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 MagazineAMFM 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

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“ART FOR LIFE’S SAKE” : Habitable Spaces Project, Kingsbury Texas

Shane Heinemeier and Alison Ward. Photo by Lucas

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.

Kitchen Structure. Photo courtesy of Alison Ward

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.

Dave Perez, de-barking wood posts. Photo courtesy of Alison Ward

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 http://www.habitablespaces.org

Blog by Lucas

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

Women Creatives in Austin

Displaced 5 by Jennifer Balkan

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.

  1. As a woman in the Arts, how do you see the future for Women’s Education – Women’s Empowerment in the Arts?
  2. How can we empower and educate woman to be leaders in the Arts?
  3. Can you describe some obstacles or hurtles you have confronted in your own career as a woman in the Arts?
  4. 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

Rachel Ray’s SXSW 2012 Annual Feedback Party at Stubbs

Rachel Ray

Rachel Ray has been hosting her party at Stubb’s for the past three years which showcases her culinary skills and her husband’s musical talents.

Rachel Ray MC’s

Lines formed well before the doors opened at 10:30 am filled the large open air venue. Rachel “Twittered” that about 5,000 people were in line by 9:00 am.

The Cringe with John Cusimano

John Cusimano (Rachel’s husband) and his band, The Cringe played. During the set, Cusimano invited his friend, Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top to the stage.

Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top

Gibbons later signed a guitar that will be auctioned off on Ray’s Facebook page for her favorite cause. This was the first year that Feedback fell on St. Patrick’s Day and there was plenty of free drinks to celebrate.

On the menu

The crowd waited in line for three hours to try the dishes Rachel created especially for
the party: mini corn dogs, brisket on biscuit, sloppy turkey sliders and my favorite,
vegan nachos.

Rachel enjoys the show

Rachel came off stage to shoot photos of the bands and the crowd and appeared to be very approachable just like her public image. I loved the atmosphere, the music and great food. Rachel knows how to throw a party!

Blog by Lucas 

“Grounded in Music” is transforming young lives through music

Sometimes something special comes along that strikes a chord within us. The other night, I had such an experience. All of us who love music, know how important it’s been in our lives. Now there is an organization that is using the universal language and power of music to transform lives.

Grounded in Music (GIM) is an organization that purposes to do just that. Founder,Joe Stallone, is bringing his vision to life in Austin, the heart of the nation’s vibrant music scene. He has comprised a group of music industry veterans who are on a mission to help transform lives of young children through music. These are children who might not otherwise have access to mentors, instruments or the beneficial effects of music. Launched in 2007, this non-profit is making a name for itself.

“These kids are learning that they can do anything they set their mind to and developing the confidence to push themselves to achieve things they never thought they could” – Joe Stallone

Joe is also a top entertainment lawyer and a professor at Austin Community College, teaching the Legal Aspects of the Music Industry. Having friends and clients in the industry, make him ideally suited to have spear-headed Grounded in Music. His enthusiasm is winning over the support of musicians and collaborators all the time. In the middle of successful fund raising event Wednesday evening at the Gibson Guitar Showroom, (forgive the room noise), I had a few moments to sit with Joe and talk about what motivates and inspires his work.

Grounded in Music is an organization of committed and compelling individuals doing good work. Proceeds from this benefit will be used to purchase musical instruments and provide mentoring for under-served youth at the Boys and Girls Club in Austin. For more information about Grounded in Music, please visit: www.groundedinmusic.org

Blog by Lucas

Live from the A-Team

View, review, repeat.  Thanks for your contributions.

The Little Dog Laughed
“What is the truth?”
Review by: Vicki M.

This show turned out to be quite serious and not a laughed filled satire. Yes, there were funny lines, such as the one one about the actor having a
“reoccurring case of homosexuality”, but it was more soap opera, social commentary than expected. It involves what happens as a result of deception. Vic Trevino and Micah Sudduth gave heartfelt performances as two men who have not dealt with their sexuality. Their nervousness, hesitant eyes, and stammers were well done as were the pure joy of happiness on their faces. Michelle Cheney protrayed the driven, ambitious agent to the hilt. The fourth character was not sympathetic at first, but Kaylee Koop gave her depth and feeling. The director kept the momentum brisk with short scenes and monologues. This play about hypocrisy, self-deception, and deception is unexpected in many ways and the resolution may not be what is desired.

Sin, Sex and the CIA
“Laughing in Leander”
Review by: Lassie

WOBCPs latest production, Sin, Sex, and the C.I.A., had the audience laughing within the first seconds of opening. The show revolves around a plot to begin oil-rights negotiations with unknown representatives from The Islands of Chagos and several government agencies. A raging rainstorm brings a few drop-in guests – but are they really just guests – or is one of them the unknown rep from Chagos? James Lee Burke and Kirsten Schulte almost steal the show as they portray the pompous Reverend Abernathy and his innocent secretary, Millicent. Ed Trujillo, as bumbling C.I.A. agent Luke James, manages to find a way to get caught by every “trap” he sets to protect the safe house. I lost count after six! You don’t want to miss Millicent learning the art of seduction – we should all be so lucky as to have Cynthia Carrier as Heather Faraday for an instructor. Drive on up to Leander soon – before the show is over – and see if you can guess the real rep from The Chagos Island!

Love You Because
“I Love You Because it’s the best show in town”
Review by: Jesse G.

This show is one of those rare marriages of book and score that works on every level and it is nothing less than pure enchantment. The girls are adorable, the guys are hilarious, and all are perfectly cast. The musicians are brilliant, the direction is stellar and the clever set takes us straight to NY. The costumes, light design and sound are first-rate. A great deal of love is put into this production. We love live theatre because it often offers up subject matter we perhaps haven’t considered before. But sometimes we simply wish to be entertained, and boy does this show deliver. The audience was enthralled and just had to stand and cheer for these artists. It’s hard to say who had more fun – the audience or the artists, and when the two groups merge as they did last night it is of course pure magic. Penfield Theatre Company takes no prisoners, holds nothing back. Go see this show and you WILL want to see it again… And again… And again… It’s that good!



The Book of Grace

“A Graceful Play”
Review by: Meyers

Intense! This compelling play tells the inner stories of three generations in three different ways: oral expression, written word and cyber posts. The show explores the characters’ personal, interpersonal and external boundaries. This interplay is graphically depicted by the large images of the Rio Grande Valley border wall on all sides of the theater. This is a show about desire, belonging and identity. While I did not follow the dialogue in a couple of places, the actors make this show intriguing. Each of their faces seem to tell a parallel story to the spoken one, reflecting the richness of the play.

The Mikado
“Another Outstanding Production by G&S Society!”
Review by: Linda M.

The Mikado is a wonderfully delightful operetta that you will not want to miss. It is at the Travis High School Performing Arts Center. The opera starts off with an overture performed by a live orchestra directed by Jeffrey Jones-Ragona, which alone makes the show worth seeing. You will love the performers who sing with grace and gusto, and who portray their characters with much humor. Though the production is clocks in at 3 hours every second is filled with rich music, hilarious lyrics, and stellar performances. Don’t miss it.