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

“I didn’t know I was going to like painting, but it’s the color that I gravitate toward, so my stuff is all pretty loud,” says artist Marilyn Swartz, who’s getting ready to show a year’s worth of new paintings at the upcoming annual art show and sale put on by Art From The Streets, Austin’s long-standing art therapy non-profit.

“We’ve been working with the homeless and at-risk in Austin, Texas for twenty-six years. We’ve had shows all through the community, and this is our big annual show,” says Art From The Streets executive director Kelley Worden. Artists who participate in the program have free access to art supplies and studio space three days a week. “We work all year, gathering artwork and working with our artists in open studio. They paint [and] create beautiful pieces of work and have a culmination show, and that’s what this show is.”

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. revisits an interview with Robert C. Maynard, journalist, newspaper publisher, editor and former owner of the Oakland Tribune newspaper.

Maynard, who died in 1993, was a charismatic leader who changed the face of American journalism, built a four-decade career on the cornerstones of editorial integrity, community involvement, improved education and the importance of the family.

“Now, we did this show almost thirty years ago at Capital City Playhouse, a formerly legendary theater in Austin, Texas that no one remembers,” says Turk Pipkin of his upcoming show with old friend Butch Hancock. “So, back by lack of popular demand after thirty years.”

It’s been a while since the last installment of their “two-man one-man show,” but Butch and Turk have remained close friends since meeting decades ago in Austin. “I met Turk right out here – you know, two hundred yards from here, out on the Drag,” Hancock says. “And he was out there juggling and I was totally amazed and went up and talked to him and from that day on, we’ve known each other.”

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The anticipation of holiday gatherings can be a tense time for some. Unresolved disputes among family members or friends can make for difficult times together during what is supposed to be a festive time of year. But what if one short phrase could help dissipate some of that tension?

Poet and novelist Carrie Fountain reads W.S. Merwin's poem "Thanks" and talks with KUT's Rebecca McInroy about how complicated it is to feel and show gratitude in a complex and troubled world.


The Best Songs Ever ... This Week, Nov. 16, 2018

Nov 16, 2018
Julia Reihs / 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. 

“When I inherited these works and artist friends and people in the art world in Washington, D.C. would come in, they’d say, ‘Oh, who did this?’ And I’d say, ‘Oh, that’s my grandma,’” says Marni Roberson, the granddaughter of 19th century American painter Anna Stanley. “But, you know, she wasn’t a little old lady in tennis shoes.”

Anna Stanley’s art career wasn’t long – she died at only 42 – but it was prolific and world-spanning. She was born in Ohio, but painted in Paris, Holland, Asia, the Philippines, and across the U.S., including an extended stay in San Antonio. Her works were diverse; she painted landscapes and portraits, and showed a notable affinity for capturing the lives of working women she encountered in her travels. Many of her works are currently on display in the Neil-Cochran House Museum’s exhibition Through Her Eyes: The Impressionist Work of Anna Stanley.

Jose Pagan

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Leon Robinson, actor, singer/songwriter, and film producer. He’s known to the world as "Leon."

Leon talks about becoming an actor, playing iconic personalities, his band, and why it’s important to tell African American stories.

A Conversation With Deon Hogan

Nov 11, 2018

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Deon Hogan, cancer survivor, Michigan high school track record-holder, college All-American and former special agent with the U.S. government. He is the author of Sometime Rain Will Show You The Light: A Parable By A Cancer Survivor.

Hogan talks about growing up in Detroit, attending the University of Kansas, being a special agent and surviving cancer.

The Best Songs Ever ... This Week, Nov. 9, 2018

Nov 9, 2018
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The staff at our sister station KUTX 98.9 scour the earth to bring listeners the best music. Each Friday, they share three of their favorite songs on Morning Edition. 

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon

The Autism Society of Texas will roll out the red carpet this weekend for what Jacquie Benestante says is a peek behind the curtain of everyday life for families of people on the autism spectrum.

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Mahisha Dellinger, author, reality TV host and founder and CEO of Curls Beauty Brands. Founded in 2002 in Elk Grove, Calif., Curls is a leader in the natural hair care industry.

Dellinger talks about growing up in Sacramento, leaving her corporate job, being a single mother, launching Curls and assisting African-American women with their businesses.

The Best Songs Ever ... This Week, Nov. 2, 2018

Nov 2, 2018
Pu Ying Huang for 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.  

From The Trail Foundation, this month's Get Involved spotlight organization:

Led by Executive Director Heidi Anderson, The Trail Foundation (TTF) is dedicated to preserving, enhancing, and connecting the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail for the benefit of all. The Butler Trail is the 10-mile lush, urban path in the heart of Austin that meanders along the edges of Lady Bird Lake, encompasses 199 acres of green space, and gets more than 2.6 million visits every year. Since its founding in 2003, The Trail Foundation has achieved restoration and beautification projects to the Trail’s infrastructure and environment, while honoring the original vision of the Trail’s founders and ensuring its vibrancy for generations to come.

"We did this two years ago, [and] it was a regional premiere of the work," says Michael McKelvey, Doctuh Mistuh Productions’ artistic director. “A friend of mine sent the soundtrack and I thought it was one of the most inventive things I’d seen, so I brought it here to Austin.”

That 2016 production of Nevermore: The Imaginary Life and Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe was a big hit for Doctuh Mistuh, selling plenty of tickets and winning a handful of awards. Given the popularity of the show and it’s appropriateness for the Halloween season, it made sense to bring Nevermore back this October.

In this edition of This Is Just To Say, poet and novelist Carrie Fountain talks with Palestinian-American poet Naomi Shihab Nye about her writing practice, her role as a teacher and mentor, and her new book, Voices in the Air: Poems for Listeners.

"This show examines what it means to be human and to feel all the things that humans feel and experience all the things that humans feel but have outsiders impose labels on you that make you essentially subhuman," says Trinity Street Players artistic director Ann Catherine Zárate of the musical Side Show.

"And so it plays with those ideas of 'Who's an insider? Who's an outsider? How do we all function together?' And ultimately, 'What does it mean to live in community and to feel and experience love and friendship?'"

The Best Songs Ever ... This Week, Oct. 26, 2018

Oct 26, 2018
Julia Reihs / 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. 

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Tawan Davis, chief executive officer and managing partner of The Steinbridge Group.

Davis talks about growing up in Portland, Ore., taking advantage of his Ivy League education, his commitment to working-class families, and why investing in the urban single-family home market makes good business sense.

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.

Sisters Jackie McDonald and Jeannie Barnes spent some time together in the StoryCorps mobile booth, sharing memories of growing up together and of their loving parents, Fred and Donna Thomas.

Poet and novelist Carrie Fountain talks with poet Lisa Olstein  about trusting her writing process, her roots as a poet, and her haunting and beautiful poem "This Is Our American America Here Is Our Son."


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. 

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Kelly Jenrette and Melvin Jackson Jr. They are the first African-American married couple to both earn Emmy Award nominations in the same year.

Jenrette and Jackson talk about their Emmy nominations and acting careers, how the industry is changing, the importance of staying focused, and juggling two careers. 

"It's about motherhood, it is about female sexuality and the veneration of women... particularly looking at how women are shaped and formed in patriarchal, hierarchal institutional environments, says Tryouts director Diana Lynn Small, who goes on to say that "it's totally unconventional and it breaks almost all the rules. And in many ways it's more of like a play poem... we looked at it like it's a theatrical painting."  Then she adds, "It's so wild and bonkers."

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.

Sandra Kroger spent some time in the StoryCorps mobile booth with her daughter, Carolyn Kroger Estes. They shared a lot of family stories, including Sandra’s memories of being a child during World War II, and her meeting her lifelong friend Sandy.

The Best Songs Ever ... This Week, Oct. 12, 2018

Oct 12, 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.  

"It was a group process -- the seven of us sat down and worked on every aspect of it as a collective process," says Alexis Herrera of the show Rosita y Conchita. "So it's been really beautiful to see that from the beginning to now, here we are three years later, still going strong. And [the] show's still getting great response and we still love doing it."

Poet Ada Limón talks with poet and novelist Carrie Fountain about her new book, The Carrying, and what it means to write intimately as a woman.

We also hear from her snoring wonderdog Lily Bean.


Zeta Phi Beta

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Valerie Hollingsworth-Baker, the new international president of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. and director of the Inforce Systems Division at New York Life Insurance Co. in New York.

Hollingsworth-Baker talks about becoming a Zeta, the sorority's concerns about the human condition, its national and local programs, and being a child prodigy.

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.

Carol Walker was joined in the StoryCorps mobile booth by her son David. She remembered stories of her long career doing service work overseas. She began her work in 1954 and it has inspired her family to travel and embrace the world.

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