ITVS picks Tacos of Texas for digital series pilot

The team behind the recent book The Tacos of Texas, Mando Rayo & Jarod Neece, have been selected for ITVS funding to develop a pilot episode for a new online series. If greenlit, the digital series will focus on the people, the places and the taco culture in the Great State of Texas.

The Tacos of Texas team will film the pilot episode in El Paso, Texas this summer. “Being a border town and this Taco Journalist’s hometown, I think it opens up a great story, not only on the love of tacos or it’s people but with issues associated with the region including the border wall, immigration and border-style cuisine.” “We’re excited to be part of ITVS and public media and share our taco love with the world!, ” says Rayo.

The core Tacos of Texas team include Mando Rayo, Producer/Co-Host; Jarod Neece, Co-Producer/Co-Host and Dennis Burnett, Director and with work with local teams and the Texas Taco Council for local knowledge and taco insights. “We are thrilled to be working with ITVS to develop this new series. We think it’s a great fit for our story and will help us reach a large and diverse audience,” says Neece. ITVS partnership comes through the Digital Open Call which offers research and development funding to pilot a series on public media platforms.  The Tacos of Texas aims to partner with local public television stations across Texas to showcase each city’s tacos through the eyes of taco fans across the state.

Mando Rayo and Jarod Neece are the authors of the best-selling books, The Tacos of Texas (University of Texas Press, 2016) and Austin Breakfast Tacos: The Story of the Most Important Taco of the Day (The History Press, 2013) and founders of the blog Rayo is the CEO and engagement strategist at Mando Rayo + Collective, a multicultural advertising agency; Neece has been with SXSW since 2002 and is the Senior Film Programmer.

NEA Announces Grant to KLRU’s Considering Matthew Shepard television special

KLRU has received a  $10,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to support post-production, distribution, and promotion costs for the television program Considering Matthew Shepard. Showcasing Composer and Artistic Director Craig Hella Johnson and the vocal ensemble Conspirare, the program will feature a performance of the concert-length work Considering Matthew Shepard, a reflection on Shepard’s life and death. The program will incorporate theatrical elements such as set design and projected images and will be offered for national broadcast.

As the only funder in the country to support arts activities in all 50 states and five U.S. jurisdictions, the National Endowment for the Arts announced on June 14th its second round of funding for FY 2017. This funding round includes partnerships with state, jurisdictional, and regional arts agencies. The NEA will award 1,195 grants totaling $82.06 million to support organizations that employ artists and cultural workers to provide programs for thousands of people from Idaho to Maine; in urban centers such as Cleveland, Ohio and Dallas, Texas; and in rural towns as different as Haines, Alaska and Whitesburg, Kentucky.

“The American people are recognized for their innovative spirit and these grants represent the vision, energy, and talent of America’s artists and arts organizations,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “I am proud of the role the National Endowment for the Arts plays in helping advance the creative capacity of the United States.”

NEA-funded arts activities are as diverse as the places that foster them. A folk festival in downtown Butte, Montana; a former gas station transformed into a glass foundry in Farmville, North Carolina; dance classes for children with special needs in Winter Park, Florida; and a playwrights workshop in New Harmony, Indiana are just a few of the projects included in the lists below. These lists are organized by:
State/jurisdiction and then by city/town and by;
Funding category (Art Works II, Our Town, Research: Art Works, and state and regional partnerships) and then artistic discipline/field, ranging from arts education to visual arts

Competition for NEA grants is significant. In this second funding round for FY 2017, the agency received 2,063 eligible applications. The value of NEA funding is not only its monetary impact but also its reputation. An NEA grant confers a seal of approval, allowing an organization to attract other public and private funds beyond the required 1:1 match. In 2016, the ratio of NEA dollars to matching funds was 1:9 or $500 million.

About the National Endowment for the Arts
Established by Congress in 1965, the NEA is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the NEA supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. For more information, visit

Austin Film Society and KLRU present preview screening of Abacus 6/10, 11 & 14

The Austin Film Society, Asian American Film Festival and KLRU present a preview screening of Abacus: Small Enough to Jail, which will air as part of Frontline later this year.  Screenings take place June 10, 11 & 14 at AFS Cinema, 6406 N I-35 Suite 3100 Austin, TX 78752. Buy tickets now

Steve James (HOOP DREAMS) follows an incredible cast of characters as he takes on the too-bizarre-to-not-be-true tale of a small, family-run bank in New York’s Chinatown, targeted as the scapegoat for the entire American subprime mortgage crisis.

Austin Film Festival and KLRU present POV preview screenings this summer


KLRU has partnered with the Austin Film Festival to present preview screenings of three upcoming episodes of the documentary series POV. All screenings are free with an RSVP. Each one will take place at the SANTA CRUZ CENTER FOR CULTURE at 1805 E 7th St, Austin, TX 78702.

Memories of a Penitent Heart
June 13th – 7PM
PBS Broadcast Premiere Date – July 31st

Filmmaker Cecilia Aldarondo suspected that there was something ugly in her family’s past. Memories of a Penitent Heart excavates a buried conflict around her uncle Miguel, who died at a time when AIDS was synonymous with sin. As she searches for Miguel’s partner decades later, the film — both a love story and a tribute — offers a cautionary tale of how faith can be used and abused in times of crisis. A co-presentation with Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB).


Raising Bertie
July 10th – 7PM
PBS Broadcast Premiere Date – August 28th
Filmmaker – Margaret Byrne

Raising Bertie is an intimate portrait of three African American boys as they face a precarious coming of age in rural Bertie County, North Carolina. Like many rural areas, Bertie County struggles with a dwindling economy, a declining population, and a high school graduation rate below the state average. This powerful vérité film weaves the young men’s narratives together as they work to define their identities and grow into adulthood while navigating complex relationships, institutional racism, violence, poverty, and educational inequity. A co-presentation with the National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC).


Swim Team
August 21st – 7PM
PBS Broadcast Premiere Date – October 2nd
Filmmaker – Lara Stolman

Parents of a boy on the autism spectrum form a competitive swim team, recruiting other teens on the spectrum and training them with high expectations and zero pity. Swim Team chronicles the extraordinary rise of three diverse young athletes, capturing a moving quest for inclusion, independence and a life that feels like winning. A co-presentation with the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM).

Presented in partnership with the Austin Film Festival.

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month programs and events

The month of June is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month. Here at KLRU, we are celebrating LGBT Pride Month 2017 with a lineup of special programs and events honoring the personal stories of LGBT individuals.

Join KLRU and the Austin Public Library for the Indie Lens Pop-Up screening of the documentary Real Boy by Shaleece Haas. This free event takes place Tuesday, June 6th, at 7 pm at the Austin Public Library Windsor Park Branch 5833 Westminster Dr., Austin, TX, 78723. GLSEN Austin Board members will be in attendance to discuss the work the organization is doing in our community. Get more details

KLRU has partnered with the Austin Film Festival to present preview screenings of Memories of a Penitent Heart from the documentary series POV.Memories of a Penitent Heart excavates a buried conflict around her uncle Miguel, who died at a time when AIDS was synonymous with sin. The screening is free with an RSVP and takes place June 13th at 7 pm. Get more details

Independent Lens “The New Black”
Monday, June 5 at 9:00 pm
Independent Lens reprises “The New Black.” Centering on the historic fight to win marriage equality in Maryland, this film takes viewers into the pews, onto the streets and provides a seat at the kitchen table as it looks at how the African American community grapples with the divisive gay rights issue.

Independent Lens “Limited Partnership”
Monday, June 12 at 9:00 pm
Independent Lens premieres “Limited Partnership.” In 1975, decades before The Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8, Filipino American Richard Adams and Australian Tony Sullivan became one of the first same-sex couples in the world to be legally married. Mere months later, however, the Immigration and Naturalization Service declared their marriage invalid and began proceedings to deport Tony. With a uniquely personal perspective in a larger political battle, “Limited Partnership” follows the couple’s forty-year fight seeking equal treatment for a same-sex marriage, all while living undocumented in the United States.

Independent Lens “Real Boy”
Monday, June 19 at 9:00 pm
Real Boy is the coming-of-age story of Bennett, a trans teenager with dreams of musical stardom. During the first two years of his gender transition, as Bennett works to repair a strained relationship with his family, he is taken under the wing of his friend and musical hero, celebrated trans folk singer Joe Stevens. Along the way, Bennett’s mother makes a transformation of her own, finally accepting her irrepressible son as the man he wants to be.

KLRU features documentaries for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

Join KLRU for the annual celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. Special documentaries will air throughout the month, featuring the ancient science behind Chinese chariots, and historical Asian Pacific heroes like Pinky Thompson.

Mele Murals airs Monday, May 8 at 10 pm.  A documentary about the transformation of power of art through the unlikely union of graffiti and ancient Hawaiian culture.  At the center of the story are two renowned street artists – Estria Miyashiro (aka Estria) and John Hina (aka Prime) – a group of Native Hawaiian youth, and the rural community of Waimea.  Through their stories, Mele Murals shows how public art and native Hawaiian traditions transforms the artists, students and community.

Mele Murals Trailer from Tadashi Nakamura on Vimeo.

Nova “Chinese Chariot Revealed” airs Wednesday, May 17 at 8 pm.  NOVA premieres “Chinese Chariot Revealed.” For over a thousand years, chariots thundered across China’s battlefields — dominating warfare far longer than anywhere else on earth. Now a series of archaeological discoveries, including whole chariots buried with their horses, enable a team of experts to discover the genius of China’s first super-weapon. The program investigates design secrets which made chariots such a long lived war-machine, exploring hands-on how they were used, what set them apart from the rest of the world and how they helped unify China.

Visions in the Dark:  The Life of Pinky Thompson airs Monday, May 22 at 10:30 pmVisions in the Dark:  The Life of Pinky Thompson is a Hawaiian story of challenge, triumph and leadership of Myron “Pinky” Thompson.  Sustaining a serious eye wound during World War II that left him in the dark for two years, Myron “Pinky” Thompson emerged with a clear vision.  He would become a social worker, mentor and revered leader in his community.  He left a legacy of positive social change, pride in Pacific heritage and a strong sense of native Hawaiian identity.

PBS wants to see the Asian American & Pacific Islander experience through your lens. Share a picture or video — of your family, friends and the experiences that are important to you! Use the hashtag #MyAPALife and watch the conversation unfold. See what others have shared


Celebrate Memorial Day with KLRU on 5/28

Join KLRU on Sunday, May 28th, as we celebrate our national heroes and veterans in honor of Memorial Day.

Join co-hosts Gary Sinise and Joe Mantegna for the 28th broadcast of this night of remembrance honoring the service and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform, their families at home and all those who have given their lives for our country. National Memorial Day Concert airs at 7 pm and encores at 9 pm and 11:30 pm.

This program takes a look at creation of the upcoming series from Ken Burns and Lynn Novick: THE VIETNAM WAR. Featuring interviews with the filmmakers, behind-the-scenes footage, and exclusive clips from the series, this program will give viewers an advance look at this Fall’s most anticipated film. PBS Previews: The Vietnam War begins at 8:30 pm.

Canine Soldiers explores the intimate bond between Military Working Dogs and their handlers-combat soldiers who make life-and-death decisions based on the instincts and behavior of the dogs who lead their patrols. In wars where the rules of engagement have shifted from traditional combat to the unforeseen and the invisible, these highly trained dogs are saving soldiers’ lives and giving them comfort, hope and protection. Canine Soldiers: The Militarization of Love begins at 10:30 pm.

Leti Garza combines her natural gift of musical talent and personal life experiences

Leti Garza combines her natural gift of musical talent and personal life experiences to weave together a recurring theme of authenticity in her music. She has the ability to draw from a vast resource of cultures and transform the music into her own while paying homage to the roots from which they were born.

KLRU presents special programs for Holocaust Remembrance Month

In honor of Holocaust Remembrance, KLRU will be airing programs throughout the month of April highlighting Jewish achievements and remembering the victims of the Holocaust.

Nova “Holocaust Escape Tunnel” encores on Thursday, April 20 at 8:00 pm. In the heart of Lithuania, a Holocaust secret lies buried. A team of archaeologists probes the ruins of a Nazi death camp to find the truth behind tales of a tunnel dug by desperate Jewish prisoners and their daring escape. 

Escape from a Nazi Death Camp encores on Thursday, April 20 at 9:00 pm.
October 14th 2013 was the 70th anniversary of an event that shook the Nazi party to its core. In east Poland, at the remote Nazi death camp of Sobibor, 300 Jewish prisoners staged a bloody break out. To mark the anniversary, this film travels back Sobibor with the last remaining survivors to reveal their extraordinary story of courage, desperation and determination. The film uses brutally honest drama-reconstruction and first hand testimony to reveal the incredible escape story. 

For Sunday, April 23 — Holocaust Remembrance Programming includes:

Violins of Hope premieres on Sunday, April 23 at 1:00 pm
For Jews during the Holocaust, there wasn’t much reprieve from the despair and horror surrounding them, but music-particularly that of violins, which hold an important role in Jewish culture-offered temporary solace and a glimmer of humanity. Violinists in concentration camps were sometimes treated better and even spared their lives because of their ability to play this important instrument. VIOLINS OF HOPE: STRINGS OF THE HOLOCAUST follows the journey of Israeli violinmaker Amnon Weinstein in his efforts to restore violins recovered from the Holocaust, and captures the lessons and highlights the music the instruments now bring to others. 

Escape from a Nazi Death Camp repeats on Sunday, April 23 at 2:00 pm.  

Nova  “Holocaust Escape Tunnel” repeats on Sunday, April 23 at 3:00 pm. 

Through The Eye of the Needle:  The Art of Esther Nisenthal Krinitz airs on Sunday, April 23 at 4:00 pm.  
As a Holocaust survivor, Esther Nisenthal was 15 years old in October of 1942 when the Jews of her village in Poland were ordered by the Nazis to report to a nearby train station. Esther refused to go. Instead, saying goodbye to their family, she and her 13-year old sister Mania invented new identities for themselves as Polish Catholic farm girls, hiding in plain sight from the Nazis. Esther’s story of survival is remarkable on its own. 

Independent Lens “Last Laugh” premieres on Monday, April 24 at 9:00 pm.
For Holocaust Remembrance
, INDEPENDENT LENS premieres “The Last Laugh.” The Holocaust would seem to be an absolutely off-limits topic for comedy, but history shows that even the victims of the Nazi concentration camps themselves used humor as a means of survival and resistance. To explore this question, “The Last Laugh” weaves together an intimate portrait of Auschwitz survivor Renee Firestone alongside interviews with influential comedians and thinkers ranging from Mel Brooks to Chris Rock, and meshes in powerful, rare footage of cabarets inside the concentration camps themselves.