Life & Arts

Life & Arts
6:05 am
Mon March 17, 2014

What You Don't Know About Mavis Staples and Her Music

Mavis Staples at Austin City Limits fest in 2011.
Laura Fedele, via flickr.com/wfuv

For a slightly younger generation, the Staples Singers evoke memories of avocado colored refrigerators and polyester pants. Not a bad thing, necessarily, but certainly not the reason you should know the name Mavis Staples

In the new book, "I’ll Take You There," music journalist Greg Kot connects the dots between modern American culture and the great migration as African-Americans moved from the deep south to Chicago. 

Mavis Staples is part of the fabric of Chicago, Kot tells Texas Standard's David Brown.

"[She's] a cultural institution. Her family is a cultural institution," he says.

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SXSW 2014
7:36 pm
Sat March 15, 2014

SXSW Filmmaker Spotlight: Austin's Journey to Live Music Capital in 'Road to Austin'

Kris Kristofferson serves as a sort of tour guide throughout the film.
FORMAX Group

If there’s one thing Austinites love – it’s hearing people talk about how great Austin is. The film “The Road to Austin” features a lot of that. It premiered at South by Southwest Film.

"The Road to Austin" is part documentary, part concert and features a lot of well-known voices – from Kris Kristofferson and Joe Ely to a couple of KUTX DJs – all talking about what makes the Austin music scene so special and how it became the live music capital of the world.   

KUT talked with "The Road to Austin" producer/director Gary Fortin:

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SXSW 2014
5:17 pm
Sat March 15, 2014

Rapper Tyler, the Creator Arrested on Riot Charge

Tyler, the Creator performing at the Primavera Sound Festival in 2011.
flickr.com/mistressf

Police have arrested a rapper who performed at South by Southwest after officials say he encouraged a crowd to push through doors keeping them out of an already overcrowded venue.

Tyler Okonma, who performs as Tyler, the Creator, was arrested and charged with “Riot - Class A misdemeanor." Police released a video of Okonma telling fans outside of his show Thursday at the Scoot Inn to push past security personnel that were keeping them out of the venue.

SXSW 2014
9:39 am
Sat March 15, 2014

SXSW Filmmaker Spotlight: Exploring Truths, Lies and Cults in 'Faults'

A young woman is being pulled in several different directions in "Faults."
Jack Zeman

Writer/Director Riley Stearns grew up in Pflugerville – but has been making his living in L.A. He says bringing the movie to SXSW Film for its World Premiere is like a homecoming.

“Faults" follows a cult deprogrammer who is hired by some parents to kidnap and de-program their brainwashed daughter. But as the film progresses, the cult deprogrammer – and the audience – start to question who is really the most negative influence.

KUT talked with Stearns about his film:

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SXSW 2014
2:09 pm
Fri March 14, 2014

SXSW Filmmaker Spotlight: A Father, A Son and A Lot of Live Music in 'Thank You A Lot'

Musician James Hand stars in the film. Willie Nelson (and KUTX's Jay Trachtenberg) describe him as "the real deal."
Courtesy "Thank You A Lot"

In Austin, it seems like everyone's a musician and there’s live music every night. But between that dynamic of stage and crowd, there’s a cast of characters: including band managers, doormen and promoters.

The film “Thank You A Lot” premiered at SXSW Film. It explores some of these characters – particularly a father-son pair caught in the middle of all the bustle.

KUT sat down with Austin-based writer/director Matt Muir:

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Arts Eclectic
12:17 pm
Fri March 14, 2014

Josh Wechsler Brings Cabaret to City Theatre

Josh Wechsler has appeared onstage in numerous musicals and straight plays, but he really loves old-school cabaret,where a performer sings songs and chats with an intimate audience. That’s the vibe he’s going for with his new show, "Here With You! Unexpected Songs from Sondheim to Zeppelin."

When going through his repertoire to prepare for this show, Wechsler discovered a common theme in many of the songs he'd chosen -- that of community and shared experience. That theme works nicely with an intimate, cabaret-style show, and "Here With You!" came into being.

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SXSW 2014
6:50 am
Fri March 14, 2014

SXSW Filmmaker Spotlight: Rob Thomas Brings 'Veronica Mars' to The Big Screen

Kristen Bell reprises her role as Veronica Mars in the film based on the characters in the TV show.
Robert Voets

Austin-based writer/director Rob Thomas’s film “Veronica Mars” hits theatres this week. But South by Southwest audiences got to see it first.

The film revisits the characters Thomas created for the “Veronica Mars” TV show – which was canceled back in 2007 after three seasons. But fans demanded more. And an enormously successful Kickstarter campaign provided the budget for the much-anticipated follow up.

KUT sat down with Thomas to talk about the journey of making this film:

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SXSW 2014
4:46 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

SXSW Filmmaker Spotlight: Austin's Kat Candler Explores Consequences in 'Hellion'

Filmmaker Kat Candler says she got the idea to write "Hellion" based on stories told by her uncles.
Lauren Logan

Austin-based writer/director Kat Candler’s star continues to rise. Her short film “Black Metal” attracted the attention of critics and her feature film “Hellion” premiered at Sundance.

“Hellion” is also screening at South by Southwest Film. It's about a father and two sons struggling to deal with a recent death and the consequences of their poor choices in reaction to it.

KUT talked with Candler about her latest film:

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SXSW 2014
2:08 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

SXSW: Tech Industry Inspires New Shows From HBO, AMC

Scoot McNairy (left) and Lee Pace star in AMC's upcoming show Halt and Catch Fire.
Tina Rowden AMC

Originally published on Fri March 14, 2014 9:41 am

Television show creators are peering into the geeky and moneyed world of computer programmers with a new comedy from HBO and a drama from AMC, both debuting this spring.

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SXSW 2014
2:10 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

Latinos Welcome SXSW Spotlight, But Still Feel Marginalized (Update)

The first ever Latinos in Tech event, which took place on March 6, 2014, was founded by the Kapor Center and Esquivel McCarson Consulting.
Kety Esquivel/Esquivel McCarson Consulting

Update: KUT's Veronica Zaragovia's story on Latinos at SXSW Interactive aired on WBUR's Here and Now today. Listen to the conversation here.

Original story:  South by Southwest Interactive is underway in Austin. This year, there’s a focus on the Latinos innovation in tech – a field where many Latinos face significant barriers. 

When SXSW Interactive kicked off on Friday, people began discussing where Latinos stand in the tech world. Geographically, at least, they haven’t been at the center of SXSW events: the so-called Latinos in Tech sessions took place at a Holiday Inn about a mile from the Austin Convention Center.

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SXSW 2014
8:48 am
Tue March 11, 2014

SXSW Filmmaker Spotlight: Finding El Chapo in 'The Legend of Shorty'

Authorities arrested Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman just over two weeks before the premiere of the documentary in which two filmmakers try to track him down.
"The Legend of Shorty"

In a film that premieres at SXSW Film, two filmmakers set out to do what authorities could not: find Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman. Authorities eventually did catch up with Guzman – just last month.

But directors Angus Macqueen and Guillermo Galdos were hot on his trail in their documentary “The Legend of Shorty."

KUT talked with Macqueen and journalist Anabel Hernandez about the film, El Chapo and what they say is the real danger in Mexico.

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SXSW 2014
7:49 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

SXSW Filmmaker Spotlight: An Intense Texas Thriller With 'Two Step'

James Landry Hébert plays a convincing con man in "Two Step."
Courtesy "Two Step"

The Texas drama "Two Step" debuts at SXSW Film. It is Austin-based writer/director Alex R. Johnson's first feature-length film. It has a "No Country for Old Men" vibe – along with a memorable villain who you're better off not running into.

Johnson is pretty new to Austin. He talked with KUT about "Two Step" and how moving here inspired him to make it.

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Arts Eclectic
2:57 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

Women of the World Poetry Slam Comes to Austin

The Women of the World Poetry Slam is a yearly festival that brings together 72 of the world’s best female poets for workshops, open mics, parties, and of course a multi-day slam poetry competition. This year, for the first time, it’s happening in Austin.

Things will kick off at the Spiderhouse on Wednesday, March 19, with the Last Chance Slam, where poets who are not yet registered for Women of the World can vie for a slot in the competition. Bouts will continue at the Spiderhouse and Love Goat on Thursday, March 20 and Friday, March 21; workshops and other events will also happen on those days. The festival will conclude with a championship bout at the Paramount Theater on Saturday, March 22.

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SXSW 2014
9:52 am
Mon March 10, 2014

SXSW: Snowden Speech Has Conference Buzzing, Congressman Stewing

SXSW Interactive Festival attendees crowd the Austin Convention Center at the 2013 event. The festival's typically sprawling range of topics this year took a turn toward online privacy and surveillance implications.
Jack Plunkett AP

Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 8:59 am

Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden will speak via videoconference to the attendees of South by Southwest Interactive later this morning, and you can bet a much wider audience than just those here in Austin will be watching.

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In Black America Podcast
8:50 pm
Sun March 9, 2014

Diversity Training and Management Development

Joann Tolbert-Yancy, President and CEO

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Joann Tolbert-Yancy, President & CEO of Jotoski Human Resource Consulting Firm based in Dallas, TX. Her consulting firm specializes in employment law compliance, EEO litigation support, diversity training, and management/employee development.

Tolbert-Yancy has spent over 36 years as a human resource professional for major corporations and government agencies. She has always incorporated positive suggestions and applications to encourage people to better themselves and inspire others. Her personal experiences and philosophies have helped many create their own road map for success.

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SXSW 2014
11:48 am
Sun March 9, 2014

SXSW Filmmaker Spotlight: A Slacker Scam Artist Goes Too Far in 'Buzzard'

"Buzzard" features a character who feels at home in a devil mask.
Courtesy of Sob Noisse

Adam Minnick came to Austin from Michigan about nine years ago to work in the semiconductor field – after his photography plans did not take off.

"Buzzard" is his first step into the film world. A world he entered when an old college buddy asked him to be the director of photography in the feature film he was working on. "Buzzard" debuted at SXSW Film.

KUT talked with Minnick about the film and his unlikely path to filmmaking:

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SXSW 2014
3:58 pm
Sat March 8, 2014

SXSW Filmmaker Spotlight: The Summer of 1985 is Alive in 'Ping Pong Summer'

Susan Sarandon plays a "Miyagi-like" character in "Ping Pong Summer" – à la "Karate Kid."
Jess Pinkham

It’s the summer of 1985 – when teenagers carried boom boxes on their shoulders and poured pop rocks into soft drinks. For Austin-based writer/director Michael Tully – that summer is also all about table tennis – or ping pong.

“Ping Pong Summer” premiered at Sundance this year – and has been picked up for theatrical release. But before it hits movie houses, it hits SXSW Film.

Michael Tully talked with KUT about his film:

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SXSW 2014
10:03 am
Fri March 7, 2014

SXSW Film Preview: Trends, Ones to Watch And Avoiding Long Lines

Latham Smith, a tugboat captain who works for the oil industry, is featured in "The Great Invisible."
Courtesy of Participant Media

The annual South by Southwest film festival kicks off in Austin today. The 10-day fest features more than 89 world premieres and a total of 133 feature films. Janet Pierson heads SXSW Film. And it’s ultimately her job to weed through the thousands of submissions to come up with the slate of film offerings.

Janet Pierson stopped by KUT to talk about this year’s lineup.

On What Makes a Good SXSW Film:

"It's a total picture that we're looking for. You know, you look for a lot of things. Original voices is a big deal, something that surprises you, something that really works - that has a depth. We look for a transformational experience. We want to be moved somehow."

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SXSW 2014
7:11 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Don't be Human Spam or a Vampire: Austin Kleon's Advice for SXSW

Austin Kleon

One of the largest gatherings of creative minds is happening right now in Austin, but how can you become a valuable part of that community without sucking the life out of it or annoying other people with your relentless self-promotion?

Don't be "human spam" or a "vampire." That's the advice of Austin Kleon, a local artist and writer whose book "Steal Like an Artist" spent six months on the New York Times best-seller list.

"There's basically the people who want to take all the inspiration, and then there's people who want to flood you with their own thing that they're shilling," he says.

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Get Involved
6:28 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Get Involved Spotlight: C5 Texas

C5 Texas is a 5-year leadership program for high-potential youth from low-income families.  We serve 300+ in north & central Texas, accepting 72 new youth each year.  Selection is based on performance, need, & readiness. 

The Mission

C5 changes the odds for high-performing youth from risk-filled environments, inspiring them to pursue personal success, and preparing them for leadership roles in college, work and their communities.  We encourage C5 youth to be Character-driven, Community-focused, Challenge-ready, College-bound and Committed to a better future.

The 

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