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
11:10 am
Tue July 29, 2014

Summer Stock Austin Celebrates Ten Years

For the past decade, the folks at Summer Stock Austin have brought high school and college age theater students together with working professionals to stage multiple musicals in a short period of time.

Every summer, the kids and adults at Summer Stock rehearse, build sets, do publicity and technical work, and then put on a show in just a matter of weeks. And they do that for three shows at once. It's a bit of whirlwind, but the result is that the students learn a lot about the theater world and audiences get to see a few low-priced live musicals.

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Arts Eclectic
3:23 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

See 'Bright Now Beyond' at Salvage Vanguard Theater

Starting July 31, Salvage Vanguard Theater will present the world premiere of the new musical Bright Now Beyond. It's an adaptation of L. Frank Baum's 1904 book The Marvelous Land of Oz (which was the second in the author's long-running series of Oz books).

Bright Now Beyond is set decades after the events of The Wizard of Oz, and features a few characters  from that story (the Tin Man, the Scarecrow, and Glinda the Good all make appearences) along with many  new characters not seen in the classic film. Co-writer Daniel Alexander Jones sees all the characters — the familiar and the new — as being at a crossroads in their life; that's one of the things that drew him to the story.

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Arts Eclectic
6:07 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

See 'Oklahoma!' Free in Zilker Park

 

  The Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Oklahoma! debuted on Broadway 71 years ago, and has remained a popular classic ever since. It was a huge hit in its original Broadway run, spawned an Oscar-winning movie version in 1955, and has been performed countless times in theaters worldwide.

In addition to being crowd-pleasing, though, it was also a ground-breaking production, an important work in the development of the 'book musical,' in which the songs and musical numbers progress the story. That's more or less taken for granted in the modern musical, but it wasn't often the case before Oklahoma! took the stage. 

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Arts Eclectic
2:33 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

'Industry Night' Is an Old-School Variety Show

Chris Gibson is, by his own admission, obsessed with Dean Martin. And he has a particular interest in Martin's work in television, where he hosted a popular variety show for nine years beginning in 1965. It's shows like The Dean Martin Show and the later, slightly more kid-friendly The Muppet Show that inspired the new live theater variety show Industry Night.

Hosted by Gibson and his fellow Rat Pack fans Cami Alys and Kenny Redding Jr., Industry Night is a throwback to the old school variety show format, where the hosts and the audience all have a couple of drinks and enjoy the show together. There's always sketch comedy and songs from Cami and Kenny, and each show features guest performers including singers, dancers, comics, improvisers, jugglers, and more.

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Arts Eclectic
9:26 am
Wed July 16, 2014

'All's Well That Ends Well' at Dougherty Arts Center

In the works of William Shakespeare, there are comedies, there are tragedies, there are histories, and then there are the problem plays. These are the plays that defy easy categorization; they tend to have complex themes and ambiguous tones.

All's Well That Ends Well is one such play. It's possibly Shakespeare's darkest comedy, dealing not just with love and mistaken identity like many of his comedic works, but also with war and gender issues. 

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Get Involved
5:00 am
Mon July 7, 2014

Get Involved Spotlight: Animal Trustees of Austin

From Animal Trustees of Austinthis month's Get Involved Spotlight nonprofit:

For over twenty years, Animal Trustees of Austin (ATA) has dedicated itself to addressing one of our community’s most pressing needs: safe, affordable, high-quality veterinary care for pet owners of all incomes. We have a simple but powerful mission: to serve the animals and people of our community through compassionate, affordable treatment, and respect for all.

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Arts Eclectic
3:01 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

Get Inspired at The Tesla Project

By the time of his death in 1943, inventor and engineer Nikola Tesla had accumulated some 300 patents for his works. He's credited for work and ideas that resulted in countless innovations, most notably alternating current, or the electrical system that powers most of the devices in your home.

After his death, Tesla's legacy fell into relative obscurity for a time, but in recent years, he's been embraced by a new generation of scientists and engineers. At this point, he's become a bit of folk hero, seen by many as the epitome of the uncompromising genius.

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Arts Eclectic
3:01 pm
Fri June 27, 2014

Enjoy Literature and Booze at One Page Salon

Owen Egerton

A couple of years ago, enthralled with the idea of salons where writers could meet, drink, and discuss their work, Owen and Jodi Egerton decided to start one of their own. At first they'd invite other writers to their home, but quickly realized that this was an event that needed sharing.

Now, Owen hosts the monthly One Page Salon at the Whip In. The first Tuesday of every month, he invites a handful of fellow artists — fiction writers, screenwriters, songwriters, even photographers and improvisers — to join him onstage and share one page of a work in progress.

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Arts Eclectic
9:28 am
Fri June 27, 2014

Hear 'Music for Wilderness Lake' at Laguna Gloria

Music for Wilderness Lake. Courtesy Make Music New York, Inc.

The environmental music piece Music for Wilderness Lake was written 35 years ago by Canadian composer R. Murray Schafer. It's a work for twelve trombones with accompaniment by the wildlife that happens to be in the environment. 

Music for Wilderness Lake has traditionally been performed by a dozen trombonists arranged around a body of water, signaled by a director on a dock or in a boat. In the case of this Austin performance, the signaling will be done from a handmade canoe built by Austin woodworker Aldo Valdés Böhm.

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Arts Eclectic
1:05 pm
Fri June 20, 2014

See 'Cosmicomics' at the Long Center

Cosmicomics is the latest aerial show from the folks at Sky Candy. Produced in collaboration with writer/director Rudy Ramirez, it's an acrobatic theater version of the much-loved short story collection of the same name by Italian author Italo Calvino.

The stories, first published in 1965, each begin with a scientific fact or theory and from there spin a fantastical yarn based upon it. In Calvino's world, humans used to jump to the moon to gather cheese and pasta is the reason for human existence.

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arts eclectic
2:23 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Relive the '80s with 'punkplay'

If you're looking for a play with live music, live animals, and a healthy dose of '80s nostalgia, punkplay might be the show for you. The coming-of-age tale is set in the American suburbia of thirty years ago, in the age the cold war, Ronald Reagan, and punk rock.

The play (by Gregory Moss) centers around two teenage boys, Mickey, a disaffected high school student, and Duck, an angry young runaway who befriends him. Their lives and relationship are changed by their exposure to a vinyl punk record.

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Arts Eclectic
11:31 am
Fri June 13, 2014

See 'Memory Tag(s)' at Test Tube Artspace

Test Tube is an interesting new art space on the East Side. It's tucked away in Tillery Park, which one finds by going through East Austin Succulents, a nursery on Tillery Street. Once in the park, you'll find a handful of trailers that house boutiques and cafés, along with Test Tube itself.

Memory Tag(s), a new exhibition of multi-dimensional artwork, will open at Test Tube this weekend. It features new works by Andy St. Martin, designed to fit the space and inspired by personal losses he's suffered this year. Reflecting on the recent passing of both his mother and his brother, and on his status as an identical twin, St. Martin was inspired to create works that deal with dichotomies and mirror images.

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Arts Eclectic
2:25 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

Celebrate 'BettyFest' Every Thursday in June

Every Thursday this month, Coldtowne Theater will host BettyFest, which is billed as “a Night of Comedy by Comedians Who Happen to be Female.”  It's  a full night of comedy by folks with two X chromosomes, which is of course the chromosome where comedy is stored.

Each show will be hosted by a different stand-up comic and feature a rotating roster of opening improv acts along with headlining  improv troupe Patio Talk.

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Get Involved
6:00 am
Mon June 2, 2014

Get Involved Spotlight: Manos de Cristo

From Manos de Cristo this month's Get Involved Spotlight nonprofit:

Manos de Cristo’s Mission: Manos de Cristo empowers low-income individuals with a loving hand of assistance and welcomes all regardless of age, gender, race, or religious preference. Inspired by the Christian ideals of service and compassion, Manos promotes dignity and self-reliance by providing essential oral care, furthering educational development, and meeting basic needs with food and clothing.

Who we are: Manos de Cristo serves tens of thousands of people annually in the Greater Austin community and beyond who are underprivileged. We provide critically important services to our clients in order to enable them to walk on a road toward self-sufficiency. Our focus is on the critical components that build a healthy way of life for children, families, and individuals living in poverty. By providing dental care, adult educational tools, food and clothing and back to school basics for young students, we offer our clients a path to a better life.

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Arts Eclectic
11:55 am
Fri May 23, 2014

Enjoy Free Shakespeare in the Park

For the past three decades, Austin Shakespeare has partnered with the city to present free Shakespeare in Zilker Park. This year, they're finally producing a free-in-the-park version of artistic director Ann Ciccolella's personal favorite Shakespearean play, As You Like It.

It's one of the bard's most joyous works, including hallmarks of Shakespearean comedy such as mistaken identity, cross-dressing, and the search for true love. As You Like It features some of Shakespeare's best-loved characters and most memorable scenes, and in true romantic comedy fashion, a happy ending that includes no fewer than four weddings.

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Arts Eclectic
9:40 am
Thu May 22, 2014

See 'Chicago' in a Lounge Setting

  M. Scott Tatum and Julianna E. Wright have been producing theater together since their high school days. Their partnership continued through college and eventually culminated in the formation of their production company, Half and Half Productions.

The latest show from Half and Half, co-directed by Scott and Julianna, is the classic musical Chicago. Chicago's been onstage in Austin a few times as part of Broadway Across America, and there have been a handful of school productions of it, but this is, perhaps surprisingly, the first professional, locally-produced version presented to Austin audiences.

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Arts Eclectic
10:14 am
Wed May 14, 2014

See Children's Theater from Pollyanna Theatre Company

Austin's Pollyanna Theatre Company specializes in theater for young audiences. And in addition to creating original theatrical works for children, they also believe in theater as a teaching tool.

To that end, they stage shows in cooperation with the Long Center, which are aimed at young children and their families, and also venture into local schools for performances and education.

Their latest play, Plus and Minus: The Vacation Adventure by Katherine Gee Perrone, revisits popular characters Addy Plus and Minus Takeaway and teaches lessons about both math and acceptance.

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Get Involved
5:00 am
Mon May 5, 2014

Get Involved Spotlight: Girl Scouts of Central Texas

From Girl Scouts of Central Texas, this month's Get Involved Spotlight nonprofit:

Girl Scouts is the premiere leadership organization for girls that is primarily girl-led. Girl Scouting has always been about more than cookies and camp—it’s about building the leaders of tomorrow and beacons that will improve our communities and our lives. Girl Scouting provides girls with opportunities that they may not otherwise have.

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Arts Eclectic
6:04 am
Fri May 2, 2014

See Traditional Chinese Dance at April Rain's Spring Recital

Xiwei (Sherry) Chen was born in China and grew up dancing, so when she moved to Austin, it was only natural that she'd look for a way to share traditional Chinese Dance with her new community. That's why she created the April Rain School of Chinese Dance more than a decade ago.

April Rain teaches different styles of Chinese dance, including both formal and folk dances, and in performances, the students wear costumes that Chen brings back from her return trips to her home country. Many of the students stay with the program for years, passing on their beloved costumes to the newer and younger students as they grow up.

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Arts Eclectic
3:04 pm
Thu May 1, 2014

Austin's Newest Film Fest is 'Forbidden'

Next week, The Vortex will host the Forbidden Film Fest, a brand new festival that's meant to be an exploration of sexuality and eroticism in film. It's a three-day event, with a different program each night.

Night one will feature the Austin premiere of "Goodbye Gaulie Mountain," a new documentary about mountain top removal in West Virginia and the connection between land and body issues. Co-directors Annie Sprinkle and Beth Stevens will appear live via webcast.

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