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Media Life: Western States Trail documentary to air on TV

Show includes footage from 1931 trek; Placer High grad in midst of March Madness; Harpist Nancy Thym books State Theater show
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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Auburn’s endurance roots are revealed to a wide-ranging TV audience later this month when Sacramento’s KVIE airs the documentary “They Crossed the Mountains: The History of the Western States Trail.” The Auburncentric Tevis Cup Ride gets its due, as does the Western States 100 endurance run, in a 30-minute video overseen by the Western States Trail Foundation and directed by Emmy Award-winning Ginger Kathrens. The April 14 showing on KVIE’s “Viewfinder” program marks the film’s television debut. Of special interest to people interested in all things historical is black-and-white silent film shot in 1931 showing an exploratory horseback trip on the Auburn-to-Squaw Valley Emigrant Trail. The film has previously been shown at the State Theater and been available on DVD since mid-2008. The DVD’s 53 minutes long and helps flesh out the story of the trail much more. It also includes a bonus – the full film from 1931 of the trip to the summit starring Auburn lumber baron and kingmaker Wendell Robie. LOCAL EXPERTS The film features plenty of talking heads. But these talking heads are local. The group of experts who add their two cents to the documentary includes Tevis Cup champ Hal Hall, Western States 100 pioneer Gordy Ainsleigh, longtime Auburn State Recreation Area park ranger Mike Lynch, Keith Lukens – whose father was part of the 1931 expedition – and April Moore of the Maidu-Miwok tribe. The initial airing of “They Crossed the Mountains” is scheduled for 7 p.m. on April 14. The “Viewfinder” segment will also pop up on KVIE at 4 p.m. April 16 and 6 p.m. April 18. Kate Riordan, a co-producer of the documentary, said that with one of the broadest-ranging signals in the nation, KVIE will be able to bring the tale of the trail into 28 California counties via its over-the-air signal and send it to 110 cable systems and satellite providers. FAMILIAR FACE March Madness viewers from the Auburn area might want to take a close look Saturday when the camera turns to the Duke University Blue Devils band on the TV telecast of the school’s Final Four basketball matchup against West Virginia. Auburn’s Bob and Cari Bartley will be. Their daughter Paige, Placer High’s Class of 2007, is in the Duke U band and has been playing trombone at all of the NCAA playoff games her team has been in this year. Proud dad Bob says he’s hoping the Blue Devils and the band will advance to Monday’s national championship. With the TV cameras focusing on the game and only occasionally veering over to show the band playing, Bartley jokes that his daughter is working on her 15 minutes of fame “half a second at a time.” THYM TIME Renowned medieval harpist Nancy Thym has confirmed that she’ll be making a State Theater appearance. Thym, a Placer High grad who has gone on to become an internationally recognized master of medieval and other ancient harps, tries to slot in a hometown appearance when she visits and has just booked the concert stage for an Oct. 10 show. Thym said she’s very excited about doing a show at a place she spent so much time as a child. Thym said she could also be part of a benefit concert to help rebuild the Iceland Skating Rink. Growing up in Auburn, Thym took skating lessons from the father of the current owners and skated in the shows they put on every year at the Del Paso Boulevard landmark. A fixture in Sacramento since 1940, Iceland burned down in a fire last week. Media Life’s Gus Thomson can be reached at 530-852-0232 or gust@goldcountrymedia.com.