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

Money Chicha
Money Chicha

A holiday sing-a-long at the State Capitol and a music festival in East Austin are among the live music events you can take in this weekend. We get recommendations from KUTX program director Matt Reilly.


Elvert Barnes Protest Photography / Flickr

In honor of comedian and human rights activist Dick Gregory, In Black America presents an encore presentation of an interview and keynote address marking the 50th anniversary of the Sweatt v. Painter decision, which successfully challenged the "separate but equal" system of segregation.

The program originally aired in May 2000.

Gregory died on Aug. 19, 2017. He was 84.

The Writer’s Almanac

Nov 29, 2017

KUT no longer carries "The Writer's Almanac."

"I learned about Buster Keaton while I was studying for film composition, and I just kind of fell in love with him and with silent films," says composer Jackie Myers, who's brining her new project Silent Films Out Loud to the Stateside Paramount Theatre this Saturday.

"You watch a movie now and you think 'there's a team of ten people that created this moment, and it's also a camera trick, and it's also lighting,'" she says. "But you watch his films and you're like, 'it's just him.' It's him that created -- he wrote it, he acted in it, and physically he made it happen."

That love of silent films in general and the films of Keaton in particular led Myers to create Silent Films Out Loud, for which she's tapped four local composers to create new, original scores for four classic Buster Keaton short films.

Nate Ryan

Musician Chris Thile made his first appearance on "A Prairie Home Companion" just over 20 years ago when he was 15. Performing live was not new for him; he had been playing the mandolin for about 10 years already.

Long story short: He took over from "Prairie Home" host Garrison Keillor in October last year.

"It is crazy," Turk Pipkin says of his ambitious new project, Turk Pipkin's Book of the Every-Other-Month Club. As the name would imply, everyone who joins the club gets a new book in the mail every other month for one year; the crazy part is that all of the books are written by Pipkin himself, and some of them aren't quite finished yet.

"As we talk, we have the first one, Moleskin Mystery, back from the printer, hot off the presses. You could get high smelling the glue in the binding," Pipkin says. "The second book, Requiem for a Screenplay, went to the copy editor yesterday. The third book, All for Love, which is a novel... goes to the copy editor as soon as the second one's done. So I'm good on those three," he says with a laugh. The other three are in various stages of completion -- he's still writing the last book, A Christmas Song. But Pipkin assures us he's ahead of schedule.

"It's actually one of my favorites," says Austin Shakespeare artistic director Ann Ciccolella in reference to Much Ado About Nothing. "The last time Austin Shakespeare did it was ten years ago, when I started as artistic director."

"We did it in the park [ten years ago], and I really wanted to do an indoor production, because the Rollins theatre is so intimate," she says of the current production, which is being staged at the cozy Rollins Theatre space at the Long Center.

At the heart of Much Ado is the romantic pairing of Beatrice and Benedick. "They are very argumentative with each other; they love each other but they get in their own way," says Ciccolella of the pair. She tapped veteran stage actors Gwendolyn Kelso and Marc Pouhé to play Beatrice and Benedick, after working with them as a different romantic-but-feuding couple in a recent production of Taming of the Shrew.

Classique Photo

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with singer/songwriter Will Downing.

Downing talks about his longevity in the music business, the serious health issues he experiences and his new CD "Soul Survivor."

"I've been working for several years on the theme of how humans and technology interact," says artist Rachel Stuckey. "Especially on an emotional level."

"I guess maybe I'm a little bit different than... the classic millennial who really has grown up with computers," says Stuckey, remembering the early pre-Internet part of her life. "I remember the day that we got AOL in my house and that sort of started to become part of my life."

"Gosh, I love old comic books," says Austin artist Rob Ozborne. "I also love art and art history, and so my work is ... brush, pen, inks, [and] I always use dots -- halftone dots -- as a tip of the hat to the old comic book printing process."

That love of both high art and comics makes Ozborne a good fit for the "Artists' Alley" section of Wizard World Comic Con, and he'll be setting up shop there this weekend when Wizard World makes its yearly visit to Austin. It's a place where fans come to see his work, and he can let his geek flag fly as a fan as well.

"The thing is, when you go to Comic Con, there's so much cool stuff and there's so many really talented artists, and there's always some unique find and so, yeah, everybody's geeking out about all kinds of things... including me."

Get Red PR

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks to the Honorable Robert L. Wilkins, district judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and author of Long Road to Hard Truth: The 100-Year Mission to Create the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Judge Wilkins talks about the anniversary of the opening of the national museum in Washington, D.C., racial politics concerning African-Americans, and the taking down of monuments.

Michal Daniel

"It might be a signature role because I've done it a lot of times, but it's always new, always fresh," says baritone Norman Garret about the role of Escamillo in Bizet's Carmen. The character's a bit larger than life, a flamboyent bullfighter who catches the eye of the title character; Garrett has played the role several times, but always brings a little something different to his portrayal.  And he definitely feels a kinship with Escamillo.

Dirty Dozen Brass Band

The Sound on Sound Music Festival was supposed to happen this weekend, but it was canceled. Now, organizers are booking many of the artists in Austin venues instead. We hear about some of those and get other live music recommendations from KUTX program director Matt Reilly. 


Lavish Records, LLC.

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with entertainment attorney Dr. Tracy Randall, Ph.D.  The Grammy-nominated songwriter and gospel recording artist is a cancer survivor.

Randall talks about his struggle with bipolar disorder, battling cancer and his spiritual growth.

MSNBC

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Yvette M. Miley, senior vice president for MSNBC & NBC News, and the 2017 recipient of the Chuck Stone Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Association of Black Journalists.

Miley talks about the importance of people of color in decision-making positions in the newsroom, her journey from a volunteer position at the Florida Photo News to NBC and the symbolic importance of the Chuck Stone Award.

"I really wanted to direct a play this year," says director Jason Phelps.

Capital T Theatre artistic director Mark Pickell suggested he read The Brothers Size, by playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney. "I read it and it was amazing," Phelps says. "And then after I saw Moonlight [this year's Oscar winner for Best Picture] ... by the same writer ... I just wanted to do it even more."

From VELA, this month's Get Involved spotlight non-profit:  

No one prepares you for having a child with special needs. There will be ups and downs, acronyms and paperwork, and special education services and doctor’s visits to figure out. VELA was created to empower families of children with special needs through hand-on courses, support and community building. VELA stands for Vibrant. Empowered. Limitless. Able- this is how we feel about the families we serve!

Overview of Services: We know that providing parents with brochures and websites is simply not enough to empower them on this new journey. Instead, we aim to build a community around them through our Family Empowerment and Training Program. Through the parent, for the child. VELA’s programming includes free courses designed to teach parents how to support their child’s strengths and needs, connect to community resources, and navigate systems (Autism, Special Education and Taking Care of You Courses), Monthly Support Groups, Supportive Case Management and Family Fun Days! All programming is in Spanish and English and includes specialized childcare services. 

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Baylor University English professor Greg Garrett researches and writes about the intersection of religion and popular culture. In his most recent book, Living with the Living Dead: The Wisdom of the Zombie Apocalypse, the Austin author explores the current narrative of the zombie apocalypse and the modern threats it stands for.

Copyright TopFoto/The Image Works

The Great Smog was a pollution calamity that killed 12,000 people in London over five days in December 1952. At the same time, serial killer John Reginald Christie was preying on vulnerable women in the city and killed at least six.

Brownout

People across Austin will be celebrating Halloween this weekend, and if you want to watch live music in your costume, KUTX program director Matt Reilly brings us his recommendations and some quick samples of what each artist sounds like.


Sangita Menon / KUT

Stenciled designs made with colored powder ran along the edges of a South Austin porch Saturday. This traditional rangoli was displayed between little oil lamps called diyas as part of the Diwali tradition. Inside, a dozen young Indian families celebrated.

It was the last day of Diwali, or Deepawali, the festival of lights. The holiday is considered a celebration of good conquering evil or light overcoming darkness.

This year, the Latino Comedy Project is celebrating their 20th anniversary by getting the band back together for a one-weekend-only performance of their latest multimedia sketch comedy show, Gentrif***ed

Black AIDS Institute

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Phill Wilson, president and chief executive officer of the Black AIDS Institute, decades after the virus was first discovered.  

Google

Google’s latest Doodle pays tribute to the late Tejano superstar Selena Quintanilla-Perez, whose debut album was released Oct. 17, 1989.

The project was pitched by Perla Campos, a Granbury native and the global marketing lead for Google Doodle. She says it was important for her to see Latino culture represented on the front page.

“I’ve never seen myself on the Google homepage, and I think that’s so important for so many people,” Campos said.

Ron Gallo

The Austin City Limits Music Festival's second weekend starts Friday, but that's not the only show in town. Listen to these live music recommendations from KUTX 98.9 program director Matt Reilly. 


For the past five years, the James Beard Foundation has taken an annual tour across America, stopping in some of the country's best food cities along the way. And this fall, for the first time, Austin has been selected as a destination on that tour. The Austin event (like all the tour stops) will feature nationally renowned chefs cooking with some of our best local culinary artists. There will be dinners, cooking demonstrations, book signings, and more, with a portion of the proceeds going to the James Beard Foundation Taste America Scholarship Fund.

USA Today Sports

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. concludes his conversation with Jarrett Bell, NFL columnist with USA Today Sports and a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee, about becoming a sports reporter, the National Football League and Colin Kaepernick

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. for KUTX

A three-day music festival scheduled for next month in a medieval-style village outside Austin has been canceled. Organizers of the Sound on Sound Festival did not immediately provide a reason for shutting down the Nov. 10-12 music fest and campout at Sherwood Forest, but said they will be offering full refunds.

Neon Indian Facebook page

Austin City Limits Music Festival is bringing a lot of artists to town, and some will be performing in clubs at night. But those aren't the only shows in town! We spoke to KUTX program director Matt Reilly about his live music picks for the weekend. 


Tamir Kalifa for KUT News

The Austin City Limits Music Festival will feature artists from around the world this weekend and next, but there is a dearth of Latino and Latina fronted music acts. That grabbed the attention of ¡Ahora Si! editor Liliana Valenzuela, who says her Spanish language news publication has no reason to cover the festival this year.

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