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

Photo by MarkScottAustinTX http://www.flickr.com/photos/elchupacabra/

The Saturday before Halloween is one of those nights in Austin when 6th Street is even crazier than usual, which is saying a lot because 6th Street is usually pretty crazy.

The Austin Police Department says it will be closing 6th Street at 6 p.m. on Saturday instead of 11 p.m. APD might also shut access ramps onto and off of I-35 between 8th and 3rd streets.

Police also plan to close 6th Street on the actual Halloween, Monday, October 31. The timing of the closures will depend on how big the crowds are.

The newest season of the Bravo competitive cooking series, Top Chef, hits your TV in exactly one week. The show includes not one, but two Austin chefs, according to Eater Austin, and several of the scenes were shot right here in the Live Music Capitol of the World.

Will the Gypsy Picnic Redeem Itself This Year?

Oct 21, 2011

It's time again for the Gypsy Picnic Trailer Food Festival, which takes off this Saturday from 11 am to 8 pm at Auditorium Shores.

Last year's picnic was anything but. Long lines (up to an hour for a donut), nightmare parking, vendors running out of food, and massive crowds soured many attendants.

The festival received a two-star rating on Yelp!, and led John Kelso of the Austin American-Statesman to quip: "If you wanted something to eat, it would have been quicker to sit on the corner with a tin cup, collect change and grab a tuna sandwich at a convenience store. Or bag a possum and build a fire."

This year promises to be different, according to Festival Marketing Manager Lindsay Hoffman of C3 Presents, which is producing the festival.

"Last year was the first year of the festival, so everything was unknown. We couldn't even anticipate those kind of numbers," she told KUT News.

"This year we're working with those kind of [anticipated] numbers, so it's a lot easier to work with the food vendors and prepare them to get their menu out faster," Hoffman said. "We've taken in all the feedback from last year."

Between 1983 and 1991, the bodies of four girls were found in an abandoned oil field along the Interstate 45 corridor in League City, Texas, southeast of Houston. All four had been sexually assaulted, two victims have not been identified, and none of the cases has been solved. The locals refer to this muddy dumping ground as the "killing fields," and nearly two-dozen women have gone missing or been murdered in the area since the early '70s.

NPR has launched a new app for the Google TV platform. The app — featured in the Google TV Spotlight Gallery (video only works in Chrome) — makes it easy for users to watch NPR's best video and multimedia slideshows on a big screen.

Photo by Scutter http://www.flickr.com/photos/scutter/

People can expect to see thinner animals at the Texas State Fair in Dallas this weekend. The fair's Vice President of the Agriculture and Livestock, Daryl Real, says that this year's extreme drought has made it harder for ranchers to feed their cattle. 

Photo by KUT

Willie Nelson, Lyle Lovett, the Dixie Chicks will headline a benefit concert for Central Texas wildfire victims. Emmy winner Kyle Chandler of the TV show "Friday Night Lights" will host. "Fire Relief: the Concert for Central Texas" is set for October 17 at the Frank Erwin Center. Organizers say every dollar of a single $25 ticket will go to relief efforts. Tickets will be available for purchase at texasboxoffice.com tomorrow at noon.

Photo by Sean Murphy

The city really, really doesn’t want you to smoke if you plan to attend the Austin City Limits music festival. Austin Parks and Recreation director Sara Hensley even said “please” during a news conference this morning. But there will be no parks rangers at the festival, and ACL organizers’ private security guards may not be actively hunting down those who do light up.

“We’re not going after the smokers,” Austin Parks and Recreation spokesman Victor Ovalle clarified on the telephone this afternoon. “We’re asking them to please help comply with the smoking and the fire ban in the park.”

“We’re really not trying to ruin anyone’s experience,” he said.

Because the smoking ban in parks is not a city ordinance, people can’t be fined for lighting up. But they can be asked to leave the park. If the smoker refuses, he or she could be issued a criminal trespass notice and be banned from city parks for a year.  

In the FX series Justified, Timothy Olyphant plays Raylan Givens, a U.S. marshal transferred from the sunny skies of Miami to his former home in the backwoods of Kentucky. In those Kentucky hills, Givens encounters a slew of unsavory characters, including Mags Bennett, a moonshine-making Appalachian matriarch of a law-defying hillbilly family.

Photo by Beth Cortez-Neavel

Austinites young and old put on their rainbow shirts, pins, hats and tutus Saturday for the 20th anniversary of Austin Pride 2011, organized by the Austin Gay and Lesbian PRIDE Foundation’s (AGLPF).

Representatives from a diverse range of Austin organizations started with a Pride Parade beginning at Lady Bird Lake. Lingerie vendors, non-profits, restaurants, downtown clubs, religious communities, car dealerships, insurance companies, representatives from the Austin police and countless other groups lined up on Riverside in their cars, floats, and busses. 

Photo by tibbygirl http://www.flickr.com/photos/tibbygirl/

Austin’s homegrown food and film chain, the Alamo Drafthouse, is opening a new location early next year in deep South Austin, at the corner of Slaughter Lane and MoPac. The eight-screen theater will have seating for 800 people. The Drafthouse says each screening room will include 3D projection equipment.

Photo courtesy of LBJ Library & Museum

Legendary Austin broadcaster Richard “Cactus” Pryor will be celebrated at Riverbend Centre this Friday at 2 pm. Riverbend Centre is a 2,500 capacity theater near the 360 Bridge over Lake Austin

Pryor died Tuesday at the age of 88. He had been battling Alzheimer’s disease and recently broke his leg during a fall at an assisted living facility.

Richard “Cactus” Pryor, a longtime Austin radio and TV broadcaster, has died at the age of 88.

Pryor was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, and broke his leg earlier this month after a fall.

He was a longtime fixture on KLBJ-AM and also appeared on Austin TV station KTBC.  

In 2009, Pryor was interviewed by his wife Peggy for KUT’s StoryCorps Memory Project. You can hear that interview here.

Photo by KUT News.

The first ten movies confirmed for the 2011 Austin film festival were made public Tuesday.

The offerings run the gamut from thrillers, to comedies, to documentaries. They include big names like Glenn Close (in the cross-dressing period piece "Albert Nobbs") and Antonio Banderas (in the animated feature "Puss in Boots")  as well as local-boys-made-good the Duplass brothers,  the writer/directors of "Jeff Who Lives at Home."

Andrea Bean sits and cracks tile in to smaller, tiny pieces. She stops and looks up at the massive tile mural in front of her and hunts for the small gaps between the larger tile pieces that need to be filled.

“It’s very tedious. It could never end and at some point you have to say ‘okay that’s enough,” she said.

There’s no question that Austin’s food truck scene has grown over the past five years. Travis County had fewer than 700 mobile food vending permits in December 2006. Today, the official count is above 1,300.

But a closer look at county data obtained by KUT News through an Open Records Request shows the number of mobile food vending permits has remained relatively stagnant since mid-2009. While that number doesn’t tell the whole story, it may raise questions over whether the city’s food truck market is approaching saturation.

The county changed how it counts mobile food permits in September 2010 to include delinquent permits. Those are permits that have expired in the last six months. It makes comparing 2006 to 2011 difficult.

Photo by KUT News

The University of Texas Tower will serve as a canvas for some innovative three-dimensional video art this week as part of a promotion being filmed for ESPN’s Longhorn Network. 

This isn’t 3-D video in the sense that you need glasses to observe it. Rather, the video is “mapped” to fit the dimensions of the building upon which it is being projected.

Photo by Suelen Pessoa http://www.flickr.com/photos/suelenpessoa/

Fun Fun Fun Fest released its 2011 lineup today. Organizers expect to sell more than 15,000 tickets and have added an extra day to the festival. This year it will be held at Auditorium Shores because it outgrew its previous venue of Waterloo Park. 

Photo courtesy of Carla Jackson

Many African-American and Hispanic women interesting stories to tell, but don’t always have the platform to do it. As in many professions, minority women are underrepresented in film, theater, and television.

Austin film producer Carla Jackson is trying to do something about that. She’s hosting a free producing and writing forum for minority women next Thursday at Austin Community College’s Eastview Campus.  

The workshop is called Women Doing it For Themselves, and it brings successful local women into the same room as their aspiring colleagues to share information and to help fresh talent get off the ground.

We called Jackson to ask about it.

Photo courtesy of Austin Film Festival

Members of the Austin Film Festival community are mourning the loss of Oscar nominated production designer Polly Platt this week. She was 72.

Platt was known for her writing, producing and set design among many other things in the film industry. Some of her most notable works include the art direction for Terms of Endearment, which she was nominated for an Academy Award in 1983. She also worked on the set designs for movies like "The Last Picture Show," and "Paper Moon" as well as producing the films "Say Anything" and "Bottle Rocket."

Photo by Leah Miller http://www.flickr.com/photos/leahmiller/

You want to take in some of the artists in town for Austin City Limits Music Festival but don’t want to sweat it out in Zilker Park?  The ACL after shows let you watch musicians perform from the comfort of a downtown night club without the inflated drink prices.

Here’s the list of official after shows, released this morning by ACL.

courtesy flickr.com/photos/46523905@N00/

Three-quarters of Texas is experiencing “exceptional drought”, the worst category used by the US Drought Monitor. The effect on farmers and ranchers has been profound. But a state program launching today aims to give city folk a way to help farmers and ranchers by enjoying the fruits – and meats – of their labor.

 

The former Tower Records building on The Drag is undergoing a renovation to house three new eateries, and owners are preserving the building's artwork, which has become a landmark for University of Texas students and Austinites.

Local artist Federico Archuleta created his first set of murals in 2003, at the intersection of 24th and Guadalupe. He used stencils and spray paint to portray iconic artists such as Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash.

 

Video courtesy of MTV

Photo by Dan Reese for KUT News

Conservation work is underway on three of the dresses worn by Vivien Leigh in the movie, "Gone with the Wind." The work at UT's Harry Ransom Center comes after the institution raised $30,000 for the restoration.

Photo courtesy of Warner Bros.

The mission of KUT News is to bring you news about the issues important to people living in Austin. But we also know that news just can't always compete with everyone's favorite bespectacled wizard. The last Harry Potter film opens at midnight tonight. KUT News brings you a roundup of reviews for "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2.

By Jeff Proctor, courtesy MONDO/Alamo Drafthouse

The Alamo Drafthouse’s poster company, MONDO, is partnering with the archiving arm of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.

Photo by WEBN_TV http://www.flickr.com/photos/politicalpulse/

Jesse Eisenberg, an actor who recently portrayed Mark Zuckerberg in "The Social Network", served free pizza to Home Slice customers this afternoon. The promotion was intended to draw attention to his new movie, "30 Minutes or Less." Can you guess what the movie's about?

Eisenberg has been doing this in several other markets with his co-star Aziz Ansari, including at Goat Hill Pizza in San Francisco and Lincoln Road Pizza Rustica in Miami. 

Here is some of the response on Twitter and Facebook from Austin fans who lined up today to have a famous guy hand them their slice of cheese and pepperoni.

Photo by Andy Uhler for KUT

A West Texas judge says she will not accept a plea deal between the Hudspeth County prosecutor and Willie Nelson’s lawyers because she says it’s not harsh enough. The deal would have required Nelson to pay a $500 fine and $280 in court fees for possessing marijuana.

Judge Becky Dean-Walker told the New York Times that county attorney Kit Bramblett let Nelson off easy because Bramblett is a huge fan.

“He’s supposed to file the charge he feels is appropriate,” Judge Dean-Walker said of Mr. Bramblett in a telephone interview. “Not what he feels he should do for his favorite singer. It is up to the judge to agree or not.”

Photo by Mose Buchele for KUT News

Correction: The original version of this article mistakenly placed the Violet Crown Cinema inside the W Hotel Building. It is, in fact, a block away at 434 W. 2nd St. We regret the error.

Earlier: With the W Hotel closed indefinitely after glass  from the high rise crashed to the ground below yesterday for the third time in just over two weeks, ACL Live is now having to cancel today’s edition of Wine Down Wednesdays. However, the future dates set in July are still on schedule.

Meanwhile, other businesses in the Second Street District, such as the Violet Crown Cinema, a block away on Second Street, remain open for business.

Pages