Mike Lee

Producer, Arts Eclectic, Get Involved, Sonic IDs

Mike is a features producer at KUT, where he’s been working since his days as an English major at the University of Texas. He produces Arts Eclectic, Get Involved, and the Sonic ID project, and also produces videos and cartoons for kut.org. When pressed to do so, he’ll write short paragraphs about himself in the third person, but usually prefers not to.

Several years ago, he featured a young dancer on his Arts Eclectic program, and she was so impressed by his interviewing skills that she up and married him. Now they enjoy traveling, following their creative whims, and spending time with their dogs.

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Arts Eclectic
8:54 am
Fri December 19, 2014

Celebrate the Holidays at the Hideout

For the past year or so, the talented performers at the Hideout have been staging a weekly Big Bash, and all-star improv show that happens every Friday night at the downtown theater. In each show, a rotating cast of Hideout regulars  present a handful of games and sketches, followed by a longer-form improvised "movie" in the second half of the show.

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Arts Eclectic
2:39 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

City Theatre Presents a 'Reckless' Holiday

This holiday season, the folks at City Theatre are presenting Reckless, a non-traditional holiday-based dark comedy that the New York Times called "a bittersweet Christmas fable for our time."

On Christmas Eve, Rachel Fitzsimmons learns that her idyllic life is not so idyllic after all when her husband takes out a contract on her life. As things continue to unravel, she encounters killers, game show hosts, insane therapists and more. City Theatre artistic director Andy Berkovsky calls it "the perfect little holiday play."

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Arts Eclectic
2:12 pm
Tue December 9, 2014

Jason Phelps and Company Create "Feast of My Heart"

"Feast of My Heart" is a solo performance piece, but it's far from a one-person artistic effort. The show will be performed by Jason Phelps, who has called upon two dozen of his fellow artists to help create the vision.

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Get Involved
5:00 am
Mon December 1, 2014

Get Involved Spotlight: Capital Area Food Bank of Texas

From Capital Area Food Bank of Texasthis month’s Get Involved spotlight non-profit:

Mission:

To nourish hungry people and lead the community in ending hunger.

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Arts Eclectic
1:46 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

Enjoy 'This Wonderful Life' at Zach Theatre

For Martin Burke, appearing onstage at Zach Theatre has become something of a holiday tradition. He starred as Crumpet the elf in The Santaland Diaries for many years, and last year he undertook a one-man version of It's a Wonderful Life titled This Wonderful Life.

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Arts Eclectic
12:58 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

Meet 'Ghost Horse' Author Thomas McNeely

Thomas McNeely was named a Dobie Paisano Fellow in 2000, and has just published Ghost Horse, the novel he began during that fellowship. It's largely autobiographical, focusing on an eleven-year-old boy growing up, as McNeely did, in mid-1970s Houston. That was a time of great transition and social tension in Houston; McNeely remembers it as a time when society made it, "after a certain age... not okay anymore" to be friends with kids of other races.

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Arts Eclectic
4:01 pm
Mon November 10, 2014

See and Hear 'Yakona'

The award-winning documentary film Yakona, about the San Marcos River, tells its story without words; it's made up mostly of shots of the river itself, often from under the water. Without dialogue or narration, the film's music is often called upon to convey emotion or to inform the narrative

Yakona's score, by Austin composer Justin Sherburn, is therefore vital to the film, and this month, he'll perform that score live for two screenings of the documentary.

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Arts Eclectic
3:17 pm
Fri November 7, 2014

See '17,000 Observations' at Laguna Gloria

Lucky Dragons, Rendering for 17,000 Observations at The Contemporary Austin – Laguna Gloria, Austin, Texas, 2014

This Sunday afternoon, LA-based art collaborative Lucky Dragons will present a new site-specific work at the Contemporary Austin at Laguna Gloria. Titled 17,000 Observations, the work will comprise both a sculpture and a live music performance.

Sarah Rara and Luke Fischbeck of Lucky Dragons visited Laguna Gloria for inspiration (at one point camping onsite for 24 hours), and created the two components of the work specifically for the space. The sculptural aspect is a mobile made up of several round mirrors, which will rotate freely and reflect the surrounding forest in new and interesting ways. The music performance is inspired by the birds who live in and around Laguna Gloria; it'll be performed by several musicians placed at different spots. As one wanders the area, he or she will hear different elements of the piece.

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Get Involved
6:00 am
Mon November 3, 2014

Get Involved Spotlight: Hand to Hold

From Hand to Hold, this month’s Get Involved spotlight non-profit:

Mission: To provide comprehensive navigation resources and support programs to parents of preemies, babies born with special health care needs and those who have experienced a loss due to these or other complications.

Vision: To enable a network of families to offer support, comfort and understanding to one another, and to provide them with knowledge, information and resources to reduce the impact of prematurity and ensure the best outcome for their children and family by:

  • Empowering parents to advocate for their children
  • Encouraging individual, couple and family counseling when needed
  • Providing resources and information for managing insurance and financial issues
  • Educating parents about the challenges their babies might face and preparing them to meet those needs
  • Sharing support and resources necessary to help all children thrive and enjoy a full and satisfying life

Hand to Hold, a nonprofit based in Austin, serves NICU families nationwide, providing comprehensive navigation resources and support programs to parents of preemies, babies born with special health care needs and those who have experienced a loss due to these or other complications. Hand to Hold’s core service is matching experienced peer mentors with new parents who have had a child in the NICU to offer support and equipping parents with education they need to care for their baby, family and themselves.

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Arts Eclectic
12:40 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

See 'Ivy and the Wicker Suitcase' Live

Ivy and the Wicker Suitcase is a project years in the making.  The brainchild of Austin's Brian Beattie, Ivy isn't just an album and isn't just a book. It's a full-scale "audio movie" that tells the story of young Ivy Wire's adventures in the underworld through songs, sound effects, narration, and dozens of illustrations; the physical version of Ivy includes a CD and a hardcover book.

Beattie cast a who's who of Austin singers for the album, including his former Glass Eye bandmates Kathy McCarty and Scott Marcus, Bill Callahan, James Hand, Will Sheff, and Daniel Johnston; young Grace London plays the title role. 

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Arts Eclectic
3:28 pm
Mon October 27, 2014

Delve into 'The Strange Case of Edward Hyde and Dr. Jekyll'

Just in time for Halloween, Trouble Puppet Theater Company will unveil The Strange Case of Edward Hyde and Dr. Jekyll. It's of course inspired by the classic horror tale by Robert Louis Stevenson, but it's not at all a straight adaptation.

For Trouble Puppet founder Connor Hopkins, finding a way to put an original spin on well-known stories is a welcome challenge. In the case of 'Jekyll and Hyde,' Hopkins and his team found a way to take a tale with a very well-known twist and make the story surprising and unexpected.

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Arts Eclectic
9:34 am
Tue October 21, 2014

Celebrate 75 Years of 'The Grapes of Wrath'

Musician Rob Halverson has long been a fan of John Steinbeck's classic 1939 novel The Grapes of Wrath. So when it occurred to him last year that the book's 75th anniversary was quickly approaching, he decided to commemorate the occasion with a little help from Austin's artistic community.

Halverson's Grapes of Wrath 75 Project is a far-reaching and ongoing endeavor. It includes a cd and dvd of performance pieces and interviews about and inspired by the novel, as well as a journey undertaken by Halverson (in partnership with the National Steinbeck Center) in which he retraced the Route 66 journey of the novel's Joad family.

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Arts Eclectic
7:00 am
Tue October 14, 2014

Pollyanna Commemorates 50 Years of the Civil Rights Act

Pollyanna Theater Company specializes in educational plays for young people. Performing in area schools and at the Rollins stage at the Long Center, they strive to produce works that will entertain kids while also teaching a lesson. 

This year, they've partnered with the LBJ Presidential Library to create an original play for kids to commorate the 50th anniversary of the landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act.

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Arts Eclectic
3:43 pm
Mon October 13, 2014

Attend the Cinema Touching Disability Film Festival

Now in its eleventh year, the Cinema Touching Disability Film Festival aims to give exposure to films that portray disability in an honest and respectful way. The festival includes a short film competition, which has grown over the years to now include entrants from all over the world. 

The centerpieces of the fest, though, are the feature films that are shown on Friday and Saturday night. This year's Friday night film is Musical Chairs, which tells the story of a dance instructor who, after losing the use of her legs in an accident, learns to continue dancing in her wheelchair. Friday night also features a live performance by mixed ability dance project Body Shift.

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Get Involved
9:29 am
Mon October 6, 2014

Get Involved Spotlight: Prevent Child Abuse Texas

 From Prevent Child Abuse Texas, this month's Get Involved spotlight non-profit:

Mission: Prevention of Child Abuse & Neglect In All Its Forms For All Children Throughout Texas.

Vision: One in which every child is free from abuse and neglect, safely nurtured by a loving family.  This vision is one in which every child lives in a community committed to preventing child abuse; to providing supports for parents, particularly new parents, which enable them to be effective parents; and to promoting the participation of all sectors of the community in a variety of efforts to prevent child abuse.

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Arts Eclectic
10:54 am
Thu October 2, 2014

Nettie Reynolds Celebrates the Big 5-0

Writer and storyteller Nettie Reynolds has been performing in public for the past twenty years or so, and this weekend she'll be presenting her second full-length sort-of-one-woman show.

Though Reynolds is doing most of the heavy lifting, it's not exactly a solo show, as she'll be joined by a few of her friends -- Walter Daniels and Kacy Crowley will each sing a song, and Cate Berry and Bernadette Noll will each tell a story. 

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Arts Eclectic
8:22 am
Sat September 27, 2014

See 'Still Now' at City Theatre

Shrewd Productions specializes in new works, particularly those that explore women's voices. That makes 'Still Now' a good fit -- the drama, by playwright Katie Bender, is making its world premiere with this production, and was recently included on the Kilroy List, a survey of excellent new plays by female playwrights.

'Still Now' is centered around Annie, a dancer who left America after the events of 9/11 to study Butoh in japan. Years later, she is diagnosed with stage four cancer and returns to Butoh as a way to cope with the ongoing destruction of her own body.

The play is about Annie coming to terms with the end of her own life, and also about the effect it has on those around her. As actor Joseph Gorlock says, "It's about loss, but it's about triumph and love throughout, as well."

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Arts Eclectic
9:55 am
Wed September 24, 2014

'SoundSpace' Explores the Construction of Sound

Twice a year, the Blanton Museum of Art hosts the SoundSpace series, in which an eclectic mix of musicians and dancers perform among the artwork on display. The next installment of the series, titled Sound Construction, takes place this Sunday afternoon.

Organized by SoundSpace artistic director Steven Parker, Sound Construction will explore timbre by focusing on newly constructed instruments and out of the ordinary musical techniques. The centerpiece of Sunday's installment will be the premiere of Symmetrographia, a new work by Austin composer Travis Weller. In addition to some traditional stringed instruments, Symmetrographia features several instruments invented and built by Weller himself.

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Arts Eclectic
10:30 am
Tue September 23, 2014

Kneel Before 'The Metal Queen'

Loaded Gun Theory's new original work The Metal Queen: Kneel Before Her Dark Majesty was inspired, in an indirect way, by a play staged last year by a different Austin theater company.  After seeing and loving Capital T Theatre's production of the violent dark comedy The Lieutenant of Inishmore, which featured a mostly-male cast, the creative minds of Loaded Gun Theory wondered "why women couldn't also have a lot of fun wielding guns...and making bad decisions," in the words of co-writer Julie Winston-Thomas.

That thought was the genesis for The Metal Queen, in which women wield guns and make increasingly poor decisions. The dark comedy centers around middle aged mothers Gretchen and Diane; after Gretchen's husband commits suicide, she decides to avoid despair by focusing her energies on a plan to get Diane out of debt by robbing every house in their neighborhood.

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Arts Eclectic
12:48 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

See 'Young Frankenstein' in Wimberley

R. Michael Clinkscales and Lariena Brown in 'Young Frankenstein'
Credit Bill Peeler

Mel Brooks' 'Young Frankenstein' was released 40 years ago, and remains one of his most-loved films. Co-written by Gene Wilder, it's a loving parody of the classic Universal monster movies of the '30s (particularly, of course, the Frankenstein movies).

The musical version, officially titled The New Mel Brooks Musical Young Frankenstein, opened on Broadway in 2007 and has quickly become a fan favorite. Like the original, it's a send up of old monster movies, but it takes the film's love of old-school vaudeville and burlesque up a few notches, coming complete with dancing girls and a fresh batch of vaudeville-style jokes.

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