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

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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!

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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.

GIVE for a chance to WIN a pair of passes to ACL Weekend 1, 3-day pass!

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KLRU is offering our viewers a special incentive today! GIVE via the form below and you will be entered in the giveaway for a pair of passes to ACL weekend! That’s ALL 3 days, you and a friend enjoying this incredible line-up!

YOUR SUPPORT this August allows YOUR KLRU to provide viewers like you with more and more offers and experiences such as this! What’s more, during this fundraising drive, we’re keeping your regularly scheduled primetime shows on every night. And best of all, if we raise $220,000 before August 20th, we’ll end our drive 3 days early!

ACL Fest

ALL ATX: All Along the Moontower to honor Austin’s psychedelic roots

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ALL ATX presents All Along the Moontower: Austin Gets Psychedelic, a concert bringing together some of Austin’s finest musicians to showcase the 60s and 70s psychedelic era, on Aug. 26th. KLRU is proud to be the presenting station and will tape the show for national distribution later this Fall. Proceeds benefit future nonprofit ALL ATX Music Factory and Health Alliance for Austin Musicians (HAAM)BUY TICKETS

Psychedelic rock has been around for decades – just the term itself brings to mine Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan and the 1960s music scene – but the term wasn’t officially used until 1996, by the Austin American-Statesman, to describe Austin’s own The 13th Floor Elevators. The Elevators later used the phrase in their next album title, and the rest is history – Austin’s psych scene has only grown since.

In recognition of Austin’s psychedelic roots, ALL ATX presents All Along The Moontower: Austin Gets Psychedelic on Wednesday, August 24 at ACL Live at The Moody Theater. After last year’s successful British Invasion concert, this year’s concert will feature psychedelic music from the 1970s and 1980s, performed by some of Austin’s best artists, including The Black Angels, Max Frost, and Hayes Carll. Psych legend Todd Rundgren will headline the night along with a surprise special guest.


All proceeds from the concert will benefit Austin musicians and the local music scene. This year, proceeds will go toward the creation of the future nonprofit ALL ATX Music Factory, a place where the music community can come together to collaborate and affordably rehearse, record, and become educated on the music business. Proceeds will also go to other local groups like the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians (HAAM), which provides access to affordable health care for Austin’s low income, uninsured working musicians, with a focus on prevention and wellness.

ALL ATX will also sponsor the annual “Austin Music Legends Auction” at the event, which will feature a special silent auction of some relics from Austin legends with all proceeds benefitting HAAM.

The concert will also be accompanied by the release of ALL ATX’s third compilation album. The album, also entitled All Along the Moontower: Austin Gets Psychedelic, is entirely comprised of never before renditions of psychedelic hits from Austin artists, including: Christopher Cross, Hayes Carll, The Black Angels, White Denim, Bright Light Social Hour, David Grissom & Mike Cross, Israel Nash, Monte Montgomery, Patrice Pike, Ian Moore, Vallejo, Guy Forsyth, Gina Chavez, Wood & Wire, Arc Angels, The South Austin Moonlighters, Water & Rust, Big Cat (ft. Malford Milligan and Dave Sebree), and Cotton Mather.

Tickets are available through ACL Live, ranging from $35 to $125. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the concert starts at 7 p.m. Click here to purchase tickets.

Watch previous ALL ATX concerts:

Attend the 2015 Texas Tribune Fest – GIVE today!

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Support KLRU now and you’re entered into a giveaway for two (2) passes to the Texas Tribune Fest on October 16-18! 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.

With big names, award-winning barbecue and a near-quorum of the Texas House and Senate involved, The Texas Tribune’s fifth annual Texas Tribune Festival is on track to be the biggest and best yet.

Join more than 3,000 attendees Oct. 16-18 on the UT-Austin campus for more than 50 discussions on 11 topics ranging from public education to immigration, water to transportation, health care to energy as well as a special focus on the 2016 elections. Registration for The Texas Tribune Festival — or, as it’s sometimes known, “Woodstock for Wonks,” — is now open at



Explore YOUR [arts] COMMUNITY with KLRU this August!

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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.

KLRU Fun Fact, win a piece of music and political history!

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Year-round, KLRU is busy creating special productions to highlight local politics, public issues, and arts and culture. Programs like Civic Summit, a series of town hall programs, panels and candidate debates incorporating a live studio audience.

YOUR COMMUNITY supported PBS station values your interests in support of public television, that’s relevant to you! With YOUR SUPPORT KLRU serves all of Central Texas through thought provoking and engaging stories that enhance YOUR WORLD. Will you consider making an INVESTMENT in KLRU today?

When you give a gift via the form below you are automatically entered into a giveaway for a Peter, Paul and Mary: 50 Years in Music & Life Book with Autographed Bookplate signed by Petter Yarrow and Noel (Paul) Stookey

Follow the trio as it leads America to discover the passionate soul of folk music. Join the struggle for racial equality, social justice and freedom in this memorable photographic journey, from the historic 1963 March on Washington with Martin Luther King, Jr. to the trio’s appearance before a half million people in 1969 to end the Vietnam War, to their singing at the Hollywood Bowl for “Survival Sunday” in 1978, helping to launch the Anti-Nuke movement, the world’s first international environmental movement.

Through these images, you can feel, and almost hear, the trio’s songs calling for a more caring, better world as you see them performing before hundreds of thousands of people with a courage and conviction that became, for so many, the embodiment and soundtrack of their generation’s awakening to conscience, to activism, and to a new dream for all of humankind.

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.


American Graduate: Eastside Memorial Makes State Accountability for First Time in Over a Decade

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Austin’s embattled Eastside Memorial High School has made state accountability for the first time since 2002. The Texas Education Agency published ratings for all campuses and districts in the state on Friday. Eastside has been under threat of closure since 2013. In order for the school to keep its doors open, administrators, teachers, staff, and students have worked to resuscitate failing test scores and close achievement gaps. The school’s quest was chronicled this spring in An Eastside Education, a digital documentary produced by KLRU.

In June 2013, Education Commissioner Michael Williams said Eastside could stay open, but gave school leaders and the Austin ISD School Board three years to make accountability or be shuttered for a year. They are now partnered with Johns Hopkins Talent Development Secondary, a contracted partner out of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.


At a press conference Austin Independent School District’s Superintendent Paul Cruz shares that all AISD high schools met state accountability. The Texas Education Agency released the accountability results for Texas schools August 7, 2015. This is the first time in over 10 years that Eastside Memorial High School has met state accountability standards.

Austin ISD Superintendent Dr. Paul Cruz expressed pride in Eastside’s ability to break through at a press conference Friday.

“The teachers, staff members, the leadership at the school, parents really focused on one thing and that’s student results and they stayed on it,” Dr. Cruz said. “They stayed on it to make sure that all kids would learn.”

He said he spoke with Eastside Principal Bryan Miller once the scores were announced.

“[Principal Miller] was elated,” Dr. Cruz said. “We look at preliminary indicators, we never know until the state puts out accountability results, but he was elated and now that it is here, he’ll be sharing it with his staff members as well.”

Throughout filming of An Eastside Education, teachers, staff, and administrators warned of the dangers in trying to predict a rating before results are announced. All were cautiously optimistic after STAAR test scores were returned in June but stressed the importance of waiting until August when the state makes ratings official.

111 out of AISD’s 124 schools made state accountability this school year, including all of the district’s high schools. That’s up from 109 last year. The state’s current accountability ratings are Met Standard, Met Alternative Standard, Not Rated, or Improvement Required. Eastside Memorial’s official rating before this year was Improvement Required. It is now Met Standard, the highest rating possible.

State accountability for each school in the state is based on four indexes: Student Achievement (or STAAR test scores), student progress from year to year, closing performance gaps between high and low performing students, and Postsecondary Readiness. Eastside has continuously been unable to meet standards on Index 4, Postsecondary Readiness. In previous years, the school met standards on each of the other indexes.

To meet the standard on Index 4, Eastside students needed to not only pass the end of course STAAR exams but also score well enough on the college-readiness scale to be “Level II Recommended.” This year they outperformed the state’s target scores in all of those indexes. The school earned an additional three of seven possible distinctions, including academic achievement in math.

A sticking point for many teachers and students at Eastside has been the so-called “choice policy,” which means that since Eastside has been rated a failing school parents can opt out of sending their child there in favor of a higher rated school. This has led to very low enrollment and, according to many on campus, a brain drain of smart kids leaving Eastside for other area high schools. Dr. Cruz said regardless of the new rating, that policy is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future.

“I don’t see a change [in the choice policy] for Eastside Memorial High School,” Dr. Cruz said. “We do have a choice policy around the district so I do see that we would continue that with the school. We have choice in all of our schools. It’s a little bit different [at Eastside] with transportation but some of our other schools have that as well. I do think it’s important for parents to choose schools, choose programs, and so that is something that we value as a district.”

The final chapter of An Eastside Education will be released September 1, 2015.

 An Eastside Education is part of KLRU’s American Graduate initiative, funded by the Corporation for Public BroadcastingAmerican Graduate is aimed at increasing awareness about factors that lead to dropout in Central Texas.

What’s happening this weekend: Aug. 8-9

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Stay cool this weekend with these event recommendations!

I scream, you scream, we all scream for the Austin Ice Cream Festival!

With this mid-August heat, the only way you can spend any time outside is if you’re eating or drinking something ice cold. Bring yourself, your friends, your family and even your dog to the 9th Annual Austin Ice Cream Festival on Saturday. There’s even a homemade ice cream making contest and a popsicle stick sculpture contest! Even better, the festival benefits charities like Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Austin Children’s Shelter. In case you feel like making your own ice cream before venturing over to Fiesta Gardens, check out PBS Food’s recipe for homemade soft-serve!


Hours: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Admission: $10 ticket includes ice cream! Details here.

Go to a carnival! Kind of…

If you’re a bibliophile like us, this is right up your alley. Join BookPeople on Saturday for their Carnival of Books as they celebrate all things books and reading with raucous merriment, bookish carnival games, giveaways, readings of kids’ stories, free books and, of course, CAKE! Test your literary strength with trivia and old fashioned book-balancing, win prizes at Book Pong, visit a fortune teller for predictions of this year’s big fall books, and much more! They’ll also reveal their full fall author event line-up and toast the coming season with champagne.

Before you go…get in the bookish spirit with the best thing to happen on Netflix since House of Cards: volume one of Reading Rainbow is now streaming! We’re not saying to stay inside Friday night and binge-watch all of them…okay, yeah we are.


Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission: Free. Details here.

Grab the kids and cool off with Junie B. Jones

Everyone’s favorite ridiculous childhood book character is coming to life for free for 15 days this month! The Austin Summer Musical presents Junie B. Jones The Musical, based on the famous books by Barbara Park, at the Boyd Vance Theater inside the George Washington Carver Museum. The show is recommended for children between the ages of 3 and 10.


What better way to get in the spirit than by getting together with your kids and reading (or rereading) some Junie B.? PBS Parents recognizes the books as good reading material for your kids – Junie B. is fun, spunky and hilarious. All the books are clever and cute, but some of our favorites are Junie B. Jones Is Not A Crook, Junie B. Jones Is A Beauty Shop Guy, and Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy. Click here for a full list of the books!

Showtimes: Saturday at 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Sunday at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. (The play runs weekends through August 23.) Admission: Free. Details here.  

Brave the heat for the flea market

The Summertime Austin Flea will not disappoint if you’re looking to take a look inside Austin’s creative culture and even purchase items from local artists and vendors. The Austin Flea has been featuring local, handmade, and vintage vendors in Austin since 2009, and even lived in a few iterations a few years before that. This year it’s taking place at The Highball, right next to the newly renovated Alamo Drafthouse on South Lamar.

Before you go, you have to check out this episode of In Context, “Design Build Ballet.” Among other artists, sculptor Paul Reimert creates life-sized, classic figure studies out of flea market kitsch.

Hours: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Admission: Free. Details here and on Facebook.

Race a duck 

Okay, not a real duck. Benefitting The Boys and Girls Club of the Austin Area, the Austin Duck Derby features 10,000 rubber ducks dropped into Lady Bird Lake from the Ann Richards Bridge on Congress Avenue. Ducks will race to the finish line, and winners will receive prizes. During the race, enjoy kids’ activities, music, food and fun at the mini festival on the grounds of the Austin American-Statesman parking lot. You can rent a duck for $5 at 

Before you go, check out what The Boys and Girls Club of the Austin Area does for low-income children during the summer months to combat “summer brain drain” in this KLRU American Graduate News Brief.

Hours: Race starts at 11 a.m. Admission: $5 to rent a duck, all other activities are free. Details here.

Attend a Central Texas Gardener TAPING on 09/17

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Did you know that KLRU’s very own Central Texas Gardener, CTG for short, is a huge resource for the green thumbed here in our area?

The CTG team is always here to help! See how to tackle the techniques, pick drought-tough plants for wildlife, fill up your kitchen with fresh food, and enrich your soul with artistic designs and homegrown philosophy from hands-on gardeners. Get growing, right here, right now, for the future! On-air and online.

From your home to your backyard Central Texas Gardener relies on YOUR SUPPORT to help with the annual production cost of $115,344. Would you consider giving a gift today?

Give a gift via the form below and you will be entered in the giveaway to attend a taping on Thursday, September 17th and have lunch with the CTG team! 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.