ACL Behind the Scenes


A Note from Gary Menotti, Director of Austin City Limits

These are new and exciting times for Austin City Limits and the production crew of ACL. Not only do we have a brand new venue to work in, we also have new, state-of-the-art equipment for recording. As much as I miss 6A, the “original ACL studio,” the new ACL Live at the Moody Theater is a welcome challenge to try and keep that same, “intimate feeling” the tapings have always had.

There has been a quick, fast, acclimation to the new space by all of the crew members, including growing accustom to the Downtown “vibe.” Overall, I feel the first five artists we’ve taped have been seamless. With the new skyline, a slightly taller stage, new audio equipment, bigger audience configuration and the addition of a 7th camera, ACL is well on its way to becoming “a better than ever” TV show.

Speaking of cameras, you might have noticed a strange looking camera on a track, moving in an arc around the mezzanine floor wall. This is the new Sony Trac-Cam controlled by a single operator from a station located in the corner of the mezzanine. It takes great skill to operate this camera as it’s operated by remote control. The Trac-Cam is replacing the giant crane camera in the original studio that took a five-person crew to operate. The previous crane, and now Trac-camera is key for the ACL production as it captures our famous “signature tree shot,” which, along with the skyline, gives the viewer the perspective that the show is taped outdoors. We have had countless letters and emails asking if there is a KOA campground nearby, to camp and listen to the music. Oh well, at least we fooled some people.

Lastly, I want to tell you about our new way of recording the show. In years past, we would record with cameras using tape. Now, with new technological innovations, we are shooting digitally and are able to send a fiber optic signal of all the audio and video, directly from the Moody Theater back to KLRU’s editing suite and Avid servers located on the UT campus. Buck Rogers would be proud!

Anyway, I am very excited on this transition from ACL 1.0 to the new ACL 2.0. Thank all of you for your support. Don’t forget, when you’re in the audience, please smile and applaud loudly, I will be watching you from the control room.

Gary has been Director of ACL for the past 29 years

Austin boxing documentaries 6/16

Austin’s boxing scene takes center stage in back-to-back documentaries on June 16.

Split Decision at 7:30 pm
Talented boxer Jesus “El Matador” Chavez finds his rise to the world championship cut short when he is deported to Mexico for a youthful crime in his past. Back in the country he left as a child, Jesus faces two new battles: the fight for the right to return to his family and career in the United States and the struggle to find acceptance in the country of his birth.

Boxing Gym at 8:30 pm
This film explores an Austin institution, Lord’s Gym, which was founded by Richard Lord, a former professional boxer. A wide variety of people of all ages, races, ethnicities and social classes train at the gym: men, women, children, doctors, lawyers, judges, business men and women, immigrants, professional boxers and people who want to become professional boxers alongside amateurs who love the sport and teenagers who are trying to develop strength and assertiveness. The gym is an example of the American “melting pot” where people meet, talk, and train.

KLRU celebrates Gay and Lesbian Pride Month

Emile Norman at mural.

KLRU is proud to present the following programs for Gay & Lesbian Pride Month.

Stonewall Uprising:  American Experience airs Monday, June 13th at 8:00 pm.During Gay and Lesbian Pride Month, the encore presentation of STONEWALL UPRISING: AMERICAN EXPERIENCE explores the dramatic event that launched a worldwide rights movement. Told by those who took part, from drag queens and street hustlers to police detectives, journalists and a former mayor of New York, and featuring a rich trove of archival footage, this film revisits a time when homosexual acts were illegal throughout America, and homosexuality itself was seen as a form of mental illness. Hunted and often entrapped by undercover police in their hometowns, gays from around the U.S. began fleeing to New York in search of a sanctuary. Hounded there still by an aggressive police force, they found refuge in a Mafia-run gay bar in Greenwich Village, the Stonewall Inn. When police raided Stonewall on June 28, 1969, gay men and women did something they had not done before: they fought back. As the streets of New York erupted into violent protests and street demonstrations, the collective anger announced that the gay rights movement had arrived.

Emile Norman—By His Own Design airs Monday, June 13th at 9:30 pm. This film is a portrait of the artist Emile Norman, who, at age 88, is still working with the same passion that inspired him through seven decades of a changing art scene and turbulent times for a gay man in America. The film chronicles his early days in the San Gabriel Valley, his success in New York City and the freedom he found in Big Sur, where he and his partner of 30 years created a haven for artists that is still growing today.

Independent Lens “Two Spirits” airs Tuesday, June 14th at 9:00 pm.Fred Martinez was a Navajo youth slain in a hate crime at the age of 16. Martinez was also part of an honored Navajo tradition – the “nadleeh” or “two-spirit,” who possesses a balance of masculine and feminine traits.  Weaving Martinez’s story with commentary from his mother, fellow two-spirit community members and activists, this documentary explores the historical, spiritual and cultural significance of gender in the Navajo tradition as it relates to the crime that eventually took Martinez’s life.

Highlights June 5 to 11

David Suchet stars as suave Belgian super sleuth Hercule Poirot in these new mysteries based on the novels by Agatha Christie on Masterpiece Mystery! at 8 p.m. Sunday.

On June 4, 1942 – just six months after Pearl Harbor – the massed forces of the US and Japanese fleets met for a decisive showdown. The Battle of Midway at 8 p.m. Monday tells the story of the days events.

D-Day at 9 p.m. Monday examines the intricate jigsaw of the Allied invasion on June 6th 1944, presenting events through the eyes of the men and women who were there, telling their extraordinary stories.

To celebrate his 40th anniversary at the Metropolitan Opera, conductor James Levine’s life and current work are the subject of a documentary that captures the essence of his unparalleled musicianship on American Masters at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

In 1971, Daniel Ellsberg, a leading military planner, concluded that America’s role in the Vietnam war was based on decades of lies and he leaked the Pentagon Papers to The New York Times. P.O.V. “The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers” tells his story at 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Mark Oliver Everett, lead singer of the EELS, looks into the theories of his estranged father Hugh Everett III, who was one of America’s top quantum physicists, on Nova at 8 p.m. Wednesday.

B.L.A.S.T.! at 9 p.m. Wednesdayfollows the intrepid Dr. Mark Devlin as he leads a tenacious team of scientists to exotic locales in an attempt to understand one of cosmology’s biggest mysteries.

Singer/composer/bass prodigy Esperanza Spalding debuts on ACL with a mix of jazz and soul and contemporary torch singer Madeleine Peyroux follows on Austin City Limits at 10 p.m. Wednesday.

Food writer Amanda Hesser talks about foodie culture on Overheard with Evan Smith at 7 p.m. Thursday and 8:30 p.m. Friday.

Natural Wonder of Texas: Palo Duro Canyon at 7:30 p.m. Thursday follows the timeline from the canyon’s prehistoric origins to its relevance today as a state park.

Chet heads to Mineral Wells to sample the “Crazy Water” that made it famous and rock climb at its unique state park on The Daytripper at 8:30 p.m. Thursday.

Rock and pop legends Jon (Sha Na Na) “Bowzer” Bauman and Ronnie Spector (of the Ronettes) bring back the best songs from the late 1950s and early 1960s rock, pop and doo wop era on Rock Pop and Doo Wop at 9 p.m. Friday.

Go for summer splendor with bold, fragrant flowers on Central Texas Gardener at noon Saturday. On tour, visit a garden inspired by historic Italy.

Lawrence Welk and his great orchestra at 6 p.m. Saturday plays the music of the Big Band Era and salutes legendary friends, including Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, Woody Herman, Duke Ellington, Count Basie and others.

Folk legend John Sebastian reflects and remembers the very best of The Folk Years at 8 p.m. Saturday with archival footage and a new reunion of folk singers including Barry McGuire, Roger McGuinn of The Byrds, The Chad Mitchell Trio, Chad & Jeremy, Jesse Colin Young of The Youngbloods and more.

Great Performances at 10 p.m. Saturday presents highlights form Eric Clapton’s annual Crossroads Guitar Festival, including performances by ZZ Top, Jeff Beck, the John Mayer Trio, Doyle Bramhall II, the Derek Trucks & Susan Tedeschi Band, Warren Haynes and Steve Winwood.

Sid’s Backyard Campout premieres June 20 and repeats all summer long!

Sid, Gerald and his Dad campingIn celebration of National Backyard Campout Day on June 25, pack some food and bring your backpack because Sid the Science Kid, Gerald, and Dad are gearing up for a big adventure…they’re setting up tents for a campout in the backyard!

New episode 214 “Sid’s Backyard Campout!” premieres June 20 and repeats throughout the summer.

During the campout, Dad is eager to share his love of nature and demonstrates how to have a great time outside with the simplest of necessities. They look for animals, cook their own dinner, marvel at the stars in the sky, roast marshmallows, and sing songs around the campfire. And here’s the best part, you are invited to join the adventure and sing along!

Airdates for Sid’s Backyard Campout are:
June 20 Premiere
June 24
July 12
July 27
August 19