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

Andrew Takano

Self-taught photographer and producer Andrew Takano uploaded another high-quality timelapse video of Austin yesterday, and this one takes viewers through the city from sundown to sunrise.

Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT

You might be surprised to hear that Sweden is the world’s third biggest exporter of music. ABBA, Ace of Base, and the guy who invented Spotify are all Swedes.

And when Swedish musicians travel outside their country, one of their first stops is South by Southwest.

But what makes Swedish music so popular?

Bernardo Ruiz

This story comes from Texas Standard.

A documentary at SXSW – “Kingdom of Shadows” – forces us to look at the ongoing violence south of the Texas-Mexico border.

The film is told through three people – a Mexican nun working to find answers about tens of thousands of disappearances, a U.S. drug enforcement agent and a former Texas drug smuggler. Bernardo Ruiz directed the film.

Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT

At South by Southwest Music you can hear everything from metal and rock to hip hop and electronic music.

Dozens of genres – but for the most part, they all have one very basic thing in common.

If you’re a musician, it might sound familiar to you:
The musical note A, above middle C, equals 440 hertz.

It’s the basis of virtually every piece of music you’ll hear today. And probably every piece of music you have ever heard, with a few exceptions.

It’s called reference pitch or concert pitch. It’s the note that every other note is based on.

Take a listen:

Every instrument in Western music – more or less – is tuned to this standard.

Bret Brookshire

This month, the modestly-sized Hyde Park Theatre has been transformed into the smallest megachurch you're likely run across. That's because they're staging a production of The Christians, by Lucas Hnath, which is set in just such a church.

This is only the second worldwide production of The Christians; after a well-received premiere at the 2014 Humana Festival, several theaters clamored to get the rights, but Hyde Park beat the others to the punch.

The play centers around Pastor Paul (played by Hyde Park artistic director Ken Webster), who has come to the conclusion that he no longer believes in the existence of hell. This puts him at odds with Brother Joshua (Joey Hood), and their theological debate forms the heart of the play.

Matt Karp

It’s the busiest weekend of the year for live music in Austin, and trying to look at the listings is like drinking from a fire hose. We spoke with KUTX program director Matt Reilly about a free concert for locals, a mini-fest at a boutique hotel on South Congress and a family friendly music experience in North Austin.

Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT

This year's South by Southwest Music festival features more than 900 bands – not counting those who play impromptu shows in clubs and houses and on the streets – and as usual, it's drawn swarms of visitors to Austin. KUT/KUTX photographers and multimedia producers are out in the field, capturing images of musicians, crowds and workers.

Click through the photos above for a slideshow.

NPR Music At SXSW 2015: Wednesday

Mar 19, 2015
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Maybe you didn't RSVP to the events, or maybe you didn't buy an $895 music badge or a $189 wristband, or maybe you hate lines, but you still want a taste of Austin's largest annual assembly of live music? There are options.

Fader Fort is livestreaming four days of live music performances in ultrahigh definition. Dell is organizing the technology and says it's the first time a concert has been livestreamed online in 4K.

"You're going from HD to basically four HD-sized screens, so you're quadrupling the detail," Dell's Scott Hamilton says of 4K technology. "This just takes it to the next level."

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Tracy Randall, Grammy Award nominated singer/songwriter, attorney and cancer survivor.

Randall isn't supposed to be here. In 2006, he was diagnosed with leukemia and after aggressive rounds of chemo and radiation therapy, his doctors gave up and in February 2007 told him to go home and prepare to die. Through pure will, a positive attitude, his faith and alternative medical treatments, he’s still here and still singing.

The Jones Family Singers is made up in part of five sisters, two brothers and their father. The gospel music band is based in Bay City, Texas – outside of Houston.

For the last several decades, the Jones Family Singers have been touring churches and winning singing competitions. But it wasn’t until recently that the group started getting some real attention.

That’s thanks in major part to music critic Michael Corcoran. Austin-based Arts and Labor produced an album last year. And now, their story is being told in a film getting its world premiere at South by Southwest: The Jones Family Will Make a Way.

SXSW Film: Day Five from The Daily Buzz

Mar 17, 2015
Courtesy of the film

It was drizzling this morning in Texas on Day Five of The Daily Buzz at SXSW Film. If you were walking by our broadcasting studio on N. Congress Ave. earlier today, you may have heard violin and cello strings being tuned as we talked with Christine Vachon from Killer Films, award-winning producer of Boys Don't Cry, Far From Heaven and, most recently, Still Alice.

Cody Rea for Texas Standard.

From Texas Standard:

The SXSW Film Conference marks a sort of homecoming for MacArthur genius and Oscar-nominated filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer.

Oppenheimer’s 2012 film, The Act of Killing, looks at how the perpetrators of Indonesia’s military coup cope with their past. His new documentary, The Look of Silence, follows victims of the coup and how they continue to live alongside the people who killed their family members.

Cody Rea for Texas Standard

From Texas Standard:

Robert Rodriguez is one of Texas’ most high-profile contemporary filmmakers — best known for Sin City, Spy Kids and From Dusk Till Dawn among other films. So, why has he set up a temporary art museum in Austin?

Rodriguez has taken over a space near the Capitol and has lined the exposed brick walls with framed work by fantasy artist Frank Frazetta.

Rodriguez says when he was a kid growing up in San Antonio, he devoured Frazetta’s work – which showed up on the covers of comic books and paperbacks including "Conan the Barbarian," "Tarzan" and "The Death Dealer." Some of the art in the downtown space once even hung on his bedroom wall.

SXSW Film: Day Four from The Daily Buzz

Mar 16, 2015
Courtesy of the film

It’s Day Four of The Daily Buzz at the Historic Stateside Theatre, and there's excitement brewing at the Paramount in anticipation of the 30th anniversary screening of John Hughes’ The Breakfast Club.

This month, KUT is partnering with the Ruthe Winegarten Foundation to celebrate Women's History Month. Every day, we'll bring you a short feature spotlighting a historic woman, movement, or group of women in Texas. 

In our third week, we'll look at union organizer and educator Emma Tenayuca, groundbreaking singer Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton, the Texas Women's History Project, and more.

SXSW Film: Day Three from The Daily Buzz

Mar 15, 2015
Courtesy of the film

Episode Three of The Daily Buzz assembles a motley crew of experts: SXSW Producer and Senior Programmer Jarod Neese; General Manager of SXSW Music Fest James Minor; SXSW Music Fest Programmer Stacey Wilhelm; and the show's co-hosts, Joe Leydon (Variety) and Kim Voynar with special guests Jeff Yang (Wall Street Journal) and Justin Chang (Variety). 

SXSW: Day Two from The Daily Buzz

Mar 14, 2015
Courtesy of T-Rex the film.

Today's episode of the Daily Buzz features interviews with directors Kevin Pang and Mark Helenowski and subject Curtis Duffy (For Grace); Directors Alexandria Bombach and Mo Scarpelli (Frame by Frame); Directors Zackery Canepari and Drea Cooper and Claressa "T-Rex" Shields (T-Rex); Directors Lewis Bennett and Calum MacLeod and subject Benjamin Taft (Sandwich Nazi); and Director Ben Powell (Barge).

SXSW Film: Day One from The Daily Buzz

Mar 13, 2015
Courtesy of Possible Films

SXSW Film began today, and festival podcast the Daily Buzz is out gathering interviews, previews and reviews with some of the filmmakers, writers and actors appearing at this year's fest, which features more films this year than ever before.

When one thinks about Austin in the 1960s, organized crime isn't the first thing that springs to mind. But during that decade, the Timmy Overton gang did everything it could to take over the Capital City.

That chapter of Austin's history is now largely forgotten; author Jesse Sublett, despite being a history buff and a fan of the noir, knew nothing of the story until stumbling across a newspaper article while researching an unrelated book.