Entertainment, live performance, food, cuisine, dining, theater, film, television, art, broadcasting, SXSW, and other arts and culture news in and around Austin and the Central Texas counties of Travis, Hays, Caldwell, Bastrop and Williamson
Jorge Renaud sits at a table in a dim room lit by string lights. He is surrounded by shelves of books, hunched over a box with dozens of letters from people in jail. He pulls out a letter from the stack and reads it aloud:
On this week’s program, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Margot Lee Shetterly, author of Hidden Figures: The American Dream And The Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Help Win the Space Race.
Author Jeff Abbott’s latest novel, Blame, is a mystery-thriller that takes place in an Austin suburb and is centered on Jane Norton, a high school student who gets in a serious car crash with her friend David.
The crash kills David and causes Jane to forget the past few years of her life. A suicide note written by Jane and found at the scene has many blaming her for David’s death.
"We had this idea about doing an all-female Richard III because there's just no roles in Shakespeare for women that are this big," says Rachel Steed, Last Act Theatre's artistic director. "There are some big roles, but they're mostly in the romantic comedies. As far as the dramas go, you have Lady MacBeth and that's kind of the biggest one, and so we really wanted to do Richard III with a female Richard."
Once that decision was made, it snowballed a bit and the company eventually decided to use an all-female cast, and then an all-female cast and crew.
A new fried chicken joint in the Mueller Development is bringing back a classic Austin brand with a heavy dose of nostalgia. We asked Austin American-Statesman restaurant critic Matthew Odam about his review of J.T. Youngblood's.
On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Angela Shelf Medearis, the founder and president of Diva Productions and an award-winning author of children's books and cookbooks.
"I've been wanting to direct this show for years," says The Normal Heart co-director Carl Gonzales, referring to Larry Kramer's acclaimed 1985 drama about the AIDS crisis. "And then we had a friend who passed away from pneumonia and we didn't know that it was partly due to the HIV/AIDS virus."
"He had a diagnosis and because of stigma ... he didn't seek out treatment," adds his co-director (and wife) Lacey Gonzales.
Some kids come home from school and hog the television remote or hide behind their smartphone for hours. Nine-year-old Angel Martinez, however, is usually found twisting a wrench on his “lowrider” bicycle or helping his dad wipe oil off car parts.
Scott Westerfeld is a bestselling author of books for both children and adults best known for his young adult series Uglies and Leviathan. While on tour with his new graphic novel Spill Zone, Westerfeld spoke with The Write Up host Owen Egerton about monsters, collaboration, teenagers and storytelling.
The musicians’ song fades over the audience, which is seated in a bright blue room with guitars hanging on the walls. It seems like a regular show somewhere in the Live Music Capital of the World. But this open mic is unique. It takes place at Recovery Unplugged, an in-patient treatment center for addiction.
From Swan Songs, this month's Get Involved spotlight nonprofit:
Swan Songs mission is to fulfill musical last wishes by organizing private concerts for individuals with a terminal illness or nearing the end of life. At their request, a favorite style of music or local musician is brought directly to the home or healthcare facility. The concert allows the recipient, family and friends to focus beyond the illness and come together through music.
Over the past 14 years, Forklift Danceworks has staged numerous large-scale shows that explore the choreography of everyday people and the beauty found in unexpected professions. Several of those shows have focused on the employees of City of Austin departments -- they've produced dances with the city's Sanitation Department, with Austin Energy, and Austin's Urban Forestry Division, to name a few.
"The Long Center has always, of course, been known as a performing arts center," says Gallery 701 curator Philip Rogers. "And they began to think ... that they wanted to introduce the visual arts." Rogers came on board and, after some recommended renovations to make the space more visual-art-friendly, began putting up art shows.
"One of the things that was stressed to me by the Long Center and by the funding entity was that they wanted to have it as much a community space as possible," Rogers says. "So each show has all been artists from the Austin area, and that will always be the case."
"I used to always talk to my mom about wanting to do something in the park -- something creative, something that would bring the community together," says NOOK Turner about the origins of Jump On It. Twenty years ago, when Turner was still a teenager, he was given the opportunity to create the summer concert series when he answered a citywide call for ideas on using Rosewood Park.
"As a woman and feminist, I'm constantly learning about feminism... and it was so surprising to find out, in my naive Sarah Marie brain, that this is not a new idea, women's equality," says actor Sarah Marie Curry. "It's not just the past fifty to one hundred years. And to find out that this woman had made a declaration of women's rights back during the French Revolution... to me is humbling and powerful and also sad."