1999 | Thirteen/WNET
A Hindu teen tries to balance ancient family traditions with the hip-hop culture of his new friends in Queens. In the East Village, a designer waits nervously in the wings at a fall fashion show, an event that could launch his career. Once a back-up singer in a government-sponsored rock band, a Russian immigrant is the headliner in a lavish stage show at Rasputin’s in Brighton Beach. And an octogenarian reads his latest erotic works to a chic downtown crowd of poetry fans a fraction of his age. What these people share with each other—and with WNET’s audience—is life in New York, where obstacles and opportunities make an indelible mark on all its residents. Witty, gritty, passionate and perceptive, the people profiled in each half-hour episode of City Life are those who New Yorkers see (and mostly ignore) every day on the subway, in the checkout line and in the shadows. Here, all New Yorkers are created equal, whether the narrator is a celebrity (such as Wendy Wasserstein, Sidney Lumet, Isaac Mizrahi, Ruby Dee or Spalding Gray), a fireman, an ex-convict, a recovering heroin addict or the candidate for student body president at Louis Armstrong Middle School. The credit for this vibrant and entertaining effort goes to executive producer Jeff Folmsbee, series producer Mark Mannucci and staff producer Mary Recine, the same creative team responsible for the Peabody Award-winning City Arts in 1997 and to director of cultural and arts programs for Thirteen/WNET, Jac Venza, the recipient of a personal Peabody Award just last year. For adding to its impressive record of distinguished local programming, a Peabody Award to Thirteen/WNET for City Life.
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