holiday

Residents fight proposed Brazoria County primate facility

Is artificial intelligence coming soon to Texas government? A new report says it’s already here.

More than 300,000 immigrants arrived at the southern border in December. Angela Kocherga of KTEP takes a look at one of the busiest border crossing areas year-round: the El Paso sector.

Volunteer pilots are helping abortion-seekers get out of Texas.
A biomedical company wants to build a massive facility for primates in Brazoria County. But locals are fighting back.

And: remembering the music and legacy of Rocky Morales.

Neighborhood Halloween

Some blocks are trick-or-treat duds — no porch lights on, no one ready with the Halloween candy, no one home? Other blocks, are like the one that inspired this Typewriter Rodeo poem. (And maybe, there’s even the full-sized candy bar house!)

KUT Morning Newscast for June 30, 2023

Central Texas top stories for June 30, 2023. Texas reactions to the Supreme Court striking down affirmative action in colleges. New development proposal plans for Austin. Firework laws and safety.

KUT Morning Newscast for June 16, 2023

Central Texas top stories for June 16, 2023. Heat advisory extended for central Texas. Vehicle inspection changes across the state. Cooling centers in Austin are open.

KUT Morning Newscast for May 29, 2023

Central Texas top stories for May 29, 2023. Updates on the impeachment of AG Ken Paxton. Memorial Day events across central Texas. Final days for bills to pass the Texas legislator.

 

April Fools

Check your calendar — and then check your coffee cup or your sheets for anything that might be extra. Approach social media with caution. Take big news in stride. The first day of April can come as quite a surprise. That was the inspiration for this Typewriter Rodeo poem.

3-17-23

Don’t forget to wear green. That’s the main tradition for most. For others, the day brings layers of meaning and memories. That was the inspiration for this Typewriter Rodeo poem.

The latest on Texas’ winter freeze

As temperatures plummet with a major cold front bearing down on the lone star state, down into the teens in many parts, we continue to monitor conditions across Texas. Eric Berge of Houston’s Space City Weather joins us with an overview, the dangers ahead, and when we can expect to thaw out from this last big chill of 2022. Also a rethink of ways to address the mental health crisis. And the week in politics with the Texas Tribune. These stories and much more today on the Texas Standard:

Please Take it Easy

Hustle and bustle are two words often associated with the holiday season. Before the turkey is even consumed, often the Christmas lights are up, and then, before you know it, there are only X shopping days left. This poem invites us to slow down.

The odds on a Greg Abbott presidential bid

During his run for reelection as Texas Governor, many speculated Greg Abbott had his sights on a presidential run. So why the silence? We’ll explore. Other stories we’re tracking: the return of the Orion Capsule and the end of the Artemis I mission: where are we now? Plus the impact for Texas as plans get rolling to serve as a World Cup 2026 host site. And holiday TV movies: a part of the season for many Texas families. We’ll talk to a fan of these films who found herself on the other side of the camera. All those stories and much more today on the Texas Standard:

WNBA star and Houston native Brittney Griner freed from Russian prison

Houston native and WNBA star Britney Griner freed in a prisoner swap with Russia. We’ll have the latest. Also the dismissal of charges against an Ecuadoran migrant at the center of a controversy over federal and state authority. Laura Rice talks with Katie Hall of the Austin American Statesman. Plus a focus on a photography app that’s gone viral and why tech expert Omar Gallaga has some serious concerns about it. Also the joint effort by the U.S. and Mexico to bring back the Gray Wolf. And tis the season, and not just for tamales. Taco journalist Mando Rayo with more holiday tastes and some food for thought as well. Those stories and much more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: November 24, 2022

It’s a day marked by feasts and celebrations: Thanksgiving Day across Texas and the US. Our producers, reporters and others behind the scenes share some of the stories they’re grateful for over the past year. From efforts to preserve an historic Freedmen’s cemetery in North Texas, the Black Women kayakers breaking down racial barriers in recreational sports, the work being done to save turtle hatchlings along the Texas coast, to the efforts to preserve the voices and stories of San Antonio’s historically vibrant West Side music scene. These stories and much more today on a Thanksgiving edition of the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: November 22, 2022

Texas has more residents without health insurance than any other state; now a Wall Street Journal investigation shows how obstacles are put in front of patients who would be eligible for financial aid. We’ll have more. And the US supreme court mulling a case out of Texas that involves Native Americans and foster care. Also, a new report on a nursing shortage in Texas. And what the city of Dallas is trying to do to cut down on street encampments. Those stories and much more today on the Texas Standard:

 

Juneteenth: Are We Really Free?

Juneteenth is celebrated annually in commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States, marking the day enslaved people in Texas were finally freed — more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation. The national holiday is known by many names, Freedom Day, Liberation Day, Emancipation Day, and Jubilee Day.

In this hour-long audio documentary, KUT’s Miles Bloxson an Austin native, speaks to Black Austinites about the history of Juneteenth, how they celebrate the holiday, what Juneteenth means to them and explores the question, “Are We Really Free?”

 

 

Texas Standard: December 16, 2021

Texas’ 35 billion infrastructure dollars: Governor Abbott is warning state agencies think twice before taking the money. Why? We’ll explore. Also, as Texans wrap up holiday gathering plans, health care workers report a rise in COVID-19 cases. We’re checking in with Amarillo where the hospitalization rate is rising fast. And our go to Tech expert Omar Gallaga with a smart home gift guide. Plus a Texas TV journalist on more than half a century behind the scenes, or reporting live from the scene, finally telling his own story. Our conversation with Neal Spelce about his new memoir and much more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: December 9, 2021

Survey says: Governor Abbott with a double digit lead against his best-known democratic challenger in the governor’s race. We’ll take a look behind the numbers with the Houston Chronicle’s Jeremy Wallace. Also, allegations of sexual abuse and assault against federal judges and what investigative reporter and author Lise Olson discovered about a code of silence that has protected them. Plus a huge body of water in the desert…though it’s no mirage, you don’t want to swim in it, either. Those stories and much more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: December 21, 2020

We have a winner in a hotly contested state senate election. Can it tell us anything about the Texas Republican party? We’ll explore. Also, some health care providers across Texas have now received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Next up should be nursing home patients and staff. We’ll look at how one provider is feeling about it all. And UT-Austin is changing the way it determines who gets into a certain program. How an algorithm can show bias. Also Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s lawsuit too overturn some election results was a failure, on all but one front. We’ll explain. Those stories and so much more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: November 23, 2020

Cars line up for miles outside food banks in our big cities. On this Thanksgiving week, the state of food insecurity in the state of Texas. As many Texans prepare for a big Thanksgiving dinner, others struggle with the choice of whether to leave the lights on or put food on the table. We’ll explore. Meanwhile health officials worry that holiday gatherings could become super spreader events. We’ll hear about the push for safety precautions to combat COVID-19 as case numbers rise statewide. Plus as national media focuses on the Latino vote, the case that the Tejano vote could be a better indicator. Those stories and more today on the Texas Standard:

10-and-a-Half Frightening Facts About the Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Originally aired: Oct. 31, 2016.

Texas is number one in a great many things: oil, ranching, rodeo, cotton. But you may be surprised to know that we are also number one in horror. That’s right, our very own charming little low-budget film, “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”, is considered by many critics to be the best (and most horrifying) horror movie ever made.

At the time of its release in 1974, the famous film critic Rex Reed said that it was the most “terrifying” movie he had ever seen. When the celebrated master of horror, Wes Craven, first saw the movie, he wondered “what kind of Mansonite crazoid” could have produced such a thing. Stephen King praised the movie. He said it had achieved “cataclysmic terror.” And my favorite critique comes from Anton Bitel who said that the “very fact that it was banned in England was a tribute to its artistry.”

In honor of Halloween, I thought I would help you appreciate this hallowed film; here are 10-and-a-half things you may not have known about the film.

1. Ed Gein is the name of the real criminally insane killer who inspired the character of Leatherface. He did not wear a leather mask. What he wore was worse: a mask made of human skin.

2. Ed Gein only killed two people, not dozens. Hardly a massacre. He did not use a chainsaw. He used a gun.

3. Gein did his killing in Wisconsin, not Texas. I know, disappointing right? Wisconsin Chainsaw Massacre just doesn’t have the same poetic ring to it.

4. So where did the chainsaw idea come from? Tobe Hooper, the director, said that he was in a Montgomery Ward store a few days before Christmas. The store was annoyingly crowded with aggressive shoppers. As he stood in front of the chainsaws he had a disturbing epiphany. He realized that if he started up one of those chainsaws the sound alone would part that sea of shoppers giving him a quick path to the exit. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how iconic art is born.

5. One last thing about Gein. He inspired not only Leatherface, but he was also the demented muse for Norman Bates in “Psycho” and Buffalo Bill in “Silence of the Lambs”.

6. Perhaps the most horrifying aspect of “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”, for the actors at least, was that it was filmed in the middle of the scorching Texas summer. You can see the sweat dripping off, even streaming off, the actors. Hooper said everyone suffered mightily because there was no stopping to wait for cooler weather. And even though
some days were well over 100 degrees, they had to press on to get filming done in a month, come hell or high water – and hell is what they got.

7. In his much-praised book, “Chain Saw Confidential”, Gunnar Hansen, who played the character of Leatherface, said that the name of the depraved family in the first film is Slaughter, not Sawyer. If you look above the Coca-Cola sign at the gas station you will see “W. E. Slaughter BBQ.”

8. Hansen also said that the power of the chainsaw myth they created on film persists with such tenacity in Texas that people would not believe him when he said that no such chainsaw crimes ever happened in the state. People would say something like: “No, they happened. My cousin worked on death row over in Huntsville and saw Leatherface himself get the chair.” But this is understandable because the film falsely marketed itself as “based on a true story.”

9. The film cost less than $300,000 to make, and eventually grossed $30 million in the U.S. The movie had its opening in Austin, appropriately, since its director was a University of Texas professor and documentary cameraman. Though it is hard to believe, he tried to keep the gore and violence of the film to a minimum so he could get a “PG” rating. That didn’t work. He got an “R” rating.

10. Horror and humor are allies. The movie even spawned a hilarious Geico ad that has run the last couple of years – the one where four people are running from a killer and debating where to hide. One suggests they take the running car and another says that’s a horrible idea and suggests that they hide behind the chainsaws. Even Leatherface is astounded by their filmic ignorance.

10.5. The film’s gas station is now a kind of bed and breakfast in Bastrop. It’s called The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’s “Last Chance Gas Station”. You can get BBQ and spend the night in a cozy cabin. Chainsaw alarm clocks are certainly available. I understand the BBQ ain’t half bad. At least the owners are not, like those in the film, focused only on serving their fellow man.

W.F. Strong is a Fulbright Scholar and professor of Culture and Communication at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. At Public Radio 88 FM in Harlingen, Texas, he’s the resident expert on Texas literature, Texas legends, Blue Bell ice cream, Whataburger (with cheese) and mesquite smoked brisket.

The Easter Egg We Didn’t Find

You boiled the egg, you dyed the egg, you hid the egg — and you didn’t find the egg for a week. That was the inspiration for this Typewriter Rodeo poem.