Worrrd Up…WordGirl has a SPIFFY new website!

WordGirl and her sidekick
Need a break from fighting vocabulary crime? Visit pbskidsgo.org/wordgirl to strengthen your linguistic lexicon. WordGirl  greets visitors directly as soon as they land on the site and encourages them to explore.

Here are a few of the fun activities that await you:
– Get behind the wheel in the new game “Chuck’s Extreme Sandwich Crusher.”
– Watch complete episodes, Huggy dance clips, favorite word segments and more.
– Submit your favorite word to the show and send a message to a friend.
– Get inspired to decorate your office, house, apartment, or hideout with “Build-A-Lair.”
– Visit “Tobey’s Robot Workshop” while the boy genius is grounded from his latest attempt at world domination.
– Become a WordGirl star by creating your own avatar.

WordGirl’s DAZZLING new awards include:

– The 2011 Gracie Award
in the Outstanding Children/Adolescent Animated Program Category from the Alliance for Women in Media. This organization celebrates and honors programming created for women, by women and about women. This is the second time WordGirl has received a Gracie Award!

– A 2011 New York Festivals International Television & Film Awards “Silver World Medal”
in  the Children’s Programming category. The NYF? Television & Film Awards are one of the world’s largest and most respected international competitions dedicated to both the TV and film industries.

– a 2011 Telly Silver Award
in the Children’s TV Program category. This is the second Telly Award for WordGirl! The Telly Awards honor the very best local, regional, and cable television commercials and programs, as well as the finest video and film productions, and work created for the Web.

13th Annual Día de los Niños ~ Día de los Libros

Dia de los Ninos - Dia de los LibrosCelebrate books, reading, culture and family learning at the 13th Annual Día de los Niños ~ Día de los Libros, one of Austin’s largest bilingual symposiums! This year the Día de los Niños ~ Día de los Libros has been expanded to include a number of Library programs throughout April. Día de los Niños ~ Día de los Libros 2011 features entertainment for all ages. All programs and activities are free and open to the public.

The centerpiece of the month-long event will be the traditional family celebration on Saturday, April 30, 2011 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the St. John Branch Library and Community Center, 7500 Blessing Avenue. Join us for performances by children’s dance groups and musical groups from around Austin. The event will also include hands-on educational activities, free books, and the opportunity to meet some of your favorite PBS characters, including Clifford the Big Red Dog, Maya, and Miguel.

KLRU will have a booth with wonderful activities for the kids and resource materials for the parents.  Be sure to stop by!

New Spanish language & music web series on PBSKIDSGO.org

Spanish language and music learning come to PBS KIDS GO! through two new animated children’s web series, NOAH COMPRENDE and CHUCK VANDERCHUCK’S “SOMETHING SOMETHING” EXPLOSION. Both properties are designed for children ages 6-9 years old and will roll out new webisodes monthly on PBSKIDSGO.org. Each webisode integrates original games and activities into the narrative, allowing kids to interact with the characters.

Noah Comprende logoNOAH COMPRENDE, a production of THIRTEEN for WNET, is a web-original series about a 9-year-old boy visiting his grandmother in a community where no one speaks English.  Noah is trying to learn Spanish, but sometimes gets it wrong. In each animated video, a misunderstanding launches a comic adventure for Noah and his pet mouse Pequeno.  With Pequeno’s help, Noah always manages to solve the problems he’s created, learning Spanish in the process.

Although kids — like Noah — may not understand the Spanish dialogue, they can comprehend the story told through rich visual storytelling.  Each video features opportunities for kids to roll their cursor over objects on the screen to hear the Spanish translation. Three different vocabulary-driven, arcade-style games also reinforce learning, as leveling and racing against the clock encourage multiple plays and repeated exposure to vocabulary.  Another game, “How Do You Say??,” helps kids learn common expressions in Spanish, such as greetings and phrases to say in a restaurant. Focused on Spanish language acquisition, NOAH COMPRENDE is based on the educational concept that kids learn language most effectively when they can put it into meaningful context.

Chuck and Ramona in their music practice roomCHUCK VANDERCHUCK’S “SOMETHING SOMETHING” EXPLOSION, produced by Scholastic Media and Soup2Nuts, is an interactive online web series  aimed at  helping kids understand music and music composition through online episodes and integrated games and activities on the web.

In each webisode, kids get to be a member of the band, interacting with Chuck, the lead singer and main creative force behind the band who dreams BIG, and Ramona, Chuck’s band mate who helps make his big ideas into reality.  Chuck and Ramona present five different musical genres:  Salsa, Jazz, Rock, Country, and Reggae.  Children will learn about different instruments used for each musical style, and play games through which they will have the chance to identify instruments, write lyrics, compose melodies, create costumes, and play in a virtual concert with Chuck and Ramona.  The site contains additional content such as videos, printable posters, MP3’s, maps and facts that allow children to further explore each genre.  Specific areas explored include basic rhythmic and melodic patterns, as well as geography and cultural lessons related to music genres.

On Story: Presented by Austin Film Festival starts Saturday



AUSTIN, TX (April 12, 2011) – The Austin Film Festival and KLRU-TV, Austin PBS, announced today the new 12-episode series “On Story: Presented by Austin Film Festival” will premiere on Saturday, April 16, 2011, on KLRU Q (18.3).

The new half-hour series will focus on the inspiration and creative process at the conception of the filmmaking process and air right after Roger Ebert presents At the Movies and just before the station’s new movie package at 8pm. “On Story” will include new interviews and footage from past Austin Film Festival panels and screenings of screenwriters and filmmakers discussing their craft and films. Each episode will pair these conversations with a short film from a Texas filmmaker, which has previously screened at the Austin Film Festival. “On Story” is produced by Austin Film Festival co-Founder and Executive Director Barbara Morgan.

“The Austin Film Festival is quite proud of the new series, and we’re so happy to be working with KLRU on it,” says Barbara Morgan. “We’ve been working on concept for a while and are thrilled to finally be able to give local audiences a taste of the Festival.”

The filmmakers and screenwriters appearing on the show include Lawrence Kasdan (Empire Strikes Back), Shane Black (Lethal Weapon), Ed Burns (The Brothers McMullen), Randall Wallace (Braveheart), John Lee Hancock (The Blind Side), David Peoples (Blade Runner), Judd Apatow (Knocked Up), Ron Howard, and more.

April 16, 2011 at 7:30pm: Episode 1
(footage from Lawrence Kasdan, Shane Black, and Randall Wallace at Austin Film Festival, short film: Frente Noreste by Angela Torres Camarena)

April 23, 2011 at 7:30pm: Episode 2
April 30, 2011 at 7:30pm: Episode 3
May 7, 2011 at 7:30pm: Episode 4
May 14, 2011 at 7:30pm: Episode 5
May 21, 2011 at 7:30pm: Episode 6
May 28, 2011 at 7:30pm: Episode 7
June 4, 2011 at 7:30pm: Episode 8
June 11, 2011 at 7:30pm: Episode 9
June 18, 2011 at 7:30pm: Episode 10
June 25, 2011 at 7:30pm: Episode 11
July 2, 2011 at 7:30pm: Episode 12

The show airs on KLRU-Q broadcast channel 18.3, which is available free over the air in KLRU’s 18 county viewing area including Travis, Hayes, Bastrop, Williamson and Caldwell counties. KLRU-Q is also available to digital cable subscribers of Time Warner (channel 20 or 255) or Grande (channel 284).

Episodes will also be available online at klru.org shortly following the broadcast.

For more information on the Austin Film Festival, visit austinfilmfestival.com. And, go to klru.org to find out more about the station and for programming schedules.

About Austin Film Festival
The Austin Film Festival (AFF) is a non-profit organization dedicated to furthering the art and craft of filmmaking by inspiring and championing the work of screenwriters, filmmakers, and all artists who use the language of film to tell a story. The Austin Film Festival is funded and supported in part by the City of Austin through the Cultural Arts Division and by a grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts and an award from the National Endowment for the Arts, which believes that a great nation deserves great art. Special support is provided to the Austin Film Festival by Continental Airlines, KVUE, KUT 90.5, and Dos Equis.

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 CITIZEN ARCHITECT and LAST BEST HOPE. Get more information about KLRU at klru.org

In the Studio: Harry Shearer tapes Overheard 4/14

Please join KLRU’s Overheard with Evan Smith for an interview with Harry Shearer.

Date: Thursday, April 14
Time: taping starts at 4:30 p.m.; doors open at 4 p.m.
Location: KLRU’s Studio 6A
The event is free but an RSVP is required. RSVP here

Comedian Harry Shearer is known and loved for a diverse collection of roles, including one of the members of Spinal Tap in the mockumentary This is Spinal Tap (which Shearer co-wrote and co-directed with Rob Reiner) and a significant percentage of The Simpsons town of Springfield (including Mr. Burns).  But that’s a tiny sample of Shearer’s work in a career that reaches back to his time as a child actor in the 1950s.  Shearer also works as a director, novelist, radio host, musician, playwright and record label owner.  He’s in Austin to screen The Big Uneasy, his first documentary, at The Alamo Drafthouse.  The film examines what could have been done to prevent the much of the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina.

Overheard with Evan Smith updates the successful formula of our award-winning series Texas Monthly Talks – great conversation with fascinating people, always on the news and always with a sense of humor. The new show brings you the same mix of guests from politics, the arts, literature, journalism, business, sports and more, and is available to PBS stations nationwide. Overheard airs on KLRU at 7 p.m. Thursdays, 8:30 p.m. Fridays and 12:30 p.m. Sundays. Episodes are also available online at klru.org/overheard

In the Studio: Gail Collins tapes Overheard 4/19

Please join KLRU’s Overheard with Evan Smith for an interview with Gail Collins.
Date: Tuesday, April 19
Time: taping starts at about 9 a.m.; Doors open at 8:30 a.m.
Location: KLRU’s Studio 6A

The event is free but an RSVP is required. RSVP here

Gail Collins writes a column for The New York Times, covering politics and social issues with a sharp wit. She has been with the Times since 1995, and in 2001 became the first woman to serve as editor of the paper’s editorial page. Collins is also the author of four books, including two examining the role of women in American culture and history. Join us to hear Collins talk about the latest in national politics, and perhaps also about some politics in our backyard. Collins plans to visit the Texas legislature while she’s in Austin, and if we’re lucky, she’ll share her thoughts about what she sees.

Overheard with Evan Smith updates the successful formula of our award-winning series Texas Monthly Talks – great conversation with fascinating people, always on the news and always with a sense of humor. The new show brings you the same mix of guests from politics, the arts, literature, journalism, business, sports and more, and is available to PBS stations nationwide. Overheard airs on KLRU at 7 p.m. Thursdays, 8:30 p.m. Fridays and 12:30 p.m. Sundays. Episodes are also available online at klru.org/overheard

Highlights April 10 to 16

Travel the back roads and highways spilling wildflower wonder for the secret stories behind the seeds of history that forecast the seeds for the future on “Wildflowers: Seeds of History” at 6 p.m. Sunday and 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

Nature at 7 p.m. Sunday explores Cuba’s varied landscape, its location in the heart of the Caribbean and its longstanding place at the center of Cold War politics that have all combined to preserve some of the richest and most unusual natural environments of the hemisphere on “Cuba: The Accidental Eden”.

The saga continues at 165 Eaton Place with new characters in a three-part sequel to the much-loved Masterpiece Classic series “Upstairs Downstairs” from the 1970s at 8 p.m. Sunday.

In the premiere episode of The Artist Toolbox at 9 p.m. Sunday, come and listen to the gypsy strings of the dazzling David Garrett, whose violin can conquer the classical work of composers such as Bach and Chopin as effortlessly, as gracefully, as old-world Russian folk music, as well as the more contemporary sounds of Metallica and Led Zeppelin.

Great Famine: American Experience at 8 p.m. Monday examines the devastating famine that descended on Soviet Russia in 1921 and America engaged with the distant and desperate people within the larger story of the Russian Revolution and the roots of the U.S.-Soviet rivalry.

“Rediscovering Alexander Hamilton” at 9 p.m. Monday focuses on Hamilton’s character, his strengths and weaknesses, and what made him a great man.

National Geographic follows President Obama’s chief White House photographer Pete Souza behind-the-scenes for a chance to see what it’s like to cover the most powerful man in the world on President’s Photographer: Fifty Years Inside The Oval Office at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Frontline at 8 p.m. Tuesday explores the increasing high profile of high school football as they examine one ambitious high school team working its way towards national renown and document a tragic story of heatstroke injuries that reveal how weak regulation has created a crucial lack of athletic trainers at most high schools.

Independent Lens at 9 p.m. Tuesday presents the story of an artistic wunderkind and phenomenon on “Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child”.

Secrets of the Dead: Battles 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.

Nova presents “The Bible’s Buried Secrets” at 8 p.m. Wednesday, a two-hour special that breaks exciting new ground in investigating the origins of the ancient Israelites, the evolution of their belief in one God and the creation of the Bible.

Austin City Limits at 10 p.m. Wednesday and 9 p.m. Friday brings Austin indie rockers Spoon to the stage to perform hits from their latest album “Transference”.

Federal judge Diane Wood talks about the U.S. court system on Overheard with Evan Smith at 7 p.m. Thursday and 9:30 p.m. Friday.

On the latest episode of The Austin Daytripper at 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Chet travels to Luling, Texas to sample some of Texas’s best Bar-B-Q and watermelon, followed by a visit to Shiner’s famous brewery to wash it all down.

Within the ornate and awe-inspiring New York Public Library, Elvis Costello and the Sugarcanes perform new songs from their latest album “National Ransom” as well as hits spanning his three-decades-and-counting career on Live From The Artist’s Den at 9 p.m. Thursday.

Modern folk icons Avett Brothers introduce their trademark reverberation of rustic Americana intertwined with raw harmonic energy to the stage of Austin City Limits Saturday at 7 p.m. Austin-based band Heartless Bastards follows with their unique revival of southern garage rock.

Community Cinema: Welcome To Shelbyville 5/3

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 Welcome To Shelbyville on May 3rd.

Welcome To Shelbyville
Set in the heart of America’s Bible Belt, Welcome to Shelbyville focuses on a small Southern town as they grapple with rapid demographic change and issues of immigrant integration.

Community Cinema: Bhutto resource list

Thanks to everyone who attended our Community Cinema screening of Bhutto on April 5. All of these books, dvds and audio recordings help give more perspective to the events in the documentary. Each item is available for check out at any of the Austin Public Libraries.

Deception: Pakistan, the United States, and the secret trade in nuclear weapons   
    Levy, Adrian

Descent into chaos: the US and the failure of nation building in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Central Asia
    Rashid, Ahmed

Enough to go around: searching for hope in Afghanistan, Pakistan & Darfur
    Duncan, Chip

Frontline Pakistan: the struggle with militant Islam
    Hussain, Zahid

Verizon Foundation Supports PBS Kids Raising Readers at KLRU

Photo, from left to right: Maury Sullivan, KLRU’s VP of Community Engagement; Bill Stotesbery, KLRU’s CEO and President; Carl E. Erhart, Verizon’s President [Southwest Region]; Helen Soto Knaggs, Verizon’s Director of External Affairs

KLRU-TV, Austin PBS, Announces $15,000 Grant from Verizon Foundation

Grant to support PBS Raising Readers, a project to help teach literacy using public media in our schools

KLRU announced today that it has received a $15,000 grant from the Verizon Foundation in support of local implementation of the PBS Kids Raising Readers program, a national partnership with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting that surrounds children ages 2 to 8 with research-based literacy content.   Funded by a Ready To Learn grant from the U.S. Department of Education, from 2005 to 2010 Raising Readers developed an innovative blend of media across all platforms – TV, online, mobile, and more – and related community engagement activities designed to help young children learn to read.

“KLRU is first and foremost, an educational organization,” said Bill Stotesbery, CEO and GM of KLRU. “Through the generosity of the Verizon Foundation and other foundations we are able to help bridge the gap for young children entering school, using PBS’ award-winning programs such as Super Why and Between the Lions.”

Raising Readers helps empower parents and caregivers to create language–rich environments by teaching strategies that build early literacy skills anytime, anywhere – strategies that incorporate PBS children’s media.  In Central Texas, KLRU’s workshops assist low-income families with children between the from birth to eight-years-old, some of whom have English as a second language at home.  In the 2010-11 school year, the program is partnering with educational nonprofits and Austin-area schools to serve thousands of parents, caregivers and children through workshops and events.

“Providing educational resources to help students develop a strong foundation for success in the classroom is a key priority for the Verizon Foundation,” said Carl E. Erhart, Central Region President for Verizon Communications.  “We are proud to support initiatives such as KLRU’s Raising Readers and the effort to help Austin-area school districts develop young minds.’’