You’ve probably heard Jake Lloyd’s voice on the radiowaves over the past year, especially if you (like us!) have been taken with his October 2021 release “Cold Summer.” Now, during this very very hot summer, Jake is back for The Drop-In with Geto Gala, a new project hitting stages with co-creator Deezie Brown. Read on to discover Geto Gala ahead of their Drop-In performance!

ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE DROP-IN 👉 With free music every Thursday, you might want a reminder or two. We can help with that.

1️⃣ Make sure you’re following us @longcenter wherever you get your news to see who’s playing next.

2️⃣ Sign up for weekly notifications so you know when RSVPs open.

3️⃣ Grab your lawn chairs and your buddies and prepare to Drop-In.

MEET JAKE LLOYD
Jake Lloyd sitting in a red chair
Photo by Jake Rabin

Long Center: We’re so excited to have you back at the Long Center after you played a Good Vibes Only set with us last year. We heard that Geto Gala was kind of a side project for you and your co-creator Deezie Brown — what brought you together and how did this project take on a life of its own?

Jake: Deezie and I have been friends for a while, but in 2019 the friendship turned into a brotherhood when we set up a string of studio sessions to focus on working together.

Naturally, after recording a handful of songs we wanted to release them, so the idea of forming a group was created. The rest is history.

Long Center: We’re halfway throug a second season of The Drop-In, and super pumped for Geto Gala to take the stage with San Gabriel. What’s your experience been like as Austin and the world have opened back up for live music? Does this summer feel different?

Jake: I feel like me and my guys worked so much all the way through the height of the closures that it doesn’t feel that different for me.

We played in person all of 2021, and with all the virtual shows and the few in-person shows we did in 2020, the work hasn’t stopped.

Long Center: You described your sound to us as “southern credo blended with sports-centric story raps” and “imagine if Panini cards made music.” We just have to know more — can you elaborate for us?

Jake: With Deezie and I both being sports fans, the duo gave us room to explore topics we may not necessarily do as much in our solo projects.

Both of us being from Texas and, more generally, the south, sothern rap has played a big part in our lives. GG is an extension of that. I mean, the name itself “Geto Gala” is a nod to the rap group Geto Boys.

Jake Lloyd with Deezie Brown
Jake Lloyd + Deezie Brown = Geto Gala, photo by Jake Rabin

Long Center: This season we’ve been encouraging our readers to get back out there and give into their curiosity to discover new artists, hobbies, art, or cool things in the neighborhood.

What have you been curious about? What will you explore next — in your music, in your own backyard, anything?

Jake: Recently I’ve been getting into plants a lot. I’ve always liked the idea of having plants in the house, but lately I’ve really dived into it. I like it and it’s very gratifying.

Musically, exploring is basically my mission statement. I love pushing myself to try new things and new sounds. Continuing to work with artists from across all genres, staying sharp, and keeping an open ear is the plan.

Long Center: Any new projects or albums in the works that you can share with us?

Jake: Geto Gala is working on a follow up to our first record. A single will be coming soon, while Jake Lloyd is also preparing to release a new single in late summer.

Long Center: Can you give us a little tease about what you’ll be playing at your Drop-In performance?

Jake: We’re excited to show off a few of our favorite tracks from the pool of songs recorded for the upcoming project.

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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.

If you’ve been following our social media over the last two weeks, it’s no secret that we are super excited about The Drop-In returning for a second summer with this Austin-centric lineup. While we can’t tell you what day he’s playing The Drop-In yet (keep on eye on @longcenter for that info!), we managed to catch up with David Garza — musician, producer, genre jumper — from his El Paso studio. This UT alum is no stranger to the Austin scene, and we’re fairly certain this is a performance you’re not gonna want to miss.

ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE DROP-IN 👉 With free music every Thursday, you might want a reminder or two. We can help with that.

1️⃣ Make sure you’re following us @longcenter wherever you get your news to see who’s playing next.

2️⃣ Sign up for weekly notifications so you know when RSVPs open.

3️⃣ Grab your lawn chairs and your buddies and prepare to Drop-In.

MEET DAVID GARZA
David Garza plays guitar in his studio, washed in orange light

Long Center: First off, we just have to ask you about Twang Twang Schock-A-Boom and your UT connection. Do you ever miss your busking days? Going from playing on campus for tips to sell-outs at Liberty Lunch seems like a true Austin story that is harder to come across nowadays.

David: Austin in the fall of 1989 was a fairytale. Students smoked cigarettes in the Cactus Cafe at lunch time while debating current events & films. Fresh-faced young souls shared poetry & UT Union burritos on the steps by the Drag. Politics & philosophy & culture & romance were all equally flowing in every corner of the West Mall.

Twang Twang Shock-A-Boom fell into this magic place at the perfect time. Busking for hundreds of our teenage peers with no PA system & no permission was an experience I will never forget. To now know that Janis Joplin & Roky Erickson & Townes Van Zandt & Lucinda Williams were among the legends who had also prowled the Cactus Cafe through the decades was not on our minds as young punks. We just wanted to make our own history.

Long Center: Well, we’re super pumped to bring The Drop-In back for another season this summer (and for your performance!). What’s your experience been like as Austin and the world have opened back up for live music?

David: Since the pandemic, I have only played one gig of my own music. It was at The Kessler Theatre in Dallas, TX, and was a true healing party. Humans need the oxygen of live music in their consciousness. As concerts have opened up, I feel an immense joy in the shared experience of this ancient communal dialogue. The artist learns from the audience & the audience shares in the artists’ groove.

Long Center: Your list of past collaborators is such a good read. Any highlights or special moments that stand out to you most?

David: Producing albums for other artists has been such a revelation! The biggest highlight of the last few years was winning the Grammy for my producing role in the Fiona AppleFetch The Boltcutters” album last year. I collaborate with so many great talents on songs and also compose music for films. Scoring the HBO Documentary on Beto O’Roarke (“Running With Beo”) was also a huge thrill. But I gotta say it is kinda cool to have a Grammy on top of my piano. 😊

David Garza looks out pensively on a lake at sunset

Long Center: This season we’ve been encouraging our readers to get back out there and give into their curiosity to discover new artists, hobbies, art, or cool things in the neighborhood.

What have you been curious about? What will you explore next — in your music, in your own backyard, anything?

David: Two passions of mine I have really embraced lately are painting and very amateur sewing!

Both good for the soul but sometimes tough on the eyes.

Long Center: Any new projects or albums in the works that you can share with us?

David: Album projects I’m excited about are compiling & mastering unreleased albums from my own catalog in El Paso and scoring a few documentary films in LA while producing artists as diverse as Ozomatli, Chris Perez, Hanson, Fastball, Lisa Morales, Esteromance, Lucy Woodward & Suzanne Choffel.

Long Center: Could you give us a little tease about what you’ll be playing at your Drop-In performance?

David: For the upcoming Long Center event, I could not be more excited to share songs of mine that go back to those old Austin ’90s days. Crazy to think I sing songs I wrote that go back over 30 years… I have a batch of new songs to share as well, but the old songs are what bring the smiles that make my heart sing.

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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.

If you’ve been anywhere near the Long Center lately (hopefully soaking up some sun!), you’ve probably noticed the very large sculpture hanging out under our Ring Beam. But don’t let what you see on the surface fool you — LOVE HATE, by artist Mia Florentine Weiss, is an “ambigram,” meaning either word can be read as “love” or “hate,” depending on how you view it. If you’re feeling like you need a change in perspective, today’s your lucky day — this Mid-Week Intermission checks in with Mia about the power of public art, the power of this particular piece, and why the message matters. 

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE JOURNEY 👉 This sculpture traveled the world before it landed right here in ATX. Many thanks to Google for helping us get LOVE HATE to the Long Center! Be sure to tag @longcenter in your pics.

MEET MIA FLORENTINE WEISS
Black and white photo showing Mia, a white German woman with blonde hair, standing with arms crossed in front of an architectural background

Long Center: Tell us a little bit about yourself as an artist, and your approach to creating art.

Mia When I was a teenager, I wrote the following:

I’m art
Says my heart
I’m a born idea
That’s why I’m here

My creativity was my greatest weapon — I collected words as well as objects (objet trouvé) to create something out of them. Growing up in an artistic household (my mother is a designer), in addition to creative days, life-drawing courses, workshops, etc., we were constantly shown new formats in which we children could make art. That shaped me — just like my time at the Free Waldorf school.

After graduating from high school, I found my main topic: What is your place of protection? or the primal human longing for security. Goethe’s Faust in us — love hate of life — the contradiction of things: beauty & horror, light & shadow, war & peace, past & future — is my inspiration. The “human,” the snapshot of a feeling to translate this into pictures / installations / artworks was my vocation, and eventually became my profession.

Long Center: How did the idea of LOVE HATE come to you? What’s the story behind this piece?

Mia: “LOVE HATE is everywhere!” There is a battle of extremes on both sides — for or against.

It seems as if we can only love or hate — do or do not — blaspheme or praise — kiss or romp — dance or stand still — be there or go — follow or lead — judgment or mercy — shame or harm?

That is why art in public space is so important to symbolize a change of perspective.

The LOVE HATE sculptures have been installed in over twenty European cities in cooperation with the EU’s culture committee, even in Moscow, and are now taking this transatlantic step thanks to the EU Delegation to the US and the German Embassy in Washington. We are also in dialogue with the Israeli Embassy and Mayor of Jerusalem.

From image to message to movement, from sculpture to social sculpture for all people. 

LOVE HATE reflects the turmoil but also the hope of the 21st century like no other work of art.

The sculpture, reddish brown "love" in front of Berlin's Brandenburg Gate with Mia sitting atop it

Long Center: As you said,  LOVE HATE has toured through many different countries before landing in Austin, and its message rings loud and clear given the cruelty happening in Ukraine. How has each location contributed to the message of the piece, and why is this an important message for Austin?

Mia: Art has always changed the world. It is a guarantor of democracy, freedom of expression, and a culture of debate. Artistic freedom as an indicator of democratic societies must always be defended. History shows that artists, like seismographs, sense social/econimic tensions and make them visible to the public through their works. That is why art in public space is the No. 1 exhibition platform that inspires us for a change of perspective.

Art + resistance/actionism = ARTIVISM! This is the answer to conflicts of the 21st century. In the terrible example of Ukraine, we see what people around the world are capable of doing to defend their democratic values (which include artistic freedom). They demonstrate, they show solidarity, they use WORD and deed, they improvise, they use their creativity, they create a common narrative and they are literally a living example of how an image can turn into a movement. That’s LOVE HATE for me. It’s not an artwork — it’s a revolution! We are all children of the revolution.

Austin is a super upcoming city in the US reflecting a NEW NOW. Just like Berlin was for Europe 10-20 years ago. Where better to install LOVE HATE than in the heart of Texas, where more free & creative spirit, like Austin, is needed? 

Mia stands in the middle of the LOVE HATE sculptures in the middle of a European city street

Long Center: What keeps you curious and creating? What ideas and messages will you explore next?

Mia: I’m a deep diver when it comes to humans and stories — every day gives me ideas & inspiration. In my case, it’s more a selection of information that I will decide on, whether this will be another Mona Lisa piece or not 😉

I cannot not work or reflect — my life is my art and the other way around. Even when I’m depressed. In fact, that’s great in many ways because pain is the petrol for creativity, right? So my advice: stop talking, start acting. Take your broken heart and turn it into art!

Long Center: What are you working on now? Any projects you can share with us?

Mia: Besides the European tour and the roadshow of LOVE HATE in the US, our studio is dealing with exhibitions, installations, and art fairs. As a personal, symbolic project right now — reflecting the war in Ukraine — I just built a giant NEW NOW for the city of Berlin in cooperation with an indpeendent new channel who broadcast from a media boat called Mediapioneer. Together we curated an online auction to sell it and donate all proceeds to journalists in the Ukraine.

Long Center: What do you hope people take with them from the piece?

Mia: A change of perspective — hopefully! That art is system relevant! The only way out of any absurdity is creativity!!

LOVE HATE sits under the Long Center ring beam with the Austin skyline in the background

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.

With only 22 days to go before the big show — that is, the Heller Awards for Young Artists Ceremony where we bring together a ton of students from 32 high schools to celebrate their musical theatre accomplishments for the year — our excitement is nearing extreme porportions. And what better way to get into the spirit of things than to check in with this year’s Ceremony hosts, program alumni Donelvan Thigpen and Jessica O’Brien? See what they had to say about the HAYAs and why they keep coming back to be a part of it in today’s Mid-Week Intermission.

And did we mention that the Heller Awards Ceremony is back in business, live and in-person in Dell Hall? It all goes down April 14th, and tickets to the show go on sale March 31st at 8pm. Sign up for alerts if you don’t want to miss it.

MEET THIS YEAR'S HOSTS, DONELVAN & JESSICA
Tell us a little about you. How did you get where you are today?
Donelvan, wearing glasses and a white and red t-shirt, sits cross-leged against a green field

Donelvan: My journey in performing started in the 3rd grade when my elementary school did The Music Man Jr. I played Marcellus Washburn and from that moment on I’ve been obsessed with the arts.

I wanted to learn how to sing, dance, and act. Musical theatre semed like the perfect place to learn how to become a triple threat, so I started to train with Ginger Morris (that’s the Producing Director of the Heller Awards, for those who don’t know her), and other great teachers, which led me to get accepted into the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music.

Jessica, poses with a big smile, a hat, and a peace sign in a tree-filled park

Jessica: I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today without the gifts of my high school theatre director, Kristie Copeland, and Ginger Morris. It was truly more than just the programs they offered — it was the passion, love, excellence, and inspiration that being in my high school musicals year after year instilled.

It was also the confidence gained by meeting Ginger in my Select Ensemble audition for the very first Musical Awards (called ‘The GAHSMTAs’ back in 2014), and the amazement at her ability to put together a genuine celebration for what we love as human beings and are here on this earth to do. Seeing true collaboration at its finest from female directors, who valued who I was as a person and artist, especially being ayoung woman of color, was a blessing and something I will treasure forever.

What projects are you working on right now? Anything we can check out soon?

Donelvan: Right now, I’m headlining on the Las Vegas Strip! I play Prince in Purple Reign The Prince Tribute Show. And if you’re in Vegas, you can check it out Wednesday through Saturday at 9:30pm!

Jessica: I’m currently serving as a new member of the Board of Directors for the Georgetown Palace Theatre, and am grateful to serve that community right now. I wrote a book about my experience up to this point in life as a black woman. I talk about about a few of the challenges I’ve had to overcome in theatre and in myself, but also highlight the genuine joy I’ve felt.

Being a woman of color is something I celebrate in my book, and I hope to encourage other people to be inspired to celebrate who they are as well!

We know you were in volved in the Heller Awards when you were in high school (in the GAHSMTA days!), but what makes you want to keep coming back and being involved?

Donelvan: Doing a musical in high school was so much fun, but it was also a lot of hard work! I want to be involved with the Awards because I believe any school that attempts to put on a musical should be honored and recognized, and that’s exactly what happens at the Heller Awards.

Jessica: It is amazing to see the caliber of professionalism that has been growing over the last few years because of the HAYAs. Yet I keep coming back because HS musicals are where I got my start. Austin is my home and it was the education programs like this one where I met some of my best friends and some truly amazing people who have challenged me along my journey. I’m passionate about leaving behind a higher ceiling for the next generation of artsits around me, and I am so excited to celebrate with these students and directors!

QUICK ASIDE
Did you catch those Nominations announcements??

Prepare for the Awards on April 14th with this 37-minute video announcing our 2022 nominees, plus a fun musical theatre number because we’re ‘back in business, and ain’t it grand.’ Not your thing? You can also save some time and check out the Nominations in this blog.

5 LESSONS FROM THE HELLER AWARDS DONELVAN & JESSICA USE EVERY DAY
Donelvan dressed as Prince in Purple Reign The Prince Tribute Show, in a blakc suit against a purple background

1 // Be adaptable. At some point, something you never thought would happen is going to happen, but if you’re adaptable you can always move forward.

2 // Never take anything personally.

3 // This one’s more of a quote. “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” Almost everything you do in life requires collaboration and especially in the arts.

4 // Always do your best. Even if you don’t feel at your best on a given day, if you do the best that you have at that moment, you can go to sleep with no regrets.

5 // Always cherish the present moment. I had a lot of anxiety waiting for a better moment to come along, or for something great to happen. But with that mindset, even when that “great moment” comes along, you’ll miss it because you’re already thinking about the next thing. 

All of your power is stored at this very moment. That’s all there is. (If you want to go deeper in this, check out “The Power of Now,” by Eckhart Tolle.

Jessica, sings powerfully into a handheld microphone wearing a sparkly silver dress

1 // It takes a village, but collaboration is a recipe for success.

2 // It takes having conversations and listening to those around you to produce a production that is valuable to all involved.

1 // It’s not personal, it’s just business.

2 // Everyone is doing their best, so give kindness and grace to everyone involved.

5 // Show up as you are, because that can speak volumes.

ARTS EDUCATION MATTERS

Show your support for arts education by following @hellerawardsatx on your social media platform of choice, or take it one step further and make a donation to the Heller Awards for Young Artists today. The future of arts education is here, and you can make sure it continues.

 

The Heller Awards for Young Artists are back in business! Ain’t it grand 🤩

We kicked things off on March 6 with a Virtual Nominations Ceremony, but in case you missed it (and want to avoid spoilers!), you can watch the recording below 👇

 

Are you ready? Okay, good.

THE 2022 haya NOMINEES ARE…

 

Congratulations to all the performers, crews, teachers, schools, and families who participated! We’ll see ya in Dell Hall real soon; April 14 to be exact. Until then, be sure to follow @hellerawardsatx on the social media platform of your choice for school shout outs and behind-the-scenes goodies. 

If you’re already looking forward to a post-SXSW cool-down, we have just the ticket — enter the cool jazz sounds of Christian McBride, headed to the Long Center March 25th with his New Jawn ensemble. A jazz legend by trade and whizz on the double bass, we got to sit down with Christian for a brief moment during his whirlwind European tour to check in ahead of his Austin appearance. Read on in this Mid-Week Intermssion for a brief peek behind the tour van door.

If you’re already sold 👉 You can still snag a few tickets to see Christian McBride’s New Jawn on March 25th with Austin locals Brannen Temple Express. We recommend.

INTRODUCING CHRISTIAN MCBRIDE
Christian, a tall black man in a gray suit, leans against a wall and smiles as he stands with his double bass

From coast to coast, Christian McBride is the voice and sound of jazz in America — literally, he hosts NPR’s Jazz Night in America — just check out this curated list from the show of the latest and best jazz out there right now. He frequently tours across the globe, including with his quartet, New Jawn, and winning a host of GRAMMY Awards along the way.

Powered by a relentless energy and a boundless love of swing, McBride’s path has described a continuous positive arc since his arrival on the scene. With a career now blazing into its third decade, the Philadelphia native has become one of the most requested, most recorded, and most respected figures in the music world today. You’re gonna understand why really soon.

So let’s get into it!

Long Center: So tell us a little bit about how you’ve handled the chaos of the last year. How have you stayed creative?

Christian: Even though the pandemic was a long, difficult, and sometimes scary time full of unkowns, on the other hand, having time off the road actually gave me more space to be creative, etc. 

I was able to spend more time with my wife Melissa, and our dogs, and event spent some time cooking! Aside from some pivoting to Zoom (like the rest of the world) on projects like recording episodes of my SiriusXM show (The Lowdown: Conversations with Christian) remotely rather than in person, it fortunately did not affect things too much.

Long Center: Well we’re incredibly excited to have you on stage at the end of the month. What’s it been like to tour again? How have the members of the New Jawn stayed connected to each other and to listeners?

Christian:  The time off was nice, but it’s great to be on tour again see so many friends. My band, New Jawn (that’s Marcus Strickland, Josh Evans, and Nasheet Waits) did actually play together a few times during the pandemic — at the Village Vanguard (a livestream with no audience) and a similar livestream taping for Celebrity Series in Boston. So we were grateful for that.

Christian in suit, tie, and hat, strolls down a street with a pipe.
Quick Aside:
A LITTLE BIT ABOUT BRANNEN TEMPLE and the EXPRESS

Brannen Temple is a 3X Gammy Award-winning drummer and Austin native, who is best known as a drummer for acts like Eric Burdon, Robben Ford, Lizz Wright, Eric Johnson, Ruthie Foster and more.

He leads his modern jazz/soul band Brannen Temple Express, which features trombonist Andre Hayward (Duke Ellington Band), pianist Dayne Reliford (Hannibal Lokumbe), saxophonist LaQuin Lay (DJ Beverly Bond), bassist D-Madness (Tribal Nation) and percussionist Mikel Urdy (Marc Broussard).

Long Center: Okay Christian, we have to ask… any new projects or albums in the works that you can share with us?

Christian: New Jawn recently went into the studio, as well, to record some new tunes… so stay tuned!

Long Center: As we keep getting back out there and safely host events and shows again, we’re encouraging all of our readers to give into their curiosity and discover something new.

What have you been curious about? 

Christian: I tend to stay curious about everything, all the time. I read a lot, try to go to museums, and want to always keep my brain active.

Curiosity expands your intelligence. I’d like to think that I make multiple discoveries every day, but I most recently discovered T25 workout videos while on the road… it’s serious!!!

Long Center: For those who are into jazz but may not know where to start, any recommended artists for newcomers to explore?

Christian: The go-to is always Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue. It’s the perfect album.

Long Center: What can our concert goers expect from your show on March 25th? What do you hope they take home with them from the experience?

Christian: I no longer have any wishes for the audiences to take home a particular feeling. However the music makes them feel, it’s how they feel. I just hope they’re going to be curious, and listen with open ears and an open heart.

Christian wears a super cool maroon blazer as he poses with his hat

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.

The time has come — we’re so excited to kick off I Live Here I Give Here’s 24 hours of community giving through Amplify Austin! We’ve made it our mission to continue to lift up our artistic community by providing platforms, resources, and overwhelming support for local artists and arts orgs. But guess what — you’re in luck, because today is the perfect time for you to do the same!

Last year, we raised $40,000 together to keep our local artists performing safely. This year, with your help, we know we can raise $50,000 and push that support even further, because when we give emerging artists a leg up and spotlight community orgs, our shared curiosity brings us closer together. So, here are 5 reasons to donate and #AmplifyYourCuriosity today.

 
Gina Chavez, a tall woman with short dark hair in a white flowy blouse sings straight to the camera
 
 
Reason #1 // 
Because we want more moments like this one 🤩

We all felt the joy of re-emerging and remembering what it was like to have a good time the Austin way — that is, with some unforgettable live performances on stages, in parks, and back at our favorite local venues. It’s time to explore and give into our ATX brand of curiosity that knows a new creative discovery is around every corner. We’re here to help with that, because moments like this one ☝️ are one of a kind.

a crowd sits watching a brightly-lit show on the H-E-B terrace at night
 
 
Reason #2 //
To give up-and-coming creatives a boost

Throughout the last two years, we’ve hunkered down and made it our mission to continue to connect Austinites with artists, industry workers with industry work, and unique stages with those who need them in whatever ways we can.

Just like you, the thing we love most about this place is that stars are born here, so what we do — through shows and experiences, like The Drop-In and Good Vibes Only — is focused on giving those up-and-comings and next-best-things the boost they need to connect, discover, and create. And that goes for the youngest artists out there (shoutout to our Heller Awards high schoolers) plus some extra local love for our local scene.

a stylish black woman with short hair sticks her tonge out at the camera while dancing
 
 
Reason #3 //
To (re)connect with your neighbors

Community connections are a big part of what we believe in here at the LC. That’s meant reconnecting with organizations and partnering with others to not only see how we could grow our relationships, but how we could support them in bigger and better ways.

Last year, we got to know the team at Six Square through a playlist exchange and saw Big Freedia return to the Long Center for their Beyond the Square Festival. There was also a movie premiere with Austin Asian American Film Festival, a fundraiser for the Musician Treatment Foundation to provide critical healthcare for musical artists, and an unforgettable Keep Live Music Alive fest with Black Fret. And with your support during Amplify Austin, just think of all the new connections we can dream up!

a moodily-lit stage is packed with jazz musicians with a standing base in the background and strings in the foreground against a magenta stage scrim

 

 

Reason #4 //
Because there’s no experience like an Austin experience

Austin isn’t called the Live Music Capital of the World for nothing — it’s the city’s bread & butter. This also means that things happen on Austin stages that don’t happen anywhere else, and we’ve been honored to connect our most unique stages with the funds they need to get through these pandemic lows.

These stages are as unique as Austin itself. We’ve got neighborhood joints on every street corner, backdoors in every alley way, with no chance of a boring night out. And for us, we’re pleased to be more than your average performing arts center for not-your-average city, where anyone and everyone can cheer on an Austin FC game, watch the sunset over downtown while living it up at a free show, or catching your favorite celeb for one night only from the best seat in the house.

a group of friedns enjoy a show on the Long Center lawn

 

 

Reason #5 //
Because we have the most fun when we’re together

It’s as simple as that. We’re in the business of creating opportunities — and we mean any opportunity — for Austinites to hang out and enjoy. Your gift to the Long Center during Amplify Austin supports everything that we do, and puts Austin artists at the top of our list as we champion what makes this place the best place to call “home.” Thanks for chipping in to #AmplifyYourCuriosity with us!

Austin’s huge growth rate (not to mention the extreme challenges of the past 2 years) has put unprecedented pressures on our city’s cultural spaces — that’s right, we’re talking about the fact that “space” has become even harder to find for arts organizations than it was pre-pandemic. So this week, we thought it might be nice to hear from Anne Gatling Haynes about how the Austin Cultural Trust plans to preserve spaces so that Austin’s creative legacy can continue to grow alongside its expansion. Read on in this Mid-Week Intermission to learn what a Cultural Trust is, how it can help Austin arts, and how you can help, too.

Anne Gatling Haynes, a white woman with long blonde hair smiles wearing a white shirt and a blue blazer
Anne Gatling Haynes
So, let's start with an Economic Development Corporation (EDC). What is it, and how did Austin's get started?

The AEDC, or Austin Economic Development Corporation, is a local government corporation created by the City of Austin in 2020, after years of engagement and conversation related to real estate development among diverse stakeholders. The organization, as it serves in cities like New York City and Philadelphia, is truly a public real estate developerdesigned to facilitate project implementation in increasingly complex urban development projects and assure equitable and inclusive public policy goals.

The organization will have a variety of roles from facilitating real estate transactions on behalf of the City or other public/neighborhood partners, program and partnership management & services, plus perform analysis to inform policy discussions.

Okay, so the AEDC is specifically interested in public real estate development. How does the Cultural Trust fit in?

The Cultural Trust was identified as one of the initial projects for the AEDC to manage. Council identified that AEDC could manage the program effectively (on behalf of public funds secured by many, many organizations, commissions, and individuals) due to the need to leverage the initial funding with additional resources and expertise, as well as to advance specific real estate and development projects at the speed of the market. However, the program truly fits into the AEDC’s mission of inclusive development, by preserving and amplifying the City’s core cultural identities, its DNA, within the permanent fabric of the city.

We’re not just looking at this like a grant program, but rather a set of investments in a permanent infrastructure for arts, music, and culture, and most importantly, creativity. We’ve structured the program as a pipeline, so that we can look at both short- and long-term investment, and be clever about connecting needs to potential development projects and available spaces on an ongoing basis, to broadly install those cultural assets in our physical realm.

Tell us a little about your background. How did you get involved?

This opportunity at AEDC is a fantastic ‘full circle’ moment for me professionally, as I’m able to bring so many parts of my background together into one job! I had been traveling to Austin since 1994, so I’ve seen the City’s growth and was familiar with many of its aspects, including experience with the state legislature. I came here from Houston, where I worked for three years standing up an independent local government corporation focused on affordable housing, although I’m originally from the northeast.

A large, white and glass building with several stories overlooking a city block
Overture Center, Madison, WI

I am an architect by training and spent many years designing and building performing and visual art centers in the midwest and northeast, which is a handy background for understanding the space needs of the applicants to the Cultural Trust. Realizing that I should explore that path of city-building from the public side, I joined the Bloomberg administration in NYC to advise and facilitate legacy capital projects.

After briefly leading EDC in New Haven, CT, focused on neighborhood district revitalization and the support of our budding entrepreneurial ecosystem, I designed and ran a district-based community econimic development program for 26 cities in Massachusetts called the Transformative Development Initiative that has continued to this day. I’m so proud of that program as it is centered in public placemaking, while providing tools to help spur longer term development cycles as well as small business and real estate investments. Most importantly, as it relates to what I see our opportunity here, is that many of the cities led their district development efforts through the lens of arts and culture initiatives, which were fundamentally equitable and inclusive community building efforts.

It's no secret that we love our cultural spaces here. Could you tell us why it's so important to preserve these in cities, especially cities like Austin?

The DNA of this city is rooted in creativity — the music, of course, but cultural arts and ‘making’ are just as strong and unique here. Austin’s ‘Weird’ is a very authentic experession of this boundless creativity that had been naturally nurtured for years by the relatively low affordability, free-spirit experimental culture, quality of life, and optimism.

These very things that have defined the city, which is in fact what everyone is so attracted to, have been heavily impacted by rising real estate prices, both working and living spaces, and of course shocks like Covid, which has affected everyone’s business model. We’ve seen this before in other cities, and thanks to the leadership in Austin and amazing advocacy from a variety of stakeholders, we have an initial set of tools ready to act.

Losing the very essence of the city will be a loss for not just the people who live here now, but it will change the dynamic of future Austin as well. We need to consider the arts of a city as its connective tissue, and nurture them as a strategy for community retention and cohesion.

What does this mean for the overall landscape of arts in Austin? Why now? Why real estate?

Although Austin has lost some really important venues and organizations because of the rising costs of real estate, and the pandemic on top of that, these circumstances have also provided an opportunity for other organizations to grow their resilience. This will beneift our cultural ecosystem in the long run.

The work of the Cultural Trust is just beginning — although the program is starting in real estate, I believe that we collectively need to craft a much larger systemic vision of a Cultural Trust as an infrastructure with this same resilience. The real estate investments will help provide a more stable financial structure around rent and property taxes, as well as provide more open, publicly-accessible facilities that are needed for various organizations to continue doing amazing work. However, we also need to solve the housing crisis for all (patrons and artists!), in order to keep people closer to the places that might be preserved, reinforced, or created by the Cultural Trust.

We also have to help reduce the costs of business. This includes looking at innovative models to provide shared & cooperative business services and finding ways to provide a more predictable funding structure — an evergreen endowment — to help sustain organziations through highs and lows. With amazing partners in the ecosystem like the Long Center, and many, many more who work daily on behalf of preserving and amplifying the arts in Austin, I am confident that we can co-create this vision.

What are you most excited about for the future of the AEDC?

Having worked now in four local government corporations like AEDC in different cities and states, I know what a great partner an EDC can be to help facilitate equitable and inclusive development. The advantage for the City is to have an independent, professionalized staff that can work closely with and on behalf of the City, but work at the speed of real estate and neighborhood partners. Additionally, these organizations work nimbly to be responsive to hyper local conditions and challenges, and to better connect public and private actors engaged in the improvement of their neighborhoods. I’m so excited to help shape the future of this organization, especially at this critical time in the Austin’s growth.

How can Austinites help? How can we get involved and help maintain our cultural landmarks & institutions?

I’m a strong believer in creating a culture of co-investment — everyone can play a part to help advance the bigger vision. First, Austinites (and New Austinites!) need to safely go back out and support their neighborhood or favorite music/culture/arts organizations. Become a sustaining patron of those places and organizations to the degree that you can — money is great, but advocating for them, volunteering, and connecting those organizations to resources are a great help, too.

Developers and property owners need to ask — how can I further support the creative economy in my projects or spaces? Companies moving into the city, to take advantage of Austin’s vibe, need to find ways to support the creative infrastructure at scale — whether it be philanthropically or through encouraging their talent to be supporters of the arts. All of these folks can partner with the institutions that have worked so long to create the Austin we know now.

A watercolor drawing of a future development plan for the Riverside area
South Central Waterfront Initiative
We at the AEDC are hopeful that, with our partners, we can effectively facilitate the preservation of what we all love about Austin in this next growth spurt, and assure that it is accessible and inclusive (and affordable) to the broadest set of Austinites.
— Anne

SUPPORT AUSTIN’S CREATIVE ECONOMY

Is your business interested in getting more involved with Austin’s arts scene? Our Business Arts Council might be the right place for you. This group believes a strong creative sector is a vital component to a healthy, thriving city, and directly supports the work the Long Center is doing to create a sustainable, artistic future for all of Austin. Find out how to join!

Coming up on seven years of board service for the Long Center, this week’s Mid-Week Intermission comes from all-around LC cheerleader Lynn Yeldell. Sharing her favorite seven Long Center photo memories (one for every year she’s been a Trustee, like this one 👇), read on to hear how Lynn’s agency Seventh Scout helped us breathe new life into our website and more fun times at the Long Center.
Lynn, a tall white woman wish short hair, stands on the Long Center Terrace with local Austin band Magna Carda
That's me, on the right, with local duo Magna Carda and fellow LC Trustee Shayna Brown.
Where Ya’t, Austin?
I’m Lynn Yeldell 👋

Seven is a lucky number. It’s also the name of my agency, Seventh Scout. But most relevant, seven is the number of years I have served on the Long Center Board of Trustees.

I grew up in New Orleans and lived in the French Quarter with access to some of the best live music, galleries, and diverse culture that NOLA offers. Hurricane Katrina swept me to Austin in 2005, and I just forgot to go back home to New Orleans. Technically, I evacuated while on vacation with some college friends, so I loaded my car with beach clothes and waited it out. It was six exhausting weeks before I was allowed to return to my home. Relocating is challenging as an adult, and it is is even more complicated when forced upon you unplanned.

Once in Austin, I quickly sought out the familiarity of my New Orleans experience. I was quickly fascinated by the creation of the Long Center and thrilled that we got to help share that in the magazine where I was an owner and founder, L Style G Style. As one of the top 20 women to graduate from The University of Alabama and the owner of Seventh Scout — recognized as the LGBT-owned business of the year — visibility and diversity are at the core of my personal and professional life. I have felt at home from the moment I first walked through the doors of the Long Center, and was thrilled when my friend Eric Copper nominated me for the board seven years ago. I was even more excited to get to serve as Board Chair for a couple of those years, too.

In the early days of the pandemic, the staff realized that the Long Center website was built around a calendar that was no longer rich with shows and experiences. And although the live performances were paused, the Long Center was not. Our Seventh Scout agency donated our time and services to reimagine and build a community-centric website that elevated this shift from programming on stages to supporting and nurturing all of the live arts in our community. In fact, you’re reading this blog on it right now! Why not explore some more?

My friends and partner will tell you I am constantly taking pictures wherever we go. It is visual journaling that I have loved for years. So, as my leadership and seven years of board service come to an end, I wanted to share with you seven of my favorite photos from Austin’s Front Row where Curiosity is Live — the Long Center.

Selfie-fail with The Avett Brothers backstage before the 10th Anniversary Gala show.
Lynn stands backstage with Neil deGrasse Tyson in a suit
Introducing the brilliant and hilarious astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson to a hall packed with curious Austinites.
Lynn stands in a crowd wearing rainbow Long Center tshirt preparing to walk in the Pride parade
Walking in the Austin Pride Parade with allies from our staff and board.
Lynn stands on Dell Hall stage facing into the theatre with moody lighting before a community dance event
Dancing on stage and learning the latest Bollywood moves at one of many events and activities at the LC that are free and open to all.

Thankful there is no video!

Lynn poses under the Austin FC locker room sign with fellow BAC member Lisa Lucero
Being a member of our Business Arts Council with fellow business leaders from Google, H-E-B, AT&T, and more gives us unique access to city leaders and private tours of Austin venues, like the Austin FC locker room at Q2 Stadium.

No, there was no “BELIEVE” poster… but there should be!

a full house in dell hall is awash in blue light enjoying the show
Dell Hall, March 10, 2020, Harry Connick, Jr.

We sat on the front row next to friends we were afraid to hug as people were getting sick, and we weren’t sure how or why.

And finally, my partner, Elizabeth, and I sharing the lawn with my dear friend and Seventh Scout partner, Rhodes Gibson, and his husband, Jeff. 

We lost him just one short month after this Blind Boys of Alabama Easter Sunday show, and I couldn’t be more grateful to have shared this experience with them.

Lynn stands with her partner and friends on the Long Center lawn in front of a big blocky LUCK sign
Much gratitude to the staff, fellow board members, and BAC pals for some excellent memories in and around Austin. I hope to see you at a show, and perhaps you can help me perfect my selfie game! Till then…
Lynn

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.

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.

This year has been a tough one, but also a year to celebrate. So, we’re doing just that with a list of highlights from 2021.

Despite it all, we managed to come together for live music, new experiences, and good times, but we couldn’t have done it without you. So, we just want to say “thanks,” and wish you a safe and healthy end to 2021. And now, let’s celebrate what we were able to achieve this year.

FOR THE LONG CENTER, 2021 WAS…

The Drop-In
The Drop-In, Brynn Osborn

The Year of Live

The new year dawned and the collective question on our minds was …okay, so how do we get back out there? Over the next few months, we realized the answer was a combination of dependable partners, definitive Austin vibes, and more seating pods.

Then came another round of Long Live Music, the love child of Long Center and Luck Reunion. Not only could we not have asked for better partners, but the community-building mix of national & local artists and safe, communal experience was also a breath of fresh air. It told us that yes, “live” is possible again. We can bring music back safely.

Long Live Music
Long Live Music, Suzanne Cordeiro
lookOUT
lookOUT feat. serpentwithfeet, Catriona Long

After that came more terrific partners in the name of “live,” including the three-day Keep Live Music Alive festival with Black Fret (sporting a star-studded, Austin-centric lineup we won’t forget quickly), the explorative ‘lookOUT’ series with outer/most agency, and a new pal for us in ACL Radio. Ushering in a fresh wave of free community events for the Long Center, and turning our H-E-B Terrace into a go-to spot for the entire summer, partnering with ACL Radio on The Drop-In was our cautious-yet-lively anthem of the season. 

The Year of Local

Good Vibes Only featuring Melat
Good Vibes Only feat. Mélat, Sophia Lawson

The Drop-In also heralded a fresh perspective of our own backyard — Austin isn’t the Live Music Capital of the World for nothin’, and we knew exactly what to do with that. This free, 16-show series allowed us to see our neighbors again, and even meet new ones. To hang out as regulars at our local joint while tip-toeing back out into the world. Discovering new local artists and showing up when they needed it most.

Our goal of providing a reliable stage for Austin’s artists and local production folks really took shape this year, leading us to Good Vibes Only. This groovy experiment in staging, sound, and concept turned our black box theatre into a sound stage, and gave Austin artists an opportunity to stream new music — often written during pandemic times — and reach an audience at home while still sounding and looking rad. Check out these free episodes for yourself.

The Drop-In featuring Gina Chavez
The Drop-In feat. Gina Chavez, ACL Raido

Supported by the Long Center’s Artist Fund (you can still contribute, by the way), we’re making these two new series the backbone of our commitment to Austin’s culture and its incredible spectrum of diversity. We know we have work to do here, and we made it a point for our lineups to reflect this.

Look for more form these programs in 2022. 😉

The Year of ‘We Can Help with That’

Austin Asian American Film Festival, Roger Ho

A renewed focus on what it meant to be “local” also meant supporting our fellow organizations in bigger and better ways. Looking at our wide-open spaces, we reached out to share them. A …yeah, we can definitely help with that mentality kept us busy and grew our relationships with those around us.

Musically Fed Food & Goods Drive, Suzanne Cordeiro

We got to know the team at Six Square through exchanging playlists, and saw Big Freedia return to the Long Center for their Beyond the Square Festival. There was also a movie premiere with Austin Asian American Film Festival, a fundraiser for the Musician Treatment Foundation to provide critical healthcare for musical artists, a drive to help feed live entertainment and events industry crews with Musically Fed, and a temporary home base for Austin Mutual Aid.

Six Square's Beyond the Square, Suzanne Cordeiro

Our staff also rallied to make sure that five million dollars in critical funds were delivered to Austin’s live music venues quickly and efficiently through the City’s SAVES initiative, with more to come in 2022.

But what we’re really proud of are the connections we’ve made this year that came from listening, helping, and reaching out while asking, “Hi, how are you?”

The Year of ‘Getting Back to It’

Hasan Minhaj in Dell Hall, Tour

It might sound cheesy, but Santa Claus returning to the H-E-B Terrace for the first time in over two years (can you believe it??) felt as though the holidays had come early. It’s been surreal for us, as a creative group of arts and experience lovers thrown into a world without live events, to get to return to a Long Center tradition and reunite as a group doing something as simple as taking a picture with ‘ole Sant Nick.

Members of Long Center's Guest & Event Services team posing for a picture with Santa
LC's Guest & Event Services team at Santa on the Terrace, Catriona Long

This feeling of getting-back-to-it-ness has been all-encompassing. In the last few months, we’ve hosted two sold-out performances in Dell Hall with Hasan Minhaj — pinch us, because we still feel like we’re dreaming — and we’ve watched our friends at the Ballet, Symphony, and Opera return to full-house performances with safety measures in place. We’re even excitedly planning for our Heller Awards for Young Artists to return to the stage in 2022. 🤞

The Year of ‘What’s Next?’

The Drop-In
The Drop-In, Catriona Long

Our Long Center world is beginning to come back into focus, but we know that challenges still lie ahead. Through it all, we’ve relied on our curiosity and our team’s abilities to think fresh and push outside the box. What would happen if we combine these two artists? We can make digital theatre, right? Is Austin ready for a variety show? …are all real questions we’ve asked ourselves throughout the course of the year. Some things worked and some things didn’t, but we kept coming back to the basic question, “what’s next, and how do we get there?”

We’re not at all sure what’s next, but you can bet it’ll involve experimentation, new friends, and more Austin vibes. What we do know is that we’re full of surprises. So don’t write us off yet — we’ve got a full upcoming 2022 calendar, some really bright ideas, and one excellent Austin community. See you soon!

Wishing you a safe & healthy New Year from all of us at the Long Center — here’s to 2022!
Long Live Music, Suzanne Cordeiro

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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