The Playlist

Trampled By Turtles Premiering on The PlayList

Andrew Olson

Reader Weekly

Karen Sunderman is hosting a new show about the arts called The PlayList on WDSE/WRPT with local folk-phenoms Trampled By Turtles being featured on the March 18th premiere at 9 PM.

The show will then become a regular weekly series, beginning its run on April 1st at 9 PM. She promised that it wasn’t an April Fools either by starting a program that will cover the local arts.

“The idea came out of conversations about how we at WDSE can best support the local arts scene with funding from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage amendment,” Sunderman said. “We wanted to showcase the talent and energy of the creative people who live ‘up north.’ So the program will feature up-coming theater productions, music performances, gallery openings along with profiles of various artists working in the community.”

The show changed from the initial idea to something much bigger.

“At first it was a blank slate,” Sunderman said. “I was aware of some of the great things happening in the area and soon discovered there is a whole lot more than I ever imagined. Music has such great energy, especially live music, so as the idea of having regular, musical guests took shape we shifted toward creating a live show.”

With so many nationally syndicated shows that feature the arts it is a wonder why there are not local programs that highlight the great artists we have in the area. Sunderman said that The PlayList will also be reaching out to a larger audience and could even expose Duluth’s hidden treasures to the rest of the state.

“We have a green light for 13 shows this spring, April through June, and hope to be back with 26 more starting in September. We have a good shot at getting The PlayList broadcast on PBS stations statewide so we can really show off the talent of the area to a wider audience.”

One band that most locals know and love is Trampled By Turtles. While talking with Sunderman about her program it seemed fitting that they would be kicking off the new program.

“Trampled by Turtles has such great, positive energy,” Sunderman said. “The PlayList special gives us a chance to spread that around and share TBT’s music with a wider PBS audience. We want to support them and the work of other artists and musicians with the PlayList series. TBT is coming out with a new CD in April and touring the country so the timing works well for both of us.”

The TBT special will air on March 18th, the next show on April 1st will be the first episode airing in its regular slot at 9 PM.

“The first show of the series will have comedy from the Renegade Theater Company,” Sunderman said. “It will also feature a behind-the-scenes tour of the Duluth Playhouse production of Rent, a profile piece on Grand Marais artist Betsy Bowen and music from the UMD Jazz Choir. And that’s just the first week!”

After so many years with Venture North, Sunderman said that the new show will cover more of the area’s artistic side, and she is very excited for its premiere.

“Great people and talented artists were a big part of Venture North. Now we get to add in music, theater, dance, spoken word and more. It’s just a fun community of people to get to know. Using the power of the public airwaves (and the web), we want to connect the community with the dynamic and accessible arts opportunities available in the region and help area artists and arts organizations develop even broader audiences for their work. The dedicated crew includes Steve Ash on visuals, Jacob LeBeau on the web and myself on camera. The entire WDSE staff has pitched in lots and lots of ways. Venture North presented an open window into the lives and passions of people in our community. It still speaks to viewers today and will live on in repeats.”

So what kind of content can be expected?

“We’re building relationships with individual artists and arts organizations across the region—the Reif Center in Grand Rapids, the Hibbing Community College theater department, the Grand Marais Art Colony, the Duluth Art Institute, DSSO, Zeitgeist Arts, etc. “A” to “Z” we’re open to work with everyone!”

People can learn more and contact the show through their website: Sunderman also said that they are looking for ideas for shows.

“Join us on Facebook to start and watch for the official launch of The website is currently accepting ideas from people as to who we should be featuring on the show. Already, we’ve received some fantastic leads.”