A Ken Burns documentary has a certain look. A master documentary filmmaker, Burns definitely has a style that engages mass audiences and makes history fascinating and welcoming for all. But, sometimes, we want a closer look at something than Burns can give us.
Enter your local public television station. When MPTV airs Burns' mini-series, "The War," it will also show its own 30-minute addendum, "Stories from the Homefront: The War in Wisconsin."
If not as slick as a Burns film -- and please, can we a less somnambulic narrator?! -- "Stories from the Homefront" is hyperlocal television, sharing the stories the women who stayed behind to keep families together but also to show the world what they could really do in Milwaukee factories, foundries and shops.
The 30-minute high-definition program also explains how black labor was affected by the war and discusses Wisconsin's POW camps and the 20,000 enemy soldiers housed in them. Perhaps most interesting are the interviews with two German soldiers who first came to Wisconsin as POW camp inmates. Returning to Germany after the war, they were drawn back to the state to live and work and they're still here today.
Through his mini-series Ken Burns will present a broad view of World War II to PBS viewers, but "Stories from the Homefront" will tell you what was happening on National Avenue and all around Milwaukee and Wisconsin.
"Stories from the Homefront" airs Friday, Sept. 21 at 9 and 11:30 p.m. and Monday, Sept. 24 at 11 p.m. on channel 10. You can get a free, sneak preview of it at Wisconsin's Black Historical Society, 2620 W. Center St., on Wednesday, Sept. 12, from 5 to 8 p.m. Call (414) 271-1036 for free tickets.
"The War" is a seven-part, 14-hour miniseries that airs nightly at 7 p.m., Sept. 23-26 and Sept. 26-Oct. 2 on channel 10.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.