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

Serendipiddy http://www.flickr.com/photos/40274854@N08/6568751975/

UT Regents meet Wednesday, and among the items they’ll consider is KUT’s request to purchase KXBT 98.9 FM Radio from Border Media Business Trust.  KUT management told us they have no comment at this time.

flickr.com/loudtiger

Two Austin public art projects were named among the nation's 50 best in Americans for the Arts2012 Public Art Year in Review.

James Edward Talbot’s “Your Essential Magnificence” on South Congress, and Chris Levack’s “Trilobite Shade” and “Iron Wave” for the Austin BMX and Skate Park at House Park were selected from hundreds of entries across the country.

Americans for the Arts announced its selected projects at their annual convention in San Antonio earlier this month.

flickr.com/annaustin

Comedian Dave Chappelle – who after massive success with his “Chappelle’s Show” TV series shunned the spotlight – is performing in Austin tonight.

Chappelle will be performing at the Paramount Theater at 8 p.m. tonight, in an appearance just announced this morning. After turning his back on his provocative comedy series in 2005, Chappelle has instead focused on standup comedy, often playing “secret” shows like this one just announced.

flickr.com/hayesandjenn

After an absence last year, the Austin Symphony Orchestra is returning to Auditorium Shores to ring in the Fourth of July.

The symphony announced today that it would host its 36th annual Independence Day concert along the shores of Lady Bird Lake – complete with fireworks – after the event was called off last year.

“We were in the middle of just a terrible drought, and pretty much within the last two and a half weeks or so [before July 4, 2011], the fire marshal decided that fireworks would not be in the best interest of any event at that particular time,” Anthony Corroa, executive director of the Austin Symphony Orchestra, tells KUT News. The decision set off a reaction leading to the event’s cancelation, but Corroa anticipates an all-clear this year. “In the off chance that fireworks get canceled,” he adds, “the concert will go on regardless.”

If you see the new Wes Anderson movie Moonrise Kingdom, you'll hear background music from composers Benjamin Britten and Alexandre Desplat, as well as several songs from Hank Williams.

Photo by Paul Woodruff for KUT News

Red Hot Chili Peppers lead the line-up of artists and bands performing at this year’s Austin City Limits Music Festival. The official list was released this morning.

Neil Young and Crazy Horse, The Black Keys, Jack White, and Florence + The Machine are the other headliners.

The festival is October 12-14 this year.

The Complete Line-Up:

  • Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • Neil Young and Crazy Horse
  • The Black Keys
  • Jack White
  • Florence + The Machine

Photo by KUT Austin; lotto image courtesy aclfestival.com; graphic by Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

The 2012 lineup for the Austin City Limits Music Festival will be announced tomorrow. But, thanks to festival promoters and some silver-fingered Austinites, we’ve gotten a few previews of the lineup.

Over the weekend, festival fans started buying lotto-style scratch tickets for a chance to win passes and more. The tickets also revealed the names of attending bands. Each of the following bands were featured on the tickets, confirming their appearances at ACL this October (barring any cancelations, of course):

  • Quiet Company, Punch Brothers, Steve Earle, Bon Iver, Alabama Shakes, Freelance Whales, Kimbra, Barrington Levy, Jack White, Black Keys, Andrew Bird, Esperanza Spalding, A-Trak, Zola Jesus (via diffuser.fm)

Photo by Filipa Rodrigues

On Saturday, the Austin Poetry Society is kicking off its Poetry with Wheels contest. Open to anyone 18 or older, the winner’s poem will be posted on the placards lining the inside of Capital Metro buses.

"The Poetry with Wheels contest is not just for professional poets," the society writes on its website. "All members of the Austin community are encouraged to enter."

Although there’s no restriction poem topics or the amount of poems you can submit, the Poetry Society has four guidelines for submissions:

Photo courtesy Amy Gizienski, flickr.com/agizienski

Here’s a way to make your Friday workday more enjoyable: the Blanton Museum of Art has unveiled a new online database of the museum’s vast collection, containing records for over 17,000 works in the museum's collection. Almost all of the museum’s pieces have images on the database, and many feature historical information about the piece and the artist.  

It’s a dramatic upgrade from the previous Blanton database featured on the site, which only included images for some 150 pieces of art. 

New aspects of the database include an easy to use search feature, which allows users to search for works by keyword, artist name or nationality, period, or specific exhibition. It also features a portfolio of past exhibitions held by the museum, and more. 

Image courtesy Ace Books

Author Charlaine Harris may not be a household name, but her creation Sookie Stackhouse is. The spunky, problem-prone heroine of Harris’ supernatural fiction series – the inspiration for HBO’s hit series “True Blood” – is at it again in “Deadlocked,” the latest in the Stackhouse series.

Harris will be at BookPeople this Saturday, May 12 at 7 p.m. She recently spoke with KUT News about “Deadlocked,” achieving success after a tumultuous start, and her post-Stackhouse plans.

KUT News: “Deadlocked” is the twelfth in the Sookie Stackhouse series, correct?

Charlaine Harris: Yes, the twelfth, the penultimate book. I just felt like I had said everything about Sookie that I had it in me to say, and I really don’t like to extend the series when the heat isn’t in me.

Photo courtesy of Zirzamin's Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/zirzaminnyc

In case you were wondering what Momo’s owner Paul Oveisi had been up to since the venue closed in late December, he’s been busy creating an Austin-themed venue in Manhattan.

Zirzamin, which is Farsi for “underground,” is located in a cellar bar in Greenwich Village and has a small menu that includes breakfast tacos (2 for $6), “Austin-style” chile con queso ($5), brisket tacos (2 for $6) and Lone Star beer.

“Ultimately, there will be music every night of the week. We'll certainly bring in some Austin acts but it's gonna be an eclectic mix of world music, funky ensembles, and surprise guests,” Oveisi told the New York City/Austin music blog IndieSounds. “It won't be predictable but it will be good.”

Author and illustrator Maurice Sendak, whose classic children's book Where the Wild Things Are became a perennial and award-winning favorite for generations of children, died Tuesday. He was 83.

Update at 2:30 p.m. ET: The news that Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys has died has now been confirmed by the group's public relations firm.

Our original post:

Photo by Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Outside Tyler’s clothing store on The Drag, anyone could try their hand at painting on a “Big Ass Canvas.”

Big Ass Canvas offered its first community canvas painting today, outside the Guadalupe Street store. The project encourages passersby to pick up a paintbrush and help fill a large canvas (8.5 by 6 feet). It was launched a week and a half ago by Zach Horvath and Travis Chafin.

Aside from the action on The Drag, canvases will also be available at spots on South Congress and the pedestrian bridge over Lady Bird Lake, as well as at a final celebratory event. Then, the four canvases will be auctioned off to raise money for Explore Austin, a mentoring program with an emphasis on the outdoors.

Photo courtesy of Austin Food & Wine Festival

Andrew Zimmern, the host of Travel Channel's Bizarre Foods (where he's made a name for himself eating exotic things like fermented beetle anus), heaped some praise on the local food scene at the Austin Food Festival this weekend. But while Zimmern is fond of many Austin chefs, farmers and restaurants, he saves the highest praise for Austinites themselves.

KUT: So tell us why you're here at this food festival in Austin.

Andrew Zimmern: "I think Austin has a very special food community in terms of diners. It's the diners and the Austinites that have created the atmosphere for all this amazing food here to flourish.

Every single person I've spoken to here at this festival, I think, gets it all wrong about Austin. Everybody puts the food and chefs first, and I think it's not chicken or egg, it's very matter-of-fact: the audience here in Austin is unique. They are willing to be experimented at, and they do not hold grudges against chefs that make mistakes or have failures, as long as that chef is willing to get back on their bicycle and start pedaling again.

Robert Caro writes obsessively about power. Fittingly, it's Lyndon Johnson — catapulted suddenly into the presidency "in the crack of a gunshot" — who consumes him.

The Passage of Power, the fourth volume of Caro's massive biography of Lyndon Johnson, is released this week. Caro has dedicated decades to meticulously researching Johnson's life, and the previous books in the series have been almost universally hailed as a significant achievement in American letters.

First Austin Food & Wine Festival Gets Cooking

Apr 28, 2012
Photo courtesy Austin Food & Wine Festival

Austin’s long been known as the Live Music Capital of the World. But these days the city’s also on the map for its food scene.  Today the first Austin Food and Wine festival kicks off at Auditorium shores. We sat down with Gail Simmons, a judge on Top Chef and a figure at Food and Wine magazine, about what’s on tap at the festival and why they chose Austin in the first place. 

KUT: What was it about Austin that attracted you and the festival here?

Gail Simmons: "Interestingly, I think both art and craft in Austin are alive and well. It's a young, energetic city, obviously partially because of the huge student culture here. And it's just full of great art and great design and great music. And it only makes sense that food would follow.

Over the last several years, we've seen a huge surge in great, creative young talent in the food world. There's been some great young chefs coming out of Texas, notably Tyson Cole at Uchi and Bryce Gilmore at Barley Swine just a year or two ago. Those are only two of them, certainly. But there seems to be a great energy here, a great mix of cultures and cuisines creating this signature style that Austin is really known for now.

The massive Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival came to a close in California on Sunday after two weekends worth of sold-out shows by over 150 artists.

One of those acts was the Austin, Texas, band Explosions in the Sky, which first played Coachella back in 2007 and has seen its profile grow since then.

Photo by Jeff Heimsath for KUT News.

Austin got its long-awaited glimpse at the new Willie Nelson statue on Friday.

The April 20th unveiling of the statue was captured by photographer Jeff Heimsath for KUT News. On hand for the commemoration of the eight-foot tall, one-ton statue was the Red-Headed Stranger himself, who treated the audience to a song.

Record Store Day is like a one-day-a-year time machine. On Saturday, April 21, independent record stores around the country will be mobbed by music fans anxiously lining up to get their hands on actual pieces of plastic with musical information etched onto either side. We can't help it. After spending the rest of the year getting access to just about any piece of music we want without ever interacting with another human being, Record Store Day brings out the collector in us all.

Next Monday, Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez, considered one of Major League Baseball's greatest catchers, will announce his retirement.

The news was first reported by the AP and confirmed today by the Texas Rangers, the team where Rodriguez made his debut.

Rodriguez, a 14-time All-Star, won a record 13 Gold Golves. The AP reports:

Photo courtesy starz.com/partydown

In June 2010, cable channel Starz canceled Party Down after just two seasons.  The critically revered but little seen show, which depicted Hollywood hopefuls working dreary day jobs for a catering company, was co-created and co-written by UT grad (and former San Antonio high school teacher) Rob Thomas.

Tonight, Thomas returns to Austin to screen the show's unaired pilot.

Shot at Thomas' house, the pilot was used to sell the show to Starz network.  Besides Lizzy Caplan, the spot included the whole original cast, including Jane Lynch (who would eventually leave to join the cast of Glee) and Adam Scott (who got snatched up by Parks & Recreation). 

A lot of the songs on Kat Edmonson's new album, Way Down Low, have a timeless sound, due in part to her own timeless-sounding voice. But she isn't above revealing her influences: The song "Champagne," she admits, was crafted with a particular American songsmith in mind.

"I was trying to write a song like Cole Porter," Edmonson tells NPR's Melissa Block. "Me and a million other people are trying to write a song like Cole Porter."

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons user Clemed, http://bit.ly/HonWTW

Known for his unorthodox quarterbacking and conservative Christian beliefs, Tim Tebow – who helped earn the Denver Broncos a divisional title last season, before going to the New York Jets – is appearing at Georgetown's Celebration Church this Easter Sunday, April 8. Gates open at 8 a.m., and the service begins at 10 a.m.

Celebration Church’s main campus is almost 8,000 square feet, but for an event this large – the church anticipates some 20,000 attendees – services will be held outdoors on Celebration’s 110-acre site. “We’re literally taking our service outdoors for the first time,” says Tara Wall, Celebration Church’s Media and Communications Director.

The estimate is a big bump from Celebration’s already-large numbers: Wall says Celebration hosts five to seven thousand attendees any given Sunday. Parking will not be allowed on site. Street closures will encompass a mile radius around the church, but nine off-site parking lots with shuttle service will deliver parishioners to Tebow.

There are a couple interesting Anonymous stories out there in the ether today. First, the news.

The group claims to have hacked a number of Chinese government websites. Last month, Anonymous China launched its own Twitter account. It was endorsed by the YourAnonNews account, which is kind of the unofficial clearinghouse of Anonymous posts on Twitter. And then the folks who are behind this project got to work.

Photo courtesy flickr.com/specialkrb

The Alamo Drafthouse will open its first location next year in New York City.

The five-screen theater will be on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, inside the former Metro Theater at 2626 Broadway

The New York Times notes the “turbulent history” of the art deco-adorned theater, which over the years has been an art-house, a porn theater, and more. When the Times checked in on the Metro in 2011, it noted a protracted legal battle had ensnared the property — challenges that have now apparently been resolved.

Photo courtesy flickr.com/carlandkalah

"Hispanic," or "Latino?"  Turns out, most Americans of Spanish-speaking origin don't find either term specific enough.

A survey released by the Pew Hispanic Center this morning shows more than half of those surveyed want be known by their family's country of origin: 51 percent surveyed said they preferred to be called "Mexican" or "Argentinian," for example.

According to the Pew Hispanic Center, just 24 percent  say they use the terms "Hispanic" or "Latino" most often to describe their identity. And 21 percent  say they use the term “American” most often.

Rapid growth in the U.S. Hispanic community has created another boom — in Hispanic media. In recent months, several major media players have announced plans to join the competition for the Hispanic television audience. There's a new Hispanic broadcast TV network coming, plus a host of new cable channels aimed at Latinos.

The numbers tell the story: According to the census, the U.S. Hispanic population jumped by more than 40 percent in the past decade. The nation's 50 million-plus Hispanics now make up 16 percent of the TV-viewing public.

Photo by Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

A monument honoring the contributions of Spanish and Mexican pioneers in Texas history was unveiled on the south lawn of the Capitol this morning.

Officials including Governor Rick Perry and Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst took part in the ceremony, along with hundreds of citizens excited a monument honoring Texas' unsung forebearers had been installed on the Capitol grounds.

The Tejano Monument is comprised of  11  bronze, life-size sculptures created by Laredo artist Armando Hinojosa.

Photo courtesy tejanomonument.com

The Tejano Monument  will be unveiled tomorrow on the south lawn of the Texas Capitol. 

Over a decade in the making, the work is a monument honoring the contributions of Texas’ early Spanish-Mexican settlers and their descendants. The work was developed by Laredo artist Armando Hinojosa.  He was commissioned in 2001 to create the multi-statue piece. 

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