Bracing for Covid-19 in Moundsville — U.S. Rust Belt Towns Face Big Risks With Aging Populations, Hospital Bed Shortages — ‘I Know I’m Vulnerable’

I’m worried about my friends in Moundsville. We spent a whole year working together to tell the story of their town in a documentary headed for PBS this spring, and I think of those we worked with as extended family. Like thousands of American towns left behind by globalization, Moundsville (pop. 8,000), and surrounding MarshallContinue reading “Bracing for Covid-19 in Moundsville — U.S. Rust Belt Towns Face Big Risks With Aging Populations, Hospital Bed Shortages — ‘I Know I’m Vulnerable’”

STAY-AT-HOME SALE: Rent ‘Moundsville’ Documentary for $2.99, Buy for $5.99

  Coronavirus quarantine means we’re all prisoners. If you haven’t seen Moundsville yet, or want to show your support for independent filmmakers during a difficult time, we’re making the film available to rent ($2.99) or buy ($5.99) at a reduced price. Just click on this link. We hope you enjoy the movie, the biography ofContinue reading “STAY-AT-HOME SALE: Rent ‘Moundsville’ Documentary for $2.99, Buy for $5.99”

‘We Don’t Even Make Baseballs’ Anymore — New Political Opera ‘The Last American Hammer’ Nails Working-Class America’s Pain

What to do in America when the America you know vanishes? That’s the question posed by Moundsville (still available here), and by The Last American Hammer, a 2018 opera that made its Pittsburgh debut Saturday night. I checked out the show and chatted afterwards with librettist Matt Boresi about its origins. Boresi, who describes himselfContinue reading “‘We Don’t Even Make Baseballs’ Anymore — New Political Opera ‘The Last American Hammer’ Nails Working-Class America’s Pain”

‘American Factory’ Wins Oscar for Best Documentary – The Rust Belt Doc’s Essential Lessons About America, China, Unions, and Global Capitalism – Why We Need To Keep Telling These Stories

‘America Factory’, the 2019 documentary about a glassmaking plant in Dayton, Ohio, won the best feature documentary award at last night’s Oscars. The film by Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert, produced by the Obamas’ Higher Ground company and available on Netflix, is a masterpiece in observational journalism. It’s the second year in a row thatContinue reading “‘American Factory’ Wins Oscar for Best Documentary – The Rust Belt Doc’s Essential Lessons About America, China, Unions, and Global Capitalism – Why We Need To Keep Telling These Stories”

Moundsville 2020: “We’re Doing Great, Thanks to Trump” — Former Mayor Remke Loves the President, Fox News, and Supports “Ivanka, Don Jr. or one of the Fox boys, Hannity or Carlson” in 2024

As “Moundsville” heads to PBS stations around the country, we’re starting a new series of features on this blog around the election. We don’t talk about politics in the film, but it is an election year, and Moundsville is a good place to check in on Trump country, with, hopefully, as much accuracy and nuanceContinue reading “Moundsville 2020: “We’re Doing Great, Thanks to Trump” — Former Mayor Remke Loves the President, Fox News, and Supports “Ivanka, Don Jr. or one of the Fox boys, Hannity or Carlson” in 2024″

‘Moundsville’ Acquired by PBS Distributor Ahead of 2020 Election — Will Screen On Up to 338 PBS Stations Serving 100 Million Viewers

Moundsville was a dream that Dave Bernabo and I had to tell an inclusive story about America after the 2016 election. We got a small grant from Pittsburgh Arts Council and spent 2018 traveling to Moundsville, shooting and editing. From start to finish, it was a two-man job. The film got great reviews, and weContinue reading “‘Moundsville’ Acquired by PBS Distributor Ahead of 2020 Election — Will Screen On Up to 338 PBS Stations Serving 100 Million Viewers”

World Series Special: George Brett’s West Virginia Birth and the American Dream — Moundsville and Glen Dale Claim “Throwback” Hall of Fame Third Baseman

It’s day one of the World Series, one of this country’s superior inventions, a good time to remind you that one of baseball’s greatest ever players was born in Glen Dale, West Virginia, the hamlet that forms a twin town with Moundsville. (Movie still available here.) George Brett is the most accomplished of the 120Continue reading “World Series Special: George Brett’s West Virginia Birth and the American Dream — Moundsville and Glen Dale Claim “Throwback” Hall of Fame Third Baseman”

Burning Under: Why You Should Read Tom Bennitt’s Grisham-Style Coal Mining Thriller to Understand Rust Belt Geography

Last month, I was driving by White Whale, Pittsburgh’s best independent bookstore, noticed a sign for an author reading, parked, and walked in to listen to Tom Bennitt, a young Western Pennsylvania novelist reading from his first book. (Bonus: Stewart O’Nan, Pittsburgh Hall of Fame novelist and a mentor to Bennitt, moderated.) Burning Under (whichContinue reading “Burning Under: Why You Should Read Tom Bennitt’s Grisham-Style Coal Mining Thriller to Understand Rust Belt Geography”

‘Taj Mahal of Appalachia’ — West Virginia’s Hare Krishna Temple Named To National Register of Historic Places Has Crazy, Fascinating History– Known for Drugs and Murder in 1980s

A Hare Krishna temple in the hills of West Virginia? When people see Moundsville (which you can here), the Palace of Gold at New Vrindaban always surprises. Last week it was named to the National Register of Historic Places. The Hare Krishna site, a few miles from downtown Moundsville, is one of the more extraordinary you’llContinue reading “‘Taj Mahal of Appalachia’ — West Virginia’s Hare Krishna Temple Named To National Register of Historic Places Has Crazy, Fascinating History– Known for Drugs and Murder in 1980s”

Why Lady Gaga in ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ Musical Would Be Perfect Homage to West Virginia/Appalachia Roots

The news that Lady Gaga is being considered for the role of Audrey in a new Hollywood remake of Little Shop of Horrors should delight her fans in West Virginia. (A quick reminder: Gaga’s mom Cynthia Bissett grew up in Glen Dale, Moundsville’s adjacent twin town. You can still watch our film Moundsville here.) Little Shop isContinue reading “Why Lady Gaga in ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ Musical Would Be Perfect Homage to West Virginia/Appalachia Roots”