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

It's not uncommon for Bonnie Cullum to create an ambitious undertaking at the Vortex. Cullum and her company have spent the past three decades trying to create something that will top whatever their previous show was. But their current piece, Performance Park, might hold the record as largest Vortex production for the foreseeable future.

Courtesy of Brittney Cooper

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Brittney Cooper, assistant professor of Women's and Gender Studies and Africana Studies at Rutgers University and author of Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower.

Copper talks about how she embraced her anger, the future of black feminism and the politics of self-help.

Poet Aimee Nezhukumatathil talks with poet and novelist Carrie Fountain about reclaiming the power, beauty, and wonder of a C-section birth through her poem  "Self-Portrait as C-Section Scar."

They also talk about Nezhukumatathil's entry point into poetry through the work of Naomi Shihab Nye, and she shares one of her favorite poems, "Eclipse" from poet Jenny George's debut book, The Dream of Reason.

"This project just immediately captured my attention," says Andrea Mellard, the Contemporary Austin's director for public programs. "I could immediately imagine what it would look like to see this vintage Icelandic fishing boat -- that's been outfitted to look a little like a Venetian gondola -- flying under the plump Pegasus sail, with the musicians in their formal wear. ... It just seemed like something out of a dream."

Matthew Odam, Austin-American Statesman

A new food court in downtown Austin has no fast food chains. Instead, all the options come from local restaurants that normally specialize in sit-down service. We asked Austin-American Statesman restaurant critic Matthew Odam about his review of Fareground Food Hall


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.

Jeremy Bolf came to the StoryCorps mobile booth to learn more about his family’s matriarch, affectionately known as Granny Bolf. Jeremy was too young to know his grandmother well before her passing in 1975, so he asked his father Stanley, who was her youngest son, and his aunt Donna, who married into the family in 1958, to share some memories.

"This is our 68th year of holding a festival here in Austin for arts," says Eric Hiduke, Chairman of the Board for Art Alliance Austin. "It used to be called Fiesta, used to be held at Laguna Gloria. We do it a little differently now."

Gabriel C. Pérez / 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.  

Morgan Saint

Hear some of the artists performing in Austin over the next couple days in our weekly chat with KUTX program director Matt Reilly.


growlermag.com

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Chris Montana, owner and head distiller Du Nord Craft Spirits, located in Minneapolis, Minn. 

Montana talks about waking up one morning and deciding he wanted to make booze, being the only African-American craft distiller, and mixing his wife's rural upbringing with his urban experience to create a family business.

This Is Just To Say: Tomás Q. Morín

Apr 9, 2018

Poet Tomás Q. Morín reads his poem "For My Daughter" from his collection Patient Zero and talks with poet and novelist Carrie Fountain about experiencing loss, the power of imagining the unlived life, and the vulnerability it takes to create as a poet and an artist.

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.  

Vanessa Beltran and Emmy Laursen became friends almost four years ago while taking part in a 4000 mile bike ride from Austin to Anchorage, Alaska. They recently sat down in the StoryCorps mobile booth to talk about their enduring friendship.

  

The Best Songs Ever ... This Week, April 6, 2018

Apr 6, 2018
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.  

Courtesy of RISE

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. presents highlights of Rise and NFL 3rd annual Super Bowl Town Hall featuring NFL players and executives. 

Founded in 2015 by Miami Dolphins owner Stephen M. Ross, the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to harnessing the unifying power of sports to improve race relations and drive social progress.

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 Monday and Wednesday mornings during Morning Edition and archived here.  

Fatoumata Diallo immigrated to America from the West African country of Guinea at age six. She’s now nineteen and a student at the University of Texas. She sat down in the StoryCorps mobile booth with her mentor, Yasmin Turk, and talked about her experience of being an immigrant living in Texas.

From Refugee Services of Texas, this month's Get Involved spotlight organization:

For 40 years, Refugee Services of Texas (RST) has proudly been serving refugees, asylees, survivors of human trafficking and other displaced or vulnerable men, women, and children in Texas. 

Years ago, musician Peggy Stern created the Wall Street Jazz Festival in Kingston, New York. When she relocated to Austin a few years ago, Stern created Lulu Fest, a similar but different musical festival. Like the Wall Street Festival, Lulu celebrates female bandleaders, but unlike the earlier fest, and in keeping with her new town's wider-ranging musical tastes, Lulu embraces not just jazz but all sorts of music.

"Lulu Fest has broad musical appeal... because we think that's the best way into the audience here in Austin," says Stern. "But all of the sets do contain a component of improvisation, which is what we consider jazz."

proplayerinsider.com

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. presents highlights of the 31st Super Bowl Breakfast, in which Baltimore Ravens tight end Benjamin Watson received The Athletes in Action/Bart Starr Award. Bart Starr Jr. and former NFL head coach Tony Dungy were also guests at the event.

In his acceptance speech, Watson talked about his family, his faith and his community.

Johnny Gill

Live music in Austin this weekend includes some disco legends teaming up with a local Latin funk band along with the Urban Music Festival bringing a roster of famous musicians including a former member of New Edition. We listen to music from those artists and more in our weekly chat with KUTX program director Matt Reilly.


Texas Monthly

Texas vintners are paying more attention to small details that add up to a better bottle of wine. Texas Monthly drinks columnist Jessica Dupuy speaks to us about why the state's winemakers are earning so much acclaim and talks about her favorite 30 Texas wines out of 150 she sampled. 


On this special edition of This is Just To Say, poet and novelist Carrie Fountain and KUT's Rebecca McInroy share Naomi Shihab Nye's poem "Kindness" and discuss the importance of poetry today.


On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Strauss Moore Shiple, project director with the South Carolina’s Olde English District, and Louis Venters, professor of African-America and American history at Francis Marion University.

The Best Songs Ever ... This Week, March 23, 2018

Mar 23, 2018
Shervin Lainez/Courtesy of the artist

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.

"I moved to Austin in... '97, with the idea of making it to UT, which never happened," says Salvage Vanguard co-artistic director Florinda Bryant. "And ended up auditioning for Laurie Carlos and meeting Sharon Bridgeforth. That particular audition quite honestly changed the course of my life."

That audition was for the premiere run of Bridgeforth's con flama; Bryant was cast in the show under the direction of Carlos. Bryant didn't know it at the time, but getting cast in con flama set her on a path of arts education that she probably never could have gotten at a college. "[It] gave me an opportunity to explore my craft and become an artist that I didn't even dream was possible," she says. "Working in the jazz aesthetic and working under... two such strong mentors."

In the past couple of years, Salvage Vanguard lost its longtime theater space on Manor Road, and Bryant lost one of her mentors when Carlos passed away. "And I was like, 'okay, I need other artists to be being trained in this particular methodology so that I can continue to do my work,'" Bryant says. "So it seemed really natural to be able to bring this show into our season as a way of honoring my elders, as a way of honoring Laurie Carlos, who's now one of my ancestors."

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 Monday and Wednesday mornings during Morning Edition and archived here.  

Walter Hokanson was recently joined in the StoryCorps mobile booth by his wife, Katherine. He shared some memories of his father, Jim, and talked about the long process of coming to terms with his death.  

Poet and novelist Carrie Fountain talks with poet Victoria Chang with about how her poem "Obit" allowed her to process the death of her mother.

Colin M. Lenton

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Amy Hill Hearth, journalist and author of Streetcar to Justice: How Elizabeth Jennings Won the Right to Ride in New York.

Hearth talks about Elizabeth Jennings’ refusal to leave a segregated streetcar in Manhattan, how the African-American community of New York came together to fight segregation in public transportation, and how a future president represented Jennings in court.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

SXSW Music often prides itself on its international flavor, but for some international bands, like Tijuana Bibles, it can be an expensive trip.

The Glaswegian post-punk band is in town for its first SXSW and will be playing a few shows throughout the week – just last night they played a showcase for artists from Glasgow at Hotel Vegas.

But all of that almost didn’t happen because of how much it costs to attend SXSW.

Montinique Monroe for KUT

The influx of 300,000 to 400,000 people to downtown Austin during SXSW requires an extraordinary amount of crowd control, both for event organizers and first responders.

Poet Aimee Nezhukumatathil talks with poet and novelist Carrie Fountain about reclaiming the power, beauty and wonder of a C-section birth through her poem  "Self-Portrait as C-Section Scar."


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