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.

Nathan and Molly Wiebe met as teenagers, dated for several years, and have now been married for a decade. They recently sat down together in the StoryCorps mobile booth to talk about their life together, and the fact that Nathan has been living with the genetic disease cystic fibrosis since childhood.

Sisters Jennifer Connor and Joyce Culbertson recently sat down together in the StoryCorps mobile booth. They talked about a lot of things, and shared some memories of growing up with their mom and dad, both of whom are deaf.

From Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texasthis month’s Get Involved spotlight non-profit:

Mission:

The Big Brothers Big Sisters mission is to provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one mentoring relationships that change their lives for the better, forever.

Vision:

The Big Brothers Big Sisters vision is that all children achieve success in life.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.  

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.

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.

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.

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.

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."

"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.

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.

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.

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.

See and Hear 'Yakona'

Nov 10, 2014

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.

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.

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.

Pages