Life & Arts

4:31 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Willie Nelson’s Bassist Dan “Bee” Spears Dies

Photo by Master Sgt. Lee Roberts, USAF

Dan “Bee” Spears, Willie Nelson’s bass player for more than four decades, has died at the age of 62. Spears’ girlfriend Dee Pearce said Spears slipped and fell while exiting his motor home near Nashville on Thursday night and died from exposure to the elements, KXAN reported.

Spears was born in San Antonio on August 11, 1949. He started playing bass for Willie Nelson at age 19, according to this birthday note on Nelson’s website.

We called Ray Benson, frontman of Asleep at the Wheel and a close friend of Spears for 38 years, to get his reaction.

“I’m just shocked. It’s not something you expect at all,” Benson told us. “But to paraphrase an old friend, Warren Zevon, ‘Enjoy every taco,’ because you just don’t know.”

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12:16 pm
Thu December 1, 2011

Bruce Springsteen to Keynote SXSW Music Conference

Photo by Lord_Henry

Organizers of Austin's South By Southwest Music Conference and Festival announced the keynote speaker for 2012. It's the biggest catch yet for the 26 year-old event.

It was a well-kept secret but SXSW organizers revealed Bruce Springsteen will be the music conference's keynote speaker in March.

"After the death of Clarence Clemons, it marks a new chapter. So doing something like this which you know, it's an event where he can kind of assess his career; makes tons of sense," said Ann Powers, NPR Music critic and correspondent.

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Arts and Culture
11:08 am
Thu December 1, 2011

Video Art Considers Interaction With Outsiders

How would you react if a strange creature made of stuffed animals approached you in a gas station parking lot?

That was a question San Marcos-based video and performance artist Christina Sukhgian Houle was curious to answer in her latest work: Migration Patterns During Wartime.

Houle stitched together four costumes from ripped apart stuffed animals, put them on six people (two of the costumes were two-person costumes), and made them travel from El Mercado in San Antonio to the Capitol lawn in Austin.  

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4:02 pm
Wed November 23, 2011

Rolling Stone Names Stevie Ray Vaughn Top Guitarist

A statue of Stevie Ray Vaughn was erected at Auditorium Shores in 1993.
Photo by birzer

Stevie Ray Vaughn is the seventh greatest guitarist of rock ‘n’ roll, according to a new ranking by Rolling Stone Magazine’s senior editor David Fricke.

The magazine notes that Vaughn’s fame was limited to the clubs of Central Texas until 1982, when David Bowie spotted Vaughn at the Montreux Jazz Festival. Bowie invited Vaughn to play on what eventually become one of Bowie’s chart topping hits: Let’s Dance. The rest is history.

Vaughn died in 1990 in a helicopter crash after a concert in East Troy, Wisconsin. A statue of Stevie Ray was unveiled in 1993 at Auditorium Shores.

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2:33 pm
Wed November 23, 2011

Bolo Ties: Not Just For Westerns

Actors Roy Rogers and Dale Evans are shown in this photo, as Roy sports a bolo tie honoring his horse, Trigger.

Originally published on Wed November 23, 2011 3:32 pm

An Arizona museum is giving that state's official neck wear a display all of its own for the next several months. The Heard Museum has opened its newest exhibit: Native American Bolo Ties: Vintage and Contemporary. It will run through next September.

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Arts and Culture
3:53 pm
Mon November 21, 2011

Baboon, 112 Monkees Find New Home

Photo Courtesy of Born Free USA

A U.S. Bankruptcy Court ruled today that 112 macaques and one baboon from the now defunct Wild Animal Orphanage in San Antonio will be relocated to the Born Free USA primate sanctuary in Dilley, Texas - a town a little more than 70 miles southwest of San Antonio.

"This is a heartbreaking situation particularly for this large group of primates who would otherwise likely be euthanized without our humane intervention," Born Free's Executive Vice President Adam Roberts said in a statement.  

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2:33 pm
Fri November 18, 2011

Torchy’s Tacos Opening In Houston

Torchy's fried avacado taco
Photo by stetted

Soon Houstonites will be able to eat a green chile pork or fried chicken taco without having to drive down I-10. That’s because Torchy’s Tacos, which started as a food truck and expanded to nine locations in Austin, is now heading to H-Town.

“Houston, we have a store opening!” Torchy’s wrote on its website. “We've made a deal with the devil and the doors are set to open in December.”

Torchy’s was founded by chef Mike Rypka in 2006. He has already expanded to Dallas and has thought about opening locations outside Texas.

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3:39 pm
Thu November 17, 2011

Fun Fun Fun Fest in Four Minutes

Couldn't make it to Fun Fun Fun Fest at Auditorium Shores this year? Festival promoters just released this video recapping the weekend-long celebration of underground and alternative music. Not surprising to see a video, considering how last year's recap became a viral hit. 

1:16 pm
Wed November 16, 2011

The Redneck Hippie

As part of Austin’s ongoing quest to define who and what it is, we wanted to point your attention to this interesting short video about one of the region’s archetypes: the redneck hippie.

Filmmaker Philip Bloom interviewed Jeff Pierce, a self-declared redneck hippie who lives about 60 minutes outside the city. Pierce likes to ride BMX bikes and he loves to shoot guns.

“I got the best of both worlds going on here,” Pierce says in the video. “The coexistence of rednecks and hippies, man, that’s what a Willie Nelson show’s all about.”

Check it out and let us know what you think. 

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Arts and Culture
4:43 pm
Wed November 9, 2011

East Austin Studio Tour Starts This Weekend

A piece of art from the 2010 East Austin Studio Tour
Photo by Robert Banh

Art studios in East Austin will be open to the public this weekend as part of the East Austin Studio Tour (also known as E.A.S.T.). It starts Saturday and has various events and exhibits running for nine days. The entire event is free and open to the public.

The official preview party is not free. It's Thursday night and tickets start at $55.

Here’s how organizers describe it:  

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Arts and Culture
3:45 pm
Sat November 5, 2011

Andy Rooney's Papers In Austin

4:52 pm
Fri November 4, 2011

Austin Film Festival Reveals Fan Favorites

Image courtesy the Austin Film Festival

The Austin Film Festival has announced the winners of its Audience Awards for the festival that wrapped up last week. 

“There is no greater reward for a filmmaker than an Audience Award, which confirms their ability to tell a good story," AFF programmers Stephen Jannise and Stephen Belyeu in a press release. "Every filmmaker is a storyteller at heart, and you can’t receive better validation than the approval of your audience."

Austin-based writer/director Jeremiah Jones won the Audience Award in the narrative feature competition. KUT News interviewed Jones before the festival. You can hear that interview below.

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Arts and Culture
2:14 pm
Wed November 2, 2011

AMOA Merges With Arthouse

An historic villa on AMOA's 12-acre property at Laguna Gloria
Photo by manue_aka_crazeecrafteez

They’ve been seeing each other for a few months now. A photo exhibit here. Some intimate conversations there.

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parks and recreation
12:22 pm
Wed November 2, 2011

Trail of Lights Cancelled Again In 2011

The Trail of Lights back in its heyday in 2006.
Photo by satosphere

For the third year in a row, Austin's Trail of Lights won't happen this holiday season.

Organizers had set a fundraising milestone of $250,000 by today in order to reach the $1 million necessary to host what used to be an annual Austin tradition: a mile long trail through Zilker Park, surrounded with holiday light displays. But they didn’t meet that goal.

“It’s just deeply, deeply disappointing that we weren’t able to raise the revenue that we needed ahead of time,” said Amy Vercruysse with BrightBlue Marketing, the company that had been contracted by the city to organize the event.

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3:50 pm
Tue November 1, 2011

Zilker Tree Lights Are Strung But Won't Turn On Till December

The Zilker Tree was strung today. It will not be switched on until December 4th, 2011.
Photo courtesy of maddcow

An Austin Energy tradition going on 45 years continued today as the power company hung Christmas lights around the park's moonlight tower. The Zilker Tree will not be lit, however, until December 4. 

Meanwhile, the Trail of Lights is back this year was cancelled again this year. Check out the story here.   

3:42 pm
Tue November 1, 2011

First Round of Band Announcements for SXSW 2012

VHS or Beta is one of the bands that will be performing at SXSW 2012.
Photo by John Tonne

Which bands are coming to South by? Five months before the annual music and technology conference even starts, we already have an idea. South by Southwest released this list today of bands it has programmed for the 2012 event. 

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Arts and Culture
3:57 pm
Mon October 31, 2011

In Pictures: Día de los Muertos Celebration in Austin

Advertisers may be wondering if Day of the Dead is the next great American holiday marketing opportunity, but here in Austin, it’s still just another reason to go have some fun with the kids.

KUT business manager Robert Joseph Cross snapped these pictures Saturday night at the Mexican American Culture Center.

3:30 pm
Mon October 31, 2011

Fun Fun Fun Fest To Be Streamed Online

If you can’t afford Fun Fun Fun Fest, or simply don’t want to brave the dust that will be kicked up by 20,000 people partying along Auditorium Shores, promoters have announced the entire music festival will be streamed online for free.

In an email, Fun Fun Fun Fest said it will be partnering with to bring four separate streams to a web browser near you.

Here’s how they explain it:

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2:18 pm
Fri October 28, 2011

Police Ready For Saturday Night Halloween Crowds

Photo by MarkScottAustinTX

The Saturday before Halloween is one of those nights in Austin when 6th Street is even crazier than usual, which is saying a lot because 6th Street is usually pretty crazy.

The Austin Police Department says it will be closing 6th Street at 6 p.m. on Saturday instead of 11 p.m. APD might also shut access ramps onto and off of I-35 between 8th and 3rd streets.

Police also plan to close 6th Street on the actual Halloween, Monday, October 31. The timing of the closures will depend on how big the crowds are.

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