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

Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection

Austin is becoming known for a lot more than just barbecue and Tex-Mex these days, but what were people in this city feasting on 125 years ago? The first cookbook published in Austin is helping to answer that question. 

The cookbook was compiled in 1891 by the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, which still exists. Mike Miller, director of the Austin History Center, dug it out of the archives and researched some of the people behind it for his new book, Austin’s First Cookbook: Our Home Recipes, Remedies and Rules of Thumb

"Cookbooks at that time, they weren't the recipes of everyday food," Miller says. "Most of the women who did that knew the recipes, and they were passed down orally from mother to daughter."

"These [recipes] are for special occasions," he says. Listen to our interview with Miller and read on to see some of the recipes. 


Apr 14, 2015

Read by Rabbi Neil Blumofe


Apr 14, 2015

Read by  Shawna Butler

What is Love?

Apr 14, 2015

Read by Spike Gillespie


Apr 14, 2015

Read by Laurie Viault


Apr 14, 2015

Read by Da'Shade Moonbeam


Apr 14, 2015

Read by Jodi Egerton

God's Favorite isn't Neil Simon's best known work, but it does hold a special place in the heart of director Eric Nelson. It was one of the first plays he read after entering the theater world, and he fell in love with its wit, quick pacing, and characters. It's a script he's wanted to work on in some capacity ever since, and he found the chance to direct the play at Round Rock's Sam Bass Theatre.


An 18th Century play widely attributed to British playwright Lewis Theobald was actually co-written by William Shakespeare, according to two University of Texas researchers.

Through their investigation, UT psychology Professor James Pennebaker and graduate student Ryan Boyd found that the bard likely wrote the first three acts, while the final two were probably written by collaborator and fellow playwright John Fletcher. The pair determined this without even reading the play. 

“There was a conscious decision when I did this, which was ‘I want to go in and just look at the numbers to get a sense of who very likely wrote it,’” Pennebaker says. “I didn’t want to be biased by the actual words that were written.”

LBJ Library photo by Lauren Gerson

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. conclude his highlights of a conversation with Hank Aaron, Civil Rights Activist, Major League Baseball legend, Hall of Famer, and senior vice president of the Atlanta Braves, at the 2015 Tom Johnson Lecture series.

Before joining the Braves front office, Aaron enjoyed a 23-year major league career during which he rewrote baseball’s hitting record book. He holds more major league batting records than any other player in the game’s history. On May 17, 1970, Aaron became the first player to compile both 3,000 career hits and more than 500 homers. Along with Frank Robinson, Aaron was inducted into the Hall of Fame at Cooperstown, NY, on August 1, 1982.

Foreign Country

Apr 7, 2015

Read by Shawna Butler


Apr 7, 2015

Read by Rabbi Neil Blumofe

Sound of the Heart

Apr 7, 2015

Read by Ebony Stewart

From Candlelight Ranchthis month’s Get Involved spotlight non-profit:  

Candlelight Ranch Mission and History:

In the summer of 1999, Randy, Don, and Jeri (Don’s wife of blessed memory) Barr, purchased some acreage on the North Shore of Lake Travis that contained beautiful and diverse ecosystems with a wide range of flora and fauna, spring fed creeks, and two striking canyons that were created when the roofs of caverns collapsed.  They decided to share the property so that community groups that worked with children with special needs or challenging life circumstances could bring their children out to a natural environment.  They named this nature safe haven, Candlelight Ranch.  Now, almost 15 years later, Candlelight Ranch has grown into a respected non-profit that serves over 1,700 individuals annually in the Central Texas area.

Courtesy of the film

Festival-only radio show The Daily Buzz brings you its 2015 SXSW Film roundup, its Best of Fest episode. The co-hosts speak with filmmakers from documentary feature, narrative feature and audience award-winning films. 

The episode features interviews with the minds behind: Landfill Harmonic, A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Valesquez Story, Twinsters, A Woman Like Me, Creative Control, and Frame by Frame. Hosts also speak with Janet Pierson, head of SXSW Film, and Hugh Forrest, head of SXSW Interactive.

Beauty Double-Checked

Apr 3, 2015

Read by Jodi Egerton

Foot Steps

Apr 3, 2015

Read by Da'Shade Moonbeam


This story comes from Texas Standard.

When someone says filmmaker brothers, who comes to mind? Likely, it's the Coen brothers. But it’s another set of filmmaker brothers that have really gotten the attention of critics and film festival attendees lately, and these guys have Texas ties.

David and Nathan Zellner were born in Colorado but now live in Austin. They’ve probably spent at least half of their careers fielding comments about the Coen brothers, but their latest film “Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter” sort of pays homage to them.


We check in with KUTX program director Matt Reilly about some of the live shows on his radar, including performances by Of Montreal, Stevie Wonder and Stars.

This episode recognizes the complexity of women, gender, and sexuality with a discussion from contemporary and historical perspectives. Our discussants share what they’ve learned from their respective research projects while exploring how privilege and power function when it comes to constructions of gender and sexuality.

Ultimately, they agree that listening with empathy to each other’s needs and desires demonstrates mutual respect and can allow us to have greater faith in our individuality.

**The following contains a frank discussion about gender and sexuality.**