The 48 Hour Film Project hosts first 2012 event at Vuka Co-op in Austin

It was a great night to mingle with local film talent here in Austin. The 48 Hour Film Project hosted a “Meet n’ Greet” Thursday evening, July 19th at the new event space, “Vuka Co-Op”. (the venue will officially open on August 2nd).

The Meet-n-Greet at Vuka Co-op

The event brought together filmmakers, sponsors and community supporters.

The objective? To get filmmakers from the greater Austin area to compete to see who can make the best short film in only 48 hours. The winning film will go up against films from around the world. This is a very exciting competition and if you know anything about filmmaking, the pressure will be on.

“The 48 Hour Film Project began in 2001 as a local film challenge in Washington, DC among friends. In 2002, the Project grew to include Atlanta, Austin, Los Angeles, New York and Philadelphia. Since then, it has evolved into a truly global phenomenon and the world’s largest filmmaking competition. 2012 brings a new event producer for Austin, Noelle Schonefeld.”

In 2012, my team and I are working hard to create a fresh, young vibe for the project. The model is “New Crew, Same Rules”. We are focused on fun and are trying to generate a buzz and excitement around the hard work of the filmmakers. Our aim is to expand the reach of the 48HFP to involve as much of the Austin film and art community as possible and to celebrate the process of filmmaking and creativity. – Noelle Schonefeld, Producer of The 48 Hour Film Project.

“The Hosts” Noelle Schonefeld, Austin’s 48 Hour Film Project, Producer and Assistant Producer, Christina Martell

I’m not surprised that Noelle Schonefeld, along with Christina Martell, were able to pull this wonderful event off with only one months lead time. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Christina and know first hand, she makes things happen!

Dewy Brooks, Board Member of Austin Creative Alliance, with 48 Hour Film
Project Sponsor, Christine Thompson of AMFM Magazine/AMFM Studios

I met some of Austin’s movers and shakers at this 48 Hour Film Project event. Project Sponsor, Christine Thompson of AMFM Magazine-AMFM Studios attended as well as Media Sponsor, David Wyatt of Wyatt Brand.

Maddie Profilet, Director of Marketing & Public Relations at ChannelAustin, Event Sponsor

Event sponsors included, Guerrilla Camera & Gear@ the Austin School of FilmThe Long Center for Performing ArtsVuka Co-OpThe Scottish Rite Theater and channelAustin.

Macy McBeth Ryan and Christina Martell

Also in attendance were Eva and Dave Wolfe, the dynamic force behind St. Elmo Soundstage, a new resource for the Austin Film Community. For more go to: www.saintelmo.info.

Kevin Shaw

I also enjoyed chatting with 48 Hour Film Project Community Partner, Kevin Shaw,
also the Civic Arts Program Coordinator for the City of Austin Cultural Arts Division, (CAD) and of Faces of Austin, a short film program.

Zach and Justin of Fragapane Events

Tasty dishes were for sale by Cazamance, www.cazamance.com and DJkidGorilla
kept things Groovin. Complimentary beer and craft cocktails with Tito’s Handmade Vodka were served by Mixologists and donors-in-kind, Zach and Justin of Fragapane EventsVuka Co-op is a  beautiful space to host events, for more info go to: www.vukacoop.com

Event sponsor, Caroline Duncan, Outreach Director, Vuka Co-op

It was a wonderful opportunity to meet many talented and engaging people in this creative mecca, Austin. The greater Austin community continues to impress with genuine dedication to the Arts as exemplified by The 48 Hour Film Project. A fun night was had by all!

  • The next 48 Hour Film Project event is on August 22, for further details go to: www.48hourfilm.com/en/austin and www.austin48hourfilm.com
  • The 48 Hour Film Project comes to Austin on the weekend of August 24-26  2012
  • Space is limited, Early Bird Registration is $140. Teams must register on or before Monday, July 30 to get this special rate. Regular registration is $160. If teams register after Tuesday, August 14 they must pay a rate of $175.
  • Stay connected and learn more with regular posts and resource links at: www.facebook.com/48hourfilmaustin

         Blog by Lucas

Tao: The Art of the Drum at the Long Center

Image courtesy “drum-tao.com”

In one of the more interesting acts, the audience was invited to participate with an imaginary ping-pong ball and paddle. The performers mimed for us to clap in unison. As the rhythm was building, imaginary balls were volleyed back and forth ending in a crescendo of percussion. The performers then proceeded to walk off the stage, into the audience to interact with us. Not your typical Japanese theatrical production.

When we think of Japan, we think tradition. The rigidity of this society permeates the arts. It is customary for Japanese performers to pass down their craft from father to son and female roles have traditionally been played by men. Tao: The Art of the Drum breaks this mold by transforming Japanese themes into a modern rendition. Women have a definitive place on stage as well.

Rather than uphold a tradition, Tao: The Art of Drum is entertainment that aims to delight its audience. The performers vigorously beat the “Taiko” drum, (typically used for traditions and rituals), using all of their body to rhythmically interact with the beat. Choreographed in martial arts style, their highly toned bodies tell their strength.

Tao: The Art of Drum, now considered a top production, is the rage in Japan. It is in a class with American entertainment iconography, think “Stomp” and “Blue Man Group”.

Blog by Lucas

An Evening with Deepak Chopra: “The Future of Wellbeing” at the Long Center

It was one of the biggest draws I’ve seen at the Long Center. Deepak Chopra, M.D., Godfather of the mind, body, medicine movement and author of more than 60 books, begins the evening presentation with an overview on the state of our “well-being”.  A timely subject, considering the current state of our health care system. Dr. Chopra urges us to “shift our thinking”, to a new paradigm, that is, to take responsibility for our own health.

Flower Mandala courtesy of David J. Bookbinder

As a pioneer, he has carved the path for a generation of practitioners we have today, teachers, healers and medical doctors alike. I remember when his name was just getting out and his revolutionary concepts broke barriers in the medical field. Here we are today, decades later and Dr. Chopra’s insights continue to prove true. Being a yogini, I was thrilled to hear affirmations of my beliefs.

Dr. Chopra explains, if we look at our “physical body as a process” rather than solid matter, we will realize that we are in a constant state of transformation. Our body is continually re-generating. For example, our skeleton system regenerates every three months, our stomach every 6 weeks. Our thoughts, feelings, emotions effect our physiology, either positively or negatively.

From a scientific perspective, if we are constantly changing, then who are we? This is the question of all times. Scientists have no theory for this one, just yet. But new scientific studies are proving we are capable of changing our own genetic code. By intentionally changing our state of being, we can change our DNA. Powerful medicine indeed.

Having practiced yoga (pre-revolution), I know first hand, the transformative power of these yogic principles. We can use meditation to enter into a state of “divine consciousness” to tap our vast resources, “pure potential”, the “infinite mind”. When our mind, body, soul, spirit is connected, it brings us into a state of balance.These principles change our vibratory rate and effectively regulate our genes. Simply put, we can change what is happening in our bodies.  It’s exciting to hear Dr. Chopra corroborate that the scientific community is catching up.

Ultimately, Dr. Chopra concludes, the future of well-being is in our own consciousness, this is the evolution of healing. To experience our whole-ness and interconnected-ness, he guides us in a group meditation, asks us to focus on and repeat to ourselves, “I AM”.

To see more David J. Bookbinder works, go to: www.davidbookbinder.com

Blog by Lucas

DeepakChopraPhotoCreditJeremiahSullivan1.jpg

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo: This is Real Ballet

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo performed a GREAT evening of Ballet on February 7th. Unfortunately, this was their only night in Austin at the beautiful Dell Theater presented by The Long Center.

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo. Photo courtesy of The Long Center

One of the world’s renowned ballet companies, created in 1974, each dancer plays both male and female roles, with a persona and name for each gender. Known for their parody of this respected art form, these men do take their ballet seriously.

Ballet is powerful form of communication, highly suggestive movement that is full of nuances and subtleties. Trockadero uses the language of Ballet itself, to poke fun at Ballets’ hierarchy, the all-important “Prima Ballerina”. At moments during the performance, they display overly exaggerated, catty, diva-esque gestures and faking faux pas, all seemingly spontaneous, but very well-rehearsed. Suddenly, during an intense and critical moment in a piece, interjecting moves like the “Shimmy” or the “Funky Chicken” had the audience laughing. Make no mistake, these are dancers with real technical abilities.

The Trocks, open with their signature piece. “Swan Lake”, including the famous solo, in traditional Ballet style. My personal favorite was the Merce Cunningham piece. Cunningham was known for his cerebral and genderless style of movement. Accompanied by a two person live orchestra of abstract sounds, done with the utter seriousness of avant-garde performers, (homage to John Cage). Guttural groans, exhaling into a paper bag and popping it, various animal sounds and even the barking of the common dog. It was hysterical!

A refreshing new way to see Ballet. This performance was a treat and I wanted more, come back soon!

Blog by Lucas

The Complexity of “Arcadia”

I had the pleasure of seeing “Arcadia”, produced by resident Shakespearean expert and Artistic Director, Ann Ciccolella. The title “Arcadia” alludes to a Utopian vision associated with natural splendor and harmony. Predominantly a comedy, “Arcadia” addresses the dichotomies of two eras, romanticism and classicism told through witty dialogue. Striving to strike a balance of these two natures, represents the essence of our humanity. Relationships between past and present, order and disorder and the certainty of knowledge, “Arcadia” works on many levels.

Painting by Thomas Eakins

“An example of this comes after we see the historical Thomasina deriving her mathematical equations to describe the forms of nature; we later see Val, with his computer, plotting them to produce the image of a leaf.”

Arcadia travels between the past and present by alternating scenes at the same English country home from 1809 to 1993. The subject matter being rich and dense, I can see why it was important to maintain the consistency in set design which compliments this complex subject matter.

“We love bringing scripts to life that have sparkling wit and brilliant language side by side with sex, romance and complex ideas,” said Austin Shakespeare’s Artistic Director Ann Ciccolella.

See “Arcadia” February 2-19 at The Rollins Studio Theater, presented by the Long Center. To purchase tickets: www.thelongcenter.org

For more Shakespeare by Artistic Director Ann Ciccolella, see listings for Zilker Hillside Theater, May 3-20. It’s free and a local tradition here in Austin.

Blog by Lucas

“Free Range Thinking” by Robert Dubac at The Rollins Theatre, the Long Center

Robert Dubac appearing in Free Range Thinking

Sitting in the dark, surrounded by strangers, I found myself laughing out loud…

Written and acted by Robert Dubac, “Free Range Thinking” is an engaging and thought provoking performance, a message about ourselves in the modern world, delivered with biting wit. The good, the bad, the ridiculous. We are invited to re-think who we are as a culture.

In monologue, Mr. Dubac unravels our thinking process to uncover the truth about hypocrisy in our modern society. As he takes us through the topics of politics, religion, media, reality shows and bottled water, he cleverly illustrates his points by portraying multiple characters, using simple props and comic stage tricks, all to help us question what we see and hear. Is it our gullibility or our complacency that needs another look?

The play opens with a large question mark scrawled across a black chalk board, a reoccurring theme. What we see and hear in life, might not be as we think. Truth becomes illusion. Mr. Dubac offers up some interesting twists on how to cure our societal schisms and make it all work. In one comical segment, he suggests that both political parties combine as one, so that they can achieve some funny compromises. For instance, continuing to ban prayers in our public schools except during exams, just when they might really help.

In the age of 3-D movies and computer generated imagery, this one man performance is refreshing, hilarious, poignant and sure to delight. Thank you Robert Dubac for an invitation for us to think outside the proverbial box.

The Rollins Theatre, at the Long Center, was the perfect venue, a comfortable and intimate setting.

We could all use a good laugh. Not to be missed! On now through January 15, 2012.

Blog by Lucas

Top Weekly Events!

Review your favorite events at NowPlayingAustin.com!

1. Our Body: The Universe Within
H. J. Lutcher Stark Center for Physical Culture & Sports
April 24, 2010 – Ongoing

“Our Body!”

Our Body: The Universe Within is a wonderful opportunity to view a stunning and well-presented exhibit of the human body. You WILL see and understand the body like you never have before… regardless of your background. ALL of the body “items” shown have undergone a process which preserves and make them plastic-like. There are many full bodies shown in various ways so that you may study the many different and interrelated systems that make up the human body. There are also many exhibits of body parts: hands, feet, lungs, liver, muscles, etc…. available for detailed study. In terms of logistics: The exhibit is well lit, there is quiet music playing in the background, some museum patrons are silently studying the bodies, some patrons are quietly chatting with their friends about what they are viewing, there are some benches to sit down on should you need to rest…More at nowplayingaustin.wordpress.com

2. Machinal
Paper Chairs
May 28-June 13, 2010

Sarah Saltwick from Austin TX said:
“Wow! You think theater isn’t for you? Go see this play.”

A thrillingly creative professional production. The acting is perfect – both stylized and believable, never forced. I love this script but it’s tough one. A lesser production could have been too intellectual or too emotional but this has a wonderful sense of balance. Oh it’s so good! The brilliant set and lighting design are perfect for the play and radiant with meaning. If your (or your loved ones) recent theater experiences have been disappointing, go see this play. The production does what I believe theater does best – it creates a rich world, tells a powerful story and gives you an experience to remember. And talk about beyond that night. Continue reading