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

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Bob Ray Sanders retired associate editor of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Sanders worked many years at the Dallas/Fort Worth PBS and NPR affiliate KERA-TV/KERA-FM, where he served as reporter, producer, station manager, and vice president.

Terrence McNally's acclaimed play Love! Valour! Compassion! made its Off-Broadway debut in 1994 and quickly started winning awards. It transitioned to Broadway the following year and was adapted as a feature film a couple of years after that. It's frequently hailed as McNally's finest work and has remained popular for the two decades since its original run.

Flickr/ Dave Hensley (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Texas has inspired a lot of great music.

To pay tribute, the Texas Standard talked to KUTX’s Laurie Gallardo last week and had her pick her top five Texas songs. But of course, that left out many favorites and classics.

The Standard heard back from listeners, compiled the comments, and brought Gallardo back into the studio to react to some of them.

Drafthouse Films, Participant Media

From Texas Standard:

The 2013 film “The Act of Killing” broke the mold for documentary storytelling. It told the events of Indonesia's 1965 genocide — some estimate more than half a million people were purged following a coup —  from the perspective of the killers. The film even had the killers reenacting what they’d done.

Now, “The Look of Silence” tells the same story from another angle: that of those still living under the rule of the men who murdered their loved ones.

Image via Flickr/Liz West (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Jim Stever could show you an original letter from Sam Houston to someone at the Battle of San Jacinto.

For almost 35 years, the 90-year-old World War II veteran has been collecting letters written during the days of the Republic of Texas. 

This month at the Vortex, Generic Ensemble Company presents the new original work Robin Hood: An Elegy.

The play, written by Krysta Gonzales (with portions devised by the ensemble) invokes not just the legendary folk hero Robin Hood, but also the current movement #blacklivesmatter. In this story, Robin Hood transcends space and time to experience state-sanctioned violence throughout the centuries.

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Daron K. Roberts, former NFL coach and founding director of the Center for Sports Leadership & Innovation at the University of Texas. Roberts also serves as a lecturer in the Liberal Arts Honors program where he teaches courses on sports leadership and innovation.

Flickr/musicfanatic29 (CC BY-NC 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Alright y’all — it’s time to lasso the Top 5 Texas Songs with KUTX’s Laurie Gallardo!

#5 Luckenback Texas, performed by Waylon Jennings

  • Full title is Luckenbach, Texas (Back to the Basics of Love).
  • A country number one, it only got to number 25 on the pop charts.
  • Luckenbach is actually an unincorporated town — not much there but a dance hall, a working saloon, and a general store.
  • The way the place got associated with music was that Jerry Jeff Walker recorded a live album at the Luckenbach Dance Hall in 1973 — an album called “Viva Terlingua.” Otherwise, the place is pretty unremarkable.

Photo by Rodolfo Gonzalez, Austin American-Statesman

A new European restaurant in the downtown Austin brings an open-kitchen dining experience to the space formerly occupied by Garrido's. Is it worth the price of admission? We asked Austin-American Statesman restaurant critic Matthew Odam about his review of Prelog's

Randy Belice

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Joyce Ann Brown founder, president and CEO of Mothers (Fathers) For The Advancement of Social Systems, Inc. On June 13, 2015, Brown passed away in Dallas (TX) after suffering a heart attack. She was 68.

Jacob Villanueva/Texas Tribune

It's long been known that one of the greatest predictors of wealth and prosperity is what kind of family you're born into. But what hasn't been as clear is whether it's genetic or environmental factors determining these outcomes. A new paper co-authored by a UT researcher dives into the ongoing debate on nature versus nurture and how it affects wealth in a child’s future.

Researchers have known for a long time that having rich parents is the biggest predictor of whether a kid will grow up to be wealthy, too. They just weren’t exactly sure why.

Flickr/Sergio Olivier (CC BY-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

What would you consider a signature Texas drink? An ice cold Shiner? Perhaps some of Houston’s own Pura Vida Tequila Silver in the form of a Mexican martini? Maybe you want a 20-ounce bottle of Big Red?

Well the country of Peru would like to add a new beverage to the list of Texas drinks — pisco. Its producers are setting their sights on Texas as their next big market. In fact, its popularity is already on the rise in the U.S., where imports of pisco have more than doubled between 2010 and 2014.

Mark Ramirez is a reporter with the Dallas Morning News, and he sat down with the Standard to talk about his recent article on what pisco is and why Peruvian producers are looking to Texas as the next big market for pisco.

Mary Kang/KUTX

In Austin’s Red River Cultural District, the 9-year-old venue Red 7 is closing at the end of September. The venue’s management could not come to terms with the owner on a new lease.

The venue and bar space at 611 E. 7th St. is listed at $14,000 a month, and the current managers were paying "around $10,000," Red 7 partner and Transmission Events co-owner Graham Williams says. 

"That's the nature of the beast," Williams says. "I was born and raised here. I've seen a hundred clubs open and close. Some of my favorite places to see bands when I was younger are no longer here, yet there's a bigger music scene than there ever was."

From Mother's Milk Bank at Austin, this month’s Get Involved spotlight non-profit:  

The Mothers’ Milk Bank at Austin is a community-based non-profit organization whose mission is to save babies’ lives by providing prescribed donor human milk, primarily to premature and ill infants.

You can contribute your time and talent to help improve the health and lives of preterm and ill infants.

You can join our Pour Team! Work on the front lines with our pour team!  You will work in groups of 3-4 in our lab, mixing and pouring donated milk for pasteurization. Involves standing for several hours at a time and lifting flasks of milk. Bonus: You get to “scrub in” and wear cool garb that makes you feel like you have a medical degree.

Zan Keith

Sarah Hepola’s new memoir, Blackout: Remembering Things I Drank to Forget, chronicles her addiction to alcohol with brutal honesty and brilliant humor.  The book is gaining critical acclaim from reviewers in The New York Times, The Washington Post, LA Times, and Kirkus Reviews. Entertainment Weekly observed, “It’s hard to think of another memoir that burrows inside an addict’s brain like this one does.”

Blackout was named one of’s Best Books of June 2015, People Magazine’s Best Books of the Summer, and won a spot on the New York Times Best Sellers List.

Hepola recently joined us on The Write Up to discuss the memoir. We also chat about her work as an editor at Salon and as a freelance writer, and the complicated ways alcohol affected her writing and life.

Dr. Steve Perry: Revolutionizing Education in America

Jul 29, 2015

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Dr. Steve Perry, Founder and Principal of the Capital Preparatory Magnet School, located in Hartford, CT.

Last year, the folks at 7 Towers Theatre company made a decision to try and focus on smaller, more intimate shows this season. The result of that decision is their current production of Closer, a four-character dramatic comedy about, as director Amanda Gass says, "human relationships and the way that people are kind of messed up and treat each other poorly."

Courtesy Penguin Random House

From Texas Standard:

By now, you've probably heard about the latest book – newly discovered and rushed to publication — by Dr. Seuss. It's been about as well-kept a secret as Harper Lee's "Go Set A Watchman," which came out a few weeks ago. We decided to call in our resident Texas expert on literature to find out whether you should get "What Pet Should I Get?"

Claiborne Smith is the editor-in-chief of Austin-based Kirkus Review.

In this episode of On Story, from the Austin Film Festival and KUT, we bring you conversations with the comic geniuses behind The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Ghostbusters, The Graduate and In Living Color. Judd Apatow, Harold Ramis, Buck Henry and Larry Wilmore take us on a very entertaining ride through their iconic journeys in film and television comedy.

WWJ/Stephanie Davis

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. concludes his conversation with Ken Coleman, journalist and author of ‘Million Dollars Worth of Nerve: Twenty-One People Who Helped To Power Black Bottom, Paradise Valley and Detroit’s Lower East Side.’

The title 'Million Dollars Worth of Nerve' comes from Michigan Chronicle Editor Louis E. Martin, who quipped that he was sent to Detroit in 1936 with $135 and “a million dollars worth of nerve.”