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

Jeff Heimsath for KUT News

South by Southwest Interactive announced the bulk of its 2013 programming today – some 450 panels, discussions and events covering everything tech you can think of. The five-day tech festival has eclipsed its music counterpart in registered attendees in recent years. 

Marquee names included among the festival's “Featured Sessions” include Univeristy of Texas at Austin President Bill Powers on innovation in higher education; Whole Foods founder John Mackey on “conscious capitalism;” Craigslist founder Craig Newmark on the future of journalism; video game developer-turned-space tourism advocate Richard Garriott de Cayeux; and “Two and a Half Men” and “The Big Bang Theory” creator Chuck Lorre.

The first Interactive keynote has also been announced for 2013: Matthew Inman of comedy website The Oatmeal.

Tamir Kalifa for KUT

The 2012 Austin City Limits Music Festival concluded last night. 

KUT Austin was out at Zilker Park all weekend. Take a look at our photos from the festival grounds, along with more photos from Friday morning's KUT Live at the Four Seasons concert featuring Quiet CompanyFirst Aid KitJovanotti and Antibalas.

KUT Austin

If you couldn’t tell already from the hum in the streets, the 2012 Austin City Limits Music Festival is here.

KUT kicked things off at the Four Seasons this morning, hosting a concert featuring four ACL performers: Austin rockers Quiet Company, the Swedish folk sisters of First Aid Kit, Tuscan vocalist Jovanotti and Afrobeat ensemble Antibalas.

Naturally, KUT was on hand to document the performances. Here's two videos from this morning.

flickr.com/kevharb

The 2012 Austin City Limits Festival is less than 24 hours away.

Thousands of ACL attendees are probably compiling lists of bands to see, foods to eat, and places to go. But it's going to be a challenge: There's over 100 different acts performing at the festival, close to 40 different vendors serving all types of food and drink, and tons of events and parties going on all over downtown Austin.

While we can’t put your list together for you, maybe we can help you get started.

Here's some picks compiled by KUT's Austin Music Matters team: 

From Susan Castle, KUT Music Host:

Wells Dunbar, KUT News.

The social trivia game Qrank (pronounced "crank") is no more.

Co-founders and Austinites Rodney Gibbs and Michael Baird posted a  message titled “Goodbye” on the game’s website on Monday, and announced that that morning’s edition would be the last of the daily quiz.

Qrank had been voraciously consumed by a legion of loyal players since 2010. As explained on the game’s website, the goal was to “choose 15 of the 20 possible questions and answer them quickly and accurately to beat your friends and earn achievements.” The game was available on Facebook and as a mobile app.

But while Qrank maintained close to 25,000 “likes” on Facebook and more than 8,500 Twitter followers, interaction with all of those fans waned over the last several months.

For Paul Thomas Anderson, moviemaking is not just an art; it's also about time management.

"At its best, a film set is when everybody knows what's going on and everybody's working together," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "At its worst, [it's] when something's been lost in communication and an actor's not sure how many shots are left or what's going on, and the makeup department's confused."

The mandolinist Chris Thile, better known for his work with the bluegrass band Nickel Creek, and the novelist Junot Díaz, who won a Pulitzer for his novel The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, are among those awarded 2012 "genius" grants from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

The 23 MacArthur fellows will receive $500,000 over the next five years. They are allowed to do whatever they wish with the money, whether that's continue their work or change fields.

flickr.com/winemegup

Rain or shine, the annual St. Elias Mediterranean Festival is kicking off this weekend.

The festival, now in its 80th year, promises Mediterranean delights from Lebanon, Palestine, Greece, Eritrea and Romania. According to the festival, “Gyros, Kibbee, Baklava, Spanakopita and Mici are only the beginning as you feast outdoors on delicacies from the Orthodox world.”

Along with a feast of foods, the festival will offer shopping in a festival marketplace, dance demonstrations and children’s activities at the Kid’s Oasis. Music and live dancing will be provided by Laand Greek Ensemble.

flickr.com/mirsasha

Have you ever seen a dizzy golf ball? 

The Austin Children's Museum assures you will. The museum is dedicated to what they call informal learning; one exhibit, called "Ready, Set, Roll," teaches children about physics by sending golf balls through all manner of gravity-defying courses.

The Austin Children's Museum is expanding their facilities. Today, its leaders broke ground at their new location in the Mueller development in central east Austin. 

New exhibits will focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics, highlighting hands-on interactive learning. The museum will also encourage activity, with the grounds featuring interactive outdoor elements.

Dan Monick, facebook.com/fionaapple

Update 5 (Oct. 11): A sad denouement in the Fiona Apple saga: Word comes today that singer-songwriter Apple will not be rescheduling her postponed Sept. 20 ACL Live performance; instead, it will be canceled. According to the social ticketing platform Ticketfly, customers who purchased tickets will be refunded the purchased amount in five to ten days.  

Update 4 (Sept. 24): The Fiona Apple arrest saga, in the words of indie music website Pitchfork, "just keeps getting crazier." On Friday, Sept. 22, Pitchfork posted video of Apple's performance in Houston, the day after her canceled Austin concert.  The performer excitedly spoke about her time in jail, making reference to "inappropriate and probably illegal" behavior on the part of four sheriff's office employees, and cryptically referring to secret evidence of her mistreatment she left behind at the jail: 

I'm the only one who holds the key, and you and I will be intimate forever because I will hold that secret forever. Unless of course the celebrity that you had so much interest in but you wanted to accuse me of bringing up while you laughed at me all night? 

You can read more here (some language may not be safe for work.) 

Today, Hudspeth County Sheriff's Department Public Information Officer Rusty Fleming released a statement telling Apple to "just shut-up and sing." The letter also seemingly brags about Hudspeth County's reputation for arresting traveling musicians and celebrities on drug-related charges: 

[Have] you ever heard of Snoop, Willie or Armand Hammer? Maybe if you would read something besides your own press releases, you would have known BEFORE you got here, that if you come to Texas with dope, the cops will take your DOPE away and put YOU in jail...

A make-up date for Fiona Apple's Austin performance has yet to be announced, but her North American dates are currently scheduled through Oct. 21. 

Update 3: KUT News has received this statement from the Hudspeth County Sheriff’s Office: 

September 20, 2012

Sierra Blanca, Texas

On September 19, 2012 at approximately 8 pm. a 2004 White and Blue Prevost Tour Bus traveling eastbound on I-10 approached the U.S. Border Patrol Checkpoint located in Sierra Blanca, Texas. During a routine check of U.S. citizenship the inspecting Border Patrol agent, a canine detected the presence of concealed humans and/or controlled substances emitting from the inside of the vehicle and requested the driver to pull into the secondary inspection lane for further inspection. The agent requested all subjects to exit the bus so that a canine working the checkpoint could conduct an inspection of the vehicle. Upon entering the bus the canine alerted to a blue colored back-pack. A further search produced a glass container containing marijuana weighing 0.010 lbs. Also inside the glass container was a small plastic container holding a brown-clay-like substance that later tested positive for hashish. (Also weighing .010 lbs)

Fiona Apple Maggart, freely admitted that the controlled substances belonged to her and she was placed under arrest by U.S. Border Patrol agents and detained. At approximately 930pm the Hudspeth County Sheriff’s Office was contacted and upon arrival, Ms. Maggart was taken into custody and transported to the Hudspeth County jail. The next day September 20 Ms. Maggart posted a $10,000 bond and was released shortly after.

No other information is available at this time. 

Update 2 : KUT News just heard from ACL Live at the Moody Theater. Tonight's concert has been postponed. Additional information will be posted on the theater's website and on social media this afternoon. The concert will be rescheduled, with all tickets for good for the future performance.

Lionsgate Entertainment

Today marks the start of the largest genre film festival in the United States – Fantastic Fest.

The festival is known for being a little out there, but Fantastic Fest and Alamo Drafthouse founder Tim League says that’s what makes it special.

“In the last five years or so it seems like it’s been the rise of the nerd,” League tells KUT News. In light of the comic book-based blockbusters filling theaters, League says the nerd demographic represents “a pretty significant arm of the spending economy and a lot of the movies coming out from Hollywood are geared towards us."

Many films set to premiere at this year’s festival many are highly anticipated by nerds and non-nerds alike. For example, writer/director Rian Johnson’s time-traveling  Looper is sure to get genre crowds excited. Also making a debut at the festival is a remake of the 1984 ‘the Soviets are invading’ flick Red Dawn

flickr.com/serfs-up

If you’re feeling holiday withdrawal during the weeks between Labor Day and Halloween, there’s good news: today you can celebrate International Talk Like a Pirate Day

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the quirky holiday. International Talk Like a Pirate Day was created in 2002 after columnist Dave Barry wrote a piece in the Miami Herald about the piratical exploits of Oregonians John Baur and Mark Summers (otherwise known by their pirate aliases, Ol’ Chumbucket and Cap’n Slappy). Baur and Summers began Talk Like a Pirate Day among their circle of friends while playing racquetball in 1995 and appealed to Barry to publicize the event seven years later. 

Today, International Talk Like a Pirate Day is celebrated with events all over the world, from Texas to Japan.

Little Brown and Company

The Yellow Birds is a critically acclaimed novel from a young author, Kevin Powers. Listen to him read from his book's opening passage above.

An Iraq war veteran, upon returning to the states, Powers earned a graduate degree from UT’s Michener Center for Writers. A spare but poetic story, The Yellow Birds follows 21-year old Private Bartle as his vow to protect an even younger private amid fierce conditions in 2004 Iraq is tested. But the novel isn’t simply a war story; skipping forward and backward in time, Powers captures the confusion and pain of war on a more intimate, emotional level.

flickr.com/bjornlifoto

Tim League is a pretty big deal in the movie business. He’s founder of the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema – which in turn led to distribution arm Drafthouse Films. He also founded Rolling Roadshow and Fantastic Fest. But Tim League could soon be best known for his role as a judge in an internet cat video contest.

That’s right, internet cat videos. If you're one of the few humans left on earth unfamiliar with the concept, you can head over to a little website called YouTube and type in “cat.” You’ll get funny cats, funny cats in water, how to wrap a cat for Christmas and about 1.8 million others. Internet cat videos are big.

Just last month, Minneapolis hosted the first ever Internet Cat Video Film Festival. The idea was attributed to the Walker Art Museum’s “cat-lady-in-residence” but went on to draw an estimated 10,000 attendees. Internet cat videos are truly big time.

Edith Lutyens and Norman Bel Geddes Foundation / Harry Ransom Center

Artist, author, city planner, design star and futurist Norman Bel Geddes may not be a household name. But his retro-futuristic designs – most iconically captured in the “Futurama” exhibit at the 1939 New York World’s Fair – inspire an entire generation of artists, designers and filmmakers to this day.

I Have Seen the Future: Norman Bel Geddes Designs America” is a sprawling exhibit opening at the Harry Ransom Center on the University of Texas campus today, charting Bel Geddes’ evolution for an Art Deco-inspired theater set designer to perhaps the most important futurist of his time.

“He is a man of all trades,” says Helen Baer, Associate Curator of Performing Arts at the Harry Ransom Center. “He can do theater design, industrial design; he also gets into city planning and urban planning later on in his life. And he is also a successful author. So he does a little bit of everything, and he’s for the most part self-taught."

flickr.com/goincase

Now you can know which artists are playing when at this year’s Fun Fun Fun Fest, set to take place November 2-4 at Auditorium Shores. The daily schedule has been released.

Headliners on Friday include Run DMC, Dillon Francis, and Twin Sister. The Saturday shows will culminate in performances by Refused, Girl Talk, Diamond Rugs, and A$AP Rocky. And Sunday’s top billed artists are Turbonegro, Etienne de Crecy, Black Moth Super Rainbow and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.

Tickets are on sale now. A three-day regular pass is $175. For the first time ever, Fun Fun Fun Fest is letting people buy passes in two-installments of $87.50. You can get the VIP treatment for $325. And students can obtain a three-day pass for $140. 

Reshma Kirpalani/KUT News

Tamara Hoover describes her East Austin establishment, Cheer Up Charlie's, as more than just a bar. 

"It's actually a community project," Hoover says. "People from the community coming in, bringing their acts, bringing their music, bringing their charities, and it's everybody's home." 

But recently, the bar has received complaints from another nearby community, the Guadalupe Association for Improved an Neighborhood. 

Country music legend Willie Nelson is out of a Denver hospital and feeling better. Denver NBC affiliate KUSA broke the news yesterday that Nelson was admitted to hospital, because he was "suffering from breathing problems due to the high altitude and emphysema,” according to an announcement made to the crowd gathered for a fundraiser performance at Castle Pines Village, a gated residential community about 25 miles outside of Denver.

But this morning, Nelson’s publicist says the 79-year-old is feeling fine and will be at the House of Blues tomorrow night in Dallas.

Photo by KUT News

The Creative Director for South by Southwest Music has died. Brent Grulke died this morning from surgical complications.

Grulke had worked at SXSW since its launch in 1987. He became the music festival's creative director in 1994.

In a 2005 interview with KUT's Jennifer Stayton, Grulke explained the best way to enjoy SXSW and not feel intimidated by the festivals mammoth lineup of bands.

"I always tell people that if there are a couple things that they really want to see - just find a couple of things that you really want to see," he said. 

Larry McMurtry is perhaps best known for novels like The Last Picture Show, Terms of Endearment and Lonesome Dove; but the author also has a career as a bookseller.

His store, Booked Up, spills across four buildings in his small hometown of Archer City, Texas, and houses nearly half a million rare and used books. But starting this Friday, McMurtry is holding an auction to whittle down that number — by a lot.

flickr.com/kevharb

The release of the 2012 Austin City Limits Music Festival’s schedule grid wasn’t the only big Austin City Limits news today: Music festival producers are in talks with Austin officials to extend the popular three-day event by an extra weekend starting next year.

C3 Presents, the company that produces ACL Fest and other big events nationwide, would also donate some of the increased revenue it would gain each year, in addition to the amounts they already give, to help improve Austin parks.

“We’ve been discussing working with Auditorium Shores for almost two years,” Austin Parks and Recreation Director Sara Hensley tells KUT News. “It’s dusty, it’s truly muddy, there’s no grass there. For me, it’s just an opportunity to take a park area that’s just heavily used and make it a lot better and a lot more vibrant for the community and visitors.”

Vania Stoyanova

Deborah Harkness isn’t as well known as J.K. Rowling or Stephenie Meyer. But with the publication of “Shadow of Night,” the second tome in her supernatural “All Souls” trilogy, that may be about to change.

“Shadow of Night” picks up right where her last book, “A Discovery of Witches,” left off, with heroine Diana Bishop and her vampire lover, Matthew Roydon, pulling off a daring escape. But she soon learns her escape – which sends her through time to 16th century England – poses additional threats.

Set in a supernatural world where demons, vampires and witches intermingle and overlap with the  historical figures Harkness studies as a professor, the “All Souls” trilogy has already been acquired by Hollywood. KUT News recently spoke with Harkness on her work, its reception, and what’s next.

The Austin Film Society is using a $75,000 grant to come up with a plan for incorporating another building into the Austin Studios campus at the former Mueller Airport.

The National Endowment for the Arts grant will go towards redeveloping the old National Guard building at Mueller into a space for the community and filmmakers to come together.

AFS Deputy Director Sarah Ann Mockbee says Austin has a vibrant film scene but, right now, it’s not that accessible to everyone.

Run–D.M.C. Reunion Headlines Fun Fun Fun Fest

Jul 10, 2012

In its second year at Auditorium Shores, underground music festival Fun Fun Fun Fest continues to grow. This morning, festival organizers Transmission Entertainment announced seminal New York hip hop group Run–D.M.C. will play the festival this fall. Fun Fun Fun Fest gets underway November 2.

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

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