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
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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Arts Eclectic
7:00 am
Tue October 14, 2014

Pollyanna Commemorates 50 Years of the Civil Rights Act

Pollyanna Theater Company specializes in educational plays for young people. Performing in area schools and at the Rollins stage at the Long Center, they strive to produce works that will entertain kids while also teaching a lesson. 

This year, they've partnered with the LBJ Presidential Library to create an original play for kids to commorate the 50th anniversary of the landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act.

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Arts Eclectic
3:43 pm
Mon October 13, 2014

Attend the Cinema Touching Disability Film Festival

Now in its eleventh year, the Cinema Touching Disability Film Festival aims to give exposure to films that portray disability in an honest and respectful way. The festival includes a short film competition, which has grown over the years to now include entrants from all over the world. 

The centerpieces of the fest, though, are the feature films that are shown on Friday and Saturday night. This year's Friday night film is Musical Chairs, which tells the story of a dance instructor who, after losing the use of her legs in an accident, learns to continue dancing in her wheelchair. Friday night also features a live performance by mixed ability dance project Body Shift.

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Get Involved
9:29 am
Mon October 6, 2014

Get Involved Spotlight: Prevent Child Abuse Texas

 From Prevent Child Abuse Texas, this month's Get Involved spotlight non-profit:

Mission: Prevention of Child Abuse & Neglect In All Its Forms For All Children Throughout Texas.

Vision: One in which every child is free from abuse and neglect, safely nurtured by a loving family.  This vision is one in which every child lives in a community committed to preventing child abuse; to providing supports for parents, particularly new parents, which enable them to be effective parents; and to promoting the participation of all sectors of the community in a variety of efforts to prevent child abuse.

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Arts Eclectic
10:54 am
Thu October 2, 2014

Nettie Reynolds Celebrates the Big 5-0

Writer and storyteller Nettie Reynolds has been performing in public for the past twenty years or so, and this weekend she'll be presenting her second full-length sort-of-one-woman show.

Though Reynolds is doing most of the heavy lifting, it's not exactly a solo show, as she'll be joined by a few of her friends -- Walter Daniels and Kacy Crowley will each sing a song, and Cate Berry and Bernadette Noll will each tell a story. 

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Arts Eclectic
8:22 am
Sat September 27, 2014

See 'Still Now' at City Theatre

Shrewd Productions specializes in new works, particularly those that explore women's voices. That makes 'Still Now' a good fit -- the drama, by playwright Katie Bender, is making its world premiere with this production, and was recently included on the Kilroy List, a survey of excellent new plays by female playwrights.

'Still Now' is centered around Annie, a dancer who left America after the events of 9/11 to study Butoh in japan. Years later, she is diagnosed with stage four cancer and returns to Butoh as a way to cope with the ongoing destruction of her own body.

The play is about Annie coming to terms with the end of her own life, and also about the effect it has on those around her. As actor Joseph Gorlock says, "It's about loss, but it's about triumph and love throughout, as well."

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Arts Eclectic
9:55 am
Wed September 24, 2014

'SoundSpace' Explores the Construction of Sound

Twice a year, the Blanton Museum of Art hosts the SoundSpace series, in which an eclectic mix of musicians and dancers perform among the artwork on display. The next installment of the series, titled Sound Construction, takes place this Sunday afternoon.

Organized by SoundSpace artistic director Steven Parker, Sound Construction will explore timbre by focusing on newly constructed instruments and out of the ordinary musical techniques. The centerpiece of Sunday's installment will be the premiere of Symmetrographia, a new work by Austin composer Travis Weller. In addition to some traditional stringed instruments, Symmetrographia features several instruments invented and built by Weller himself.

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Arts Eclectic
10:30 am
Tue September 23, 2014

Kneel Before 'The Metal Queen'

Loaded Gun Theory's new original work The Metal Queen: Kneel Before Her Dark Majesty was inspired, in an indirect way, by a play staged last year by a different Austin theater company.  After seeing and loving Capital T Theatre's production of the violent dark comedy The Lieutenant of Inishmore, which featured a mostly-male cast, the creative minds of Loaded Gun Theory wondered "why women couldn't also have a lot of fun wielding guns...and making bad decisions," in the words of co-writer Julie Winston-Thomas.

That thought was the genesis for The Metal Queen, in which women wield guns and make increasingly poor decisions. The dark comedy centers around middle aged mothers Gretchen and Diane; after Gretchen's husband commits suicide, she decides to avoid despair by focusing her energies on a plan to get Diane out of debt by robbing every house in their neighborhood.

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Arts Eclectic
12:48 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

See 'Young Frankenstein' in Wimberley

R. Michael Clinkscales and Lariena Brown in 'Young Frankenstein'
Credit Bill Peeler

Mel Brooks' 'Young Frankenstein' was released 40 years ago, and remains one of his most-loved films. Co-written by Gene Wilder, it's a loving parody of the classic Universal monster movies of the '30s (particularly, of course, the Frankenstein movies).

The musical version, officially titled The New Mel Brooks Musical Young Frankenstein, opened on Broadway in 2007 and has quickly become a fan favorite. Like the original, it's a send up of old monster movies, but it takes the film's love of old-school vaudeville and burlesque up a few notches, coming complete with dancing girls and a fresh batch of vaudeville-style jokes.

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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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