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
4:27 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Hear Rising Stars Play With the Austin Civic Orchestra

This Saturday night at Bates Recital Hall on the University of Texas campus, the Austin Civic Orchestra is partnering with UT's Butler School of Music to present a free spring concert. Called the "Texas Risings Stars" concert, the event will feature four award-winning UT music students playing with Austin's own non-profit orchestra.

The first half of the concert will feature music students Benjamin Penzner, Grace Youn, Roman Yearian, and Eun-Mi Lee (no relation to the host of this program) leading the orchestra in selections of their choosing. For the second half of the presentation, the orchestra will branch out on its own, featuring two pieces chosen by orchestra director Lois Ferrari.

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Arts Eclectic
11:23 am
Tue April 22, 2014

See 100 Comedians at the Moontower Festival

Now in its third year, the Moontower Comedy and Oddity Festival is quickly becoming one of the largest comedy festivals in America. For this year's fest, around 100 comedians will come together from Austin and around the world to perform dozens of shows, including sketch, improv, and lots of standup comedey.

Headliners include The Kids in The Hall, Hannibal Buress, Mike Birbiglia, Maria Bamford and more. They'll perform at the Paramount Theatre, while several smaller venues host shows nearby.

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Poetry Month
8:39 am
Thu April 17, 2014

Video: Austin Notables Read Poetry by Kealing Middle School Students

To commemorate National Poetry Month, we've been airing poems by the students of Kealing Middle School's Blank Page writing program every day this April.

We're pretty proud of the lineup of talented Austinites we got to read those poems, including Patty Griffin, Dana Wheeler-Nicholson, Kathy Valentine, KUT's own John Aielli, and even Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell. Check out a video of our distinguished poetry readers below.

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Arts Eclectic
1:52 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Be a Part of the Latest Version of 'The Intergalactic Nemesis'

There have been many incarnations of The Intergalactic Nemesis over the years. The 1930s era science fiction story started life as a live radio serial staged in a coffee shop, then became an actual radio serial that ran right here on KUT many years ago. Then there was a revised version of the stage show, then a comic book series, and finally a live action graphic novel, which combines all the previous elements into a large-scale show that has toured the world.

But it’s never been captured for the screen until now. This Saturday at the old Austin City Limits Studio, The Intergalactic Nemesis will tape its newest incarnation before a live audience. The show will go back to its radio serial roots in a way, as it becomes a series of short web videos produced by KLRU and PBS. It'll also be available as a TV broadcast and a DVD.

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Arts Eclectic
10:35 am
Tue April 15, 2014

Soubrette Productions Presents 'Assassins'

For only their second outing, young theater company Soubrette Productions is taking on a challenging show: Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman’s Assassins, a musical that examines the motivations behind the actions of attempted and successful assassins of American presidents. It's long been a controversial work, as it examines the history of and parallels between the men and women who were convinced that their violent actions were justified or even necessary.

The subject matter isn't the only difficult aspect of Assassins. It's also a pretty elaborate production, with a large principal cast and detailed costuming, sets, and props. All of this makes the production a challenge for the folks of Soubrette, but a challenge they were eager to undertake.

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Arts Eclectic
2:29 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Fusebox Festival Celebrates Tenth Anniversary

Producer Ron Berry created the Fusebox Festival a decade ago as a way to foster communication between Austin's arts scene and the national and international artistic community. The conversation he started way back then is still going strong; Fusebox has grown every year and this year celebrates its tenth anniversary.

As has usually been the case, this year's festival will feature hundreds of artists and performers, with roughly a third of them hailing from Austin, a third from the rest of the USA, and a third from other countries. What is different about this year's festival is that all events will be free to the public (although for some shows, reservations are required).

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Get Involved
6:00 am
Mon April 7, 2014

Get Involved Spotlight: The Seedling Foundation

From the Seedling Foundation, this month's Get Involved Spotlight nonprofit: 

The Seedling Foundation serves children challenged by parental incarceration in the Austin area, using research­driven, school­based mentoring. Our volunteer mentors are matched with students from kindergarten through eighth grade based on common interests, to ensure a dependable, long­lasting relationship.

Seedling has made over 1,600 matches since the program’s inception in 2006, and has provided mentors to over 500 children in the 2013­14 school year alone. We hope to be able to improve the lives of even more students in the upcoming school year. We have a formal presence in 37 schools, and additional mentors in many others. Mentors meet with a student once per week, during the student’s lunch, to talk, play a game, or read a book together.

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Arts Eclectic
7:19 am
Wed April 2, 2014

ACC Names Balcones Poetry and Fiction Prize Winners

'We Sinners'

Every year, Austin Community College gives out two national writing prizes, one for poetry and one for fiction. Both prizes are open to any English language book, with a panel of judges awarding a $1500 prize to the winning author. 

This year's award winners were both selected for their first books and will both be in Austin on April 9 to read from their prize-winning works. Hanna Pylainen was awarded the Balcones Fiction Prize for her debut novel We Sinners, which explores the obscure Finnish religious sect in which Paylainen herself was raised in Michigan.

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Arts Eclectic
2:33 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

Mother Falcon's Music Laboratory

For the past few years, the band Mother Falcon has been operating a summer camp for young musicians. The many members of the band are still pretty young themselves, but when they were even younger, they spend their summers at various music camps, so the idea of starting their own seemed like a natural.

They aim to encourage creative musical thinking, guided by their camp motto, "Musicality over Technicality." During each week-long session, the students are divided up into bands with diverse instrumentation, where they'll hopefully encourage one another to experiment and broaden their creative horizons. Each sessions ends with a showcase concert by the kids, during which they'll play original songs, covers, and do a little jamming. 

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TWHM Week 4
5:37 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

Texas Women's History Moments (22 - 31)

Mary Couts Burnett

Wrapping up our month of moments, movements and contributions by Texas women we're highlighting contributions by the Mujeres and their effort for equality in the 1970s, the first American-Indian novelist and the tradition of Caddo pottery, plus a handful of individuals, including Sophia Alice Callahan, Mary Couts Burnett and Sarah Tilghman Hughes.  

This year’s additions will also include Lady Bird Johnson, Ruthe Winegarten, Annie Mae Hunt, Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton, Janis Joplin and Alberta Zepeda. 

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Arts Eclectic
2:06 pm
Fri March 21, 2014

'The Drawer Boy' Returns to Hyde Park Theatre

Michael Stuart, Jon Cook, and Ken Webster in 'The Drawer Boy'

Ten years ago, Hyde Park Theatre produced The Drawer Boy to great acclaim. Michael Stuart, one third of the three-person cast, took home a Critic's Table Award for best actor; Ken Webster won the B. Iden Payne best director award. It was also named Outstanding Drama by one group and Outstanding Comedy by the other. "It's that kind of script," Webster says.

Now they’re restaging the play, which centers on a young theater student who comes to study and work with two middle aged Canadian farmers. Stuart is returning to his role as Angus, a decade older and closer to actual age of the character. Webster is directing again, and this time also acting, as the curmudgeonly farmer Morgan.

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TWHM Week 3
3:21 pm
Tue March 18, 2014

Texas Women's History Moments (15 - 21)

Hortense Ward
Texas State Archives

This week we're highlighting contributions by Hortense Ward, the first woman admitted to the Texas bar, blues singer Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton and Indian Women in Texas, plus an influential folk artist, a musician now memorialized on a stamp, and other individuals.  

This year’s additions also include Ruthe Winegarten, Annie Mae Hunt, Sophia Alice Callahan, Alberta Zepeda and Janis Joplin. 

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Arts Eclectic
12:17 pm
Fri March 14, 2014

Josh Wechsler Brings Cabaret to City Theatre

Josh Wechsler has appeared onstage in numerous musicals and straight plays, but he really loves old-school cabaret,where a performer sings songs and chats with an intimate audience. That’s the vibe he’s going for with his new show, "Here With You! Unexpected Songs from Sondheim to Zeppelin."

When going through his repertoire to prepare for this show, Wechsler discovered a common theme in many of the songs he'd chosen -- that of community and shared experience. That theme works nicely with an intimate, cabaret-style show, and "Here With You!" came into being.

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TWHM Week 2
10:29 am
Wed March 12, 2014

Texas Women's History Moments (8 - 14)

Continuing our March look at Texas women who've kept the bar high, we're highlighting a First Lady, an iconic musician, a university president, a pioneer and other difference makers to our state and beyond.

This year’s additions also include Ruthe Winegarten, Sophia Alice Callahan, Molly Ivins, Lydia Mendoza, Alberta Zepeda and Mary Couts Burnett. 

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Arts Eclectic
2:57 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

Women of the World Poetry Slam Comes to Austin

The Women of the World Poetry Slam is a yearly festival that brings together 72 of the world’s best female poets for workshops, open mics, parties, and of course a multi-day slam poetry competition. This year, for the first time, it’s happening in Austin.

Things will kick off at the Spiderhouse on Wednesday, March 19, with the Last Chance Slam, where poets who are not yet registered for Women of the World can vie for a slot in the competition. Bouts will continue at the Spiderhouse and Love Goat on Thursday, March 20 and Friday, March 21; workshops and other events will also happen on those days. The festival will conclude with a championship bout at the Paramount Theater on Saturday, March 22.

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Get Involved
6:28 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Get Involved Spotlight: C5 Texas

C5 Texas is a 5-year leadership program for high-potential youth from low-income families.  We serve 300+ in north & central Texas, accepting 72 new youth each year.  Selection is based on performance, need, & readiness. 

The Mission

C5 changes the odds for high-performing youth from risk-filled environments, inspiring them to pursue personal success, and preparing them for leadership roles in college, work and their communities.  We encourage C5 youth to be Character-driven, Community-focused, Challenge-ready, College-bound and Committed to a better future.

The 

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TWHM Week 1
6:37 pm
Fri February 28, 2014

Texas Women's History Moments (1 - 7)

Credit Gerald W. Williams Collection-2008

For the first week of March we're highlighting contributions by Tejanas, African American and Native American women to Texas, plus a handful of individuals, including a couple Mollies and the namesake of our women in Texas history partner--Ruthe Winegarten.  

This year’s additions will also include Lady Bird Johnson, Sophia Alice Callahan, Annie Mae Hunt, Lydia Mendoza, Alberta Zepeda and Mary Couts Burnett. 

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Arts Eclectic
2:26 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

See 'The Whale' at Hyde Park Theatre

The tragicomedy The Whale won plenty of awards following its world premier in Denver in 2012. The play, by Samuel D. Hunter, centers around Charlie, who has been steadily eating himself into an early grave since the death of his boyfriend years earlier. Now close to 600 pounds and unwilling to seek medical help, Charlie looks for reconciliation with his long-lost daughter Ellie and understanding from his only friend, Liz.

It's a departure of sorts for  A Chick and A Dude, who are known for heavily-male casts, often featuring hitmen or other testosterone-heavy character types. This time out, director Melissa Livingston-Weaver actually has a cast with more women than men, which she admits makes a nice change of pace.

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Arts Eclectic
8:34 am
Wed February 26, 2014

See 'Charley's Aunt' in the Hill Country

The British farce Charley’s Aunt is currently onstage at Wimberley Playhouse. Originally performed in Suffolk, England in 1892, the play is a classic comedy, with mistaken identities, men in drag, and the sort of fast-paced action you expect from a good farce. 

By far the most enduring work by playwright Brandon Thomas, Charley's Aunt quickly became a classic, enjoying countless productions worldwide in the 122 since its birth. 

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Arts Eclectic
1:27 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

The Menuhin Competition Comes to Austin

The Menuhin International Competition for Young Violinists is kind of a big deal. It's been called "the Olympics of violin," which is apt, as it's a worldwide competition that brings together the best young talent in its field.

The biennial event was founded by famed violinist Yehudi Menuhin in 1983, and in the three decades since,  it’s been held all over the world but never before in America. That changes this week, however, as the 2014 Menuhin Competition gets underway right here in Austin, hosted by UT’s Butler School of Music.

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