Life & Arts

5:30 am
Mon January 26, 2015

Gertha Murphy & Rev. Marion Childress-Usher on Growing Up in Goodwill

Rev. Marion Childress-Usher and Gertha Murphy at the StoryCorps mobile booth

Gertha Murphy was born 101 years ago in Goodwill, Texas, a small community in Washington County. She is, in her words, a "dyed in the wool" Texan.

She recently sat down in the StoryCorps mobile booth with her daughter, Reverend Marion Childress-Usher. They talked about many things, and in this section of the conversation, Rev. Childress-Usher asks her mother about her childhood. 

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Life & Arts
1:36 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

Watch: Internet Famous Zelda Artist Prepares His Next Treasure Chest

The next Hyrule in Austin treasure box.

Three weeks ago, an Austinite known as Ez became internet famous. It’s a tempered fame, he says, and it comes in waves. About nine months ago, Ez rode a similar wave after he put a video on Reddit showcasing his interactive street art project he calls “Hyrule in Austin,” in which he creates a handful of “prizes” inspired by the Zelda videogame franchise, hides them in the Barton Creek Greenbelt, and unsuspecting Austinites find them in a wooden chest.

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5:30 am
Wed January 21, 2015

Skip Connett & Erin Flynn On the Dream That Never Died

Skip Connett and Erin Flynn at the StoryCorps mobile booth in Austin.

Skip Connett and his wife Erin Flynn are the owners of Green Gate Farms, an organic community farm in East Austin. They sat down together in the StoryCorps mobile booth recently to talk about their life together and how they ended up moving to Texas to become farmers. As a child, Erin never saw farming in her future, but for Skip, running a farm was the culmination of a lifelong dream.

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In Black America Podcast
9:44 am
Tue January 20, 2015

The Black Heritage Network

Hezekiah Lewis

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Hezekiah Lewis, President and CEO with the Black Heritage Network.

Founded in 2010, BHN.TV brings its viewers quality, relevant programming that reflects the African American experience. The founders believe that it was time to step up and create one TV channel whose single mission is to be the first and only full-time television destination for the real stories of African American  life in America. They believe that African American heritage is American heritage.

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Arts Eclectic
7:00 am
Mon January 19, 2015

See 'DNA' at the Off Center

Mark Pickell, the artistic director for Capital T Theatre, first became aware of Dennis Kelly's dark comedy DNA several years ago; it'd been a big hit in London, but had been performed only once in America. He immediately knew he wanted to produce it with Capital T, but saved the script until he felt the time was right. 

When, as part of Capital T's "New Directions" program, Molly Karasch was set to make her Austin directorial debut, the time felt right. "When Molly came on board," he says, "I thought this would be a great fit for her." Karasch agrees, saying that "finding the humor in really dark things" is kind of in her wheelhouse.  

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5:30 am
Mon January 19, 2015

J.J. Lara & Rose Pulliam On the 'Pink Elephant in the Room'

J.J. Lara and Rose Pulliam at the StoryCorps mobile booth in Austin.

J.J. Lara and Rose Pulliam are longtime friends; they met years ago at ALLGO, a statewide organization for queer people of color.

Lara and Pulliam recently sat down together at the StoryCorps mobile booth to chat about their lives and their friendship. In this portion of their conversation, Pulliam brings up the fact that Lara is out to everyone in his life, with a notable exception. His parents, who live in Lara's hometown of Brownsville, do not yet know he is gay.

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The Write Up
11:21 am
Thu January 15, 2015

Doug Dorst on the 'Internal Editor' and Losing Yourself in a Narrative

Credit Photo courtesy of Doug Dorst

Doug Dorst is a wonder at words and worlds. He’s a master of bringing the known and unknown, the mundane and the strange, into immediate proximity to one another is such a way that the line begins to fade.

Whether it’s insecure police officers encountering restless ghosts romping through northern California in his debut novel Alive in Necropolis, or the dark inner lives of surf gurus and cake sculptors in his short story collection The Surf Guru, or the wild labyrinth voices, artifacts, and nightmarish locales of S.

On this edition of The Write Up, we speak with Dorst about his craft, his former life as a lawyer, his three victories on the game show Jeopardy and working with J.J. Abrams.

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Charlie Hebdo
3:28 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

Austin Bookstore Tries to Snag Copies of 'Charlie Hebdo'

BookPeople in Austin tried to track down copies of the latest issue of 'Charlie Hebdo,' but so far has come up empty handed.
Credit Michael Femia/Flickr

Following an attack last week by Islamic extremists on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, the publication announced today that it would print five million copies of its latest issue.

It's out today, and an Austin independent bookstore is hustling to stock copies.

BookPeople on North Lamar Boulevard has talked with distributors – one in France, the other in Canada – that normally have copies of the magazine. But thus far they've come up with nothing, said BookPeople CEO Steve Bercu.

"We're not going to have any today, for sure," he said. "And the question is whether we can get any or not. We're certainly making any effort we can."

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Life & Arts
11:16 am
Tue January 13, 2015

VIDEO: Matthew McConaughey's Audition for 'Dazed and Confused'

Wiley Wiggins and Matthew McConaughey audition for Richard Linklater's "Dazed and Confused."
Screengrab via Criterion Collection's YouTube channel

Last night, as lawmakers were polishing up their boots for the 84th Texas Legislature’s kickoff and Richard Linklater was, presumably, spit-shining his Golden Globe for Boyhood he won on Sunday, the Internet, as it often does, produced a nugget of gold.

As the Wall Street Journal writes, the Criterion Collection released Matthew McConaughey’s audition from Linklater’s seminal Austin-based comedy Dazed and Confused on YouTube. The film launched McConaughey’s career, proved Linklater could be both a commercially and critically successful filmmaker, and educated those outside of Austin on moontowers and Top Notch hamburgers.

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In Black America
10:56 am
Tue January 13, 2015

Remembering Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

King shortly before his speech on the National Mall on August 28, 1963
U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. presents a tribute to the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

During the less than thirteen years of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s leadership of the modern Civil Rights Movement, from December 1955 until April 4, 1968, African Americans achieved more genuine progress toward racial equality than the previous 350 years had produced. King is widely regarded as the preeminent advocate of nonviolence and one of the greatest nonviolent leaders in world history.

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Arts Eclectic
9:48 am
Mon January 12, 2015

Help Decide the Plot of 'Deus Ex Machina'

Deus Ex Machina, a new co-production from Whirlygig, Fusebox, and Shrewd Productions, is not a show for folks who enjoy being passive observers to the action onstage. For this show, the audience takes an active role, essentially becoming the gods of Greek myth, deciding the fate of the players before them.

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Life & Arts
7:16 pm
Wed January 7, 2015

Public Art Program Seeking Artists For Hire

"Your Essential Magnificence" is a sculpture created by James Edward Talbot at 2204 S. Congress Ave. It was a project of the city's Art in Public Places program, which is hoping to recruit artists to its pool of pre-qualified talent.
Photo by Philip Rogers

If you are a visual artist or know of any who want to get paid for their work, the City of Austin is looking for people to add to a pool of artists they call upon to create works of public art. We were curious about this, so we called the city's Art in Public Places program administrator Meghan Wells to ask some questions about it.

KUT: What kind of artists are you looking for exactly?

Meghan Wells: We're looking for qualifications from artists who are interested in being commissioned for public art projects through the program in a streamlined way. In essence, we're looking for a way to create a pool of artists we can pull from to expedite the selection project for various public art projects that are coming along.

KUT: How much money could an artist expect to earn? 

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In Black America Podcast
1:53 pm
Tue January 6, 2015

In Black America Podcast: 'Only By Grace' Author Dr. Edward D. Irons

Dr. Edward D. Irons

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Dr. Edward D. Irons, noted educator, financial and business executive, and author of “Only By Grace.”

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Get Involved
6:00 am
Thu January 1, 2015

Get Involved Spotlight: Hill Country Conservancy

From Hill Country Conservancythis month’s Get Involved spotlight non-profit:

Hill Country Conservancy (HCC) is an accredited regional nonprofit land trust that works every day to preserve open space in the Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer region and the Colorado River Basin of the Texas Hill Country. Since 1999, HCC has preserved large strategic natural areas that conserve critical water features and wildlife habitat, provide outdoor recreation opportunities and help maintain the Hill Country’s character and unique quality of life for all to enjoy and cherish.

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6:53 pm
Wed December 31, 2014

Cactus Cafe Celebrates 35 Years

Dale Watson performing with his band at the Cactus Cafe in 2011

A legendary Austin music venue, the Cactus Café, celebrated its 35th anniversary this year. For the past few years, the Cactus has been operated by KUT. But the famous listening room at the University of Texas at Austin got its start in February 1979.

In the beginning, the venue mostly hosted student bands playing a lot of cover songs. But over the years, the Cactus Café became known as a place where you could hear some of the biggest names in Texas music such as Townes van Zandt, Guy Clark and Jimmie Dale Gilmore.

"It became sort of the premier place for the singer-songwriter," Gilmore says. 

But everyone I spoke to for this story says the Cactus was only able to gain its status because of the die-hard Texas music fan who started booking bands there in the 1980s: Griff Luneburg.

Listen to the full story here: 

In Black America Podcast
1:24 pm
Tue December 30, 2014

In Black America Podcast: The Life and Legacy of Dr. John Hope Franklin

The late Dr. John Hope Franklin
Tim Dillon, USA TODAY

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with the late Dr. John Hope Franklin.

Franklin was born in Rentiesville, Oklahoma, in 1915, only fifty years after slavery had been abolished. His father practiced law, and his mother taught elementary school, and from an early age he learned the power of words and ideas. Following his father’s lead, Franklin spent every evening reading or writing. From his parents he also learned how to survive and thrive in a time when the color line was indelibly drawn.

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Arts Eclectic
8:00 am
Fri December 26, 2014

Meet 'One Red Thread' Author Ernie Wood

Austin author Ernie Wood has spent years writing non-fiction books, magazine articles, and documentary film scripts. And now, he's published his first novel, One Red Thread.

It's the story of an architect, Eddy McBride, who discovers that he's able to travel through time. Using this ability, he reexamines his own family history, discovering more than he might have intended.

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Life & Arts
4:00 pm
Wed December 24, 2014

The 2014 Words of the Year

The heart shaped emoji is the 2014 word of the year.

The Central Texas based Global Language Monitor is out with its top words for 2014.

The 15 year-old ranking doesn't just pick the most popular words based on what one segment of the English speaking world is doing. A bunch of hits on YouTube, or a single event won't usually give something "word of the year" status.

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In Black America Podcast
8:52 am
Tue December 23, 2014

In Black America Podcast: ‘Burning Down The House’ Makes The Case to Eliminate Juvenile Prisons

Nell Bernstein

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Nell Bernstein, award-winning journalist and author of “Burning Down The House:  The End of Juvenile Prisons.”

Today, youths in juvenile prisons are disproportionately children of color from poor neighborhoods, and Bernstein says they’re more likely to have been victims of violence than to have committed it. And African American teens are locked up at five times the rate of whites.

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Arts Eclectic
8:54 am
Fri December 19, 2014

Celebrate the Holidays at the Hideout

For the past year or so, the talented performers at the Hideout have been staging a weekly Big Bash, and all-star improv show that happens every Friday night at the downtown theater. In each show, a rotating cast of Hideout regulars  present a handful of games and sketches, followed by a longer-form improvised "movie" in the second half of the show.

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