Life & Arts

Austin City Limits
1:45 pm
Fri October 12, 2012

Video: KUT Live at the Four Seasons

The Swedish siblings that comprise First Aid Kit played KUT's Live at the Four Seasons this morning.
KUT Austin

If you couldn’t tell already from the hum in the streets, the 2012 Austin City Limits Music Festival is here.

KUT kicked things off at the Four Seasons this morning, hosting a concert featuring four ACL performers: Austin rockers Quiet Company, the Swedish folk sisters of First Aid Kit, Tuscan vocalist Jovanotti and Afrobeat ensemble Antibalas.

Naturally, KUT was on hand to document the performances. Here's two videos from this morning.

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Austin City Limits
4:30 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

Need ACL Info on Bands, Food and Aftershows? We've Got You Covered

Another ACL festival is dawning - and we've got you covered.
flickr.com/kevharb

The 2012 Austin City Limits Festival is less than 24 hours away.

Thousands of ACL attendees are probably compiling lists of bands to see, foods to eat, and places to go. But it's going to be a challenge: There's over 100 different acts performing at the festival, close to 40 different vendors serving all types of food and drink, and tons of events and parties going on all over downtown Austin.

While we can’t put your list together for you, maybe we can help you get started.

Here's some picks compiled by KUT's Austin Music Matters team: 

From Susan Castle, KUT Music Host:

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Arts and Culture
8:32 am
Wed October 10, 2012

The End of Trivia App 'Qrank,' One Tweet at a Time

Qrank players could compete against their Twitter and Facebook friends for bragging rights. The game closed shop this week.
Wells Dunbar, KUT News.

The social trivia game Qrank (pronounced "crank") is no more.

Co-founders and Austinites Rodney Gibbs and Michael Baird posted a  message titled “Goodbye” on the game’s website on Monday, and announced that that morning’s edition would be the last of the daily quiz.

Qrank had been voraciously consumed by a legion of loyal players since 2010. As explained on the game’s website, the goal was to “choose 15 of the 20 possible questions and answer them quickly and accurately to beat your friends and earn achievements.” The game was available on Facebook and as a mobile app.

But while Qrank maintained close to 25,000 “likes” on Facebook and more than 8,500 Twitter followers, interaction with all of those fans waned over the last several months.

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Film
12:56 pm
Tue October 2, 2012

Paul Thomas Anderson, The Man Behind 'The Master'

Paul Thomas Anderson (left) works with actor Joaquin Phoenix on the set of The Master.
Phil Bray The Weinstein Co.

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 9:38 am

For Paul Thomas Anderson, moviemaking is not just an art; it's also about time management.

"At its best, a film set is when everybody knows what's going on and everybody's working together," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "At its worst, [it's] when something's been lost in communication and an actor's not sure how many shots are left or what's going on, and the makeup department's confused."

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Arts and Culture
6:25 pm
Mon October 1, 2012

Mandolinist Chris Thile, Novelist Junot Díaz Among 2012 MacArthur 'Geniuses'

Junot Diaz won a Pulitzer Prize in 2008 for his novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.
Nina Subin Penguin Group

Originally published on Tue October 2, 2012 5:14 pm

The mandolinist Chris Thile, better known for his work with the bluegrass band Nickel Creek, and the novelist Junot Díaz, who won a Pulitzer for his novel The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, are among those awarded 2012 "genius" grants from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

The 23 MacArthur fellows will receive $500,000 over the next five years. They are allowed to do whatever they wish with the money, whether that's continue their work or change fields.

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Arts and Culture
9:05 am
Fri September 28, 2012

It's Mediterranean Festival This Weekend

Mediterranean food and drink will be offered at this year's MedFest.
flickr.com/winemegup

Rain or shine, the annual St. Elias Mediterranean Festival is kicking off this weekend.

The festival, now in its 80th year, promises Mediterranean delights from Lebanon, Palestine, Greece, Eritrea and Romania. According to the festival, “Gyros, Kibbee, Baklava, Spanakopita and Mici are only the beginning as you feast outdoors on delicacies from the Orthodox world.”

Along with a feast of foods, the festival will offer shopping in a festival marketplace, dance demonstrations and children’s activities at the Kid’s Oasis. Music and live dancing will be provided by Laand Greek Ensemble.

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Arts and Culture
3:31 pm
Tue September 25, 2012

Austin Children's Museum Moving to Mueller

The Austin Children's Museum will move from its downtown location to the Mueller development.
flickr.com/mirsasha

Have you ever seen a dizzy golf ball? 

The Austin Children's Museum assures you will. The museum is dedicated to what they call informal learning; one exhibit, called "Ready, Set, Roll," teaches children about physics by sending golf balls through all manner of gravity-defying courses.

The Austin Children's Museum is expanding their facilities. Today, its leaders broke ground at their new location in the Mueller development in central east Austin. 

New exhibits will focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics, highlighting hands-on interactive learning. The museum will also encourage activity, with the grounds featuring interactive outdoor elements.

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Arts and Culture
4:11 pm
Thu September 20, 2012

Fiona Apple Arrested in Texas; Austin Concert Canceled

Dan Monick, facebook.com/fionaapple

Update 5 (Oct. 11): A sad denouement in the Fiona Apple saga: Word comes today that singer-songwriter Apple will not be rescheduling her postponed Sept. 20 ACL Live performance; instead, it will be canceled. According to the social ticketing platform Ticketfly, customers who purchased tickets will be refunded the purchased amount in five to ten days.  

Update 4 (Sept. 24): The Fiona Apple arrest saga, in the words of indie music website Pitchfork, "just keeps getting crazier." On Friday, Sept. 22, Pitchfork posted video of Apple's performance in Houston, the day after her canceled Austin concert.  The performer excitedly spoke about her time in jail, making reference to "inappropriate and probably illegal" behavior on the part of four sheriff's office employees, and cryptically referring to secret evidence of her mistreatment she left behind at the jail: 

I'm the only one who holds the key, and you and I will be intimate forever because I will hold that secret forever. Unless of course the celebrity that you had so much interest in but you wanted to accuse me of bringing up while you laughed at me all night? 

You can read more here (some language may not be safe for work.) 

Today, Hudspeth County Sheriff's Department Public Information Officer Rusty Fleming released a statement telling Apple to "just shut-up and sing." The letter also seemingly brags about Hudspeth County's reputation for arresting traveling musicians and celebrities on drug-related charges: 

[Have] you ever heard of Snoop, Willie or Armand Hammer? Maybe if you would read something besides your own press releases, you would have known BEFORE you got here, that if you come to Texas with dope, the cops will take your DOPE away and put YOU in jail...

A make-up date for Fiona Apple's Austin performance has yet to be announced, but her North American dates are currently scheduled through Oct. 21. 

Update 3: KUT News has received this statement from the Hudspeth County Sheriff’s Office: 

September 20, 2012

Sierra Blanca, Texas

On September 19, 2012 at approximately 8 pm. a 2004 White and Blue Prevost Tour Bus traveling eastbound on I-10 approached the U.S. Border Patrol Checkpoint located in Sierra Blanca, Texas. During a routine check of U.S. citizenship the inspecting Border Patrol agent, a canine detected the presence of concealed humans and/or controlled substances emitting from the inside of the vehicle and requested the driver to pull into the secondary inspection lane for further inspection. The agent requested all subjects to exit the bus so that a canine working the checkpoint could conduct an inspection of the vehicle. Upon entering the bus the canine alerted to a blue colored back-pack. A further search produced a glass container containing marijuana weighing 0.010 lbs. Also inside the glass container was a small plastic container holding a brown-clay-like substance that later tested positive for hashish. (Also weighing .010 lbs)

Fiona Apple Maggart, freely admitted that the controlled substances belonged to her and she was placed under arrest by U.S. Border Patrol agents and detained. At approximately 930pm the Hudspeth County Sheriff’s Office was contacted and upon arrival, Ms. Maggart was taken into custody and transported to the Hudspeth County jail. The next day September 20 Ms. Maggart posted a $10,000 bond and was released shortly after.

No other information is available at this time. 

Update 2 : KUT News just heard from ACL Live at the Moody Theater. Tonight's concert has been postponed. Additional information will be posted on the theater's website and on social media this afternoon. The concert will be rescheduled, with all tickets for good for the future performance.

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Arts and Culture
1:04 pm
Thu September 20, 2012

Resistance is Futile: Fantastic Fest Invades Austin

Dredd 3D is among the big budgeted genre movies getting a boost from Fantastic Fest.
Lionsgate Entertainment

Today marks the start of the largest genre film festival in the United States – Fantastic Fest.

The festival is known for being a little out there, but Fantastic Fest and Alamo Drafthouse founder Tim League says that’s what makes it special.

“In the last five years or so it seems like it’s been the rise of the nerd,” League tells KUT News. In light of the comic book-based blockbusters filling theaters, League says the nerd demographic represents “a pretty significant arm of the spending economy and a lot of the movies coming out from Hollywood are geared towards us."

Many films set to premiere at this year’s festival many are highly anticipated by nerds and non-nerds alike. For example, writer/director Rian Johnson’s time-traveling  Looper is sure to get genre crowds excited. Also making a debut at the festival is a remake of the 1984 ‘the Soviets are invading’ flick Red Dawn

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Arts and Culture
1:03 pm
Wed September 19, 2012

Celebrate Talk Like a Pirate Day, Austin Style

flickr.com/serfs-up

If you’re feeling holiday withdrawal during the weeks between Labor Day and Halloween, there’s good news: today you can celebrate International Talk Like a Pirate Day

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the quirky holiday. International Talk Like a Pirate Day was created in 2002 after columnist Dave Barry wrote a piece in the Miami Herald about the piratical exploits of Oregonians John Baur and Mark Summers (otherwise known by their pirate aliases, Ol’ Chumbucket and Cap’n Slappy). Baur and Summers began Talk Like a Pirate Day among their circle of friends while playing racquetball in 1995 and appealed to Barry to publicize the event seven years later. 

Today, International Talk Like a Pirate Day is celebrated with events all over the world, from Texas to Japan.

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Arts and Culture
11:24 am
Thu September 13, 2012

Listen to Author Kevin Powers Read From 'The Yellow Birds'

Author Kevin Powers' debut novel has garnered praise for its exploration of war's emotional toll.
Little Brown and Company

The Yellow Birds is a critically acclaimed novel from a young author, Kevin Powers. Listen to him read from his book's opening passage above.

An Iraq war veteran, upon returning to the states, Powers earned a graduate degree from UT’s Michener Center for Writers. A spare but poetic story, The Yellow Birds follows 21-year old Private Bartle as his vow to protect an even younger private amid fierce conditions in 2004 Iraq is tested. But the novel isn’t simply a war story; skipping forward and backward in time, Powers captures the confusion and pain of war on a more intimate, emotional level.

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Arts and Culture
2:13 pm
Wed September 12, 2012

I Can Has Award? Alamo Drafthouse Founder Judging Cat Video Contest

It looks like this kitten's chomping at the bit to get in the "Friskies" cat video contest.
flickr.com/bjornlifoto

Tim League is a pretty big deal in the movie business. He’s founder of the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema – which in turn led to distribution arm Drafthouse Films. He also founded Rolling Roadshow and Fantastic Fest. But Tim League could soon be best known for his role as a judge in an internet cat video contest.

That’s right, internet cat videos. If you're one of the few humans left on earth unfamiliar with the concept, you can head over to a little website called YouTube and type in “cat.” You’ll get funny cats, funny cats in water, how to wrap a cat for Christmas and about 1.8 million others. Internet cat videos are big.

Just last month, Minneapolis hosted the first ever Internet Cat Video Film Festival. The idea was attributed to the Walker Art Museum’s “cat-lady-in-residence” but went on to draw an estimated 10,000 attendees. Internet cat videos are truly big time.

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Arts and Culture
2:53 pm
Tue September 11, 2012

Back to the Future: Major Retrospective of Designer Norman Bel Geddes Opens

Motor Car No. 9 (with tail fin), a 1933 work by Norman Bel Geddes, shows his fascination with futurism.
Edith Lutyens and Norman Bel Geddes Foundation / Harry Ransom Center

Artist, author, city planner, design star and futurist Norman Bel Geddes may not be a household name. But his retro-futuristic designs – most iconically captured in the “Futurama” exhibit at the 1939 New York World’s Fair – inspire an entire generation of artists, designers and filmmakers to this day.

I Have Seen the Future: Norman Bel Geddes Designs America” is a sprawling exhibit opening at the Harry Ransom Center on the University of Texas campus today, charting Bel Geddes’ evolution for an Art Deco-inspired theater set designer to perhaps the most important futurist of his time.

“He is a man of all trades,” says Helen Baer, Associate Curator of Performing Arts at the Harry Ransom Center. “He can do theater design, industrial design; he also gets into city planning and urban planning later on in his life. And he is also a successful author. So he does a little bit of everything, and he’s for the most part self-taught."

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music
12:54 pm
Wed September 5, 2012

Fun Fun Fun Fest Releases Daily Schedule

Electronic musician Kieran Hebden, aka Four Tet, at last year's Fun Fun Fun Fest.
flickr.com/goincase

Now you can know which artists are playing when at this year’s Fun Fun Fun Fest, set to take place November 2-4 at Auditorium Shores. The daily schedule has been released.

Headliners on Friday include Run DMC, Dillon Francis, and Twin Sister. The Saturday shows will culminate in performances by Refused, Girl Talk, Diamond Rugs, and A$AP Rocky. And Sunday’s top billed artists are Turbonegro, Etienne de Crecy, Black Moth Super Rainbow and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.

Tickets are on sale now. A three-day regular pass is $175. For the first time ever, Fun Fun Fun Fest is letting people buy passes in two-installments of $87.50. You can get the VIP treatment for $325. And students can obtain a three-day pass for $140. 

MUSIC
3:57 pm
Tue August 21, 2012

Charlie's Not So Cheerful About New Sound Permit Rules

Tamara Hoover, owner of Cheer Up Charlie's, sits in her bar on Monday afternoon and sorts through paperwork from the city of Austin.
Reshma Kirpalani/KUT News

Tamara Hoover describes her East Austin establishment, Cheer Up Charlie's, as more than just a bar. 

"It's actually a community project," Hoover says. "People from the community coming in, bringing their acts, bringing their music, bringing their charities, and it's everybody's home." 

But recently, the bar has received complaints from another nearby community, the Guadalupe Association for Improved an Neighborhood. 

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music
11:23 am
Mon August 20, 2012

Willie Nelson Out of Hospital and "Feeling Better"

Country music legend Willie Nelson is out of a Denver hospital and feeling better. Denver NBC affiliate KUSA broke the news yesterday that Nelson was admitted to hospital, because he was "suffering from breathing problems due to the high altitude and emphysema,” according to an announcement made to the crowd gathered for a fundraiser performance at Castle Pines Village, a gated residential community about 25 miles outside of Denver.

But this morning, Nelson’s publicist says the 79-year-old is feeling fine and will be at the House of Blues tomorrow night in Dallas.

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Arts and Culture
6:07 pm
Mon August 13, 2012

SXSW Music Creative Director Passes Away

Photo by KUT News

The Creative Director for South by Southwest Music has died. Brent Grulke died this morning from surgical complications.

Grulke had worked at SXSW since its launch in 1987. He became the music festival's creative director in 1994.

In a 2005 interview with KUT's Jennifer Stayton, Grulke explained the best way to enjoy SXSW and not feel intimidated by the festivals mammoth lineup of bands.

"I always tell people that if there are a couple things that they really want to see - just find a couple of things that you really want to see," he said. 

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Arts and Culture
10:09 am
Wed August 8, 2012

With 'Last Book Sale,' Texas Lit Giant Leaves One More Gift

Booked Up Inc. helped put author Larry McMurtry's hometown on the map when it became one of the largest used bookstores in the country.
Donna McWilliam AP

Originally published on Wed August 8, 2012 11:54 am

Larry McMurtry is perhaps best known for novels like The Last Picture Show, Terms of Endearment and Lonesome Dove; but the author also has a career as a bookseller.

His store, Booked Up, spills across four buildings in his small hometown of Archer City, Texas, and houses nearly half a million rare and used books. But starting this Friday, McMurtry is holding an auction to whittle down that number — by a lot.

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Arts and Culture
4:20 pm
Thu July 26, 2012

Will ACL Go To Two Weekends Next Year?

Festival organizers C3 are in talks with the city over doubling festival dates next year.
flickr.com/kevharb

The release of the 2012 Austin City Limits Music Festival’s schedule grid wasn’t the only big Austin City Limits news today: Music festival producers are in talks with Austin officials to extend the popular three-day event by an extra weekend starting next year.

C3 Presents, the company that produces ACL Fest and other big events nationwide, would also donate some of the increased revenue it would gain each year, in addition to the amounts they already give, to help improve Austin parks.

“We’ve been discussing working with Auditorium Shores for almost two years,” Austin Parks and Recreation Director Sara Hensley tells KUT News. “It’s dusty, it’s truly muddy, there’s no grass there. For me, it’s just an opportunity to take a park area that’s just heavily used and make it a lot better and a lot more vibrant for the community and visitors.”

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Arts and Culture
2:55 pm
Mon July 23, 2012

Interview: 'Shadow of Night' Author Deborah Harkness

"Blending the fantastic with the real:" Author Deborah Harkness talks about her "All Souls" trilogy.
Vania Stoyanova

Deborah Harkness isn’t as well known as J.K. Rowling or Stephenie Meyer. But with the publication of “Shadow of Night,” the second tome in her supernatural “All Souls” trilogy, that may be about to change.

“Shadow of Night” picks up right where her last book, “A Discovery of Witches,” left off, with heroine Diana Bishop and her vampire lover, Matthew Roydon, pulling off a daring escape. But she soon learns her escape – which sends her through time to 16th century England – poses additional threats.

Set in a supernatural world where demons, vampires and witches intermingle and overlap with the  historical figures Harkness studies as a professor, the “All Souls” trilogy has already been acquired by Hollywood. KUT News recently spoke with Harkness on her work, its reception, and what’s next.

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