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

SXSW Ones to Watch: Lizzo

Mar 8, 2017
Martin do Nascimento / KUT

All this week, KUTX profiles the Ones To Watch—seven must-see artists at SXSW 2017.

Ilana Panich-Linsman for KUT

After last week’s dustup surrounding immigration-related language in its performance contract, South by Southwest has formally announced a change of policy. The Austin-based festival was lambasted on social media after an artist announced they were refusing to perform because of contract language that suggested the festival could notify U.S. immigration authorities under certain circumstances.

SXSW Ones to Watch: Maggie Rogers

Mar 7, 2017

All this week, KUTX profiles the Ones To Watch—seven must-see artists at SXSW 2017.

During a music class at NYU, Maggie Rogers played her song “Alaska” to superstar producer Pharrell. The video of his emotional and encouraging reaction soon earned two million views, and Rogers found herself thrust into the spotlight overnight. As she explained to the London Evening Standard,  “I moved out of my college apartment on May 31, 2016. I went viral on June 1. I signed a record deal on August 31. It was a little wild.”

Veronica Zaragovia for KUT News

Former Vice President Joe Biden will make an appearance at this year’s South by Southwest festival.

SXSW announced he will speak at the convention center on Sunday, March 12, about the Cancer Moonshot initiative he started last year, a $1 billion research project.

SXSW Ones to Watch: Leopold and His Fiction

Mar 6, 2017
Martin do Nascimento / KUT

All this week, KUTX profiles the Ones To Watch, seven must-see artists at SXSW 2017.

Daniel Leopold is a true child of his hometown Detroit. The music he makes with the Austin band Leopold & His Fiction is one part soul, and one part rock & roll. He dresses sharply and plays a Flying V guitar. The group’s new album, Darling Destroyer, is a fiery record, and that fire comes from a big change: the birth of Leopold’s daughter.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / NPR

In recent years, Austin’s creative community has been feeling the brunt of the city’s affordability crisis. As rents continue to rise, many artists have moved away, and studios and galleries have closed their doors.

Now, the city is looking to provide creative space for artists in some unexpected places, by partnering with local houses of worship.

From Boneshaker Project, this month's Get Involved spotlight non-profit:

MISSION

To inspire kids to lead healthy and active lifestyles!

ABOUT US

Go outside! Run on a playground, ride a bike, grab a racket, and ‘shake your bones’ to feel healthy and active. This is the lifestyle we inspire our community’s kids to live. In AISD the percentage of overweight and obese students varies widely by school, from from 23.5% to 53.5% according to a 2010 Children’s Optimal Health report. Additionally, obesity rates are disproportionate by race, as African American and Latino rates of obesity are twice as high as other racial groups.

Since 1926, Americans have recognized black history annually – first as Negro History Week and later as Black History Month. What you might not know is that black history had barely begun to be studied – or even documented – when the tradition began. Although African-Americans have been in this country since colonial times, it was not until the 20th century that they gained a somewhat respectable presence in history books.

"It's really asking the question, 'what is our job as artists in a time of revolution and political unrest?'" says director Jenny Lavery of the play Neva. "Is art important at that time? Is seeing art important?"

Not everyone can be a winner. 

That's unfortunately true of Austinites' submissions to NPR Music's Tiny Desk Contest this year – none of you won. This year's champion is New Orleans' Tank and the Bangas. But don't let that get you down. Some of y'all got a lot of love from Bob Boilen and crew on the Tiny Desk Contest's Tumblr page – which is something, as there were more than 6,000 entries. 

So, as a consolation prize, we decided to collect every single entry from Austin – all 140 of them. 

The Austin music industry isn't whole. The business underlying "The Live Music Capital of the World" stands bifurcated between its lucrative festivals (SXSW principally, but Austin City Limits, Fun Fun Fun Fest and others, too) and, as studies have found, a dwindling local music scene. Austin didn't become the self-styled "Capital" solely by hosting a handful of gargantuan events, which were first born from and since have capitalized handsomely on Austin's brand to increase their now-global footprints, which have drawn outsized attention to the city.

Death of a Salesman is considered by many to be the quintessential America play, so it might not seem like a natural fit for Irish director Peter Sheridan. But Sheridan is excited about the opportunity to direct the play for Austin Playhouse. "They were talking to me about Bloomsday, because obviously the fit between me and Bloomsday seems kind of perfect -- it's a play set in Dublin... but I wasn't available for those dates," Sheridan says. "And they just happened to say to me, 'We're doing Death of a Salesman next,' and I said, 'God, I'd love to do that!'."

And when he learned that Austin Playhouse was planning to do the play with an African-American cast as the Loman family, Sheridan grew even more eager. "I thought... that could be a really, really interesting take on the story," Sheridan says. Directing Death of a Salesman also meant that he'd get to work with Austin actor Marc Pouhé, who's playing Willy Loman in this production. "This is a great, great stage actor," Sheridan says of Pouhé. "He's as good as I've worked with in forty years."

On This week’s program, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr speaks with Margot Lee Shetterly, author of ‘Hidden Figures: The American Dream And The Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Help Win the Space Race.’

At Austin's Hideout Theatre, improv is performed several nights a week, and much of the work presented there is theatrical style. "A lot of improv on stage is just... a blank stage, no costumes... but this is kind of the opposite end of the spectrum," says Hideout co-owner Roy Janik. "We're still improvising the content and the characters and the plot and all that stuff, but we'll oftentimes know what genre we're playing in, we'll tell one long story, and we'll have costumes and lights and props."

Courtesy of Amanda Eyre Ward

Austin author Amanda Eyre Ward has written novels about undocumented youth and immigration, AIDS and death row. A review of one of her novels described her as “a leading author of socially conscious fiction.” So, what might readers expect from her newest novel, The Nearness of You?  

Ward tells KUT’s Jennifer Stayton, she shattered her own image of what a novel “should” be about when writing this one.

On this edition of In Black America, we listen back to a 1988 conversation with Pulitzer-prize winning author Alex Haley.

Color Arc Presents 'A Girl Named Sue'

Feb 13, 2017

Writer and actress Christine Hoang has been working on A Girl Named Sue for over a year. It started in the holiday season of 2015, when Hoang hosted a trunk show of BettySoo's jewelry (in addition to her career as a singer/songwriter, BettySoo sells handmade jewelry on Etsy). After showing her wares, BettySoo played a couple of songs.

We get live music recommendations from KUTX program director Matt Reilly.

Ricardo B. Brazziell/Austin American-Statesman

A new steakhouse in downtown Austin aims at offering a contemporary, lively atmosphere to enjoy classic dishes. We asked Austin American-Statesman restaurant critic Matthew Odam for his review of Red Ash.


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

From the orange groves in Florida in the 1940's to the U.S. Army in the 1950's through the 1980's, Montgomery fought prejudice for being a dark-complexioned African American man, even within his own family.

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