Arts and Culture

Simon Crow/Colchester 101 Magazine

This story comes from Texas Standard.

Steven Walker has thick-rimmed glasses and full beard. He’s wearing a pearl snap shirt with a Western pattern sewn on the pockets. He looks right at home in artsy East Austin.

“People are shocked when they come in and they see all these amazing American artists on the wall and then the guy in the beard and the cowboy shirt comes up to them and says, ‘yuh alright?’ (in a British accent). It is a bit weird for them I guess,” Walker says.

Walker’s journey to Texas wasn’t direct.

Photo courtesy of Endocrine Entertainment.

Austin has a brand-new film festival and it’s all about science fiction. The first-ever Other Worlds Austin Sci-Fi Film Festival is happening this weekend.

I know what you’re thinking – just what Austin needs – another film festival. But that’s exactly what Other Worlds Austin Director of Programming Bears Fonté thought.

“I had a science fiction film a couple years ago that wound up playing about 40 film festivals. So as I was going around the country with the film, I just saw so many great science fiction films and I was like, this isn’t playing Austin and I want to do that, I want to bring those films to Austin and give those filmmakers a chance to play in front of an audience that’s going to be really receptive," Fonté says.

Lionsgate Publicity

The third film in the popular “Hunger Games” series hits theatres on Friday. To drum up anticipation for “Mockingjay Part-1," the filmmakers are traveling the globe for special premieres. So far they’ve been to London, L.A. and Austin. 

KUT sat down with Director Francis Lawrence and Producer Nina Jacobson to talk about the film and why they made a stop in Central Texas.

Audrey McGlinchy/KUT

Nearly 300 people sat cross-legged in the Texas Capitol extension’s open-air rotunda, tracing wooden sticks around crystal, brass and iron bowls.

They were there to celebrate the Dalai Lama's birthday and – with the utmost tranquility – become the largest group to ever play Tibetan singing bowls, according to the Guinness Book of World Records

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.

Radio XYZ

My two-week visit to Ghana has come to an end. I was in the West African country with a program through the U.S. State Department and the International Center for Journalists.

The exchange program brought journalists from Ghana, Uganda, Nigeria and Kenya to the U.S. Then, a group of American journalists is visited those African countries. I'm grateful I was chosen to visit Ghana and in my short time there I learned much about the people and culture.

Along the way, I invited you to send me questions about things you'd like to know about Ghana. Here are the answers to a few of your questions:

Fox Searchlight Pictures

The Austin Film Festival has released the full lineup of films slated for this year's event. AFF says this 20th anniversary lineup features more world and U.S. premieres than ever before in the festival's history.

At the top of the lineup is "Inside Llewyn Davis." The new film by Joel and Ethan Coen won the Grand Jury prize at the Cannes Film Festival. It stars Oscar Isaac as the title character. Isaac will be in Austin for the festival. Academy and Grammy Award-winning music producer T-Bone Burnett will also be in attendance.

For variegated reasons – urban sprawl, large-scale farming, invasive plants and human thoughtlessness – wildflowers in America are vanishing.

Which is a shame.

In Texas, for instance, bloomspotting in the vast expanse of the Lone Starscape can be like birdwatching. Amid the dun and dust of desert and field, flora can surprise, delight, astonish.

Laura Rice, KUT News

Technology is improving – and fast. The next frontier for some software designers is the human brain.

William Hurley, or “whurley," is the co-founder of Austin-based mobile studio company Chaotic Moon.

1. Brain-Altering Software Already Exists:

"Currently there are things that are considered brain-altering software. Sites like Lumosity and things like that where you do brain training and different activities."

Minza Khan for KUT News

While some high school students idle over summer break, the 55 teens at the Longhorn Music Camp are learning the art of mariachi music. 

Ezekiel Robert Castro, a lecturer at the University of Texas’ Butler School of Music and director of UT’s Mariachi Ensemble, created the first ever mariachi camp at UT for students entering grades 10 through 12.

tugg.com

There’s a screening tonight in Austin for a movie you probably haven’t heard of.

It’s not part of a film festival or a private event. It's happening in prime time at the Alamo Drafthouse on Research Boulevard.

"’GrowthBusters' is an independent documentary film that brings attention to the fact that we’ve outgrown the planet and it’s time to embrace the end of growth," Director Dave Gardner said.

"GrowthBusters" is Gardner's first big documentary. As a small fish in the big pond of the movie industry, he has limited options for getting it on movie screens. So he turned to an Austin-based startup: Tugg.

flickr.com/publicenergy

University of Texas students, alumni and fans already bleed orange. But soon, they will also be able to smell like it.

University of Texas Creative Services says UT will be partnering with Masik Collegiate Fragrances to launch a scent exclusive to the Longhorns. The fragrance representatives will meet with students and have them determine the final scent. A release date for the fragrance has not been set.

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Clifford Ross’ passion for art has led him down an unusual path. Painting, sculpting, photography and camera-design have all led him to today, the day that his latest piece is displayed to the community.

His three and a half ton stained glass mural adorns the lobby of the new United States Federal Courthouse in Downtown Austin. Ross was approached to execute the project six years ago. His original vision of it did not include a mural, let alone one of such stature.

Dolph Briscoe Center for American History

The Dolph Briscoe Center at the University of Texas at Austin recently acquired a letter written by George Washington.

The letter was written to John Armstrong in 1769 – before the Revolutionary War. In it, Washington talks about his views of an incident resulting in the deaths of three Native Americans. Washington describes the killings as murders and calls them "villainy" and "mischief.”

facebook.com/oldaddyfilm

Update: Actor Jason Schwartzman presented UT RTF graduate Brian Schwarz with the gold Student Academy Award medal Saturday night.

He's only the second UT student to win 'gold' at the Student Academy Awards.

In his acceptance speech, Schwarz did take time to thank the RTF department. He called it a department with "great faculty" and "an enthusiastic student body." He also went on to talk about Austin's supportive film scene.

Comedian Bob Saget hosted the awards.

I'm sitting in my neighborhood bakery, the Upper Crust in Austin, Texas, trying to read my newspaper and enjoy an oatmeal muffin, but I can't stop staring at the photographs on the wall. A native man, his face painted weirdly, holds a great scowling iguana on his head; a boy lies on palm fronds with a colony of giant silk moth caterpillars ornamenting his neck; small brown hands hold a luminous blue morpho butterfly up to the camera. Put down your Danish rolls, people! How can anyone finish breakfast under the spell of these bizarre tropical photos? Who is this photographer anyway?

The news of Hostess' return to Emporia, Kan., sparked an ecstatic response in this beleaguered town — even though there will be only half as many jobs.

The new company, formed when investors bought Hostess' snack cake business, has hired longtime snack cake production veterans Pat Chambers and her husband, Bob, to help get the bakery here running again. Pat lost her job at the Hostess plant when it closed last November. Now, she sits beaming on her front porch, wearing a dirty Hostess work shirt.

Sorry bats, there’s been a new wildlife sighting in downtown Austin: a colony of honeybees is now living atop a high-rise boutique hotel.

In a small clearing between the network of pipes, condensers, fans and ducts that runs across the roof of the W Austin Hotel, ten bright beehives are humming. To create this buzz, the W partnered with Central Texas Bee Rescue, a local nonprofit on a mission to save the endangered honeybee.

Filipa Rodrigues, KUT News

It’s Memorial Day weekend – the first big weekend of the summer season and plenty of movies are battling at the box office.

Burt alongside the latest “Star Trek” and “Hangover” sequels is another movie: The 1933 Frank Capra film “Lady for a Day.” Film Critic Leonard Maltin is in Austin for its showing tonight at the Paramount Theater, as part of its summer film series.

Monofonus Press

A new kind of comic book launches today in Austin.

Scripted by Austinites Karen Davidson and Morgan Coy, with Polish artist Chris Chalik, “Shadow Healer” is the first segment of a graphic novel in four parts

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