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

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Earl G. Graves, Sr.,  founder of Black Enterprise magazine. Graves died on April 6. He was 85.

Founded in 1970, Black Enterprise covered African-American entrepreneurship and provided its readers with business strategies.

A pregnant woman in a navy blue dress stands in front of a picket fence, with one hand on her belly.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

There's something about working hard alongside someone else that brings us closer together. That's what Danielle Patterson discovered when she spent a day sweating in the sun with an unexpected partner. 

Earlier this year, we put out a call for your stories about overcoming differences — true stories about finding common ground.

“I was experimenting with a new painting style and I liked it and it was fast and a little bit more urgent and I thought I would just go with that,” says artist Valerie Fowler about her new body of work, Habitats and Pathways. The collection is based on the natural world Fowler sees on her regular hikes and bike rides around the city.

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Dan C. Goldberg, a health care reporter with Politico and author of The Golden 13: How Black Men Won The Right To Wear Navy Gold

Through oral histories and original interviews with surviving family members, Goldberg brings to life 13 forgotten heroes. He reveals the opposition these men faced: the racist pseudo-science, the regular condescension, the repeated epithets, the verbal abuse and even violence.

Zenobia Orimoloye outside her home.
Michael Minasi / KUT

Doing a small kindness for someone in need might seem like a simple thing, but it can leave an impression that lasts decades.

That's what happened for Zenobia Orimoloye in the early 1990s, shortly after she moved to Austin. 

Earlier this year, we put out a call for your stories about overcoming differences — true stories about finding common ground.

From Austin Creative Alliance, this month's Get Involved spotlight organization:

As part of Austin Creative Alliance's response to the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic, we have established The Artists Emergency Relief Fund to help artists in Austin maintain their personal and financial stability in these uncertain times.

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Dr. Steve Perry, noted educator, founder and head of Capital Preparatory Schools. Perry is the voice of a generation, a people's champion who has been fighting for disadvantaged children and families for 30 years.

A woman in a red top and glasses smiles in front of a flower garden.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Earlier this year, we put out a call for your stories about overcoming differences — true stories about finding common ground.

Working with the Austin Public Library and The Library Foundation, we collected the submissions and helped writers shape their stories into pieces to read for the radio.

Christopher Zebo

When the coronavirus pandemic made large gatherings a dangerous thing, artists and performers of all kinds had to find new ways to connect with audiences. For Justin Sherburn, the leader of the band Montopolis, the natural pivot was to move from performing in traditional venues to working exclusively in drive-in theaters. It made sense for Montopolis because their shows always feature the band playing along to a film or multimedia presentation. 

“It wasn’t easy,” says aGLIFF president Casandra Alston about the decision to move the venerable film festival online. “[Because] the whole point of having a queer film festival is the community and coming together and being able to share with each other, and fellowship.” 

Daniel Kaluuya portrays Chris Washington in Jordan Peele's 2017 film "Get Out." Baylor University English professor and author Greg Garrett calls it one of the most important films ever made about race in America.
via YouTube

Film has always served as a platform for delving into crucial but difficult topics like racism. In his new book, a Baylor University English professor explores Hollywood’s good, bad and ugly moments when it comes to race.

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Michael I. Meyerson, the DLA Piper professor of law and director of the Fannie Angelos Program for Academic Excellence at the University of Baltimore School of Law. This program represents a revolutionary and comprehensive approach for addressing the lack of diversity in legal education and the legal profession.

A woman in glasses and a blue shirt stands in front of the front door to a home.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Earlier this year, before all of this began, we put out a call for your stories about overcoming differences — true stories about finding common ground.

Working with the Austin Public Library and The Library Foundation, we collected the submissions and helped writers shape their stories into pieces to read for the radio.

The podcast Yeah, But Are You Happy has been in production for a couple of years now, and has branched out to include live performances with special guests. That’s continued during the pandemic, with hosts Lane Ingram and Katie Stone producing livestreaming shows every Wednesday night on Coldtowne TV’s Twitch channel. 

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Erika Rickard, director of civil legal modernization at the PEW Charitable Trusts. From 1993 to 2013, the number of debt claims filed in civil courts across this country increased to the point where it became the single largest share of civil court business over that period, particularly as people used civil courts less for other issues. 

Arius Holifield, Tyeschea West / Courtesy

Last year, the folks at Northern-Southern gallery started a project called Where Is Here, which is both a document and celebration of the residents of East Austin. It’s a large exhibition of photographs, including portraits of eastside denizens from ages 0 to 100.

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Cheryl Grace, senior vice president of strategic community alliances and consumer engagement at Nielsen. According to Nielsen, African-American consumers make up $1.3 trillion in annual buying power.

From Six Square, this month's Get Involved spotlight organization:

 

Six Square – Austin’s Black Cultural District (formerly known as Austin’s African American Cultural Heritage District) is the first black cultural district in the state of Texas and the only cultural arts district in the city of Austin. The organization was created in 2013 as an outgrowth of the City Council’s African American Quality of Life Initiative, which detailed widespread disparities, racial biases, and a decreasing Black population. Since inception, Six Square has been dedicated to improving the quality of life for African American residents through preservation of historic Black spaces, artistic cultivation, and by serving as a catalyst for social and economic development.

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Howard Bryant, ESPN senior writer, NPR’s Weekend Edition contributor and author of Full Dissidence: Notes From an Uneven Playing Field. Whether the issues are protests, labor, patriotism, or class division, it’s clear that professional sports are no longer simply fun and games.

In his book, Bryant talks about the player-owner relationship, the militarization of sports, the myth of integration and the erasure of African-American identity as a condition of success.

A packed crowd listens to Abhi The Nomad at 2019's ACL Fest.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUTX

Austin City Limits Music Festival has been officially canceled this year, with the festival saying it's "the only responsible solution" given the current COVID-19 situation in Texas.

The organizers of the two-weekend event hope to return to Zilker Park to celebrate the festival's 20th anniversary Oct. 1-3 and Oct. 8-10, 2021. 

Artist Benjamin Muñoz loves to create art, but he might like talking with people about the art he has created even more. It’s the dialogue he enjoys, he says – simply giving an artist talk to a crowd often feels too one-sided for his liking. “I think I get the most out of my own work when I hear how other people react to it,” Muñoz says. 

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. presents highlights of the 33rd Super Bowl Breakfast featuring the Athletes in Action/Bart Starr Award.

Featured on the program are James Brown, sportscaster on CBS Sports; Eli Manning, the 2020 recipient of the Bart Starr Award; Calais Campbell, the 2019 recipient of the Bart Starr Award; Warrick Dunn, the 2008 recipient of the Bart Starr Award; and Super Bowl champion coach Tony Dungy.

UT’s Blanton Museum of Art, like the rest of the university, closed its doors to visitors on March 13 and has remained closed ever since. But the museum still has art on display and a staff full of people who want to share that art with the community, so the team quickly began planning ways to share their exhibitions and permanent displays in a virtual way. 

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Michael and Pele Bennett. Michael is a professional football player, Super Bowl Champion, activist, author and co-host of the podcast Mouthpeace. Pele is a food advocate, a skilled Polynesian dancer, co-founder of the Bennett Foundation and co-host of Mouthpeace.

Even a couple of months ago, the organizers of Stay Black and Live were hoping to put on a traditional Juneteenth event, complete with a parade and lots of people gathering together to celebrate. “Like a lot of nonprofits and organizations doing signature events, we kept thinking okay, let’s not call it yet, let’s not pivot yet. It could happen,” says Pamela Benson Owens, the acting executive director of Six Square and a member of the team that’s creating the festival.

Barracuda's Closing A Harbinger Of Things To Come

Jun 12, 2020
Barracuda music venue in the Red River Cultural District
Julia Reihs / KUT

This week, the Barracuda, in business on 611 East Seventh Street for nearly five years, announced it was closing its doors for good.

Barracuda joins a growing list of Austin businesses that have fallen during the pandemic, including some, like Threadgills and the Townsend, that also featured live music. Every small business is suffering during the shutdown, but it’s especially true for music venues. Their math only works with big crowds, and even then it can be a struggle.

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Charles Whitaker, the newly appointed dean of the Medill School of Journalism, Media, and Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University.

Whitaker talks about his new appointment, working for Ebony magazine, why Medill is a leader in journalism education and the lack of people of color in newsroom management.

During the early weeks of lockdown, Tom Booker of the Institution Theater noticed a facebook posting from his friend  Jeremy Moran, which recounted a dream Moran had the night before. In the dream, there was a big party at the Institution that was broken up because everyone was breaking quarantine. The story of that dream quickly inspired Booker to create Quarantine Dream: The Movie, a collection of short videos submitted by anyone who felt inspired to create something.

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. revisits a conversation with Dr. Robert F. Jefferson Jr., associate professor of history at the University of New Mexico and author of Brothers in Valor: Battlefield Stories of the 89 African Americans Awarded the Medal of Honor.

Brothers in Valor is a history lesson on 89 men who were awarded the nation’s highest military award, the Congressional Medal of Honor.

From El Buen Samaritano, this month's Get Involved spotlight organization:

El Buen Samaritano is an outreach ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas committed to helping Latino and other families in Central Texas lead healthy, productive and secure lives through high-quality family literacy programs, food assistance, economic-stability services, health education, as well as access to health care.

Pages