Life & Arts

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

Death of a Salesman is considered by many to be the quintessential America play, so it might not seem like a natural fit for Irish director Peter Sheridan. But Sheridan is excited about the opportunity to direct the play for Austin Playhouse. "They were talking to me about Bloomsday, because obviously the fit between me and Bloomsday seems kind of perfect -- it's a play set in Dublin... but I wasn't available for those dates," Sheridan says. "And they just happened to say to me, 'We're doing Death of a Salesman next,' and I said, 'God, I'd love to do that!'."

And when he learned that Austin Playhouse was planning to do the play with an African-American cast as the Loman family, Sheridan grew even more eager. "I thought... that could be a really, really interesting take on the story," Sheridan says. Directing Death of a Salesman also meant that he'd get to work with Austin actor Marc Pouhé, who's playing Willy Loman in this production. "This is a great, great stage actor," Sheridan says of Pouhé. "He's as good as I've worked with in forty years."

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.’

At Austin's Hideout Theatre, improv is performed several nights a week, and much of the work presented there is theatrical style. "A lot of improv on stage is just... a blank stage, no costumes... but this is kind of the opposite end of the spectrum," says Hideout co-owner Roy Janik. "We're still improvising the content and the characters and the plot and all that stuff, but we'll oftentimes know what genre we're playing in, we'll tell one long story, and we'll have costumes and lights and props."

Courtesy of Amanda Eyre Ward

Austin author Amanda Eyre Ward has written novels about undocumented youth and immigration, AIDS and death row. A review of one of her novels described her as “a leading author of socially conscious fiction.” So, what might readers expect from her newest novel, The Nearness of You?  

Ward tells KUT’s Jennifer Stayton, she shattered her own image of what a novel “should” be about when writing this one.

On this edition of In Black America, we listen back to a 1988 conversation with Pulitzer-prize winning author Alex Haley.

Color Arc Presents 'A Girl Named Sue'

Feb 13, 2017

Writer and actress Christine Hoang has been working on A Girl Named Sue for over a year. It started in the holiday season of 2015, when Hoang hosted a trunk show of BettySoo's jewelry (in addition to her career as a singer/songwriter, BettySoo sells handmade jewelry on Etsy). After showing her wares, BettySoo played a couple of songs.

We get live music recommendations from KUTX program director Matt Reilly.

Ricardo B. Brazziell/Austin American-Statesman

A new steakhouse in downtown Austin aims at offering a contemporary, lively atmosphere to enjoy classic dishes. We asked Austin American-Statesman restaurant critic Matthew Odam for his review of Red Ash.


On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with J. Paul Montgomery.

From the orange groves in Florida in the 1940's to the U.S. Army in the 1950's through the 1980's, Montgomery fought prejudice for being a dark-complexioned African American man, even within his own family.

Screenshot via @DanHanzus/Twitter

Turns out, Tom Brady can’t have everything.

The New England Patriots’ quarterback cemented his place in NFL history last night – becoming the first quarterback to win five Super Bowls and bringing the Pats back from a historic deficit to defeat the Falcons in the first overtime Super Bowl ever.

But, while Brady was celebrating the team’s win, his jersey was stolen at NRG Stadium in Houston. 

Sean Daigle

We get some live music recommendations for this weekend from KUTX program director Matt Reilly. 


Rodolfo Gonzalez/Austin American-Statesman

What used to be a printing building on South Lamar has been converted to a glitzy new restaurant-bar called Eberly. Does the food live up to the decor? We ask Austin American-Statesman restaurant critic Matthew Odam about his review.


From this AGE of Cental Texas, this month's Get Involved spotlight non-profit:  

Mission:

AGE of Central Texas tackles the challenges of aging with expert solutions, and is dedicated to senior adult and family caregivers to help make aging a journey of compassion and strength.

Who We Are:

BBC / The Andrew Marr Show

Academy Award-winner and sometime-Austinite Matthew McConaughey has waded into political commentary, of sorts. While appearing on the BBC’s "Andrew Marr Show" to promote his new movie “Gold,” the actor was asked if left-leaning Hollywood stars should give Donald Trump a break.

"It's pretty layered," Caroline Reck says of Glass Half Full Theatre Company's take on Don Quixote. "We traditionally do puppets, often mixing them with human performers, and that's definitely the case this time." The idea behind Don Quixote de La Redo isn't as simple as just adding puppets to the classic Cervantes tale, though. 

Library of Congress and Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin

Documents tell us how much people were sold for during our country's history of slavery. But a new book goes further, looking at how people who were enslaved were valued throughout their entire lives.

Ricardo B. Brazziell/Austin American-Statesman

The chef behind three Jack Allen's Kitchen locations in the Austin-area has a new restaurant, and the focus is seafood. We spoke to Austin American-Statesman restaurant critic Matthew Odam about his review


Since 2008, UT's Landmarks public art program has brought dozens of works of art to the University of Texas, turning the campus into a 433 acre art gallery. The latest of those works is O N E E V E R Y O N E, created for the Dell Medical School by multimedia artist Ann Hamilton.

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks the Honorable Robert L. Wilkins, United States District Judge for the District of Columbia, and author of ‘Long Road to Hard Truth: The 100 Year Mission to Create the National Museum of African American History and Culture.’

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When the nominees for the 2017 Academy Awards were announced this morning, La La Land racked up 14 nods, tying records held by Titanic and All About Eve.

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