Everyone knows Austinites love their restaurants, and our Event Operations Manager is no exception! In today’s Mid-Week Intermission, meet Donald Gallaspy, one of our behind-the-scenes folks making Long Center events safe and fun for everyone, as he takes you on a tour of his favorite spots to eat right now.

Donald, a tall white male with long brown hair, smiles, standing outside in a red and blue striped shirt
Just a quick headshot while I search for the cat.
Greetings All,
This is Donald Stuart Gallaspy III — feel free to just call me Donald.

I am sure at some point I will naturally become just “Don” — but not yet. I think it happened to my uncle around his 50th. I’ve been in Austin since 2004, and found my passion for non-profit work right after graduating from St. Edward’s University in 2008. I spent time at The Contemporary Austin and West Austin Youth Association before landing at the Long Center. I feel like I’ve found a great home here, and I’m thrilled to be part of such a dynamic organization.

As Manager of Event Operations, the safety and security of our guests, vendors, staff, and performers is my highest priority. I’m truly thankful to have inherited such a fantastic security team, many of whom have been at the Long Center for over ten years. Most of them still have their original ID badges, which impresses me to no end. You may not always see us, but we are always onsite making sure everyone stays safe and has a great time while here.

Back in 2014, with The Zoltars warming up at Beerland.

There is also a tiny chance you may recognize me as the drummer for The Zoltars. We spent almost ten years trying to charm Austin audiences with our own blend of downer pop before the pandemic scattered us back around the country.

I may or may not have a ton of unsold CDs and LPs I would be happy to unload if you know anyone interested.

What piques my curiosity? It’s simple…

Will the San Antonio Spurs win 25 games this season and make Greg Popovich the most winningest NBA coach of all time?

Just kidding, no curiosity there, because I know they will. Fingers crossed.

The airy, light interior of Musashino
Musashino Sushi Dokoro
The striking, red interior of Barlata
Barlata

Honestly, what keeps me excited to live in Austin is the food. I love to cook, and I live to eat. I’m always looking for great restaurant recommendations and new recipes. A short list of my favorite spots include Winebelly, Musashino Sushi Dokoro, and most recently, Barlata. I just picked up Catalan Food — a fantastic cookbook by the Daniel Olivella of Barlata. The first dish I tried was so good — a simple but delicious chickpea and spinach stew — that I haven’t made it much further yet. I finally got a reservation at Sammie’s Italian for February and cannot wait to see what they have to offer. On the rare days I don’t head straight home to start dinner, I swing by La Moreliana Market in South Austin. they sell a grilled half chicken with all the fixings for $8 and it’ll blow your mind. No link to that one, they don’t have a website so you know it’s good.

I’m thrilled to see what 2022 has in store for us all and I hope everyone can soon feel safe enough come join us for a show. From UV filters in the AC system, professional EMTs onsite, security checks at our front door, and much, much more, we’re doing everything possible to make sure our guests have a safe and exciting trip to the Long Center.

young Donald points excitedly at a piece of NBA memorabilia
Super thrilled about the NBA Jam handheld game on Christmas morning.
Thank you for reading, we hope to see you soon. And most importantly…
Go Spurs Go
Donald

KEEP IN TOUCH

At the Long Center, we’ve always got a new partnership or something cool we know you’ll want to check out! Find and follow us @longcenter on your social media platform of choice, and we’ll see you real soon.

When we first started featuring Austinite stories from across the city in April of 2020, we had no idea that this bi-weekly email newsletter would become our favorite thing. Almost instantly, Mid-Week Intermission became our city historian, our daily narrator, our go-to book-on-tape (sorta). Starting out this new year with the knowledge that our curiosity is limitless, we’re celebrating all the Austinite stories we’ve shared together and highlighting some that we’ve particularly enjoyed.

In this list you’ll find creatives, partners, personalities, characters, innovators, inventors, helpers, and everything in between. So, indulge a little — take a moment to appreciate our community in a slightly different light.

If you haven’t already, you can always sign up for our newsletter to get these stories delivered straight to your inbox. Or, check our social channels every other Wednesday for the latest. This leads us to our last question… who do you want to hear from this year? Drop us a line @longcenter and let us know.

Your Mid-week Intermission Journey Starts Here 👇

Graham, a white male with long brown hair, leans against the dressing room mirrors wearing a dark brown suit
Graham Reynolds

We always love a chance to chat with Austin’s own Graham Reynolds. It had been two years since he’s Ruined the Holidays in our Rollins Studio Theatre, and having him with a ten-piece band back in the black box for some raucous holiday tunes this winter was like magic. Just look at the smiles in the header picture of this blog.

If you’re new to town, keep an eye on what Graham is up to. You’ve probably heard some of his film scores and don’t even know it, or you might bump into him next time there’s live music on the Terrace.

Pamela, a Black woman wearing a gold and black sequined shirt, smiles as she poses for the camera in front of a dark backdrop
Pamela Benson Owens of Six Square

We got together with the team of Six Square, Austin’s Black Cultural District, last year to see how we could be better partners. What came out of that meeting were fresh ideas, a Beyond the Square partnership, and a lot of exchanged playlists.

Pamela Benson Owens is the one making sure this organization is doing their best, most effective, mission-driven work. She’s a hoot and a half, and you should get involved with Six Square as soon as you can.

Grace, a white woman with long blonde hair and glasses, sings into a microphone backed by dark, moody stage lights
Grace Rowland of The Deer

Grace from The Deer gave us a real slice of life, describing what we can only imagine was the new pandemic reality for many of Austin’s local bands last year.

The Deer also headlined one of our first Good Vibes Only episodes. For this series, we turned the Rollins into a sound studio so that local bands and entertainment sector professionals could continue to create art and reach audiences during deep lockdown. You can watch all of our Good Vibes episodes for free right now. Plus, look out for more coming soon.

Justin, a tall white male wearing a mask, stands behind a large camera filming a student in costume in front of a large LED wall
Justin Kirchhoff of Co-Production House

For the past two years, our Heller Awards for Young Artists have rallied, taking a year-long program jam-packed with live performances to a virtual stream — not once, but twice. 

Justin Kirchhoff & the team at Co-Production House were instrumental in creating this new form of digital theatre. Find out how this virtual production studio with Austin’s first LED volume technology made it happen, and look forward to the HAYAs’ return to the big stage later this year.

a group of Long Center volunteers post for a group picture onstage with Neil deGrasse Tyson after a show
Our Marvelous Long Center Volunteers

No one else gets a front-row look at the arts in Austin quite like our volunteer ushers do. These welcoming, dedicated, and knowledgeable individuals help you find your seat and keep the show running. 

Last fall, we asked them a few questions about why they do what they do at the Long Center and why you should look into it, too. If you’re  interested, check out the recs and submit an application today! 

Ray Loyd of Austin Asian American Film Festival

Just when you thought Austin had enough film festivals, think again, because if you haven’t discovered AAAFF now’s the time. 

This group champions Asian and Asian American stories through the arts and hosts year-round screenings (indoor and outdoor), as well as their flagship festival event (now open for 2022 submissions!). We got to host a movie premiere on our H-E-B Terrace last year that we won’t soon forget, and our chat with Ray Loyd can lead you down an excellent path of film discovery.

Nakia

Nakia is an Austin triple threat — performer, advocate, and creator. When he’s not setting a mood at the beginning of our Good Vibes Only episodes, he’s probably making moves advocating for local artists with Austin Texas Musicians, or headlining an iconic music venue.

Nakia is certainly an Austinite to keep your eye on. Perhaps you also caught his performance at The Drop-In last summer, saw his Local Legend feature with Matthew McConaughey, or recognize him from NBC’s The Voice.

Q&A with Las Cafeteras

While not actual Austinites, they sure made us party like Austinites, so that makes the members of this Chicano band from East LA close enough in our book.

The energy that Las Cafeteras brought to the stage was insane, and it sure blew our troubles away for one night. Look out for more good times like this at the LC soon, and work their Oaxaca Love Song No2 into your playlist asap.

Donavin with his DJ setup outside on Long Center's H-E-B Terrace
Donavin Velez of Underground Roller Disco

A surprisingly great thing to come out of the last two years? Underground Roller Disco nights on the H-E-B Terrace. With Donavin Velez DJing at the helm, we’ve loved seeing this fun-loving pop-up blossom. 

If you’re in need of some straight up good times, consider joining in on the next meet-up.

Bobby Garza, LC’s VP of Programs and Community Outreach

Bobby’s always quick with an artist rec, so we said, “give us a playlist we can really sink our teeth into!”

This choose-your-own-adventure mixtape he created really set a tone and had us exploring new musical horizons for days. So, we leave you with this and hope you get a kick out of it, too.

That’s it for now — who do you want to meet next? Drop us a line @longcenter and let us know!
a full crowd at sunset silhouetted against an orange Long Center ring beam and a darkening sky

KEEP IN TOUCH

At the Long Center, we’ve always got a new partnership or something cool we know you’ll want to check out! Find and follow us @longcenter on your social media platform of choice or sign up for our bi-weekly newsletter, and we’ll see you real soon.

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