Airs on April 17th, 8pm
Though much of the natural world is discovered and understood, a few great mysteries remain. Consider the eel, we know little about its life -- where it goes, what it does and how it dies. James Prosek, artist, writer and eminent naturalist, takes on the mystery of the eel, shedding light on the animal and the strange behavior it inspires in those who seek to know it.
"James draws links between humans and eels and then fills in the wide open spaces between them—spaces most of us never even knew existed because most of us never bother to think about them. Through this he establishes our elemental ties to a creature not only abidingly mysterious, but beautiful. Then of course that's James Prosek always does—finding beauty in the elemental, in the world around us, and especially in our streams."
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From the 62nd Annual Peabody Awards, held at the Waldorf Astoria, NY, May 19, 2003
“When Yale student James Prosek convinced the university to permit him to write a senior essay on Izaak Walton, author of the 17th century classic, The Complete Angler, he had not yet read Walton’s book. When he did, he found it as much about a philosophy of life as about fishing. Prosek’s “research,” which took him to Ireland and England to fish the same rivers and streams as had Walton, is captured in this very personal documentary that celebrates nature, fishing, and most importantly, the contemplative life of the “complete” fisherman. He discovers the art of “dapping,” a method of fly-fishing still practiced as it was in Walton’s day, 350 years earlier. He fishes streams flowing under and around London—streams once central to water meadows, but now surrounded by parking lots and high-rise apartment buildings. And he makes his way into the world of private river-ways, fished only by the upper-class English gentry who control the land through which the rivers flow. With lords and princes, as well as with fishing guides and boatmen, he discovers a common bond among anglers. It is a bond that erases social barriers among those for whom angling is a way to discover the flow of life as well as the flow of waters. Executive Producers Mark Shapiro and Michael Antinoro worked with Producer Fritz Michell to craft this extraordinary film, written by Prosek and directed by Peter Franchella. For presenting the beauty of 17th century contemplation to today’s audiences in this exquisite video tone poem, a Peabody Award goes to The Complete Angler.
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We rented a truck and drove to Nashville. We grabbed our pads of scribbles and melodies, rehearsed on the way, arranged and wrote and rewrote and played and sang. We spent two days recording in a friend’s studio on a farm in Hendersonville, Tennessee; Dave Roe on bass, Rick Lonow on drums, our friend Marcus Hummon playing dobro and piano. In the weeks that followed we added tracks in the barn back home in Connecticut, in borrowed houses on the beach and in a cramped apartment in Hamburg, Germany. On our drive down to Nashville, playing one of the songs, the sun broke out of thick dark clouds. One of us said, “In South Africa they call that a Monkey’s Wedding,” when the sun is out and its raining. And the lyrics of the song said the same, so that’s the name of the album. This is the Troutband—James Prosek, Joe Dochtermann, Rick Richter, Dennis Hrbek, and anyone else who lent their ear, or their playing, their drum kit, or space to this production.
In the summer of 2003 Troutband members James Prosek and Joe Dochtermann played at a concert in Brattleboro, Vermont (hosted by Jack Rieley) where they met (home-schooled) Vermont natives, Ben Patton and Matthew Peck, playing with their band, The Most. The two duos got along and decided to produce their own fusion effort under the band name Poachers. Mark Conese (of Easton, CT) joined them on drums. The songs are all written by James Prosek and/or Ben Patton and are mostly poppy rocky numbers with some solemn folky stuff mixed in. The band rehearsed and recorded most of the tracks within five days. The songs are meant to sound more fresh than the extremely labored-over obsessive jewels of previous troutband moozeek. It was produced by the venerable Dennis Hrbek (and Joe) of Shelton, CT.
This second effort by the Troutband features songs written by James Prosek (as with the first album) as well as original songs and vocals by Joe Dochtermann. This album was forged through years of winter retreats to an attic recording space in spooky Gebung Road, Alfred, Maine where Joe's parents moved from Westport, Connecticut. Inspiration was found in icicles and frozen steps to the studio and random paraphernalia left by the previous tenants of the attic (as well as absenta con agua). It is an eclectic group of songs ranging from straight folk to just weird, to happy pop. Breakup songs, together songs, all. Most of the instrumentation was done by Dochtermann and Prosek though other musicians have cameo performances.
The troutband began as a coffee house duet at Yale University. Original members James Prosek and Etay Ziv expanded to include troutband's producer and rocker Joe Dochtermann when the band members were 21 years old. All three were born in May, two on the same day May 23rd. It's a Gemini heavy band. Some years later besides rockers Etay is a doctor, James is a painter/author, and Joe is living as an artist in Hamburg, Germany.