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

Photo by Liang Shi for KUT News

Many people blog, but how many get paid for it? That was the topic of Melissa Lion's panel at SXSW Interactive.

The most important thing is never to accept offers to write content without charging a fee, Lion said. The problem is bloggers aren't asking for anything, and marketers are able to get content out of them for next to nothing. Lion says the only solution is to say, "No."

Image by Liang Shi for KUT News

A panel entitled "How Not To Be a Douchebag at SXSW" kicked off the SXSW Interactive conference this afternoon, featuring four SXSW veterans and and noted members in the tech industry.

The four speakers gave pointers to newcomers of the conference on how to behave properly without making a joke of themselves. 

"Don't be a pitch," said Amber Osborne, Vice President of Head of Lettuce Media, who commented that nothing was worse than being hit with a drive by shooting of business cards.

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SXSW has opened the gates to the wave of creative minds who will flood this city for the next ten days.  But for many Austin residents, SXSW means one thing: downtown transportation nightmare.

Image by Sarah Reynolds

The chairman of NPR’s Board of Directors spoke with public radio stations across the country this afternoon about the resignation of Vivian Schiller as President and CEO.  You can listen to that statement here.

Dave Edwards of WUWM in Milwaukee said in a teleconference that the decision to accept the resignation was a difficult one for both the board  and for Schiller.  Edwards praised Schiller’s work for the company and for the industry during her tenure at NPR.

Image courtesy mirsasha http://www.flickr.com/photos/mirsasha/

Alamo Drafthouse fans who snapped up last week's enormously popular LivingSocial deal of $9 for two movie tickets from Fandango are patting themselves on the back right now. That's because the local food and film franchise announced today in a news release that it is partnering with the web-based movie ticketing firm.

Image courtesy cliff1066 at flickr.com

Fifteen previously unknown short stories by Dashiell Hammett have been found in the archives of UT's Harry Ransom Center.  Hammett, who penned such classics as "The Maltese Falcon" and "The Thin Man" is considered by many to be the father of the American "hard boiled" detective fiction.  The discovery of the new stories by Andrew F.

Photo by KUT

The City of Austin could launch a "creative industries ambassador" program to promote the works of local musicians and artists outside the city, and further market Austin's brand as an artistic Mecca. Two city council members, Laura Morrison and Mike Martinez, held an afternoon press conference today to announce they are getting the ball rolling on the idea.

Photo from the Sam Shepard/Johnny Dark Correspondence Collection

 Texas State University in San Marcos is adding to their Whittliff Collections on Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and Academy Award-nominated actor Sam Shepard. The new Sam Shepard/Johnny Dark Correspondence Collection will include personal letters, photographs, taped conversations and a homemade film which documents the friendship between the two men over many years.

Map
Image courtesy City of Austin and Google Maps

Artists have an extra seven days to get their act together and write a proposal to create public art at the new the African-American Cultural & Heritage Facility. The building will be constructed at 912 East 11th Street near Branch Street.

Sixth Street
Image courtesy atmtx http://www.flickr.com/photos/atmtx/

The cops just sent out a news release saying New Year's Eve will be another "No Refusal" night. Austin Police officers will forcibly extract blood from any drunk driving suspect who refuses a breathalyzer.  The policy will be in effect from 9 p.m. Friday until 5 a.m. Saturday.

It shouldn't come as a big surprise to anyone, given the APD's penchant for launching "No Refusal" initiatives anytime there's a major holiday.  More than half of the traffic fatalities over the past year have been alcohol related, according to police.

Not that you would ever consider drunk driving, of course. But you may want to plan ahead if you plan on going out for New Year's Eve. Calling a cab after midnight on NYE is notoriously difficult in Austin.  Wait times can be up to 2 hours, if you can even get through to a dispatcher.

Image courtesy of the family of Susan Bright.

The term “force of nature” can be overused. But Susan Bright’s friends say, in her case, that description may not be enough.

The poet, publisher and Barton Springs advocate lost a short battle with cancer Wednesday morning. She was 65.

Bright was also the founder of Plain View Press. It’s a publishing house for local authors, and it has turned out over 350 titles so far.

Irene Pickhardt was a friend of Bright, and remembers her deep involvement in community issues.

Maddox Reax

Dec 28, 2010

The slaying of Austin drummer Bill Maddox, a drummer who played for local guitar legend Eric Johnson, is getting top story treatment from local media.  TV stations have been calling the Austin City Limits TV show today, which shares an office with KUT, and asking for B-roll of Maddox's ACL performance from 2001. Expect to see glimpses on tonight's newscasts.

Photo by Callie Hernandez for KUT News

What better way to get one's mind off the recent cold weather than to think of the coming warm spring and the annual colorburst that is wildflower season?

Well...don't get your hopes up too high, according to a senior botanist at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Photo by KUT News

Ever notice how the volume on your TV seems to get louder when the commercials come on? The US Congress sure did. And earlier this month it passed the CALM Act, which orders the Federal Communications Commission to figure out how to make it stop.

Zilker Tree
Image courtesy jmtimages http://www.flickr.com/photos/jmtimages/

In case you haven't been able to explore all the Christmas lights in Austin, here are some YouTube videos of local light displays from this year. Should you feel inspired, you can follow this map to see more great light displays in person.

Round Rock resident John Storms has received a lot of attention for his LED display that is synced to music. It was featured nationally on Good Morning America and Storms was interviewed locally on Fox 7.

Here are some of his sequences.

The city had to cancel the Trail of Lights this year because of budget cuts, but there is another event going on in its place.  It's not quite the Trail of Lights, but it is bright, it's holiday-themed, and it's next to the Zilker Tree.

Flipped ON Christmas runs through December 23rd. It's an "extraordinary, world-class, light and sound experience that's being produced by Austinites," according to spokesperson Jennifer Hill Robenalt.

Gibson Les Paul 1955 with Patent Applied For Pickups
Image courtesy Gil Hembree

It's one of the rarest guitars in the world: A 1955 Gibson Les Paul with Patent Applied For Pickups.  The guitar has been appraised at $500,000, according to its owner, Austin resident Gil Hembree. It has some of the first-ever humbucking pickups, a type of electric guitar pickup that was invented in the mid-50s and used widely ever since.

KOOP Radio Turns 16

Dec 16, 2010
The KOOP logo
Logo courtesy KOOP

The Austin city council passed a proclamation today to recognize KOOP radio's 16 years of public service broadcasting in Austin. KOOP delivers an eclectic mix of music and public affairs programming, all created and run by station volunteers.

Kim McCarson is the station's executive director, one of its few paid positions.  She says KOOP is the only cooperatively run station in the US.

An event at Seaholm Power Plant that was supposed to feature local food trucks like Austin Daily Press and Hey Cupcake! along with other artists and vendors has been canceled due to "red tape", according to a blog post by organizer Tiffany Harelik.

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