Life & Arts

Life & Arts
4:20 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

Texas Bats Help Deliver New Sweetener

Texas long-nosed bats help cultivate Maguey plants in the Mexican desert.
Lucy Nieto

A new organic sweetener has hit the Texas market. Well, certain Central Markets around Texas for now anyway.

Villa de Patos, a family-run business in Mexico, is hoping to push its sweetness into other stores this side of the border soon. Maguey Sweet Sap is made from the nectar of a Maguey plant – an agave plant that grows chiefly in the Mexican dessert without the use of pesticides or synthetic fertilizers.

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Arts Eclectic
3:01 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

Get Inspired at The Tesla Project

By the time of his death in 1943, inventor and engineer Nikola Tesla had accumulated some 300 patents for his works. He's credited for work and ideas that resulted in countless innovations, most notably alternating current, or the electrical system that powers most of the devices in your home.

After his death, Tesla's legacy fell into relative obscurity for a time, but in recent years, he's been embraced by a new generation of scientists and engineers. At this point, he's become a bit of folk hero, seen by many as the epitome of the uncompromising genius.

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Must-Listen Audio
2:11 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

Listen: This Austin Musician's Story of Falling In Love Will Make You Smile

Nakia.net

Where were you when you met the love of your life?

For Austin musician and "The Voice" contestant Nakia, it was at the corner of South Congress and Elizabeth Avenue, outside a South by Southwest day party.

Listen to his story: 

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In Black America Podcast
11:20 am
Mon June 30, 2014

Remembering William F. 'Bill' Williams

William F. "Bill" Williams

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with the late William F. “Bill” Williams, former president and co-founder of Glory Foods, Inc.

In 1992, Glory Foods officially launched its line of pre-seasoned canned vegetables with Columbus, Ohio as its test market. Their initial product line of 17 items focused on greens, peas and beans. During the past twenty-two years, Glory has been able to expand its line to offer 85 products, including seasoned canned greens, bagged fresh greens and other vegetables, low sodium products, hot sauces, seasoned cooking bases, and corn bread and muffins. Glory Foods is now available at grocery stores nationwide.

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Arts Eclectic
3:01 pm
Fri June 27, 2014

Enjoy Literature and Booze at One Page Salon

Owen Egerton

A couple of years ago, enthralled with the idea of salons where writers could meet, drink, and discuss their work, Owen and Jodi Egerton decided to start one of their own. At first they'd invite other writers to their home, but quickly realized that this was an event that needed sharing.

Now, Owen hosts the monthly One Page Salon at the Whip In. The first Tuesday of every month, he invites a handful of fellow artists — fiction writers, screenwriters, songwriters, even photographers and improvisers — to join him onstage and share one page of a work in progress.

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Arts Eclectic
9:28 am
Fri June 27, 2014

Hear 'Music for Wilderness Lake' at Laguna Gloria

Music for Wilderness Lake. Courtesy Make Music New York, Inc.

The environmental music piece Music for Wilderness Lake was written 35 years ago by Canadian composer R. Murray Schafer. It's a work for twelve trombones with accompaniment by the wildlife that happens to be in the environment. 

Music for Wilderness Lake has traditionally been performed by a dozen trombonists arranged around a body of water, signaled by a director on a dock or in a boat. In the case of this Austin performance, the signaling will be done from a handmade canoe built by Austin woodworker Aldo Valdés Böhm.

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ArtPlace America
4:00 pm
Thu June 26, 2014

Austin's Turning the 10-1 Districts and a Notorious Tank Farm Into Art

Grants from ArtPlace America are funding two unique, place-making art projects.
facebook.com/ArtPlaceAmerica

Flanked by poster board renderings and city officials, urban planners and arts nonprofits gathered in City Hall Wednesday to announce that two Austin community art projects will receive federal and private funding from the organization ArtPlace America totaling $656,500.

Austin Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole said that Austin, whose population has increased by nearly 70 percent since 1990, is being looked at by the rest of the nation as a hub for artists and art-making.

“All eyes are on Austin for a lot of reasons, but one of the reasons that we have to be very proud of is our creative class,” said Cole. “The work that the artists are doing to bring such vibrancy and diversity to our city – the nation is watching and we are receiving funds for that.”

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Author Interviews
2:57 pm
Wed June 25, 2014

Author Graeme Simsion on Asperger's, 'The Rosie Project' and Its Sequel

Graeme Simsion talks about his breakout hit, The Rosie Project, with the Texas Standard.
Credit ChinLin Pan/KUT

If you read fiction, and you don’t know about  "The Rosie Project," you’re missing something. The book was a breakout hit all over the world, raking in reviews ranging from merely exuberant to down right delirious. So what’s all the fuss about?

"The Rosie Project" is a flat-out fun read by an author who appears to have a lot of different interests dosed with a healthy sense of humor. But believe it or not, the book started out as high drama.

"This is the story of Don Tillman," author Graeme Simsion tells The Texas Standard's Emily Donahue. 

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In Black America Podcast
8:08 pm
Sun June 22, 2014

In Black America Podcast: 'The Jones Men' with Vern E. Smith

Vern E. Smith

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Vern E. Smith, author of ‘The Jones Men.’

When Smith suggested to his editors at Newsweek Magazine that they take a look at the devastating impact of heroin on Detroit’s urban landscape back in the early 70s, he knew it was a subject that would draw attention. But what he could not have fathomed that he would turn the essence of his reporting into a novel, 'The Jones Men,' or that sometime after that a determined producer–and Detroit native Woodie King Jr. – would convince him to write a screenplay based on the book. 

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Kirkus on the Standard
2:45 pm
Fri June 20, 2014

Two Summer Reads You Won't Want to Put Down

Summer reading season is here. So what are you taking (metaphorically or not) to the beach? 

Fear not: In this edition of Kirkus on the Standard, David Brown speaks with Kirkus Reviews editor Clay Smith about a couple reading recommendations to get you through the heat.

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Arts Eclectic
1:05 pm
Fri June 20, 2014

See 'Cosmicomics' at the Long Center

Cosmicomics is the latest aerial show from the folks at Sky Candy. Produced in collaboration with writer/director Rudy Ramirez, it's an acrobatic theater version of the much-loved short story collection of the same name by Italian author Italo Calvino.

The stories, first published in 1965, each begin with a scientific fact or theory and from there spin a fantastical yarn based upon it. In Calvino's world, humans used to jump to the moon to gather cheese and pasta is the reason for human existence.

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arts eclectic
2:23 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Relive the '80s with 'punkplay'

If you're looking for a play with live music, live animals, and a healthy dose of '80s nostalgia, punkplay might be the show for you. The coming-of-age tale is set in the American suburbia of thirty years ago, in the age the cold war, Ronald Reagan, and punk rock.

The play (by Gregory Moss) centers around two teenage boys, Mickey, a disaffected high school student, and Duck, an angry young runaway who befriends him. Their lives and relationship are changed by their exposure to a vinyl punk record.

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Life & Arts
5:04 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

Author Cristina Henriquez Shares Her 'Book of Unknown Americans'

Author Cristina Henriquez appears at BookPeople tonight in support of her novel "The Book of Unknown Americans."
ChinLin Pan/KUT

People across the nation – especially here in Texas – have been riveted this past month by the crisis unfolding at the border as thousands of children arrive on their own. So desperate to flee their home countries in Latin America, children set off on a perilous journey, unsure of how they’ll be received once they get here.

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Arts Eclectic
10:01 am
Wed June 18, 2014

Enjoy 'Silence!' at Salvage Vanguard Theater

The Silence of the Lambs won a ton of awards after its 1991 theatrical release, including five Oscars. But there will still some who felt the story would have been better served if it included a little more singing and dancing. And those people are finally in luck, because they can now enjoy a version of the crime drama that doesn't skimp when it comes to lavish musical numbers.

Silence! The Musical is an unauthorized parody of The Silence of the Lambs; it started life as an internet musical in 2003 and was so popular online that it was eventually expanded into a full length show that debuted Off Broadway in 2011. Like the original movie version of the story, Silence! was well-received by critics and won a handful of awards.

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Author Interviews
7:45 am
Tue June 17, 2014

Joel Dicker Shares 'The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair'

Writers block, mentorship and murder are the subjects of Joel Dicker's breakout novel.
Photo Jeremy Spierer

Joel Dicker is the author of the international bestseller, "The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair." The 28-year-old author seems – on the surface – to have a lot in common with his protagonist. 

Dicker's novel is a blockbuster, first in Europe and now in the U.S. The same's true with the hero of his book, Marcus Goldman. But in the book, Goldman finds himself wrapped up in several layers of self-angst and mystery, at the center of which are 1) a murder and 2) his mentor.

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In Black America Podcast
9:33 pm
Sun June 15, 2014

In Black America Podcast: The Life and Legacy of Robert C. Maynard

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with the late Robert C. Maynard, journalist, newspaper publisher, editor and former owner of the Oakland (CA) Tribune newspaper.

  Maynard was a charismatic leader who changed the face of American journalism, built a four-decade career on the cornerstones of editorial integrity, community involvement, improved education and the importance of the family. He was the co-founder of the Institute for Journalism Education, a nonprofit corporation dedicated to expanding opportunities for minority journalists at the nation's newspapers.  

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Life & Arts
4:54 pm
Fri June 13, 2014

Teen Playwright Reimagines Zimmerman Trial in 'Black Boy Fly'

After graduating high school, many students work a part-time job, or simply relax over the summer before college. But Jordan Cooper is busy writing and producing plays.

The Texas Standard's David Brown speaks with the 18-year-old playwright about his passion for drama. Coopers' play "Black Boy Fly" is being performed at the Jubilee Theatre in the Dallas/Fort-Worth area this upcoming weekend.

The inspiration to write has been with Cooper ever since he was five-years-old. "I would always used to scribble things on a piece of paper and call everyone into the living room – and at 7 p.m. it was showtime," he says.

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ROT Biker Rally Weekend
4:41 pm
Fri June 13, 2014

Biker Rally Appeals To A New Demographic: Women

Bike enthusiast and rally patron Teffany Lowell
Matt Largey/KUT

Bikers are flocking to the Lone Star State this weekend for the Republic of Texas Biker Rally. The event, now in its eighteenth year, brings thousands of bikers and spectators to Austin from across the country.

Among the estimated 40,000 bikers in attendance, you may take notice a growing number of women riders – reflecting a national trend that one in four riders are women. .

The Texas Standard’s David Brown speaks with Austin bike aficionado and ROT rally patron Teffany Lovell about the increased presence of female riders and what has caused the shift.

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Arts Eclectic
11:31 am
Fri June 13, 2014

See 'Memory Tag(s)' at Test Tube Artspace

Test Tube is an interesting new art space on the East Side. It's tucked away in Tillery Park, which one finds by going through East Austin Succulents, a nursery on Tillery Street. Once in the park, you'll find a handful of trailers that house boutiques and cafés, along with Test Tube itself.

Memory Tag(s), a new exhibition of multi-dimensional artwork, will open at Test Tube this weekend. It features new works by Andy St. Martin, designed to fit the space and inspired by personal losses he's suffered this year. Reflecting on the recent passing of both his mother and his brother, and on his status as an identical twin, St. Martin was inspired to create works that deal with dichotomies and mirror images.

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Life & Arts
10:29 am
Fri June 13, 2014

Listen: Henry Winkler Breaks Down the Meaning of Life (and Austin BBQ)

Henry Winkler enjoyed barbeque and watched the bats at the Congress Avenue Bridge while in Austin. He also doled out some advice.
Credit Jack Plunkett

Henry Winkler – better known as Arthur Fonzarelli in iconic 1970s sitcom “Happy Days,” and Barry Zukerkorn in cult favorite "Arrested Development" – was in Austin recently, accepting the first-ever Achievement in Television Excellence Award from the ATX Television Festival.

Winkler talked about his battle with dyslexia, the struggle to get casting directors to see beyond the Fonz, and his love for Austin barbecue. He also offered a lot of advice.

We've collected his best advice in this 90-second clip. Listen: 

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