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

Nicole Kibert https://flic.kr/p/bkES7n

Hear live music picks from KUTX program director Matt Reilly, including shows by Bright Light Social Hour, Patterson Hood, Mother Falcon and more!


Photo by Ricardo B. Brazziell

A new restaurant in the downtown east side aims to provide the causal after-work drinking and eating environment you find in izakayas across Japan. KUT's Nathan Bernier asks Austin American-Statesman restaurant critic Matthew Odam about his review of Fukumoto.


On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. presents an encore presentation of a conversation he had with the late Shirley A. Chisholm.

Chisholm was the first African American woman elected to Congress and an outspoken advocate for women and minorities during her seven terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. She was known as a politician who refused to allow fellow politicians, including the male-dominated Congressional Black Caucus, to sway her from her goals.

From Front Steps, this month's Get Involved spotlight non-profit:

About Front Steps

Front Steps believes that all people deserve the dignity of a safe place to call home. For those experiencing homelessness, Front Steps’ mission is to provide a continuum of services, by offering shelter, seeking affordable housing, and providing community education.

The history of La Pastorela dates back many centuries. The play has been performed during the Christmas season by amateur and professional artists, in theaters and churches, in Mexico and in Mexican communities since the middle part of the last millennia.

It's long been a tradition to stage La Pastorela in Austin, too. After financial difficulties kept ALTA (Austin Latino Theater Alliance) from being able to stage the play last year, director Rupert Reyes set to work to ensure it could return in 2015. His production company, Teatro Vivo, will be staging La Pastorela this holiday season at the Mexican American Cultural Center.

It starts with seemingly benign questions: Who are you voting for? Did you see that exposé about candidate X on Facebook? Before long, somebody is storming off to the basement or slamming the mashed potatoes on the table. And playing Adele's new song "Hello" won't make every family instantly get along (a la SNL's Thanksgiving Miracle).

Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT News

A globe-trotting Frida Kahlo portrait, once displayed in Austin, has returned to its former home.

The painting, “Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird,” was on display in Austin until 1990, when it left to travel the world. It bounced around the globe for 25 years, and was featured in exhibitions in Spain, Australia, Canada, and most recently in New York. But now, this self-portrait of the distinctive artist is back at UT Austin’s Harry Ransom Center, where it will remain for the next two years.


On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Angela Meryl, former model and make-up artist, and author of ‘Stunts: The How To Handbook -The Secrets From An Award-Winning Hollywood Stunt Woman.

The Wimberley Players are currently presenting Other Desert Cities, by playwright Jon Robin Baitz. The play, which was a finalist for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for drama, centers around a contentious family gathering on Christmas Eve.

Photo by Neal Medlyn, St. Marks roof, 2015

Author and journalist Ada Calhoun's newest book St. Marks is Dead: The Many Lives of America’s Hippest Street chronicles the history of a few select city blocks of Manhattan and the personalities that have made it legend.

Michael Lee

Brently Heilbron started performing standup comedy at the tender age of 14, which means he's now been in the business for close to a quarter century. So when he says that the current scene in Austin is "an incredible time in comedy that I haven't seen in years," he's speaking with a certain level of authority.

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Michel Martin, weekend host of NPR’s All Things Considered.

In 2006 Martin came to NPR and launched Tell Me More, a one-hour daily NPR news and talk show that aired on NPR stations nationwide from 2007-2014 and dipped into thousands of important conversations taking place in the corridors of power, but also in houses of worship, and barber shops and beauty shops, at PTA meetings, town halls, and at the kitchen table.

Prominent Austin philanthropist, arts activist and lawyer Jo Anne Christian died Thursday afternoon after a battle with lung cancer. She was 79 years old.

Steve Rogers

As a story, Frankenstein feels like a pretty good fit for the folks of Trouble Puppet Theater Company. It's a classic tale, with monsters and dark imagery of the sort that Trouble Puppet excels at. It's also ripe for fresh interpretations, which Trouble Puppet always enjoys.

Joel Mann flic.kr/p/C8xtF

A New Orleans brass band, 90s indie rockers and a Canadian singer-songwriting legend are among the musical artists performing in Austin this weekend. KUT's Nathan Bernier asks KUTX program director Matt Reilly for his picks.


Photo by Ralph Barrera, Austin American-Statesman

Fort Worth chef Tim Love's new Austin restaurant amplifies Texas culture with a focus on big flavors and wild game. KUT's Nathan Bernier asks Austin American-Statesman restaurant critic Matthew Odam about his new review of Lonesome Dove Western Bistro.


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,”

Ten years ago, improv performers Roy Janik, Kaci Beeler, Kareem Badr, and Valerie Ward compiled a list of 300 possible troupe names, rejected them all, and then ended up calling themselves Parallelogramophonograph almost as a joke.

"Picking a name is the hardest park of being in a band or an improv troupe," Janik explains. "Once you pick an amazing name  that's super-easy to google and spell, like Parallelogramophonograph, it's a piece of cake."

Do512 https://flic.kr/p/pJ6kUT

Fun Fun Fun Fest takes over Austin, plus shows by Igor and the Red Elvises, Robert Cray, Nic Armstrong and more this weekend. KUT's Nathan Bernier asks KUTX program director Matt Reilly for his live music selections. 


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

Despite a productive NBA and ABA career, Haywood will always be remembered as the man who opened the door for underclassmen college basketball players to leave college early to play in the pros, thereby creating the "Spencer Haywood rule."

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