Mike Lee

Senior 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.

"I moved to Austin in... '97, with the idea of making it to UT, which never happened," says Salvage Vanguard co-artistic director Florinda Bryant. "And ended up auditioning for Laurie Carlos and meeting Sharon Bridgeforth. That particular audition quite honestly changed the course of my life."

That audition was for the premiere run of Bridgeforth's con flama; Bryant was cast in the show under the direction of Carlos. Bryant didn't know it at the time, but getting cast in con flama set her on a path of arts education that she probably never could have gotten at a college. "[It] gave me an opportunity to explore my craft and become an artist that I didn't even dream was possible," she says. "Working in the jazz aesthetic and working under... two such strong mentors."

In the past couple of years, Salvage Vanguard lost its longtime theater space on Manor Road, and Bryant lost one of her mentors when Carlos passed away. "And I was like, 'okay, I need other artists to be being trained in this particular methodology so that I can continue to do my work,'" Bryant says. "So it seemed really natural to be able to bring this show into our season as a way of honoring my elders, as a way of honoring Laurie Carlos, who's now one of my ancestors."

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 Monday and Wednesday mornings during Morning Edition and archived here.  

Walter Hokanson was recently joined in the StoryCorps mobile booth by his wife, Katherine. He shared some memories of his father, Jim, and talked about the long process of coming to terms with his death.  

Bret Brookshire

For the past several years, playwright Kirk Lynn has been fixing Shakespeare one play at a time. "We started with Fixing King John, we have fixed Timon of Athens, and now we're fixing Troilus and Cressida," he says. "The aim is to start with the least-produced plays. Although, like anything, when you're digging in, you know, a band's b-sides... you find 'Oh my God, this is so beautiful!’"

"You know, the inspiration initially was [that] I was jogging and I was listening to the White Stripes play [the Robert Johnson song] "Stop Breaking Down," and I thought, 'This is so great. I wonder what Robert Johnson would think of this song?'" Lynn says. "And I thought, 'I really want to cover something.' And of course, covering something in theater just means adapting it."

The StoryCorps mobile booth was in Austin this January, and we’re bringing you some of the stories that were recorded there. Locally recorded stories will air Monday and Wednesday mornings during Morning Edition and archived here.  

Lucille Harrell recently sat down in the StoryCorps mobile booth with Joni Rogers, a longtime family friend. Joni asked Lucille, who is 93, to talk a little about  growing up in Victoria, Texas during the Depression.

"It was started a few years back, and it's basically highlighting the history of Indians in America and their immigrant journey over to the United States," says Pooja Sethi of the Smithsonian exhibition Beyond Bollywood.

"I actually went a few years ago, when I was at my husband's cousin's wedding," she continues. "And I came out really emotional, because ... it was our history for the very first time. And I realized that Indian-American is a whole separate culture. I mean, you have India and you have America, but this is the first time that an exhibit actually told me that I'm a culture."