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

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We get a taste of some of the Austin-area restaurant openings in 2017 from Austin American-Statesman restaurant critic Matthew Odam


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On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with late Dr. John Hope Franklin, Ph.D.

Kate Groetzinger / KUT

When the Blanton unveils its reinstalled permanent collection in February, a 10-foot-tall, three-dimensional portrait made of 3,840 hair combs is sure to capture visitors’ attention.

The portrait depicts Madam C.J. Walker, an African-American entrepreneur who’s often called the first self-made female millionaire in U.S. history.

Todd Wiseman / Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune: A Texas judge issued an injunction Saturday against a federal mandate aimed to protect transgender people, finding that the federal health rule violates existing law.

The preliminary injunction, granted by U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor, is in response to a lawsuit filed by Texas, on behalf of religious hospital network Franciscan Alliance, and four other states in August.

From this Brighter Bites, month's Get Involved spotlight non-profit:

Brighter Bites is a non-profit that delivers fresh fruits and vegetables directly into families’ hands, while teaching them how to use and choose a different kind of fast food. We make it fun. We make it free. And we make it happen via a simple, three-part formula. Since summer 2015, Brighter Bites has distributed over 1 million pounds of produce to more than 3,500 Austin families.

Mission

Brighter Bites creates communities of health through fresh food.

Vision

Brighter Bites is rooted in the belief that if we give our kids something better to munch on, they will. And the lives they lead will be as vibrant as the foods they crave.

Photo by Jack Plunkett/Feature Photo Service for IBM

These days, many Americans would prefer to “age in place” – or stay in their home as long as they can live safely, independently and comfortably. How long will depend on each individual, but there’s a lab in Austin hoping to extend the timeline for all of us – with robots.

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Gospel recording artist Bishop Rance Allen.

Bishop Allen and his brothers Tom and Steve formed The Rance Allen Group in 1969 and introduced a new contemporary and innovative sound to the gospel music audience, incorporating rock, jazz and soul into the music.

One of 12 children, Allen preached his first sermon and started performing as a gospel singer at age 5. He began playing piano by age 7 and the guitar a few years later.

Hir, a dark comedy by multi-award winning playwright Taylor Mac, debuted only a year ago in New York to much acclaim. This January, Capital T Theatre is bringing the play to Austin for the first time.

The play is, in broad terms, an installment in the long pantheon of American family dramas; the four person cast includes a father, a mother, and their two children, and much of the drama revolves around their dysfunctional relationships. 

But Hir is definitely a modern take on that long-lived dramatic genre. It's more of a black comedy than a straight drama, and its characters include a father who's barely able to communicate (in a very literal sense, due to a recent stroke) and who dresses like a clown, a mother who is struggling to assert her dominance after years of oppression, a son who's returning from war while also recovering from drug addiction and a daughter who is transitioning from female to male.

New Year's Eve is the biggest night of the year for many local restaurants, so you might consider booking now to ring in 2017 with a decadent meal. We get some recommendations from Austin American-Statesman restaurant critic Matthew Odam.


On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. concludes his conversation with Dr. Colette Pierce Burnette, President and CEO of Huston Tillotson University.

As the first female president and chief executive officer of the merged Huston-Tillotson University and the second female president in the college’s 140-year history, Burnette began her new role on July 1, 2015.

Kirk Tuck

In only its third year, Zach Theatre's annual production of A Christmas Carol is already becoming a holiday tradition, for both audience and cast members. 

"I love it," says actress Kelly Petlin. "I tell [director] Dave [Steakley] 'I'll do this until you tell me you tell me I can't do it anymore.'" For actor Michael Valentine, the cast and crew of A Christmas Carol have become something of a surrogate family. "I'm not from Texas, but this is my third holiday season here," he says. "And I've always felt so embraced by this community."

ATOMIC IMAGERY / GETTY IMAGES

Move over Mariah Carey. There's a new holiday star in town.

Behold, a new Christmas carol for the 2016 holiday season! Have a listen:

Neural Story Singing Christmas from Hang Chu on Vimeo.

 

Courtesy of Gary Floater

The holidays are a time of coming together, but they’re also a time when we think of those who are absent. Thoughts turn to loved ones distant or departed,  to the spirits of jolly old elves and to melting frosty snowmen. On Sunday at the Cheatham Street Warehouse, they will turn to a narcissistic country singer who never shows up. 

When the Blue Genie Art Bazaar opened for the first time in 2001, founding member Dana Younger didn't realize the art show and sale would take over his holiday season for the next fifteen years (and counting). 

"Yeah, it's amazing that this is our sixteenth year, but it's a neat thing about traditions" he says. "And it's not just a tradition to us and the artists, but it's a tradition to the community, too." 

Once a fairly small showing of arts and crafts created by the members of Blue Genie Art Industries, the bazaar has grown to include works by some 200 local and regional artists, and it's now open daily from the day after Thanksgiving through Christmas Eve. For Younger, the bazaar has become synonymous with the holiday season..

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Dr. Colette Pierce Burnette, President and CEO of Huston-Tillotson University.

As the first female president and chief executive officer of the merged Huston-Tillotson University and the second female president in the college’s 140-year history, Burnette began her new role on July 1, 2015.

This month, Street Corner Arts is presenting Constellations, the award-winning play by Nick Payne. It's a love story, featuring only two characters, but with an important twist: we see dozens of alternate universe versions of these characters, playing out their relationship in myriad possible ways.

"The playwright assumes that... multiverses are real, so what he's done is take these pivotal moments in these two character's lives and allow us to see different variations on that moment," says director Liz Fisher. "Sometimes they get together, sometimes they don't, sometimes things are going great, sometimes things go poorly."

Deborah Cannon, Austin American-Statesman

A restaurant blending American and French bistro influences on South Congress Avenue is a neatly packaged concept by the McGuire Moorman Hospitality group, which runs a growing number of restaurants in Austin.

But is there substance to match the style?

We asked Austin American-Statesman restaurant critic Matthew Odam about his new review of June's All Day


On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. concludes his conversation with Joe Madison, “The Black Eagle”, the award-winning national talk show host on SiriusXM Urban View radio.

Madison is on the case daily talking about politics and social activism, while challenging the status quo ensuring that people of color are not undervalued, underestimated, or marginalized. He has been named one of Talker Magazine’s 10 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America for eleven consecutive years.

Thao Nguyen, Austin American-Statesman

A new restaurant on the U.S. 290 access road between Central Market and Brodie Lane is serving thin pizzas quickly baked in a 900 degree wood-fired oven imported from Italy.

Are the Neapolitan pizzas worth the trip to Cane Rosso? We asked Austin American-Statesman restaurant critic Matthew Odam about his latest review


  

From Little Artist Big Artist, this month's Get Involved spotlight non-profit:

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