Movie Night! “Victor, Victoria” Steals the Show

I refuse to watch a movie without checking the reviews first. Sure, I could form my own opinion after an hour or so, but why waste the time if others have already sat through the film and shared their thoughts? My quest for reviews usually leads me straight to Rotten Tomatoes, and I’m rarely disappointed by the information I find.

Victor, Victoria, airing tonight at 9:35 p.m. on Wisconsin Public Television, is a must-see based on its cast and reputation alone, but the good reviews don’t hurt. “Driven by a fantastic lead turn from Julie Andrews, Blake Edwards’ musical gender-bender is sharp, funny and all-round entertaining,” cheers Rotten Tomatoes.

The 1982 musical centers on an entertainer (Andrews) living in 1930s Paris, who is rescued from starvation by cabaret performer Robert Preston. Preston’s advice? Adopt a gimmick to rake in the cash. Andrews does just that, becoming a male impersonator pretending to be a female impersonator … and soon becomes the toast of Paris.

If you’re looking for a relaxing Friday evening like I am, Victor, Victoria won’t disappoint.

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Healthy Eating has its Rewards

The place setting for the Kids' State Dinner in the East Room of the White House, July 18, 2014.

This seat at the Kids’ State Dinner in the White House could be all yours!

A little creativity could earn you and your kids a seat at a state dinner in the White House.

The 4th annual Healthy Lunchtime Challenge & Kids’ “State Dinner” is seeking out original recipes that are healthy, creative, affordable, delicious and original. One recipe from each of the 50 states will be chosen, and the prize is an opportunity to attend the Kids’ “State Dinner” hosted by Mrs. Obama at the White House.

So dig into the family cookbook for a favorite recipe or help your kids create a new recipe from scratch. Need some inspiration? Check out all the 2014 winning recipes, including Amazing African Sweet Potato Stew from Wisconsin chef Sarah.

Find more details and submit your recipe at Entries must be received by April 30…so get cooking!

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Puffin-opolis: Explore Animal Cities with ‘Nature’

In the latest installment of “cute and fluffy things at WPT,” we’re talking about puffins! You’ve seen them on cereal boxes, but the real birds are WAY more interesting. Fun facts: Puffins actually shed their colorful beaks after mating season is over…and they can live in “cities” of over one million birds!

Ok…maybe not such fun facts, but if you want to learn more about these adorable and colorful birds, tune in for the last installment of the new Nature special:Animal Homes.” Learn more about puffins, spiders, ants and some of the amazing colonies they construct all over the world. Preview the latest episode below, watch tonight - Wednesday, April 22 at 7 p.m. on Wisconsin Public Television - or check out the first two episodes online here.

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‘Last Days’ Shares Untold Stories from the Vietnam War

American Experience “Last Days in Vietnam” airs 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 28 on WPT. Scroll to the end to see more programs about the Vietnam War.

Ever since the United States ended it’s involvement in the Vietnam War 40 years ago, journalists, filmmakers, historians and countless others have studied and scrutinized the Vietnam War from several angles. So when American Experience asked Rory Kennedy to make a film about the final days of the Vietnam War, her initial response was, “Could I provide anything new.” Fortunately, Kennedy obliged and she managed to uncover one of the most dramatic tales from the Vietnam era.

Sailors push a helicopter off a landing platform of the U.S.S. Kirk to clear room for more helicopters dropping off refugees.

Since its premiere at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, the Academy Award®-nominated “Last Days in Vietnam” has been seen in communities throughout America, and, according to Kennedy, the overwhelming response is, “I can’t believe we didn’t know this story.”

The film shares how the handful of American diplomats and military operatives that remained in the country at the war’s end engaged in unsanctioned operations to save as many South Vietnamese as possible from the approaching North Vietnamese Army. The film’s narrative is woven with emotional first-hand tales of bravery and gripping footage of the evacuation shot from the U.S. embassy and the Navy ships that awaited the last of the evacuees. It’s a film that is sure to give any viewer a new perspective on U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.

“Last Days in Vietnam” is among several programs airing this week that mark 50 years since U.S. combat troops first landed in Vietnam and 40 years since the fall of Saigon. Some programs cover familiar topics, but each provides unparalleled in-depth storytelling and historical accuracy that public television is known for.

Preview “Last Days in Vietnam” and scroll to the end to see the full schedule of Vietnam programs.

Also airing on Wisconsin Public Television
American Experience “My Lai”

8 p.m. Tuesday, April 21
Examine the My Lai massacre, its cover-up and efforts of soldiers who broke rank to halt atrocities.

The Draft
8 p.m. Monday, April 27
The Draft tells the story of how a single, controversial issue continues to define a nation.

Dick Cavett’s Vietnam
9 p.m. Monday, April 27
Explore the war and its impact on America through interviews conducted by the host of The Dick Cavett Show.

The Day the ’60s Died
7 p.m. Tuesday, April 28
In May of 1970, four students were shot dead at Kent State. The Day the ’60s Died examines the event and its fallout.

Last Days in Vietnam
8 p.m. Tuesday, April 28

Wisconsin Vietnam War Stories
Watch Online Anytime
See Wisconsin Vietnam War veterans recount their experiences in a three-hour documentary.

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Tour of (Nature’s) Homes

For the past two days, I’ve had the joy of watching a gray squirrel (the one in the picture) decide whether to take up residence in a maple tree. He looks young and probably hasn’t built a nest yet, but I can tell he’d like to make his home here. He’s been scurrying up and down chasing birds away, plus the tree is just a few bounces from a well-stocked bird feeder.

Both animals and humans love to build their homes where opportunity exists. We like to make our homes close to work or school and in safe places away from natural disasters. As for the opportunities that animals look for, Nature “Animal Homes” has that topic covered tonight.

On this episode, you’ll learn why and how beavers live along waterways, why gopher tortoises live underground, why some hummingbirds strangely find comfort living underneath hawk nests and so much more.

“Animal Homes” is a three-part series, so after you’ve watched tonight you can check out Episode 1 “The Nest” online and also watch Episode 3 “Animal Cities” on Wednesday, April 22. That episode will explore the acre-wide, multi-million-citizen colonies built by leaf cutter ants in Costa Rica. But you can see leaf cutter ants right here in Wisconsin thanks to the UW-Madison Ant Cam.

Outside of the laboratory, ants will soon be building their little mounds here in Wisconsin. And, many songbirds are back and building nests. So it’s a great time to get outside and explore some animal homes yourself. Find some animal homes and share your photos on the Nature website.

Oh, and if you’re curious, the squirrel in my maple tree appears to have turned its sights elsewhere. The maple in question is also a favorite of the woodpeckers, and no one enjoys noisy neighbors.

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