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

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Move over Mariah Carey. There's a new holiday star in town.

Behold, a new Christmas carol for the 2016 holiday season! Have a listen:

Neural Story Singing Christmas from Hang Chu on Vimeo.

 

Courtesy of Gary Floater

The holidays are a time of coming together, but they’re also a time when we think of those who are absent. Thoughts turn to loved ones distant or departed,  to the spirits of jolly old elves and to melting frosty snowmen. On Sunday at the Cheatham Street Warehouse, they will turn to a narcissistic country singer who never shows up. 

When the Blue Genie Art Bazaar opened for the first time in 2001, founding member Dana Younger didn't realize the art show and sale would take over his holiday season for the next fifteen years (and counting). 

"Yeah, it's amazing that this is our sixteenth year, but it's a neat thing about traditions" he says. "And it's not just a tradition to us and the artists, but it's a tradition to the community, too." 

Once a fairly small showing of arts and crafts created by the members of Blue Genie Art Industries, the bazaar has grown to include works by some 200 local and regional artists, and it's now open daily from the day after Thanksgiving through Christmas Eve. For Younger, the bazaar has become synonymous with the holiday season..

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Dr. Colette Pierce Burnette, President and CEO of Huston-Tillotson University.

As the first female president and chief executive officer of the merged Huston-Tillotson University and the second female president in the college’s 140-year history, Burnette began her new role on July 1, 2015.

This month, Street Corner Arts is presenting Constellations, the award-winning play by Nick Payne. It's a love story, featuring only two characters, but with an important twist: we see dozens of alternate universe versions of these characters, playing out their relationship in myriad possible ways.

"The playwright assumes that... multiverses are real, so what he's done is take these pivotal moments in these two character's lives and allow us to see different variations on that moment," says director Liz Fisher. "Sometimes they get together, sometimes they don't, sometimes things are going great, sometimes things go poorly."

Deborah Cannon, Austin American-Statesman

A restaurant blending American and French bistro influences on South Congress Avenue is a neatly packaged concept by the McGuire Moorman Hospitality group, which runs a growing number of restaurants in Austin.

But is there substance to match the style?

We asked Austin American-Statesman restaurant critic Matthew Odam about his new review of June's All Day


On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. concludes his conversation with Joe Madison, “The Black Eagle”, the award-winning national talk show host on SiriusXM Urban View radio.

Madison is on the case daily talking about politics and social activism, while challenging the status quo ensuring that people of color are not undervalued, underestimated, or marginalized. He has been named one of Talker Magazine’s 10 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America for eleven consecutive years.

Thao Nguyen, Austin American-Statesman

A new restaurant on the U.S. 290 access road between Central Market and Brodie Lane is serving thin pizzas quickly baked in a 900 degree wood-fired oven imported from Italy.

Are the Neapolitan pizzas worth the trip to Cane Rosso? We asked Austin American-Statesman restaurant critic Matthew Odam about his latest review


  

From Little Artist Big Artist, this month's Get Involved spotlight non-profit:

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Joe Madison, “The Black Eagle”, the award-winning national talk show host on SiriusXM Urban View radio.

Madison is on the case daily talking about politics and social activism, while challenging the status quo ensuring that people of color are not undervalued, underestimated, or marginalized. He has been named one of Talker Magazine’s 10 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America for eleven consecutive years.

About fifteen years ago, Austin artist Ethan Azarian started hosting an annual holiday art show. Appropriately called the In House Gallery, the show took place in Azarian's own home; toward the end of the year, he'd move all of his furniture into one room, turning the rest of the house into an empty gallery space. Then every available wall space would be filled with Azarian's (or a guest artist's) works, and the house became the In House Gallery.

This year, Austin's Rude Mechs are celebrating twenty years of producing theater in Austin. They're doing a lot to celebrate that milestone, including a restaging of one of their favorite shows, Requiem for Tesla, an imaginative biography of late scientist Nikola Tesla.

As part of the anniversary celebration, Rude Mechs are staying in Austin all year, eschewing any touring in favor of performing at home in the venerable (and soon to close) Off Center. "When we were trying to think about which old chestnut of ours we wanted to do, this one came up because the nature of it is kind of impossible to tour," says director Shawn Sides . "It's so inspired by our funky old warehouse... it was made for that space and it works well in that space and it's probably never going to be able to go to any other space, so in a way it's a little love note farewell to the Off Center."

Requiem for Tesla was originally staged in 2001, with a revamped second staging a couple of years later. This latest version combines elements of both of those productions. "It's going to be a lot of the... 2001 set and environment and feel," says Sides. "But we like a lot of the movement and stuff we did in 2003, so we're putting it all together and just picking our favorite bits."

Ask any displaced Texan what they miss from home and they'll likely list a few items: brisket, football, higher speed limits, tacos and kolaches.

Now, if you're lucky enough to have had a kolache, you know it's a Texas staple, but if you haven't had one, you're probably still trying to figure out how to pronounce the word. It's "ko-lah-chee."

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. concludes his conversation with Ben Tankard, the godfather of Gospel/Jazz music, and author of ‘The Full Tank Life: Fuel Your Dreams, Ignite Your Destiny.’

A true Renaissance man, he also serves as a motivational speaker for the NBA, designs a line of men's clothing, and pilots his own plane. Together with his wife Jewel, he pastors a growing church outside of Nashville, TN.

Several decades into his theater career, Jaston Williams remains a prolific writer and performer. He's well known, of course, for co-writing and co-starring (along with Joe Sears) in the long-running Tuna plays, but in more recent years, he's created several autobiographical one-man shows.

"I went on an autobiographical binge. You know, Maid Marion in a Stolen Car was all the truth," Williams says, adding with a relieved laugh, "You know, nobody sued! I'm so amazed!"

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Of the hundreds of artists and artisans opening their doors to the East Austin Studio Tour weekend, there’s one that’s been around for a while – one whose creations you might’ve seen before – Sertodo Copper.

Ralph Barrera, Austin American-Statesman

A restaurant in the newly redeveloped Seaholm District serves food cooked over an open flame in a cold, modern space. We asked Austin American-Statesman restaurant critic Matthew Odam about his new review of Boiler Nine Bar + Grill.


Jason Griego http://www.jasongriego.com/

We bring you some live music recommendations from Rick McNulty with our sister station KUTX 98.9 The Austin Music Experience.


On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Ben Tankard, the godfather of Gospel/Jazz music, and author of ‘The Full Tank Life: Fuel Your Dreams, Ignite Your Destiny.’

A true Renaissance man, he also serves as a motivational speaker for the NBA, designs a line of men's clothing, and pilots his own plane. Together with his wife Jewel, he pastors a growing church outside of Nashville, TN.

Courtesy of Maggie Rivas-Rodriguez

­It was morning on June 5, 1942. My father was in Dutch Harbor, Alaska, when the Japanese fighter and bomber planes made their first pass.  


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