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

Hyde Park Theatre's artistic director Ken Webster has been a fan of playwright Annie Baker for many years; since 2010, he's staged three of her works at Hyde Park. This summer, he's tackling a fourth: the Pulitzer Prizer winning The Flick.

The play fits the Hyde Park mold well. It's got a small cast, primarily focusing on three characters. It's a pretty recent work, having won that Pulitzer in 2014. And it walks the narrow path between funny and sad, which is a path that Webster and the crew at Hyde Park are adept at walking.

Steve Dietl

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Thomas Carter, actor, film and television director.

Carter still recalls watching Roots, almost 40 years ago. The 1977 television miniseries, which soared in ratings and awards despite the network’s low expectations, that told the somber and horrific story of African-American slavery through the eyes of Alex Haley's family enslaved through multiple generations.

Pokemon Go Is Catching Us All — In Unexpected Ways

Jul 11, 2016

It's been an eventful weekend for Pokémon trainers — even without Team Rocket around.

After being released Wednesday, the mobile app Pokémon Go is currently the top-downloaded free app, and the top grossing app, in both the Apple and Android stores.

For the cast of Doper Than Dope, watching the early '90s sketch comedy TV show In Living Color was a formative experience. In addition to being edgy and often hilarious, In Living Color stood apart from other comedy shows of the time by featuring a cast made up primarily of people of color, which had a big impact on many of its viewers, including a young Ronnita Miller. 

"As a student of comedy," says the Doper Than Dope head writer, "it's very important to me to see people that look and act like people I know represented on screen." 

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Dr. John B. Diamond, the Hoefs-Bascom Professor of Education at University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Education, and co-author of “Despite The Best Intentions,”

Pu Ying Huang for KUTX

Hearing loss happens to everyone who's lucky enough to age. But it's not like just any other age related illness, mainly because you and others around you might not know it's happening.

In this edition of Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke talk about what makes hearing loss so insidious, and why it's important to be open about hearing loss if you know you have it, so you don't lose out on vital social opportunities.


From Explore Austin, this month's Get Involved spotlight non-profit:

Established in 2006, Explore Austin helps change the lives of underserved youth through leadership, mentoring, and adventure.

 

Founded in 2006, Explore Austin combines the benefits of mentoring and outdoor adventure in a six-year program for 6th through 12th grade underserved youth. 

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Dr. Leonard Scott co-founder/CEO of Tyscot Music and Entertainment.   

Tyscot Music and Entertainment  was founded in 1976 when dentist Leonard Scott and Craig Tyson started the label for the sole purpose of releasing their church choir's first album. Through the first decade, Tyscot's sales were consistent but modest.

The Austin-produced web series The Pantsless Detective returns for a third season this week.  The serial, a comedic take on classic film noir detective stories, was created a few years ago by friends Tom Chamberlain and Dipu Bhattacharya and has gone on to become an award-winning continuing series.

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Spencer Haywood, NBA/ABA Legend and Hall-of-Famer.

Haywood will always be remembered as the guy who opened the door for underclassmen college basketball players to leave college early to enter the NBA, thereby creating the "Spencer Haywood rule."

This weekend, A'Lante Flamenco will present Snapshots: New World Flamenco, the first installment of what they hope will become an ongoing series. For Snapshots, A'Lante (under the leadership of husband-and-wife creative team Olivia and Isai Chacón) has partnered with two guest artists to showcase what Olivia calls "an outsider's perspective of flamenco."

yourblackworld.com

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. concludes his conversation with Erin Aubry Kaplan, journalist, columnist, educator and author of ‘I Heart Obama.’

Dave Inman

Artistic director Andy Berkovsky has been looking forward to staging Pageant the Musical for a decade now. The comedy was put on by another company around the time City Theatre was starting up in the mid-2000s, and Berkovsky knew then that he'd also like to produce the show at some point. "We normally do one musical a year," he says, adding that City Theatre's ten year anniversary season would "be the perfect year" to finally mount Pageant.

Indybay.org

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Erin Aubry Kaplan, journalist, columnist, educator and author of ‘I Heart Obama.’

In 1985, famed sculptor Charles Umlauf and his wife Angeline donated their home, Charles' studio, and many sculptures to the city of Austin. Six years later, the Umlauf Sculpture Garden was opened next to Zilker Park. Now, as part of the museum's 25th anniversary, the Umluaf is giving visitors a way to get a unique view of the late sculptor's work process. 

Curator Katie Edwards hopes to one day open Charles Umlauf's actual studio to tours, but in the meantime, the museum is offering a preview of the studio, in the form of a stage-set-like reproduction. Created by designer Stephanie Busing, it's a pretty faithful reproduction of the studio in which Umlauf worked for years.  "It's very, very close, but we also had to make some choices as to what to exclude from it," she says. "We chose to make it a little bit shorter and more manageable, but otherwise, the layout is very, very close to his original studio and we used his original artifacts." So when you see cans of paint thinner and WD-40 on the shelf at the museum, you're seeing the actual cans (and tools and assorted personal items) that Umlauf owned and worked with in his studio.

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Merri Dee, legendary television and radio personality, and author of ‘Life Lessons on Faith, Forgiveness & Grace.’

As a trailblazer in both radio and television, Dee has served as a newscaster, talk-show host, and staff announcer. Later she served as Director of Community Relations at superstation WGN-TV and as advisor to other Tribune owned TV stations.

From Communities In Schools of Central Texas, this month's Get Involved spotlight non-profit:

MISSION AND VISION

Children cannot learn at their potential when they are in crisis or face significant non-academic needs. Most students who drop out of school are dealing with multiple problems that present barriers to their education: poverty, unattended health needs, hunger, an unemployed parent, domestic violence.

Our mission:  Communities In Schools of Central Texas surrounds students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life.

Communities In Schools is a dropout prevention program. Through campus-based programs and special projects, Communities In Schools creates a network of volunteers, social services, businesses, and community resources that work together to break down barriers and help students succeed. Communities In Schools of Central Texas serves thousands of children and families every year, providing options where there once were none. Each year, CIS serves more than 50,000 clients. Of our more than 6,000 case managed students, 99% stay in school and 84% improve grades, attendance or behavior.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT

There’s a reason it’s the largest retailer in the world — Walmart attracts hundreds of millions of shoppers every week. But for a tiny percentage of that number, Walmart is attractive for other reasons. For them, Walmart isn't just an errand — it's home.


Kaci Beeler and Curtis Luciani have been performing together for many years, mostly as an improv duo. Those years of experience working and creating characters together eventually led to the creation of their new play Subject to Control. "This is just an attempt to take what we've been doing and push it in a direction that's daker and more theatrical," Luciani says.

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Dr. John Telford, former Detroit Public Schools Superintendent and author of ‘Will The First: The Sage of Sports/Civil Rights Pioneer Will Robinson.’

Telford has written a spellbinding book about his coaching colleague at Pershing High School (Detroit, MI) – the late, legendary Will Robinson.  Both men were All-Americans – Telford as a sprinter at Wayne State University in the 1950’s and Robinson as a quarterback at West Virginia State in the 1930’s.

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