Life & Arts

Entertainment, live performance, food, cuisine, dining, theater, film, television, art, broadcasting, SXSW, and other arts and culture news in and around Austin and the Central Texas counties of Travis, Hays, Caldwell, Bastrop and Williamson

The Best Songs Ever ... This Week, Oct. 12, 2018

12 hours ago
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The staff at our sister station KUTX scour the earth to bring listeners the best music. Each Friday, they share three of their favorite songs on Morning Edition.  

"It was a group process -- the seven of us sat down and worked on every aspect of it as a collective process," says Alexis Herrera of the show Rosita y Conchita. "So it's been really beautiful to see that from the beginning to now, here we are three years later, still going strong. And [the] show's still getting great response and we still love doing it."

Poet Ada Limón talks with poet and novelist Carrie Fountain about her new book, The Carrying, and what it means to write intimately as a woman.

We also hear from her snoring wonderdog Lily Bean.


Zeta Phi Beta

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Valerie Hollingsworth-Baker, the new international president of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. and director of the Inforce Systems Division at New York Life Insurance Co. in New York.

Hollingsworth-Baker talks about becoming a Zeta, the sorority's concerns about the human condition, its national and local programs, and being a child prodigy.

The StoryCorps mobile booth was in Austin in January, and we’re bringing you some of the stories that were recorded there. Locally recorded stories will air on Monday mornings during Morning Edition and archived here.

Carol Walker was joined in the StoryCorps mobile booth by her son David. She remembered stories of her long career doing service work overseas. She began her work in 1954 and it has inspired her family to travel and embrace the world.

The Best Songs Ever ... This Week, Oct. 5, 2018

Oct 5, 2018
Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUTX

The staff at our sister station, KUTX, scour the earth to bring listeners the best music. Each Friday, they share three of their favorite songs on Morning Edition.  

A documentary debuting Saturday at the Return and Discover Festival captures the "rich black culture of East 12th Street," filmmaker Funmi Ogunro says.

There is a lot going on in CB Goodman's new play *some humans were harmed in the making of this show. It takes inspiration from Tony Robbins, PT Barnum, and the true story of the 1903 public execution of an elephant named Topsy; there's drag, there are puppets, and there's self-help testimony.

"There's a lot," says writer/director CB Goodman. "That's why we had to call it a drag-puppetry-self-help-testimony show about Topsy. We're using so many different forms. And I'm really interested in sort of bringing together... how can you do drag and how can you do puppetry and how can you have someone's life story play out in [something] like a big tent revival?"

The play began to take shape in Goodman's mind five years ago, when she read the book Topsy: The Startling Story of the Crooked-Tailed Elephant, P. T. Barnum, and the American Wizard, Thomas Edison by Michael Daly. "And ever since then, that book of Topsy's life and all of the elements that came together to allow her public execution just fascinated me," Goodman says. "And so I decided to take her life and map it onto humans and stage a play."

New Town Pharmacy

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Dr. Albert D. Chester, owner of New Town Pharmacy and founder and director of Capstone Institute, both located in Jacksonville, Fla.

Chester talks about training future heath care workers, opening a pharmacy in the neighborhood his grandfather grew up in, and being the primary resource for all health care needs.

Robert Gomez for Tacos of Texas

A pair of Austin food writers travel Texas looking for the tacos defined by different cities and regions in a new online documentary series, "Tacos of Texas."


"I read this play once upon a time and fell in love with it," says Present Company artistic director Stephanie Carll about Kirk Lynn's Your Mother's Copy of the Kama Sutra. "And new works has never been something that Present Company really had a foothold in. It's always been something that I've wanted to pursue." 

Lynn's play isn't brand new -- it's been produced in New York previously -- but it is making its regional debut with this production. Lynn's happy to see a staging of the show in his hometown. "I'm an Austin writer, and I think writing for an Austin company and Austin actors -- there's a buoyancy, I think, to this production," he says. "There's some heavy material at points throughout the play... [but] the majority of the play really has this buoyancy that keeps floating through it."

The StoryCorps mobile booth was in Austin in January, and we’re bringing you some of the stories that were recorded there. Locally recorded stories will air on Monday mornings during Morning Edition and archived here.

Garland O’Quinn graduated from West Point, was a member of the 1960 Men’s Olympic Gymnastics Team, spent years as a professor at UT El Paso, and has written books on the subjects of gymnastics and cosmology. He sat down in the StoryCorps mobile booth with his daughter, Lanita Woller, who is a teacher, a sufi, and a poet. She remembered some of the advice her father has given her over the years.

The Austin Center for Grief & Loss (Austin Grief), formerly known as My Healing Place, is a bereavement center founded in Austin, TX in 2007. Founder Khris Ford had been personally impacted by grief when her teen-aged son was killed in an automobile accident as he was leaving his Houston high school in 1989. Shortly after this tragedy, Khris was instrumental in developing the programming at Bo's Place, a children's bereavement center in Houston.

The Best Songs Ever ... This Week, Sept. 28, 2018

Sep 28, 2018
Julia Reihs / KUTX

The staff at our sister station KUTX scour the earth to bring listeners the best music. Each Friday, they share three of their favorite songs on Morning Edition.  

University of Texas Press

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. concludes his conversation with the Honorable Dr. Harriet M. Murphy, retired municipal court judge and civil rights activist, former college department head and author of There All The Honor Lies: A Memoir.

"This is a concert and a milonga," says Pooja Kumar of the upcoming event her production company Guardia Vieja is bringing to Austin. "Milonga is probably the word that's not as familiar to most people... it's a tango social, so there will be some social dancing -- you'll see some tango dancers who are going to be dancing to the music -- but we also want people to feel comfortable that it is a concert."

Poet and novelist Carrie Fountain talks with Natalie Diaz about "Envelopes of Air," a poetry project she did with Ada Limón for The New Yorker, and much more.

The StoryCorps mobile booth was in Austin in January, and we’re bringing you some of the stories that were recorded there. Locally recorded stories will air on Monday mornings during Morning Edition and archived here.

The Best Songs Ever ... This Week, Sept. 21, 2018

Sep 21, 2018
Emree Weaver for KUTX

The staff at our sister station KUTX scour the earth to bring listeners the best music. Each Friday, they share three of their favorite songs on Morning Edition

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The new school year is well underway, and that means the new football season is, too. And midterm elections are coming up soon. It seems like whether our team or our candidate loses, people have a harder time being good sports – or gracious losers – these days.

University of Texas Press

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with the Honorable Dr. Harriet M. Murphy, retired municipal court judge and civil rights activist, former college department head and author of There All The Honor Lies: A Memoir.

Murphy talks about growing up in Atlanta, attending Spelman College and the UT School of Law and her career as a jurist.

Henry Melton is no newcomer to comic or sci-fi conventions. He's a lifelong science fiction fan, and he's been going to cons for decades now. But starting about ten years ago, he's gone not as a fan but as an artist. That's around the time he started self-publishing his own sci-fi books, which he says fall roughly into two categories.

There are his several young adult adventures, which tend to feature young protagonists who "run up against something unusual," he says. "Time travel, teleportation, portals to other worlds, all that kind of fun stuff. And then they have to solve the problem [and] dig themselves out of trouble."

And then there's his "Project Saga," an ongoing series that's at nine books so far, with (probably) six more to go. That saga starts in present day Austin, and goes on to feature aliens, supernovae, the destruction of technology on earth, and humans who have been captured and moved off world. It's a pretty ambitious undertaking. 

"The world doesn't need another... how-to manual on how to be creative," says musician Darden Smith while discussing his new book The Habit of Noticing: Using Creativity to Make a Life (and a Living). "I think there's some really good ones out there, and I don't even know how to do it, so I don't know how to write it."

The StoryCorps mobile booth was in Austin in January, and we’re bringing you some of the stories that were recorded there. Locally recorded stories will air on Monday mornings during Morning Edition and archived here.

Cristina Helmerichs sat down in the StoryCorps mobile booth with her good friend Bibi Lobo. They talked about Cristina’s longstanding job as a court interpreter, but started by talking a bit about her family history.

The Best Songs Ever ... This Week, Aug. 14, 2018

Sep 14, 2018

The staff at our sister station KUTX scour the earth to bring listeners the best music. Each Friday, they share three of their favorite songs on Morning Edition

American Medical Association

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Dr. Patrice A. Harris, MD, a psychiatrist and president-elect of the American Medical Association. She'll serve for a year as president-elect and become the first African-American woman to lead the organization in 2019.

Harris talks about becoming a physician, her vision for the organization, mental health in the African-American community, and being the first African-American woman to lead the AMA.

"The first one [was] 30 Dates, and then the next one was  30 Loves. and the next was 30 Trips," says artistic director Leng Wong about Lucky Chaos Productions' ongoing series of short plays. For their fourth entry in the '30 Somethings' series (and the first one since 2015), the company is looking at the subject of heroes and heroism.

The StoryCorps mobile booth was in Austin in January, and we’re bringing you some of the stories that were recorded there. Locally recorded stories will air on Monday mornings during Morning Edition and archived here.

The Best Songs Ever ... This Week, Sept. 7, 2018

Sep 7, 2018
Gabriel C. Pérez

The staff at our sister station KUTX scour the earth to bring listeners the best music. Each Friday, they share three of their favorite songs on Morning Edition. 

Back in February, a future Austinite named Dan wrote into our ATXplained project, asking for recommendations for books about Austin and Texas to help orient him to the city.

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