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 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.


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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.  

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

Jeffrey Moe recently shared his story with his friend Brandon Barrera. Jeffrey enlisted in the U.S. Army in 2002, serving as an Arabic linguist during deployments to both Afghanistan and Iraq.  

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

Adam Wagner recently shared his story with StoryCorps facilitator Sylvie Lubow. Adam served in the U.S. Marines for 11 years, including several deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan starting in 2003. During and after his time in active duty, he has found strength in his wife Katie.  

Kenneth Gall Photography

For writer/actor Alex Garza, performing Abuelita's Christmas Carol has become a holiday tradition. It began nearly a decade ago, when he wrote the play as a tribute to his late grandmother. For that first performance, the show was a traditional play, with different actors playing the various characters and Garza taking on the title role, a character based on his grandmother.

After that run, though, he changed the play into a one-man show, playing characters based on his abuelita and several other members of his family as well (including himself -- the narrator character is based on Garza). "I really loved the play and it meant so much to me -- because it was about my grandmother and my family -- that I wanted to keep doing it," Garza says. 

Jae Kwon on Getting Used to Military Life

Dec 27, 2015

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

Jae Kwon recently shared his story with StoryCorps facilitator Sylvie Lubow. Jae joined the navy after high school and became a hospital corpsman, a job better known to many as “medic.” He was stationed to 3rd Battalion, 5th Marines, an infantry battalion, and was sent with them to Fallujah, Iraq, in 2004.  

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

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