Archives for June 2019

Higher Ed: Resiliency Of The System Tested in 2018-2019 School Year

The 2018-2019 school year saw allegations of cheating in college admissions in the “Operation Varsity Blues” case. Rising tuition costs and student debt levels have the attention of several 2020 presidential hopefuls. In this episode of the KUT podcast “Higher Ed,” KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger discuss the state of higher education in 2019.

Ed acknowledges in many ways 2018-2019 was a difficult school year. He says cost is always a concern and has more recently called into question the viability of the higher education business model.

“Is this industry as it is currently crafted a sustainable and viable thing?” Ed asks. “We know through the news over the past year the answer is no because we have seen many schools, some of them with high profile names, that have announced that they’re not going to be taking any more students and they’re going to close up.”

Ed says that business model has always seemed like a scary investment for many families because the costs are high and the results are not immediate.

“We’re talking about future value. We’re talking about future opportunities which I can’t tell you right now,” says Ed. “If you say ‘Oh, Ed I’m going to enroll in Southwestern University. Tell me exactly what’s going to happen to me.’ I can’t.”

But Ed says despite ups and downs over time, liberal arts has just about always delivered on its promise to help students become their best selves if they make that investment.

“Most importantly, you have to trust yourself,” Ed suggests. “You have to say ‘I have the confidence to realize that I am going to evolve over time’ and to be open to that growth and to be open to that change and to be open for that evolution.”

Ed says, though, despite the scandals and concerns of the past year, he has seen some bright spots. He points to inreasing support on campuses around the country for students after the admission process once they have arrived. Ed also sees more efforts to bring equity to campus programs such as internships.

Listen to the episode for Ed’s take on the health of higher education in 2019. It is also time for a new puzzler. No math is needed for this one; it is pure story and some sleuthing.

This episode was recorded on April 23, 2019.

The Summit on Race in America, pt. 2 (Ep. 30, 2019)

On this week’s program, In Black America producer and host John L. Hanson, Jr. concludes a discussion with James “Jimmy Jam” Harris, Shemekiah Copeland, and Wyclef Jean at The Summit on Race in America: Liberty and Justice for All, held this Spring at the LBJ Presidential Library, on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin.

A Perfect Sun

Deepest apologies from your Austin Music Minute host. Today’s AMM contains a most unfortunate (not to mention mortifyingly embarrassing) error, referring to songwriter Willis McClung as “William”…three unsettling times. However, there’s no mistaking the talent, the wit, and the selflessness that friends like Bill Baird loved tremendously.

After McClung’s passing last year, Baird and several others assembled a huge collection of McClung’s tracks, taken from old emails or long forgotten spots on the internet, and put them all on a beautiful tribute album, A Perfect Sun Awaits Us. And tonight, the celebration of McClung’s life continues with a show at Cheer Up Charlie’s, 901 Red River. Baird has come all the way from Oakland to join Sleep Good, Kacey Johansing, Good Field, Thanks Light and others for an evening of performances and loving tributes. Doors open at 7 p.m., and the music starts at 8 p.m. Recommended.

-The photo above is of Willis McClung. Not William. Willis. 

Living In Disguise

It’s where the trip begins, and the dream never ends. Far out. Flower Graves‘ new LP, Living In Disguise, is a mind meld riding waves of melody and mysticism. Just think garage-psych on the hazier, breathier side of the cosmos. Your humble Austin Music Minute host is all about this enchantment.

Flower Graves is having the party of parties with their album release show tonight at Barracuda, 611 E. 7th, featuring Cosmic Chaos, The Sun Machine, and Blushing. It’s an AMM line-up sent from the heavens. Doors open at 9 p.m. Don’t miss any of these bands. So recommended.

-Photography by Daniel Jackson.

Texas Standard: June 28, 2019

Round two of the first Democratic Presidential debates is in the books. So what did we learn and how do the Texans stack up? Today on the Texas Standard.
So you want a raise, or you want a new job? How can you actually do that. We’ll talk with a psychologist who says it’s as simple as using your brain. Is it really?
The system of state-run in-patient psychiatric hospitals across Texas is way overdue for some updates. There’s money to do it, but what’s being done and is it enough?
Plus, we’ll take a look at two competing bills in Washington aimed at bringing some relief to the border.

Theatre In The Park

Summer theatre, despite the heat, is a tradition in many parts of Texas. That was the inspiration for this Typewriter Rodeo poem.

Timothy Robert Graham: “Scaring the Children”

Although he makes up one quarter of Seattle alt-psych outfit Motopony, multi-instrumentalist Timothy Robert Graham is also a solo songwriter who’s always eager to grow. The experience of writing and touring alongside Motopony frontman Daniel Blue has especially lent itself to Graham’s patience and maturity with his craft, best heard on his 2018 sophomore album SPEAK.

Steve Aguilar (the producer behind The Head and The Heart, Damien Jurado and more) worked closely with Graham for nearly two years on SPEAK, giving life to eleven fun and introspective psych-pop-rock tracks that recall ’90s Britpop and place Graham on the same plane as modern heavyweights like Portugal. The Man. and Spoon. Timothy Robert Graham plays tomorrow night at Hole in the Wall so invite some fear into your Friday with “Scaring the Children“!

KUT Weekend – June 28, 2019

Why Texas is at greater risk than ever this summer of rolling blackouts. Plus, Austin ISD’s top budget official on what the state’s new school finance law means for the largest school district in Central Texas. And we meet a widower who has helped to foster more than 170 newborn babies. Those stories and more in this edition of KUT Weekend!

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Texas Standard: June 27, 2019

The Supreme Court issues rulings on gerrymandering and a citizenship question on the census. Details plus the impact for the Lone Star State, today on the Texas Standard.

In addition to breaking news from the nation’s highest court, analysis of the first of two democratic presidential debates this week. The two Texans in last night’s nationally broadcast event. Beto O’Rourke and Julian Castro: at least one appears to have gotten serious traction.

Plus, a former Speaker of the House jumps back into the political ring, the return of Joe Straus and more.

Hector Ward & The Big Time: “Whiskey Pants”

When a band’s not only comfortable opening for Eric Burdon & The Animals, but also The Zombies, Christopher Cross, Gary Clark Jr., Ian McLagan and many, many more…they’ve gotta appeal to a lot of different tastes. Whether those tastes are for rock & roll, blues, country, funk, soul, or Latin, Austin octet Hector Ward & The Big Time channels a little bit of everything with expert precision. And after two decades of local musicianship, the eponymous frontman’s Afro-Cuban roots still manage to burst through The Big Time with exciting horn lines, guitar riffs that’ll make you sweat and Ward’s vocals roaring front and center.

Last week Hector Ward & The Big Time dropped their LP, Smile Into Life, and you can catch them tomorrow night at One-2-One Bar. But before you do, loosen up your legs and celebrate Thirsty Thursday with one of Smile Into Life‘s boldest offerings, “Whiskey Pants”!

Power In the Pop

There’s no question about the rock-solid power pop brilliance of Cotton Mather. Whether you know Kon Tiki front to back, you’re a late bloomer who got your first fix through Death of the Cool or Wild Kingdom, or you’ve been around since the 1992 Crafty Flower Arranger demo made the rounds, you know this is pop at its finest. Songwriter/front man Robert Harrison is a master of perfect guitar-and-vocal-harmony pairings. Distinctive writing. No pretension. The hook is immediate, baby.

Make plans to catch Cotton Mather tomorrow night at Stubb’s indoor venue, 801 Red River. Burgess Meredith starts out the show. Doors open at 8 p.m. However, it’s best to get there as early as possible; the fans will fill up the place like mad. So very recommended.

-Photography by KT Yarbrough.

This Song: Krissy Teegerstrom on “Mojo Pin” by Jeff Buckley

On the last episode of This Song until the fall, Krissy Teegerstrom, a self-made artist, creative consultant, podcaster, and designer at Featherweight Studio talks about how listening to “Mojo Pin” by Jeff Buckley transported her to a place beyond the real and showed her how to follow her creative intuition. Jeff Buckley’s performance style confirmed the idea of creation as a form of devotion and self-expression, something that Krissy, at first, felt like she couldn’t relate to. Inspired by her own roundabout journey to an artistic life, she started a podcast about overcoming obstacles creativity. That podcast, fittingly titled Beyond + Back, has accumulated ten episodes in its first season, talking to artists like Aimee Mann and Billy Joe Armstrong. The second season will be released on  Saturday, June 29th.

Recorded at the Tiny Texas Podcasting Festival this conversation with Krissy Teegerstrom is an inspiring look into creativity, the arbitrary obstacles we use to limit ourselves, and what opening yourself up to the unknown can do for your art.

KUTX Intern, Claire Hardwick

📸  Todd V. Wolfson

Listen to this episode of This Song

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Texas Standard: June 26, 2019

Another fight over state versus local control. This time the battle line is drawn over homelessness, sleeping in public spaces and soliciting.
The city of Austin loosens laws some say criminalize homelessness, the Governor promises to override. A closer look coming up.
Also, as enforcement operations at the border tighten, more migrants turn to more treacherous places to try to pass through.
Plus, a Texas senators claim that the Lone Star State is one of the most heavily affected by drug trafficking. True? A Politifact check and more.

Teddy Roosevelt’s Texas Campaign

By W. F. Strong

The Menger Hotel in San Antonio may boast of hosting more U.S. Presidents than any other hotel in Texas. George H. W. Bush stayed there. Clinton stayed there, as did Reagan. Nixon stayed there. So did Truman and Taft and McKinley. Even Ulysses S. Grant slept there.

The most important name not yet mentioned, and if you know your Texas history you’re already writing a letter to remind me, but don’t hit send just yet because I’m coming to him: Teddy Roosevelt. He rates as the most important of the lot because the others just slept and left. Teddy did far more. He left a bar behind, or at least a bar named for him, and you can still get a drink at the Roosevelt bar to this day, 120 years later.

How did that happen you may wonder? Well, you know all about the USS Maine getting blown up in Havana Harbor in 1898. At the time it was blamed on Spain with battle cries like “Remember the Maine; to hell with Spain.” The loss of some 260 sailors in that blast marked the beginning of the
Spanish American War.

This is where Teddy Roosevelt enters. He was not yet President, but would be in three years. At this time he was 40 and Assistant Secretary of the Navy. He asked for and was given permission to put together a cavalry unit of 1000 men, cowboy soldiers he called them, to help push Spain out of Cuba. He didn’t name them the Rough Riders, though, That was a name their public admirers gave them and they resisted it at first, but finally adopted it themselves.

So where could Teddy recruit 1000 rough riders. Well in Texas of course. So he went to the Menger Hotel, right across from the Alamo, and recruited great horseman from across the Southwest – from Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Colorado, and Arizona. Roosevelt said these were a “splendid set of men . . . tall and sinewy with weather beaten faces, and eyes that looked a man straight in the face without flinching.” He said that in all the world there were no better men for this cavalry than “these grim hunters of the mountains, these wild rough riders of the plains.”

His challenge was to take these fiercely independent men and teach them military discipline. That’s why he had a preference for ex Texas Rangers. He said, “we got our highest average of recruits from Texas because many had served in that famous body of frontier fighters, the Texas Rangers. Of course these rangers needed no teaching. They were already trained to obey and take responsibility. They were splendid horsemen, shots and trackers. They were accustomed to living in the open . . . enduring hardship . . . and encountering all kinds of danger.” Native Americans too, such as the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw and Creeks were also Rough Riders.

He did convert these independent men, with the help of General Wood, into a disciplined cavalry unit within a month. He even got most of the men horses from Texas, some of them unbroken, but that was no problem for these expert horsemen. Roosevelt named his own horse “Texas.”

As Roosevelt was always a showman, he had his commander’s uniform made by Brooks Brothers in New York. He also introduced his men to the blue bandana with white polka dots, which became the distinguishing feature of the Rough Rider’s uniform. To this day, in black and white photographs, the
Rough Riders look impressively stylish in their khaki pants, blue flannel shirts, trademark bandanas, and slouch hats.

The rest of the Rough Riders story is well known, but perhaps erroneously visualized. Most think of it as 1000 horses thundering majestically up San Juan Hill like a scene from War Horse. They did in fact charge up San Juan Hill and route the Spanish forces, but delete the horses from your mind. There were none. They did it on foot and on their bellies. Roosevelt was on horseback part of the time, shouting commands as they fought inch by inch through tropical brush and oppressive heat, dodging torrents of bullets to take the hill, but they did it as infantrymen.

Despite all their cavalry training in San Antonio, they weren’t able to get their horses to Cuba. Why? When they were ready to depart from Tampa to Cuba, the navy didn’t have enough ships for the horses, so they were left behind. Those with military experience will just shake their heads at this nature of monumental snafu.

Nonetheless, the Rough Riders and other U.S. forces pushed the Spanish out of Cuba and liberated the island. Teddy Roosevelt wrote the primary history of the campaign which launched him into national fame and a good way toward the Presidency. The road to the White House, for Teddy, started in Texas at the Menger Hotel, in the shadow of the Alamo.

Chela: “Losing Belief”

You might not recognize the name Chelsea Wheatley but if you’re an admirer of pop music’s dark alternative side, then her solo project Chela is right up your alley. The Australia-born, L.A.-based singer started playing clubs at fifteen and after just a few years, this young perfectionist has accrued millions of streams and worked alongside big names like Damian Lazarus and Passion Pit producer Chris Zane.

Today Chela announces a new EP with the release of her latest single and an infectiously bizarre music video, choreographed, written, produced and directed by the artist herself. The album is out this Fall and today you can put some more faith in Chela’s talents with “Losing Belief”!

Pop Dreams

Your Austin Music Minute maven is chomping at the bit for the next full-length release by pop-rockers Robby, led by the mind behind the songs, Robert Williams. It was easy to get hooked on the band’s beautiful self-titled debut (“Om” is the featured track on today’s AMM, but “Eat A Peach” is one gorgeous heartbreaker…)

Yes, a new album’s on the way. But tonight, catch Robby at Cheer Up Charlie’s, 901 Red River, with Van Mary and Dorio starting out the night. Doors at 9 p.m. Recommended.

-Photography by Mike Manewitz.

Texas Standard: June 25, 2019

The President’s deal with Mexico inflated, critics said. But the New York Times among those now crediting Mr.Trump with a change at the border. The White House threat to increase tariffs with Mexico. Did the gambit work? We’ll take a closer look. Also, a conservative firebrand says goodbye to the Texas legislature. Does it say something more about a changing of the guard in Texas politics? Plus, from oil giant to energy superpower: the story of renewables coming of age in the Lone Star State. All of that and then some today on the Texas Standard:

Golden Dawn Arkestra: “Allo Allo Boom”

If you’re a hardcore jazz fan, a quick glance at the name “Golden Dawn Arkestra” might make you scoff. I mean…can they do that?! Just infringe on Sun Ra’s legacy?! Well you can cool your spit valve, Coltrane, because although this ensemble does mimic Sun Ra’s intergalactic mythos and Ancient Egyptian-inspired wardrobe, they’re a lot less about ethereal free jazz and a lot more about high-energy disco-funk-afro-beat.

Their solar-powered sound and striking, psychedelic shows have earned Golden Dawn Arkestra a sea of disciples since their formation and just last Friday they teamed up with us to unfurl a brand new music video. Golden Dawn Arkestra is about to spend a couple months touring Western Europe, but you can say hello to a new explosion of sound with, “Allo Allo Boom”!