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
11:34 am
Tue September 9, 2014

Robert Faires Takes on 'Henry V'

Five years ago, Robert Faires staged his one-man version of Shakespeare's Henry V at the Off Center. Since then, folks have been clamoring for him to become Henry again. 

Now the time is right for Faires to return to the show, and Henry V: A Solo Version is onstage at the Long Center's Rollins Studio Stage. Just as in the previous staging of the play, it's Faires alone on stage (save for a few inanimate co-stars, such as a flashlight and an apple), telling the story and playing all the characters.

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Arts Eclectic
1:05 pm
Mon September 8, 2014

Jaston Williams Presents 'Maid Marian in a Stolen Car'

Jaston Williams

Jaston Williams has spent his entire adult life in the theater, so it's only natural that he'd eventually create a theater piece about his life in entertainment. Decades in the making, that show, 'Maid Marian in a Stolen Car,' is now onstage at Zach Theater.

A one-man show, 'Maid Marian' covers the earliest inklings of Williams' show business career (including his childhood renditions of showtunes in the backyard), up through his early days of professional acting (such as performing 'Hamlet' at local high schools), and some of his wilder times as a young adult in the 1970s (like his days in a Taos, New Mexico theater company).

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Get Involved
9:31 am
Tue September 2, 2014

Get Involved Spotlight: Health Alliance for Austin Musicians

From Health Alliance for Austin Musicians, this month's Get Involved spotlight non-profit:

HAAM provides access to affordable health care for Austin’s low-income, uninsured working musicians, with a focus on prevention and wellness.

Inspired musical performances happen every day of the year in Austin.  We pride ourselves on being the Live Music Capital of the World and are fortunate to have over 8,000 working musicians contributing to our city’s culture and economy.  We have seen firsthand the dedication and generosity of Austin’s musicians.  They inspire us to do more, do it better and perform at a level worthy of their talent and contribution.  Since 2005, HAAM has provided over $30 million in healthcare services to over 3,000 Austin musicians.  We can’t do it alone, HAAM’s staff, volunteers, network of service providers, sponsors and individual supporters are dedicated to keeping music in Austin alive and well.  We hope you will join us. 

HAAM Eligibility:  To be eligible for HAAM services applicants must be uninsured, working Austin musicians earning $29,175 or less annually (250% of federal poverty level).

 

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Arts Eclectic
9:50 am
Wed August 27, 2014

Experience Early Music with the Austin Troubadours

The Austin Troubadours have been playing early music together for the past six years, but the members of the band (including Slobodan Vujisic, Meredith Rudusku, Bruce Colson, Victor Eijkhout, Neli Vujisic, John Walters, and Oliver Rajamani) have all been studying and performing for much longer than that.

They strive for authenticity, using painstakingly reproduced period instruments and even period-appropriate costuming, so seeing and hearing the Austin Troubadours is as close as one is likely to get to experiencing the music of the Renaissance.

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Arts Eclectic
12:00 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

See 'Twin Infinity' at the Long Center

Austin's own homegrown science fiction epic The Intergalactic Nemesis has seen several incarnations over the years. It began life as a live show staged in a coffee shop, paying homage to '30s and '40s era radio serials. Later, audio recordings of the live show became actual radio serials (airing here on KUT in the late '90s).

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Arts Eclectic
4:51 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

'Wall Dependent?' at O2 Gallery

Charlotte Smith, "Wavelation II" (detail)

The group show "Wall Dependent?" is now in its final week at 02 Gallery and Project Space at the Flatbed Building. Curated by Troy Campa, the exhibition features the works of four Texas artists, Orna Feinstein, Jonathan Leach, Edward Lane McCartney, and Charlotte Smith.

After retiring from a successful career as an architect in the Houston area, Campa decided to follow an earlier passion of his, and embark on a career in the visual arts. Now living in Austin, he's partnered with Rene Ibarra to curate this show at the O2 Gallery. 

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Arts Eclectic
9:41 am
Wed August 20, 2014

See a Chekhov Double Bill at the Rollins Studio Theater

Breaking String Theater was founded several years ago with the mission of bringing the works of Anton Chekhov to the stages of Austin. But depending on which Chekhov scholar you ask, the author wrote either only four or five full-length plays, and Breaking String has now staged all of them.

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Arts Eclectic
11:00 am
Mon August 11, 2014

'Octia of the Pink Ocean' Is a Big Screen Cyberopera

 For the better part of the past twenty years, Chad Salvata and the folks at his production company, Ethos, have been creating what they call cyberoperas. These works, set in a fantasy world and all featuring elaborate, colorful costumes and sets, have up to now all been live stage shows. But the newest installment in the Ethos canon, Octia of the Pink Ocean, is something different.

Octia is the first full-length feature film created by Ethos. Like their other works, it's an opera, set in a world of fantastical locations and characters. So why film it rather than staging it? For several reasons, according to Salvata. For one, a film will give him the opportunity to share his work with a larger audience; it'll also let him preserve it for all time. Most importanly, perhaps, creating a film and using green screen technology allows him to include sets and characters that he could never create in a stage setting.

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Arts Eclectic
6:00 am
Mon August 11, 2014

Make (and Possibly Read) a 'Texas Confessional'

  Texas Confessional is an unusual art project, in that it's designed primarily to benefit the participants rather than an audience. In its physical form, Texas Confessional is a small black chapbook made up of actual anonymous confessions. These regrets are submitted online and then compiled and printed by editor/publisher Ty Harvey.

Only 100 copies of the books are made, and they're scattered around the state for strangers to find and read. Harvey strives to place the books in places where he believes they'll be read with some consideration rather than just skimmed and set aside. If you seek one out, you're unlikely to find one (there are 100 books and a little over 26 million Texas residents, so the odds aren't in your favor), but that's kind of the point. Harvey hopes that finding a confessional will be like seeing a shooting star or spotting a four leaf clover.

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Get Involved
5:00 am
Mon August 4, 2014

Get Involved Spotlight: American Heart Association

  From American Heart Associationthis month's Get Involved Spotlight nonprofit:

GO RED FOR WOMEN®

More women die of heart disease than all forms of cancer combined. Currently, some eight million women in the U.S. are living with heart disease, yet only one in six American women believes that heart disease is her greatest health threat. The Go Red For Women movement celebrates the energy, passion and power of women to band together to wipe out heart disease and stroke. We provide education, information and motivation, saving thousands of lives every year. | www.GoRedForWomen.org

POWER TO END STROKE®

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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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