Yes, we’re still talking about Pluto — and more from PBS Digital Studios

pbs digital studios 3

Pluto. Are you over it? ‘Cause we’re not, and neither is PBS Digital Studios. Earthlings’ first mission to Pluto provided us with beautiful and fascinating images of the dwarf planet, and we’re still learning more and more about it. Since New Horizons flew by Pluto on July 14, 2015, it’s completely redefined what we know about the dwarf planet and its largest moon Charon. New Horizons’ mission will continue to be full of surprises, but here’s a roundup of what we’ve learned so far, from It’s Okay To Be Smart:

Our other recommendation from PBS Digital Studios this week isn’t one video — it’s a bunch of them. A whole channel, really. First Person is a digital series from WNET, New York Public Media, addressing gender identity, sexuality and queer community. In this week’s episode, host Kristin Russo talks with Kara Kratcha, a student of English literature and writer who identifies as grey ace (asexual) and genderqueer.

We recommend watching all of First Person’s videos — they address a range of topics like gender binary, coming out in sports and more issues and topics that members of the LGBTQ community deal with every day. Click here to subscribe.

Overheard with Evan Smith pre-tape meet & greet offer!

Your Favorites Featured Image

Overheard presents a wide range of thoughtmakers and tastemakers – from politicians, authors and artists to actors, journalists and business people.  Evan Smith is your host who always has an eye towards the news and always with a sense of humor.

Did you know that YOUR KLRU locally produced Overheard with Evan Smith airs in 40% of US television markets? YOUR SUPPORT goes beyond the Austin community! Want a chance to meet with Evan Smith and Thomas Mallon before the September 15th taping?

Give a gift TODAY via the form below and you will be entered in to the giveaway to attend a taping on Tuesday, September 15th! And donating isn’t the only way to enter this giveaway – stay tuned to KLRU’s social media to share, tweet and post across your social media platforms for entry as well! Be sure to tag @klru and/or use #yourklru.

Explore YOUR [arts] COMMUNITY with KLRU this August!

Your Favorites Featured Image

Explore YOUR WORLD from home with KLRU’s locally produced Arts in Context. Did you know that this program is appears in 42% of US television markets? That’s because of viewer support from YOU. Austin is home to this short form documentary series exploring local artists, creative communities and conversations surrounding our city’s cultural scene.

And this August, we’re pledging to keep your regularly scheduled primetime shows, such as Arts in Context, on every night during our fund drive. We must raise $220,000 in 17 days and we’re counting on you to do your part to support the shows you rely on each week in order to meet this goal. Best of all, if we raise $220,000 before August 20th, we’ll end our drive 3 days early! Be sure and give a gift today – not only will your dollars be matched up to $100,000 we are offering an amazing incentive!

Give a gift via the form below for a chance to win 1 of 4 pairs of passes to Artist Den presents alt-J in theaters! And donating isn’t the only way to enter this giveaway – stay tuned to KLRU’s social media to share, tweet and post across your social media platforms for entry as well! Be sure to tag @klru and/or use #yourklru.

Tricky tides, identical hotel rooms and the upside of sadness: Our picks from PBS Digital Studios

Screen Shot 2015-08-06 at 1.48.13 PM

Our picks this week from PBS Digital Studios are enough to blow anyone’s mind. Everything you thought you knew about the science of tides is probably wrong, every hotel room you’ve ever stepped or slept in is the same place, and feeling sad is actually a good thing, as evidenced by Inside Out. Prepare your brain for this influx of fascinating information — and delve in.

What you’ve always been told about tides is probably not factually accurate | PBS Space Time

Everything your physics teacher taught you was wrong. Okay, probably not everything, but probably what they taught you about tides and gravitational pull weren’t exactly true. The facts were right, probably, but the explanation for how tides actually work is often misunderstood. We know that gravity affects the motion of all objects equally – so why are oceans the only bodies of water with tides? Join Gabe on this week’s episode of PBS Space Time as he sets the record straight on tidal force, gravitational differential and what role the moon actually plays in tides. Why don’t lakes have tides? Watch the episode to find out!

All hotel rooms are actually the same place | PBS IdeaChannel

Stay in hotel rooms often? No, you don’t. They actually stay *around* you. Every hotel room is the same place – a place of transition, a place you visit simply for the purpose of leaving. Who are we to our hotel rooms? When you’re in a hotel room, where are you? And who are you supposed to be? We know. It’s crazy. Check out the theory from PBS IdeaChannel.

The power of sadness in Inside Out | BrainCraft

Do you ever look at someone and wonder, “What is going on inside their head?” Disney Pixar has addressed how our emotions work inside our minds in their latest film, Inside Out. In the film, we spend a lot of time with what we consider negative emotions – but are they really negative? Is there such a thing as negative emotions? It’s often culturally and socially reinforced that there’s something wrong or shameful about being sad, and we value positive thinking. But science shows people who try to suppress these “negative” emotions actually experience more of those emotions. BrainCraft explains.

Subscribe to PBS Digital Studios

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.

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.

News Briefs: Tribune reports on Sandra Bland death investigation, Plus the rising cost of school supplies

New details emerged this week in the investigation into the death of Sandra Bland, who died a in Waller County jail last week. This weekend during PBS NewsHour, our partners at The Texas Tribune report on how lawmakers and residents of Prairie View are reacting to her death.

On July 10, a state trooper pulled over Bland for failing to signal during a lane change. She was taken into custody and three days later an officer found Bland dead, hanging in her jail cell. The Tribune’s Alana Rocha reports dash cam video, released Tuesday, raised many concerns about the officer’s conduct and the merits of Bland’s arrest. And now state lawmakers say the agencies involved will be transparent throughout the case, which is now being treated as a murder investigation.

“No one should jump to any conclusions. Wait for the investigations to be completed and then see what the facts have to say,” Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick said.

Meanwhile, Rocha reports, Bland’s faith community, family, and friends are trying to keep the peace through prayer. But on Sunday, before a packed church crowd in Prairie View, prayer turned to frustration.

“In the county that is known for racial profiling and unjust behavior towards individuals of color, oh yes, I said it today, I want to go on the record,” Lenora Dabney of Prairie View Hope AME Church told the congregation. “They have made it known, but I have to pray for the community today, for hope and for healing.”

On Sunday during NewsHour, our story focuses on the rising cost of back-to-school supplies. Austin non-profit Manos de Cristo hosted its annual Back-to-School drive this week. During the drive the group hands out backpacks, school supplies and clothing to 2,000 low-income children, and many parents line up before sunrise to make sure they get what they need. Manos’ Education Coordinator Karen Green told us they estimate the total cost for each parent would be around $50 per child.

“It has been a trend where the children are asked to bring classroom school supplies,” Green said. “They share them once they get to school and those kids who do not bring them just feel kind of left out. [Parents] wouldn’t stand in line in the heat if they didn’t have a need.”

Austin ISD told us they rely on partner organizations, the business community, and non-profits to help cover the costs of supplies for families who cannot afford them. District officials told us AISD’s current deficit requires them to ask parents to outfit their children with supplies.

The Center for Public Policy Priorities, a left-leaning policy research group, told us districts would love to provide supplies like folders and glue sticks for every child, but because state lawmakers haven’t provided enough school funding, districts are forced to push those costs on to parents.

“Texas saw very large school cuts in 2011, about 5.3 billion was cut from our school system,” Chandra Villanueva with CPPP said. “That money has not been fully restored [and] this issue of school supplies is just one example of how we’re not keeping pace with school funding and giving schools the resources that they need.”

KLRU News Briefs air locally during PBS NewsHour Weekend at 6:30pm. Our Sunday story is part of KLRU’s American Graduate initiative, funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. American Graduate is aimed at increasing awareness about factors that lead to dropout in Central Texas.

Do you have an American Graduate story idea? We’d love to hear from you! Email us at, post a comment, or tweet at us using #amgradtx. 

What’s happening this weekend: July 24-26

Another Austin weekend chock-full of activities! Whether you’re willing to weather the heat or seeking cool shelter, we have recommendations for you.

Free music at the Bob Bullock Museum

Check out local acts The Octopus Project and Golden Dawn Arkestra for free Friday night at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum. The Bullock Museum’s free concert series, Music Under the Star, is presented in partnership with Fun Fun Fun Fest in celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Austin festival. Bring the whole family, chairs and blankets! Before you go, watch Arts In Context’s documentary on The Octopus Project, which expresses the meaning of “multi” media by creating lively art through music, film and technology. The band has been releasing joyous party music since 2002, all the while touring the world both on their own and as handpicked support for artists as diverse as Aesop Rock, DEVO and Explosions in the Sky.

Admission: Free. Hours: Friday, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Details here.

Free classical music in the park from the Austin Symphony

Pack some water bottles and fans to stay cool and head over to the Hartman Concert Park in front of the Long Center City Terrance on Sunday evening. The Austin Symphony Orchestra presents free ensemble concerts every Sunday evening through August 23. The performance will feature music from jazz and light classical to pops selections and film scores. Bring a picnic, a blanket and the whole family!

KLRU featured the Austin Symphony Orchestra’s annual young composers program on Arts In Context in 2013. Watch the full episode to get in the Austin Symphony spirit!

Admission: Free. Hours: Sunday, 7:30 p.m. Details here.

In 2012, KLRU Collective also told the story of Austin Symphony Conductor Peter Bay. A live 13-piece ensemble of musicians weaved in and out of classical compositions and original music by Graham Reynolds, while Bay conducts in true to life and abstract ways.

Take a day trip with the family!

Our very own Chet Garner, the Texas vacation specialist, has plenty of recommendations for you and your family. From fun activities to do locally to trips to towns in Central Texas and beyond. Visit The Daytripper website for recommendations! For inspiration, watch his trip to San Marcos.

Compassion for Those We Love: A Town Meeting on Caregiving for Alzheimer’s in the Hispanic Community

Host Tsi Tsi Ki RGB

More than 200,000 Spanish-speaking people in the United States suffer from Alzheimer’s disease and, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, that number could potentially increase to 1.3 million by 2050 – a growth rate of 600 percent.

Alzheimer’s presents its own set of problems in the general population, but it seems to affect the Latino population at a higher rate. Latinos, studies suggest, possess more risk factors (diabetes, high blood pressure) for developing dementia than other groups and exhibit Alzheimer’s symptoms at an earlier age than non-Hispanics. In addition, surveys indicate Latinos’ reluctance to see doctors may result from financial and language barriers or because they mistake dementia symptoms for normal aging, thereby delaying the diagnosis.

bQuestion from audience member

KLRU presents Compassion for Those We Love: A Town Meeting on Caregiving for Alzheimer’s in the Hispanic Community on Friday, July 24th at 8pm on V-Me; Sunday, July 26th at 1 pm on KLRU; Monday, July 27th at 6 pm on KLRU Q. Taped in Spanish in front of an audience—and subtitled in English—this program focuses on the human stories of the caregiving crisis in a town-hall style format. Hosted by Tsi-tsi-ki Felix, a Telemundo news anchor and reporter, this program features a panel discussion and a question-and-answer session with experts including Dr. Maria Carrillo, Ph.D from the National Alzheimer’s Association and clinical neuropsychologist Dr. Marla Marquine, Ph.D from the University of California, San Diego.

One of the Hispanic community’s strengths—the strong cultural value of family responsibility and the desire to care for elders and loved ones in the home—make the need for accurate information and access to care giving resources all the more critical. This educational program addresses these issues and others in a linguistically and culturally sensitive manner. Although geared specifically to the Hispanic community, much of the information presented is universal and applicable to most Alzheimer’s caregivers.

Compassion for Those We Love: A Town Meeting on Caregiving for Alzheimer’s in the Hispanic Community airs:
Friday, July 24th at 8 pm on V-Me
Sunday, July 26th at 1 pm on KLRU
Monday, July 27th at 6 pm on KLRU Q

What’s happening this weekend: July 17-19

Happy weekend, Austinites! Stay cool this weekend with these (mostly) local events.

Take a road trip to Winedale for UT’s annual Shakespeare productions

“Shakespeare at Winedale,” a University of Texas program which presents various Shakespeare productions in Winedale, Texas, is in its 35th year this summer. This year, the students are presenting Twelfth Night (opening July 16), Henry V (opening July 17) and Pericles (opening July 18). Established in 1970 as a UT English course, Shakespeare at Winedale has grown into a year-round program reaching many different groups. Students in the summer program spend two months in the Texas countryside, studying and performing three plays in a nineteenth-century barn converted into a theatre.

So, load up in the car this weekend and journey about 80 miles east to Winedale to appreciate the students’ hard work. But before you go, watch this episode of Shakespeare Uncovered, in which Jeremy Irons researches Shakespeare’s history plays such as Henry V, as well as the differences between the real history and the father-son drama that Shakespeare creates.

Admission: $5 with a UT ID, $10 for all others. Hours: Showtimes vary. Details and ticket information here. 

Revisit your childhood fairytales at the Blanton Museum of Art

Natalie Frank: The Brothers Grimm opened last week at the Blanton and features more than 30 gouache and pastel drawings by artist Natalie Frank, a New York-based Austin native. Organized by The Drawing Center in New York, this presentation explores the nineteenth-century fairy tales of Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, including well-known stories such as Cinderella and Snow White, and more obscure tales such as The Lettuce Donkey and The Ungrateful Son.

Before you go, watch On Story: Reimagining The Classics as writers of re-imagined classics & popular franchises such as Ghost, Charlie & The Chocolate Factory, Twins and Snow White and the Huntsman deliberate how to keep stories fresh while staying true to the original.

Admission: Free for Blanton members and UT students, faculty and staff. $9 for adults, $7 for seniors, $5 for college students with valid ID and youth ages 13-21, free for children 12 and under. Hours: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Details about the exhibit can be found here.  

Dance and sing along to Hairspray at the Zilker Hillside Theatre

Zilker Theatre Productions’ annual free summer musical this year is Hairspray, and trust me, you’ll have a hard time resisting the urge to sing and dance along with the energetic characters and catchy tunes.

Before you get down with “The Nicest Kids In Town,” check out this interview with John Waters, who directed the 2007 movie.

Admission: Free. Hours: Thursday through Sunday nights beginning at approximately 8:15 p.m. Details here.

Mix up your musical interests with the Austin Chamber Music Festival

Each summer the Austin Chamber Music Center presents an exciting line-up of world-class artists, programmed by Artistic Director Michelle Schumann. The 19th annual Austin Chamber Music Festival wraps up this weekend with performances from Trio con Brio Copenhagen, Time for Three and Cactus Pear Ensemble in the Bates Recital Hall on UT campus.

Austin’s own Mother Falcon performed as part of the festival last weekend. Check out this episode of Arts In Context documenting the band’s inspiring story.

Admission: $25 for general admission, $50 for premium seating. Hours: Concert times vary. Details and ticket information here.

Love your rescue pet (and all local rescue pets) with Austin Pets Alive!

In Austin, we love our rescue pets. Local rescue Austin Pets Alive! has devoted an entire day to loving your rescue cat or dog. APA! has partnered with local businesses to help raise money to save more local pets. Click here for a list of participating businesses.

Additionally, it’s supposed to finally hit 100 degrees this weekend in Austin…so make sure to check out these tips for keeping your furry friends safe during the summer.

Shop at the biggest garage sale you’ll ever attend

Austin’s City-Wide Garage Sale is Saturday and Sunday at the Palmer Events Center. If you’re an antiques junkie or you’re just looking to get a good deal on some gently used items, it’s worth checking out. Before you go, make sure to binge-watch some of our online episodes of Antiques Roadshow. You never know when you’ll find something really valuable at a garage sale!

Admission: $6 for adults, kids 12 and under get in free, $10 for early shoppers on Saturday only. Hours: Early shopping Saturday at 8:30 a.m., all other shopping 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 11 to 5 p.m. Sunday. Details here.