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

Randy Belice

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Joyce Ann Brown founder, president and CEO of Mothers (Fathers) For The Advancement of Social Systems, Inc. On June 13, 2015, Brown passed away in Dallas (TX) after suffering a heart attack. She was 68.

Jacob Villanueva/Texas Tribune

It's long been known that one of the greatest predictors of wealth and prosperity is what kind of family you're born into. But what hasn't been as clear is whether it's genetic or environmental factors determining these outcomes. A new paper co-authored by a UT researcher dives into the ongoing debate on nature versus nurture and how it affects wealth in a child’s future.

Researchers have known for a long time that having rich parents is the biggest predictor of whether a kid will grow up to be wealthy, too. They just weren’t exactly sure why.

Flickr/Sergio Olivier (CC BY-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

What would you consider a signature Texas drink? An ice cold Shiner? Perhaps some of Houston’s own Pura Vida Tequila Silver in the form of a Mexican martini? Maybe you want a 20-ounce bottle of Big Red?

Well the country of Peru would like to add a new beverage to the list of Texas drinks — pisco. Its producers are setting their sights on Texas as their next big market. In fact, its popularity is already on the rise in the U.S., where imports of pisco have more than doubled between 2010 and 2014.

Mark Ramirez is a reporter with the Dallas Morning News, and he sat down with the Standard to talk about his recent article on what pisco is and why Peruvian producers are looking to Texas as the next big market for pisco.

Mary Kang/KUTX

In Austin’s Red River Cultural District, the 9-year-old venue Red 7 is closing at the end of September. The venue’s management could not come to terms with the owner on a new lease.

The venue and bar space at 611 E. 7th St. is listed at $14,000 a month, and the current managers were paying "around $10,000," Red 7 partner and Transmission Events co-owner Graham Williams says. 

"That's the nature of the beast," Williams says. "I was born and raised here. I've seen a hundred clubs open and close. Some of my favorite places to see bands when I was younger are no longer here, yet there's a bigger music scene than there ever was."

From Mother's Milk Bank at Austin, this month’s Get Involved spotlight non-profit:  

The Mothers’ Milk Bank at Austin is a community-based non-profit organization whose mission is to save babies’ lives by providing prescribed donor human milk, primarily to premature and ill infants.

You can contribute your time and talent to help improve the health and lives of preterm and ill infants.

You can join our Pour Team! Work on the front lines with our pour team!  You will work in groups of 3-4 in our lab, mixing and pouring donated milk for pasteurization. Involves standing for several hours at a time and lifting flasks of milk. Bonus: You get to “scrub in” and wear cool garb that makes you feel like you have a medical degree.

Zan Keith

Sarah Hepola’s new memoir, Blackout: Remembering Things I Drank to Forget, chronicles her addiction to alcohol with brutal honesty and brilliant humor.  The book is gaining critical acclaim from reviewers in The New York Times, The Washington Post, LA Times, and Kirkus Reviews. Entertainment Weekly observed, “It’s hard to think of another memoir that burrows inside an addict’s brain like this one does.”

Blackout was named one of’s Best Books of June 2015, People Magazine’s Best Books of the Summer, and won a spot on the New York Times Best Sellers List.

Hepola recently joined us on The Write Up to discuss the memoir. We also chat about her work as an editor at Salon and as a freelance writer, and the complicated ways alcohol affected her writing and life.

Dr. Steve Perry: Revolutionizing Education in America

Jul 29, 2015

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Dr. Steve Perry, Founder and Principal of the Capital Preparatory Magnet School, located in Hartford, CT.

Last year, the folks at 7 Towers Theatre company made a decision to try and focus on smaller, more intimate shows this season. The result of that decision is their current production of Closer, a four-character dramatic comedy about, as director Amanda Gass says, "human relationships and the way that people are kind of messed up and treat each other poorly."

Courtesy Penguin Random House

From Texas Standard:

By now, you've probably heard about the latest book – newly discovered and rushed to publication — by Dr. Seuss. It's been about as well-kept a secret as Harper Lee's "Go Set A Watchman," which came out a few weeks ago. We decided to call in our resident Texas expert on literature to find out whether you should get "What Pet Should I Get?"

Claiborne Smith is the editor-in-chief of Austin-based Kirkus Review.

In this episode of On Story, from the Austin Film Festival and KUT, we bring you conversations with the comic geniuses behind The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Ghostbusters, The Graduate and In Living Color. Judd Apatow, Harold Ramis, Buck Henry and Larry Wilmore take us on a very entertaining ride through their iconic journeys in film and television comedy.

WWJ/Stephanie Davis

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. concludes his conversation with Ken Coleman, journalist and author of ‘Million Dollars Worth of Nerve: Twenty-One People Who Helped To Power Black Bottom, Paradise Valley and Detroit’s Lower East Side.’

The title 'Million Dollars Worth of Nerve' comes from Michigan Chronicle Editor Louis E. Martin, who quipped that he was sent to Detroit in 1936 with $135 and “a million dollars worth of nerve.”

Charlotte Carpenter/KUT

Last week marked the surprise return of one of the preeminent voices of 1980s newspaper comics: Berkeley Breathed, the artist and author behind Bloom County — and University of Texas alum. The strip, for which Breathed was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 1987, was put to rest — supposedly for good — in 1989. Breathed followed that strip with others, featuring some of the same characters, like Outland in the ‘90s and Opus in the mid-aughts.

Mast, the current show from paper chairs, is a brand-new, world-premiere production. It's also a story that's been with playwright Elizabeth Doss for most of her life. Doss's grandmother, grandfather, and uncle all died before she was born; she never knew any of these people, but she's always been fascinated by them. "There were lots of things that happened in their family that were really peculiar and mysterious that have haunted my imagination since I was a kid," she says.

The Daily Buzz at Comic-Con: Episode 19

Jul 21, 2015

Daily Buzz wraps up this final edition at Comic-Con International San Diego with Abe Riesman (New York Magazine) and Jason Strykowski (comic book blogger) inside the Sails Pavilion on the second floor of the San Diego Convention Center. Riesman and Strykowski reflect on Star Wars' presence at this year's convention (pre-Episode 7, Star Wars: The Force Awakens), debate about Image Comics and creator-owned titles optioned for film and TV, and discuss the anticipation of Batman v Superman and the popularity of The Walking Dead.

The Daily Buzz at Comic-Con: Episode 18

Jul 21, 2015

Daily Buzz tracked down Star Wars superfan Gary Dexter inside the San Diego Convention Center on the last day of the convention. This San Diego-based seasoned convention goer and self-proclaimed Star Wars nerd shares how he got access to the Holy Grail of panels this year, the STAR WARS panel inside Hall H. Dexter lined up a day and a half in advance of the scheduled panel time, slept outside on the sidewalk of the Hilton Hotel the night before to get the best seats inside the conference hall, and was one of the lucky ones to get a special wristband which allowed him access. Dexter reveals his strategy of how to get the best seats once inside, describes what the audience response and excitement was inside the auditorium, and tells us why Han Solo is his favorite Star Wars character.

The Daily Buzz at Comic-Con: Episode 17

Jul 21, 2015

Daily Buzz caught up with comic book artist and illustrator Tula Lotay (Supreme Blue Rose) at the Traveling Man booth inside the Exhibit Hall at the 46th edition of San Diego Comic-Con. Lotay talks about her love for the horror genre; why she started the Thought Bubble Festival (Leeds' Comic Art Festival) in Leeds, England; how Instagram helped her get started as an comic book artist; and what the next collaboration is with comic book writer Warren Ellis.

The Daily Buzz at Comic-Con: Episode 16

Jul 21, 2015

The Daily Buzz spoke with the writers behind the LEGO Ninjago series, Dan Hageman and Kevin Hageman, after the LEGO Ninjago San Diego Comic-Con panel on the second floor of the San Diego Convention Center. The writing duo talks about the popularity of ninjas and why this series has become so successful, their very first LEGO set, and how they’re connected to director Steven Spielberg.

The Daily Buzz at Comic-Con: Episode 15

Jul 17, 2015

Daily Buzz caught up with Kevin Shinick (MAD, Robot Chicken), inside Exhibit Hall during San Diego Comic-Con. This Emmy award-winning writer (also an actor, producer and director) is in San Diego promoting his latest project, "Scooby-Doo! And Kiss: Rock-and-Roll Mystery" starring Gene Simmons (KISS), Matthew Lillard and Mindy Cohn and featuring the voices of Kevin Smith, Jason Mewes, Darius Rucker, Garry Marshall and Penny Marshall. Shinick talks about what it's like to be on a panel with Gene Simmons, why he's a Star Wars fan, and gives encouraging advice to up and coming screenwriters.

The Daily Buzz at Comic-Con: Episode 14

Jul 17, 2015

Daily Buzz speaks with Clare Kramer, co-founder of Geek Nation, during the 46th San Diego Comic-Con inside the Exhibit Hall about this year's convention highlights and must-see attractions. Geek Nation is an entertainment destination featuring podcasts and TV shows about geek culture, comic books, video games and sci-fi/fantasy. Kramer sits in the Geek Nation booth, located directly across from AMC's Walking Dead booth experience. She shares why she started Geek Nation, gives behind-the-scene tips on how to navigate this event, and recommends what you can do now to prepare to attend next year.

The Daily Buzz at Comic-Con: Episode 13

Jul 17, 2015

Daily Buzz chats up with tumblr spokesperson Amanda Ferri inside the Giant Ape Media/Funimation suite at the Marriott Marquis Hotel during San Diego Comic-Con. Ferri breaks down why the blogging and social networking site is so popular, shares highlights from MTV's Fandom Awards, talks about how fans can connect offline at events like tumblr's "Welcome To Nightfall" meetup, and tells us why Taylor Swift is a must-follow on tumblr.