Highlights 12/19 to 12/25

Celebrating its 88th year, the National Christmas Tree Lighting at 6 p.m. Sunday will signals the start of the holiday season across the country and includes performances by some of the most recognizable names in entertainment.

Nature at 7 p.m. Sunday presents “Christmas in Yellowstone”, an exploration of the great winter world of Yellowstone through captivating images of the spectacular landscape and wildlife.

Masterpiece Contemporary at 8 p.m. Sunday presents Endgame, a real-life political thriller about the negotiations that led to the end of apartheid in South Africa.

Independent Lens at 8 p.m. Monday and Tuesday presents part one of The Calling, a two-part behind-the-scenes look at young Americans of different religions preparing to become the nation’s next generation of holy leaders.

A Time for Champions at 10 p.m. Monday charts the influence of St. Louis’ immigrant community, amateur leagues and college teams on the development and increased popularity of soccer in the United States.

Nova at 7 p.m. Tuesday presents “Arctic Dinosaurs”, a unique field expedition heading towards Alaska’s North Slope to defrost a jackpot of new fossil clues in attempt to uncover polar dinosaurs’ lives and environment in vivid detail.

Secrets of the Dead: Battle for the Bible at 7 p.m. Wednesday explores the dramatic, violent and world-shaking story of the most famous and widely-read book in history.

Presented by award-winning filmmaker David Grubin, Buddha at 8 p.m. Wednesday tells the story of the Buddha’s life and draws upon the work of some of the world’s greatest artists and sculptors, who across two millennia have depicted the Buddha’s life in art rich in beauty and complexity.

Eclectic singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Andrew Bird dazzles with songs from his album “Noble Beast” on Austin City Limits at 10 p.m. Wednesday and 9 p.m. Friday, followed by the imaginative indie pop of St. Vincent.

Christmas at Concordia- Journey to Bethlehem at 7 p.m. Thursday presents a Christmas concert filled with holiday favorites performed by the world-renowned choirs and compositions of artistic director and composer, Rene Clausen.

Natalie Cole and David McCullough join the Mormon Tabernacle Choir for the annual Christmas concert from Salt Lake City on Christmas with the Mormon Tabernacle at 8 p.m. Thursday.

L.A. Holiday Celebration 2010 at 9 p.m. Thursday reflects the cultural mosaic of Los Angeles and the broader “melting pot” of the United States as performers of African, Asian, European and Latino backgrounds join to express the joy of the season.

Author and activist Michael Pollan discusses his most recent books regarding the act of buying and consuming food on Overheard with Evan Smith at 8:30 p.m. Friday.

The University of St. Thomas in Saint Paul, Minnesota shares its annual holiday concert at 10 p.m. Friday, featuring seven of the university’s internationally renowned vocal and instrumental ensembles performing a festive collection of seasonal favorites.

Ben Harper debuts his new band, Relentless7, with a rocking set drawn from his album White Lies for Dark Times on Austin City Limits at 7 p.m. Saturday.

KLRU remembers Richard Holbrooke

Richard Holbrooke – longtime US diplomat, peace envoy, and key US government voice in Afghanistan and Pakistan – died over the weekend at the age of 69.  He was one of the first people Evan Smith interviewed for television, way back in 2003, during the first season of KLRU-TV’s TEXAS MONTHLY TALKS.  Evan was new to TV, and this show was new to KLRU.  But the idea of taping a half-hour interview with someone of Holbrooke’s stature was a thrill, and encouraged everyone involved with TEXAS MONTHLY TALKS to imagine big things ahead.

I won’t go into Holbrooke’s full biography or resume here; many others have done that job very well in the past days.  But we will post our interview with Holbrooke here .  It aired in May of 2003, and he spoke about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the world’s view of the US, his early career during the Vietnam War.  It was a great interview then, and it’s a great one now – more than seven years later, and not far into the first run of the new successor to that original show.

by Lynn Boswell

Producer, Overheard with Evan Smith

Rockettes strike a pose on ACL stage


KLRU gets lots of visitors to our Austin City Limits studio 6A each week during our 10:30 am Friday tours. Occasionally we have special guests during the week who want to see the legendary studio as well including Gina Pero and Audrey Douglass of the Radio City Rockettes.

The Radio City Rockettes are in town for a performance of Radio City Christmas Spectacular. Presented by Broadway Across America Austin and Texas Performing Arts, the 2010 edition of The Christmas Spectacular will play the Bass Concert Hall from December 17–26. Tickets are available at the Bass Concert Hall box office, all Texas Box Office Outlets, by phone at (512) 477-6060 or online at texasperformingarts.org

For Once In My Life screening 1/4

Join KLRU and the Austin Public Library for free Community Cinema screenings on the first Tuesday of the month at the Windsor Park Branch Library (5833 Westminster Dr,). Screenings will start at 7 p.m. with a discussion to follow each of the films. The next screening will be For Once In My Life on January 4th.

For Once In My Life
The story of an inspiring group of people and their dream to make music. This film follows the members of the Spirit of Goodwill Band, twenty-eight musicians and singers who all have severe mental and/or physical disabilities.

Highlights 12/12 to 12/18

Christmas at Concordia: Journey to Bethlehem at 8 p.m. Monday presents a Christmas concert filled with holiday favorites performed by the world-renowned choirs and compositions of artistic director and composer, Rene Clausen.

Chicago’s Music of the Baroque Chorus and Brass ensemble performs Renaissance and Baroque renditions of the season’s most joyful carols in the exquisite Chapel of the Holy Spirit on A Renaissance Christmas at 9 p.m. Monday.

Celebrating its 88th year, the National Christmas Tree Lighting at 10 p.m. Monday will signal the start of the holiday season across the country and include performances by some of the most recognizable names in entertainment.

Nova at 7 p.m. Tuesday and 10 p.m. Saturday presents “Hunting the Hidden Dimension”, the dramatic story of a group of pioneering mathematicians who developed fractals, a revolutionary new branch of math that is touching nearly every branch of understanding from what happened after the Big Bang and the ultimate fate of our universe.

In the midst of recession, Frontline at 8 p.m. Tuesday investigates how the middle class is faring through the eyes and stories of well-to-do bankers, struggling actors and a hair salon owner in New York City.

A look at life in an American town explores the interactions between people and their community on Independent Lens at 9 p.m. Tuesday.

The Territory, back-to-back episodes at 10 and 10:30 p.m., showcases new directions in film and video. These films offer a provocative mix of experimental, documentary, narrative, and animated shorts that allows the audience to take TV trips around the world and to major U.S. media festivals.

Natalie Cole and David McCullough join the Mormon Tabernacle Choir for the annual Christmas concert from Salt Lake City on Christmas with the Mormon Tabernacle at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Individual stories from key figures in the art world’s first international avant-garde depict how living in Paris transformed them and their work on Paris The Luminous Years at 8 p.m. Wednesday.

Country singer/songwriter Kenny Chesney delivers classic hits from his latest compilation Greatest Hits: Vol 2 on Austin City Limits at 10 p.m. Wednesday and 9 p.m. Friday.

Former US Senator Bill Bradley discusses his career and political views on Overheard with Evan Smith at 7 p.m. Thursday and 8:30 p.m. Friday.

Opera diva Frederica von Stade narrates The Singing Life at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, a moving look at the phenomenon of singing through the eyes and voices of Chanticleer, the internationally known male choral ensemble, and teenagers in a small town high school choir.

Set during San Francisco’s 1915 Pan-Pacific Exposition, the San Francisco Ballet’s rendition of the Nutcracker presents the charming story, dazzling choreography and magnificent Tchaikovsky score that have made it one of the most popular and enduring ballets in the world on Dance in America: San Francisco Ballet’s Nutcracker at 8 p.m. Thursday.

Georgia rockers The Black Crowes bring both fan favorites and songs from their new album “Before the Frost” to the picturesque town of Oxford, Mississippi for a special performance on Live From The Artist’s Den at 10 p.m. Friday.

Eclectic singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Andrew Bird dazzles with songs from his album “Noble Beast” on Austin City Limits at 7 p.m. Saturday, followed by the imaginative indie pop of St. Vincent.

Children's Holiday Programs

Barney & FriendsBarney & Friends — Monday, Dec. 13, 11:30am (repeats: Friday, Dec. 24, 11:30am)
Gift of the Dinos – It’s Christmas and BJ dreams of getting a new baseball glove to go with his baseball, while Riff hopes for new drumsticks to use his drum. Barney reminds them that Christmas is more than just getting gifts and helps them learn the meaning of Christmas. Educational theme: Giving. Music curriculum: Listening to holiday songs, listening to carolers sing.
A Visit to Santa
– Melanie spends so much time helping her friends at Christmas that she is late writing her own letter to Santa. Barney takes her on a trip to the North Pole to deliver the letter in person. Educational theme: Giving.

Biscuit BrothersBiscuit Brothers Holiday Specials
Musical Celebrations
— Saturday, Dec. 18, 9:30am
Hanukkah (Chanukah,) Kwanzaa, Hispanic tradition, birthdays and other holidays and celebrations are explored after Tiny Scarecrow accidentally releases all the holiday melodies from Melody Garden. This song filled special shows how a “holiday” can be a good time to learn about other cultures and traditions and a great time to share your culture and traditions with others.
Merry Musical Christmas
— Saturday, Dec. 25, 9:30am
The whole family will sing and laugh along with this heart-felt musical nod to traditional Christmas specials of the past. Join the Biscuit Brothers and company on Christmas Eve as they use music to celebrate on the magical, musical farm and try to cheer up Tiny Scarecrow who sits high atop Symphony Barn waiting for snow.

Dinosaur TrainDinosaur Train — Monday, Dec. 20, 9:30am (repeats: Friday, Dec. 24, 9:30am & Wednesday, Jan. 19, 9:30am)
Dinosaurs in the Snow – Buddy and his Pteranodon family ride the Dinosaur Train to the North Pole – where it’s cooler out and the skies are dark all winter long! The kids get to play in the snow and slide on a frozen pond for the first time. Cretaceous Conifers – The whole Pteranodon family have fun celebrating Mom’s favorite holiday, Winter Solstice. They learn about large conifer (evergreen) trees and help decorate them at a holiday party.

Sid the Science KidSid the Science Kid — Monday, Dec. 20, 10am (repeats: Friday, Dec. 24, 10am)
Sid’s Holiday Adventure — Sid loves celebrating the winter holidays where he lives, because it’s always sunny and warm. But this year, Sid and his family are visiting relatives where it’s chilly and cold. Sid wonders why it can’t be warm everywhere? At school, Sid discovers that temperatures are different all over the world!

Super Why!Super Why!
‘Twas the Night Before Christmas – Monday, Dec. 20, 9am (repeats: Friday, Dec. 24, 9am)
‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, and all through Storybrook Village, not a creature was stirring…except for Whyatt, who has an important question for Santa! So the Super Readers catch up with Santa and his reindeer as they gallop from rooftop to rooftop and unravel the mystery of Santa’s childhood, discovering along the way how to help spread the magic of the holiday. Educational Objectives: To learn about making others feel good, play with the alphabet, experiment with spelling, and use the power to read to change the story!
The Nutcracker — Tuesday, Dec. 21, 9am
Princess Pea doesn’t know what to do about her friend Sleeping Beauty who is very, very grumpy! Super Why and his friends dance their way into the story of “The Nutcracker,” accompanied by Tchaikovsky’s memorable music, to find out why the Mouse King is so cranky and give an innovative twist to the holiday classic. But will the super readers be able to restore magic to The Land of Sweets? Educational Objectives: To learn a cheer-up strategy, sing the alphabet, identify the letters F, L, and Y, practice the magic of spelling, and use the power to read to change the story.

WordGirlWordGirl — Monday, Dec. 20, 3:30pm (repeats: Friday, Dec. 24, 3:30pm)
Oh, Holiday Cheese – The Botsfords kick off the holiday festivities with a cheese party. With lots of cheese and sing-a-longs, the party is a huge success until Dr. Two Brains shows up with his cheese-swiping ray. Can WordGirl save the party and get Dr. Two Brains into the holiday spirit? Vocabulary Words: Curmudgeon, Festivity.
Change Day – Everyone is bringing their loose change to the bank to convert it into savings. What will happen when the Butcher locks Becky and Bob in the vault? Will the city’s police officers be able to stop him when WordGirl can’t come to the rescue? Vocabulary Words: Quandary, Fidget.

Word WorldWord World — Monday, Dec. 20, 10:30am (repeats: Tuesday, Dec. 21, 6:30am; Friday, Dec. 24, 10:30am; Monday, Dec. 27, 6:30am)
The Christmas Star – It’s the night before Christmas and Frog needs a star to hang on his Christmas tree. Duck thinks this will be the perfect present for Frog, and tries to lasso one out of the sky for him. Try as he might, Duck is unable to catch a star for Frog, and cries himself to sleep. But while he sleeps, someone leaves him a wonderful present: the letters S-T-A-R…
A Christmas Present for Dog – It’s Christmas morning, and all the WordFriends are excited by the presents Santa has brought for them! Pig has a sled, Bear has a doll and Ant has a cookie. But not all the letters for Dog’s present came down his chimney. All he has is a B-A-L. Bear gets filled with the Christmas spirit and makes a sacrifice to ensure Dog’s Christmas will be merry!

Opening Night features Steve Miller Band 2/24

KLRU-TV, AUSTIN PBS, ANNOUNCES OPENING NIGHT AN EVENING OF MUSIC & FOOD TO BENEFIT PUBLIC TELEVISION & AUSTIN CITY LIMITS

EVENT CELEBRATES COMPLETION OF MOODY THEATER & UNVEILING OF NEW STAGE & BACKDROP FOR ICONIC AUSTIN CITY LIMITS TV SERIES

STEVE MILLER BAND HEADLINES EVENING

Austin, TX — KLRU invites Austin to a world-class celebration on Thursday, February 24, 2011 for the grand opening of the Moody Theater’s AUSTIN CITY LIMITS Stage. City leaders, cultural icons, community philanthropists, business executives and music fans, will join together as the legendary KLRU-produced, PBS series moves to a new state-of-the-art venue.

Opening Night ushers the legendary show to its new stage with a special performance by Steve Miller Band and the unveiling of a newly created Austin city skyline backdrop.

Lauded rock guitarist Steve Miller and his band have been inspiring fans for more than four decades with Miller’s unique brand of rousing American rock ‘n’ roll. His catalog includes 17 studio albums and multiple hit singles including “The Joker,” “Take The Money and Run,” “Jet Airliner,” “Abracadabra” and more.

The new stage backdrop is a much-anticipated modernized rendition of the television series’ previous backdrop which brought the Austin skyline into viewers’ homes since its adoption in 1981. According to series Executive Producer Terry Lickona, the new backdrop represents Austin’s current skyline while still highlighting the celebrated University of Texas tower and Texas State Capitol that have always been integral to the show’s look. It was designed and constructed by a host of Austin-based craftsmen: artist Ellen Lampl, Custom Creation, set painter Tim Dingle, and Olden Lighting, alongside series production company LickonaVision.

The evening will kickoff with a performance by Austin’s own Carolyn Wonderland, representing the new generation of Texas blues-rock guitar slingers. Wonderland made her national television debut on the show in 2008.

Accomplishing what no other show has done in the history of American television, AUSTIN CITY LIMITS has presented audiences with the most diverse, original, cutting-edge talent music has to offer. The series will take this same spirit of creativity into the new venue giving more of Austin a seat to the next stage of legendary performances.

The Moody Theater is a state-of-the-art live music venue.   Developed by Stratus Properties, the new home of AUSTIN CITY LIMITS will enable more fans to watch future live tapings and provide an enhanced experience while maintaining the intimacy, character and integrity that have been the hallmark of AUSTIN CITY LIMITS for more than three decades. In addition to ACL tapings, it will host 60-100 concerts a year as ACL Live at The Moody Theater.  Nestled next to the W Austin Hotel & Residences™, it is the premier destination in Austin for live performances as well as private events and only one of two dedicated live music venues in the country built to USGBC LEED rated standards.

In 2009, the Moody Foundation of Galveston, Texas gave KLRU a $2.5 million contribution to help equip the new state of the art AUSTIN CITY LIMITS production facility.

Two levels of tickets are still available to this special night:

Dinner-By-The-Bite + Performance Tickets – $500 per ticket
Arrive early and enjoy cocktails and amazing cuisine provided by W Austin on the Gallery of the Mezzanine Level. Take your reserved seat on the Mezzanine Level for the show after the reception.

Performance Tickets – $150 per ticket

Performance tickets include Balcony Level reserved seats to the show

Following the performance, the entire theater will open up for the Encore Reception with sweet & savory snacks and your chance to tour every seat in the house.

For more information or to purchase tickets go to www.klru.org/openingnight.

KLRU’s Opening Night committee is chaired by Berry Crowley.  Honorary Chairs are Bobbi and Mort Topfer.  Committee includes Linda Benge, Laura Beuerlein. Susie Dudley, Mary Margaret Farabee, Jordan Herman, Mary Herman, Cindy Hill, W Austin, Carrie Holt, AMLI, Jenny Miller, Ross Moody, Elizabeth Nash, Claire Pinkerton,  Laurie Swan, Stratus Properties,  Dwight Thompson, Trisa Thompson, Tomi Winstead, Sandy Youman.
KLRU’s Opening Night is made possible by the generous support of our lead sponsors: The Moody Foundation, W Austin, and Stratus Properties.
About KLRU:
KLRU-TV, Austin PBS, reflects, celebrates and inspires Central Texas through creative excellence, community engagement and lifelong learning. In addition to providing locally produced and quality national television programming, KLRU is also a non-profit organization helping to build a stronger community through educational workshops, community engagement projects and public events. Known as the producing station of the longest running live music television show AUSTIN CITY LIMITS, KLRU has also worked on several other national productions including the documentaries Tattooed Under Fire and Citizen Architect. Get more information about KLRU at klru.org.

Holiday programming on KLRU-Q

Monday, 12/13 at 11:00pm:  Michael McDonald – This Christmas: A Soundstage Special Event – The soulful singer performs “White Christmas,” “What Christmas Means to Me” and other favorites.

Tuesday, 12/14 at 11:00pm:  Faith Hill, Joy to the World: A Soundstage Special Event – Faith performs holiday favorites backed by an orchestra led by esteemed conductor David Campbell.

Wednesday, 12/15 at 11:00pm:  Holly Jolly Pops Holiday with Barenaked Ladies – The upbeat hitmakers put a twist “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” “Three Ships” & “Green Christmas.”

Saturday, 12/18 at 11:00pm:  L.A. Holiday Celebration 2010 – Performers of African, Asian, European and Latino backgrounds join to express the joy of the season.

Sunday, 12/19 at 11:00pm
:  Christmas with the Annie Moses Band – The all-sibling group puts an eclectic mix of classical, jazz and pop on holiday classics.

Monday, 12/20
8:00pm: Night Before Christmas Carol – Filmed in the spirit of a classic BBC-style presentation, actor David zum Brunnen portrays Charles Dickens — and seventeen other familiar characters from the ghostly classic, A Christmas Carol.
9:00pm: Downe In Yon Forrest: Christmas from the Middle Ages – During this Christmas Concert, Kemper Crab gives the history of each song in between performances.
10:00pm: Tonic Sol-Fa Christmas – Vocal quartet Tonic Sol-fa has established itself as one of the most in-demand a cappella groups in the United States. This spirited holiday program highlights the foursome’s trademark humor and skilled musicianship.
11:00pm: Anuna: Christmas Memories – The Celtic Irish choral group performs its emotional music and reminisces about holiday memories.

Tuesday, 12/21 at 11:00pm:  Orla Fallon’s Celtic Christmas – The angel-voiced former Celtic Woman performs beloved carols and well-known holiday classics.

Wednesday, 12/22 at 11:00pm:  Northern Light Orchestra – Spirit of Christmas – Christmas classics and amazing rock and pop musicianship combine with an incredible light show.

Thursday, 12/23 at 11:00pm: Christmas Concert Special with Jessica Simpson and Special Guests – The pop star performs a festive set of yuletide favorites with Willie Nelson and other guests.

Saturday, 12/25 at 11:00pm:  Downe In Yon Forrest: Christmas from the Middle Ages (encore) – During this Christmas Concert, Kemper Crab gives the history of each song in between performances.

Saturday & Sunday live in the studio

Fun in the studio continued all weekend long as Central Texans showed their support for Austin City Limits and Masterpiece Mystery.

Saturday night KLRU aired the Pearl Jam episode in the regular time slot with special guests ACL producer Terry Lickona and photographer Scott Newton. We heard great behind-the-scenes stories of their many years with the show. Phone volunteers for the evening were veteran ACL volunteers. No one needed to tell them where the restrooms were located, they know their way around the studio as well as we do!

Show your support for Austin City Limits and receive an autographed copy of “Austin City Limits: 35 Years in Photographs.”

Sunday in the studio revolved around “A Study in Pink,” the Masterpiece Mystery episode voted for by KLRU viewers. Members of the Sherlock Holmes Society of Austin (aka Waterloo Station) and the Sisters in Crime Heart of Texas Chapter graciously answered phones and helped us with Sherlock trivia. Artist and Sherlock Society member Trish McCracken brought a beautiful print reproduction of Sherlock Holmes’ residence at 221B Baker Street, London which was included in the 2009 book “The Sherlock Holmes Companion: An Elementary Guide.” One lucky viewer who knew their Sherlock trivia was able to take home the print after answer a trivia question correctly. Thank you Trish! Austin mystery writer Janice Hamrick shared information with viewers on her upcoming book and why supporting KLRU is important to the Austin community.

It’s not too late for you to donate to KLRU for Masterpiece Mystery, thanks for your support.

A big thank you goes to local writer and actor Owen Egerton who had us laughing all night long. To see more of Owen, catch his Master Pancake Christmas show happening the next couple of weekends at different Alamo Drafthouses.