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

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Longtime Austin publisher and civil rights activist Akwasi Evans has died. He was 71.

"Akwasi had a wonderful spirit. He was a fighter," said Travis County Commissioner Jeff Travillion, adding that Evans had been dealing with health issues. "He worked really hard to make sure that the East Austin African American community was represented and that it had a significant role in the development of Austin. He was one-of-a-kind and will be sorely missed."

The Best Songs Ever ... This Week, April 5, 2019

Apr 5, 2019
Juan Figueroa 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.

 

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Dr. Robert F. Jefferson Jr., associate professor of history at the University of New Mexico and author of Brothers in Valor: Battlefield Stories of the 89 African Americans Awarded the Medal of Honor.

Brothers in Valor is a history lesson on 89 men who were awarded the nation’s highest military award, the Congressional Medal of Honor.

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

About Preservation Austin

Preservation Austin has been our city’s leading nonprofit voice for historic preservation since 1953. We promote a culture where our historic landmarks, neighborhoods, and iconic venues and businesses are valued and protected. These places shape Austin’s unique character, making it unlike anywhere else in Texas or beyond. They inform our identity, defining our sense of place and civic pride. By celebrating Austin’s diverse heritage through education and advocacy, we work to make sure that our unique past is part of our shared future.

The Best Songs Ever ... This Week, March 29, 2019

Mar 29, 2019
Salvador Castro 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.

The Best Songs Ever ... This Week, March 22, 2019

Mar 28, 2019
Gabriel C. Pérez / 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 Kimmie Horne, an international jazz vocalist, model and actress.

When you hear Horne sing, you know she was born to be a jazz singer. She’s a descendant of the legendary songstress Lena Horne and the niece of the great singer/songwriter Cleveland Horne of the Fantastic Four.

Horne talks about the influence Detroit had on her becoming a singer, the jazz festival she started, being a spokesperson and her new CD.

“He was a kid in the middle of the '60s, and he learned from his father what it meant to really play the system, to see all the moves you could make,” Hal Roberts says of Frank Abagnale Jr., the character he plays in the musical Catch Me If You Can.

“And he really took that to heart and lived his best life, so to speak," he says.

Salvage Vanguard Theater is currently presenting Antigonick, a modern translation of Sophocles’ Antigone.

“The translation’s by Anne Carson, and she is a well-known poet and experimental fiction writer, and a photographer, actually,” says director Diana Lynn Small. “It was published in 2012, and it was published as a hardbound book. The pages are handwritten by her and there’s beautiful illustrations by Bianca Stone. She didn’t necessarily write it to be performed, but it is starting to be performed around the country by experimental companies and dance theater companies.”

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Dr. Shelia Brooks, founder and CEO of SRB Communications, an award-winning advertising and marketing agency based in Washington D.C. She is also the author of Lucile H. Bluford and The Kansas City Call: Activist Voice For Social Justice.

Brooks talks about becoming a journalist, her passion for the National Association of Black Journalists and women-owned businesses, writing a book about Lucile H. Bluford, and becoming an entrepreneur. 

Moyo Oyelola

Government leaders in Texas often tout the state as the best in the country for business, and they have some data to back that up. Texas is home to some of the fastest-growing cities in the U.S. But a new documentary debuting this week at South by Southwest asks viewers to look at the human cost of that growth.

Patrick Caven Brown

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Dr. Derrick R. Brooms, associate professor of sociology and Africana studies at the University of Cincinnati, and author of Being Black, Being Male on Campus: Understanding and Confronting Black Male Collegiate Experiences. 

His recent study concludes that black male initiative programs enhance their sense of belonging and success in college.

“We realized that we had a lot in common with each other,” Linzy Beltran says of her comedy partner, Kim Tran. “[We] both come from immigrant parents – her’s from Vietnam and mine from El Salvador – [and] we’re both in about the same place in our lives."

"There were just a lot of these, like, kismet moments when we started playing improv together," she says, "and we decided to come up with a sketch troupe, which is Glam Fam.”

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 Nathan Araya, a documentary filmmaker and founder of All Creative Digital. His current project is a series called "Growing Up In America." The first episode is "Mental Health Is Wealth."

Araya talks about becoming a filmmaker, why he chose mental health as a topic, his Ethiopian heritage, and why meaningful conversations build community and contribute value.

Juan Figueroa for KUT

The Austin Youth Orchestra dedicated its annual spring concert Sunday to former member Draylen Mason, who was killed one year ago this month by a package bomb that exploded at his East Austin home.

From United Way For Greater Austinthis month's Get Involved spotlight organization:  

Our Mission

We bring people, ideas and resources together to fight poverty in our community

The Best Songs Ever ... This Week, March 1, 2019

Mar 1, 2019
Lorena Peña 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.

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. concludes his conversation with Dr. Imani Perry, the Hughes-Rogers Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University, and author of LOOKING FOR LORRAINE: The Radiant and Radical Life of Lorraine Hansberry.

Perry talks about the death of Hansberry’s father, being under the watchful eye of the FBI, challenging President Kennedy and his brother, and her association with the many activists, writers and musicians of the time.

Street Corner Arts is presenting a production of Ayad Akhtar’s play Junk. “The play is based on the junk bond scandal back in the '80s, but what’s interesting about it is that … here we are thirty years later and you’d think that the financial world [and] the political world would’ve learned their lesson but we see a lot of the same behavior today,” says Rommel Sulit, the company’s associate artistic director and an actor in Junk.

“As far as men behaving badly, it seems like they haven’t learned.”

Updated at 11:36 p.m. EST

Director Peter Farrelly's Green Book, about a black musician (played by Mahershala Ali) touring the segregated South with a white chauffeur (Viggo Mortensen), won the Oscar for best picture. The film also won for supporting actor (Ali) and original screenplay.

Below is the full list of 2019 Academy Award winners, marked in bold.

Best picture

“It’s actually going to be a quite dynamic night,” says Cheryl Chaddick, the founder of Chaddick Dance Theater, about their upcoming winter showcase performance, Beneath the Mind. “We have three pieces, and one is a nightmare, one is a dream, and one is a memory of a life spent in marriage.”

That memory piece is choreographed by Chaddick and based on her own marriage.  “I lost my husband last year, and so I was just thinking about all the stages of when we started dating and how we behaved and then in the middle of the marriage and then the last part of the marriage,” she says. “So it’s a lot of reflection on that, and just the arc of that experience.”

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Dr. Imani Perry, the Hughes-Rogers professor of African-American studies at Princeton University and author of  LOOKING FOR LORRAINE: The Radiant and Radical Life of Lorraine Hansberry.

Perry talks about why she decided to write about Hansberry, what they both had in common, why A Raisin in the Sun has stood the test of time, and why Hansberry was more then a singular figure.

A choir for homeless men and women in Dallas has inspired street choirs across the country to form and collaborate. Its founder has formed a multi-city alliance and dreams of eventually creating a national street choir.

Austin’s OUTsider Festival will celebrate its fifth year this week, but when Curran Nault and the other founders were planning that first fest, they weren’t really thinking about year five.

“It’s such an unusual idea, the festival,” Nault says. “So I think we were just really thinking in the moment that we wanted to create something. And we were hoping that people would like what we created and then we would take it from there. And honestly, that’s how we’ve approached it every year since.”

The Best Songs Ever ... This Week, Feb. 15, 2019

Feb 15, 2019
Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / 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.

Rap Unzel, the new children’s play running at Austin Scottish Rite Theater this month, was born out of a brainstorming session last summer, during which writer Jeremy Rashad Brown and members of the theater discussed ideas for this year’s Black History Month.

The Best Songs Ever ... This Week, Feb. 8, 2019

Feb 8, 2019
Gabriel C. Pérez / 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.

Sarah Bird showing off the boots she received for the Texas Writer Award at the Texas Book Festival in 2014.
Courtesy of Sarah Bird

Austin author Sarah Bird will join the KUT Book Club this Monday, Feb. 11, for a discussion of her book A Love Letter to Texas Women.

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with retired television journalist Bernard Shaw.

Shaw covered many monumental 20th century events, from the Jonestown tragedy to Tienanmen Square. He helped launch news network CNN as its chief anchor.

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