What’s happening this weekend: July 31-Aug. 2

Austin Skyline

Now that the summer heat has arrived in full force, we know you’re looking for ways to stay cool this weekend. We’ve got some suggestions for you!

Check out the Texas Robot Roundup

Watch high school teams from across the state compete at the fifth annual Texas Robot Roundup at the Austin Convention Center Friday and Saturday. What’s cooler than watching smart young people show off their amazing creations? Before you go, get inspired by this clip from SciTech Now and watch elementary, middle and high school students take part in robots competitions through the nonprofit organization FIRST.


Admission: Free to spectators. Hours: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday. Details here.

Visit the Carver Museum’s newest exhibit
The George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center’s newest exhibit, John Yancey’s Can u see, opened Thursday. Yancey is a Chicago artist who was influenced by social and political events of the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s to create public murals and mosaics and commissioned sculptures and paintings. Yancey is currently a studio art professor at the University of Texas at Austin. Before you go, watch this clip from the 2012 episode of Juneteenth Jamboree, in which KLRU features the Carver Museum and its curator.

Admission: Free. Hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, closed Sunday. Details here.

Extreme bird-watching in the Capital Plaza Shopping Center
If you live in Austin, chances are you’ve watched the bats come out from the Congress Avenue Bridge. But have you ever watched purple martins roost at Capital Plaza? The Travis Audubon Society has hosted purple martin parties on Friday and Saturday nights this summer. Bring a lawn chair and watch hundreds of thousands of purple martins roost in the Live Oaks near Shepler’s Western Wear at Capital Plaza. The good news is the purple martins roost at dusk, so you don’t have to worry about the summer sun — and the Travis Audubon Society says it’s even better than watching the bats! If you’d like to know more about purple martins before you go, watch this video from Texas Parks and Wildlife.


Admission: Free. Hours: 7:45 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Details here.

Landmarks Guided Tour of Bass Concert Hall
Escape the blistering summer temperatures and join The University of Texas at Austin College of Fine Arts’ Landmarks for a docent-led tour of art in Bass Concert Hall on loan from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The collection features striking examples of postwar and contemporary sculpture from influential artists such as Magdalena Abakanowicz and Ursula von Rydingsvard. Check out Ursula von Rydingsvard’s artwork featured in Ecology, as artists explore how our understanding of the natural world becomes deeply cultural.

Admission: Free. Hours: 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Details here.

Q Night at the Movies 8/1

KLRU Q - Night at the Movies

On this week’s Q Night at the Movies, On Story explores strategies of television anthologies. Then, Fat Man and Little Boy and In My Lifetime take you into the world of nuclear weapons, covering the American bombing of nagasaki and the history of atomic threats. And finally, Songs to Keep: Treasures of an Adirondack Folk Collector travels through time to find rare folk songs.

On Story Fargo & True Detective: Television Anthologies at 7:30 pm
True Detective director, Cary Fukunaga, and Fargo creator, Noah Hawley, discuss the rise of the television anthology series and how to execute a compelling balance of plot, character and structure within the bounds of one season. Followed by Elaine Poon’s short film, Entrain.

Fat Man and Little Boy at 8 pm
This 1989 feature film dramatizes the events leading up to the American bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima in August 1945. In the remote desert of New Mexico, “The Manhattan Project” is materializing – America’s secret effort to build the first nuclear bombs with the potential to end World War II. This poignant film recreates one of history’s most compelling chapters – one that resulted in the mushroom-shaped specter that changed the world forever.

In My Lifetime at 10 pm
This film thoughtfully examines the 68-year history of nuclear weapons – the most destructive force invented. In My Lifetime focuses on the continuing struggle of citizens, scientists and political leaders working to reduce or eliminate the atomic threat, while others search for ways to build nuclear weapons. In interviews, former heads of state, United Nations representatives, figures from the nuclear establishment, Manhattan Project scientists, Nobel Peace- and Pulitzer Prize-winners, military personnel and atomic-bomb survivors recount the birth of the nuclear age and detail the developments that followed.

Songs to Keep: Treasures of an Adirondack Folk Collector at 11 pm
This Emmy-winning special opens a musical time capsule from a hundred years ago. Marjorie Lansing Porter (1891-1973) dedicated her life to preserving the rare folk songs of the Adirondacks. Throughout the 1940s and ’50s, Porter traveled throughout New York State, interviewing and recording musicians and singers in the hopes of creating a collection of previously unpublished folk songs, transcripts and other writings.

KLRU-Q is broadcast channel 18.3. It is also available to digital cable subscribers of Grande on 284 and Time Warner on 20.

Highlights August 2 to August 8

KLRU Highlights

Caroline gets to the heart of the reason Gillian is reluctant to go through with the wedding on Last Tango in Halifax at 7 pm on Sunday. Meanwhile, with Celia’s encouragement, Alan takes the first step toward forgiveness.

On Poldark on Masterpiece Part Seven at 8 pm on Sunday, when Verity makes her move, Poldark is blamed and events spiral out of control. Then, an epidemic leads to tragedy, and a shipwreck is both a blessing and a curse.

After an assassination attempt on Hilda Pierce, Foyle examines her Special Operations Executive activities during the war and rumors of a traitor on Foyle’s War Elise at 9:30 pm on Sunday.

With permission from Queen Elizabeth, Queen’s Garden at 8 pm on Monday covers a year in Buckingham Palace Garden, exploring the history and the natural history of this remarkable hidden royal treasure in the heart of London.

Learn how music and dance bind a community in the war-ravaged Sudan region, where the people of the Blue Nile celebrate their survival and fight to maintain their heritage, even as bombs drop all around them on POV Beats of the Antonov at 9 pm on Monday.

How the Beatles Rocked the Kremlin at 10 pm on Monday tells the unknown story of how the Beatles inspired a revolution that helped to destroy the communist system. Leslie Woodhead first met the Beatles in 1962 when he worked on a film in the Liverpool Cavern Club before the world had heard of the Fab Four. When Woodhead began to make films in the Soviet Union, he became aware of how the Beatles legend had soaked into the lives of a generation of Soviet kids — even though they were barred from playing “Back in the USSR.”

Secrets of the Dead JFK: One PM Central Standard Time on Tuesday at 7 pm recounts the riveting story of the reporting from Dallas and the CBS Newsroom in New York from the moment President Kennedy was shot until Cronkite’s emotional pronouncement of his death at 1 p.m. CST.

President LBJ is chiefly remembered for the Vietnam War. But 50 years ago, he engineered two of the most important laws Congress ever passed, the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act. JKF & LBJ: A Time for Greatness on Tuesday at 8 pm examines how LBJ transformed America.

Frontline Gunned Down at 9 pm on Tuesday goes inside the politics of America’s gun debate. Veteran filmmaker Michael Kirk investigates the NRA, its political evolution and influence and how it has consistently succeeded in defeating new gun control legislation.

The rich history and remarkable determination that made the 52-mile-long Houston Ship Channel a reality 100 years ago is recounted on Houston Ship Channel: Deep Water Centennial at 10 pm on Tuesday. Learn how it is now a huge economic driver for the region and the United States.

On the third episode of Life on the Reef at 7 pm on Wednesday, see how the human and animal residents of the reef prepare for a category five cyclone that brings destruction to the North Queensland coast. Then, as cyclone season finally gives way to calm seas of the dry, the reef begins to recover and thrive.

A modern-day swordsmith reverse engineers the ultimate weapon of the Middle Ages — a sword both prized and feared on NOVA Secrets of the Viking Sword at 8 pm on Wednesday. Then, a team of scientists and volunteers test a theory on how the ancient stone statues were moved, using a 15-ton replica on NOVA Mystery of Easter Island at 9 pm on Wednesday.

Austin’s best alternative rock shines with Spoon and White Denim on Austin City Limits Spoon/White Denim at 10 pm on Wednesday. Top 10-seller Spoon highlights its album They Want My Soul, while White Denim features its LP Corsicana Lemonade.

On Overheard with Evan Smith at 7 pm on Thursday, Evan talks with Katha Pollitt, an award-winning author and columnist for The Nation. Her work of essays surrounding feminism, women’s rights, and politics have been made into books including Reasonable Creatures: Essays on Women and Feminism and Virginity or Death!: And Other Social and Political Issues of Our Time.

From band posters to business logos, graphic designers are influencing the visual look of consumerism and shaping society’s experiences. Although ad agencies still loom large, learn how the proliferation of technology has allowed a growing contingent of DIY graphic designers on Arts in Context The Influencers at 7:30 pm on Thursday.

When you’re cooking with fire, you’d better have good wood. Aaron covers the major types of wood used in Texas BBQ, gives some tips on building a fire and shows a twist on using smoke for more than cooking meat on BBQ with Franklin Fire & Smoke on Thursday at 8 pm.

Chet travels to the “Bayou City”—Houston, Texas—to hop amongst its neighborhoods on The Daytripper at 8:30 pm on Thursday. He starts with a Asian market and Dim Sum in Houston’s Chinatown, follows it up with dinosaurs and parks in the Museum District and finishes up in Houston’s Montrose area, full of art, culture and delicious food.

Galveston Island explains the city of Galveston relating its history, culture and resiliency after Hurricane Ike at 9 pm on Thursday.

Thrill to the rich and soulful voices of the popular quartet as they sing world-class arrangements of classics, new compositions and some of the world’s most beloved songs, including “How Great Thou Art,” “Besame Mucho” and “You Are So Beautiful” on Tenors: Under One Sky at 8 pm on Friday.

Discover the man behind the music in this intimate profile of the legendary popular singer-songwriter on John Denver: Country Boy at 9:30 pm on Friday. His life and legacy are explored with friends, former wives and managers, family members, and musicians who toured with him for decades.

What’s a Master Naturalist and how you do it at home? Learn more on Central Texas Gardener Master Naturalists at noon on Saturday. Then, tour pond outdoor living that replaces lawn.

On the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame Special 2014, watch highlights from the first annual Austin City Limits Hall of Fame presentation. Performers include Willie Nelson, Lyle Lovett, Emmylou Harris, Buddy Guy and Double Trouble.

Artists Den presents alt-J in theaters

Get a sneak peak at the new season of Artist Den on September 2 when the PBS show and Fathom Events will feature a performance by U.K. rock group alt-J. Artists Den Presents alt-J includes an exclusive performance during which the group played hits from its most recent albums for a packed crowd of 600 invited guests for a private performance inside the soaring, historic meeting hall of the Hollywood American Legion in Los Angeles. Tickets for Artists Den Presents alt-J can be purchased online or at participating theater box offices.

“Artists Den Presents alt-J” includes an intimate concert performance with interview footage captured exclusively for the big screen. Theaters across the country will have a unique cinema experience for this one-time event, showcasing many of alt-J’s hits from its debut album, 2012’s An Awesome Wave, and songs from the band’s most recent album, This Is All Yours.

Tickets for Artists Den Presents alt-J can be purchased online or at participating theater box offices. In Austin, “Artists Den Presents alt-J” will be shown on September 2 at:

Artist Den’s new season will air on KLRU Q in the Spring of 2016.

Wobbly watermelon, Hunter S. Thompson and the science of laughter: Our picks from PBS Digital Studios

pbs digital studios 3

PBS Digital Studios is brimming with fascinating, well-produced content on a wide range of topics. There are so many videos posted each week, in fact, that we can’t possibly begin to share them all with you – so we’ve decided to do a round-up of our favorite videos each week.

This week? The science of laughter, wobbly watermelon and Hunter S. Thompson talks about the Hell’s Angels.

Why do we laugh?

On the surface, laughter seems to be an unconscious, instantaneous reaction to something that pleases us, but it’s actually much more complicated than that, and it has surprisingly little to do with the human sense of humor. Check out It’s Okay To Be Smart‘s explanation of why you get the giggles (featuring some pretty stellar science puns, if you’re into that sort of thing).

Watermelon that wobbles

Okay, it may seem like “Full Time Kid” is just for kids, but trust us – this recipe for wobbly watermelon (using Jello, of course) is delicious and fun for everyone. Get Mya’s recipe and make a yummy, fun summer treat!

Hunter S. Thompson on Outlaws

Blank on Blank is one of the most innovative YouTube channels out there. It features old, unheard interviews with some of the world’s legends, set to new animations.In the 1960s, Hunter S. Thompson spent more than a year living and drinking with members of the Hell’s Angels motorcycle club, riding up and down the California coast. What he saw alongside this group of renegades on Harleys, these hairy outlaws who rampaged and faced charges of attempted murder, assault and battery, and destruction of property along the way–all of this became the heart of Thompson’s first book: Hell’s Angels: A Strange and Terrible Saga. Shortly after the book came out, Thompson sat down for a radio interview with Studs Terkel. Listen to the interview and watch the creative animations, and  go to Blank on Blank’s website for more.

Click here to subscribe to PBS Digital Studios on YouTube.

2015 PBS Online Film Festival Winners

PBS OLFF 2015

Two winners of the fourth-annual PBS Online Film Festival have been announced!

The film that took the “People’s Choice” top honor was “Sinner Victim Saint,” a short narrative presented by CET & Think TV, centering on a newlywed husband who has recently lost his wife in a car accident and the dark turn of events that teaches him the power of sacrifice.

The creator, Moses Flores, is a local Austin cinematographer, director and editor.

The animated film “11 Paper Place,” presented by member station Vermont PBS, a love story about two sheets of paper who meet in a recycle bin, was the most-viewed of the 25 short films screened online.

During the six weeks the films were available for screening, entries were streamed more than 400,000 times, up from 312,000 streams in 2014 over a seven-week period.

More information about the PBS Online Film Festival can be found at pbs.org/filmfestival. The festival is also on Twitter at #PBSolff.

Science Night August 5

science-night

On this week’s Science Night, a brand new episode of Life on the Reef takes you into the lives of the many residents of North Queensland as they prepare for disaster. Then, a double-header of NOVA explores objects that have stood the test of time: the viking sword and the stone statues of Easter Island.

Life on the Reef at 7 pm
On the third episode, see how the human and animal residents of the reef prepare for a category five cyclone that brings destruction to the North Queensland coast. And as cyclone season finally gives way to calm seas of the dry, the reef begins to recover and thrive. In this clip, hear from those who ensure the full diversity and functionality of the reef.

NOVA Secrets of the Viking Sword at 8 pm
A modern-day swordsmith reverse engineers the ultimate weapon of the Middle Ages — a sword both prized and feared.

NOVA Mystery of Easter Island at 9 pm
A team of scientists and volunteers test a theory on how the ancient stone statues were moved, using a 15-ton replica.

American Graduate Champion: Kevin Ritcherson

FEATURED_Champion2

KLRU shares the inspiring stories of the people that are making our community a success! As part of our American Graduate initiative, we’re honoring American Graduate Champions that have been submitted by the community.

kevinritchersonwgraduateandhermomToday’s Champion is Kevin Ritcherson! Kevin is a College Prep Coach and youth motivator. He presents College Prep boot camps at schools across Texas and in other states.

His nominator, Donna Hoffman, says, “Kevin exemplifies a great role model of attitudinal positivity, flexibility and firmness — clarity of vision. He is a great motivator for young people who might not otherwise see themselves as college material and provides information to young people who might not otherwise know what to do to prepare themselves to be accepted in and succeed in college.”

Do you know someone in our community who is working to improve high school success for students throughout Central Texas? Recognize them as an American Graduate Champion! American Graduate Champions can be students who work as mentors, business leaders who serve as role models, school officials making changes to better the system, parent activists, and even struggling students who are overcoming obstacles in order to graduate.

American Graduate Champion: Rudi Andrus

FEATURED_Champion2

KLRU shares the inspiring stories of the people that are making our community a success! As part of our American Graduate initiative, we’re honoring American Graduate Champions that have been submitted by the community.

rudi_andrus.jpegToday’s Champion is Rudi Andrus! Rudi is the Executive Director of Mainsprings School. She works with staff, children, parents and the community at her National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) accredited early childhood school.

Her nominator, Crystal Martinez, says, “Rudi is a champion because she truly is passionate about making a difference in the lives of children and families. She really enjoys walking through her school and seeing the children be happily engaged in learning. Rudi is a great writer, has received grants and is an effective speaker when explaining the devastating effects of poverty on young children and their families to the business community.”

Do you know someone in our community who is working to improve high school success for students throughout Central Texas? Recognize them as an American Graduate Champion! American Graduate Champions can be students who work as mentors, business leaders who serve as role models, school officials making changes to better the system, parent activists, and even struggling students who are overcoming obstacles in order to graduate.

Behind the story | Austin Revealed: Pioneers of the East

austin revealed

Austin Revealed is an oral history project sharing the stories of Austin’s past and present to encourage discussion and thought around the city’s future. In this series of Austin RevealedPioneers From the East, we profile three of the first families of Chinese origin to settle in the Austin area – the Sing family, the Wong family and the Lung family. In addition, Austin Revealed takes you inside Austin’s Asian American Resource Center, a community center focusing on celebrating Austin’s unique Asian community.

We sat down with filmmaker Tim Tsai, who partnered with KLRU on the project, to talk about his passion for Asian American history, why it’s important to Austin and why he got involved with this project.

Watch the four-part series here:
The Wong Family | The Lung Family | The Sing Family Austin’s Asian American Resource Center

What initially attracted you to this project, and what made you decide to get involved?

Tim Tsai

Tim Tsai

As a filmmaker, I’ve always had an interest in exploring Asian American identities as well as an interest in history. When the funding came through for this project, [KLRU] thought of me as a potential partner. I was completely on board. I didn’t know that much about these particular families’ history, but just knowing how long they’ve been here in Austin was already a surprise to me, and I definitely was curious to find out more, to find out what these families’ experiences were like as immigrants. I was very excited to take on this project and to be able to profile these families.

Why do you think it’s important to tell these stories?

I think these stories, particularly minority history, is overlooked. When you look at history textbooks and the curriculum in schools, the non-majority history is often barely mentioned. I bet if you ask Austinites today when the first Asians settled in Austin, they would maybe think since the ‘40s, ‘50s, ‘60s. Not a lot of people know about the earliest Asian immigrants here. Because of the Chinese Exclusion Act (a United States federal law signed in1882 which prohibited all immigration of Chinese laborers), the Chinese population here, most of whom came to work on the railroads, that population was not allowed to grow. We were a small minority here. But a few of these families did come here, did decide to make Austin their home, and so their stories are very much visible when you talk about Texas history in general. Texans love their history, but certain parts of it are often overlooked.

What did you learn from this project?

I had kind of assumed when there’s such a small number of Chinese Americans here, I would have thought they would band together and be very close. Some of these families did know each other for multiple generations, but really, these three families we profiled, one of them ran a laundry, the other one ran a restaurant, the other one ran a grocery store. They were in different businesses. They lived in different parts of town. They had to integrate. There was no way they could survive if they just kept to their own community, so they all integrated very well into Austin.

What’s also very fascinating is that all these different families have a different connection to their Chinese ancestry. I thought it was fantastic that the Sing family, they identify as Hispanic today, and they’re very proud of their heritage. The Lung family, today, you cannot really identify them just by looking at them that they’re Chinese American. The Wong family, who looks Chinese because subsequent generations did marry Chinese, but what’s interesting is that Dr. Mitchel Wong, he married a first-generation immigrant from Taiwan. There was a cultural difference there. Being first-generation versus third-generation is a big difference.

I came into it expecting some of these episodes to maybe be repetitive, that their stories may be very similar, but I found the opposite, that their stories are actually very different, very unique. They all had different ways of integrating into this community and making their lives here.

What do you think people should take away from this project?

Asian American history and Chinese American history is very diverse. We have very different stories. These communities are not all homogeneous. Each family has their own story to tell. And their story is important. The story of how Chinese Texans came here and how they’ve contributed to our community here is important to document and remember and celebrate.