The Drop-In 2024 lineup is out and it’s no surprise that we have some opinions in the house! At the LC, we’re a collection of superfans, ride-or-dies, and intense consumers of Austin’s creative arts scene, so when we asked for Drop-In ‘hot picks,’ the team certainly delivered. Check out what they had to say about this stellar lineup (spoiler: we like them all) and start putting together your own can’t-miss, won’t-miss list.

The Drop-In 2024 Lineup
WE ASKED:
The whole lineup is solid, but who are you most excited to Drop-In this summer?
Matt from Programming
// Pedal Steel Noah

After watching his viral videos & learning his story, it’s exciting for us to bring the joy of his playing to our Drop-In series. Noah has turned the traditional approach to pedal steel use & made it his own!

Sonora from Development
// Bidi Bidi Banda

I’m pretty sure I became a huge fan of Selena at birth, thanks to my parents and their equal love of her and Tejano music, which they passed on to me. My dad likes to claim that he took me to a Selena concert before she was taken from us — the truth of that claim is up in the air, but that doesn’t change how much I love her! It’s great to see a woman-led Tejano band that continues to share her legacy and spread the joy of Tejano music, and I am excited to witness their show this summer with a crowd!

Oh, and Selena continues to be my #1 on my Spotify Wrapped every year!

Riley from Production
// Little Mazarn

I’ve seen them grow over the years and they are killing it! I really enjoy the ambient textures in their music. They make beautiful music videos.

// Half Dream

Half Dream is another one I’m excited about. I’ve mixed a couple of their shows years ago and they have a really great vibe and sound!

// Grupo Fantasma

Grupo is an absolutely incredible band to see live. If you haven’t seen them yet, you gotta check them out at The Drop-In!

Gabby from Programming
// Daniel Fears

I had the pleasure of doing lighting for a show he was recording and it was amazing. I haven’t been able to go to any of his recent shows so I’m glad I can catch this one!

// Motenko

Been a fan of his for a long time! He used to accompany and perform at the Natalie George Productions Cabarets and I stopped in to Stay Gold a couple of times to watch him perform back in 2019. Happy to see him doing shows around the country and super excited to see what he plays for us!

Dana from Programming
// Riders Against the Storm

They played our inaugural Drop-In series and it turned into a dance party on-stage… Excited for those good dance vibes again this year!

Samuel from Marketing
// Primo the Alien

Primo the Alien! Excited to see some electropop on the 3D-printed stage!

Jen from Operations
// Zach Person

It’s inexcusable that he hasn’t played a Drop-In yet. I am a huge fan, and I may have told him that at a gig he did at the Bullock last summer…

Cory (our CEO)
// Riders Against the Storm

I’m always excited to see Riders Against the Storm. Besides loving their music and the vibe that they bring, I so appreciate all of the work that they do for our community through DAWA.

Orlando from Event Services
// Bidi Bidi Banda

Bidi Bidi Banda! As someone from Corpus Christi, I can’t get enough Selena and some good Tejano music.

Hannah from Marketing
// SL Houser
// Barb

One of the things I look forward to every year is the Drop-In playlist — I’m terrible at finding new music and this is the perfect way for me to feel cool. Our openers especially feel like hidden gems in a town with SO MUCH music to take in. Most excited for SL Houser and Barb — two of our kickass, women-fronted openers. Can’t wait!

Annie from Box Office
// Thor & Friends

Thor’s ethereal sounds are ghostly and meditative. The music feels lawless at times, but always comes together in beautiful and striking ways.

// Little Mazarn

Lindsey’s lyrics are like a meandering river, gentle yet strong. I love the peaceful and atmospheric sounds that feel like a distant memory.

 
// Cactus Lee

I love their old-school country sound to get your toes tapping, plus a slide guitar always makes me swoon.

// Half Dream

Paige’s raw lyrics and dreamy melodies make me want to rock out and smile at the same time.

And there’s so much more where this came from! You can’t go wrong with any Drop-In, and that’s our favorite thing about it. Make sure you’re signed up to get RSVP alerts on Mondays (remember, it’s free) and we’ll see you there! Oh, also keep an eye out on our socials for Friday artist reveals.

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 a total solar eclipse had a sound, what would it sound like??

We’ve been waxing about this question at the office so we sat down with Molly Webster, host of science podcast heavy hitter Radiolab, to hear her thoughts on the matter. Catch her live at the Long Center for all things celestial — just wait till you hear her take on the moon — as she hosts Simons Foundation’s Solar Eclipse Party on April 8.

Can we get started with a little bit about you and what you do at Radiolab?

Of course, so I’m Molly Webster and I’m the Senior Correspondent at Radiolab, which means a lot of on-air reporting, specialty topics and specialty projects, and special series that I host and create. 

It’s a mix between reporting, some hosting, some sort of special projects managing, team leading… and then having some general knowledge about what’s going on in science that’s built up over the years.

This is Molly in New York ☝️
And your background is in science, is that right?

Yeah so I did biology as an undergrad. But I think I basically just loved being like, “why is this thing happening?” I can see it, observe it, explain it. And so whether that’s bodies or plants or the sky or animals — I’m very interested in that.

And then I also was a dancer from when I was little through a lot of college. But the school that I went to for undergrad didn’t have dance, so I ended up doing theatre. So I was kind of a theatre-science nerd.

I do love to dance, as you’ll see if you’re in Austin.

So how did you eventually make it to Radiolab?

That is such a good question. Since I was little I really loved reading National Geographic and the Smithsonian magazines. I wanted to do that or be a dancer — those were my things. And then I thought I wanted to maybe do science research and then do this other thing on the side, which is write for these amazing magazines.

So I finished my undergrad and took a year off — I thought I just wanted to work in coffee shops and sleep on floors or travel or something. So I did that and found this program at NYU that took people who were trained in science and moved them into journalism or communications, the Science, Health, and Environmental reporting program.

My whole thing was I wanted to write for magazines, so I wanted to get back to the Nat Geo/Smithsonian dreams. And I did work at National Geographic — they had this magazine in New York called Adventure (which was my favorite), and I got to write about kayaking and red rock arches. But magazines then and now — this was 15 years ago — have just gotten thinner and thinner and shorter and shorter with less opportunities of actually doing the long form journalism that I wanted to do. And then there was this place called Radiolab, which I’d heard about in my year of working in coffee shops and living off floors. A very good friend of mine said, “You have to hear this show,” and had it on CD, just like 8 episodes or something on a CD-ROM. 

So then I was going to New York where Radiolab was, and Science Friday at NPR, and Adventure from National Geographic. I had started writing for dance magazines and cold pitching, and I thought, “I’ll try to get in at Radiolab,” because the magazines just didn’t feel like I had a future there. Radiolab was doing the thing that I wanted, which was long form narrative journalism, science, interest, wonder, curiosity, out in the world. And I really loved traveling, and audio is great because you sort of have to go to a place and actually be there to put a mic in front of something.

And yeah, then I got on the team and I’ve been here, geez, now 11 years. But the show has changed and is so variable day to day that it doesn’t really feel like 11 years.

That’s one of the things we like about Radiolab, too. The variability.

So I always said this to Jad [Abumrad] — I’m a person who gets bored pretty easily. And one of the things that’s very fun about Radiolab is that the very basis of audio has different parts in the cycle of creating a story.

There’s ideation, pitching, coming up with ideas — and then there’s going out and reporting the ideas — and then you have all this audio you’ve collected, all these .wav forms, and then you have to make them into something. And all of those require different levels of extroversion and introversion and different tempos, different ways of interacting with the world. So there’s just a natural variability in the cycle.

When I first started at Radiolab, one of my first projects was trying to name a new mammal that researchers had put together digitally that basically looked like a giant shrew, so we created a life-sized shrew costume that we then hired an actor to wear and walk around the city to engage with people in this ridiculous costume. (The actor being my freelance actor friend.) So we would do these things live and Radiolab really engaged with live shows and events in a super artistic, fun, creative, zany way, way before any audio show did.

I love live events because one of the interesting things about Radiolab is that it’s really been able to connect my performance-theatre-dance-stage background and deep, deep interest and love with science and journalism and audio and storytelling. And I don’t think that would happen at a lot of other places.

Yeah, live events — do you know yet what Radiolab will be doing at the Long Center for the eclipse?

So I’m hosting the stage show the Simons Foundation is producing and putting together. That’s a four-hour event that’s going to have scientists and storytellers and actors. And then what I’m going to do on stage is tell a story of the moon — I think that the moon gets a short shrift during solar eclipses. It’s called a solar eclipse — we’re not even mentioning that the only reason it’s happening is because the moon is going in front of the sun and creating this event for us all to stop and wonder at or ignore, should we choose.

So I’m going to ask the audience to look at the moon a little differently or a little more closely. And then hopefully when they’re watching the eclipse, that combined with actually looking up and seeing the moon, connects them to this celestial body that is close but far. 

Radiolab calls itself a “curiosity blender,” and the Simons Foundation’s ‘In the Path of Totality’ initiative is kind of a curiosity blender, too.

Simons Foundation is just such a great foundation to work with. They are so curious, so experimental… they’re very very collaborative partners. In all the years we’ve worked with them and I’ve worked with them, through it all it’s honestly been such a joy. I don’t even have to say that. They’re very good at creatively coming up with concepts and then figuring out how to execute them. We started working with them eight or nine years ago doing special projects as a part of Science Sandbox, another wing of theirs that was going to form popular science programs. They funded two special series and special project teams — the first series we did was Gonads and then the second series we did was G.

‘In the Path of Totality’ is focused on the intersection of science & community around the eclipse. Where do you think Radiolab falls within that intersection?

That’s interesting. I would say Radiolab has always had a community platform, that if anything, right now we’re thinking about how to reengage with. Covid definitely put a damper on gatherings, but as far as community goes, it’s one of the reasons we wanted to do live events originally as a show, to get out to new listeners, to reach people in new ways, to interact with people in person. Right now, we’re doing a big engagement around naming a moon that’s going to start soon, and Simon Adler on our show is doing live events that have been going all around the country that have interactive headphones when the audience is together. So I would say at some level, it’s a fundamental part of who we are.

With that in mind, where do you think art can play a role between science and community?

I feel like that’s a question I’m still learning the answer to every day. I definitely was brought up, even though it doesn’t sound like it, in siloed worlds in that I happened to be a dancer or be in theatre and then also be in science. And so I’ve found myself in a place where all of those things are sort of intersecting. But I think art is the not-so-secret back door into actually getting people to hear what you’re talking about, to learn to engage with the world, to have fun, to feel joy.

Because even a Radiolab episode is art, you know? You’re trying to sound design it, how to pace it, it’s musical, it’s rhythm, and I think that’s one of the reasons it draws in so many listeners. You can do a wonky episode about the moon and you can draw people in with voice and rhythm and pacing and sound design. Yeah, I think otherwise I would just tell people about the moon and it would feel very different. I just feel like art is probably everything.

Podcasting is so audio-forward, and we’re coming together to do something that’s so visual and silent. What do you think about that?

I think silence is sound. And visual. We think about that on the show a lot, which is that the use of silence and pauses are often equally as important as the moments where you do fill the space with sound.

There’s an interesting thing happening at a live event that’s literally live because it’s like a moon and a sun — it’s happening in nature in real time and then you’re bringing all these people together. It’s important to the team that the eclipse moment be quiet and be whatever it needs to be for an audience member. That we don’t try to program that or attach an emotion or a sound or something to it. And so on the stage that day the moments before the eclipse, the totality itself, and the moments after the eclipse will be just like a choose-your-own adventure. Everyone just gets to figure out how to hold themselves and what they want to do in that moment.

And then I think the beauty and the excitement for me and for Radiolab is to then get to be on the stage with them after. That feels like such an honor, that I would get to share the post-moments with a bunch of people and then they can feedback as well.

Have you been to Austin before?

No, I have never been to Austin! I’m so excited. I made a list of cities I can’t believe I haven’t seen but would like to, and Austin’s like the first one. And I have a couple of good friends there, so I’m excited just to be part of the community out there.

Okay, one very important question… If an eclipse were to have a sound, what do you think it would sound like?

Oh, that’s such a good question. 

I thought of an opera singer… and a heavy metal person… and silence. And then the moon and the sun and space all having a different character voice. There just has to be a moment where they all make sense together and sound like one thing. And then there’s a moment of chaos and noise. And then maybe these voices that I’ve made up are bowed into silence at some point. They’re almost in awe of themselves because they would be The Sound.

Molly reads from her children's book at a live event, Little Black Hole
Lastly, and for anybody who’s never listened to Radiolab before, can you suggest a few episodes that you think would make a good introduction to the show?

Classic old school Radiolab with original hosts Jad & Robert would be Colors and Guts. Colors is an all-time favorite and Guts is one of my favorites. It’s actually what made me want to work the show.

New Radiolab, I think anything by Annie McEwen. She did this one about an octopus that is pregnant — Octomom.

A me one that I really like that was the first time I felt like I really found my voice on radio is one called Goo & You, about what happens inside a chrysalis when a caterpillar crawls in. Also The Primordial Journey or X&Y in my Gonads series. Matt’s stuff… Man, I could just keep going on and on. There are so many good ones.

That’s it from Molly for now! Come join us April 8 for more nerdy science stuff from Radiolab, Molly, the Simons Foundation, and your eclipse-obsessed friends and neighbors. We can’t wait. And if you want to check out our personal Radiolab favorites, it’s any time they talk about cicadas.

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.

We know you’re familiar with the Long Center (where you can’t wait for year 4 of The Drop-In to start soon) but you probably haven’t heard of Long Center’s Icon Awards. That’s because it’s not a red carpet premiere or a high-profile, star-studded show, but as a non-profit organization, it IS our biggest fundraiser of the year!

2024’s Icon Awards are coming up on Wednesday, March 27, so we’re here to give you some background on why this event matters, why supporting the arts matters even more, and who is receiving the Award this year.

Pianist Anton Nel plays at the 2023 Icon Awards, which honored philanthropist Eva Womack and AT&T. Photo by Suzanne Cordeiro
What are the Icon Awards?

The Long Center started the Icon Awards because we saw a need to highlight something different in the arts & culture world, something bigger than just the Long Center. Namely, the people who, through their support, have made arts & culture in Austin a reality for all kinds of organizations making and creating art across town. The LC wanted to honor this commitment to the arts by bringing like-minded folks and organizations together to underscore our shared belief that creativity is a necessity, because it’s through strong partnerships and the artistic spirit of Austin that the Long Center is what it is today.

The Icon Award — yes, recipients do get a “real” award and it’s beautiful — honors individuals, corporations, and organizations in the community for their outstanding commitment to the arts in Austin. It embodies our non-profit values and also recognizes those who have been guiding forces along the Long Center’s quest to fuel community through creative expression.

To celebrate, we host a luncheon on the Meredith Family Stage with the best background possible. No, we’re not talking about the incredible view of the downtown skyline from our H-E-B Terrace (more on that later), but we are talking about the breathtaking view of Dell Hall (our 2,442-seat theatre where you may have seen Neil deGrasse Tyson or a symphony performance) that you can only experience from a performer’s perspective.

But it’s not just lunch and good conversation. This year will include performances from Austin Opera mezzo-soprano Claudia Chapa, Austin Symphony Orchestra Assistant Principal Cellist Anna Park, a special tribute video from Ballet Austin, local singer-songwrier BettySoo, and a Heller Awards for Young Artists Best Lead Female Nominee Sophie Gwaldo from Rouse High School that will likely knock all of our socks off. All emceed by Austin Mayor Kirk Watson.

Better yet, all proceeds from the event support Long Center’s mission to serve and uplift Austin’s creatives while being a catalyst for creative discovery in our community. Tickets are almost sold out, though! If you’re interested in attending, please contact Julia Campbell, our Director of Development.

Local artist Scott Strickland performs ast 2023's Icon Awards, photo by Suzanne Cordeiro
Who are this year's awardees?

THE THREE J’s

The Long Center story began with three forward-thinking and resilient Texas women. For nearly two decades Jare Smith, Jo Anne Christian, and Jane Sibley encouraged and persuaded Central Texas philanthropists and civic leaders to recognize and celebrate the performing arts by creating a premier cultural showplace in Austin.

Their tireless work on behalf of Austin Opera, Austin Symphony Orchestra, Ballet Austin (the LC’s three Founding Resident Companies) and dozens more arts organizations, spearheaded the civic movement and intitial Capital Campaign that built the Long Center.

As unwavering and persistent advocates, the trio became known as “The Three J’s” — you’ve probably seen their joyful, iconic photo in lobby. The award will be presented to Jare Smith and given posthumously to Jo Anne Christian and Jane Sibley.

The Three J's, from left to right: Jo Anne Christian, Jane Sibley, and Jare Smith

H-E-B

It’s no secret that Texans love their grocery stores, but it’s just one grocery store in particular… you know the one! If you’re not familiar with H-E-B, all you have to do is look around at your favorite places in town to see this grocery chain’s philanthropic impact. Our outdoor space is called the H-E-B Terrace after all, and that’s as community-centric as you can get!

Giving back to the communities it serves is at the heart of H-E-B’s corporate values and is one of the reasons why the people of this state love it so much. H-E-B has been an impactful and dedicated supporter of the Long Center from the very beginning and their continued support for over 15 years has helped the Long Center bring hundreds of free community events and performances to Austin on our H-E-B Terrace. 

Accepting the award for H-E-B will be Senior Vice President for Central Texas, Cathy Harm.

MORE ABOUT OUR MASTER OF CEREMONIES – MAYOR KIRK WATSON

Helping us move through the ceremony is Mayor Kirk Watson, who for three decades has been immersed in public policy, spanning local and state government in Texas. During his previous tenure as mayor, Watson won praise for bringing different political sides together around transformative and economic development initiatives. During this time he was also a key partner in helping push the Long Center and its vision forward, so it’s only fitting that he’ll take the stage to celebrate our founding by honoring this year’s Icon Award recipients with us!

The 2024 Icon Awards will take place Wednesday, March 27 on the Meredith Family Stage in Dell Hall.

WE CAN’T FORGET OUR SPONSORS

Of course, a huge thank you to all of our sponsors who have supported the 2024 Icon Awards 👏👏

Skyline Sponsors

  • AT&T – recipient of last year’s Icon Award
  • Dr. Ernest & Sarah Butler
  • Frost Bank
  • Felicia & Craig Hester | Araminta & Tom Sellers

Ring Beam Sponsors

  • Kelly Hart & Hallman LLP
  • H-E-B
  • LCRA
  • Mr. Joe Long
  • Emily Moreland & Moreland Properties
  • Carolyn & Marc Seriff
  • Jare Smith
  • St. David’s Healthcare
  • Westminster Manor

With additional support from

  • ABHR – Trey Lary
  • Elizabeth Christian
  • Carolyn Lewis

And special thanks to the Founding Resident Companies of the Long Center — Austin Opera, Austin Symphony Orchestra, and Ballet Austin. Three non-profits making incredible art!

If you’re all-in on the arts now (just kidding, we know you already were), come and see us! There’s so much more you can do at the Long Center than just see a show, but we have plenty of those, too. Check out our calendar, think about volunteering, read more from other community creatives, or see what Membership at the LC is all about.

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.

As we count down the days until the total eclipse, we’re looking around at all the other Austinites getting their creative juices flowing before this once-in-a-lifetime event! Enter: Michael Graham of Austin Beerworks, whose collaboration with Zilker Brewing & Meanwhile Brewing has developed a uniquely Austin beer, just for the eclipse. In this Mid-Week Intermission, get to know Michael, the creativity behind the brewing community, and what you can expect from this particular brew 🍻

MEET MICHAEL GRAHAM of AUSTIN BEERWORKS

Long Center: Welcome to Mid-Week Intermission!

We usually ask people for a song to go with their interview, but in this case, what’s been your go-to drink lately?

Michael Graham (MG): Like my kids, I love all of our beers equally; but I love some more than others on certain days. Honestly, my go-to drink lately has been our Hop Water. It’s a non-alcoholic, hop-infused sparkling water we recently started making.

LC: Before we get to the eclipse — Austin Beerworks is pretty much synonymous with  Austin. How did you find yourself here and what do you think makes Austin and Austin Beerworks a perfect pair?

MG: I was lucky and grew up in Austin, so it’s always been home for me. When I started drinking beer (after I was 21, of course), I fell in love with craft beer but I found a lot of it was too thick and heavy for our summers. At Austin Beerworks, we try to make all of our beers as crisp and clean as possible, specifically with hot weather in mind.

LC: The nation-wide link between breweries and the Simons Foundation for their In the Path of Totality initiative is a pretty cool mix of community + science. Can you describe the national beer collaboration and how you found out about it? What makes this equation so unique?

MG: When the Simons Foundation reached out, we initially thought it was a scam because it sounded too good to be true. It’s really rare that any group wants to just do something really fun and cool without asking for anything in return, but that’s been our experience with this project.

Getting to work alongside all the other participating breweries, celebrating and collaborating on what’s likely to be a once-in-a-lifetime event, has been of the best professional experiences of my life.

Collaboration beer can from Austin Beerworks, Zilker Brewing, and Meanwhile Brewing
Total Eclipse collaboration beer from Austin Beerworks, Zilker Brewing, and Meanwhile Brewing

LC:  We love that brewing is also a creative pursuit — how did you decide what an eclipse tastes like, let alone turn it into a beer? Our staff have been taking bets.

MG: As much as I’d love to take credit, my partner Will Golden, along with the brewers at Meanwhile and Zilker, deserve all the credit for developing the recipe. I think they were going for something light and bright, but that would also melt your face off. They nailed it.

LC: Locally, anyone joining us for the Total Eclipse Viewing Party on April 8 will also be able to enjoy 3 special eclipse-themed beers — what can you tell us about them?

MG: In addition to this collaboration beer, all three breweries are making individual beers for the eclipse as well. We wanted to play off of the eclipse experience, so we each made a different shade of beer. Ours is a bright golden IPA called Yellow Giant, Zilker’s is an Amber Mexican Lager called Sol Searching, and Meanwhile’s is a Black IPA called Icarus’s Revenge.

LC: What does it mean to you for the brewing community to be front & center for such an iconic moment, considering food & drink (and, of course, beer in some areas) would have been an active part of communities across the world in 1397, the year of the last total solar eclipse in Austin?

MG: We talk about this a lot — what role do we want our beers to play in people’s lives? And this is a perfect example of our ideal scenario: Whether it’s a wedding or a concert or an eclipse, having something we made be a part of a life-defining event is such an amazing feeling and honor.

LC: We’re excited to celebrate on April 8! Will Austin Beerworks be at the Total Eclipse Viewing Party? Any other exciting upcoming collaborations you’d like to tease?

MG: We’ll be hosting a viewing party at our new Sprinkle Valley location off of Springdale Road. After that, we’re looking forward to a nice little break until we celebrate our 13th Anniversary on May 4.

Michael Graham of Austin Beerworks
☝️ This is Michael ☝️

Thanks, Michael! 

Let’s hear it for the creativity of our Austin brewers 🍻 we can’t wait to raise a glass as we anticipate totality at 1:36pm on April 8 for Simons Foundations Total Eclipse Viewing Party. It’s free, it’s community, it’s science… ready to party like it’s 1397?

Who doesn’t love it when things just ✨ line up? ✨ Like running into a long lost friend, or a song you just talked about comes on the radio, or even… the cosmos aligning perfectly for a total solar eclipse right where you are. In this Mid-Week Intermission, we linked up with Annie Saunders and Andrew Schneider, the two artists of Point A who have created a one-of-a-kind, site-specific soundwalk for Austin to celebrate exactly this, when the heres and nows meet. Read on to learn more about ECLIPSING.

MEET ANNIE & ANDREW OF POINT A
This is Annie & Andrew, on location

Long Center: First off, since we’re here to talk about your upcoming soundwalk (more on that later) — could you suggest some music or ambient sounds people should put on while they read this interview, just for fun?

Annie Saunders (ANNIE) & Andrew Schneider (AJS): We’ll make it simple! Here’s a playlist we’ve made just for them.

LC: How did you find each other and what’s the story behind Point A?

AJS: I was building an interactive typewriter to control a lighting sculpture for a theater show in LA. Annie was acting in the show. I flew to LA to show the cast how to use the typewriter and Annie and I collaborated on the best way to use the typewriter as an instrument. Later I actually ended up being in that show.

Years passed. Annie hired me as a lighting designer on a show that she made in the Oculus in NYC, which was a full-sized house in the middle of this massive transit hub. Annie made this incredible show illuminating domestic abuse through financial control complete with interviews of survivors. You’d go through the house one at a time and hear all these stories and see snippets from their lives. Afterwards there were therapists and abuse support folks you could talk to. I did the interactive lighting design for it. It was really the first time I thought, “oh, interactive/immersive theater has really an incredible power.” 

I invited Annie to come speak at a class I was teaching in NYC at this techno-centric grad school called The Interactive Telecommunications Program at NYU. It was all about paying closer attention to your own reality — really listening to the world around you — in order to be better at storytelling when making art, especially new media. I realized we shared a lot of the same ideas about theater-making — basically, that it’s not something that happens “over there.” It’s something that can be all around you if you frame it in a certain way.

Then Annie got a commission to make a soundwalk in NYC during the pandemic. She called me up and I said yes, we decided to start making place-reactive media and performance together in addition to our own other work. We premiered that piece (CURRENT) in 2021, then premiered KORMOS in Athens, Greece, in 2022, and now we’re here in Austin!

LC: Speaking of being in Austin, tell us about ECLIPSING — what’s the inspiration behind this work?

ANNIE: The work is inspired by the total solar eclipse, which will be visible from Austin in April 2024 — the moon will cover the sun resulting in about 2 minutes of darkness in the middle of the day. It makes us think about alignment, simultaneity, synchronicity, connectedness, the cosmos, and how invisible forces are at work in our world all the time, literally and figuratively.

AJS: Eclipses are all about being in the right place at the right time. And all of Austin is going to be in the right place at the right time. The whole community will have access to this incredible celestial event. But we can also scale this down and see how it is at play in our daily lives. The cosmic timings of our trips to the grocery store — how we met the people we fell in love with — and the things that almost happened but never did — every decision or non-decision contributes to our now and our collective now — which I think is cool.

Annie & Andrew recording for the soundwalk

LC:  What drew you to soundwalks as an artform?

ANNIE: These projects for me tap into the essential qualities of liveness — being in the right place at the right time for something magical to occur for just that audience in that moment, never exactly the same way twice. I also hope that it brings people into relationship with the city in a new, personal, physical, imaginative, and memorable way.

AJS: I was really skeptical at first. I really don’t like the audience having to put anything artificial on, especially in the theater. But so many people wear headphones outside all the time — soundtrack their own lives in a way — that I thought, “oh, this is perfect actually. Let’s tap into what those folks are already doing and amp it up a little.”

LC: What’s been the most exciting part about creating this site-specific work for Austin?

ANNIE: The community here in Austin has been amazing and this area is so special to so many people. It’s been an honor to create work in response to it.

AJS: Any time I describe the project to anyone, it’s met with genuine curiosity and usually an interest to know more. The collaborators we are able to work with on the ground here are the most genuine, generous, and talented team we’ve worked with on these projects. The scene here in Austin to me is like NYC but way more welcoming and way less ego-driven. Also, Slacker.

LC: What makes Austin different than some of your other soundwalk locations?

ANNIE: There’s nowhere on earth quite like Austin 🙂 

AJS: Each place is completely unique. We spend months in these places to try to get a sense of what it’s like to be a human being in a public place. We don’t come with a story we already want to tell, we come with listening as the highest priority.

LC: Any advice on how folks can best enjoy ECLIPSING?

ANNIE: Bring your phone (charged) and your best headphones. Pack light, wear comfortable shoes, bring water.

AJS: Other than that, there’s no wrong way. I’d try to be open — to listen to what’s around me — to try to see things as if I don’t already know what they are.

LC: How can folks follow you and keep up with your other projects?

Andrew is over at andrewjs.com and @helloandrewjs on socials (be on the lookout for another show headed to Austin in 2025!).

Annie is at anniesaunders.work or @annie.saunders_ on Instagram. Next up is ‘Our Country’ at On the Boards in Seattle later in March.

ECLIPSING  //  MAR 9 – 12

Learn more about this free site-specific soundwalk, where it starts, how to acces, and more. Check our FAQ for details.

If RSVPs are full, check back often as more time slots get added or open up.

ECLIPSING was recorded both on location and at Preacher Studios, and produced in collaboration with Squeak E. Clean Studios.

Interested in other eclipse-related programming?

This project was made possbile by the Simons Foundation and is part of its ‘In the Path of Totality’ initiative.

As part of that initiative, Austin is celebrating with 3 days of events including a Solar Eclipse Viewing Party right here at the Long Center and more events happening with Waterloo Greenway and Fusebox. Can’t wait to party like it’s 1397!

If you’ve been to the Long Center lately (and we hope you have), chances are you’ve seen the team from Dulce Vida Tequila out and about! When we have the pleasure of partnering with a local business as passionate and excited about Austin as we are, we like to celebrate it. So in celebration of National Margarita Day, coming up on February 22, get to know our sponsor Dulce Vida Tequila in this interview to find out why Dulce Vida + Long Center = the perfect pairing.

🍹 CONTEST TIME 🍹 

Forget about National Margarita Day — at the Long Center this February, we’re celebrating National Margarita Week! When you attend a Long Center Presents show on February 19 – 24, submit your secret margarita ingredient in the lobby for a chance to shape a signature Dulce Vida Tequila cocktail for The Drop-In this summer! It could be weird, wacky, a traditional favorite, or off the wall. Our winner will also receive a Dulce Vida Tequila giveaway and other goodies.

WHAT’S ON at the LC

FEB 19 @ 7:30pm // Black Violin Experience Tour, with special guest Abraham Alexander
FEB 20 @ 7:30pm // Renée Fleming
FEB 21 @ 7:30pm // An Evening with Bill Nye
FEB 24 @ 8:00pm // Cassette Roulette, starring John Cameron Mitchell

Dulce Vida Tequila
Dulce Vida Tequila's Core 4
Get to know Dulce Vida Tequila

Long Center: Something we just like to do for fun — what music should folks put on while they read this interview?

Dulce Vida Tequila: Dulce Vida is all about being approachable, adventurous, and FUN! We’re also based here in Austin! So a fun music playlist that brings this to life with uptempo, high energy, dance, pop, rock, and vibey tunes, with a heavy dose of local Austin bands/musicians sprinkled throughout would be perfect.

LC: How did Dulce Vida Tequila come to call Austin home? What’s your story?

Dulce Vida: Dulce Vida Tequila’s founders knew that Austin is a cool, weird, eclectic city with a history of successful startup brands. It’s also one that shares our values, such as being organic and sustainably produced, so what better place to launch an organic, additive-free, sustainable tequila than Austin, TX, baby!

LC: We know (and love) that sustainability is a big deal to Dulce Vida. Can you tell us more about that? What about Austin inspires you to keep sustainability a priority?

Dulce Vida: The concept of sustainability was very strategic in the selection of our tequila production facility. The facility not only had to be capable of making an award-winning product, but also had to meet requirements for organic production and overall sustainability measures — being a kind partner to the environment and local community.

A complete recapture of all production waste is performed and yields a nutrient-rich soil supplement to the local farming community. Furthermore, as a by-product of waste collection & processing, methane gas is captured, creating an energy source utilized to power the facility.

Austin has always been a city that prioritizes the environment, holistic, natural approaches to wellness, and clean living (like Whole Foods), so taking that shared ethos of sustainable practices and better-for-you products, it only made sense for our founders in their development and creation of Dulce Vida Tequila to create a tequila brand that did the same. For example, Dulce Vida Tequilas are all organic and additive free. Our infused Tequilas are also made with real fruit and are low calorie/low carb. For more information on our process, please visit DulceVidaSpirits.com!

Dulce Vida Tequila at The Drop-In, photo by Sophia Lawson
LC: How does Dulce Vida stay connected to the local community?

Dulce Vida:  Dulce Vida Tequila is very involved in the Austin scene — from our revered partnerships with historic entities such as the Long Center and Texas Longhorns Athletics, to the Austin Chronicle’s ‘Austin Music Awards’ that highlight the important local music scene, and to strong local art collectives like Almost Real things, The Cathedral, and more.

Dulce Vida is truly part of the Austin fabric as a supporter of charitable and philanthropic organizations like the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians (HAAM), events such as the Maudie’s Moonlight Margarita Run which benefits The Trail Conservancy, as well as other giving organizations like Soccer Assist, the Junior League of Austin, and the American Cancer Society.

Dulce Vida Tequila is also proud to support organizations that champion inclusivity such as the ATX Gay Flag Football League, the Human Rights Campaign, and Out Youth, to name a few. It’s such an honor and privilege to showcase our 100% pure agave, USDA Organic, and certified Additive Free tequila to the Austin community. Stay connected with us with a follow on Instagram @DulceVidaTequila to learn more.

Dulce Vida Tequila at The Drop-In, photo by Sophia Lawson
LC: Why is it important for the Dulce Vida team to partner with venues like the Long Center?

Dulce Vida: The Long Center has been an iconic venue in Austin for many years, helping support, highlight, and showcase the best there is to offer in the performing arts universe (locally and globally). The Long Center does a great job of bringing world-renowned acts to our city for locals to enjoy while also championing established local acts and giving up-and-coming artists opportunities to highlight themselves.

The Long Center also offers incredible (and free!) experiential opportunities (The Drop-In, for example) for locals to enjoy our city, smack dab in the heart of Austin with the greatest view of the city, our beautiful downtown Austin skyline as the backdrop. Dulce Vida is proud to partner with the Long Center for doing such a great job of giving Austinites a place we are proud to call our own. Plus, we hear you can get a great Dulce Vida cocktail there!

Dulce Vida Tequila at The Drop-In, photo by Brynn Osborn
LC: Can you leave us with a margarita recipe for folks to try at home as a treat for reading?

Dulce Vida: Absolutely. This is one of our favorites:

The Dulce Vida “Sweet Heat” Margarita

  • 1.5 oz Dulce Vida Pineapple Jalapeño Tequila
  • .5 oz Naranja Orange Liqueur
  • .5 oz Fresh Lime Juice
  • .25 oz Pineapple Juice

Pour ingredients into a shaker over ice. Shake vigorously. Pour contents into a glass with ice. Garnish with a lime wheel and pineapple wedge. Optional: add 1-2 jalapeño rings for more heat. Enjoy!

NATIONAL MARGARITA WEEK

Don’t forget! When you’re at the Long Center for Black Violin, Renée Fleming, Bill Nye, or Cassette Roulette, submit an ingredient for your chance to win a Dulce Vida Tequila giveaway + shape a signature cocktail for The Drop-In. See you in the lobby!

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.

Time to take a look behind the curtain, uhh… actually, behind the audio console! It’s a busy month at the Long Center, and that means our production staff are doing what they do best — making magic happen on stage. So catch up with Riley Burgess, our House AV Technician (that’s audio-visual), in today’s Mid-Week Intermission to get a glimpse of the work it takes to make a show unforgettable.

This is Riley ☝️ on top of the Ring Beam 🤩
Hi y’all, I am Riley Burgess
I’m a house AV Technician here at the Long Center and I’m excited to be here!
 
I live in Elgin, TX, with my lovely fiancé Kristen, our dog Lucy, and our cat Josephine. I really love being around nature and also cooking good food.

Growing up here in Austin, TX, I’ve been around music my entire life. My younger sister’s been a very successful cello player from a young age, my dad is in a local band, and my mom is in the Audio Archiving industry. I played upright bass in orchestra throughout middle-high school, picked up drums as well, and still play in my free time.

After graduating high school, I took classes at Austin Community College to learn the audio engineering trade, and soon after I got a passion for live sound. I started mixing bands at a variety of music venues around Austin and mixed a few regional festivals, too. I did some work at the Scottish Rite Theatre working comedy shows, album release shows, and children’s theatre. Later on, I started touring with a few bands as well as a puppet show! I did a lot of AV (that’s audio-visual) work for conferences at hotels and the convention center. I also learned video and rigging.

When the pandemic hit, all in-person stagehand and entertainment work stopped. I did work as an electrical apprentice and learned much more than I expected in such a short period of time. It was an amazing learning experience for me, and I now have a deeper understanding of mechanical things. When live events picked back up I was able to continue working AV again. The opportunity to work for the Long Center came up in 2022 and I was glad I took it! Very glad to be here!

Riley in the sound booth during a screening of Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan with William Shatner

Every work day is a little different. Some days are longer than others and may require coming in at a different time of the day than others. Typically, I come in and check for any updates on equipment needs. Depending on the day, I’ll gather equipment on carts to set up in Dell Hall or sometimes Kodosky. We are very fortunate to have time to perform maintenance and to have the tools to make necessary repairs as needed. 

Once a week the production department will meet to discuss our shows and events coming up. I’m looking forward to the Concert Club shows as well as what’s coming up in Dell Hall. We are preparing for future upgrades in our AV system and looking forward to that, too.

My creativity comes out the most when I’m mixing a music group no matter the genre. Microphone selection is both a creative process and a mathematic process. Placement of microphones and on-stage speakers require some creativity to make sure instruments and the talent have enough coverage. If appropriate, I’ll use reverb and delay effects to emphasize certain passages in the lyrics. Other creativity comes out when new gear is installed and mounting hardware needs to be custom made.

Okay, speed round!

Favorite behind-the-scenes part of the LC?

I really love our patchbays! They allow us to route audio and video signals to specific parts of Dell Hall and the other spaces in the building. I also find sanctuary at the workbench to make audio and video cables.

Any advice for audio up-and-comers?

Never be afraid to ask questions! Follow audio-video manufacturers on social media and learn the theories involved. Learning to repair your gear is important and it will help you become more conscious of the way the electricity flows to create that picture or that sound.

Also, advocate for yourself and others to make the live event production industry even better to work in. 

If touring with bands is something you wanna do, you gotta get out there and network. Mixing a band’s set at a venue could land you a tour.

Lastly, always be punctual and mix with intention. Be yourself, people will like you for you.

Just for fun — what are you listening to right now?

I listen to a wide variety of music. From Paganini to Ringo Deathstarr, and Black Sabbath to Sharon Jones. Lately, I’ve been listening to Robert Glasper’s album Black Radio as well as Duster’s album Stratosphere.

Thanks, Riley! 

If you want more behind-the-scenes ins-and-outs of audio-visional goings on at the Long Center (and we know you do), give Riley a follow on Instagram or TikTok. Keep your eyes peeled — you never know when you might see Riley at the audio console for a show in Dell Hall!

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.

What does a globetrotting former radio journalist do with his spare time in Austin? Curate a music series, of course! We caught up with John Burnett, creator of World Music Encounters at St. David’s Episcopal Church in this Mid-Week Intermision. Austin is the Live Music Capital of the World, after all!

WME founder John Burnett interviews Mahmoud Chouki -- a celebrated oud player from Morocco, now based in New Orleans. Photo by Will Van Overbeek.
My name is John Burnett, and after spending 43 years as a daily journalist mainly describing how messed up things are in the world, I get to deliver joy.
I’m founder and curator of World Music Encounters at the historic, acoustically divine St. David’s Episcopal Church in the heart of downtown Austin.

I retired last year after 36 years as a roving national correspondent for National Public Radio. Yes, I’m that voice you used to hear on the radio usually talking about Tex-Mex border mayhem or hurricane damage or political polarization. If you catch me now as the emcee of our nine-concert world music series, I’m introducing and interviewing incredible musicians from West Africa, Ireland, Colombia, Morocco, Iran, Cuba, and Mexico. It’s good to wear a new hat!

Having traveled the globe a fair bit for NPR, I was always checking out the music scene in the far-flung places I was assigned, whether Kabul, Bogotá, Nairobi, or Tokyo. My wife, Margaret, and I are live music fanatics. (We also play and sing in two bands: WhoDo and the Panama Hats.) We kept discovering more and more fantastic foreign-born musicians, but they were sort of marginalized here in our Home With the Armadillo (sorry, Gary P. Nunn).

Ana Barajas and Cruz del Sur perform songs from their native South America at the October program of World Music Encounters. Photo by Will Van Overbeek.

I approached Father Chuck Treadwell, rector of St. David’s and damn good guitar picker himself, and asked, why do we keep renting out our gorgoeus, 170-year-old sanctuary to other concert producers when we can come up with our own awesome music series? That’s how World Music Encounters was born. The idea is to bring world music center-stage in the Live Music Capital, as well as educate and enlighten our audiences to the rich musical landscapes far from 512.

We call them Encounters because, as a journalist, I love to hear peoples’ stories. So I join the musicians onstage midway through the two-hour performance and ask them about their music, their muse, their instruments, and their journey to Austin. Most of our artists live right here in Austin, and the cool thing is that they moved here to the nation’s tenth largest city because we are a global musical mecca — with lots of venues, appreciative audiences, and a deep pool of talented musicians.

World Music Encounters at St. David’s has caught on. We had a sellout crowd of 300 at our inaugural concert in September. Our audiences have learned that once a month — Sundays 5-7pm — they will hear often unfamiliar music made by virtuosic artists, and the listeners will learn about the nature of this music. Last month, Ibrahim Aminou, a gifted kora player from Niger, showed us how the talking drum was used by his ancestors to mimic human speech and communicate messages between villages in West Africa. It was spellbinding.

Ibrahim Aminou, from Niger in West Africa, plays the talking drum at World Music Encounters in Janauary at St. David's Episcopal Church. Photo by Will Van Overbeek.

Our four remaining concerts:

Gabriel Santiago Project // FEB 11
An all-star Brazilian quartet. Gabriel holds a PhD in music composition from UT; JazzTimes described him as “a young master on both acoustic and electric guitars.”

Mariachi Las Alteñas // MAR 3
A 12-piece, all-female supergroup from San Antonio that wows audiences at mariachi festivals across the USA.

Sofrito y Su Melao // APR 14
A local Cuban ensemble that plays wide-ranging music from the Caribbean and interacts with the audience in innovative performances.

Oliver Rajamani // MAY 12
An Austin treasure who blends Indian, Flamenco, Romani, and Texas music.

Tickets are $35, $25, and $10 for students, available through Eventbrite.

All ages, family friendly, and free downtown parking!

John Burnett onstage at the inaugural September concert of the WME series that featured the world music supergroup, Atash, that is based in Austin. Photo by Tom Brand / St. David's Church

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.

You may think fall is all about cider, tea, and hot chocolate, but we’ve got another beverage on our minds — wine! Fall signals the end of the grape growing season so it’s the perfect time to slip on those fuzzy socks, snuggle up under a cozy blanket, and sip that Chardonnay (or perhaps a Beaujolais Nouveau? 😉) or whatever your heart desires 🍷

To celebrate the harvest season, we teamed up with Wanderlust Wine Co. (*cough cough*, a member of our Business Arts Council and venue sponsor) for Beaujolais Nouveau Day, featuring live music by 8 1/2 Souvenirs, Julie Slim and RendezVous, and of course… wine!

Get a glimpse behind the proverbial curtain and get to know Wanderlust owner and sommelier Sammy Lam, what he loves about Austin, and why he thinks local music is essential 👇

MEET SAMMY & WANDERLUST WINE CO.
This is Sammy 👆

Long Center: Something we just like to do for fun — what song should folks put onwhile they read this interview?

LC: We’d love for our audience to know more about you and how Wanderlust got started right here in Austin, TX. What’s your story?

SAMMY LAM: Crafting the World’s Largest Wine on Tap Winery!

In 2020, amidst a global challenge, I embarked on a venture that would redefine the world of wine and hospitality, giving birth to Wanderlust Wine Co. The vision was audacious: to create a haven where people could embark on a sensory adventure, exploring wines from all corners of the globe.

This dream didn’t just stop at wine; it expanded to embrace coffee, food, and community-centric events and activations. These partnerships added new dimensions to our offerings, weaving a tapestry of experiences and community while ensuring that wine remained at our core.

The years brought remarkable growth. Wanderlust Wine Co. now proudly stands with 3 current locations, all of which are continuously working toward enhancing our offerings and elevating the collective experience for our patrons. Our mission remains clear: to provide a space where diverse flavors converge, where conversations flow, and where every sip and bite tells a story.

Our dedication to excellence has not gone unnoticed. Wanderlust has been honored with prestigious awards, including the title of Best Winery, bestowed upon us by the Austin Chronicle in both 2022 and 2023. In 2021, the wine-loving community embraced us with the People’s Choice Keggy Award by Free Flow Wines, a testament to the love and passion we pour into our craft as well as our mission toward sustainability in wine.

On a deeply personal note, I was humbled to be recognized as the Businessman of the Year by the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, a recognition that goes beyond an individual achievement and speaks volumes about the collaborative spirit of the entire Wanderlust family.

This journey is a testament to the power of dreams, persistence, and the unwavering commitment to excellence. Wanderlust Wine Co. is not just a destination; it’s a celebration of flavors, a testament to diversity, and a reminder that every glass we raise is a toast to the extraordinary journey we’ve undertaken together. Here’s to the spirit of exploration, the joy of discovery, and the richness of every moment we share.

A patron pours wine from Wanderlust's signature wine taps at Beaujolais Nouveau Day, photo by Dusana Risovic.
LC: There’s a lot to love about the Austin community, but what about it brought you here and keeps Wanderlust here?

SAMMY LAM: The Austin community is more than just a location for Wanderlust Wine Co.; it’s an integral part of our story and identity. What brought us here and keeps us rooted in this vibrant city is a beautiful blend of factors.

First and foremost, Austin’s open-hearted embrace of innovation and entrepreneurship is what drew us in. It’s a city that champions dreamers and risk-takers, and that resonated with our vision of creating something truly unique in the world of wine. Austin’s spirit aligns perfectly with our own journey, where we turned a dream into reality during a time of global challenge.

The sense of community in Austin is also a driving force. We’ve been welcomed with open arms, and it’s this warm reception that keeps us deeply connected. The diverse and inclusive nature of the Austin community mirrors our values at Wanderlust. We believe that wine is for everyone, and in Austin, we’ve found a community that celebrates this inclusive ethos.

Austin’s thriving food and beverage scene, including its vibrant coffee culture and food truck delights, has allowed us to expand our offerings and provide a richer experience to our patrons. The collaborative spirit of the city’s culinary artisans and partners has added an exciting layer to our journey.

Moreover, the recognition and accolades we’ve received from Austin, such as being named the Best Winery by the Austin Chronicle, have been truly heartening. It reflects the appreciation and love we’ve received from this community.

In Austin, we’ve not just found a place to do business; we’ve found a home. The eclectic energy, the warmth of its people, and the spirit of continuous reinvention are the forces that keep Wanderlust firmly rooted here. Our commitment to excellence and the joy of sharing flavors are amplified in this incredible city. So, in many ways, we believe that we didn’t just choose Austin; Austin chose us, and it’s a choice we cherish every day.

A group of friends toast to Beaujolais Nouveau Day at Wanderlust's East Austin location, photo by Dusana Risovic.
LC: We teamed up on an event to celebrate Beaujolais Nouveau Day. Can you tell all of us what the day commemorates and why we celebrated?

SAMMY LAM:  Beaujolais Nouveau Day is a delightful holiday that commemorates the release of the first wine of the season from the Beaujolais region in France. It falls on the third Thursday of November every year, and its significance lies in the celebration of new beginnings, the joy of the harvest, and the anticipation of something fresh and exciting.

This day holds a special place in the hearts of wine lovers around the world, including us at Wanderlust Wine Co. It symbolizes the art of winemaking, the journey of the grape from the vine to the glass, and the moment when we can savor the fruits of the harvest. For us, it’s an extension of our commitment to sharing the world of wine with our community, be it the classics or the novelties.

We celebrated Beaujolais Nouveau Day as an ode to the tradition of winemaking and the sheer pleasure of indulging in a wine that’s just been born. It’s a reminder that every glass we raise is a toast to the beauty of exploration, the joy of discovery, and the richness of the journey. Just as we embrace innovation and diversity in the world of wine, we celebrate the traditions that make wine an integral part of our lives.

This celebration was not just about a single day; it was a reflection of our ongoing journey at Wanderlust Wine Co. A journey marked by dreams turned into reality, deep connections with the Austin community, and the commitment to excellence in every sip. Beaujolais Nouveau Day resonates with the essence of what we stand for: embracing new beginnings and cherishing the timeless traditions in the world of wine.

Long Center Members and friends enjoy Thanksgiving-themed charcuterie provided by H-E-B Catering before kicking off the Beaujolais Nouveau Day celebrations. Photo by Dusana Risovic.
LC: What made you want to partner with the Long Center on this event?

SAMMY LAM: Our partnership with the Long Center for this event is deeply rooted in our shared appreciation for the arts and the belief that great performances and exceptional experiences deserve to be celebrated. The Long Center, as a hub for the performing arts, has a rich history of hosting incredible events and performances throughout the year, and we are deeply humbled by the opportunity to co-host and celebrate the arts, be it in the form of music or the artistry of winemaking.

The Long Center’s commitment to creating a space where the arts can flourish aligns perfectly with our own mission at Wanderlust Wine Co. Just as we curate experiences that blend the magic of music and wine, the Long Center fosters an environment where creativity, talent, and the joy of art take center stage.

Beaujolais Nouveau Day, with its celebration of new beginnings and fresh wine, was a perfect occasion for this collaboration. It was a moment to revel in the arts, savor the flavors, and create memories that resonate with the heart. Our shared dedication to offering unique, exceptional experiences makes this partnership a natural fit.

Together with the Long Center, we had the privilege of bringing together the worlds of music and wine, bridging the gap between art and indulgence. We were excited to celebrate Beaujolais Nouveau Day with an event that not only pays homage to a remarkable wine tradition but also adds an artistic layer to the festivities.

In essence, our partnership with the Long Center is a celebration of the arts, a toast to creativity, and a harmonious blend of culture and flavor. It’s a reminder that art, whether in the form of music or wine, has the power to unite, inspire, and create moments of pure joy. This collaboration was our way of raising a glass to the magic of art and the beauty of shared experiences.

Oliver Steck, accordion player, roams the crowd during set breaks at Beaujolais Nouveau Day, with French-themed music from 8 1/2 Souvenirs and Julie Slim & RendezVous.
LC: Why is it important for you and the Wanderlust team to make a space for local music?

SAMMY LAM: At Wanderlust Wine Co., the fusion of music and wine is not just a concept; it’s a deeply ingrained part of our identity. We have consistently made space for local music because we believe that these two art forms, when paired together, create something truly extraordinary.

Music has an innate ability to touch the soul, to evoke emotions, and to bring people together. It’s a universal language that transcends boundaries and connects individuals on a profound level. In many ways, it’s similar to wine, which carries its own stories and emotions within every glass.

Our commitment to local music reflects our dedication to creating an all-encompassing experience for our patrons. When they step into Wanderlust, we want them to not only savor our wines but also immerse themselves in the magic of live music. Whether it’s Winechella, our signature event, or the days when we had live music seven days a week, it’s about curating moments that linger in the heart and memory.

Local music, in particular, holds a special place in our hearts. It’s a celebration of the talent that surrounds us, a tribute to the Austin community that has embraced us with open arms. By providing a stage for local musicians, we aim to amplify their voices and contribute to the cultural tapestry of this remarkable city.

Music and wine share a unique synergy, enhancing each other’s flavors and melodies. Just as different wines evoke different moods and sensations, music sets the tone for an evening of togetherness, celebration, and joy. We believe in the power of this combination to create unforgettable experiences and lasting connections.

In essence, making space for local music at Wanderlust Wine Co. is not just about filling a physical space; it’s about enriching the space in people’s hearts. It’s about fostering a sense of community, of shared moments, and of appreciation for the arts. It’s our way of saying that, like the perfect wine pairing, the blend of music and wine is a harmonious symphony that elevates life’s moments to something truly extraordinary.

Wanderlust Wine Co. founder Sammy Lam addresses the crowd at Beaujolais Nouveau Day, photo by Dusana Risovic.
LC: Any other future events or projects in the works at Wanderlust that you can tease?

SAMMY LAM: At Wanderlust Wine Co., the journey never stops, and we’re excited to offer you a tantalizing preview of what’s in store for the coming months.

First up, we have something special in the works for early 2024. We’ll be introducing retail packaging, allowing you to take a piece of Wanderlust with you wherever you go. This means you can enjoy the flavors and memories of our unique wine experiences from the comfort of your own home. We can’t wait to share this new way to savor the essence of Wanderlust with you.

But that’s not all. We’re also expanding our beloved speakeasy wine cave tasting experiences. Prepare to be delighted by new menus, including the exquisite pairing of champagne and caviar. These experiences are designed to elevate your wine journey, offering a touch of sophistication and luxury.

Behind the scenes, we’re growing and solidifying our Wanderlust family, including our team of talented sommeliers. With their expertise and passion, we aim to provide you with the highest level of service and knowledge in the world of wine.

And last but not least, we’re enhancing each of our venues to offer so much more for your day-to-day events and activations. Whether it’s an intimate gathering, a celebration, or a moment of relaxation, our spaces are evolving to make every visit a truly memorable one.

And there’s one more exciting announcement. We’re hard at work planning a food and wine festival scheduled for May 2024 at the prestigious Long Center. This event is a celebration of National Wine Day on May 25, and we can’t wait to share this extraordinary experience with you. It’s an opportunity to savor the finest wines, indulge in gourmet delights, and create unforgettable memories.

The future of Wanderlust Wine Co. is brimming with exciting developments, all centered around our commitment to providing you with exceptional wine experiences. We can’t wait to embark on these new adventures with you and continue creating unforgettable moments together. Stay tuned for more details as we journey forward. Cheers to the exciting times ahead!

Wine lovers end Beaujolais Nouveau Day with some celebratory dancing, photo by Dusana Risovic.

COME JOIN US NEXT TIME

If this looks like a lot of fun… it was! Long Center Members and our Business Arts Council enjoyed early Member Hours and more at this event. Consider joining the Long Center as an individual or as a corporate partner for ticket presales, Member Nights, and so many more perks all year-round at the Long Center.  Here’s one last shout out and thank you to our venue sponsors, like Sammy and Wanderlust Wine Co. — cheers! 🥂

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.

It’s the season for gathering with friends, family, and everyone in between, so we looked to our friend Edgar Yepez-García for some tips! Artistic Director for Ballet Folklórico de Austin, read on to find out how he builds community through good food, shared heritage, tradition, and of course — the arts.

Edgar poses in a cowboy hat, pointing at his shirt that says "Guelaguetza Austin 2017"
My name is Edgar Yepez-García, and I am the Artistic Director of the Ballet Folklórico de Austin.
I am a native of San Juan Bautista Tuxtepec, Oaxaca, and studied computer engineering at the Technical Institute of Oaxaca before moving to Austin, Texas, in 2007.

I started my dance career at the age of six when I had the opportunity to perform in elementary school. I fell in love with the lights, stage, and music of the theater, and most of all, the energy and enthusiasm of the audience. As a young adult, I auditioned for the Ballet Folklorico Tochtepetl — the premiere dance company in my hometown and surrounding areas. As a member of Tochtepetl, I was fortunate enough to travel throughout Mexico, North and Central America, sharing traditional Oaxacan dances with the world.

After moveing to Austin, I took on various roles such as hosting a radio show with Encino Broadcasting and Marketing, Social Media Director for local eatery Mour Cafe, and opened the food truck Los Danzantes ATX, which has beeen recognized by both Texas Monthly and Austin Eater as one of the best new food trucks in Texas. As I continued to get situated in this city, my love for Mexican Folklore and the performing arts was unwavering, and it was then I decided to establish the Ballet Folklórico de Austin in 2014.

Ballet Folklórico de Austin

Ballet Folklórico de Austin (BF Austin) is always looking for ways to use Mexican folk dance to bring together spanish-speaking families in a space where all people can feel at home, and feel a little closer to their roots. Guelaguetza Austin is the stellar project that I created with the aim of showing the cultural richness of my native Oaxaca. Over time, the Oaxaca Guelaguetza in Austin has become a meeting point for Mexicans from all over the country, with a large presence by our fellow Texan neighbors from Houston, Dallas, and other nearby regions.

The Guelaguetza Austin aims to reflect and honor the tradition and authenticity that is expected of the Oaxacan Guelaguetza. All costumes and props are sourced directly from artisans in Oaxaca to ensure that no detail is overlooked, and the richness of the culture is preserved.

Perhaps the most important factor to maintain is the language in which these stories are told on stage. Mexican folklore has been and will forever be passed down in Spanish. As we share our gift of the Guelaguetza on stages outside of Mexico and other Spanish-speaking countries, it is of vital importance that native languages of Oaxaca be honored. For this, I have received several accolades for my artistic work in the city, including the “Award of Excellence” from the Mexican American Cultural Center and “Guelaguetza Day Proclamation” by former Mayor of Austin, Steve Adler.

Photo courtesy of Ballet Folklórico de Austin

My unending commitment to the preservation of traditional Oaxacan dance and customs is matched only by my desire for a unified and supportive dance company. I emphasize to all of my dancers the importance of acceptance, respect, and humility. I foster a sense of community through collaboration, not competition, and find a way to challenge and grow my company through constructive means. I work to gracefully balance an unconditional acceptance for all company members, regardless of experience, age, or appearance, while also holding them to the high standards one expects of a professional performing arts company.

While the crown jewel of BF Austin remains the annual Guelaguetza, I find ways to celebrate all of Mexico, preserving the traditional dances of various regions. I build strong rapport with directors from different states of Mexico and bring in master dance educators to teach workshops where the traditional dances of their home states can be passed down and preserved.

BF Austin is comprised of dancers from all over Mexico, as well as some born and raised in the US. When in my studio, my dancers come together to share everything from cultural dances to regional dishes, and we proudly provide a way for many local Mexican Americans and other members of the Hispanic community to connect with their heritage. As Austin continues to grow and change rapidly, it is important to preserve a part of the community that gives Austin its charm — the artists.

Photo courtesy of Ballet Folklórico de Austin

We are always looking for new adventures and goals for our artist group! Our bigger desire is to become Guelaguetza Austin, one of the most popular Mexican attractions in Austin and perform annually at the Long Center. We are working with other cities around the nation to bring our performance to other regions, and begin touring around the US in 2024. In the meantime, we invite everyone to our annual winter repertoire where we will be showcasing two new regions added to our portfolio, Tabasco and Nayarit.

This year, we had the marvelous opportunity to perform for the first time in Dell Hall at the Long Center, which meant the world to us because we brought our dancers and our community to have the experience of a lifetime. In September, our kids and youth groups from our dance school also had the opportunity to perform at Long Center’s first-ever Community Day. What a privilege!

Ballet Folklórico de Austin performing at Community Day at the Long Center. Photo by Brynn Osborn.

Agradezco con profundo respeto a los maestros pioneros de danza folclórica mexicana en Austin, Rodolfo “Rudy” Méndez & Roy Lozano por abrir una brecha para nuestra generación de nuevos soñadores, por ellos, por nuestros niños y jóvenes:

Que viva la danza folklórica mexicana en Austin!

Con respeto y agradecimiento,
Edgar Yepez-García

CHECK OUT OUR 2023 WRAP-UP REPORT

One of the most important things we do at the Long Center is make space as accessible as we can to the wide variety of organizations that make Austin what it is. This year, we’ve given over $315,000 in rental discounts to performing and artistic orgs like Ballet Folklórico de Austin. Take a look at all the other stuff we’ve been able to accomplish this year with the help of our ticket buyers, donors, Members, and you!

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 the eyes are the windows to the soul, a camera’s gotta be the window to the arts… right? Enter: Brynn Osborn, LC fave and freelance photographer extraordinaire. In this Mid-Week Intermission, get to know Brynn, flip through some of their favorite shots, catch a glimpse of the Long Center through their lens (hehe) 📸

Howdy!

My name is Brynn and I’m a freelance photographer with a primary focus on live music and events.

I grew up in Corpus documenting life and people around me but I started taking it more seriously when I earned my BFA in photography from Texas State. I moved to Austin five years ago and my career has transformed into something I’m truly proud of, especially the way this community has embraced me. I feel really fortunate to work with local musicians and places like the Long Center to capture the essence of some incredibly fun events.

THE DROP-IN

This lawn has always been my ideal spot to see the city, especially when it’s Drop-In season and all of the cutest pups in town come by. This event is my favorite to shoot because it brings together happy people, summertime, and free live music– all at the prettiest time of the day.

WILD CHILD

Wild Child warms up in a dressing room, photo by Brynn Osborn

In 2021, Kelsey Wilson and I met and she invited me to the studio to document what would become Wild Child’s latest record. A few days later they played The Drop-In and it was my first time attending and shooting here. This was also one of the first times I ever shot directly for a band and I remember sitting in this dressing room trying to play it cool with my new friends (but on the inside was a bundle of nerves).

COMMUNITY DAY

A family poses for Community Day

Community Day was a blast! I’m impressed with how many events and activations they managed to coordinate throughout the day. The more time I spend here the more I understand why families value having this space to come and experience art together.

ADRIAN QUESADA

Adrian Quesada performs at the Long Center for their 15th anniversary celebration

I had a great time celebrating the Long Center’s 15th birthday with this Adrian Quesada show recently. I’m surprised it took me this long to see him perform, but Dell Hall was a perfect place for it because the crowds are such great listeners in this room.

SONG CONFESSIONAL

Zac Catanzaro of the Song Confessional Team models how to use the booth

I’m a listener and friend of the Song Confessional podcast, so I was thrilled to learn that this booth was being installed in the lobby. Anyone can leave an anonymous voice message or “confession” that could be handed off to a musician to write an entire song about! The confession, song, and interview with the artist all wrap up into podcast episodes and are very entertaining, as you can imagine.

3D-PRINTED STAGE

Urban Heat performs to a hyped up crowd on the 3d-printed pavilion stage.

This Urban Heat show on the world’s first 3D-printed stage was truly something else. I already knew the new stage would be beautiful to photograph, but pairing that with an electric performance and a fantastic crowd made for some exciting shots.

SELF PHOTO

Brynn Osborn poses for a self portrait

I love calling Austin home and I’m thankful to the folks at the Long Center for continuing to support local photographers like me. When I’m not traveling with artists I’m running around town covering live shows, events, and whatever else excites me. As this Mid-Week Intermission goes out I will actually be on tour across the country with a local Austinite you may have heard of… Shakey Graves. If you’d like to see more of my work (or get in touch!) you can follow along on Instagram or my website.

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.

Every artist has a story, and this year at the Long Center we’ve worked hard to put those voices front and center. We recognize the artist in everyone, so we’ve compiled some of our favorite stories from 2023 — from secret confessions to coming-of-age, and even stories that seem out of this world. All of them are 100% Austin. 

As an arts non-profit in the heart of downtown, we know that creativity is vital! If you feel the same (and we think you probably do), consider making your year-end gift to the Long Center today, so we can all support Austin’s creatives & creativity together.

Dive into these stories from around our community that describe why creativity is at the center of our mission.
photo by Brynn Osborn

This is the premise of the Song Confessional Podcast, a collaboration between KUTX Studios and musicians Walker Lukens & Zac Catanzaro. Long story short, they collect stories (confessions, if you will), and then pair those stories with a local artist who creates a song out of it. Then everything gets revealed in an episode.

Big hits like Croy & The Boys’  “Don’t Let Me Die in Waco” have emerged from this creative process. You can check out the booth and give your own confession in our Rollins Lobby when you’re at the Long Center next.

Lanston Lee, DLC Photography / The Jimmy Awards

In this coming-of-age story we followed Langston Lee, a Rouse High School alumnus. In his senior year, he captivated the Heller Awards for Young Artists — Long Center’s program and Tony Awards-style ceremony celebrating musical theatre in area high schools — and took home an award for Best Lead Performer. Next, he catapulted to Nationals and took home Best Performance by an Actor at The Jimmys in New York City. Incredible!

While not every student who particpates in the Heller Awards aspires to be on Broadway, the creativity on show every year never ceases to amaze us. Keep an ear to the ground for more about this free program soon.

The Drop-In, photo by Sophia Lawson

Created by Austin-based company ICON Build as a gift to the city, this stage is layer upon layer of 3d-printed concrete, framed by our iconic skyline view. This story comes to you from Brooke Baugess, an ICON VP, and includes ins and outs about its construction, ICON’s vision for the future, and the creativity it took to bring this project to fruition.

Now we can firmly say that we feel as though we’re in the future, and anyone performing on our lawn is experiencing an out-of-this-world performance space as creative as they are. Have you experienced it yet?

photo courtesy of Flora & Fawna

We love this story from local band Flora & Fawna because it proves how young local musicians continue to innovate in Austin. 

A highlight of The Drop-In’s lineup this year was duo Lili Hickman and Mason Ables, two native Austinites who chose to rejuvenate an a-typical genre for the Austin scene — pop. In a town where indie music with a bluegrass edge tends to rule the roost, Flora & Fawna are looking at how new crowds and a more diverse music scene can keep Austin’s creatives moving at the speed of sound.

photo by Brynn Osborn

If you attended The Drop-In this year, chances are a blond, long-haired beauty caught your eye — we’re talking about Tater, the mini dachshund of Austinite Jo!

Jo & Tater are proud Long Center Members who see their support of our non-profit as a direct line to everything they love about this city — its creativity, thriving arts scene, and the community it brings with it. Plus, you never know who or what you might discover at The Drop-In

photo courtesy of Adrian Landon Brooks

As the Long Center is expanding what it means to be a performing arts center in Austin, we’re actively working to showcase and support more types of creativity over and above what happens on our stages.

For a walk on the visual arts side, this story comes from local muralist & painter Adrian Landon Brooks. We collaborated with him on a Long Center tote to celebrate our 15th Anniversary, our commitment to local artists of every kind and, of course, the power of creativity. ⚡

There you have it — this is what we mean when we say that creatvitiy is vital.

For all the other ways we’ve supported Austin creatives this year, check out our 2023 Wrap-Up Report. With a donation today, you’re helping the Long Center expand and strengthen creative connections across all of Austin, next year and beyond! 

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.

Year-End Gift 2023 | Long Center
Your Support Today, Transforms Tomorrow

We’ve made it our mission to support creativity in all its forms, and we hope this season you’ll join us and do the same. Your donation doesn’t just support our work, it’s a declaration that creativity belongs to everyone

LEVEL UP YOUR DROP-IN

Become a LC member today and and get first dibs on RSVP before the public, early entrance into the venue for you and your guests, members-only bars, and other surprises!

Amplify Austin is here – and we need your help to provide free arts experiences for K-12 students through our Long Reach for the Arts program.  Because the kids need art!