This article is a collaboration between the Austin Creative Alliance, Blogs By Lucas, and AMFM Magazine

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.


http://agentred.net/ http://skycandyaustin.com/performances/lwe/

HOT TUNA back in Austin, 2012 at the One World Theater

Lucas and Jorma Kaukonen

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 and Cindy Cashdollar

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.

Barry Mitterhoff of Hot Tuna and Cindy Cashdollar

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.

         Blog by Lucas

A Global Roots Fundraiser for the Amala Foundation: Think Globally and Act Locally in Austin

On Sunday June 24th, I attended an inspiring night of community, music and art.

Entrance to CTC Garden. Photo by Lucas

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.

Indu Agrawal and Tammy Howard with the Amala Foundation. Photo by Lucas

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.

Kenya Masala of ZaBoomBa leading the interactive drum experience. Photo by Lucas

Click here to see ZaBoomBa: An Interactive Drum Experience, lead by Kenya Masala

Vanessa Stone, Founder of the Amala Foundation, (seated left). Ryan Jordan, Executive Director, (standing). Photo by Lucas

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.

Face painting with Randi Southard and Laven Blumoff. Photo by Lucas

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.

Face painting was enjoyed by Talia Masala and friend. Photo by Lucas

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).

Maya Adjani. Photo by Lucas

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
visit: www.amalafoundation.org

Blog by Lucas

CsillaWear Arrives on Congress Avenue

Csilla at work in her new retail space.

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.

CsillaWear at 504 Congress Ave. (at 5th)

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.

Attendees who graciously modeled CsillaWear.

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.

Makeup artist Lecia Harkins.

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

The 8th Annual Blanco Lavender Festival, June 8th-10th, 2012

by Margie Eades

When in the Hill Country, do as the Provençal French do.

That is just what National Geographic photographer Robb Kendrick did after realizing that the terroir of Southern France was similar to that of Texas’s Hill Country while shooting the lavender fields of Provence on assignment. In 1999 Kendrick and his wife planted what would be the first of five or so lavender farms that exist to this day in the area surrounding Blanco, Texas.

Just FYI, ours do NOT look like this…

In spite of the devastating drought that has been affecting Texan farmers for the past several years, three lavender farms in Blanco still welcomed visitors to their farms during the 8th Annual Blanco Lavender Festival. Thanks to the drought, the crop was small and the blooms were um, sparse, to say the least. However the festival drew a large crowd with activities like lavender picking and lavender wand making, as well as attractions like baby Nubian goats (triplets!) and lavender margaritas, sausages, and ice cream.

Garth Brooks – Long Neck Bottle

I got out of bed and on the road Saturday morning at about 8:30 AM. Blanco is a pleasant one hour drive from Austin and I had plans back in Austin at 1PM so I wanted to be as intentional with my time as possible. The festival started at 9AM and there were three farms to hit; I planned my trip so that I would make a loop of all the farms and be headed back to Austin by 12:05. My route allowed that I could pass through the artisan market in Blanco’s town square, but I decided early on not to stop there because of my time constraint.

The 3 farms participating in the festival – and an artisan market in Blanco’s town square.

The drive down U.S.290 was a treat in itself. It was early enough in the morning that I could zip down the highway with all the windows down, sunroof open, my hair tied back with a bandana, blasting country music with cool wind and gentle sunlight on my skin. Surprisingly, the wildflowers were still out in full force like I never would have imagined. Hot pink bubbles emerging from dusty rock walls, purple thistles scattered here and there, and fields of lanky sunflowers accompanied by the usual dark red and soft pink flowers that somehow survive along the highway. I guess the springtime rain and the relatively mild heat we have had this spring/early summer have allowed them to thrive well on into June**.

I missed Miller Creek Farm right at the intersection of 290 + 281 so the first farm I arrived at was Hill Country Lavender. To be honest, it was a disappointing first impression. The plot was small, the “lavender chair massages under the beautiful live oak tree” had not begun yet (I was there at 9:30), and because the plants were so distraught from the drought, no picking was allowed. The farm’s one redeeming quality was the delicious looking produce offered in the open air store at the entrance to the farm and the pleasant-looking shaded seating area accompanying the produce stand. I am sure there were more attractions later, but I needed to move on to the next stop.

Lone lavender bloom at Hill Country Lavender

I lost some time backtracking up 281 to Miller Creek Lavender Farm, but the friendly folks at Miller Creek made it worthwhile. Upon arrival a man greeted me with “there are no rules except to have fun, alright?” and cheerfully directed me where to park. An antique car club had stopped by (later it would be the ROT Rally bikers), giving the men something to look at while the women and children explored the rows of lavender.

Antique cars at Miller Creek Farm

I sauntered around checking out the shop, the oil and watercolor paintings by a talented female artist, and tasting lavender jellies and lavender margarita mix (mixed with champagne and way too sweet in my opinion), before deciding I wanted to learn how to make a lavender wand. First, I had to cut my own stems of lavender from the field – yay! It cost $5 to pick a small bunch (15-20 stems), which I felt was reasonable considering the impact of the drought. Being out in the quiet field was extremely relaxing and reminded me of the 4 months I spent studying in the sunny and tranquil South of France last year. Walking back to the activity tents I made friends with a woman named Betty who travels with her husband to the festival every year from Lockhart. They bring their camper and make a weekend of it – one of her favorite parts is the live music that takes place every day in the town square.

Cutting lavender stems with my new friend Betty.

Weaving the ribbon between the stems of my lavender wand was equally simple and calming, and plenty of other visitors sitting around the table – from toddlers to grandparents – felt the same. I was impressed that the couple leading the activity had come all the way from Houston to share the craft with us, and they seemed surprised at the large turn out at the festival this year.

Lavender wand making at Miller Creek Farm

Before heading on to the third and final farm, I whizzed through the butterfly garden where a gardener introduced me to the Horsemint flower – it smells like oregano! It was lunch time so I decided to dish out $4 to try a lavender sausage. Not bad, but it did not taste anything like lavender.

It only took about 10 minutes to get to downtown, which was bustling with traffic, and hop onto TX Ranch Road 165 in the direction of Wimberley Lavender Farm. That was a fun, winding drive, but I was in a bit of a time crunch so it was a little more like a roller coaster. Wimberley’s advertised attractions were baby Nubian and Nigerian fainting goats available to pet, as well as a “lavender bejeweled pony” (beats me…) and goat cheese products. This last farm was definitely the most picturesque, but unfortunately I did not have much time to enjoy it. I had passed a colorful flower farm on the way and wanted to squeeze in one last stop there before heading back to Austin.

I forgot to look around for the bejeweled pony – though I am pretty sure I would have noticed if it was there – but the adorable little goats made my day. Also fun to see on the farm were some stolid longhorns, though their nearly anorexic bodies struggling to support their mighty crowns were a sad manifestation of the strain borne by the parched Texan earth.

Goats at Wimberley Lavender Farm.

A longhorn at Wimberley Lavender Farm


On my way out, I had just enough time to stop at the charming cerulean barn I had spotted when I turned from Hwy 165 onto FM 2325 on my way to the Wimberley farm. It turned out to be the Arnosky family farm which specializes in fresh-cut flowers – gorgeous ones I might add – and vegetables grown right there on the corner. I did not get to talk to the owner, who was busy helping a family identify a plant they had found growing in their garden, but I am sure the farm has a fascinating story. I would love to go back there someday – and would recommend that you check it out too if you are ever in the area.

Arnosky Farm.

Just as planned, it was 12:05 when I got back on the road to Austin. Perfect timing and a perfect little day trip to cheer my soul. Even with the drought, I had a wonderful time at the 8th Annual Blanco Lavender Festival. See you again soon, Blanco! ☆


** check out Shirley’s blog for wildflower photos and more formal wildflower information

It’s not too late to check out Blanco’s offerings! Several of the farms have “U-pick” Lavender Days throughout the month of June as well as other farm attractions throughout the year. See their individual websites for more information.






More pictures, click for a slideshow. All photos by Margie Eades:

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

“The Backyard” VIP Party Launches 2012 Season

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.

John Paul Dejoria and Lucas

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.

Tim O’Connor and Lucas

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 http://thebackyard.net/2011/

“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