Life & Arts

Life & Arts
6:42 pm
Mon August 11, 2014

Actor-Comedian Robin Williams Dies At 63

Williams performs onstage in November 2012 during the 6th Annual Stand Up For Heroes at the Beacon Theatre in New York City.
Mike Coppola Getty Images

Originally published on Tue August 12, 2014 6:19 am

Oscar-winning actor Robin Williams was found dead in his California home Monday. He was 63.

His death is under investigation, according to a press release from the Marin County Sheriff's Office. Emergency personnel arrived at Williams' home in Tiburon, Calif., at noon Monday.

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Life & Arts
7:17 am
Tue July 29, 2014

'Two Step' Is An Intense Texas Thriller (Update)

James Landry Hébert plays a convincing con man in "Two Step."
Courtesy "Two Step"

Update: Austinites have another chance to see "Two Step" on the big screen. After showing at SXSW and the Little Rock Film Festival, the Austin Film Society is screening Austin-based writer/director Alex R. Johnson's dark feature.

KUT talked with Johnson about the film back in March.

Original Story (March 10, 2014): The Texas drama "Two Step" debuts at SXSW Film. It is Austin-based writer/director Alex R. Johnson's first feature-length film. It has a "No Country for Old Men" vibe – along with a memorable villain who you're better off not running into.

Johnson is pretty new to Austin. He talked with KUT about "Two Step" and how moving here inspired him to make it.

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Life & Arts
7:08 am
Fri July 18, 2014

Ethan Hawke Talks 'Boyhood,' 'Predestination' and His Texas Ties (Update)

Ethan Hawke says it's hard to say what "Predestination" is about. He calls it an "old-fashioned" sci-fi.
Ben King

Update: Austin filmmaker Richard Linklater's much-anticipated 12-year film project "Boyhood" opens in theatres across Austin today. KUT talked with star Ethan Hawke when he was in town for South by Southwest.

Original Story (March 11): Actor Ethan Hawke is in not one but two films that headlined SXSW Film this year.

“Boyhood” is the 12-year-long film project about growing up by Austin filmmaker Richard Linklater. “Predestination” is a time-travel sci-fi thriller.

KUT sat down with Hawke to talk with him about the films and about his Texas ties – Hawke was born in Austin.

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Life & Arts
10:47 am
Thu July 17, 2014

‘Breaking Bad’ Star Bryan Cranston on Walter White, LBJ and the JFK Assassination (Update)

Bryan Cranston at an event Thursday at the LBJ Presidential Library and Museum. Cranston plays LBJ in "All the Way" – a play on its way to Broadway.
Cody Rea for KUT

Update: Those who weren't able to check out the play "All the Way" during its run on Broadway will have a second chance when Bryan Cranston reprises his role of President Lyndon B. Johnson in an HBO adaptation (an air date has not yet been announced).

Cranston researched the role at the LBJ Library and Museum in Austin – and it must have paid off – he won a Tony Award for his performance. The play itself also won a Tony. It was written by Austin playwright Robert Schenkkan. Click Here to check out KUT's interview with Schenkkan.

Highlights from a November press appearance with Cranston are below:

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Best of Austin
4:14 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

Chronicle 'Best of Austin' at 25: What's Changed, What's the Same & How It's Different Than Yelp

A collection of Austin Chronicle "Best of Austin" covers from over the years – including ones featuring Lance Armstrong and Willie Nelson.
Austin Chronicle

If there’s one thing you hear consistently from Austinites, original and transplanted, it’s how much the city has changed over the years.

One interesting gauge of that might be the Austin Chronicle’s “Best Of Austin” poll, which is now in its 25th year.

Chronicle Special Issues Editor Kate X Messer has been around for almost 20 of those years. She sat down with KUT to talk about what she's seen over that time.

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KUT's Summer School
3:58 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

Austin Kids Making Claymation Movies Teach Us How to Make One Too

Gabriella Meshako and Chiara Morel take pictures of their clay characters.
Laura Rice/KUT

With school out of session, lots of kids are filling their time with summer camps. But they’re not just playing with water balloons and eating s’mores. At the Austin Film Festival summer camp, some kids are learning how to make claymation movies.

KUT showed up on day four of the five-day camp … so we asked some kids if we could borrow their notes:

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Books
5:30 am
Tue July 8, 2014

Listen: Austin Author Jeff Abbott on the Ins and Outs of His New Thriller 'Inside Man'

"Inside Man" is Austin author Jeff Abbott's fourth novel featuring CIA-trained operative Sam Capra. This one ends in a cliffhanger, but Capra fans take heart: Abbott says he has already signed contracts to write the fifth and sixth Sam Capra novels.
Leslie Abbott Photography.

Good guys and bad guys are always easy to sort out in thrillers, right? Not so fast. In the murky waters of Jeff Abbott's latest novel Inside Man, the roles are not always so clear cut or easily defined.

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Life & Arts
10:29 am
Fri June 13, 2014

Listen: Henry Winkler Breaks Down the Meaning of Life (and Austin BBQ)

Henry Winkler enjoyed barbeque and watched the bats at the Congress Avenue Bridge while in Austin. He also doled out some advice.
Credit Jack Plunkett

Henry Winkler – better known as Arthur Fonzarelli in iconic 1970s sitcom “Happy Days,” and Barry Zukerkorn in cult favorite "Arrested Development" – was in Austin recently, accepting the first-ever Achievement in Television Excellence Award from the ATX Television Festival.

Winkler talked about his battle with dyslexia, the struggle to get casting directors to see beyond the Fonz, and his love for Austin barbecue. He also offered a lot of advice.

We've collected his best advice in this 90-second clip. Listen: 

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Life & Arts
7:08 am
Mon June 2, 2014

Halt and Catch Fire: New AMC Program Focuses on Texas' Silicon Prairie

"Halt and Catch Fire" premiered on AMC Sunday night. SXSW audiences got a sneak peak in March.
Tina Rowden

Texas is the setting of a new AMC show touted as the next “Mad Men.”

Halt and Catch Fire” made its television debut last night. The show follows an unlikely group of computer geniuses in the early 1980's in the so-called "Silicon Prairie."

KUT talked with the show’s creators – Chris Cantwell and Chris Rogers – at a busy downtown Austin restaurant when they premiered the program at South by Southwest.

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Life & Arts
1:08 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

UT Filmmaker Wins Top Prize at Prestigious Cannes Film Festival (Update)

Writer/Director Annie Silverstein reacting to her win at Cannes.
facebook.com/pages/SKUNK/501052066618739

Update: Annie Silverstein's "Skunk" won first place in the Cannes Film Festival Cinéfondation competition.

Her film was singled out from 1,631 entries coming from 457 film schools worldwide. Silverstein's win comes with a €15,000 prize – that's more than $20,000. She is also guaranteed that her first feature film will be presented at the Festival de Cannes.

Original Story (7:17 a.m.): The Cannes Film Festival is one of the world’s most prestigious. Films that screen there are often instantly propelled to a level they might otherwise never reach.

Annie Silverstein is learning all about that first hand. She earned her Master of Fine Arts degree in UT's Radio-Television-Film Department in 2013. Her thesis film “Skunk” was one of 16 chosen from over 1,600 film school submissions.

Silverstein will find out today if “Skunk” will be picked as one of the top three.

Annie Silverstein stopped by KUT to talk about the journey of “Skunk.”

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Life & Arts
2:47 pm
Sun April 27, 2014

Award-Winning UT Student Films on Display in Annual Showcase

Filmmaker Elizabeth Chatelain says she wanted to make a film about her sister's story for some time and the thesis film project for her master's program provided the opportunity to do so.
Elizabeth Chatelain

It has been a good several months for the University of Texas at Austin's Radio-Television-Film Department. Recent graduate Brian Schwarz won a Student Academy Award for his short film "Ol' Daddy," Texas Ex Elizabeth Chatelain won a prestigious documentary award for "My Sister Sarah" (story below) and now Annie Silverstein is going to Cannes with her thesis film "Skunk."

"My Sister Sarah" and "Skunk" are among the short films chosen to be highlighted in this year's Longhorn Denius Film Showcase – which features work by graduate and undergraduate students.

The showcase is free and open to the public. It starts at 6 p.m. at the Student Activity Center Auditorium on the UT campus.

Original Story (March 3, 2014): Elizabeth Chatelain graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a Master’s degree from the Radio-Television-Film Department last May. In December, she won an International Documentary Association Award for her short film – "My Sister, Sarah."

The documentary follows Chatelain’s sister – Sarah – a recovering meth and crack addict who has felt true pain and tragedy. 

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Austin
8:02 am
Fri April 25, 2014

PHOTOS: Mack Brown, Jack Ingram & Matthew McConaughey Raise Funds for Kids

Actor Matthew McConaughey is one of the founders of MJ&M, a foundation that aims to empower kids.
Laura Rice, KUT News

Three of Austin’s most famous residents kicked off an effort last night to raise money for charities that help young people.

Former UT-Austin Head Football Coach Mack Brown, county musician Jack Ingram and Academy Award-winning actor Matthew McConaughey make up “Mack Jack and McConaughey" – or MJ&M.

The trio’s inaugural fundraising campaign in 2013 raised more than $1 million.

"We thought this would be a home run," Mack Brown said. "Because when you get Jack Ingram and Sheryl Crow and when you get Matthew McConaughey to come in, it's special. And it's all for kids."

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Life & Arts
7:01 am
Fri April 11, 2014

Movies Unplugged: Fest Brings Live Music to Silent Film for One Night in Austin

A screening/performance in New York of Alexander Payne's film "Carmen."
Kim Schlechter

Seth Boustead started the Sound of Silent Film Festival in Chicago almost 10 years ago. It features newly composed music performed live to modern silent films.

Think about that: newly composed music to modern silent films.

Boustead is in Austin for a one-day event featuring this concept. He sat down with KUT to explain what it's all about.

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Austin
3:08 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Artists Restore Iconic Guadalupe St. Murals, Despite Limited Funds

A view of the "Austintatious Mural," known to many for its depiction of Texas forefather Stephen F. Austin.
Andrew Huygen for KUT

The original artists behind two iconic murals in West Campus are restoring their work after the murals were defaced with graffiti. But the costly repairs to the University Co-op mural could be delayed, due to a steep price tag.  

While the Co-op pitched some money towards repainting the murals, they couldn't provide enough for the entire $30,000 overhaul. So the murals' artists have taken to the Web, starting an online campaign to fund the restoration – although a fast-approaching deadline could sideline the effort.

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Sports
9:47 am
Mon April 7, 2014

PHOTOS: Police Activities League of Austin Youth Boxing

Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT

The Police Activities League (PAL) of Austin hosted a boxing show on Saturday, April 5, at the Pan Am Rec Center.

Boxers age eight to 21 participated in 25 matches throughout the afternoon. "PAL is designed to support at-risk youth in our community by offering these children a safe place to gather and enjoy educational and social benefits, as well as athletic opportunities," organizers write. "The goal of the program is to prevent and combat juvenile delinquency and to promote and improve the moral and civic standards of youth."

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Life & Arts
8:31 am
Mon April 7, 2014

VIDEO: 13th Annual Lonestar Rod and Kustom Round Up

Hot rods, custom cars and car enthusiasts from all over the country gathered in Austin this weekend for the 13th annual Lonestar Rod and Kustom Round Up event. 

Local car club "The Kontinentals" hosted the two-day event, which took place April 4 and 5 at the Travis County Expo Center. 

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Movies
12:18 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

Wes Anderson on Austin, His Actors and 'The Grand Budapest Hotel'

Until the SXSW screening, Texas Ex Wes Anderson hadn't been back to Austin in years.
Martin Scali

Wes Anderson's "The Grand Budapest Hotel" is now in theaters across the country.

A South by Southwest audience got a sneak peek last week. The highly-stylized filmmaker himself even made a trip to Austin for the screening and an extended Q&A. That's something SXSW Film Head Janet Pierson said she'd been trying to make happen for about a decade. 

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SXSW 2014
7:36 pm
Sat March 15, 2014

SXSW Filmmaker Spotlight: Austin's Journey to Live Music Capital in 'Road to Austin'

Kris Kristofferson serves as a sort of tour guide throughout the film.
FORMAX Group

If there’s one thing Austinites love – it’s hearing people talk about how great Austin is. The film “The Road to Austin” features a lot of that. It premiered at South by Southwest Film.

"The Road to Austin" is part documentary, part concert and features a lot of well-known voices – from Kris Kristofferson and Joe Ely to a couple of KUTX DJs – all talking about what makes the Austin music scene so special and how it became the live music capital of the world.   

KUT talked with "The Road to Austin" producer/director Gary Fortin:

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SXSW 2014
9:39 am
Sat March 15, 2014

SXSW Filmmaker Spotlight: Exploring Truths, Lies and Cults in 'Faults'

A young woman is being pulled in several different directions in "Faults."
Jack Zeman

Writer/Director Riley Stearns grew up in Pflugerville – but has been making his living in L.A. He says bringing the movie to SXSW Film for its World Premiere is like a homecoming.

“Faults" follows a cult deprogrammer who is hired by some parents to kidnap and de-program their brainwashed daughter. But as the film progresses, the cult deprogrammer – and the audience – start to question who is really the most negative influence.

KUT talked with Stearns about his film:

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SXSW 2014
2:09 pm
Fri March 14, 2014

SXSW Filmmaker Spotlight: A Father, A Son and A Lot of Live Music in 'Thank You A Lot'

Musician James Hand stars in the film. Willie Nelson (and KUTX's Jay Trachtenberg) describe him as "the real deal."
Courtesy "Thank You A Lot"

In Austin, it seems like everyone's a musician and there’s live music every night. But between that dynamic of stage and crowd, there’s a cast of characters: including band managers, doormen and promoters.

The film “Thank You A Lot” premiered at SXSW Film. It explores some of these characters – particularly a father-son pair caught in the middle of all the bustle.

KUT sat down with Austin-based writer/director Matt Muir:

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