About nowplayingaustin

The Austin Creative Alliance is a nonprofit performing arts service organization working to cultivate an environment where the performing arts can grow and flourish. We serve over 130 arts organizations with marketing, ticketing, audience development services; AEA paymaster, information & referral services — plus access to affordable health, liability, and event insurance. We also provide online professional development seminars, fiscal sponsorship services for emerging arts groups, host annual unified general auditions, annual theatre industry awards, and consistently advocate for the many benefits the arts bring to our quality of life.

D.C. friends visit Austin and couldn’t get enough….

Recently my dear friends Katey and Nick visited Austin for the their spring vacation.

They had heard so many great things about the music, the food, and the people  from friends and family that they took the leap and booked their flights. They decided to split up the trip by staying at a hotel just south of downtown for the first leg and then stay with a friend in Clarksville for the remainder. That was perfect because they were able to experience different  parts of the city with a variety of venues and attractions within walking distance but with different perspectives.

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The Music Bus ROCKS! Local musicians share their talent with kids and the nation

With funding in the arts being continuously cut from school programs we are losing touch with the benefits music has on our lives. That is why The Music Bus ROCKS! has created a mobile environment where the arts can flourish right outside your door. With raising gas prices everyone is taking a hit in their wallets, they save you fuel and time by coming to you!

The Music Bus ROCKS! is a fully interactive music technology classroom that provides a hands-on learning environment for each and every student. Students are able to take advantage of on board computers and music technology software. The Bus is outfitted with a full digital piano and acoustic drum set. They teach every instrument family on the bus and have a high regard for cross training and being able to see, touch, and hear other instruments.

This year, The Music Bus ROCKS! has been invited to Wakarusa Music Festival, a grassroots festival nestled in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas where the beauty of nature synchronizes with the euphoric sounds of live music. They have programming for the festival that will include a junkyard orchestra ensemble with instruments that will be made from re-purposed hardware materials and supplies. In addition, every day of the festival The Music Bus ROCKS! will hold drum circles, jam sessions (in which audience members are strongly encouraged to participate) and music education workshops.

Their ability to be able to share this creatively educational experience with patrons of Wakarusa will give them the ability to spread the word about their work and eventually build a potential donor base that will help partially fund our aspirations of beginning a Non-Profit sponsored project version of The Music Bus ROCKS! that covers a broader spectrum of the arts (visual art, music, dance, theatre, physics of movement, etc.).

The Impact

The Music Bus ROCKS!  wants to be able to share the gift of music with as many people as possible and believe that Wakarusa will give them the visibility that they will need in order to boost donor funds for our sponsored project version of The MBR! They’ve expressed the desire to go into the areas of Austin that are losing arts programs due to federal and state budget cuts and reinstate to children the profound value that the arts have on our personal well being.

blog by Nnedi Agbaroji

Trouble Puppet Theater

Trouble Puppet Theater takes Arts In Context on a journey into the art of puppetry as the company produces one of their unique plays led by creative director and master puppeteer Connor Hopkins. Trouble Puppet Theater, a small arts organization in East Austin, has been able to achieve critical success and growth, while taking their cutting edge puppetry to levels never seen before in Texas. Their unique artistry literally transcends the fourth wall and connects audience and performer. Arts In Context follows them as they put on the play Riddley Walker, based on the novel by Russell Hoban and featuring music by Austin composer Justin Sherburn.


Upcoming January Events

FREE Personal Income Tax Workshop


Monday January 23,  2012 6pm
Austin Creative Alliance Studio
701 Tillery Street, Suite A-8

Shani Hebert from H&R Block will be sharing some hints and tips on how to complete your personal income taxes, plus learn about: Quarterly Taxes, 1099s, E-Filing, Health Insurance, Retirement and IRAs.

Limited Space. Please RSVP, Anne-Marie McKaskle at: membership@austincreativealliance.org or call 512.247.2531

January Creative Mix Up: Featuring Austin’s 
Emerging Arts Leaders


Monday January 30, 2012 6-8pm
2316 Webberville Road, Austin, TX 78702

Join the Austin Creative Alliance for a free talk. The Austin Emerging Arts Leaders is part of the American’s for the Arts Emerging Leaders Network. Their site is a resource for artists and arts administrators.

Please RSVP,  Anne-Marie McKaskle at: membership@austincreativealliance.org or call 512.247.2531

14th and Chestnut Series Pt.2: Interview with Chris Holloway of Fuzzy Popsycle

Austin Creative Alliance tirelessly serves the area’s creatives, organizations, and cultural consumers by building infrastructure, offering audience and career cultivation services, and offering myriad ways for people to connect with all that’s happening in the community. This three-part series provides a look into the scenes that comprise our creative community.

This is the second post on the businesses located at 14th and Chestnut, a vacant building turned vibrant artistic incubator. The first post was featuring Hearts and Robots, a hair design studio, and this week’s post is featuring Fuzzy Popsycle, a commercial arts services studio specializing in street art-inspired design. Chris Holloway, owner and artist, tells us about the concept behind his business and why the words fuzzy and ‘popsycle’ are used together.
How did the idea for Fuzzy Popsycle originate and what are the services you offer?
Fuzzy Popsycle is a full-service commercial art services studio and office with a focus on the hand painted and hand drawn aspects of commercial art and with a specialization in street art-inspired advertising design, hand painted billboards, hand painted murals, wheat pasting, screen printing on garments and posters, commissioned paintings and graphic design for company branding.
Although the company is newly formed, I have been painting, designing and building artwork, signs, furniture, props and murals for almost 15 years. Scarlett Vivienne (my girlfriend and business partner) and I were brainstorming on ways in which we could assist businesses and brands to capture a certain demographic that is very arts influenced and friendly. Traditional marketing has become so sterile; customers are attracted to uniqueness and handmade items. With that in mind, the idea to form a studio offering these services was born.
We’re very curious, what’s the story behind the name “Fuzzy Popsycle”?
My personal artwork (I’m a studio painter graduating from Texas State University) is greatly influenced by whimsical and surreal ideas and images. We were swimming one sunny afternoon brainstorming about the prospective business and prospective names and the thought of a cool, sweet popsicle became so tempting. The contradiction to the sweetness and creaminess became a word challenge and “fuzzy” was mentioned somewhere. We both laughed so hard it was decided that our anti-marketing marketing studio would have to have such a ridiculous name.
We hear your specialty is graffiti-style advertising. How did you get involved with that art form and how did you get the inspiration to use it for advertising?
Well, growing up in the 80’s and seeing graffiti grow from its beginning years had inspired me to express myself in that way. Advertising is kind of like graffiti. It is large and in your face, and you are forced to look at it. I am just utilizing different techniques I learned over the years by doing graffiti, making designs and oil paintings to capture our clients’ products and services and translate those to distinct demographics of customers.
What is one of your favorite campaigns you’ve worked on so far?
My favorite campaign so far is the Hearts and Robots Hair Studio campaign. It was started by painting a mural on the exterior of their first location at East 6th Street and Pedernales (coincidently, this is when we first began dating) and went on to painting the mural on their new location. The increase in visibility and prominence of these murals continues to bring them many new clients and serves to communicate with their targeted clientele base. They were looking to attract younger, hipper, creatively-oriented people, and branding themselves with colorful and personalized artwork has done exactly this.
What characteristics and aspects of being located on the East Side have helped your business or made it stand out?
Being located on the East Side has helped us because there is a strong and supportive artist community and the people over here are extremely laid-back and continue to inspire us creatively. We draw so much influence on street culture and street nightlife. These elements are flourishing east of I-35 and we love surrounding ourselves in it.
For more information on Fuzzy Popsycle, visit their website.

14th and Chestnut Series: Interview with Scarlett of Hearts & Robots

Austin Creative Alliance tirelessly serves the area’s creatives, organizations, and cultural consumers by building infrastructure, offering audience and career cultivation services, and offering myriad ways for people to connect with all that’s happening in the community. This three-part series provides a look into the scenes that comprise our creative community.

This is the first post in our 14th and Chestnut series! What was originally a vacant, run-down building on the east side is now a location for three inventive, versatile businesses. The first in our series is Hearts and Robots, a hair studio influenced by a creative, artistic atmosphere. The other two tenants are Fuzzy Popsycle, a commercial arts services studio, and Doe Studio, an all-female art space. Hearts and Robots is the brainchild of Scarlett Vivienne, an Austinite by way of Los Angeles. Here she talks with us about how hair design, art and community work very well together.

The ladies of Hearts & Robots

What’s the story behind Hearts and Robots? How long have you been in business and where did the name come from?

Hearts & Robots Hair Studio is a fashionable hair studio for guys and gals. We provide innovative, creative, personalized and fashionable styles at an affordable cost. It was founded by myself (Scarlett Vivienne) in December 2010 as the result of a desire to find an alternative to the traditional beauty shop. We were previously located on East 6th Street.

H&R opened its doors 8 months ago at the now closed Art Projekts, which was an artist community on east 6th Street and Pedernales. I was attracted to the element of being located among artisans like painters, screenprinters, metal sculpture artists and a recording studio because I believe hairdressing is an art form, and I wanted to promote this aspect of our industry which is often unrecognized. Also because we double as an art gallery showcasing artwork of local artists, we wanted to create a space where we could be influenced by the varied arts and feed off the synergy of creative environment. Most of the H&R stylists also practice another art form and some of us study studio art and art history (such as myself) in college prior to entering into the hair industry.

H&R had to relocate on short notice when the city of Austin decided to close the Art Projekts for ongoing fire and building code violations against our landlord.

I scrambled to find us a relocation spot and discovered our awesome current location while driving to grab a coffee at Thunderbird. The entire building had been vacant for almost 8 years before we moved in. I leased two of the three spaces and referred friends who leased the third space which is now called Doe Studios and is home to four artists who utilize the space as their art studio. A portion of the space
I leased is currently under construction as I begin another business venture, this time with my boyfriend Chris Holloway. The shop will be the home office and studio for our commercial art services business called
Fuzzy Popsycle which will offer outdoor advertising and marketing related artwork for businesses and brands.

We wanted to recreate the arts community we had to give up and feel we have done so in our current location by bringing the artists to us.

Mural on the side of Hearts & Robots

What aspects of being located on the East Side have helped your business?

When I first moved to Austin 2 years ago from Los Angeles, I noticed the abundance of hair salons but the lack of any unique spots. They exist in larger cities like LA and New York but everything in Austin seemed so ordinary and predictable. I wanted to do hair in a funky, hip, and edgy environment while staying true to my DIY principles and lifestyle.

Thus, H&R was born out of sheer determination to create a unique space for stylists to work and clients to come, get their hair done and hang out.

When I moved to Austin from Los Angeles just 2 years ago I knew nothing about East Austin though I realized my first week of being in town that I wanted to both live and work east of I35. The East Side had an energy that I had experienced in similar neighborhoods like Williamsburg and Silverlake. I knew that the arts community was strong and that the area was populated with many young creative types whom I wanted to surround myself with. I’ve lived in my adorable East Side home since that second week in Austin.

When making the decision to open a salon it was clear to me that I wanted to locate in the neighborhood that I saw as being the greatest fit for the vision I had for the shop, which was creative, urban, unique, alternative
culture, cyclist-friendly, community driven and convenient to mine and my
client’s favorite hang out spots.

What’s your history as a hair stylist and how did you end up in Austin?

I’ve been cutting and coloring hair since I was a young girl with plastic scissors and rainbow colored markers and Barbie dolls were my regular clients. I went the traditional graduate high school, go to college
route where I studied Art History at UCLA. While in college and afterwards I was cutting and coloring my friends and families hair. I knew that this was my calling and it took me until my late twenties to finally get my
focus as my career. I studied at the Paul Mitchell School in Los Angeles but finished my education at Avenue Five Institute, a Vidal Sassoon Partner School here in Austin.

I moved to Austin on a whim. I never visited, didn’t know a soul and had no idea even where I would live once I arrived to town. I drove from Los Angeles in my Prius with my entire life packed up in my car. What didn’t
fit in my car I sold or donated before I left. I guess you could say I took the Buddhist approach to my journey, less is more and that you must let go of everything to find what is truly meaningful and joyous. I am
 proud to say I have accomplished this goal and live with this gratitude-filled mentality daily.

A customer walks in to your studio without much idea of what style he or she would like. How do the stylists help them decide what look would work for them?

Ask the right questions and really listen to what the client is saying. All of the H&R stylists are great question askers and great at translating the clients’ ideas and thoughts into great looking hair. What we would ask
a first time guest unsure of the desired hairstyle/color are questions such as, how do you usually wear/style your hair? What’s your styling routine like? What products do you use and how do you use them? What would you like to see your hair do? What do you like about your hair? Are you growing your hair? Are you good at maintaining a style/color at home? How often do you wash your hair?

One of the most powerful things in life is change.

One of the easiest things (and less costly) to change is our hair. A new hair color, haircut, style is a great way to break out of the old and introduce newness to our lives.

Hair should be loved, nourished and understood. Most often we don’t realize how simple a great haircut and style can be and how we can maintain that style at home with a little product, a little time and a good relationship with a great hairdresser.

We at Hearts & Robots believe that great hair can be achieved in a hip and eco friendly environment (90% of our shop was built with repurposed and upcycled materials and furnishings) at a reasonable cost. Style should reflect our individual clients and be easy and simple. We love to accentuate natural curls and waves and definitely promote natural hairstyling to guests with this type of hair texture.

Our commitment to the earth and environment is just as important as our love of beauty and looking great. We use and retail organic products, recycle more than 70% of our waste and are working on a hair recycling

Last question, Hearts and Robots manifests itself into a woman, and said lady is attending a show somewhere on the East Side this weekend. What would she be wearing and what hairstyle would she be sporting?

She would be distinctively unique and one to grab the attention in the room. I’m feeling especially fond of reds this season so I’m going to have her sporting a coppery red, texturized, and shoulder-grazing bob with pieced out eyebrow-skimming blunt cut bangs and lowlights of deep brunette and golden brown pieces throughout her crown.

She’d be wearing some wild patterned leggings beneath a large oversized vintage sweater with a few large plastic bracelets and cocktail rings, and hovering in platform ankle booties with a fringe covered saddle bag. Wow, sounds great and totally unlike what I’m wearing as I conveniently answer this in my skinny jeans and T-shirt printed by my boyfriend.

Thanks, Scarlett! You can visit Hearts and Robots’ site here. To make an appointment or for more questions, call the studio at 828-7434.