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

Jason Griego http://www.jasongriego.com/

We bring you some live music recommendations from Rick McNulty with our sister station KUTX 98.9 The Austin Music Experience.


On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Ben Tankard, the godfather of Gospel/Jazz music, and author of ‘The Full Tank Life: Fuel Your Dreams, Ignite Your Destiny.’

A true Renaissance man, he also serves as a motivational speaker for the NBA, designs a line of men's clothing, and pilots his own plane. Together with his wife Jewel, he pastors a growing church outside of Nashville, TN.

Courtesy of Maggie Rivas-Rodriguez

­It was morning on June 5, 1942. My father was in Dutch Harbor, Alaska, when the Japanese fighter and bomber planes made their first pass.  


On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Dr. Soncia Reagins-Lilly, vice president for student affairs and dean of students at The University of Texas at Austin.

Lilly collaborates with students, faculty and staff to help create a safe and welcoming campus where students can thrive through healthy learning environments.

Author and UT professor H.W. Brands has spent most of his life thinking and writing about history, and he's always looking for compelling moments or figures in American history as possible book subjects. 

His latest such work is The General Vs. the President: MacArthur and Truman at the Brink of Nucleur War, which focuses on the stressful relationship between President Harry Truman and General Douglas MacArthur during the Korean War, specifically their conflicting views on the possible use of nuclear weapons during that war. 

For Brands, tackling this moment in American History takes him back to his postgraduate days. "When I was a graduate student, I was studying the early 1950s, and I was aware of this controversy that developed within the American government between the president, Harry Truman, and the American commander for the Far East, Douglas MacArthur," he says.  "I had this vague notion then that the United States and the world might've been closer to nuclear war then than at any other time in American history." 

Every year, the Houston Film Commission curates the Texas Filmmakers’ Showcase, a collection of short films by Texas directors. The showcase, which comprises eight movies, is touring the state, making stops in several Texas cities.

This year, the showcase features works by two Austin filmmakers, Bryan Poyser and Jason Neulander.  Poyser is a veteran, having directed three features and five short films over the past fifteen years. "I've actually been trying to do at least one short in between the features that I've made," Poyser says. "With a short, it's a lot easier to just pull the trigger and do one." His latest short (the one that a part of this showcase) is More Than Four Hours, a comedy about a school teacher trying to hide the affects of an accidental Viagra dosing.

For Poyser, creating lower budget, shorter films like this gives him room to experiment a bit and take chances that might not be viable when creating a feature-length film. Or, in the case of More Than Four Hours, to tell a more contained story. "It has a very distinct beginning, middle, and end and wouldn't work if it was sustained throughout the course of a whole feature."

Laura Skelding, Austin American-Statesman

If you need help deciding where to eat, a new dining guide by Austin American-Statesman restaurant critic Matthew Odam could help you narrow it down. We asked him about some of his choices. 


On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Taji Senior, Public Relations Executive for Girl Scouts of Central Texas.

From CareBox Program, this month's Get Involved spotlight non-profit:

Mission:

CareBOX Program provides free essential care supplies to cancer patients to help prevent malnutrition, infections, and injuries from falls.

Texas Book Festival

The annual Texas Book Festival kicks off this weekend at the Texas State Capitol. The annual festival features readings, signings and discussions with over 280 authors from Texas and abroad. 

Check out a collection of Texas Standard and KUT interviews with some of this year's featured authors below. 

"I feel like the voice that's silenced in America is the black woman," says writer/director Zell Miller III about his new show Ballot Eats the Bullet. 

"The Vortex wanted me to create something that would be political around this time," Miller says. "And for me, being a black person in America is a political statement, and to be a black woman, to me, is the biggest political statement that you can make."

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Michael Gibson co-founder and chairman of Clear View Group, LLC, an African American investment firm based in Austin, TX, the new owners of Ebony Magazine and JETMag.com; and Lynn Norment, former senior writer and managing editor with Ebony Magazine.

This month, Doctuh Mistuh Productions is presenting the regional premiere of the musical play Nevermore: The Imaginary Life and Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe. The show is a good fit for the company, and would've been even if director Michael McKelvey wasn't already a Poe fan. But he's been a fan for years. 

"Look, I went through my goth period like everybody else did," he says. "I still wear black most of the time. Poe, Byron, and Whitman were kind of how I became so enamored with literature."

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. concludes his conversation with Dr. Rudy Jackson, Jr., Ph.D., founder and president of College Prep Professionals, LLC.

College Prep Professionals, LLC is one of the Atlanta, GA region’s most experienced and capable college preparation businesses.

Nathan Bernier, KUT News

For people who have listened to KUT over the past thirty years, Bob Branson’s steady voice has been comfortingly familiar. We announced in September that Bob is retiring, and we wanted to drag him back into the studio one last time to hear about his three decades at this public radio station.

When did you start at KUT? What was it like?

When I started at KUT about 30 years ago, we did not have a news department. I don’t mean we did not have an award-winning news department. We had no local news.

Devin Pedde

"A Prairie Home Companion" debuts its new season this weekend, just months after longtime host Garrison Keillor signed off from his last update from Lake Wobegon. In his place is a new host and an even bigger emphasis on the show’s music.

Musician Chris Thile is a four-time Grammy winner. He’s one of the world’s preeminent mandolin players and has received a “genius grant” from the MacArthur Foundation. Now Thile has perhaps his biggest task ahead of him: taking the helm of one of the staple programs on public radio and convincing longtime listeners, it’s going to be okay.

ColdTowne Theater has been a mainstay of the Austin comedy scene for a decade now, offering improv and comedy shows seven nights a week and also teaching the art of improv to hundreds of students. But it actually had its origins in New Orleans -- that's where ColdTowne was born, in 2005. They performed together in the Crescent City for a few months and then, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, several members fled New Orleans for Austin.

Here, ColdTowne was reborn in what had been a storage room. "The first student group was four folks that were taught in the back of dusty storage room that later became a theater," says managing director Erika McNichol. "It was a pretty humble beginning."

"And now we have hundreds of students at any given session," adds executive producer Dave Buckman. "A modest empire."

To celebrate ten years in Austin, Coldtowne will present special programming all next week, with a weekend-long celebration October 20 - 23 (individual tickets are available, as are badges that will get you into all the shows. There will be parties, roasts, awards, and reunion shows, in which ColdTowne alums from around the nation will return to celebrate. "It's amazing and sweet and beautiful," Buckman says, "being able to look back at ten years of... hundreds of people's accomplishments."

ColdTowne Theater's Ten Year Anniversary is October 20-23.

JAY JANNER / AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN

An Italian restaurant in the Mueller Development is run by a chef who used to work at the nationally famous Franklin Barbecue on East 11th Street. What do Italian food and barbecue have in common? KUT's Nathan Bernier finds out from Austin American-Statesman restaurant critic Matthew Odam.


On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Dr. Rudy Jackson, Jr., Ph.D., founder and president of College Prep Professionals, LLC.

College Prep Professionals, is one of the Atlanta, GA region’s most experienced and capable college preparation businesses.

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. presents a tribute to the late George E. Curry, a veteran journalist and civil rights activist who was considered by many to be a dean of the Black press died August 20, 2016. He was 69.

Born George Edward Curry on February 23, 1947, in Tuscaloosa, Alabama; his mother worked as a domestic and his father was a mechanic. Curry's father abandoned the family when Curry was just seven years old, leaving him to step into the role of the man of the house, assisting his mother in raising his three younger sisters.

Pages