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

Vme begins airing June 1 on 18.4

Starting June 1, KLRU offers a new channel on 18.4. Vme, from the Spanish veme meaning “see me,” is a 24-hour digital broadcast service that is the fastest-growing Hispanic TV network in the U.S. Rescan your television after 6 a.m. June 1 to find this new alternative to traditional Spanish-language media.

Smart, engaging and empowering entertainment for America’s Latino families, Vme presents original productions, specially-adapted public TV hits and programs exclusive to Vme in the United States. With news, documentaries, music, entertainment, kids shows and sport, you can get the daily schedule here.

Vme has made the promise to be Contigo to Hispanic families delivering drama, music, sports, news, current affairs, Latin cinema, food, lifestyle, nature and educational preschool content. The 24-hour Spanish network, partnered with public television stations, is currently available in more than 10 million Hispanic homes. Vme is the first venture of the media production and distribution company, Vme Media Inc. To find out more please visit

Highlights May 29 to June 4

The National Memorial Day Concert at 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Sunday and 9 p.m. Monday co-hosted by Gary Sinise and Joe Mantegna features musical performers honoring the U.S. troops from the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol.

Based on Andrew Carroll’s bestseller “War Letters: Extraordinary Correspondence from American Wars” is a collection of personal correspondence that brings to life the deepest, most human side of war on American Experience at 8 p.m. Monday.

Carnegie Hall celebrates its 120th anniversary with a gala concert by the New York Philharmonic conducted by Alan Gilbert on Great Performances at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

Filmed over four years, Independent Lens “Garbage Dreams” at 9 p.m. Tuesday follows three teenage boys born into the trash trade and growing up in the world’s largest garbage village, a ghetto located on the outskirts of Cairo.

To celebrate his 40th anniversary at the Metropolitan Opera, conductor James Levine’s life and work are the subject of a documentary on American Masters at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Graham Reynolds and a 10 piece orchestra perform a concerto and works from his new CD “Duke! Three Portraits of Ellington” on Arts In Context at 8 p.m. Wednesday.

Emerging artists take the spotlight as part of AMOA¹s exhibition ³ New Art In Austin: 15 to Watch.² Arts In Context features the artist in this exhibit that are stretching the boundaries of contemporary art on Arts In Context at 9 p.m. Wednesday.

Bluegrass is the order of the night as Steve Martin picks up his banjo with the Steep Canyon Rangers for new tunes in the old tradition, followed by young Texan Sarah Jarosz on Austin City Limits at 10 p.m. Wednesday and 9 p.m. Friday.

Civil Rights Leader Julian Bond talks about the changes in American society on Overheard with Evan Smith at 7 p.m. Thursday and 8:30 p.m. Friday.

Galveston Island at 7:30 p.m. Thursday looks at the city of Galveston from its history, culture and resiliency after Hurricane Ike.

Chet heads to Galveston to hit the beach and explore the history and food of Texas’s most historic island on The Daytripper at 8:30 p.m. Thursday.

Cool off with water features, big and small, on a preview of the Austin Pond Society tour on Central Texas Gardener at noon Saturday.

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 7 p.m. Saturday.

Ticket giveaway: Thomas & Friends 6/1

Contest is now over. Congratulations to our winners! Winners will receive an email with details about how to pick up their tickets.

Thomas & Friends are coming to Austin and The Long Center has given KLRU some tickets to give to our viewers. Post a comment on this blog entry for your opportunity to get four tickets to the 7 p.m. show on Wednesday, June 1. We will randomly choose winners on Tuesday, May 31.

Tickets are available for purchase on the Long Center website

Thomas Saves the Day
Wednesday, June 1 at 7:00PM
Thursday, June 2 at 10:30AM and 7:00PM
PEEP PEEP! Climb on board with Thomas & Friends for the most spectacular live show of the year! THOMAS & FRIENDS™ Live! On Stage in “Thomas Saves the Day” is a story for the whole family, teaching life lessons of discovery, friendship and cooperation. Join Thomas, Percy, Sir Topham Hatt and friends as they work together to save the Magic Lantern Festival, embarking upon fun and adventure on the magical island of Sodor.

Austin Asian Occasion

KLRU is honored to be chosen as the non-profit to receive funds raised at this year’s Austin Asian Occasion.

Experience the Romance and the Spirit of Emperor Genghis Khan with the “Super Orient Courser” musicians from Mongolia along with talented Austin artists on Saturday, May 28, 2011 at 7pm (pre-show begins at 6:30 pm) at The Long Center for Performing Arts. Tickets are $10, for ticket information, please visit or call (512) 474-5664

The Super Orient Courser from Mongolia has performed at the Beijing Olympic and at the State Banquet for President Obama during his State Visit to China in 2009. It’s been said that their special musical instrument, The Morin Khurr, aka Horse Head Fiddle was able to make the camels cry.

Family Choice June 2011: Nature "Underdogs"

Each month, KLRU chooses a program for your family to enjoy together. This month’s Family Choice program is:
Nature “Underdogs”
Sunday, June 5, at 7 p.m.

Two pure-bred dogs are selected from animal shelters and adoption centers in
the U.S. and England — a Bearded Collie (sheep herding) and a Bloodhound (scent tracking). With the help of trainers, they are each taught to hone their skills as working dogs, then tested, to judge their success. By the end of the film each dog will have a new home.