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

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Angela Meryl, former model and make-up artist, and author of ‘Stunts: The How To Handbook -The Secrets From An Award-Winning Hollywood Stunt Woman.

The Wimberley Players are currently presenting Other Desert Cities, by playwright Jon Robin Baitz. The play, which was a finalist for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for drama, centers around a contentious family gathering on Christmas Eve.

The setting is the Palm Springs, California home of the Wyeth family; daughter Brooke (played here by Shelby Miller) returns home for the holidays after a six year absence. She's written a book a book about the family, and the way in which her family members (including mother Polly, played by Whitney Martlett) react to this news spurs the action of the play.

"It starts out as a family comedy," says director Tracy Arnold, "but we quickly discover the family's deep-rooted secrets and their conflicts that they've had from the past and that continue into the present."

Photo by Neal Medlyn, St. Marks roof, 2015

Author and journalist Ada Calhoun's newest book St. Marks is Dead: The Many Lives of America’s Hippest Street chronicles the history of a few select city blocks of Manhattan and the personalities that have made it legend.

Michael Lee

Brently Heilbron started performing standup comedy at the tender age of 14, which means he's now been in the business for close to a quarter century. So when he says that the current scene in Austin is "an incredible time in comedy that I haven't seen in years," he's speaking with a certain level of authority.

The burgeoning Austin scene has inspired Heilbron to find a way to serve as a sort of comedy curator, presenting local talent to a wider world. That inspiration led to the development of the upcoming television series "Standup Empire." Heilbron will serve as producer and host of the show, which he and director Mike Wilson hope will do for comedy what "Austin City Limits" has done for music.

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Michel Martin, weekend host of NPR’s All Things Considered.

In 2006 Martin came to NPR and launched Tell Me More, a one-hour daily NPR news and talk show that aired on NPR stations nationwide from 2007-2014 and dipped into thousands of important conversations taking place in the corridors of power, but also in houses of worship, and barber shops and beauty shops, at PTA meetings, town halls, and at the kitchen table.

Prominent Austin philanthropist, arts activist and lawyer Jo Anne Christian died Thursday afternoon after a battle with lung cancer. She was 79 years old.

Steve Rogers

As a story, Frankenstein feels like a pretty good fit for the folks of Trouble Puppet Theater Company. It's a classic tale, with monsters and dark imagery of the sort that Trouble Puppet excels at. It's also ripe for fresh interpretations, which Trouble Puppet always enjoys.

Joel Mann flic.kr/p/C8xtF

A New Orleans brass band, 90s indie rockers and a Canadian singer-songwriting legend are among the musical artists performing in Austin this weekend. KUT's Nathan Bernier asks KUTX program director Matt Reilly for his picks.


Photo by Ralph Barrera, Austin American-Statesman

Fort Worth chef Tim Love's new Austin restaurant amplifies Texas culture with a focus on big flavors and wild game. KUT's Nathan Bernier asks Austin American-Statesman restaurant critic Matthew Odam about his new review of Lonesome Dove Western Bistro.


On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Dr. John B. Diamond, the Hoefs-Bascom Professor of Education at University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Education, and co-author of “Despite The Best Intentions,”

Ten years ago, improv performers Roy Janik, Kaci Beeler, Kareem Badr, and Valerie Ward compiled a list of 300 possible troupe names, rejected them all, and then ended up calling themselves Parallelogramophonograph almost as a joke.

"Picking a name is the hardest park of being in a band or an improv troupe," Janik explains. "Once you pick an amazing name  that's super-easy to google and spell, like Parallelogramophonograph, it's a piece of cake."

Do512 https://flic.kr/p/pJ6kUT

Fun Fun Fun Fest takes over Austin, plus shows by Igor and the Red Elvises, Robert Cray, Nic Armstrong and more this weekend. KUT's Nathan Bernier asks KUTX program director Matt Reilly for his live music selections. 


On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Spencer Haywood, ABA/NBA legend and Hall of Famer.

Despite a productive NBA and ABA career, Haywood will always be remembered as the man who opened the door for underclassmen college basketball players to leave college early to play in the pros, thereby creating the "Spencer Haywood rule."

From CASA of Travis County, this month's Get Involved spotlight non-profit:  

About CASA:

CASA of Travis County speaks up for children who’ve been abused or neglected by empowering our community to volunteer as advocates for them in the court system. When the state steps in to protect a child’s safety, a judge appoints a trained CASA volunteer to make independent and informed recommendations in the child’s best interest. 

Founded in 2005, the Umlauf Prize is a yearly award bestowed upon a deserving UT Austin graduate student in Art. After a several-year hiatus, the prize was reinstated in 2014 and continues this year with, for the first time, two winners.

David Burke https://flic.kr/p/i3erK7

It's Halloween weekend! Which live music performances should you show up to in costume? KUT's Nathan Bernier asks KUTX program director Matt Reilly. 


Laura Skelding, Austin American-Statesman

Austin has more Italian options than ever. KUT's Nathan Bernier asks Austin American-Statesman restaurant critic Matthew Odam about his review of a relatively new addition, Juliet Ristorante. 


Courtesy of the Austin Film Festival

The 22nd Annual Austin Film Festival is getting underway. This year’s lineup includes more than 180 films – 20 of which are world or North American premieres.

The film festival and conference is unique because it was founded to recognize some of the less talked about people behind films – screenwriters. And that’s still true after 22 years. But the festival has also evolved a lot in recent years.


On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. concludes his conversation with Dr. Gayle Wald, Professor of English and American Studies at George Washington University and author of ‘It’s Been Beautiful’: Soul! and Black Power Television.

‘Soul!’ on Public Television from 1968 to 1973, was the only national TV show dedicated to cultural and political expressions of Black Power.

Nathan Bernier/KUT News

Two panels, scheduled to be held during SXSW Interactive in March 2016, were canceled Monday on account of “numerous threats of on-site violence,” according to the press release sent out by the head of the conference, Hugh Forrest.

Tuesday 5:40 p.m. Following today's developments, SXSW's Hugh Forrest has released a new statement on its website under the headline "Safety Is A Top Priority And So Is Your Voice":

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