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

Over the years, Justin Sherburn has composed new music for old movies, new movies, stage shows, puppet shows, and all sorts of other things. His latest work, Monolith, was written for Central Texas' favorite ancient dome of granite, Enchanted Rock.

Like many in the area, Sherburn has long been fascinated by Enchanted Rock. "It was one of the first things I knew about Austin," he says, "that there was this sort of mystical place outside Austin called Enchanted Rock." His interest in the place led him to not only compose music for it, but to start asking others about their connections to Enchanted Rock as well, "recording people's interviews and conversations about their experiences at Enchanted Rock."

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Mahisha Dellinger, CEO and Founder of CURLS Inc., and author of ‘Against All Odds: From the Projects to the Penthouse.’

Dellinger, life in the rough streets of Sacramento, California was paving the way for a lifetime of poverty, despair and dysfunction. But while criminals ran rampant, gangs took over, and her own relatives chose drugs over dreams, Dellinger knew she was destined for something greater. Rewriting her story Determined to write a different ending to her story, Dellinger set out to alter her destiny, through college and hard work. But her dreams were bigger than just a 9-5 job and she worked tirelessly to pursue her passion of owning her own hair care business.

Comedian Brian Gaar has been performing standup in Austin and around the country for years now, and as of a few months ago, he's also a late night TV host.

His show, ATX Uncensored(ish), has been airing since the end of September on the CW in Austin. What's the like? "After four months, I think we're still trying to figure that out," he laughs. "It's a late night comedy show, so it's very topical, and it's very focused on Austin."

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with the late Alex Haley.

This month, Austin will host the second annual OUTsider Festival. The fest, which will last five days, aims to celebrate the diverse nature of the LBGTQI creative community.

Cross Record https://www.facebook.com/crossrecordmusic

A Canadian R&B vocalist, a one-man-band playing swampy blues rock, a dreamy shoe gaze band and an electronic music producer from France are among the many artists performing in Austin this weekend. Hear what they sound like in our chat with KUTX program director Matt Reilly!

Matthew Odam, Austin American-Statesman

A Vietnamese-influenced Cajun seafood restaurant from Houston has opened a location in Austin. KUT's Nathan Bernier asks Austin American-Statesman restaurant critic Matthew Odam about his review of La Crawfish.


In celebration of Black History month, In Black America presents an encore presentation of "Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music," an extended interview with her that originally aired in March 1983.

From Art from the Streets, this month's Get Involved spotlight non-profit:

Through its 23 year history, Art From the Streets has helped hundreds of homeless individuals improve their circumstances - literally and figuratively - by providing them the means to make art. We believe that anyone can make art and that making art is good for everyone. 

Ralph Barrera, Austin American-Statesman

A lot of Italian restaurants have opened in Austin lately, but this one might be the best yet, according to Austin American-Statesman restaurant critic Matthew Odam. KUT's Nathan Bernier asks him about his latest review.


Ashley Bradley/Ovrld http://ovrld.com

Funk soul legends, new psychedelic rock, a young blues master and more are performing music in Austin this weekend. Hear about it in our chat with KUTX program director Matt Reilly. 

Deep Eddy Vodka

Dripping Springs-based Deep Eddy Vodka, recently acquired by Kentucky’s Heaven Hill Brands, has released a new flavored vodka. KUT's Nathan Bernier learns more from Texas Monthly drinks columnist Jessica Dupuy.

Granite sculptor Jesús Moroles was a large figure in the Texas arts community, well known for both his enormous  artworks and his enormous energy and generosity. Among his many awards, he received a United States National Medal of Arts in 2008. His untimely death in an automobile accident last year was a shock and a large blow to his friends at the Umlauf Sculpture Garden.

Since November, they've been hosting a tribute to Moroles, displaying many of his works. The exhibit, simply titled Jesús Moroles: A Tribute, was put together by two of Moroles' closest associates, his sister Suzanna and her husband Kurt Kangas, who was Moroles' right hand man. They've tried to put together a showing that would make the artist proud. "I think he would be pleased," Kangas says, adding "You know, doing this without him is difficult. It's very bittersweet, it is. But it's an honor also." 

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Valerie Mitchell Johnston, Deputy General Counsel, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.

Johnston was previously Vice President of Legal and Business Affairs for HIT Entertainment, a children's entertainment production company owned by Mattel. She comes to Lincoln Center with over 20 years of industry and law firm experience in development, production and distribution of content across various media in domestic and global markets.

In her new position, she is responsible for assisting the General Counsel in managing all legal aspects of the nonprofit organization’s programmatic, educational, fundraising and administrative activities, particularly its strategic initiatives in digital media.

Kirk Lynn

On this edition of The Write Up we chat with novelist, playwright, and professor Kirk Lynn about the craft of writing, the adventure of theater, and the deep desire to abandon society and escape into the wild. We also discuss his debut novel Rules for Werewolves.

Lynn began writing prose in college, but found the companionship of his desk and typewriter not so satisfying. So he took a chance on theatre. It was on the stage that he found his passion for the human voice. Along with six friends, Lynn founded Austin’s Rude Mechanicals , now called the Rude Mechs. For nearly twenty years this growing company has produced some of the more daring and critically acclaimed plays to come out of Texas, a number of them penned by Lynn, including Stop Hitting Yourself and Lipstick Traces: A Secret History of the 20th Century.

Moving Panoramas

A record label showcase, a legendary jazz rock group performance and some young music students covering Led Zeppelin are among the many live music performances in Austin this weekend. KUT's Nathan Bernier hears more from KUTX program Matt Reilly.

Matthew Odam, Austin American-Statesman

An Indian restaurant on Far West Boulevard brings Nepalese influence to its menu. KUTs' Nathan Bernier asks Austin American-Statesman restaurant critic Matthew Odam why he's calling Saffron his new favorite Indian restaurant in the city.


On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Robert L. Reece, doctoral candidate at Duke University and Heather A. O’Connell, postdoctoral fellow at Rice’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research, co-authors of a Rice University study, “How the Legacy of Slavery and Racial Composition Shape Public School Enrollment in the American South.”

This weekend, the Institution Theater will unveil the sixth installment in their "Jukebox Musical Project," which combines a historical period or event with the music of a popular entertainer with no apparent connection to that event.

The Institution's Asaf Ronen was inspired to create the project after seeing a youtube video created by actress Rachel Bloom using the music of Sugar Ray. "As is my wont," he remembers, "when I see someone else do something, I want to do something like it."

Inspired to create jukebox musicals that would combine "a historical event and an artist that shouldn't appear in that historical event," Ronen quickly noticed the flaw in his plan: creating a show based on history would necessitate doing some research, and as Ronen says, "I hate doing research. And I was like 'what writers do I know that would love to do this and are really strong writers?'."

Enter Courtney Hopkin, who says she loves researching. "One of my favorite things to do is just read long, boring books about historical events, so it really worked out for me."

FronteraFest Turns 23

Jan 16, 2016

FronteraFest has a been a staple of the Austin theater community for nearly a quarter of a century. As perhaps the premier fringe theater festival in the southwest USA, FronteraFest has given hundreds of artists an opportunity to present their works to an accepting audience.

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