POSTED ON AUGUST 25, 2020 BY LONG

This week’s Mid-Week Intermission features our friend Jackie Nirenberg from Capital Metro. Jackie leads community engagement for Project Connect, CapMetro’s new proposal for Austin transit. Find out more about Jackie’s favorite memories from attending events at the Long Center and her hobbies once she’s off the clock.

Hi everyone!

I’m Jackie Nirenberg, Community Engagement Manager for Capital Metro. In my five years at CapMetro, I’ve had the opportunity to collaborate with the Long Center in so many ways. We’ve held meetings in the beautiful Kodosky Lounge, helped students take advantage of the amazing programming the Long Center offers, and enjoyed making bubbles with Austin families at Bubblepalooza each year.

I’m Jackie, and this $3 garage sale painting has been my official backdrop for zillions of Zoom meetings.

(I also happen to live right around the corner from the Long Center, so it’s a featured part of my daily life.)

Something I’ve missed greatly this summer is gathering on the Long Center lawn with hundreds of my fellow community members to watch the Austin Symphony play on Sunday evenings. The gorgeous view of both the glittering skyline and the kids doing their best interpretive dancing to the music really captures what I love so much about this city. Thanks, Long Center, for being such an important part of community life!

Nice to have a window in my home office!

STAY RESILIENT
At the beginning of our long pandemic shutdown, CapMetro created this amazing tribute to our wonderful city. I still love it!

ADD THIS TO YOUR READING LIST
Reading has always been one of my favorite pastimes, but this year, I’ve been reading more than ever. One of my favorite recent reads is the Beekeeper of Aleppo, a story of the plight of Syrian refugees. It is a painful but beautifully written story about what it means to lose everything.

My dining table has become my home office. Our cat Jude keeps me company under the table. 🙂

EXPAND YOUR WATCHLIST
I think the film 13th should be required viewing for all Americans. It’s an insightful look at the oppression the Black community in America has continued to live with since the abolition of slavery. Astounding.

TEST YOUR FLEXIBILITY
Austin’s own Adriene Mishler’s series of online yoga classes has saved my sanity and my flexibility during the pandemic. Love her!

BE INFORMED
KUT has helped me understand and sort through the overwhelming amount of news stories coming at us in 2020. We’re so lucky to have this trusted source of information in our community!

I’ve never been into gardening (have always had a “black thumb”). But staying home has inspired me to start a balcony garden. This is my little fig tree!

KEEP UP WITH THE LATEST
Every day we get closer to hanging out again! Sign up for our email updates, and we’ll make sure you’re getting the stories, alerts, and community updates you’ve been looking for.

POSTED ON AUGUST 21, 2020 BY LONG

For months now (almost 6 by our count?) we’ve had health & safety top of mind, plus aaalllll the other parts of our lives that have made this pause in Austin’s Summer a big bummer. But in green spaces across town, P A R K S P A C E has arrived to provide a visual stay-safe guide while venturing outdoors, including at the Long Center!

If you’ve taken your dog to Republic Square or gone out to Roy Guerrero Park recently, you’ve probably seen giant, colorful (eco-friendly!) squares in the grass and enjoyed your own plot of safe space for a time.

The vibrant and practical installations, each inspired by the topography and character of each site with a color story & design based on a Texas wildflower, are a partnership between the Austin Foundation for Architecture, AIA Austin, and Gensler intended to help visualize social distancing guideline’s in Austin’s beloved green spaces.

The Long Center Lawn is the latest addition to this intersection of art, public space, and community with three sets of coneflower-inspired squares.

When you bring your picnic or go out to catch some stars, be sure to share and tag 👇
#parkspaceatx #austinfdnforarchitecture #aiaaustin #austincityparks
And #longcenter of course!

As always, please remember that P A R K S P A C E is here to help, but don’t be square — wear your masks and keep your social distance.

Where can I enjoy the other P A R K S P A C E installations?

Share the love!

Zilker Park
Prickly Pear Cactus

Roy Guerrero Colorado River Park
Lantana

Republic Square
Indian Blanket

Pease Park
Bluebonnet

About the Coneflower

Did you know…?

The genus name of purple coneflower comes from the Greek word echino, meaning hedgehog, and refers to its spiny brown central cone.

Native Americans discovered healing properties of the coneflowers by observing wild animals. They noticed that wounded elks would recuperate after consuming coneflowers.

Coneflowers are initially odorless. After a successful pollination however, coneflowers produce a sweet, vanilla-like scent.

Looking for more? Check out Long Story Short

Tune in on the social media channel of your choice Friday, August 28 for our Long Story Short episode featuring Heath Riddles-Sanchez, CEO of Pease Park Conservancy and our own former Director of Marketing at the LC, and Gerardo Gandy, Exhibitions Committee Chair for the Austin Foundation for Architecture and creative behind the P A R K S P A C E installations.

Dive in to the process of bringing this experience to life, the links between our parks and our people, and what to look out for in the future.

WE MISS SEEING YOU
Our lawn and terrace are always open for you to stroll by and get some fresh air. Share and tag us @longcenter #longcenter so we can remember what Austin looks like!

We know it’s not fun right now, but we also know all of you want to keep your neighbors safe. Please wear a mask and maintain social distance while lounging on our lawn.

All images courtesy of Gensler

Mid-Week Intermission Staff Edition: Amber Wadey

POSTED ON AUGUST 18, 2020 BY LONG

For this edition of Mid-Week Intermission, we went straight to Amber Wadey, as our Director of People & Culture. Amber has been an integral part of making sure our team stays motivated while working from home, whether it’s organizing group workouts or encouraging our pet pictures in the LC slack channel — you’ll always find Amber ready to tackle whatever problem you throw her way.

Hello! I’m Amber Wadey, Director of People & Culture at the Long Center. I’m newer to the team and have now spent more time working from home than I spent in the office (!!!). The culture of our organization has always revolved around community events on campus and shows on stage, so shifting many employees to work from home has been a challenge. But, keeping our team safe and productive is vital as we work to ensure that Austin’s art and music scene continue to thrive. And it’s been a little fun, too.

☝️ This is Amber

KIDDING AROUND

I miss my colleagues and the beautiful view from the building, but my family has been loving our days at home together. I have two kids and our lives seemed so hectic before — always rushing out the door to school or camp or to a workout or after-school program. I’ve been incredibly impressed with how each of these aspects of our lives has pivoted to a virtual format.

My kids had a great time this summer learning improv, acting, filmmaking, stage combat, and monster make-up online with kidsActing Studio. They logged in to events put on by our local library, Mad Science, and even tried out a week of Camp Gladiator’s virtual kid’s camp!

KEEPING FIT

I’ve also been working out with Camp Gladiator for years and wasn’t sure how I’d feel about zoom workouts. Now, having logged over 80 workouts from my garage since March, I am hooked. We typically host CG on the H-E-B Terrace at the Long Center, and last week our trainer lead a virtual workout for our whole team. If you’re still looking for your quarantine workout routine, you should give them a try!

VIRTUAL 5Ks

I thought it would be impossible for running clubs and events to make the shift online, but virtual 5ks have kept me motivated to run (at least a little bit) through the hot Texas summer. I’ve been participating in the Cap 10k, Maudie’s Moonlight Margarita Run, and Daisy 5k for years, and I’m not about to stop now. It’s been so important for my mental health to stay active, connected, and to continue to support local organizations like the Trail Foundation and Marathon Kids, even while we can’t meet up in person.

WAITING FOR YOU!

I just painted myself to be a pretty active person, but the truth is, right now I spend most of my days sitting at my computer, supporting the Long Center team while streaming KUTX. We’ve been cooking and baking together every day, and things are about to get hectic again with a full schedule of online school. Just about every aspect of our lives and community have shifted to interactive content, classes, and live performances streamed right into the comfort and safety of our homes. As rewarding as it’s been to find new ways to deliver and enjoy programming, we are eager to welcome you back to the Long Center as soon as it’s possible to do so. Until then, I hope to see you on the lawn or online soon!

KEEP UP WITH THE LATEST
Every day we get closer to hanging out again! Sign up for our email updates, and we’ll make sure you’re getting the stories, alerts, and community updates you’ve been looking for.

POSTED ON AUGUST 13, 2020 BY LONG

It’s summertime, and while we’re all home making our communities safer, we’re definitely missing the bustle of outdoor and indoor activity that makes summer at the Long Center a not-to-be-missed Austin activity. We’re so used to hosting outdoor movies for thousands or student-led musical theatre during these months, that we got to thinking… how ARE Austinites staying connected right now? So we turned to our friends at Austin Classical Guitar!

Who is Austin Classical Guitar?

If you haven’t attended one of their annual shows in Dell Hall, you’ve not only missed out on top-notch talent on stage, but also an equally good time out on the H-E-B Terrace with tapas, dancing, and the talent of ACG’s students lighting up the ring beam.

But they also do so much more.

In this edition of Long Story Short, we caught up with Joe Williams (Artistic Director) and Lennox Kolics (intern & former ACG student) to answer this question — What makes an ensemble an ensemble when you can’t be together?

Watch the Episode

Follow along will all of Austin Classical Guitar’s exciting streaming projects through Facebook, and check out those you might have missed.

WHAT TO CHECK OUT NEXT

MALAGUEÑA & THE SOLACE PROJECT
Watch the full videos of Austin Classical Guitar’s Malaguena and The Solace Project, plus, learn the hopeful methodology behind these two “video portraits” that are keeping ACG’s community together.

SUMMER STOCK AUSTIN: CYBERSTOCK
This year, Summer Stock Austin comes to you with CyberStock: A Teenager’s Guide to Surviving the World. Catch the full stream of this new digital art form on August 16th at 7:30pm!

GET IN ON THIS
Long Center Members are invited to be a part of the Long Story Short recording process and ask questions during the interview! If you want to a part of the fun, make sure to learn more about Membership and the community impact that it supports.

You may have noticed that Summer Stock Austin looks a little different this year… the student-led musical theatre program you know and love is jumping off the stage and on to your screens for 2020!

Welcome to CyberStock: A Teenager’s Guide to Surviving the World — the entirely new digital artfrom from the SSA team that combines student storytelling, short films, and song & dance, with a little help from industry professionals (and a couple Hamilton stars!).

Watch the premiere of this all-new experience August 16th at 7:30pm on SSA’s YouTube (find the direct link on their website). And don’t forget to subscribe!

The SSA team knows this isn’t the usual Summer Stock experience Austin is used to. After all, they’ve been producing professional-caliber musical theatre productions with high school and college students for 15 years! But the need for Austin’s young artists to find connection and belonging is even stronger than usual this year, and SSA is answering that with their continued commitment to education, community, and ART. What else?

What’s different this year? Aside from the obvious.

CyberStock: A Teenagers Guide to Surviving the World, began with a series of masterclasses taught by industry professionals in songwriting, screenwriting, film direction, and choreography, all answering the question, How do we express our shared humanity through art?

The next step was several student-led short films (with some professional guidance) taken from pitch to completion. Add a few musical numbers, and you’ve got not just Sunday night’s CyberStock live stream event, but also a cutting-edge transformation of art where the next generation finds their voice and impacts the world.

So what’s CyberStock about?

Welcome to CyberStock… an alternate reality… perhaps? A reflection of our society… possibly?

Moving the story along and framing the short films are original songs written by Vincent Jamal Hooper and J. Quinton Johnson — straight from the Hamilton stage — who also served as mentors and directors during the process.

The opening number titled “When Despair Comes” sets the tone for a dystopian society of teenagers who have lost their passion, creativity, drive, and connection. (Sound familiar?) They are provided a series of digital content starring young people that look just like them, each short film inspiring the teenagers to choose joy, happiness, and hope as they imagine a better world.

How can I watch it?

Tune in to Summer Stock Austin’s YouTube channel Sunday evening, August 16th at 7:30pm, where the full storytelling experience will be streamed live. Or, check the SSA website for the direct link on the night-of.

Make sure to peruse their additional digital content on Instagram and get the full scope of this year’s company, student stories, and cyber extras while you wait. Oh, and you can get a special edition CyberStock 2020 t-shirt, too.

Though the Long Center is incredibly bummed that Summer Stock can’t take place in our Rollins Studio Theatre like usual, we are stoked to see a digital iteration of the beloved program take shape. Ginger Morris and the Summer Stock Austin creative team are producing the 2020 program independently this year, and we hope you’ll tune in and support this transformative endeavor! Because at the core, Austin’s young artists are the key to our survival.

ABOUT SUMMER STOCK AUSTIN
Since 2005, college and high school students form across Texas meet to mount several productions with professionals from Austin and around the country in a one-of-a-kind experience. Working as a traditional “stock” company, SSA creates an environment of shared learning by incorporating high school students, college students, and professionals in a fast-paced production series where everyone involved shares in the responsibility of creating high-quality theatre.

POSTED ON AUGUST 11, 2020 BY LONG

This week’s Mid-Week Intermission features our friend Eugenia Vela from BookPeople. If you’ve ever taken your kiddo to a BookPeople event, chances are you’ve seen Eugenia in action. Learn more about her work, what she’s listening to while working from home, what she’s reading (obviously), and best of all, her dog Chandler.

Hey, folks!

My name is Eugenia Vela. In the Before times, you probably saw me at BookPeople or one of our many offsite events around town, introducing bestselling authors to thousands of screaming 8-year-olds. Just kidding. That has only happened a couple of times. But I do work at BookPeople, the largest independent bookstore in Texas, located in downtown Austin.

I specialize in kids’ events and marketing, which keeps my life interesting. As we’ve pivoted from business model to business model over the past five months, our community has been incredibly supportive by buying booksgift cards, and gift bundles, supporting the café, ordering cards through our new greeting card programdonating books through our partnership with the Austin Council of PTAs, attending author events, and so much more. Austin has an amazing community of readers!

 

I hope after this, folks remember how simple it is to support independent bookstores, both in person and online — and that many of us ship, even worldwide. Austin alone has many great indies like BookPeopleBookWomanBlack Pearl BooksMalvern, and more.

The Long Center is a fantastic partner to BookPeople when hosting big-name authors like Neil Patrick Harris or David Sedaris. But I’ve also been to the Long Center many times as a guest. I spent my 30th birthday sweating on the great lawn watching Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban with about 2000 other people. Oh, the Before times!

A few things that keep me sane these days: books, movies, music, and food. Sounds pretty basic, but don’t overestimate the power of a good meal, a great song or book, and sitting in a drive-in theater in 95-degree weather. It’s pretty great, actually. Here are some favorites — oh, and I can’t forget my dog Chandler. No offense to my husband, but the best part of WFH are Chandler cuddles.

 

This is Chandler
EUGENIA’S RECS FOR TACOS, BOOKS & VINYL (AND BATMAN)

EATING // CON MADRE KITCHEN

Nothing like Sunday mornings with Con Madre’s chorizo, egg, and cheese on flour with green salsa. It’s my favorite breakfast taco in town.

WATCHING // THE BLUE STARLITE DRIVE-IN

The Blue Starlite is one of my favorite places in Austin, and they’ve proven to be a fantastic place to escape to during quarantine. If you’re not familiar with the Starlite, check ’em out — especially if you need a change of pace from your living room couch. I watched Tim Burton’s Batman there a couple of weeks ago (Michael Keaton, the best Batman).

Also Chandler

LISTENING // END OF AN EAR

I admit I’ve been doing too much vinyl shopping during quarantine, but I’m spending so much time at home that I’m not as lazy about flipping the record. Shouts to the wonderful, helpful folks at End of an Ear who make the curbside pickup process super easy. Recent purchases include Leon Bridges & Khruangbin’s Texas Sun, Townes Van Zandt Live at the Old Quarter, and Folk Singer by Muddy Waters.

READING // PUNCHING THE AIR by Ibi Zoboi and Dr. Yusef Salaam

One of the perks of working at a bookstore is getting advanced copies of books! Recently, I read an amazing book that releases September 1st: Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi and Dr. Yusef Salaam of the Exonerated Five. It tells the story of 16-year-old Amal, who is wrongfully incarcerated. Readers dive deep into his story, learning through a series of flashbacks what really happened that day. We are haunted by the “what ifs,” by the failures of the educators who were supposed to guide, support, and uplift him, and the devastating reality of the school-to-prison pipeline. Zoboi and Salaam also remind us of the impact of expression through poetry and art, with writing that absolutely SOARS. I read it about a month ago and haven’t stopped thinking about it! I highly encourage pre-ordering it — from an indie bookstore, of course.

Hope you’re keeping your reading list interesting — see you next time!

KEEP UP WITH THE LATEST
Every day we get closer to hanging out again! Sign up for our email updates, and we’ll make sure you’re getting the stories, alerts, and community updates you’ve been looking for.

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