. Soren Svedvik was one of the first artists that started with the gallery. He's been here a long time in this area. The silk screening has developed through the years. One of um one of the reasons is that his work developed from simple runs and simple designs into more more complex. One of the things about Soren's work that's unique is he keeps a very simple design and concentrates on colors. And those colors are always vivid and come forth strongly
and in lighter, nicer nicer colors that are real appealing to more design-oriented work. Soren came from Sweden when he was a teenager. He was brought up in Sweden, and he's a Swedish member of this community in which this community is Swedish and fits him well to be here. Stockholm was founded in 1854 by a group of Swedish immigrants. It's a town rich in history. One present day Stockholm resident who has taken a special interest in preserving a part of Stockholm's past, is shop owner and innkeeper Lucy Elliott. The Merchant's Hotel is one of the oldest buildings in Stockholm and as far as we can tell from the abstract it was built in about 1864 And its original purpose was to be used as a hotel and for three and a half years we have been working on the restoration of the building. We have tried to
keep the the original character of the building, and we haven't torn out rough walls and trying to make them smooth. We have left things pretty much as is and have tried to deal with some of the major structural problems. And for the cosmetics we have tried to use some of the things that were already there so that it still has the flavor of an old building. Across the street from the Merchant's Hotel is the most recent addition to Stockholm's business community the Amish Country Store. Featured here are quilts, furniture, and other handmade items all manufactured by the Amish in their simple traditional style. The shop's owner Mary Svoboda shares her feelings about the future of Stockholm. I think Stockholm has a lot going for it and it's it's going to continue to get bigger. And hopefully stay on the same
plane that it is now. There's a new movement afoot in the nation's music industry. The new toe tapping trend stems from right here in the Midwest and what might someday be called the Wisconsin sound. You can hear the sound in the music of the BoDeans of Waukesha and of Timbuk 3 formerly of Madison another band we'd like to see added to the music charts also comes from Madison. They're called Fire Town. And with me is Butch Vig and Phil Davis. Thank you for joining us. What about this trend Butch? Why is this happening now and not before? Well there's a lot of great bands in the Midwest, and I think they put out great records. And it seems in the last three or four years that the record companies and the critics finally realized this, and they're starting to sign bands and write great reviews on them. Well you're certainly hearing a lot of airplay for Midwestern bands including you guys which I understand you're getting played overseas now. Overseas as well.
Number five on a station outside of Paris. You've got European distribution now and American music is always been you know much loved in Europe and it's pretty exciting. Well this is a pretty exciting video that...we hope to get the video over there...we carry the torch for Fire Town here in Madison. [music] You can leave, but I'll believe. I'll carry the torch for you. And the winter night is cold. I'll carry the torch for you. Footsteps. Hard enough to hear a...I'll be walking the night. I'll be walking the night. Even though we're worlds apart. I'll carry the torch for you. Even though the path is dark. I'll carry the torch for you. Storming. Raining. Tears of silver driving. Hometown. Waiting for the light to...Changin. I'll be walking the night. I'll be walking the night. No you won't be around. I'll carry the torch for you. On the road a hollow ground. I'll carry the torch for you. Even though we're worlds apart. I'll carry the torch for you. Even though the path is dark. I'll carry the torch for you. I'll carry the torch. I'll carry the torch. I'll carry the torch. I'll carry the torch. I'll carry the torch.
The name of the tune Carry the Torch by Fire Town and yes all that beautiful corn was also
homegrown. It was choreographed and photographed by director Jeff Schultz. Next up a look at some of the arts and entertainment events available not too far from you over the next week. They're compiled every week by Wisconsin Trails Magazine. [music] While arts and entertainment are a big part of our Primetime Wisconsin series, the show also highlights much more. Profiles of people and places are also used to create our portrait of Wisconsin. Our next story is a good example of what we mean. It takes us
to Mineral Point in the southwestern corner of the state to a site that almost seems to echo in time. There's a special feeling one gets by looking back on history to some who visit the Pendarvis historical site in Mineral Point it's merely the satisfaction of curiosity, but to others it's more. It's a sense of continuity a feeling that pays homage to people and ideas that came before. Prior to the advent of electronics, the blacksmith developed all the technology that built our civilization. and every other civilization. To blacksmith and farrier Carol Sakowski, it's also a chance to keep the fires of her art alive. In this one day demonstrations small groups of tourists stopped by to observe her at work. I don't do this to be unusual, I guess I do it because I am unusual. For those expecting the routine tour guide patter there's a surprise in store.
There's very little that's routine about Carol Sakowski's convictions on history. People who don't know about their past or the mistakes and the good points of it are destined to repeat the mistakes and uh losing sight of where you come from is a form of ingratitude and in the estimation of a lot of philosophers way before me. That's not uh it's not a minor sin. It's a major one. In our present day world of laser technology, freeze dried instant coffee, and machine made horseshoes stamped out scores at a time. There seems to be little room for the village blacksmith. But it's Sakowski's contention that in the name of progress we're inadvertently losing touch with the essence of human nature. The individual, whose dextrous skills, help keep humans a step ahead of machines. For centuries the apprentice blacksmiths ultimate test of skill and passage was to
form a delicate rose from three pieces of scrap metal. Today, Carol Sakowski keeps in practice by forging the rows from a single rod of red hot iron. And I like doing them because it is a constrast. I learn for puns. I like ironic things no pun intended that time but it is ironic that the softness of the rose and the hardness of the iron should combine so beautifully and come out as nice as they are. Carol's apprenticeship as a blacksmith started in secret away from her parents who preferred to encourage her ambitions in science and math at the University of Wisconsin. It wasn't until after graduation that she told them she would rather work iron than write tedious grant proposals for science projects. I have to be very careful when I'm working with this because when it gets cold, cold being a relative term, about a thousand degrees it begins to get more ?? and therefore can become brittle but you can see the
rose beginning to form. Like the contrasts in her artful red rose, there's also another more traditional side to Carol's anvil work. hammering- Here we go. Yeah I can live with that. This horse's foot is somewhat skewed. This is not your standard hoof shape but it's his standard hoof shape. People have asked me a lot of times about being the only woman blacksmith and the first woman blacksmith and I'm not. And I found histories of women who worked iron going back to pre- hellenic times, and it's been my contention for a large span of time that women were the first blacksmiths because in very primitive hunter-gatherer type cultures women tend the fires. It's my contention that people who have to worry about losing or retaining their masculinity or masculinity or femininity or any of that stuff. I've got enough to do.
There are many hazards involved with the smoke you forge fire and this ancient style of iron work. But to Carol, it's just part of the trade. The leading cause of cessation of work amongst blacksmiths is not death. It's cataracts from unprotected eyes. But few injuries are predictable while tending a horse in 1981, Carol was involved in a crushing accident that left her partially paralyzed. Specialist perplexed over the case, gave her little hope. What they did not count on was Carol's extraordinary strength of will. You know a lot of what people call superhuman powers or's not. I think it's that we're taught not to believe in ourselves. I guess I operate at a somewhat higher level than a ...just temporarily lost this rose. Have to salvage the rose. With the aid of another doctor, experimental acupuncture, and the iron will of a blacksmith, Carol Sakowski wrestled her way out of the paralysis. She attributes her indomitable strength in part to the values of her immigrant parents but also to that sense of historic continuity that has
collected in her unique character, the kind of strong character, one might see in an American Beauty rose forged from red hot iron. On the next edition of Primetime Wisconsin, composer Michael Torke receives critical acclaim for his latest work based on his Spring Green, Wisconsin impressions. Sit in on recollections of old hobo pastimes turned into folk art. Thanks to Green Bay collector. And new age music finds itself at home near Eau Claire. Join us for a listen to improv musicians RSSP, next time on Prime time Wisconsin. I'm Carlos Pagan. It was nice to have you with us for this second edition of Primetime Wisconsin which by the way is produced through a collaboration of public TV producers around the state. And here's a list of those most responsible for our segments tonight. Thanks for joining us. We'll see you again next week.
Primetime Wisconsin is a production of University of Wisconsin Television and the Wisconsin Public Television Network.
Primetime Wisconsin
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PBS Wisconsin (Madison, Wisconsin)
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Episode Description
This episode of Primetime Wisconsin features segments including a story about documenting Menominee culture, a profile of blacksmith and philosopher Carol Sakowski, a profile of the band Firetown and an interview with Butch Vig and Phil Davis, and a visit to Stockholm Wisconsin's growing arts community.
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Primetime Wisconsin is a magazine featuring segments on local Wisconsin arts and entertainment.
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Fine Arts
Content provided from the media collection of Wisconsin Public Broadcasting, a service of the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System and the Wisconsin Educational Communications Board. All rights reserved by the particular owner of content provided. For more information, please contact 1-800-422-9707
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Host: Pagan, Carlos
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Wisconsin Public Television (WHA-TV)
Identifier: WPT1.65.T3 MA (Wisconsin Public Television)
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Duration: 00:30:00?
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Chicago: “Primetime Wisconsin; 102,” 1987-02-05, PBS Wisconsin, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 19, 2024,
MLA: “Primetime Wisconsin; 102.” 1987-02-05. PBS Wisconsin, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. May 19, 2024. <>.
APA: Primetime Wisconsin; 102. Boston, MA: PBS Wisconsin, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from