Category: Local Arts

20th Annual Book Festival Draws All Ages

By Lucy Chen and Katherine Recatto

Thousands of people attended the 20th anniversary of the Texas Book Festival this past weekend in downtown Austin. A six-block stretch of white tents filled with a plethora of books, authors and book lovers proved that while audio books and eBooks have been on the rise, the affinity for printed books is still alive and well.

With the rapid increase in the use of technology, people have been turning to electronic books and audio books. The usage of electronic books soared up 1,260 percent between 2008 and 2010 according to a study done by the Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan fact tank.

The report then noted the significant slow down of the usage of e-books with a six percent increase of adults who read an e-book in the past year in between 2011 and 2012. A five percent increase occurred in the following year.

The center conducted another research that discovered the percentage of people who read a print book in the past year and compared it to the statistics of people who read an e-book in the same time frame. While the number of people who read a printed book dropped from 71 percent to 65 percent in 2012, confirming the prediction that e-books is taking away print readership, the four percent rise to 69 percent in 2014 showed that there isn’t necessarily a correlation between the two sets of statistics.

Kathryn Sickuhr, a researcher and staff writer at the Pew Research Center, said, “Most American adults read a print book in the past year, even as e-reading continues to grow.”

Marion Rocco, a children’s literature professor at the University of Texas at Austin, said that the benefit of printed books lies in their accessibility.

“A paper book is always free to borrow from the library,” Rocco said, “ While it may be free to borrow an ebook as well, it is not free if one needs to purchase an ereader or computer of some kind.”

The onset of the ebook revolution does not signal the demise of the printed book.

Before & After You Graduate

University of Texas Austin campus at sunset-dusk - aerial view

The temperature in Austin is heating up while the semester is winding down and the graduating class is becoming restless. Before graduation there are a few quintessential Austin things all graduating seniors need to do before they walk across the stage.

Exploring off campus landmarks, dining in five-star restaurants and spending all day on the lush Greenbelt are just some of the things students may or may not have done in their four years at The University of Texas.

To make sure you get everything out of Austin before graduation we compiled a list of things to do in and around Austin to get the most out of the off-campus college experience. Then after you’ve checked all of these places off your bucket list we have compiled a list of resources for you to use when starting the job search and perfecting the art of the dreaded job interview.

The Austin Spots

1. See the view from Mt. Bonnell

Mount Bonnell is a well-known point next to Lake Austin on a portion of the Colorado River. It has been a popular tourist destination since the 1850s and students have been making the hike to the top of Mt. Bonnell for the great views, romantic atmosphere and physical challenge.

Audrey Bounds is a senior in the school of music. She hopes to move to Nashville after graduation and get a job in music production. For now, she’s still on the job hunt but she has fond memories of Mt. Bonnell.

“I was really expecting a climb or a big hike to get there. I was a little bit disappointed that it wasn’t more of a workout, but the view definitely makes up for it,” said Bounds.

2. Take a picture at Castle Hill

Castle Hill graffiti park sits at the base of the historic Texas Military Institute castle which was built in the 1920s and now serves as an office for a local real estate developer. The structural ruins beneath the Victorian castle are concrete canvases for Austin graffiti artists and a special hang out for the you culture in Austin.

Jenna Rae Housson is a senior journalism major who has spend a great deal of time at Castle Hill.

“I’ve been to Castle Hill a few different times — each time to take pictures of specific photo subjects. That’s what the great thing about it is — the graffiti is different every single time, so photos will never be the same,” points out Housson. “My favorite art piece was right after Robin Williams died. There was a beautiful, huge mural of him as the genie with the “genie, you’re free” quote.”

After graduation, Jenna has a one-way ticket to Prague. She will do summer school then spend the rest of the summer traveling Europe and working on sustainable and organic farms.

3.Enjoy one last Kerbey Queso


If you have made it through the first four years of college without every going to Kerbey Lane you better go now. The Austin staple is the go-to late night hangout serving up the greasiest, homey food every late night studier or party-goer dreams of.

Shelby Flowers is a senior history and RTF major. After graduation she is moving back home to Whittier, Calif. to take time off before finding a job. She hopes to be a historical consultant for production companies, but for now she reminisces about all of the time she has spent at Kirby Lane.

“Kerbey Queso is the best. It’s been my go-to for the past four years. Plus, it’s open late so literally anytime I have a craving, I can just walk down the Drag and get it,” said Flowers. “What makes it different is they put the guac in the queso. I’m definitely going to miss this when I graduate.”

Get The Job

Alright, fun’s over. Now that you have gotten your fill of Austin and crossed those last minute things off your bucket list it’s time to get down to business and that means job hunting.

Alexandra Heart, a graduating senior and journalism major, is taking the job hunting process one day at a time. “Anything past [graduation] isn’t even on my radar yet,” she says.

While many students are taking these last few weeks, day-by-day, the reality is time starts to fly by and before you know it everyone has a job but you. In order to avoid missing out of potential job opportunities we have compiled a list of resources, tips and tricks to help you get the job you want.

The Career Services office isn’t the only helpful resource when looking for future work and the university has an endless amount of resources for recent graduates. If you haven’t taken advantage of these yet, we suggest you flip through this slideshow to find out just post-graduation aid available to you.

Resources for Recent Grads

Now that you have done your homework and written the perfect cover letter, it is time to really get down to business. Perfecting the art of the interview is a lifelong endeavor but we took the liberty to break it down to make the process a little less nerve-wracking.

The most important thing we found when walking into a job interview is that you need to be prepared. Making sure you have done your research and have prepared a few questions for the end of the interview will make you a more memorable and shining applicant which will ultimately help you get the job. For the full list of tips watch this video to catch up on interview protocol.

Job Interview Tips

Last but not least it really comes down to how you look and act in person. You may have all of the t’s crossed and i’s dotted on your resume, but if the interviewer doesn’t feel a connection with you while you’re sitting across from him or her, than you’ve already lost.

Try to dress appropriately for the job you want. If the job is at an ultra-hip start up then come in looking that way. If it’s at a buttoned up professional firm, then come in your most tailored suit. Matching your personality with the appropriate dress and a layer of confidence will help you feel like you fit in and already have the job. “Fake it till you make it, right?”

If you are uncertain of what is and isn’t appropriate for your interview dress then check out the next two infographics for women and men to make sure you are looking sharp and are ready to tackle any question a clever interviewer might ask, because if you look good then you feel good and yes that’s a real thing.

Photography and Interviews by Colleen Nelson
Video and Resource Slider by Lazaro Hernandez
Apparel Graphic & Written by Katelyn Orlowski

Colors Paint Culture- Holi 2015

hands up in the air eight

By: Jessica Garcia, Erin Spencer, and Raisa Tillis

AUSTIN, TX – Colorful dust flooded the air while thousands gathered throwing colored powder as friends and strangers alike celebrated and danced to music on the lawn outside of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum.

They were there to participate in Holi,a spiritual Hindu festival to welcome the coming of spring with vibrant colors honoring Lord Krishna, the supreme god worshiped across many traditions of Hinduism.

In Hinduism, Lord Krishna is the embodiment of divine joy and love that will destroy all of someone’s sin and pain. He was born to to establish the religion of love.

The tradition of throwing colored powder at Holi originates from the Hindu tale of Lord Krishna, who complained to his mother about the color of his dark skin. He believed it was unfair that he was so dark, so his mother then took color and put it on his and her face so they could look just a like.

Holi is  now celebrated as a festival of unit symbolically eliminating the differences that can drive us apart.

The colored powder that is used during Holi is from the flowers of trees that blossomed during the spring time.

On March 29, UT’s Hindu Students Association threw the biggest Holi festival since they started the event at the university. This year, approximately 8,000 UT students and people around the Austin area attended Holi.

The turnout was so successful that there were times throughout the festival that they would have to take 20 minute breaks just to get more colored powder.

Senior UT student, Crystal Nunez, has attended the Holi festival for the past two years. She says that every year she experiences an atmosphere filled with good people, good music, and good vibes.

“Music, dancing, and color,” Nunez said.

“Why wouldn’t you want to come out?”

However, it takes more than just colored powder packets and music to showcase the annual Holi festival.

Holi Co-Chair Aparna Datta, says that they start planning the event a year in advance, because they needed a lot of time to get all the materials in order for the big day.

At Holi, everyone comes together to have fun as they celebrate the traditional festival in the Hindu culture.

Holi celebrator Anshumala Gupta says that Holi isn’t just a time to get together and have fun, but a time to wash off all the hatred.

“You are meant to forget all of the past and and actually hug people with a pure heart again,” said Gupta.

The Hindu Students Association, the organization behind the event, meets weekly to discuss the concepts a practices of  their shared religion. Every week a different pair of officers lead a discussions based on Hinduism topics suggested by the members.

HSA President Aneesh Angirekula, says that being a part of the organization is all about the people he is surrounded with.

“No one is an expert, we can all learn from each other,” said Angirekula. “So I really enjoy that aspect of HSA, I feel like I learn a lot more from my peers around me oppose from the two people who did research.”



Raw Jeans

One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Yard Art

Austin likes to Laugh

UT Landmarks Draws Stare, Knowledge

Inside 6th Street

Landmarks unveils most daring sculpture yet

By: Cooper Haynie, Mikhaela Locklear, Jonathan Garza and Melanie Price

AUSTIN – As students flooded back to the 40 acres for Spring semester many were shocked to see over 70 small boats and canoes on campus. This was no prank or mistake. In fact, it was very intentional. The boats made up a 50 ft structure that teeters over a busy campus intersection.

What is now known to many students as the “boat sculpture” is actually named Monochrome for Austin, and was designed by artist Nancy Rubins specifically for the UT campus. The structure is located at 24th Street and Speedway.

This project represents the first large-scale sculpture by a female artist for the UT Austin campus, according to Landmarks, the campus public art program.

The $1.4 million in funding for Monochrome for Austin came from capital improvement funds provided by the construction of the neighboring Norman Hackerman Building (NHB). Although students have been quick to assume, no tuition money went to fund this piece of public art.

Landmarks invites the public to attend the official unveiling of Monochrome for Austin on March 5 at 5:30 p.m. The celebration will take place at the Norman Hackerman Building where the sculpture now stands. A Q-and-A with Rubins will be followed by a celebratory reception on the NHB patio.

Landmarks projects are scattered throughout campus. The campus public art project launched in 2008 to “develop a cohesive collection of public art from a curatorial perspective.” The displays have beautified the campus ever since.

Monochrome for Austin simply contributes to a long list of unique campus art.


More unique campus art displays


Circle With Towers 

Sol LeWitt’s Circle with Towers was introduced to the UT campus in 2011 and stands at the entrance to the Gates Dell Complex on Speedway.

This piece of work can be enjoyed not only as an abstract art form, but also as a social gathering place.




The Color Insideskyspace2

Located on top of the Student Activity Center a unique and little known piece of art invites students to participate by enjoying the peace and quiet.

James Turrell’s skyspace, The Color Inside, can be experienced throughout the day but Landmarks recommends sunrise and sunset. Pictures just can’t do it justice.



  And That’s The Way It IsProjection1

Located in the Walter Cronkite Plaza of the Moody College of Communication is another unique piece of art. And That’s The Way It Is by Ben Rubin was dedicated to Cronkite in 2012 when it was added to the UT campus.

This display features broadcast news text from the Cronkite era and modern day being projected in a grid on the communications building. This piece of artwork can be viewed every night on the UT campus.


Clock Knot1 Clock Knot

Introduced by artist Mark di Suvero to the UT campus in 2007, Clock Knot stands outside the chemical and mechanical engineering buildings.

The sculpture represents a giant clock face “knotted” in the middle. When moving around Clock Knot the views constantly change.

“Historically, a sculpture was an object to be looked at, usually on a pedestal, not something one viewed from underneath,” according to Landmarks.

However, by walking around this particular structure the viewers experience drastically changes.


Improv on the Rise at UT

By: Jacob Kerr, Judy Hong, Becca Gamache & Carola Guerrero De León

(Austin, Texas) – It’s a Friday night on the UT campus, and a group of students are huddled up together outside a class auditorium. With an audience already building up inside, the group heads to the front of the room. They are ready to perform and entertain.

They look at each other before announcing the show has started. They have no scripts or any idea of what they will do next. This is UT’s growing improv scene, which has developed over the past 12 years in a city that has become a live comedy stronghold.
Known for being the “live music capital of the world,” Austin is also home to a thriving comedy scene. Venues such as Esther’s Follies, the Hideout Theatre, the Capitol City Comedy Club, Coldtowne Theater, the New Movement and the Velveeta Room hold shows and classes every week.

The UT campus is also home to two student troupes: Gigglepants and SNAFU.

While the groups both perform on Friday nights, they specialize in different types of improv – Gigglepants does short form and SNAFU does long form.

Taylor Wingfield shocks the audience and Gigglepants team by taking a skit to a surprising turn.  Photo by Becca Gamache

Taylor Wingfield shocks the audience and Gigglepants team by taking a skit to a surprising turn.
Photo by Becca Gamache

Short form is made up of a series of games in which a referee outlines the rules and chooses a winner.

“Short form improv is very digestible for an audience to just come in and laugh at,” says Gigglepants member Jon Cozart, who is also known for his popular YouTube channel.“Kids who grew up watching ‘Whose Line Is It Anyway’ – that’s perfect for what we do.”

Long form is more open and broad. Starting with a suggestion from the audience, the group develops an improv scenario that builds as it happens.

“In long form, what you’re trying to do is find the game in the scene,” says Daniel Abramson, SNAFU member and radio-television-film senior. “You’re given a blank canvas.”

Regardless of the format, Abramson claims that the secret to any successful improv show is for the performers to keep their minds blank. “You shouldn’t have anything in your mind,” Abramson says. “The moment you have anything in your mind, you’re already ruined.”

Read more