WLIW Arts Beat


WLIW Arts Beat - September 7, 2020

In this edition of WLIW Arts Beat, a society dedicated to the art of bonsai; creating one-of-a-kind costumes for the stage; an impactful bookstore that encourages children to come together and be inspired; a pipe organ rich with sound and musical history.

AIRED: September 07, 2020 | 0:26:46



>> In this edition of

"WLIW Arts Beat"...

The bonsai tradition...

>> It's creating the image of a

large tree you would find

growing in nature in a pot that

you can maintain in your own


>> Designing costumes for the


>> I think what's really special

about this organization is that

it was built on a culture of


If the artists can envision it,

we can manifest it.

>> Inspiring younger generations

through the written word...

>> Our mission is to foster

reading culture by exposing

children to the world.

So, we want to do that through

art, music, and picture books.

>> A pipe organ that


>> The most unique feature of it

would be its size and to be able

to have the variety of sounds,

soft and loud.

>> It's all ahead on this

edition of "WLIW Arts Beat."

Funding for "WLIW Arts Beat"

was made possible

by viewers like you.

Thank you.

Welcome to "WLIW Arts Beat."

I'm Diane Masciale.

Bonsai is a Japanese art form

that has been around for


Since the 1970s, the

Milwaukee Bonsai Society has

celebrated the tradition and

artistry of bonsai.

We head to Milwaukee, Wisconsin,

for the story.



>> Bonsai means "tree in tray."

So, anytime you have a tree in a

pot, officially it's a bonsai.

Where people say, "I have bonsai

in my yard," unless they are in

pots, that does not fit the



>> The Milwaukee Bonsai Society

was started around 1970.

In fact, they're celebrating

their 50th anniversary.

It's probably one of the bigger,

more active clubs in the


And none of this you see here

would be possible without their


The Milwaukee Bonsai Foundation

is an organization that was set

up to create, own, and maintain

a public bonsai collection here

at Lynden Sculpture Garden in


There are probably about 30,

32 trees in the collection.

As far as I know, it's the only

public bonsai collection in the

world that is in a dedicated

park facility.


Bonsai is an art form.

It's a very, very old art form.

It uses living trees as its


It's creating the image of a

large tree you would find

growing in nature in a pot that

you can maintain in your own


The earliest recorded history we

have of the art form is about

800 A.D.

We think that the bonsai art

itself started probably in


When the landlords would travel

around their property, they

would see a tree that they

liked, had some character.

They would dig it up, put it in

a pot, and put it in their


In about 1100, 1200 A.D., the

Chinese Buddhist priests were

going to Japan, and they took

their bonsai with them.

And so, that's where it got its

start, in Japan.

So, after World War II, when the

G.I.s were there, they began to

see the bonsai, and that's when

it started to become a worldwide

hobby, if you will.

You can use almost any tree for


Anything that has a woody trunk

can be used as a bonsai.


>> What we like in bonsai, we

like to have a tree that looks

like a big, old, gnarly tree

with character.

And as I get older, I appreciate

that more and more.

>> The most common question is,

"Is it real?"

So, they look at them, and they

say, "How can that be real?

It's so small, compared to the

trees that you see out in


It's a regular tree.

If you planted this in the

ground, it would become a large

tree after some time.

They stay small because we keep

them in pots, and we trim the

roots and trim the top.

And that keeps them small, and

that allows them to get a very

large trunk while staying small.

>> Part of the art form and part

of the knowledge is figuring out

how you can get that tree at the

size you want it to look like an

actual tree so when somebody

sees it, they say, "Oh, yeah,

that's a tree," instead of

"That's a stump with a couple of

leaves on it."

>> You work with the tree.

You take what the tree gives

you, and you look at the shape,

and you decide sort of what

direction you'd like to go in.

The next thing you would do

would be to remove any dead

tree material.

There's dead leaves, dead

branches, and you have to decide

where in that mass is the art

that you want to bring out.

You would trim it, and then you

would wire it.

And you wire it to whatever

shape that you want it in.

>> We use some specialized tools

as far as cutting goes.

We use some concave cutters to

help heal wounds faster.

The Japanese-specific tools --

they're really made especially

for minimizing the damage to the

tree when you use them.

So, that's what we prefer to

use whenever we can.

>> We use wire as a training


We use wire like a doctor uses a


We wrap it around a branch, and

we can move the branch and move

it around a little bit, twist

it, turn it, take it up and


And as the branch grows, it puts

on more wood.

Then it will hold that position

when we take the wire off.

>> And this is always the

interesting part, when you put

the wire on, and then you go to

bend the branch, and you hope

that you don't hear a loud

cracking sound, which tells you

that you made a big mistake




But it is really quite

surprising, the extent to which

a properly wired branch can be

manipulated and moved.


>> If I were to show this, I

would need to clean up a lot of

the foliage.

You'd like to see definite

layers in here, and we have some

of our bonsai artists who say

that we would like to see this

open so a bird can fly through

it rather than just having it

look like a big, old shrub.


>> So, what do I need to do to

this tree now to get it to that

vision at the end?

And that might be three, four,

five years down the road.

So, even the most seasoned

bonsai artists and the most

experienced have the same


It's "This is what I want the

tree to look like right now."

Next year, two years down the

road, it may change.

>> It's a living sculpture.

Bonsai's a living sculpture.

So, it's never really done.

And you want to maintain it.

If you want to keep the size the

same, then you have to prune it.

You will repot it every few


>> These trees can only take so

much work that you do on them

at one time.

You can't pot a tree and trim a

tree too much all at once.

Otherwise, the tree might not


It's not something that you're

gonna finish in a day.

This is a long-term adventure.


>> We make a cut today hoping

that tomorrow it will do

something, and it will grow into

the shape that we want it to

grow into.

Bonsai artists are always

working with the future.


>> Discover more about the

Bonsai Society on their


And now the artist's quote of

the week...



In Colorado, the Denver Center

for the Performing Arts tells a

variety of stories on stage.

In this segment, we go behind

the curtain to see how costumes

are made for their productions.

Take a look.


>> I love telling stories.

And I think it's so much fun

that I get to come to work every

day and play make-believe and

dress-up, so...

[ Laughs ]

>> This is one of nine

costume-storage rooms that we

have here.

On this side are women's


The other side are men's


You know, ladies' 5 to 5 1/2s

are all in this section and

labeled and men's 10s and men's

11s are all right here.

Also, this is just our show


When we're building a show, the

actor has a nameplate with their

name on it, and the costumes

that actor will wear are

directly behind the garment bag.

>> I think what's really special

about this organization is that

it was built on a culture of


If the artists can envision it,

we can manifest it.


When you first start thinking

about a show, you're thinking

about the design, the visual

design of the whole thing, and

that's all tied into the core of

the story.

"A Doll's House," the

original -- that's the one that

I'm working on -- I wanted it to

happen in 1879, when it was


I wanted it to be photographic.

>> Sometimes we shop things.

Sometimes we thrift things.

Usually for contemporary shows,

we tend to kind of shop in

thrift so it looks more


For period pieces, there's not

a store that sells things for

"A Doll's House."

So, we're fortunate to have the

skills of our costume shop to

build more of our period pieces.

>> I will, once I fit this, do a

whole bunch of hand-stitching to

make sure that this all stays

in place.

>> When we build a costume from

scratch, we work with a team of


It really does take a village.


The process for designing an

entire production starts about

six to nine months before we

even hit the stage.

>> The costumer will bring you

renderings, sketches of the


>> This is the sketch that

Meghan has done, and this is the

skirt, the overskirt, for that


>> And then we talk to a team of

drapers, who make women's

clothes, or tailors, who make

men's clothes.

And they kind of figure out how

to translate that

two-dimensional drawing into a

three-dimensional outfit.

>> We do the patternmaking.

We do all the fitting.

We have to figure out how to

make an actual garment from the

page to an actual person.

>> So, they'll do a mock-up,

which is basically like a rough

draft in an inexpensive cotton

fabric called "muslin," and we

fit that to the actor and make

all the changes in the rough

draft, essentially.

>> Easy to work with --

inexpensive is the key.

>> And then we make it out of

the real fabric.

So, it takes a few steps, but

that's how we get the great

product that we do.

>> It's actually quite


>> One of the most fun moments

in the process is when you

actually see the costumes on

stage on the set for the first

time because that's the first

time that the whole visual

world comes together, and it

feels like you're actually

stepping into the story.

>> I'm sorry.

I-I've just become so bitter.

I have to think about myself

all the time.

>> I love seeing it happen from

page to stage, all my work up

there on the stage, helping to

tell a story.

>> Nora, believe me.

This will be the best thing for


>> We do keep all of our

costumes because they're a huge

investment, and it's kind of fun

to repurpose garments from

another show and give them a new

life in a different show five,

ten years down the line.

>> There are very few costume

departments in the country that

can equal what the

Denver Center can do.

>> The Denver Center has always

been kind of this, like, beacon

of arts and things like that,

and so, this really is a

dream come true to get to work

here and be part of this

incredible place.

>> Find out more about the

Denver Center for the Performing

Arts at...

Now here's a look at this

month's fun fact...



Lorielle J. Hollaway wanted to

create a bookstore where

children could come together,

learn about the world, and be


And she did just that.

In this segment, we go to

St. Petersburg, Florida, to

check out her bookstore,

Cultured Books.


>> In college, I took a class of

anthropology, and I did not know

what it was about, but it was

like a course with public

speaking, and I had to take

public speaking.

During taking that class, I just

realized, like, if everybody

took anthropology, the world

would be a better place, more

empathetic, like, take a

holistic approach to just


My professor at the time, she

encouraged us to get out in our


So, as a class, we went to

city council meetings.

During all of the community

events and things, I was like,

"What is my piece?"

So, I was like, you know, "I

feel like making a change,"

because adults, how they

perceive the world and how they

see others, I feel, is already


But we can get people while

they're young.

So, I was like, "We can get it

through books because that's how

advertisers get children and how

just media gets children."

I want to counter the message

with just showing and displaying

positive messages of people of


That was my piece of activism.

That was why, it's like, "I'll

start there."

>> "My heart fills with

happiness when I feel the sun

dancing on my cheeks."

>> "Hey Black Child" was one of

just the bookstore's favorite


People love to have it read just

because of the affirmations in


>> "Hey, black child, do you

know where you're going --

where you're really going?"

You do?

Where you going?

[ Laughter ]

"Do you know you can learn what

you want to learn if you try to

learn what you can learn?"

>> Another book is

"Black Girl Magic," which is

written and illustrated by two

local sisters,

Lauren and Lailah Lord.

People love to hear that read

because of the affirmations, as


>> "I see a wonderful person

with the ability to be and do

great things.

I see an awesome, intelligent,

magnificent wonder looking at


I see the endless possibilities

that lie within me."

>> ♪ But they're really saying,

"I love you" ♪

♪ I hear babies cry

♪ I watch them grow

♪ They'll learn much more

than I'll ever know ♪



>> We hold summer-camp field


We have a book club that meets

the second and fourth Sunday of

the month.

We've taken a break for the

summer, but usually it's the

second and fourth Sunday of the


We read a book.

It's a multigenerational book


So, it's not just for kids, and

it's not for adults.

We want everybody to come just

so when we discuss the books we

have, we can really evaluate all




I would like to have, like, you

know, open mics for children,

too, not just adults but more

children read their own poetry,

because there's a lot of writers

that are young.

Some they don't know it, and

then some they do know it.

So, just to keep them to

progress in what they already

are doing and what they're

passionate about.

>> "Rise up this morning.

Smile with the rising sun."

"Three little birds pitch by my

doorstep, singing sweet songs

and melodies, pure and true,

saying, 'This is my message to


"Don't worry about a thing,

'cause every little thing is

gonna be alright."



>> Most of my books, 90%, it's a

person of color on the front

page so that people can find

books for their children.

Our mission is to foster reading

culture by exposing children to

the world.

So, we want to do that through

art, music, and picture books.




People are surprised that there

are so many different books

about people of color and that

they're not all about struggle.

We can have fun, too.

So, we have a lot of books

that's just, you know, people of

color living their lives.

I think the highlights is just

the people who come into the

bookstore, and they're like,

"Oh, my goodness.

This is here," or "It's so




>> And here's a look at this

week's art history...




If one enters the doors of

Westminster Presbyterian Church

in Dayton, Ohio, they will get

to experience the Casavant


Dedicated in 1963, the pipe

organ contributes to the

church's strong musical history.

Have a listen.

>> Located on the corner of

Wilkinson and First Street,

Westminster Presbyterian Church

is home to a unique part of

Dayton history.

The Casavant organ, known for

its array of sounds, colors, and

pitches, is the largest

remaining pipe organ in the

city and is deeply rooted in

the church's musical history.

>> The first organ was put in

in 1926.

It was an E.M. Skinner organ

of about 3,000 pipes.

It lasted until 1962.

It was evidently a very encased


The sound did not get out well

into this large room, and they

made the decision to completely

buy a new organ.

Casavant has always been through

the years one of the top organs


There are lots of builders who

make beautiful instruments.

At the time they purchased this

Casavant organ, they looked into

other companies, and they just

felt that this was the best-made

at the time.

>> Robert M. Stouffer,

Westminster's organist and

choirmaster at the time,

traveled to the Casavant factory

in Quebec.

Working closely with the

company, Mr. Stouffer auditioned

the organ, making sure

everything met the church's

specifications before it was

shipped to Dayton.

>> So, the organ was installed

in 1962, dedicated in January of


It's comprised of two organs --

the Chancel organ, which is

up front.

In the choir loft, that's the

main organ of four keyboards for

the hands, one for the feet.

And then one keyboard back in

the balcony, or the gallery, as

we call it -- two keyboards for

the hands and then a pedalboard

for your feet.

And all the pipes, front and

back, can be played from

up front, but back in the

gallery, only the gallery organ

can be played.

The first organ had 3,000 pipes,

the Casavant, 7,000 pipes.

>> This is one of the original

stops from the original organ.

>> They're arranged in what you

call "ranks."

A rank is a set of pipes that

has a particular sound,

particular color, particular


And they're arranged in

122 ranks in this organ.

The most unique feature of it

would be its size and to be able

to have the variety of sounds,

soft and loud and really loud


You actually make an organ

sound by piling pitch upon


Eight-foot pitch, which means

that the pipe is going to be

8 foot in length, makes the same

pitch as if you went to play the

same note on the piano.

Four-foot pitch, playing the

very same note, automatically

plays it an octave higher.

Two-foot pitch, two octaves

higher and so forth.

There are 220 stop knobs that

one uses to pull out to make


There are then buttons that can

be preset with those knobs so

the organist can readily make

a change quickly.

There are 32 notes that you play

with your feet, usually the bass

part, but not always.

Sometimes they're higher

pitches, and you play the tune

with your feet.

The largest pipes are 32 feet

long, and they're actually on

their side in a chamber.

And the smallest pipe would be

the size of your pinkie.

There's a great, big fan or a

great, big blower in the front

in a room that receives filtered

air, and there's also another

fan or blower in the balcony,

in the gallery, and that blower

runs air through the lungs of

the organ, called "reservoirs."

And then the air is up

underneath every single pipe of

the organ, and all you have to

do is press a key, and there it


It plays.

The instrument has pipes that

are cantilevered out into the

choir loft, which makes the

sound of the organ very clear

and crisp.

And then there are shutters in

rooms behind those cantilevered

pipes, and you can control

expression with those by the

means of a pedal that we use,

the organist uses, that opens

and closes shutters, like you

would open and close a Venetian


In 2002, a new console was

placed in the choir loft, and

renovations have gone on for a

long time with this instrument.

It's a large instrument and

always in need of something.

We have capable organ

technicians that are always on

call and here frequently because

the bigger the house you live

in, the more you're gonna have

go awry, and the same thing goes

with the organ, either in

tuning, or some mechanism isn't

working quite right.

[ Tone plays ]

>> Okay!

>> You got to lower it.

>> They tune it by changing the

length of the pipe.

Certain pipes have a little

collar at the top, and so they

have a mechanism they use to

make the collar go up or down,

and they tune it.

They have a beating reed inside

the pipe, and there's a wire

that is up against that reed,

and they raise the wire up or

down to tune.

Impact that the organ has on the

church is extensive.

The people are delighted to have

an organ that has substance to

it, that has variety to it, and

also an organ that will attract

nationally known organists to


And, also, we use our local

organists to play noonday

recitals in October and May.

And so, it's had a wide impact

on this community and the


>> That wraps it up for this

edition of "WLIW Arts Beat."

We'd like to hear what you

think, so like us on Facebook,

join the conversation on

Twitter, and visit our web page

for features and to watch

episodes of the show.

We hope to see you next time.

I'm Diane Masciale.

Thank you for watching

"WLIW Arts Beat."

Funding for "WLIW Arts Beat"

was made possible

by viewers like you.

Thank you.








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