Life & Arts

Author Interviews
11:57 am
Tue February 4, 2014

Best-Selling Author Jen Lancaster Kicks Off 'Twisted' Book Tour in Austin

"I’ve always written characters, protagonists who are more likely to explode," Jen Lancaster says. In her new book "Twisted Sisters," "the character Reagan is someone who is imploding."
Jeremy Lawson for Penguin Books

I caught up with Jen Lancaster as she was heading to the airport. In the background, her dogs were barking a welcome to the guy who cleans up their “messes” from the back yard. “The best 11 dollars I ever spent in my life,” Lancaster says. “I don’t know what he does with it but that is not my concern [though]; I hope it’s going to a farmer somewhere to be used as fertilizer.”

In her new novel, “Twisted Sisters,”  Jen Lancaster has written a story of sibling rivalry run amok. A story of three sisters – one of which is deeply unhappy in her life but doesn’t realize it – and who transforms her relationships with her sisters in a highly unorthodox way.

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Author Interviews
5:00 am
Tue February 4, 2014

Renowned Texas Journalist Shares Family History in 'The Harness Maker's Dream'

"The Harness Maker's Dream" tells the story of the Kallison family.
Credit facebook.com/HarnessMakersDream

The Kallison family name has resonated amongst Texans for generations.

It's the name of the department store in San Antonio crowned by a cowboy carrying a saddle on his right shoulder. It's also the of the Kallison Ranch, the place that brought Texas ranching into the 20th century.

"The Harness Maker’s Dream" recounts the story of Nathan Kallison, the Jewish Russian who escaped persecution and later became a successful rancher in Texas.

 

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In Black America Podcast
10:44 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

A Tribute to the Late Lena Horne

Lena Horne

In celebration of Black History month, In Black America presents an encore presentation of "Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music" an extended interview with her that originally aired in March 1983.

Born on June 30, 1917 in Brooklyn, New York, Lena Horne became one of the most popular African American performers of the 1940's and 1950's. At the age of sixteen she was hired as a dancer in the chorus of Harlem’s famous Cotton Club. There she was introduced to the growing community of jazz performers, including Billie Holiday, Cab Calloway, and Duke Ellington. She also met Harold Arlen, who would write her biggest hit, “Stormy Weather.” For the next five years she performed in New York nightclubs, on Broadway, and touring with the Charlie Barnet Orchestra. 

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Music
5:56 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

'Pay-to-Play' Booking Inside the Austin Hip Hop Scene

flickr.com/nickstone333

If you were an emerging hip hop artist making beats in your bedroom and rapping with friends, would you pay $400 for a chance to perform on a stage before a nationally recognized rapper like Z-Ro? If you were a hip hop fan, would you feel ripped off if you bought tickets to a show and had to sit through hours of inexperienced rappers whose only qualification was having enough cash to get on stage? 

Those are questions confronting Austin's hip hop scene with the rise of pay-to-play, writes Morgan Davis for the local music blog Ovrld.com. The issue became particularly acute this past weekend when several people who claimed to have paid to perform at a Waka Flocka Flame show saw it get canceled. 

We invited Davis into KUT to talk about the issue of pay-to-play, which is scheduled to be discussed by the Austin Music Commission tonight. 

Life & Arts
4:58 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Umlauf's 'Three Muses' Moved to Make Way for Medical School

A crew from Vault Fine Art Services dismantle and move Charles Umlauf’s Three Muses (1963) from Centennial Park to the Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon KUT News

A crew of contractors from Vault Fine Art Services dismantled and transported Charles Umlauf’s “Three Muses” from Centennial Park to the Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum on Monday.

The bronze sculptures relocated as part of a temporary loan while the Dell Medical School is under construction.

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Get Involved
6:00 am
Mon February 3, 2014

Get Involved Spotlight: Friends of Barton Springs Pool

Early in 2006, a few regular Barton Springs Pool swimmers were frustrated by the declining water quality and condition of the pool and decided to do something about it.  They formed Friends of Barton Springs Pool, a group dedicated to returning the pool to its rightful glory by working to restore, improve and maintain the pool and surrounding grounds through organizing, advocacy, volunteer work, education and fun.

Friends of Barton Springs Pool (FBSP) works to inspire an appreciation of the rich history of Barton Springs Pool and pride in this natural treasure.  To honor the pool’s sensitive environment and work to preserve and protect it so that generations long after ours can continue to enjoy the cool, clean spring waters, FBSP organizes monthly volunteer pool cleaning events that bring scores of swimmers and friends of Barton Springs to work beside the staff to support and enhance City Staff efforts to clean and maintain Barton Springs Pool.  These cleaning events include the annual “Council Cleans the Pool Day” where elected city and state officials join volunteers and city staff to clean algae and silt from Barton Springs Pool. 

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Music
2:35 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Learning Secrets: An Austin Dance Party Celebrates 10 Years

A contemplative moment for the DJs behind Learning Secrets, Jeramy Neugent and Ian Orth.
facebook.com/LearningSecrets

When you think of Austin’s "Live Music Capital of the World" status, what kind of music do you think of? Lots of genres may come to mind, but possibly not its thriving underground electronic and dance music scene. Tonight Learning Secrets – one of Austin’s longest running dance parties – celebrates their 10-year anniversary.

OK. But what is Learning Secrets?
 

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Life & Arts
6:05 am
Fri January 31, 2014

'The Obedient Assassin' Tells the Story of Trotsky's Killer

John P. Davidson at the KUT Studio
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Imagine – you have it all – a life of luxury, famous friends, a beautiful lover. You are a good, supportive friend – happy and content. And it’s all a lie.

The truth keeps you up at night, tortures you during the day. But you can’t change who you are.

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Food
7:50 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

New Food Truck Court to Open on Barton Springs Rd.

An artist's rendering of the Picnic, coming in March to Barton Springs Rd.
Ronnie Brooks

A new food trailer court is slated to open on Barton Springs Road in March, creating a new home for well-known mobile food vendors such as The Mighty Cone, Turf N Surf Po’Boy and Ms. P’s Electric Cock.

The Picnic, as it's to be named, will occupy one-third of a three acre site between Chuy's and Baby Acapulco where the Manor Mobile RV Park used to be. The other two thirds of the site is being developed as the Coldwater Luxury Apartments.

Unlike some food trailer courts that are located on undeveloped sites while landlords rent space to offset property tax until they can build something on the lot, the Picnic aims to be a long-term facility.

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Movies
2:29 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

Paramount Theatre Marks 100th Anniversary With Massive Film Series

"Paramount 100" condenses a century worth of film into a year-plus film series.
Teresa Vieira for KUT News

If you ever missed out on taking a film history course in school, you might just be in luck.

To celebrate its 100th birthday, the Paramount Theatre will be kicking off a year-and-a-half-long film series. “Paramount 100: A Century of Cinema” begins tonight with an exploration of the silent films of the 1900s through the 1920s. It’s a new undertaking for the theater, which is well known for its summertime repertory film series.

“Doing a series like this is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, I just never really had a good reason to do it,” says Paramount film programmer Stephen Jannise. “Right after last year’s summer classics series, I started to realize that we have Paramount’s 100th birthday coming up in 2015, so I thought it would be a great reason for me to sort of jump start this Paramount100 series and do a chronological trip through film history.”

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Arts Eclectic
8:53 am
Wed January 29, 2014

Experience the Largest Indoor Brazilian Carnaval on Earth

Austin's Carnaval celebration began in the mid-70s as a relatively small event held at a Unitarian church. The party-goers that year must have had a good time, because Carnaval quickly became an annual ocurance; it's now in its 37th year and is the second-oldest ongoing annual event in Austin.

The party has moved to different and larger venues several times, and is now taking place at the Palmer Events Center. It's the largest indoor Brazilian Carnaval in the world, and this year will feature music, dancing, food, a parade float, and, as always, elaborate and often revealing costumes.

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In Memoriam
10:16 am
Tue January 28, 2014

Folk Activist Pete Seeger, Icon Of Passion And Ideals, Dies At 94

Pete Seeger was an environmentalist, an activist and the most prominent folk musician of his generation.
Neilson Barnard Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 28, 2014 1:21 pm

A tireless campaigner for his own vision of a utopia marked by peace and togetherness, Pete Seeger's tools were his songs, his voice, his enthusiasm and his musical instruments. A major advocate for the folk-style five-string banjo and one of the most prominent folk music icons of his generation, Seeger was also a political and environmental activist. He died Monday at age 94. His grandson, Kitama Cahill Jackson, said he died of natural causes.

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Arts Eclectic
3:24 pm
Mon January 27, 2014

This 'Hamlet' is 300 Years Old and Completely New

The Hidden Room theatre company performs "Der Berstraffe Brudermord" during the Blackfriars Conference at the Blackfriars Playhouse in Staunton, Virginia on Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013.
Pat Jarrett

The latest show from Hidden Room Theater is a version of Hamlet that's different from any version you've probably seen before. Rather than staging the play as it was originally written, the folks at Hidden Room are presenting (stay with me here) a puppet-show version of an English language translation of a 300 year-old, comedic, condensed German version of the play.

That German manuscript, called Der Bestrafte Brudermord, is dated 1710, and has for years been a mystery to Shakespeare scholars. It's definitely a version of Hamlet, but its brevity and rampant slapstick raised questions about how and why it was originally staged.

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Music
1:19 pm
Mon January 27, 2014

Austin at the Grammys: Larry Monroe, Gary Clark Jr. Among Honorees

Blues DJ legend Larry Monroe, seen here in 2005. Monroe was posthumously honored at the Grammys last night.
KUT

Austin blues-rock guitarist Gary Clark Jr. led a select group of artists representing the Live Music Capitol of the World at the 2014 Grammy Awards.

Clark’s song “Please Come Home” was named the Best Traditional R&B Performance. Clark was also nominated for Best Rock Song. He didn’t win, but Clark can take solace in knowing he competed against bands including Black Sabbath and The Rolling Stones. (“Cut Me Some Slack,” pairing Paul McCartney with the remaining Nirvana lineup, won.)

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Life & Arts
8:35 am
Mon January 27, 2014

Austin's Ray Benson Goes it Alone, Gets Raves

'Brother Ray' Benson, minus the cowboy hat
Credit Kerrville Folk Festival

Though Ray Benson's been the de facto musical ambassador of Austin now for decades, he admits that by stepping out as a solo artist for the first time in more than a decade, he's just now getting to do what he always dreamed of doing when he started out in music as a teenager.  

"I didn't think I was good enough," he confesses.  

Benson's new album, "A Little Piece" seems to offer ample evidence he's good enough, at least if the critics are to be believed. In fact, Tom Semioli of the Huffington Post places Benson's new recording up there with the likes of breakthroughs like Dylan's "Blood on the Tracks" and Willie Nelson's "Phases and Stages."

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In Black America Podcast
4:11 pm
Sun January 26, 2014

In Black America Podcast: CocoaFab.com

Angela Burt-Murray
Cocoa Media Group

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Angela Burt-Murray editorial director of Cocoa Media Group, a new digital media company that launched CocoaFab.com and CocoaFab.TV to feature entertainment, style and original web series for young women of color. 

Prior to launching CMG, she was the editor-in-chief of ESSENCE magazine, where she oversaw the editorial direction for ESSENCE magazine—the premier lifestyle, news, fashion and beauty magazine for African-American women—as well as Essence.com—the leading daily online destination to serve that audience.

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Life & Arts
12:06 pm
Sun January 26, 2014

5 Things To Know About The Grammy Awards Show

Jay-Z performs during his Magna Carta World Tour at Connecticut's Mohegan Sun Arena earlier this month. Jay Z has nine nominations at this year's Grammys.
Anthony Nesmith CSM /Landov

Originally published on Sun January 26, 2014 1:27 pm

The 56th annual Grammy Awards will air Sunday on CBS beginning at 8 p.m. ET. The Los Angeles Times says:

"[The] Grammy Awards show is chock-full of star-studded performances. And like every year, the performances are all about the collaborations.

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Life & Arts
3:05 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

Austin Film Society Names New Texas Hall of Fame Inductees

Five inductees have been named to the Texas Film Hall of Fame.
Jerry Hayes, Austin Film Society

The Austin Film Society has announced its 2014 inductees into the Texas Film Hall of Fame.

The honorees will be awarded at the 14th annual Texas Film Awards kicking off the South by Southwest Film festival, for contributions that have “placed Texas on the world stage of film excellence.”

Austin actress Amber Heard will be recognized with the Rising Star Award. Ms. Heard first gained recognition for her role in the 2004 film “Friday Night Lights.” She's since gained recognition for racy roles in movies such as Machete Kills and “Paranoia,” starring opposite some of the biggest names in Hollywood.

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Life & Arts
6:00 am
Thu January 23, 2014

Austin PBS Series Showcases Texas, 'One Square Mile' at a Time

The Austin city limits sign on Highway 71. Austin is one of nine cities profiled in “One Square Mile: Texas,” a new series from KLRU Austin PBS.
One Square Mile: Texas

What does Texas look like one square mile at a time? That’s the question producers of a new series airing on PBS stations across the state are asking.

Texas is made up of more than 268,000 square miles. A new series produced by KLRU Austin PBS, “One Square Mile: Texas,” focuses on just nine of them – from the Texas Panhandle to the Gulf Coast and several places in between, including Austin.

The 26-minute documentaries follow eight to 10 people in each place: teachers, police officers, pastors and artists. And it does so with the requirement they all live or work within one square mile of each other.

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National
5:56 am
Wed January 22, 2014

Gentrification May Actually Be Boon To Longtime Residents

The bustling Sidamo coffee shop in Washington's H Street Northeast neighborhood. The area has attracted many new, young residents and high-end bars, retail and restaurants over the past several years.
Meredith Rizzo NPR

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 8:34 am

Bobby Foster Jr. can often be found reading the paper on a wooden bench outside Murry's grocery store on the corner of Sixth and H streets northeast in Washington, D.C.

"The sun shines over here this time of day," says Foster, a retired cook. "It's always good when the sun shines."

Murry's has been an anchor in this neighborhood for decades — during the crack wars of the 1980s and the urban blight that followed, when most other businesses packed up and left. Foster has been somewhat of an anchor, too. He's lived here for 54 years.

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