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

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks 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.

About fifteen years ago, Austin artist Ethan Azarian started hosting an annual holiday art show. Appropriately called the In House Gallery, the show took place in Azarian's own home; toward the end of the year, he'd move all of his furniture into one room, turning the rest of the house into an empty gallery space. Then every available wall space would be filled with Azarian's (or a guest artist's) works, and the house became the In House Gallery.

This year, Austin's Rude Mechs are celebrating twenty years of producing theater in Austin. They're doing a lot to celebrate that milestone, including a restaging of one of their favorite shows, Requiem for Tesla, an imaginative biography of late scientist Nikola Tesla.

As part of the anniversary celebration, Rude Mechs are staying in Austin all year, eschewing any touring in favor of performing at home in the venerable (and soon to close) Off Center. "When we were trying to think about which old chestnut of ours we wanted to do, this one came up because the nature of it is kind of impossible to tour," says director Shawn Sides . "It's so inspired by our funky old warehouse... it was made for that space and it works well in that space and it's probably never going to be able to go to any other space, so in a way it's a little love note farewell to the Off Center."

Requiem for Tesla was originally staged in 2001, with a revamped second staging a couple of years later. This latest version combines elements of both of those productions. "It's going to be a lot of the... 2001 set and environment and feel," says Sides. "But we like a lot of the movement and stuff we did in 2003, so we're putting it all together and just picking our favorite bits."

Ask any displaced Texan what they miss from home and they'll likely list a few items: brisket, football, higher speed limits, tacos and kolaches.

Now, if you're lucky enough to have had a kolache, you know it's a Texas staple, but if you haven't had one, you're probably still trying to figure out how to pronounce the word. It's "ko-lah-chee."

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. concludes his conversation 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.

Several decades into his theater career, Jaston Williams remains a prolific writer and performer. He's well known, of course, for co-writing and co-starring (along with Joe Sears) in the long-running Tuna plays, but in more recent years, he's created several autobiographical one-man shows.

"I went on an autobiographical binge. You know, Maid Marion in a Stolen Car was all the truth," Williams says, adding with a relieved laugh, "You know, nobody sued! I'm so amazed!"

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Of the hundreds of artists and artisans opening their doors to the East Austin Studio Tour weekend, there’s one that’s been around for a while – one whose creations you might’ve seen before – Sertodo Copper.

Ralph Barrera, Austin American-Statesman

A restaurant in the newly redeveloped Seaholm District serves food cooked over an open flame in a cold, modern space. We asked Austin American-Statesman restaurant critic Matthew Odam about his new review of Boiler Nine Bar + Grill.


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.

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