This is the Willie Nelson most of America knows: picking his old Martin guitar, accompanied by his ragtag band, rolling down the highway in a cloud of pot smoke. In other words, outlaw country music in person.

But the Willie Nelson I first became aware of in the early 1970s was someone else entirely -- a Nashville songwriter with a unique lyrical and musical gift.

Maria Callas defined what it meant to be a diva. And Callas remains one of the towering figures of opera. But, exciting as Callas was as a performer, her voice began to decline while she was still relatively young. Experts and fans alike continue to question what exactly happened to a voice that was both exhilarating and controversial.

The year was 1952, and Callas was performing what would become one of her legendary roles -- Bellini's Norma -- at London's Covent Garden.

Courtesy of the Criterion Collection.

"The Red Shoes," the rapturous 1948 British film by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, is not just a great backstage film, it’s about the burning hunger that great artists have within them to create. In fact, "The Red Shoes" even goes as far as to suggest that art is something worth dying for.  In the freshly post-war England, this must have been a daring thematic choice.  After all, citizens for years had been dying for crown and country, and now, for dance?  But for the artists of "The Red Shoes," dance they must. 

© 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.

Are we wake-walking through our dreams, or sleep-walking through life? Or is it the reverse?

Josh Huskin

Onstage at the South By Southwest festival in Austin last month, Girl in a Coma played to a packed house at a club on Sixth Street with a special guest, Cherie Currie, co-founder with Joan Jett of the iconic late seventies all-female band, The Runaways.  Girl in a Coma’s bassist Jenn Alva says it was a real “rock star” moment for her.

“I guess we really never think about ‘Oh, we’re so cool,’ but when we were the backup band for her, we just felt like, ‘YEAH!,” says Alva. 

Drummer Phanie Diaz, laughing, pipes in, “Yeah, Jenn’s lips naturally snarled!”

Nathan Cone

  

In the mid-1990s, Samuel “Sambo” Mockbee, founded the Rural Studio, a radical educational design/build program in poverty-stricken Hale County, Alabama. 

St. Chris Productions/Cinema Libre Studio

A sweet comedy about a sad sack poet trying to open a “mostly vegetarian” food stand, writer/director/actor Paul Gordon says "The Happy Poet" is also about "kindness and generosity versus looking out for yourself and doing what you need to do to get by." In the film, Bill (Gordon) finds trying to stay true to his convictions and make ends meet to be tougher than he expected.  

Nathan Cone

In 1957, Barbara Smith Conrad was studying music at the University of Texas in Austin. She was cast as Dido in a student production of Henry Purcell’s opera "Dido and Aeneas." 

Two weeks before the curtain, Conrad learned that she would not be singing the role of Dido, because a state congressman had objected to an African-American woman being cast opposite a white leading man in a romantic role.  

With all of the Best Of 2009 and Best Of/Worst Of Decade lists that have been published in print and online recently, I started to feel that there were some films that have been unfairly neglected. They’re movies that you saw over the past decade, but then they went on the shelf of your memory and haven’t been taken down since, despite the fact that you enjoyed them the first time around.

Wounded Vet Takes Pain Of War To Comedy Club

Dec 25, 2009

We first brought you the story of Staff Sgt. Bobby Henline last year. He was wounded in Iraq in 2007 and burned over nearly half his body.

After months of recovery, his life is slowly getting back to normal. Henline must endure grueling physical therapy because of injuries. But to help heal the wounds we can't see, he has taken up an interesting hobby, one that helps him employ the healing power of laughter.

Pages

Arts & Culture

James Baker

The ongoing radio series, "The Art of American Popular Song," is now into week two, with "The Art of Irving Berlin." The series will continue over the weeks ahead, through June 11, with shows devoted to Cole Porter, George Gershwin, Richard Rodgers, Harold Arlen, and others.

A big Fiesta weekend coming up--everything from a jazz-meets-classical performance, to a Charreada, and a cool aspect to the Fiesta Flambeau Parade.

First, on Saturday night the Fiesta Flambeau Parade. One of the parade's highlights is Urban 15's Carnaval de San Anto.  Here's George Cisneros.

"For the 30th consecutive year Urban 15 will be taking its Carnaval San Anto dance and drum unit into the Fiesta Flambeau parade."

Hilmy

Throughout April, Texas Public Radio has been celebrating Jazz Appreciation Month with a special five-week series, “Live At Jazz, TX,” featuring owner and bandleader Doc Watkins. In this episode, Doc moves off the piano bench and behind the console of the big B3 for that soulful Hammond organ sound, and songs like “A Night In Tunisia,” “Back at the Chicken Shack,” and the 1970s classic “Ain’t No Sunshine,” by Bill Withers.

Wikipedia.com

Has any songwriter written a more consistent body of love songs than Irving Berlin? These are plentiful on this week's Art of American Popular Song, along with Berlin's holiday anthems of "God Bless America," "White Christmas," and "Easter Parade." It's impossible to cite all of Berlin's songs, and to be truthful, they were not all exceptional. Nevertheless, of his over 1,200 songs, 25 rose to number one on the pop charts. He also completed scores to 17 Broadway musicals and revues.

 

More Stories

TPR needs volunteers on Saturday May 13th, from 8:30-11:30 a.m.

Join TPR at the Mission Reach as we help restore TPaRbor, an eight-mile stretch of the San Antonio River into a quality natural riparian woodland ecosystem.

_

SIGN THE PETITION TO KEEP YOUR LOCAL STATIONS ON THE AIR

Act now to save your stations. Sign this petition urging Congress to continue the essential funding for public media and your local stations.

The Economist Sustainability Summit 2017

On June 7th 2017 join The Economist and more than 200 industry leaders to discuss the technological adaptations that a sustainable future will require. Register with code TPR15 and save 15%

The National Daily News Show Of Texas

Made Possible by AAA Auger and Baird Foundation Repair