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

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.

St. Edward's University

The 2016 Pritzker Prize, often called the Nobel Prize for architects, was awarded this week to Chilean architect Alejandro Aravena. Known for his “incremental" — partially unfinished — building designs, Aravena has only one creation standing in the U.S., and it happens to be in Austin.

Remembering The Dreamer

Jan 13, 2016

In honor of the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., In Black America presents a tribute to the slain civil rights leader. During the less than thirteen years of King’s leadership of the modern Civil Rights Movement, from December 1955 until April 4, 1968, African Americans achieved more genuine progress toward racial equality in this country than the previous 350 years had produced. King is widely regarded as America’s pre-eminent advocate of nonviolence and one of the greatest nonviolent leaders in world history.

Austin musicians, take note: NPR Music's Tiny Desk Concert series has returned for its second year, and you have from today until Feb. 2 to submit your video. 

Image courtesy of Richard Lord

David Bowie’s passing has stirred many memories. For most of us, we’re left with how his music made us feel. But for one Austinite, Bowie left a different impression — one shaped like boxing gloves.


https://www.facebook.com/TheGoldenDawnArkestra

A busy week of live music as Austin's "Free Week" wraps up. KUT's Nathan Bernier gets a rundown from KUTX program director Matt Reilly.

Torchy's Tacos https://twitter.com/TorchysCareers/status/681650931709132800

Dining options in Austin will grow even more in 2016. KUT's Nathan Bernier gets a run down of what to look forward to from Austin American-Statesman restaurant critic Matthew Odam.


On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Dr. Aldon Morris, Leon Forrest Professor of Sociology and African American Studies at Northwestern University, and author of ‘The Scholar Denied: W.E.B. Du Bois: The Birth of Modern Sociology.’

www.audio-luci-store.it/flickr

New Year's resolutions tend to fall into just a few categories. But after losing weight and eating better, resolving to become a better public speaker tends to make the list. Now, new research suggests how well a speech or presentation is perceived might not have as much do with the presentation itself as you think.


From Keep Austin Fed, this month's Get Involved spotlight non-profit:  

What is Keep Austin Fed?

Keep Austin Fed is a all-volunteer, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that gathers wholesome and nutritious surplus food from commercial kitchens and distributes it to area charities that serve hungry people in need. Our mission is to share healthy nutrition with our hungry neighbors by keeping surplus food out of the waste stream.

In 2004, founder Randy Rosens saved high quality catered food from an Austin Museum of Art Fundraising event at Laguna Gloria that was headed to the dumpster. The food fed a small group of women and children living at a shelter in south Austin. Last year Keep Austin Fed rescued over 500,000 meals, feeding hundreds of our neighbors living with food insecurity — the 1 in 7 Central Texans who don’t know where their next meal will come from. As we fight against hunger, we also fight for our environment by keeping food out of landfills. 40% of the food we produce in America never gets eaten. According to the USDA, that’s the equivalent of 133 billion pounds of food with a retail value over $161 trillion – each year. It’s a daunting challenge, but with your help we’re making a dent.

Lucky's Puccias and Pizzeria www.luckyspuccias.com

Austin now has more pizza options than ever. KUT's Nathan Bernier asks Austin American-Statesman restaurant critic Matthew Odam about some relatively new additions to the city's pizza roster.

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Dr. Sarah Y. Vinson, M.D., Triple- Board Certified Harvard and Emory trained physician who specializes in Adolescent, Adult and Forensic Psychiatrist.

StoryCorps was back in Austin in November, recording the stories of Central Texas veterans as part of their Military Voices Initiative.

Brooke and Clayton Hergert, who are both veterans, have been married almost eight years now and have two young sons. Their love story began in 2005, halfway across the world. While serving in Afghanistan, Clayton, a Special Operations Force member, was surprised to meet his new Army pilot, Captain Brooke Taylor.  

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