Life & Arts

Music
2:40 pm
Mon December 10, 2012

Grammy Nominations 2012: The Comedown

Nate Ruess performs at the Grammy nominations concert on Dec. 5. Ruess's band, fun., was nominated for Album, Record and Song of the year.
Kevin Winter Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 10, 2012 11:32 am

Thanks largely to a few flukes, the Grammy Awards had an awfully good 2012.

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Alamo Drafthouse
12:07 pm
Wed December 5, 2012

Video: Alamo Drafthouse Names 'Don't Talk & Text' PSA Winners

An "Unforgivable" entry won the Alamo Drafthouse's "Don't Talk, Don't Text" PSA contest.
Possum Box and Alamo Drafthouse

If you've ever been to an Alamo Drafthouse theater, then you're familiar with the pre-movie videos telling patrons to shut-up and turn off their phone.

The short videos have often featured movie stars or famous directors or even former Texas Governors.

But this year the Austin-based theater chain asked its fans to produce some new "Don't Talk" PSA's.

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Arts and Culture
2:52 pm
Fri November 30, 2012

Postal Service Delivers Stamp Honoring Lady Bird Johnson

Lady Bird Johnson's stamp is modeled after her official White House portrait.
United States Postal Service

The U.S. Postal Service unveiled new stamps Friday honoring Lady Bird Johnson. The First Lady would have celebrated her 100th birthday next month.

The set features Johnson’s official White House portrait along with adaptations of five stamps first issued in the 1960’s. Those commemorate her legacy for preserving nature and beautifying cities.

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center hosted a dedication ceremony for the stamps today. The center's officials say it's an important honor for Johnson and one that she deserves.

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Fun Fun Fun Fest
2:36 pm
Tue November 27, 2012

With $27 Million Impact, Fun Fun Fun Fest Joins the Big Boys

Crowds watch the stage on Fun Fun Fun Fest 2012's Friday night.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT

In its second year at Auditorium Shores, Fun Fun Fun Fest took off. Now the City of Austin puts that growth at $27 million – the amount the fest is estimated to have pumped into Austin’s economy.

The mayor’s office announced Tuesday that the three-day underground music festival attracted a total north of 55,000 attendees. The $27 million estimate was provided by the Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau.

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Thanksgiving
8:15 pm
Tue November 20, 2012

Turkey Grower Calls Presidential Pardon of Bird 'An Honor'

The turkeys to be pardoned Wednesday appeared at a press conference Tuesday at the W Hotel in Washington, D.C.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed November 21, 2012 1:54 pm

Update at 2:32 p.m. ET:

Speaking from the White House Rose Garden, President Obama clearly related his own redemption this month to the turkeys he pardoned.

"They say that life is all about second chances, and this November I could not agree more," he said at the pardon ceremony. "The American people have spoken, and these birds are moving forward."

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Arts and Culture
1:55 pm
Mon November 19, 2012

'Gangnam Style,' Austin Style: Interest Builds in Korean Culture

A Korean language class at Austin Language Learning School. Korean teacher Immanuel Song speaks to three students.
Mincheol Kwon for KUT News

Every evening at the Austin Language Learning School in the West Campus, you can hear Korean spoken by American students.

Last Wednesday, a new Korean learning class of three people began. It started with the students receiving their new Korean names for the class. Jason Crawford was named Jaeseng Go by his teacher, which is a common name in Korea. Another student, Robert Boone, was presented the Korean name Ryubeom Ban. It’s the same family name as U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

"I come from a pretty good family, eh?" the student joked.

Although the classmates’ motives for learning are different, there’s one common motive: the interest in Korean culture. And the huge viral video success of “Gangnam Style” – 767 million views on YouTube and counting – has become a catalyst to spread Korean culture to the U.S.

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Mexican American Cultural Center
11:28 am
Tue November 13, 2012

What Do You Want to See Next to the MACC? (Updated)

The city wants to find a use for the empty lot that will benefit the cultural center.
flickr.com/mirsasha

Update: The first of two community meetings on what to do with land next to the Mexican American Cultural Center is occurring tonight. Austin’s Parks and Recreation Department “is seeking community input to develop a range of options” for the parcel neighboring the center. The meeting is at the Mexican American Cultural Center, 600 River St., at 6:30 p.m.

Original Post (Nov. 2, 11:11 a.m.): The Mexican American Cultural Center is celebrating Dia De Los Muertos or “Day of the Dead” with a family-friendly event tomorrow.

But sugar skulls aren't the only attraction. The public is also invited to use the event to share input on what should happen to the lot next to the cultural center.

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Arts and Culture
5:04 pm
Fri November 9, 2012

Eastward Bound: Art Tour Takes Over Austin's East Side

Letters on display at the Pump Project during last year's EAST tour
Tyler Pratt for KUT News

The East Austin Studio Tour (EAST) returns this weekend.  So grab a bicycle, some friends and (maybe) some cash, then head over to the east side to see work showcased by hundreds of Austin artists.

The tour runs Nov. 8-18, but is free and open to the public this weekend (Nov. 10-11) and next (Nov. 17-18), from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Since the tour will be taking place over the crowded Formula 1 weekend, it is possible the EAST tour may be a great recreation alternative for locals looking to avoid to the congestion and traffic the festival will bring in downtown.

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Arts and Culture
12:02 pm
Mon November 5, 2012

Photos: Here’s 250 Pictures From Fun Fun Fun Fest 2012

The Friday night Fun Fun Fun Fest crowd welcomes Run-D.M.C.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT

The seventh-annual Fun Fun Fun Fest came to a conclusion last night.

In its second year at Auditorium Shores, the underground music festival drew roughly 15,000 people a day, according to co-founder James Moody. The fest also received some unexpected mainstream coverage from outlets like “Good Morning America,” which reported on the fest’s Taco Cannon loaded with grub from Torchy’s Tacos. But as Moody told KUT News this weekend, “It’s growing, but it’ll never do well as a very big festival.”

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Fun Fun Fun Fest
12:05 pm
Sun November 4, 2012

Fun Fun Fun Fest Grows While Staying True to its Roots

Mash up maestro Gregg Gillis, aka Girl Talk, playing Saturday night at Fun Fun Fun Fest
Mary Kang for KUT

Fun Fun Fun Fest describes itself as “the darling of independent festivals for music lovers and music makers.” But this year, with headliners like Run DMC and Girl Talk, is Fun Fun Fun Fest outgrowing its underground roots?

“It’ll never become super popular,” says James Moody, co-creator of the festival and owner of music venue The Mohawk. “It’s growing, but it’ll never do well as a very big festival.” That’s because Moody says they aren’t interested in billing big names.

Moody says they try to give attention to bands that aren’t as widely known, or inspire a small but devoted following. “We try to keep people on their toes and remind people that there are no genres anymore, so we don’t try to pigeon hole with our headlines,” Moody says. “We could throw a curveball and get The Cure next year or something.”

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Fun Fun Fun Fest
1:01 pm
Fri November 2, 2012

Now This is Fun (Fun Fun): Fest Grows to Three Days, Four Stages, 160-Plus Performers

The banner for iconic rap group Run DMC, performing tonight at Fun Fun Fun Fest.
facebook.com/funfunfunfest

Austin's has another big event this weekend. The seventh annual Fun Fun Fun Fest is taking place all weekend long at Auditorium Shores. The eclectic three-day festival promises underground music from all genres, along with comedy, extreme sports, food, fashion, and art.

Stay tuned to KUT News for updates from the festival, and maybe even a Ryan Gosling sighting or two. Until then, here's a preview of some of the events taking place at Fun Fun Fun Fest, along with fest-related aftershows. 

Friday

Night: For the hip-hop lovers, rap legends Run DMC and Bun B will take the stage. Hipsters will rejoice to the sounds of Santigold and Twin Sister. If that's not enough, a series of skateboard and BMX sessions are kicking off, and will run all weekend.  Each day of the festival also promises two hours of Anarchy Championship Wrestling.

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Mexico
11:59 am
Thu November 1, 2012

Day Of The Dead, Decoded: A Joyful Celebration of Life and Food

Skeletons: Skeleton imagery pervades this holiday. In pre-Columbian times, the Day of the Dead was celebrated in August. It now takes place on Nov. 1 and Nov. 2, coinciding with the Catholic holidays of All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day.
Karen Castillo Farfán NPR

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 2:19 pm

Sugar skulls, tamales, and spirits (the alcoholic kind) — these are things you might find on homemade altars to entice those who've passed to the other side back for a visit. The altars, built in homes and around tombstones, are for Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos, a tradition originating in central Mexico on Nov. 1 and 2.

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Arts and Culture
12:34 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

Willie Nelson On Piano Jazz

Willie Nelson.
Frazer Henderson Getty Images Entertainment

Originally published on Fri October 26, 2012 9:25 am

Singer-songwriter Willie Nelson was born April 30, 1933, in the small farming community of Abbott, Texas. His early interest in music came about through singing in church, and he wrote his first song at age 7. By age 9, he'd begun playing in a local band; after high school, Nelson served briefly in the Air Force and studied at Baylor University. In the mid-'50s, he worked as a disc jockey in Texas and Washington state, played in honky-tonks and continued to write songs.

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Music
3:01 pm
Thu October 25, 2012

NPR Catches Up With Austin's Gary Clark Jr.

Gary Clark Jr.'s new album is called Blak and Blu.
Frank Maddocks Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri October 26, 2012 8:05 am

It's been a while since pop-music writers have heaped praise on a blues guitarist as the next big thing. But that's what's happened with Gary Clark Jr., who's just put out his first full-length album on a major label. It's called Blak and Blu.

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SXSW
1:03 pm
Tue October 23, 2012

South by Southwest Expands to Vegas

A new outpost of Austin-based South by Southwest is springing up: SXSW v2v in Las Vegas.
flickr.com/photos/scelera

The Austin music industry festival that started in 1987 and has since grown to encompass film, the internet, the environment, and education is now expanding again. And for the first time, South by Southwest is looking beyond Austin City Limits.

The inaugural SXSW V2V runs August 11 to 14 at the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas and will focus primarily on tech startups.

“We think there’s enough momentum in the startup space to power a second event and not in any way weaken the things we’re doing in Austin in March,” says Hugh Forrest with SXSW Interactive.

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fashion
5:17 pm
Sun October 21, 2012

How A Texas Postman Became An Hermès Designer

One of Kermit Oliver's designs for Hèrmes
Jason Sheeler

Originally published on Sun October 21, 2012 7:12 pm

About a year ago, writer Jason Sheeler was working on a story about Hermès scarves — the elaborately decorated silk squares that can cost as much as $400. He traveled to Lyon, in southern France, to visit the factory, and on his first day there he found an even more interesting story: A French woman threw out a big scarf with a turkey on it and asked Sheeler if he knew Kermit. He didn't.

Kermit, as it turns out, is Kermit Oliver. He lives in Waco, Texas, and he's the only American to ever design scarves for Hermès.

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Austin Film Festival
12:57 pm
Sun October 21, 2012

String Quartets, Brett Favre and Bodyslams: Art and Sport at the Austin Film Festival

Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener and Christopher Walken star in "The Last Quartet," playing at the Austin Film Festival.

Disclaimer: KUT is a media sponsor of the Austin Film Festival.

The Austin Film Festival is underway, and KUT News is featuring guest blogs from festival staffers. Today we hear from Stephen Jannise, AFF film program director. “Every year when the Austin Film Festival rolls around, my passion for film pretty much overwhelms all the other interests in my life,” Jannise says. “That's why I'm so excited that we are presenting several films related to sports and fine arts, two of my ’second loves.’"

GLOW: The Story of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling – The year is 1986, and Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling (GLOW) is about to burst onto the scene as the first ever all-female wrestling show on television. GLOW was a prime-time wrestling series, complete with elaborate costumes, skits, personalized raps, and, most importantly, incredible characters like Mountain Fiji, the Samoan giant with a heart of gold, and Matilda the Hun, the evil German with a taste for raw meat, battling it out for the GLOW crown. By 1989, the GLOW girls were an international phenomenon, attracting over seven million viewers worldwide, touring the nation, and making big bank for the show's producers. One year later, GLOW was gone. This remarkably well-researched documentary chronicles the rise and fall of this once-successful television show through the stories of those who lived it. Playing Sunday, Oct. 21, 3:45 p.m. at the Alamo Drafthouse Ritz.

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Austin Film Festival
12:42 pm
Sat October 20, 2012

Three Writer/Director Movies at the Austin Film Festival

Bullied middle school kids band together in "Murt Ramirez Wants to Kick My Ass," playing at the Austin Film Festival.
facebook.com/MurtRamirezWantsToKickMyAss

Disclaimer: KUT is a media sponsor of the Austin Film Festival.

The 19th annual Austin Film Festival is underway, and KUT is bringing you guest blogs from fest staffers highlighting personal picks. Today, assistant programmer Bears Fonté points to films from three auteurs playing the fest. “These writer/directors draw the audience into their own world with a confidence seldom seen in seasoned veterans,” Fonté says.

If you want your mind blown, make sure you make it to “Idol is Dead”, especially on Tuesday, Oct. 23 at 10:15 p.m. at the Bob Bullock's Texas Spirit Theater. Writer/director Yukihiro Kato will be in attendance, direct from Japan. In the grand tradition of “A Hard Day’s Night,” “Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park,” and “Spice World,” “Idol is Dead” showcases the talents of J-Pop stars Brand-new Idol Society (BiS in Japanese shorthand). A fantastical origin tale involving murder, mad scientists, and a killer soundtrack, “Idol is Dead” is full of humor, hand-to-hand combat and horror. It’s a bit bizarre, a bit sexy, and a bit disgusting. This will be its one and only U.S. theatrical screening before its release with BiS’s new CD. You can check out the trailer on the AFF website.

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Austin Film Festival
3:14 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

'The Muslims Are Coming' to the Austin Film Festival

Looking for love (in all the wrong places): Director Negin Farsad (left) and a friend in a still from "The Muslims Are Coming," premiering at the Austin Film Festival.
themuslimsarecoming.com

Disclosure: KUT is a media sponsor of the Austin Film Festival.

The Muslims are Coming” is a documentary that follows a group of Muslim comedians as they travel through small towns in the South. Their goal is to foster a dialogue about Muslim-Americans through humor.

“We go to places like Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia … you know, places where they love 'the Muzzies,'” says comedian Negin Farsad, the film’s director and star.

Even before the jokes start, as a viewer it’s difficult not to think, “what are they doing?” Early on, Farsad stands in front of a retirement-aged crowd in a sterile church community room, starting her set by detailing what the New York City club scene is like for a Muslim woman. It’s only when the crowd breaks into laughter the audience can take a breath, as tension begins to melt through Farsad’s self-effacing charms.

In a similar manner, vignettes like “Name That Religion” – hosted in town squares by Farsad and his troupe, in a booth labeled “Ask a Muslim” –may cause viewers to cringe a little in anticipation of any controversy. Our stomachs take a rollercoaster ride through the routines.

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Austin Film Festival
4:01 pm
Thu October 18, 2012

Making Sense of the Austin Film Festival, One Panel and One Screening at a Time

James Franco stars in the meat-documentary "Francophenia" at this year's Austin Film Festival.
Austin Film Festival

Disclosure: KUT is a media sponsor of the Austin Film Festival.

The Austin Film Festival kicks off today. Over the course of the festival, KUT News is featuring guest blogs from AFF staffers pointing to festival highlights. Today, Conference Director Erin Hallagan delivers her take on the festival, which she says is like convincing mom to stop at the candy store AND ice cream parlor all in one day.”

The crossover participation of those involved in the festival and conference this year is remarkable. Panelists are presenting films; filmmakers are speaking on panels; and of course registrants do their fair share of double-dipping as well.  And that’s what it’s all about.  The blend of the overall experience and its accessible interactivity is what makes Austin Film Festival truly unique. With a platter of incredibly active screenwriters and filmmakers, there is something for everyone and plenty of room for ideas to blossom.

Here’s some events and speakers that I wouldn’t miss:

SCREENING: Eric Roth presents “The Insider”

Friday, October 19th at 8:15 p.m.

Texas Spirit Theater

PANEL: A Conversation with Eric Roth

Saturday, October 20th at 9:00 a.m.

Driskill Hotel, Ballroom

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