Austin’s Agent Red and Sky Candy collaborated to craft a full-length stage show, adapted from Matthew Pallamary’s award-winning novel “Land Without Evil”. Agent Red and Sky Candy’s co-founder and Artistic Director Chelsea Laumen are directing. Land Without Evil, a collaboration between almost 50 artists, aerialists, dancers, contortionists, performers, singers, musicians, and actors, is showing at The Stateside at the Paramount for 8 select performances from Sat. Dec. 8 – Sun. Dec 16th.
Rehearsals and performance are the subject of the Emmy-winning PBS series Arts in Context, premiering nationally January 2013. The show explores a boy’s conflict between the spiritual beliefs of life in the Mission and the visions of his father, the shaman of a threatened tribe, forced into a perilous journey through the rainforest in a quest for the mythical Land Without Evil. With a narrative richly told through aerials and acrobatics, dance, flow arts, ASL, music, and vocal performance, this visually dynamic show will feature stirring, new music and performance by local artists, including SORNE, and ground-breaking video-mapping by internationally renowned projection artist João Beira, and visionary art provided by Jesse Noemi.
GET TICKETS FOR THE SHOW
Just when you think the music couldn’t get any better, it does.
I should know, my first Hot Tuna show was in 1972. Back then I had a seat on stage
(a trunk), behind the band, my uncle being the concert promoter. Mesmerized, I watched the band play with Papa John Creach (former member) on the Fiddle. Today I’m still in awe of these legendary musicians.
I’ve been crossing paths with Hot Tuna ever since. There were my high school years, shows in Commack, Belmont Racetrack (Jorma with rainbow-colored hair), the infamous Lone Star Cafe a few blocks from home in the West Village. There was my neighbor down the hall in the dorm at college, one of Hot Tuna’s future booking agents, now tour manager. The iconic slogans used along the way and the audience screaming, “Hot _’n Tuna”, “Jorma Saves”, “If you don’t know Jorma, you don’t know Jack”, “Got Jorma?”
It was a stellar acoustic show!
And an unusually cool July evening in Austin, set against a beautiful sunset in the Texas
Hill Country. In this incarnation, Hot Tuna was composed of the Acoustic Trio, Jorma Kaukonen, Jack Casady and Barry Mitterhoff. It was my first, I hope of many shows in this intimate setting at the The One World Theater. The co-Founder and Executive Director, Hartt Stearns graciously offered us seats in the front of the house.
Hot Tuna played classics as well as new tunes off the latest studio recording entitled, “Steady As She Goes”, produced by Larry Campbell at Levon Helm’s in Woodstock N.Y.
“We got the wondrous Cindy Cashdollar to sit in with us”– Jorma Kaukonen
Full of good surprises, Hot Tuna brought Cindy Cashdollar out on Dobro and Steel Guitar. Cindy is a stunning talent and adds a wonderful dimension to the Hot Tuna sound. Jorma was thrilled to have her back for the evening (she toured with Hot Tuna in 2006). An Austin resident, be sure to check Cindy out on Wednesdays at The Saxon Pub.
Whether it’s Roots, Blues, Acoustic or Electric, Hot Tuna keeps it fresh. Over the years they’ve had a rotating cast of musicians that have performed with the band. Well known talent such as GE Smith, Charlie Musslewhite, Steve Kimock to Jim Lauderdale and John Hammomd, just to name a few. Back at home in Ohio, Jorma with his wife Vanessa, run a guitar camp at the Fur Peace Ranch. Some of the musicians that tour and record with Hot Tuna are guest teachers at the ranch. If this isn’t enough, Hot Tuna still continues to tour the world, with recent stops in Israel and China.
It was a great evening of old and new friends. I had the pleasure of meeting Cash Edwards, Hot Tuna’s Austin based Publicist for a second time. We first meet at the monthly networking luncheon for Woman in Music Professional Society, (WIMPS). Austin, The Music Capital of the World, is happy Hot Tuna has us back on their touring schedule this year and hope to see them again next tour. Their dedication continues to shine through their music putting big smiles on many faces.
- Steady As She Goes, Top 10, 2011: www.hottuna.com/category/steady-as-she-goes
- Hot Tuna go to: www.hottuna.com
- Fur Peace Ranch: www.furpeaceranch.com
- Cindy Cashdollar go to: www.cindycashdollar.com
- The One World Theater: www.oneworldtheatre.org
Blog by Lucas
The hillside around the Zilker Theatre was alive with chatting, eating, and playing on Thursday night as children and adults of all ages lounged on a patchwork quilt of blankets spread across the grass. Some groups had arrived as early as 6 p.m. – two and a half hours before the performance began – in order to claim a spot on the crowded lawn. Others, like myself, were returning to the hillside with fingers crossed, anxiously watching the sky for rain clouds after Sunday’s performance had been rained out.
Instead of rain, we had a glorious blushing pink sky with ethereal clouds and even a cool breeze running across our bare feet from time to time. The evening’s natural ambiance was a fitting backdrop to the beautiful stage set that transformed the open-air Beverly S. Sheffield Zilker Hillside Theater into a picture of the mountains that surround Salzburg, Austria.
Undoubtedly, the film production of The Sound of Music with Julie Andrews is, and always will be, the most beloved version of the musical. However the production on Thursday, directed by M. Scott Tatum, would have made Rodgers and Hammerstein sing with joy and pride. With solid and enthusiastic performances by the entire cast, an incredibly beautiful and cleverly maneuvered set design, and an orchestra worthy of its own standing ovation, Zilker Theatre Production’s The Sound of Music is worth getting out of the house to see. All the treasured standards like “My Favorite Things” and “Do-Re-Me” are performed, but fun variations in the musical along with less familiar tunes like “No Way to Stop” allow ZTP’s production to step away from being constantly compared to the movie.
One song that you might miss is “Something Good” between Maria and Captain von Trapp. Similarly in the production though Michelle Hache makes a spunky Maria and the Captain, played by Joshua Denning, is as stern as always, there is some chemistry missing between the two. The Captain’s love interest, Baroness Schraeder (Leslie Hollingsworth), appears as less of an evil character than I remember as a child. The development of her relationship with the Captain is mature and sensible, making her likeable enough to where I almost wish she could have married the Captain after all. The most entertaining love story, however, occurs between sixteen-going-on-seventeen year old Liesl (Alyssa Muir) and seventeen-going-on-eighteen year old Rolf (Jordan Barron). Teens in the audience watching Liesl and Rolf’s “timid and shy” romance develop will gain some perspective on young love. Their parents will appreciate the messages relayed about being cautious and kind, and talking to your parents or mentors about your feelings.
The most impressive message of the evening – perhaps because it is delivered by Coty Ross’s majestic voice – is that you cannot run away from your problems but must instead “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” to find what is right in life for you. As the von Trapp family ventures out into the Alps of Zilker Park the Mother Abbess (Ross), a kindred spirit of Maria’s who also grew up on the Austrian mountains, gives an inspiring solo bolstered by a pure and robust voice. Every member of the audience will leave happily humming a medley of show tunes and encouraged to follow their dreams as they also climb the hillside back to their cars.
The story has something for audiences of all ages. Whether you are attending with your family, on a date, or enjoying an evening with a group of friends, Zilker’s production certainly will not disappoint – unless it gets rained out. So be sure to catch The Sound of Music at the Zilker Hillside Theatre before it is too late!
The performance runs Thursdays – Sundays through August 11, 2012. The show starts at 8:30pm, but get their early (blankets are allowed on the lawn beginning at 6pm) to claim a spot with the best view.
Admission is free, parking is $5, donations are greatly appreciated and well-deserved.
blog by Margie Eades
On Sunday June 24th, I attended an inspiring night of community, music and art.
It was the 6th Annual Global Roots fundraiser held at CTC Garden in East Austin to benefit the Global Youth Peace Summit. The event was presented by the Amala Foundation along with CTC International, Urban Roots, The Austin Junior Chamber of Commerce, The Khabele School, and Generous Art.
It was certainly a lively and engaging night of live global music. The line up included Bamako Airlines, Minor Mishap Marching Band, Hard Proof Afrobeat. The evening was kicked off with ZaBoomBa: An Interactive Drum Experience, lead by Kenya Masala. He had the crowd drumming in call-and-response style that brought us all into focus.
It was fantastic.
There was a silent auction and an art show presented by Generous Art which included work by Jennifer Chenoweth whom I recognized from the East Austin Studio Tours. Aside from being an accomplished artist, she cooks a great Posole, but that’s another blog. Speaking of food, delicious Indian cuisine was available on sight, à la Austin trailer style. I enjoyed a plate of spicy lamb stew and rice among good company.
This year’s Global Youth Peace Summit, August 12-19th will unite 70 youth from 25+ different countries for an 8-day youth summit devoted to cultural exchange, heart-centered dialogue, healing, and exploration of self and world.
As of post date, The Amala Foundation raised $4,000 which will enable them to purchase airline tickets so that two Kenyan youth will be able to attend this year’s Global Youth Peace Summit. While they have yet to raise enough money to cover their passport, visa and scholarship fees, we trust that this funding is on its way ($2500 additional).
It was a delight to meet Maya Adjani, of Breathe, Eat, Dance, Evolve and to sample her home-made raw chocolates.
If you feel inspired to help support these youth as well as other under-served, local and international children in their efforts to make a difference in their communities and in their lives, you can make a tax-deductible donation by visit: www.amalafoundation.org/donate.
For more about the Amala Foundation and the Global Youth Peace Summit
Blog by Lucas
Written by Pulitzer Prize and Academy Award-winner HORTON FOOTE
Directed bySTEVEN DIETZ (Doubt, Shooting Star and Becky’s New Car)
Last weekend I visited the ZACH Theatre for the first time ever for the opening weekend of Fully Committed. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to return less than a week later for ZACH’s production of Dividing the Estate, written by the celebrated Texan playwright, Horton Foote (1916 – 2009).
The play follows the familiar dysfunctions of a Southern family, exaggerated by financial troubles and imperturbable greed. The Gordon children and grand-children constantly bicker about the future of their family’s historic – and valuable – estate, while Mamma Gordon (excellently portrayed by Marijane Vandivier) prefers to reminisce on days of a bygone era with her elderly servant, Doug (Eugene Lee).
If nothing else, Foote’s play serves as historical record of Texas in the 1980s: a Texas where big money and big hair ruled society and a strange sort of veiled racism still tinged the Southern mindset. I would even go as far as to say that this production of the play presents an opportunity for a brutally honest analysis of present-day Texan mentality towards issues such as race. It was painful to see the characters of Mildred (Janis Stinson) and Cathleen (Sharayah Reed), the estate’s domestic workers, reduced to the stereotype of the large, overbearing Mammy figure. Historically, the Mammy archetype is one of the two roles (the other being the sensual Jezebel stereotype) that have been imposed upon Black actresses throughout the history of popular entertainment.
However Foote must have been aware of the weight of the topic he was dealing with when writing the roles of the Black female domestic workers into the play, right? He did write the screenplay for To Kill A Mockingbird (1962) after all. My concern on Friday night was with how many of Foote’s fellow Texans actually caught on to the seriousness of these depictions. With the audience’s hearty laughter at every cliché “Mmmhmm” and cheeky comment made by the cook and her helper, I had to wonder how many others in the audience were having the same considerations I was about the historical and racial implications of these women’s roles in the script. Perhaps the fact that young Cathleen is attending a junior college while Emily and Sissy Gordon and their thick-headed mother Mary Jo can hardly do simple division presents a more accurate statement from Foote about the status of African-Americans in the South.
Mary Jo’s character, defined by relentless greed and a bad case of “youngest child syndrome”, is responsible for setting the tone of the entire drama. Unfortunately on Friday night, the lively actress Barbara Chisolm was unable to perform due to a death in the family and was temporarily replaced by Lauren Lane. While Lane played her new role bravely and whined and schemed very convincingly, her reading from a script inevitably took away from the play as a whole.
Marijane Vandivier’s portrayal of Stella “Mamma” Gordon hit straight to home, as I already mentioned. Her facetious quips about “overly educated women” divorce, living through the Great Depression, God’s wrath, reinstating plantation life, and Baptists versus Methodists are quintessentially “Southern grandma”. Whether it is her quirky and stubborn feminine ways or her pursed pink lips and permed white hair, there is something in her character that will remind every Texan of their grandmother. Her comments alone are revealing of the philosophy on life native to the South and make Foote’s play and ZACH’s production worth seeing.
Catch Dividing the Estate in its last weekend on the Kleberg Stage. A few more performances have been added due to popular demand. Get your tickets while you still can!
As part of our effort to expand Austin Creative Alliances’ support of the greater creative community, we are happy to showcase one of our newest, local fashion designers.
I met up with Csilla while she was hard at work cutting fabric for her next pattern. It’s impressive to meet this “hands-on” designer that retains a craft we rarely see in American-made fashion. As a young girl watching her grandmother sew, Csilla soon learned the skill. She explains that her passion for clothing design began while in High School, when she began making her own wardrobe and her own fashion statement. It blossomed from there.
“For my summer job at a local high-end boutique and seeing those cool clothes in the boutique gave her the idea. I put two and two together and bought one yard of fabric here and there and made a new dress or top every day through that summer”.
As a student at University of Texas, Csilla studied Interior Design and subsequently moved to New York to pursue a fashion career. Beginning with studies at Fashion Institute of Technology, lead to an internship with Nautica and eventually full-time positions with Liz Clairborne and Macy’s. After years of working in the corporate world, Csilla felt it was time for a change. With the support of her sister and friends she took the leap and went out on her own. CsillaWear was launched in New York City.
A Night to Indulge in Fashion and Beauty: CsillaWear recently hosted a fitting party to introduce her line to the broader Austin community where woman were invited to try-on the variety of her styles.
Csilla’s designs are inspired by fabric, movement and silhouettes. She chooses an array of lively, colorful patterns to create fun to wear, elegant designs. Her international background influences her sophisticated styles, while all her creations have a natural, easy fit. Perfect for Austin.
Professional hair stylist, Deborah Lira and makeup artist, Lecia Harkins of Russ and Company Salon www.russandcompanysalon.com were also on site for all to enjoy a fresh look along with these stunning designs.
If you are looking for fashion with ease, dress it up or down, this is the place to shop, you’ll want to add a few styles to your wardrobe. Stop by and meet the lovely designer behind CsillaWear. Located at 504 Congress Ave. (at 5th St), Austin, TX. Hours M-F 11- 6pm, Saturdays 11-4pm.
Blog by Lucas
I spoke with NYC based Paul Bright about his most recent project, a sci-fi feature film called “Goliad Uprising.” This is his sixth feature film and is set to premiere June 21st at the Spirit Theater at the Bob Bullock Museum in Austin at 7:30 p.m.
Tell me about your film and why you choose the name “Goliad Uprising”?
The film is really a David and Goliath story. It’s about a small underground group of people who are trying to fight a large corporation. Goliad and the name Goliath are so very similar, they kinda suggest alliance. The town of Goliad in Texas where the local citizens were revolting against the government in power at the time, in this case, the Mexican Government. So it has a similar tale in some ways and the local citizens were rising up to assert their rights to gain their freedom. That’s why I thought “Goliad Uprising” was an appropriate title for the film.
How have recent events such as “The Occupy Movement”, “Arab Spring” and the “Syrian Rebellion” all which have been supported through Social Networking sites, make your film more timely?
When I wrote the script it was before anything was coming about in the Arab Spring and certainly before the Occupy Wall Street came into play. The script is about how large media in the United States influencing how people think and feel about whats going on in the world based on the information that they give or that they fail to give.
What I’ve been seeing is that our country has become very polarized in terms of personal opinion but a lot of that has to do with the fact that people aren’t really getting the whole story or balanced views from the media.
Whats going on with the Arab Spring and Occupy Movement is that there is a whole group of people who are rebelling against the people who are in power in each of these countries and It’s very similar to what’s going on in the film “Goliad Uprising”.
The way “Goliad Uprising” originally came about is that I noticed that in the United States, people were starting to protest at political rallies and they were being arrested and tasered and dragged off. I am a bleeding heart liberal, I will gladly admit to that. However, what I was seeing is at these rallies was that people who were not protesting, the people who I thought would be concerned and empathetic to different points of view of those who were demonstrating, were not at all. The security was in fact very harsh to the people who were very silently standing up and protesting.
So I realized that we have a real problem in our own country here…that it’s no longer acceptable to even exercise our first amendment rights of disagreeing and the act of disagreeing somehow becomes an illegal act. and so that is why I wrote this film as a statement of protest of how our society is evolving and starting to accept that we will approve of and tolerate and go along with whatever the people in power are doing.
How do you see Social Networking movements like the “Goliad Uprising” fitting into the plans for your movie?
In the story of the film, the way the rebels, the protesters are getting together is through tweets and online text messages and basically having flash mobs. Same that was going on with the uprisings in the Arab World, the Middle East, is that people were finding a place to protest because it’s so easy and instantaneous nature a lot of this can take place anonymously allows people to gather very quickly and protest. Much can be done without having to risk the full extent of one’s identity. That is very similar to what’s going on in the storyline of the film, people are able to get together rather quickly using social media. In the film, even just the basic nature gathering together just to do this, they put on a performance rallying people around realizing and informing them that the technology is very dangerous. Just the simple act of stating this, is ruled to be illegal. Compare it to a fire in a theater, in the film there are 4 police raids and people are being held down because they are there to protest the power of this corporation.
How do you see media sites assisting you in your endeavor?
It’s about spreading the word. It also gives people a chance to interact back and to give feedback to what their experiences are in life. Social Media has put me in contact with people who have seen his films literally, all over the world. I hear from them what they think about the movie and what issues are going on in their lives, their concerns. By interacting this way and commenting on each others’s posts with the these people in the greater community, separates it from broadcast media which simply puts the news out there and there no way to hear your audience.
In the film world, what has happened very recently, within the last couple of years, is that filmmakers are starting to realize that the only way that we can do our work is with the support of our community.
This film, “Goliad Uprising” was funded entirely by donors who came to him through his social media contacts, through Facebook none of which he knew personally, at all. This was all from people who he meet online and who have supported his work in the past by watching it and wanted to see me continue to make these stories that they relate to that mean something to them.
Why did you choose Austin for the premiere?
Well that’s a no brainer, Austin is where the film was shot, there are 97 actors in the film and most of them are from Austin and it is where I have shot my previous 5 films. Austin is known for being a really cool town and very receptive to film.
Yes, Austin has a reputation for being loved, people say good things about Austin.
For detailed information on the screening go to: www.nowplayingaustin.com/event/detail/441586509/GOLIAD_UPRISING_World_Premiere
Also see Facebook page: /www.facebook.com/goliaduprising
Blog by Lucas
Interview courtesy of AM/FM Magazine
Habitable Spaces Project is a self-sustaining farm and artists residency in Kingsbury Texas, located about one hour South East of Austin and occupies approximately 120 acres.
I spoke with the founding directors, Alison Ward and Shane Heinemeier. Shane is a native Texan and painter, Alison is a sculptor, performance and video artist. Together they bring a range of resources, talent and experience to the project. The idea for Habitable Spaces Project began in NYC, where they both participated in the artists collective/residency program at the Flux Factory, www.fluxfactory.org
Alison had another “off the grid” experience at the Waterpod Project, www.thewaterpod.org While living on a barge for five months, she with the other inhabitants embraced community living, self-reliance, resourcefulness, human expression and creative exploration. ”Working in a collective atmosphere with other artists was informative and inspiring” and this is what fuels their vision for the Habitable Spaces Project.
The Habitable Spaces Project was Alison and Shane’s “natural next step” in their evolution as artists. They believe this project can bring awareness to the greater art world by example, “Art as Life, Life as Art”. “Alison explains, “Art has become separated from life and is isolated in museums and galleries.” Habitable Spaces Project will offer an experience of “living art” by making every action thoughtful and creative. An example of this maybe in the way one chooses to farm, compare this to how a painter might contemplate a stroke on a canvas.
Habitable Spaces Project offers a place for artists to expand on their creativity and integrate this with everyday living on the land. It’s a place for exploring new techniques and practices by implementing sustainable solutions.
Ben Devoe and Dave Perez, traveled from NYC and were the first team on site to construct the initial structures at Kingsbury. Their task was to build shelter and work spaces while living off the land. Building required resourcefulness, using mostly dead trees left from the previous years drought, which served as posts for the kitchen structure and were tied with rope. Scrap pallets from a local business served to build a tool shed. Dave Perez tells me that “Living off the land and hunting for food heightened his experience of survival, this experience really brought everyone together.”
Still in early stages of development, there is hard work ahead. Water, outhouses and recycling need to be thought out. To follow the progress of the Habitable Spaces Project, or to get involved, go to
Blog by Lucas
By invitation from Deborah Fleming, President of Famosa Entertainment, I attended the 2012 VIP, season kick-off party hosted at “The Glenn”, the backstage area of “The Backyard” on Thursday evening, April 19. I had the great pleasure of meeting some influential people who make music happen here in Austin.
Our hosts, owner of “The Backyard” and famed concert promoter, Tim O’Connor (Direct Events, Zona Rosa) with philanthropist, music lover and Austin resident, John Paul DeJoria (Paul Mitchell and Patron), served Wahoo’s fish tacos and presented live music talent, Zack Walther and The Cronkites.
“The Backyard” is an impressive outdoor venue, now in their third season at this location on Bee Caves and 71 and provides easy access from all points in Austin. ”The Backyard” serves the greater Austin community by providing a “down home” atmosphere making it a comfortable venue for all to enjoy. It’s a place where you can bring the whole family, it’s kid friendly and eco-conscious. The intention behind this unique venue, is to bring people together and make them feel like they are a part of something. Not unlike days at the Armadillo World Headquarters where people could relax, enjoy and catch great acts.
We feel that as the world progresses, and the frequency rises, that people have to feel more down to earth, and feel the earth and be at home. We feel we’ve accomplished that here with this unbelievable site – John Paul DeJoria
Keep an ear out! The scope of talent being presented at The Backyard promises to deliver. Talent includes both local and national acts, known as well as up and coming artists. The first show this season opened on Saturday the 21st, with Willie Nelson, Paula Nelson and special guests. Check out the full season lineup at
“The Backyard” is tailored for our community so come be a part of the history and future of music that Austin prides itself on. Thanks to the people behind the scenes who keep the music playing!
Blog by Lucas
According to the U.S. Library of Congress, “Although women now outnumber men in American colleges nationwide, the reversal of the gender gap is a very recent phenomenon. The fight to learn was a valiant struggle waged by many tenacious women—across years and across cultures—in our country.”
Woman’s History Month is celebrated every March. This year’s theme was “Women’s Education – Women’s Empowerment”. Inspired by this, Austin Creative Alliance is highlighting four dynamic women in the arts as we continue to celebrate women’s achievements throughout the year. In reaching out to these women, we discovered
diverse perspectives about the creative culture that thrives in Austin.
I’ll begin by acknowledging the women at Austin Creative Alliance and Now Playing Austin who provide invaluable services to promote the greater arts community in Austin. To learn more about Austin Creative Alliance go to: www.austincreativealliance.org
In the following interviews, we hope to convey insights and achievements that will inspire other woman in the arts. I presented a list of questions that revolved around this theme.
- As a woman in the Arts, how do you see the future for Women’s Education – Women’s Empowerment in the Arts?
- How can we empower and educate woman to be leaders in the Arts?
- Can you describe some obstacles or hurtles you have confronted in your own career as a woman in the Arts?
- What insights or suggestions would you have for aspiring woman in the Arts?
I spoke with Catarina Sigerfoos, Chairwoman and Fundraiser of Health Alliance for Austin Musicians (HAMM) Benefit Day 2012.
Catarina Sigerfoos: These are two organizations I like and respect in Austin who focus on empowerment for women. They are heavily supported and active. Women and Their Work Gallery, is a fantastic gallery that is run and supported by the community, but only features work by female artist members.
There is also an organization called WIMPS, Women In Music Professional Society, www.facebook.com/wimpsaustin. I belong to this group of women who work in all facets of the music industry. We network monthly and meet working musicians, graphic artists who design cd covers, attorneys and accountants who practice music law and accounting, composers, band managers, music supervisors, and many more. We each get a minute to stand up and tell our story and recruit, inform, and educate about classes, gigs, workshops, auditions and opportunities.
We can support existing agencies whose agenda is in place. The way to do this is by joining and helping with outreach and donations in some cases.
The music industry has been male-dominated as a whole, but since I grew up in the music world (I am related to approximately 20 working musicians), I have been lucky to know the jargon, trials, and successes of working musicians. Occasionally I have heard of certain music genres not being open to female leads, and sometimes, age is an issue for more seasoned artists, especially females.
I think young aspirants should find a mentor, either in the literal sense, or seek someone on the internet who’s style they respect, and try to learn from them. Try to narrow the search so it is very specific to their goals and resonates with your their personal beliefs and approach. Find a strong woman who has succeeded in the field and read about her accomplishments and methods. Imitate and practice until it becomes your own style. For more about Health Alliance for Austin Musicians, (HAMM) go to: www.myhaam.org
Sherry Mills, formally of “Reel Woman”, who is now retired from her position after serving as the Executive Director for ten years. Since June of 2011 the organization is no longer in operation. Sherry now hosts a radio program, “Ready for My Closeup, Ms. Mills” on KOOP.
Sherry Mills: I think it will continue to grow as an integral component of all arts education. There will always be many programs that are not gender specific, but I don’t believe there is any disadvantage or stigma to having female-focused opportunities. Women think, feel, act and learn differently from men; and because of personal history and/or cultural history, they will often taken a subordinate role in a classroom or work situation. As women continue to become clearer about their personal capabilities and aspirations, they will insist on the highest levels of instruction and experience, which means that they will seek out successful, respected teachers and mentors but will not limit themselves to programs that are not inclusive or that don’t offer them the opportunities they need. In working with women of all ages, at all levels of experience in trans-media, many of them performed and learned much better in the all-female environment. They profited immensely from being around the professional female filmmakers, writers, producers, directors, makeup artists, casting directors, agents, etc. who became role models and inspirations to them.
We can support woman in the arts by nurturing, mentoring and giving them opportunities to perform, learn and participate.
Looking back, I believe I created many of them for myself! In a group of men I would generally take on stereotypical female tasks such as being the coffee/food getter/provider, the note-taker, the clean up crew, the one who might not say my opinion because of either the fear of being judged or because I might hurt someone’s feelings. I still do those things sometimes, but it’s certainly with a different attitude because I want to lead by example. I do think that there were situations where I wasn’t paid as much as the guys.
I find that many young women take the attitude of “I want to do/be … (fill in the blank)” without doing necessary research, without being honest with themselves about their personal limitations, without putting in the training/learning time. For example, I knew a young girl with minimal experience that spent time and money on head shots but was doing very little to develop her acting skills. There is the person that “wants to be a writer,” but they’ve never written anything. Same for some aspiring directors. I studied theatre in school, and I thought I would be an actress; a little time invested in that direction proved to myself, that I was too sensitive to handle so much rejection. I wasn’t outgoing enough to promote myself properly and I realized in that process, that I enjoyed the behind-the-scenes much more than performing. The defining fact is that I recognized I wasn’t a very good actress! I say to everyone: Invest the time. Do the research. Study. Practice. Learn. Volunteer. Seek out professionals, mentors, role models. Challenge yourself. Pick your battles; know when to back down.
After I left Reel Women I felt like I was in recovery from a divorce or breakup or serious illness or life tragedy. I knew it was the right thing to do, but it was still very painful. Luckily, I was able to have the time and opportunity to get involved in radio and to use the knowledge and resources I’d gained in a new way. Learning the FCC regulations, how to operate all the dials, boards, audio equipment, microphones, etc. Being the “new kid on the block” and having to prove myself all over again was a challenge, to say the least; but it challenged me and gave me validation as well as exercised my brain.
I have an intern now — her name is Paloma. She is not a KOOP intern — she works (unpaid) just with me. She had wanted to be a Reel Women intern and very diligently, but unsuccessfully, tried to contact the organization. Somehow she tracked ME down and left a voice message, which I didn’t respond to. She called me two more times, so I finally called her back and explained the RW situation. She was very disappointed and then asked me what I was doing now, which she found very interesting. To finish the story, she has been working with me now for 8 months, getting involved in everything I do. She’s meeting so many people, going to special events and getting involved in projects. Smart girl!
Listen to Sherry on the radio: “Ready for My Closeup, Ms. Mills!” Mondays, 1:00-1:30pm, on KOOP, 91.7, streaming LIVE at www.koop.org
Salvage Vanguard Theater is hub for Austin artists, audiences, and arts organizations. SVT creates and presents transformative, high-quality artistic experiences that foster experimentation and conversation.
Jenny Larson: I think it is a “one step forward, two steps back” situation. Certainly more and more women arts leaders are emerging but on a whole, more men are in charge and more male playwrights are being produced on a national level, heck, on an international level. Roles for women are slim and POSITIVE roles for women in theater storytelling are few and far between. I do think that with each generation women find more and more empowerment and voice in leadership but its a slow and steady growth, slow and steady change. The current political climate certainly makes me stop and re-evaluate exactly how much progress we have made…
That is a giant task, and as the single mother of an 11 year old girl I can tell you that the task starts when they are young. It takes no small amount of vigilance to ensure that our daughters and our next generation of women arts leaders do not fall into the “traps” of femininity. I am currently reading the book Reviving Ophelia so my thoughts are in a place right now of really trying to help my daughter hold on to her true self. I think the more our daughters learn to hold on to themselves the better chance we have of growing more women arts leaders.
You create the life the job the career the path that you want to have. Do not let fear stop you and do not get stuck in thinking that you can’t or thinking that the obstacles are too large. I have never been a goal oriented person or much of a planner, so for me, my stumbling into a position of leadership was just an opportunity offered that I decided to take. When I look at my life in general, that is what it has been, a series of opportunities taken. So keep your eyes peeled for the opportunities. Volunteer for artists that you admire, get close to them and let them know you are passionate. Be dependable. See other peoples work. Read. Read a lot. Read other peoples work. Travel and see work outside of your community. It is easy to fall into ideas of the way you must live your life, and in the arts its very important to be creative about how you live your life and creative about how you make a career for yourself. Austin does not have a wealthy arts community so most of us are working 3- 5 jobs to make ends meet. We are also living very humble lives in order to stay in the arts. This re-examining your needs and your consumption as a human in the world is also integral to a career in the arts. Be humble and need little. For more info go to: www.salvagevanguard.org
Women & Their Work is a visual and performing art organization located in Central Austin that serves as a catalyst for contemporary art created by women living and working in Texas and beyond. For over 30 years, W&TW has brought groundbreaking art to Austin, with exhibitions,performances, literary readings and educational workshops.
Chris Cowden: More women are majoring in studio art and are going on to earn Masters of Fine Arts than ever before. While women have achieved near parity with men in their educational accomplishments, they still lag behind after they graduate. Today, women earn 81 cents for every dollar a man earns in the same position. (It has improved in the last 20 years–women used to earn 75 cents for every dollar a man earned.) However, the pay ratio is even worse in the arts. This is the biggest challenge for women seeking careers in the arts in the future–to achieve equal opportunities for employment, for exhibitions of their work, and for pay. Also, their work historically sells for much less than male artists.
Young women can learn to be leaders by seeking mentors whose leadership style they admire. Often becoming an intern can provide excellent opportunities to work with, observe, and emulate women who have succeeded in their field. There are a number of women who direct galleries and museums who can serve as powerful role models for women who seek to follow their career path.
Women & Their Work was founded in 1978 when there were very few opportunities for women in any artistic discipline. Organizations such as W&TW created their own possibilities outside the established hierarchy. I was not involved in the founding of the organization so I didn’t have to do any of the really heavy lifting that had to take place to make this a successful art organization. I spent my early career working in academia and then in a large corporation on Wall Street. The biggest difficulty was being taken seriously. I think the best thing to realize is that you have to take yourself seriously–but not too seriously.
I always remember Meryl Streep’s advice to the graduating class of Vassar, her alma mater. She said to integrate what you believe into every area of your life. To take your heart to work and ask the most and best of everybody else. And preserve your own special character in the world. That seems great advice for any field –maybe especially the arts. For more info go to: www.womenandtheirwork.org
Blog by Lucas