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.

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Arts Eclectic
10:34 am
Wed January 28, 2015

A'Lante Presents Flamenco 'Prophecies'

This weekend, A’Lante Flamenco will present Prophecies, a music and dance production inspired by Kahlil Gibran’s 1923 book The Prophet.   

The book, a collection of poetic essays, addressed many of the issues of the day, as the residents of a village asked a foreign prophet for his insights on the human condtion. While many of those issues remain just as relevant 90 years after the book's publication, and are addressed in the show, the creative minds of A'Lante (husband and wife artistic partners Olivia and Isai Chacon) decided to tackle some more modern questions as well, such as negotiating friendship in the age of social media.

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StoryCorps
5:30 am
Wed January 28, 2015

Josh Ribakove & Margaret Koppelman on What Marriage Means

Josh Ribakove and Margaret Koppelman at the StoryCorps mobile booth

Josh Ribacove has only been married to his wife Margaret Koppelman for a few years, but they met nearly four decades ago. When they sat down in the StoryCorps mobile booth recently, Josh and Margaret talked about the day they met.

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StoryCorps
5:30 am
Mon January 26, 2015

Gertha Murphy & Rev. Marion Childress-Usher on Growing Up in Goodwill

Rev. Marion Childress-Usher and Gertha Murphy at the StoryCorps mobile booth

Gertha Murphy was born 101 years ago in Goodwill, Texas, a small community in Washington County. She is, in her words, a "dyed in the wool" Texan.

She recently sat down in the StoryCorps mobile booth with her daughter, Reverend Marion Childress-Usher. They talked about many things, and in this section of the conversation, Rev. Childress-Usher asks her mother about her childhood. 

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StoryCorps
5:30 am
Wed January 21, 2015

Skip Connett & Erin Flynn On the Dream That Never Died

Skip Connett and Erin Flynn at the StoryCorps mobile booth in Austin.

Skip Connett and his wife Erin Flynn are the owners of Green Gate Farms, an organic community farm in East Austin. They sat down together in the StoryCorps mobile booth recently to talk about their life together and how they ended up moving to Texas to become farmers. As a child, Erin never saw farming in her future, but for Skip, running a farm was the culmination of a lifelong dream.

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Arts Eclectic
7:00 am
Mon January 19, 2015

See 'DNA' at the Off Center

Mark Pickell, the artistic director for Capital T Theatre, first became aware of Dennis Kelly's dark comedy DNA several years ago; it'd been a big hit in London, but had been performed only once in America. He immediately knew he wanted to produce it with Capital T, but saved the script until he felt the time was right. 

When, as part of Capital T's "New Directions" program, Molly Karasch was set to make her Austin directorial debut, the time felt right. "When Molly came on board," he says, "I thought this would be a great fit for her." Karasch agrees, saying that "finding the humor in really dark things" is kind of in her wheelhouse.  

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StoryCorps
5:30 am
Mon January 19, 2015

J.J. Lara & Rose Pulliam On the 'Pink Elephant in the Room'

J.J. Lara and Rose Pulliam at the StoryCorps mobile booth in Austin.

J.J. Lara and Rose Pulliam are longtime friends; they met years ago at ALLGO, a statewide organization for queer people of color.

Lara and Pulliam recently sat down together at the StoryCorps mobile booth to chat about their lives and their friendship. In this portion of their conversation, Pulliam brings up the fact that Lara is out to everyone in his life, with a notable exception. His parents, who live in Lara's hometown of Brownsville, do not yet know he is gay.

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Arts Eclectic
9:48 am
Mon January 12, 2015

Help Decide the Plot of 'Deus Ex Machina'

Deus Ex Machina, a new co-production from Whirlygig, Fusebox, and Shrewd Productions, is not a show for folks who enjoy being passive observers to the action onstage. For this show, the audience takes an active role, essentially becoming the gods of Greek myth, deciding the fate of the players before them.

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Arts Eclectic
8:00 am
Fri December 26, 2014

Meet 'One Red Thread' Author Ernie Wood

Austin author Ernie Wood has spent years writing non-fiction books, magazine articles, and documentary film scripts. And now, he's published his first novel, One Red Thread.

It's the story of an architect, Eddy McBride, who discovers that he's able to travel through time. Using this ability, he reexamines his own family history, discovering more than he might have intended.

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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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