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Steve Davis’ Top 10 Films of 2018
Screens Story  December 27, 2018, by Steve Davis
"...Documentary wow! From Three Identical Strangers to Minding the Gap to RBG to Free Solo to Won't You Be My Neighbor? A banner year for nonfiction filmmakers. Acting Kudos (Male)..."

Humanities Texas Holiday Book Fair 2018
Humanities Texas has the one-stop shop for all the lit lovers on your gift list with 26 authors on hand to sign your purchases
Arts Story  December 6, 2018, by Robert Faires
"...Not only will it have for sale a range of terrific fiction and nonfiction books for readers of all ages, but it'll also have the authors on hand to sign them for you – more than two dozen Lone Star literary lights shinier than Rudolph's nose. On, Sarah Bird! On, Lawrence Wright! On, H..."

Texas Book Festival 2018: The Real Story of Lolita
Sarah Weinman on the true crime story behind Nabokov’s novel
DAILY Arts  October 28, 2018, by Rosalind Faires
"...In the bowels of the Capitol Building, in front of a warm and fairly grey-haired audience, moderator and Austin-based true crime writer Suzy Spencer inquired about what led Weinman to write her latest nonfiction book. Weinman described a precocious youth – reading her parents’ baseball encyclopedia for fun presaged her interest in archival research – and being drawn to stories of accidents and death early on..."

Review: Berlin
At last complete, Jason Lutes' graphic novel is a masterpiece
DAILY Arts  October 26, 2018, by Jesse Sublett
"...There are plenty of villains here, but on the good-guy side, Lutes doesn’t give us any superheroes or miracle workers, just ordinary people trying to figure out how to survive as their world catches fire. Berlin, a beautiful, heart-breaking book, will set you back $49.95 list price, but I wouldn’t trade it for a dozen books – fiction or nonfiction – from the current best-sellers list...."

Music on the Page at the Texas Book Festival
Music books strut their feminism, hip-hop, and emo
Music Story  October 25, 2018, by Rachel Rascoe
"...In a witty, well-researched collection of essays, the multidisciplinary creator delves into heartache, philosophy, and science from an artistic perspective. She fell for creative nonfiction, which she calls "beautiful bar stories," during college..."

ACL Fest Interview: Japanese Breakfast
Shoegaze-infused indie rockers find inspiration in food and memory
Music Story  October 4, 2018, by Rachel Rascoe
"...Next year, Zauner will undertake a follow-up to sci-fi-inspired sophomore album Soft Sounds From Another Planet, and work on a food memoir that builds on her New Yorker piece. Having detailed grief in 2016 debut Psychopomp, she hopes recent forays into nonfiction can free up space for fresh musical motifs...."

Texas Book Festival 2018: The Full List
Lineup includes Cecile Richards, Julián Castro, + 280 more
DAILY Arts  August 29, 2018, by Robert Faires
"...Public Library fire in The Library Book) and Pulitzer Prize winner Jose Antonio Vargas (here with his memoir Dear America; Notes of an Undocumented Citizen). Ben Fountain, familiar to many as a novelist from the National Book Critics’ Circle Award winner Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, will have his reporter's hat on for his new nonfiction book Beautiful Country Burn Again, a look back at the incendiary 2016..."

Pope Francis: A Man of His Word
The pope, in his own words, through the lens of Wim Wenders
Film Review  May 18, 2018, by Marjorie Baumgarten
"...Wim Wenders, the German filmmaker who has created an extensive body of work in both narrative and nonfiction modes, here answers the Vatican’s call to helm a documentary about its newest sovereign: Pope Francis. Rather than taking a straight biographical approach, the film’s dominant motif is that of the pope speaking directly to the camera about his ideas and concerns..."

Five Recommended Arts Events In Austin This Weekend
Oh, the places you’ll go! The people you’ll see!
DAILY Arts  May 11, 2018, by Wayne Alan Brenner
"...5) OK, this is maybe cheating a little bit … but, after the weekend’s over and it’s Monday and, yeah, what a let-down that can be? You can still feed your head beyond the datebound grid dictated by the working world and its *fnord* normal consciousness, and go to hear what author Tao Lin has to say about his new book Trip – a nonfiction tome that goes deep into the potent possibilities and personal goodnesses of LSD and all like that. Note: He’ll be at BookPeople on Monday night..."

True Life, Unfiltered
New mini-fest AFS Doc Days scours the globe for fresh viewpoints
Screens Story  May 10, 2018, by Richard Whittaker
"...Austin's calendar is loaded with niche festivals, whether focusing on a genre or gathering together films from a particular area of the world. But up to now, there has not been a singular home for nonfiction storytelling..."

Blue Starlite Shines on Mueller Again
After four-month hiatus, urban drive-in finds a new old home
DAILY Screens  March 5, 2018, by Tinu Thomas
"...Besides finding a large plot of land in a heavily populated city, hunting for the perfect drive-in location is no simple task. Frank said his former career as a nonfiction author came in handy when it was time to hunt down a new location for Starlite..."

The Chronicle’s 2017 Holiday Political Survival Guide
Borscht in a Bag, a male chastity belt, and more gifts to get you through the rut
News Story  December 7, 2017, by the News Staff
"...A Heavy Dose of Reality The Trump era has brought "alternative facts" and "fake news" into our national lexicon, meaning there's no better time to relearn the truth about our country's history and media system. A few classic nonfiction books work as progressive bibles..."

Texas Book Festival 2017: The Full List
Dan Rather, Jeffrey Eugenides, the Bush sisters, and 291 more
DAILY Arts  September 12, 2017, by Robert Faires
"...Nonfiction has just as much to tempt you. Veteran journalist Dan Rather will be on hand to speak to patriotism in his book, What Unites Us..."

Stephanie Elizondo Griest Tracks Injustices on U.S. Borders
The award-winning journalist discusses her latest book, All the Agents and Saints
Arts Story  September 7, 2017, by Marc Savlov
"...Although former Austinite and globe-trotting author Stephanie Elizondo Griest has won both the prestigious Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Gold Prize and the equally laudatory Margolis Award for Social Justice Reporting, her nonfiction reportage from Beijing to Mexico and almost everywhere in between reads like the thoroughly winning blog posts of a particularly wise and idealistic young journalist with a mission. That's meant as a compliment, of course..."

Ta-Nehisi Coates for SXSW 2018
Plus Teen Vogue, The Daily Show, and Charlie Rose
DAILY SXSW  August 30, 2017, by Richard Whittaker
"...Start lining up now for Coates' keynote address. As a national correspondent for The Atlantic, as well as the 2015 National Book Award for Nonfiction winner for his book Between the World and Me, and writer of Marvel's Black Panther comic, he has become a powerful voice in America's swirling debate about race and power..."

Death Watch: Steven Long Spared Execution
SCOTUS’ ruling in Bobby James Moore case spares inmate’s life, for now
News Story  August 24, 2017, by Sarah Marloff
"...Supreme Court's March ruling in Moore v. Texas, which vacated the CCA's death sentence of Moore on the grounds of "intellectual disabilities." (The CCA had previously ruled that Moore's mental state did not rise to the level of concern cited by guidelines written in 1992 and adopted by the state's highest criminal court in 2004, which were based, in part, on the character of Lennie from John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men, as opposed to, say, a work of nonfiction, like a science journal.)..."

Evelyn Ngugi Makes the Internet a Better Place
A beacon of light on the dark side of the web
Screens Story  June 15, 2017, by Jessi Cape
"...Ngugi is a video producer for, a website and online store celebrating natural hair and all the curls. She also co-produces, with her friend Doyin Oyeniyi, a nonfiction web series titled Austin While Black..."

The Lost City of Z
A futile quest for an extraordinary place
Film Review  April 21, 2017, by Steve Davis
"...Lacking any true inspirational dimension, the film’s depiction of Fawcett’s lifelong search for proof of an ancient lost civilization hidden in the uncharted jungles of Bolivia seldom rises to anything above a historical footnote here. Based on white-hot New Yorker journalist David Grann’s 2009 bestselling nonfiction book, this endeavor also comes nowhere close to the crazy glint in the eye of Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald in Werner Herzog’s feverish Fitzcarraldo, an unquestionably more compelling portrait of an obsessed Westerner seduced and abandoned by Amazonia’s mysteries..."

The Son Rises With Philipp Meyer
Austin author on adapting his award-winning novel for AMC
Screens Story  April 6, 2017, by Joe O'Connell
"..."When people like me see a natural area they basically see a massive green landscape. Any pre-industrial person saw a collection of hundreds of identifiable plants and animals." He read more than 350 books of nonfiction and conducted myriad interviews as research for the novel..."

Austin Filmmaker Shelby Hadden on Her Film “Tightly Wound”
Catharsis through animation
Screens Story  March 23, 2017, by Sean L. Malin
"...After years of suffering from chronic pelvic pain, Austinite Shelby Hadden – then working toward her MFA in film and media production at UT – decided to write an essay about her condition for a Feminism in Creative Nonfiction class. She was received with surprisingly intense, engaged energy: "That was the first time I had ever told anyone but the closest people around me..."

SXSW Film Review: The Work
Sensitive look at the prison system is a reminder of common humanity
DAILY SXSW  March 16, 2017, by Sean L. Malin
"...McLeary, Aldous, and Foote use this to set the stage for an utterly riveting psychotherapy royale. What earns this emotional hurricane of nonfiction its acclaim is an impeccable fusion of dramatic timing, visual tension, and sociopolitical relevancy..."

SXSW Film Review: The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin
Biographical doc tamely depicts a vigorous life
DAILY SXSW  March 13, 2017, by Sean L. Malin
"...There is nothing visually notable or narratively inspired in The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin, but those who see the nonfiction feature in theatres are unlikely to notice this, as this love letter to the American author is pre-sold to Maupin’s international fan base...."

SXSW Film Review: Walk With Me
Mindfulness guru takes center stage in profound nonfiction weeper
DAILY SXSW  March 13, 2017, by Sean L. Malin
"...Appropriately, a smattering of Hahn’s intimate journals from the mid-Sixties are read through voiceover by Benedict Cumberbatch. And while the British actor may seem like an odd choice to narrate a nonfiction film about East Asian spiritual practices, his stentorian dulcets actually help to hypnotize, as they did when Cumberbatch voiced Smaug in the Hobbit films...."

In Memoriam: Gary Cartwright
Time to "Turn Out the Lights" for the Texas Mad Dog writer
DAILY Arts  March 2, 2017, by Robert Faires
"...Other professional honors include the Texas Institute of Letters' Stanley Walker Award for Journalism and the Carr P. Collins Award for nonfiction, the 1989 Press Club of Dallas Katie Award for Best Magazine News Story, the 2005 Headliner Club of Austin award for best magazine story, and a Dobie-Paisano fellowship...."

Eye Wide Open on Lance Letscher
With two major solo shows and a new documentary about him, the Austin collage artist readies to be seen in a new way
Arts Story  March 2, 2017, by Sean L. Malin
"...Letscher, who has seen the finished movie, admires its craft and considers the filmmakers' portrayal of his life to be an honor. Asked if he'd ever expected to be the star of a nonfiction feature, he says with a laugh, "It is a really dissociative experience – not to the point of psychosis or anything, but it feels very strongly like this is happening to somebody else." Although he "would like for Sandra's film to be successful," widespread approval "is not really part of my agenda..."

Austinites Win Big at Sundance
Filmmakers Macon Blair and Ramona Diaz score prizes at festival
DAILY Screens  January 30, 2017, by Marjorie Baumgarten
"...Ramona Diaz's nonfiction film Motherland documents “the planet's busiest maternity hospital … located in one of its poorest and most populous countries: the Philippines. There, poor women face devastating consequences as their country struggles with reproductive health policy and the politics of conservative Catholic ideologies.” Her previous films include Imelda and Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey...."

Top Books to Make Our Lone Star Shine
Joe O'Connell's top reads of 2016 reveal new depths of humanitity in their Texas characters
Arts Story  December 29, 2016, by Joe O'Connell
"...Karl Jacoby's The Strange Career of William Ellis (Norton) changed the way I think about race and was my top nonfiction read. Jacoby researched a flashy entrepreneur who dreamed of bringing freed U.S..."

The Regional Office Is Under Attack!
This adventure tale pulls elements from many corners of pop culture, but Manuel Gonzales’ writing chops make it wholly his own
Arts Review  December 22, 2016, by Adrienne Martini
"...As in his collection The Miniature Wife and Other Stories, Gonzales' writing chops keep this from becoming merely a pastiche of pop-culture references. He fluidly shifts among two viewpoint characters, a series of "nonfiction" scholarly treatises about the Regional Office itself, and a second-person chapter that proves that every rule about never, ever writing in the second person has an exception..."

Did Shearwater Cut the Best Protest Album of 2016?
Jonathan Meiburg calls out new America's scary monsters
Music Story  December 8, 2016, by Abby Johnston
"...Shearwater's vessel has plenty of other interests of his own to keep him busy. When reached by telephone the day after Thanksgiving, he was at a nonfiction writer's retreat in upstate New York, where he took a break from touring to work on his upcoming book about the caracara, a South and Central American bird of prey (revisit "The Empire That Dreams of Us," Feb..."

SOS Q&A: Courtney Barnett
“Courtney Drops Details About Her Next Album!”
DAILY Music  November 3, 2016, by Libby Webster
"...AC: Since your writing and lyrics are so clever and integral to your music, have you ever tried writing nonfiction essays or fiction or anything?CB: Kind of. I’ve never shown it to anyone [laughs]..."

Austin Film Festival Review: Shorts Program 10 – Everything’s Shorter in Texas
Series highlights strong range of local filmmakers
DAILY Screens  October 16, 2016, by Sean L. Malin
"...Comprised of both fiction and nonfiction shorts that occupied all manner of generic and thematic spaces, from family tragedy to black-and-white biography to absurdist horror/comedy, this Texas shorts showcase was impressively but bewilderingly too diverse to earn any one final judgement on its quality...."

Holocaust courtroom drama parallels contemporary issues
Film Review  October 14, 2016, by Marc Savlov
"...Based on a nonfiction book by Deborah Lipstadt (here played with tight-lipped outrage by a well-cast Weisz), Denial recounts the famous court case in which the writer and Holocaust historian was sued for libel by one David Irving (Spall), a British far right-leaning “historian” and Holocaust denier. Because the libel suit was filed in England, the burden of proof falls to the accused (i.e., the flabbergasted Lipstadt) and not to the prosecution, as it would in the United States...."

Texas Book Festival 2016: The Full List
TBF hosts Don DeLillo, Thomas Dolby, Emma Cline, 277 more
DAILY Arts  September 15, 2016, by Robert Faires
"...Nonfiction? Check. Austin's favorite New Yorker writer Lawrence Wright (The Terror Years: From al-Qaeda to the Islamic State) will be back; plus, there's Texas true-crime specialist Skip Hollandsworth (The Midnight Assassin: Panic, Scandal, and the Hunt for America's First Serial Killer); presidential biographer H.W..."

Austin Author Ed Ward Revisits Rock’s First Guitar Hero, Michael Bloomfield
“When you heard Mike Bloomfield play, you got the sense this was the real shit."
Music Story  September 15, 2016, by Tim Stegall
"..."Toby got ahold of me and wanted to do the Bloomfield book as an e-book," grouses Ward. "I thought that was a pretty dumb idea, because as far as nonfiction is concerned, e-books don't sell."..."

For Whom the Bells Toll
Lege enacts campus carry on the 50th anniversary of the UT Tower shooting
News Story  August 4, 2016, by Annamarya Scaccia
"..."I can't quarrel with the fact that the civilian fire played a role. But it's such an anomaly," said Monte Akers, co-author of Tower Sniper: The Terror of America's First Active Shooter on Campus, a historical nonfiction book on the shooting released last week...."

Lit-urday: Supremacist
Super-fan David Shapiro visits every Supreme store in the world
DAILY Arts  July 2, 2016, by Mary Cantrell
"...Shapiro’s use of the intimate language of texting and seamless inclusion of social media make the book appealing to a younger audience that thirsts for easy-to-read, relatable contemporary novels. Shapiro’s second creative nonfiction novel is much more biting and visceral than its predecessor..."

Bedside Manner: Sharing Shelf Space
My parents' Kindle library and me
DAILY Arts  June 22, 2016, by Kimberley Jones
"...(She’s a retired schoolteacher. Old habits die hard.) This is the first book I’ve read by Larson, a narrative nonfiction wiz who wrote the bestselling The Devil in the White City, about a hotelier/serial killer who used the 1893 World’s Fair to lure in guests who never checked out..."

Books on Film
Driven by street photography and war journalism
Screens Story  June 16, 2016
"...Filmmaking book: Observational Cinema by Anna Grimshaw and Amanda Ravetz is a detailed account of the filmmaking movement and the theories and practices behind the great known and unknown artists, academics, and scientists that developed the practice. I am a big believer that this practice is one answer to reality TV garbage and talking-head sleepers that permeate the nonfiction media landscape..."

Mixed Metaphors
These craft cocktails are for the books
Food Story  June 16, 2016, by Brandon Watson
"..."I just read [it] again recently. It's a nonfiction book that takes place during the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago and juxtaposes that against the story of H.H..."

Cult of Personality
Filmmaker Will Allen jumps back into his Holy Hell
Screens Story  May 26, 2016, by Sean L. Malin
"...It also attracted the eye of Jared Leto, who signed on as executive producer, along with the ambitious independent film distributors, which will release the film in Austin. Perhaps most gratifying, though, is the film's tempered, mature optimism – it is neither cloying nor dour, the two most common tonalities in contemporary nonfiction film..."

Imagining the Real
UT's East Austin Stories documents evolving landscape
Screens Story  May 5, 2016, by Sean L. Malin
"...Over the past 15 years, the University of Texas has devoted an entire course in the Radio-Television-Film department to chronicling the evolution of East Austin. The student filmmakers pitch their stories to classmates, and group up to turn them into creative nonfiction cinema that screens at the end of each semester...."

SXSW Film Review: The Space in Between: Marina Abramovic and Brazil
Performance artist explores South America
DAILY SXSW  March 11, 2016, by Sean L. Malin
"...If Del Fiol focuses too heavily on Abramović – cutting through mystical ceremonies to watch her expound on garlic – he’s hardly blameworthy. The artist’s presence is a gift, and nonfiction aficionados will be as pleased as her fans with the chance to witness it...."

Satanic Panic: Pop-Cultural Paranoia in the 1980s
Kier-La Janisse and Paul Corupe's superb history Satanic Panic revives the Eighties in all its fearful hysteria Kier-La Janisse and Paul Corupe's superb history revives the Eighties in all its fearful hysteria
Arts Story  March 10, 2016, by Marc Savlov
"...As chronicled in Kier-La Janisse and Paul Corupe's superb nonfiction examination Satanic Panic: Pop-Cultural Paranoia in the 1980s, the turbulence and outrages of the preceding two decades, in conjunction with the advent of Ronald Reagan's "Morning in America" and an overzealous media desperate for bleeding leads, resurrected the country's on-off puritanical streak and aimed it directly at what would these days be thought of as proto-geek culture: MTV, Dungeons & Dragons, horror movies, heavy metal, punk rock. It got worse, though, with the story of the McMartin Preschool arrests in 1983...."

Saadia Faruqi at BookPeople
Houston author and interfaith activist shares her stories
DAILY Arts  February 12, 2016, by Jessi Cape
"...But fiction was never a career option for me, not when I was growing up in Pakistan or after my move to the U.S. I've mostly written nonfiction for the last decade..."

Manifest Destiny
Linklater doc premieres at Sundance
Screens Story  February 4, 2016, by Sean L. Malin
"...Luckily, the filmmakers successfully avoid the simplistic "talking head" schtick that usually mars nonfiction thanks to expert work by Bernstein's longtime editor, Nevie Owens, and cinematographer David Layton. Layton's photography demonstrates a strong affinity for the medium close-up, easily bringing out the most commanding angles from Hollywood stars, local friends, and family members..."

From the Archive: The Charlie Kaufman Canon
As Anomalisa opens in Austin, we revisit interviews and reviews
DAILY Screens  January 15, 2016, by Kimberley Jones
"...Struggling with how to adapt Susan Orlean’s nonfiction book about the hunt for the elusive ghost orchid, Kaufman wrote himself into the story – twice, in fact, with twin frères, cheerful Donald and existentially glum Charlie, both played by Nicolas Cage – and invented a most exquisite deux ex machina in the shape of a ravenous gator. Nothing in Robert McKee’s rulebook could prepare viewers for the delicious mayhem of Adaptation., which earned Kaufman his second Oscar nomination...."

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi
Michael Bay lends his firepower to this war that's not really a war
Film Review  January 15, 2016, by Marc Savlov
"...Adapted from Mitchell Zuckoff’s nonfiction book, 13 Hours is less about the catastrophic events of American foreign and military policy than it is about the brothers in arms – ex-military hired contractors … mercenaries really – who did their best to save U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens when Libyan militants overran the American diplomatic compound on September 11, 2012..."

Joe O'Connell's Top Reads of 2015
Paradise Sky and The Best I Recall head a list of stellar Lone Star books
Arts Story  December 31, 2015, by Joe O'Connell
"...Gary Cartwright's memoir The Best I Recall (UT Press) was my favorite nonfiction work of 2015. It follows Cartwright's career from Sixties Dallas/Ft..."

The Big Short
The financial meltdown of 2008 is treated with terrific comic spin
Film Review  December 25, 2015, by Kimberley Jones
"...For starters, if you’re going to take a deep dive into the credit fiasco, it’s a wise choice indeed to cast movie stars like Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, and Brad Pitt, who ably harness their considerable charisma to explain collateralized debt obligation to the popcorn-munching masses. (A host of less famous but top-notch character actors deepen the bench.) Adapting with Charles Randolph the nonfiction bestseller by Michael Lewis, McKay is all sleight of hand, using a zippy pace and regular punchlines to make more palatable the befuddling specifics of the banking crisis..."

In the Heart of the Sea
Ron Howard sets sails with that famous Nantucket whale story
Film Review  December 11, 2015, by Marc Savlov
"...The real-life fate of Essex, her captain, and crew partly inspired Herman Melville to write Moby-Dick; or, the Whale in 1851. Howard, working with screenwriter Charles Leavitt, has adapted author Nathaniel Philbrick’s nonfiction account of the ship’s travails into a gale-force mini-epic of man vs..."

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