Bella Muerte, Dulce Vida: A Day of the Dead Tradition

“… it’s just part of learning from our ancestors and learning who we were and where we’re heading to,” says Nayeli Miranda, a sugar skull instructor for the ESB-MACC. With the intent of preserving and sharing her culture, Miranda teaches the art behind sugar skulls, along with its rich history within the Day of the Dead celebration.

 

Arts In Context Shorts: Belonging

“Everything is here for a reason,” says Sally Jacques, artistic director of Blue Lapis Light. Using a combination of stunning aerial dancers swinging from stacks, ground dancers, and haunting projections, Blue Lapis Light’s latest piece “Belonging: Part One” explores the beauty of the earth and the interconnectedness of all life.

 

Arts In Context Shorts: Guild of the Silent Sword

“When I was a youth …, I had no idea that there were any major empires, kingdoms or cities or cultures in Africa,” says Da’Mon Stith, founder of the Guild of the Silent Sword. With the goal of recovering and evolving the lost fighting arts of Africa, Stith created the Guild of the Silent Sword as a way to build community and awaken people’s understanding of African culture. He considers sword play “experimental archaeology” and uses it to feel like part of a larger, human story.

 

Austin Revealed: Food As Community

Food brings people and communities together and as part of a new Austin Revealed series, we set out to bring you the stories behind some Austin immigrants and how they have built unconventional families and communities using cuisine from their homeland.

Taste of Ethiopia

Woinee always wanted to open up a restaurant, but she had no idea it would be in Texas, or that it would end up serving a host of local families who have adopted children from Ethiopia. Now Woinee’s dream is helping dozens of children discover—and taste—their heritage and culture.

In this explainer, learn about injera—a staple item of Ethiopian cuisine—and how to make it.

Peace Bakery & Deli

Nuha says that while she was never treated differently in her small east Texas town, she felt wearing her hijab set her apart, making her stand out. But after opening her first restaurant, her culture has only helped her connect with more and more people from a variety of backgrounds.

Tropicana Cuban Cafe

Enrique Reyes spent his childhood helping in his family’s bakeries and restaurants in Miami, so it’s little wonder he set up shop when he moved to Texas. What is surprising is what happens when the kitchen closes and the floor opens up. Tropicana transforms into a dance hall, where a particular Cuban style of salsa is taught—after some Cuban coffee, of course.

Get a little boost with this explainer on Cuban cafécitos, a caffeinated treat that’s different from your regular espresso shot.

Little Mama’s Authentic Filipino Cuisine

Nita and Joanna have always been close, but after opening up a restaurant featuring food from her mom’s home country, the two have become even tighter knit. It’s become a way to share a future together and reflect on a past that stretches back to Spanish colonization.

You’ve probably never had dessert like this before! In this explainer learn about some of the most popular Filipino desserts.

Mister Tramps Sports Pub and Cafe

With start times as early as 6 a.m., it’s hard to be a soccer fan living in central time zone. So what is it that pulls these fans out of bed and into the pub? A sense of community. Owner Alfredo Cedrone modeled the bar off locations in his native Scotland, where pubs aren’t just where you watch the match—it’s where the local community gathers.

Roland’s Soul Food & Fish

Austin Revealed went live on Facebook for lunch from Roland’s Soul Food & Fish. We tried different dishes from pork chops to fried catfish and bbq to oxtails. Experience it with us in the video below.

What restaurants make you feel like you’re home?

Capital City Black Film Festival 8/25-28

The fourth annual Capital City Black Film Festival (CCBFF) will feature films, acting seminars, weekend parties and so much more! KLRU will present our Juneteenth Jamboree 2016 documentary and our Coach Robinson short documentary at the event, which takes place August 25-28. Tickets are now on sale.

CCBFF is an Austin-based festival with a goal to bring African-Americans in the media and film industry together. In 2013, CCBFF kicked off its inaugural year with a two-day screening of independent films expressing the African American experience. In 2015, CCBFF expanded its  reach with year-round events and opportunities to experience the brilliant works of black artists and filmmakers across the globe.

This year’s festival will have appearances by actor, writer and producer Miguel A. Núñez Jr, #OscarSoWhite Creator April Reign and much more. The event will be taking place at the Austin Convention Center from August 25 – 28. Tickets are now on sale.

 

New Local Show: Stand Up Empire starts 6/5 on KLRU Q

There is always something new coming out of the woodworks in Austin, Texas. Here at KLRU we’re celebrating this hallmark with a brand new series shot in this beautiful, creative city.

Stand Up Empire chronicles the white-hot stand up comedy scene currently exploding in the “live music capital of the world”. Co-Creators Brently Heilbron & Mike Wilson bring you a mix of intimate interviews and tight stand up comedy sets by Austin’s brightest rising stars. The show will air Sundays on KLRU Q.

Stand Up Empire 6_Saffron HerdonStand Up Empire aims to showcase the household names of the future, as well as document their incredibly diverse backgrounds, their motivations, commitment to comedy, and definitions of success.

Featured in each episode is a segment called “Snapshot” which aims to showcase a unique person, business, organization, or entity, and their connection to the Austin comedy scene. The show is hosted by comedic veteran Brently Heilbron and produced & directed by Austin filmmaker Christopher Shea.

Stand Up Empire 5_Chris CubasEpisode 1- airing Sun. June 5 at 10:30 pm.

Featured comics Chris Cubas & Saffron Herndon, with a Snapshot of Liezta Brass and the Moontower Comedy and Oddity Festival.

Episode 2– airing Sun. June 12 at 10:30 pm.

Featured comics Kerry Awn and Kerri Lendo with a Snapshot on Shaun Branigan and the emo puppet band Fragile Rock.

Episode 3– airing Sun. June 19 at 10:30 pm.

Featured comics Rob Gagnon & Lashonda Lester with a Snapshot on cartoonist/artist Danny Jock.

Episode 4– airing Sun. June 26 at 10:30 pm.

Featured comics Martin Urbano & Avery Moore with a Snapshot on the Coldetowne Theatre and the Austin improve scene.

Episode 5– airing July 3 at 10:30 pm.

Featured comics Daniel Rubb Webb & Roxy Castillo with a Snapshot on the live storytelling show Greetings From Queer Mountain.

Stand Up Empire 2_Lisa DelariosEpisode 6– airing July 10 at 10:30 pm.

Featured comics Lisa Delarios & Chip Pope with a Snapshot on Workout with Erica Nix. (Season Finale)

Arts In Context Shorts: Curating Cosmic Vida

With “Cosmic Vida,” an exhibition at the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center, curator Raul Valdez gave visitors a glimpse into the cosmos.

“Cosmic Vida” is the first show Valdez curated in more than a decade. An artist himself, he curated the collection after he realized he could not produce enough work to fill up the space himself. The exhibition, which is no longer on display, juxtaposed dynamic and subdued pieces. With artworks of various mediums, colors, sizes and imagery, he explored the literal and symbolic meaning of the exhibit’s title.

Valdez hoped the audience was inspired to make their own interpretations on the universal experiences of La Raza, the human race.

“You can see the chicano in it, but you can also see the universal part,” Valdez said

What’s happening this weekend: Nov. 6-8

Happy November, Austin! Now that it’s finally starting to feel like fall, here are a few ideas for how to celebrate another fabulous (but probably rainy, unfortunately) Austin weekend.

Let there be fun!

This weekend marks the 10th anniversary of Austin’s Fun Fun Fun Fest, held this year at Auditorium Shores. Headliners include Chvrches, Jane’s Addiction, Chromeo, Wu-Tang Clan and Ms. Lauryn Hill, who’s filling in at the last minute for D’Angelo and the Vanguard, who had to cancel. Ms. Lauryn Hill is also taping Austin City Limits Saturday night, so you have two chances to check her out! Check out this documentary about Fun Fun Fun Fest that Arts In Context made in 2013 to get in the mood. Have fun (…fun…fun…)!

Lineup, tickets and schedule available at funfunfunfest.com.

Salute to veterans

Veterans Day is Wednesday, Nov. 11, but KLRU and PBS have already launched special programming honoring the brave men and women who have served our country.

A special Central Texas Gardener, Taking Care of Trees, airs Saturday at noon and 4 p.m. This program includes a healing warriors garden at Fort Sam Houston. It’s a story that features the Warrior and Family Support System gardens at Fort Sam Houston. Emotional, powerful, encouraging stories about a beautiful garden designed for healing warriors, including burn patients.

Watch the episode below.

Click here for a list of full Veterans Day programming on KLRU throughout next week.

Stay out of the rain (then get outside when it’s sunny!)

It’s supposed to rain again in Austin this weekend (yeah, we know), but the good news is, cooler weather is coming Sunday! In the meantime, we recommend cuddling up on the couch and binge-watching your favorite PBS shows – we recommend Masterpiece or choose one of many Frontline documentaries (the recent three-part series “My Brother’s Bomber” is a good start) – then get outside on Sunday for some cool weather and fall sunshine! Click here for Austin’s trail directory – pick your favorite and pack a picnic!

You can always find full event calendars from our friends at Austin360, CultureMap Austin and Free Fun In Austin.

Arts In Context Shorts: The Neon Jungle

Evan Voyles builds signs to last generations. Voyles is the sovereign sign-maker of South Congress – he hand-created and repurposed vintage signs for Magnolia Cafe, Homeslice, Soul, Stag, Creatures, Turquoise Door, Lucy’s Fried Chicken, Perla’s, Wahoo’s Fish Taco, Yard Dog and Uncommon Objects, the last two going on 20 years of age. Voyles started on his craft as a vintage neon sign collector and began to build signs when clients asked for specialized styles. Most recently, Voyles faced one of his biggest challenges yet: a 50-foot-tall replica of a 1952 Fender Telecaster for Austin Vintage Guitars. His personal artistry is on full display as he creates a new iconic masterpiece.

“I get to change the way my hometown looks,” Voyles said. “Who really gets to say that?”

After Memorial Day Flood, BMX Park Almost Totally Rebuilt

The 9th Street BMX Park has been a community project since it was first built over 20 years ago.  What started as a single dirt jump constructed by local riders has grown into a whole series of jumps maintained entirely by volunteers.

“This was all flat, and there was one jump in the middle, that’s what we started with,” recalls Steven Tyler, one of the BMX riders to help construct the first jumps.  “You think, what happened, did these sprout out of the ground? No. That’s a lot of time spent digging out here, and a lot of credit needs to be given to a lot of people to have a place like this. People put a lot of work into a place like this.”

That group effort mentality is something Ty Bement instills in his students.  Bement teaches BMX lessons to those interested in taking up the sport.

“We talk about safety gear, how to push through jumps,” Bement says.  “Before we start any of that, we talk about how to use a broom and a water hose.”

The dirt jumps are constantly being torn down and reconstructed, but on Memorial Day, every jump was destroyed in a wall of water.

BMX Park Flooding

After Memorial Day, the 9th Street BMX Park was completely underwater. Photo courtesy Darren Drewitz.

“Everything was underwater. You could swim down here,” Bement recalls.  “That was a trail apocalypse for Austin.”

“It was racing through my mind, are they gonna rebuild it?” says Dakin Drewitz, a student of Bement’s. “Is it going to be the same as it used to be?”

 

After nearly four months and a lot of work by volunteers and community members, the answer is yes.  Most of the jumps have been reconstructed in the wake of May’s devastating flood, but this labor of love never quite wraps up.

“The dirt jumps are really never done,” Bement says. “They’re ongoing work.”