Disclosure: I work part-time at KCTS 9.

  • Photo by Jim Bennett
  • Macklemore and Ryan Lewis

On Friday, October 14th, PBS Arts Fall Festival began with a broadcast of Gilbert and Sullivan’s H.M.S. Pinafore from Minneapolis. Tonight, at 9 Pacific Standard Time, the nine-part series continues with Cameron Crowe’s documentary, Pearl Jam 20, followed by Ward Serrill’s mini-documentary, Something in the Water.

Click here for Grant Brissey’s post on Pearl Jam 20.

Produced by KCTS 9 for PAFF, Serrill’s film offers a snapshot of the current Seattle music scene, and includes artists (the Head and the Heart, Shabazz Palaces, Macklemore), DJs (KEXP’s John Richards, Kevin Cole, and Cheryl Waters), and label representatives (Sub Pop’s Megan Jasper and Jonathan Poneman).

In his online interview, Serrill says he also tried to work in Fleet Foxes, Mudhoney, and Death Cab for Cutie, but all were unavailable due to tour schedules. Best quote: "Shabazz Palaces is doing stuff from outer space."

At 12:49 minutes, Something in the Water is one of the longest locally-produced shorts in the series (Serrill previously directed SIFF favorite The Heart of the Game, a profile of the Roosevelt Roughriders' women's basketball team).

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Now probably best known for his marriage to Dame Helen Mirren—hey, I'm just calling it like I see it, though The Devil's Advocate is a kick in the pants—Taylor Hackford hosts the series, and his guest for this evening will be Don’t Look Back helmer D.A. Pennebaker. (Hackford’s relevant filmography includes Hail Hail! Rock 'n' Roll and the Olympic Peninsula-shot An Officer and a Gentleman).

Other PAFF entries of possible interest include:

PBS Arts from the Blue Ridge Mountains: GIVE ME THE BANJO – Narrated by Steve Martin, a banjoist himself, the film explores the roots of American music—the minstrel show, ragtime and early jazz, blues, old-time, folk, bluegrass, and country. It is a story of America’s quintessential musical instrument from its African slavery roots to the 21st century, featuring performances and commentary from contemporary folk musicians such as Pete Seeger, Earl Scruggs, Taj Mahal, Béla Fleck, and the Carolina Chocolate Drops, as well as from leading music historians, instrument builders and collectors. In collaboration with PBS member station UNC-TV (North Carolina).

PBS Arts from Cleveland: WOMEN WHO ROCK – From Bessie Smith to Janis Joplin to Lady Gaga, this performance documentary vibrates with energy as it traces the indelible mark that amazing women musicians have made on America’s soundtrack. Inspired by the “Women Who Rock: Vision, Passion, Power” exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, WOMEN WHO ROCK reveals new insights into what it means to be female in the male-dominated world of rock and roll, while exploring how those dynamics between the sexes have changed with time. In collaboration with PBS member station WVIZ.

For more information about PAFF, please click here. Something in the Water is also available to stream online. For anyone looking to dig deeper, I’d recommend Malfunkshun: The Andrew Wood Story. And for the record, I’m with Grant about Jeff Ament’s floppy hats, which he appears to have retired: They're the worst.