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 play all the characters in whatever world or scene we’re in at the time, and Quinn plays me,” says Shannon Stott, who is one half of the improv troupe Twins. “And if you haven’t figured it out by now, Quinn is a white male and I am a black female.”

Stott’s partner Quinn Buckner adds with a laugh, “If you haven’t figured it out yet, by the… magic of radio…”

Twins came into being when Stott and Buckner (who are not actually twins, but are actually best friends), both improv veterans, started discussing a longstanding but frustrating truth about the improv world.

Courtesy of Anne Helen Petersen

Think about your to-do list.

Now, think about how many things on that list have rolled over from last week ­­­– or maybe even last month. It could be something as easy as dropping off a package at the post office, but for some reason it just sits there on that ever-growing list of errands, haunting you.

The Best Songs Ever ... This Week, Jan. 18, 2019

Jan 18, 2019
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. pays tribute to the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. King would have turned 90 yesterday.

Featured on the program are the voices of Coretta Scott King, former United Nations Ambassador Andrew Young, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, former President Barack Obama, and civil rights activist D'Army Bailey.

 

“So it’s taken me about 11 years to complete this film,” Richard Whymark says of his documentary Fiore: In Love With Clay.

“I started when my wife first mentioned Fiore as a family friend who would be the sculptor who would come and visit their home in D.C.," he said. "And she would have a cigar in one hand, whisky in the other, and somehow sculpt members of the family or friends. And she would tell stories about her character as either being very bombastic or very reflective and artistic. She was a great artist and had an artistic temperament as well, and I thought, ‘that sounds like a good story to document.’”

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Michael Gibson, co-founder and chairman of Clear View Group, LLC, an African-American investment firm based in Austin. In 2016, CVG bought JETMag.com and EBONY, the iconic African-American lifestyle magazine.

Gibson talks about the investment firm, how life has changed after the purchase of EBONY and future plans for the brand.

Courtesy of Trymaine Lee

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Trymaine Lee, correspondent with MSNBC. In 2012, he joined NBC News and MSNBC as a national reporter contributing online and on air for NBC News and MSNBC digital.

Lee talks about moving from print to TV, covering major events like the 2018 midterm elections, what the results mean and the shift of power in the U.S. House of Representatives.

This Is Just To Say: Ellen Bass

Jan 7, 2019

On the first 2019 episode of This is Just To Say, poet and novelist Carrie Fountain discusses the importance of metaphor, conveying experience and more in Ellen Bass's "I Could Touch It" with the author herself.

Poet and novelist Carrie Fountain wraps up a year of This is Just To Say and rings in 2019 with Kim Addonizio's "New Year's Day"!

From American Gateways, this month's Get Involved spotlight organization:  

American Gateways champions the dignity and human rights of immigrants, refugees and immigrant survivors or persecution, torture, conflict, and human trafficking through exceptional immigration legal services at no or low cost, education, and advocacy. We empower immigrants to know their rights and be their own best legal advocate, and for some we provide full legal representation.  Last year, over 10,000 immigrants from nearly 70 countries were empowered through the information and assistance they received from us.

To hear Darren Peterson tell it, his long-running holiday show The Mutt-Cracker (SWEET!) was created by his love of both dog tricks and puns. “Well, I love doing dog shows, and the name ‘Mutt-Cracker’ occurred to me, and how can you not just base a show around that name?” he says. “And then the ‘sweet’ part – once I thought about ‘Mutt-Cracker (Sweet),’ that just turned into its own little thing. Who’s not going to love that?”

Happy holidays! In this wholesome edition of This is Just To Say poet and novelist Carrie Fountain joins Girl Scout Troop 42607 from Lee Elementary School to discuss the meaning of "Crying" by Galway Kinnell.


On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. concludes his conversation with Frank Washington, the founder and managing editor of AboutThatCar, a website devoted to all things automotive.

Kirk Tuck

Director Nat Miller isn’t a stranger to Zach Theatre’s Mainstage productions – The Santaland Diaries is his third – but he’s spent more time directing shows for Zach’s Theatre for Families series. But despite Santaland’s decidedly more adult nature, he says the jobs are pretty similar. “I find that Santaland Diaries and doing plays for young people aren’t that different,” Miller says with a laugh. “It is on top of a toyland set. There just happens to be some swearing involved.

In Portland, Ore., Patrick Donaldson's Christmas party is swinging. Although the living room is filled with lights, flowers, champagne and bacon-wrapped appetizers, people keep leaving the comfy couches and drifting back to the kitchen. And it's not a big kitchen.

"It's about 10-by-12, I would say — small," Donaldson acknowledges of the cooking space in his 1949 duplex. "Sometimes, I've been at parties where the kitchen is even smaller than this, and everybody is pinned in there."

Carlos Morales / Marfa Public Radio

This year, you might find Santa’s village – or something like it – in a retrofitted RV outside the True Value hardware store in Alpine.

You won’t find any reindeer inside. No tinsel or Christmas lights. Just a ham radio on a countertop. But that’s all you need to talk to Santa.

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Frank Washington, the founder and managing editor of AboutThatCar, a website devoted to all things automotive.

Washington talks about mobile devices in cars, the new leaders in the industry, and hybrid and self-driving cars.

“We didn’t see this coming at all,” says Blue Genie co-owner Dana Younger about the enduring appeal of the group’s annual bazaar. “I think one of our employees one year said ‘You know what? Y’all should do a Christmas show.’ And we said, ‘Oh, OK, we’ll do a Christmas show.’ And we put some things up, we invited some friends to put some things up, and we were shocked when things sold.”

After the surprising success of that first show, the folks at Blue Genie said, “’That was great. That was fun. We should do that again,’”  Younger says.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The end of the year is a traditional time for gift-giving — lots of gift-giving. Americans typically spend between $800 and $1,000 on holiday gifts.

Holiday shopping can be fun and enjoyable, but why do some of us excessively spend and stress-out trying to acquire and give the "perfect" holiday gifts?

Julia Reihs / 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

For Ryan Crowder and the other folks at Penfold Theatre Company, producing old fashioned radio plays has become a holiday tradition. “This is our seventh Christmas radio show to do,” Crowder says. “We started out in downtown Round Rock in this little British tearoom. We took a radio script that was already adapted – of It’s a Wonderful Life – and had such a great time… we said, ‘Oh, we have to do this again.’”

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Carol Fulp, president and CEO of The Partnership, Inc., and author of Success Through Diversity: Why The Most Inclusive Companies Will Win. She has spent more than four decades in corporate America. 

Fulp talks about embracing diversity in all areas of an organization, building a stronger brand, what the Partnership does and how to prepare a company for shifting demographics.

This holiday season, Ventana Ballet will present its debut performance, a new, interactive, re-imagined version of The Nutcracker called The Watchmaker’s Song. For producers AJ Garcia-Rameau and Dorothy O’Shea Overbey, it’s a project that’s been a long time coming.

On this edition of In Black America, reporter/producer KUT's DaLyah Jones fills in for host John L. Hanson Jr. and speaks with Lance Scott Walker, author of Houston Rap Tapes: An Oral History of Bayou City Hip-Hop.

Walker talks about growing up listening to hip-hop, why he decided to collaborate with photographer Peter Beste, the unknown secrets of Houston hip-hop, and why this history needs to be known. 

Playwright Sarah Ruhl reads Max Ritvo's poem "Refuge for Sarah" from her book, Letters From Max: A Book of Friendship, and talks with Carrie Fountain about their relationship, his poetry, and  the value of empathy and friendship today.


From NAMI Austin, this month's Get Involved spotlight organization:  

NAMI Austin will celebrate 35 years of providing no-cost classes and support groups to families and individuals living with mental health conditions in 2019. In the last 5 years, NAMI Austin’s programming has expanded to include free site-based mental health education and training in schools, workplaces, faith communities and with law enforcement. Because mental health challenges impact 1 in 5 people in our community, the need for our programs is increasing.

Our Impact

In 2018, NAMI Austin impacted more than 21,000 people in Austin and surrounding counties who participated in our free education, support and advocacy programs. Our 2018 Impact Report and Strategic Plan reflect where we are today and what we hope to accomplish in the next three years as we expand our programs to serve the needs of our growing community.

The Best Songs Ever ... This Week – Nov. 30, 2018

Nov 30, 2018
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUTX

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

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. revisits an interview with the honorable George T. ‘Mickey’ Leland, congressman from the 18th District of Texas, and he served twice as chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Tony Hoagland was an American poet who passed away on Oct. 23, 2018.

On this episode of This is Just To Say poet and novelist Carrie Fountain reads his poem "Disappointment" and talks with KUT's Rebecca McInroy about Hoagland's life and legacy.


“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.”

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