Travel the world with Jordan Price, Long Center’s Membership Manager, in today’s Mid-Week Intermission as he shares what curiosity and a love for community building has sparked in his own life and how the Long Center’s Membership program can help you find that spark of curiosity, too.

MEET OUR NEW MEMBERSHIP MANAGER
Jordan, a white man with short hair and beard, on a sled surrounded by snow.
Pleased to meet you!
I’m Jordan.

I have a thing for stringed instruments born of circumstance; music evoking a deep sense of place. I express curiosity through relentless questioning and intermittent travel. It brought me to Nkhatabay for Gasper Nali’s babatoni, Cheikh Ahmàdu Bamba’s Sufi Islam Brotherhood for kora, and Thabana Ntlenyana’s lesiba.

Twenty years ago, I studied history and art history — two subjects which rarely translate to gainful employment outside of academia. When a professor mentioned her groundbreaking research in Hellenistic Tarquinia handled mirror iconography, I smiled, nodded, and silently acknowledged it was time I find a new career path. Through frequent travel and extended trips in Greece, Lesotho, and Malawi, I discovered a love for building communities curious about humanity and an insatiable desire to move beyond the habitual.

Jordan as a young boy in a greenspace comically large beard made of moss

Prior to arriving at the Long Center, I held membership-building roles on Galveston Island and with Austin’s Audubon chapter. Birders have “spark birds,” the gateway critter which tickles your heart, providing the perfect introduction to avifauna.

Is there a corresponding term for music? Robert Johnson was my “spark artist,” igniting a lifelong passion for Delta blues. I need a better term for this, though — please send me your recommendations.

FIND YOUR "SPARK ART" AT THE LONG CENTER

We’ve developed the Long Center’s Membership program to intentionally create community; by always providing priority access to our fantastic lineup, and occasional free tickets — complemented by our book club, Member’s Lounge, and thought-provoking experiences to reflect a diversity of perspectives.

Members on Dell Hall stage looking out into the house in low light
Austinites exploring the arts from new angles and behind-the-scenes tours. Photo by Catriona Long
a group of members dancing at The Drop-In, an outdoor concert, at night with stage and city lights
Members celebrating the vibrancy of Austin's culture at The Drop-In. Photo by Brynn Osborn

Become a Member by Friday at noon, and I’ll enter you in a giveaway for 4 FREE Box Seats to Neil deGrasse Tyson’s “Delusions of Space Enthusiasts” on January 18, 2022. Thanks for reading!

— Jordan

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.

Are you ready for a choose-your-own mixtape adventure? Good, because that’s exactly what Bobby Garza, our VP of Programs and Community Outreach — and Resident Playlist Maker — has put together for you in today’s Mid-Week Intermission. So find your best headphones and prepare to get a little curious as Bobby takes us on a tour of the past year through music.

THIS MIXTAPE ADVENTURE STARTS HERE
Bobby in the kitchen wearing an apron and ready to cook
 
Why, hello there.
I’m Bobby.
Bobby with a curious look on his face, wearing a black and gold sombrero.

I have a confession to make: I was NOT one of those people who learned how to make sourdough over the lockdown. I’m not saying I don’t appreciate that sort of gumption, it just requires more energy than I feel like I can muster at any given moment.

Actually… hold on, friend. I can call you that, yes? Before we go any further, there’s something missing. Let’s start here. Did you click that link? If that one doesn’t work, try this one. Without exception, good conversations have good soundtracks — this should be no exception.

Because we’re friends now, give the song a minute while you read on. I’ll wait. 

Proud member of the Unicorn Band
Mixtaping from a young age

I grew up when mixtapes were a language of love and friendship, a vehicle for culture and discovery. I consider myself a High Fidelity-level practitioner of this language — likely the only other one in which I’m fluent. I’d spend hours finding the right time on the radio to record something when the right song finally came on or strategically stealing moments using my sister’s dual cassette component stereo after a painstaking list was worked out with pen and paper, chock full of arrows, strikethroughs, and underlines. In my heart and my brain it feels like this when I’m working on a mix.

Okay, before we move forward, friend, you have a bit of a choose-your-own adventure moment. This next bit needs this or this or this.

I spent the first part of lockdown like many workers in our industry: out of work. It’s terrifying, and we’ve lost so many in our field in the last 18 months for myriad and tragic reasons. The shows, productions, and events happening right now — bringing people some semblances of normalcy — are fueled by gig workers on double shifts and salaried employees still not back to 100% staffing. I spent a lot of time talking to my friend Steve Knopper about this for months as part of Billboard’s amazing interview series, “In a Pandemic.”

Luckily, like a lot of parents during this time, my days were filled as the worst stand-in for a teacher’s aide/cafeteria worker/janitor. My nights, however, still had the same soundtrack much like the songs I’m hoping you’ve still got playing. 

Bobby taking his two boys to school on their first day
First day of school! With Gael (15) and Mauro (11)
Family Game Night or How to be Terrible at Life

Let’s switch up the song for a minute.

In that time, I was amazed to see really incredible efforts of community arise, like “A Night for Austin,” produced by our pals at Luck, and Red River Cultural District’s Banding Together. I was also particularly moved by the campaign from the Hi, How Are You Project that had a singular challenge to check in with your loved ones and simply ask each other, “Hi, How Are You?” Mental health during this ridiculously hard last year and a half is something that has resonated with me, and if you get through this far in this intermission, I’d encourage everyone to send a text/email, or make a call or a surprise visit to a loved one. You never know how much they might need it right now.

And just like that, we need to change mood… If you’ve got the time, I’d say wait until :51 when the drums break and the vocals start…

…because I was hired by the Long Center and the world felt like it was spinning on its axis a little more true. I, for one, could not be more thankful for the opportunity to be here listening to good music and talking to you about the Long Center’s accomplishments and plans.

If you want to let that song play out, I’ll wait here because we need a different tone for this next bit, and I promise I’m wrapping up. If you’re still here, I appreciate you.

In the last year, this team has done so much in so little time. We’ve created new content from whole cloth, like:

Big LUCK sign on Long Center Lawn
Collection of different camera screens on a big TV, behind the scenes at Good Vibes Only
Tables and patrons gathered around at The Drop-In

LONG LIVE MUSIC
Incredible moments of socially-distanced performances with touring artists and local favorites.

GOOD VIBES ONLY
Professionally-produced virtual series featuring the best of Austin’s music scene.

THE DROP-IN
16 weeks of free, local music on our H-E-B Terrace.

Honestly, this feels like a good place to change the music. We’ve also played host to community events from some of my favorite organizations doing critical work in our community, like Six Square, Black Fret, and Musician Treatment Foundation.

When asked how I would characterize what we’ve been up to, I wrote the following: As the world navigates through the uncertainty and trepidation surrounding the pandemic, the Long Center concentrated on finding singular, authentic voices; creating new partnerships with trailblazing organizations hosting memorable performances; and highlighting local artists and creativity. 

I think that sill holds true… and a good music segue. We’ve been on a mission to find authentic, inspiring voices, and we hope that you’ll take the leap and come along on this journey.

The part about which I’m most excited is the new content we have in store for you… starting with Long Center’s lookOUT. LookOUT is a celebration of diversity and creativity, an exercise in discovery rooted in extraordinary music. If you’ve been with us at all over the last year through one of our programs, gone to a socially-distant show or tuned into a virtual performance, I’d encourage you to be curious and check out something new with us. For the price of dinner and a movie, you can get hours of fodder for the soundtracks to your next conversations.

And just like that, I’ve taken up too much of your time for this to be an intermission. If you stuck around, thank you for indulging me and I hope to see you soon. You can play this one on the way out…

— Bobby

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 the start of Hispanic Heritage Month just behind us, we caught up with second-generation Austinite Christine Martinez-Escobar, President / General Manager and Director of Sales at Univision Austin, for a look at her Austin experience and the work of the Univision community. Plus, we got a little behind-the-scenes peek at the filming of Univision’s 2021 “El Grito” celebration event. Check it out here if you haven’t yet!

GET TO KNOW CHRISTINE

Greetings, all, and happy Last Day of Summer! I don’t know about each of you, but I’m eager to say hello to my favorite season of the year — FALL! Although I love hanging out poolside with my family and pup in the summer months, we all look forward to the start of fall music and art festivals, football, and the holiday season.

Allow me to officially introduce myself before I get too carried away with the awesomeness of Autumn! My name is Christine Martinez-Escobar and I’m a proud second generation Austinite — AKA, a unicorn these days. As a lover of all things Austin, I’m a proud graduate of the University of Texas with a Bachelor of Science in Advertising and have made Austin my home for the last 42.5 years.

Believe it or not, I married a unicorn, too, as I met my husband at a UT tailgate — in the fall — following our love for UT football. Granted, we opted to get married in the summer so that our anniversary didn’t conflict with Longhorn Football — ha! Call us crazy Orangebloods, but funnily enough, our two loving boys Christian (10) and Austin (7 1/2), were born in June and December so we don’t have to worry about hosting our kiddos birthday parties on a Texas Football weekend, either. (Side note: our Goldendoodle, Bolt (1), does have a September birthday, but he’s happy with a belly-rub and a game of fetch.)

Christine with family gathered at UT football game
two brothers in UT football gear with their Goldendoodle wearing a jersey
HISPANIC HEARTBEAT OF AMERICA

While football, family, music events, and our boys’ extracurricular activities keep us busy on the weekends, this #BoyMom certainly has a full plate of duties as the President / General Manager and Director of Sales at Univision Austin Local Media. I’m blessed to say that I’ve had the privilege of being a part of a company that serves as the Hispanic Heartbeat of America for over 18.5 years, connecting with families via all paltforms: Univision 62UniMás 31, 104.3 La Que Buena, 107.7 Amor & 104.3 HD2 TUDN Radio and UnivisionAustin.com.

Since joining Univision Austin in 2003, I’ve seen tremendous growth and significant change in the Austin Hispanic market. As the leading Spanish-Language media and content company in the U.S., it is our responsibility to educate, empower, inform, and entertain the growing Hispanic audience in Central Texas and beyond. Whether it’s through our News, Radio, Community Empowerment, Marketing, Promotions, Production, Ad Sales, or Engineering Departments, I take great pleasure in working alongside a passionate group of 50+ team members who are eager to serve the loyal Hispanic Community.

A view through a film camera of two news anchors in traditional Mexican dress
Filming 2021 "El Grito" event on Long Center's H-E-B Terrace

Providing opportunities for Hispanics in Health, Education, Civic Engagement, Financial Stability, and Culture and Arts is what makes my work life so rewarding. Through these empowerment platforms, Univision Austin works to establish meaningful relationships and lasting partnerships with key organizations and contacts, such as the Long Center. We most recently hosted a performance for our annual “El Grito” event from the H-E-B Terrace showcasing a cultural celebration centered around Diez y Seis de Septiembre, Mexico’s Independence Day. Dancers from Ray Lozano’s Ballet Folklorico were featured with the Austin skyline as a backdrop as we produced and recorded a portion of our “El Grito” telecast — airing on our Univision 62 television property.

A full house in a dark theater with lit up stage for Univision Austin's Premios Texas awards event in 2011.
Premios Texas Awards, 2011, Long Center's Dell Hall

The partnership that Univision and the Long Center have established spans the last 10 years, when we first hosted our state-wide music award show, “Premios Texas,” from the Michael and Susan Dell Hall. Various Spanish musical acts encompassing all genres and categories performed in front of a full house, complete with awards and memorable moments — broadcast on Univision properties across Texas.

In addition to the excitement within the workplace, I enjoy representing Univision as an active member of the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (@GAHCC) as well as holding a board position on the Texas Association of Broadcasters (@txbroadcasters) and the 4ATX Foundation (@4ATXFoundation). My involvement in media has also included serving as President and Vice President for the Alliance for Women in Media (@AWMAustin) where I was most recently awarded with the Trailblazer of Excellence Award for my service and involvement in the local media community.

FAMILY TIMES AT THE LONG CENTER

Before I wrap up to allow you to get your first pumpkin spice latte of the 2021 fall season, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the amazing memories that the Long Center has helped me create with my fun-loving hubby and wonderful kiddos. As I can’t pick just one, I’ll share a few with you in case it takes you down your own memory lane while you sip on your version of cozy pumpkin in a cup!

Christine and family on the H-E-B Terrace for a photo op
Rudolph The Musical
two children exiting Chuggington Live show at the Long Center
Chuggington Live!
father and son having a great time Long Center's Bubblepalooza
Bubblepalooza

I’m humbled and grateful to represent the ever-changing Hispanic Community in the great city of Austin alongside so many esteemed leaders, professionals, and organizations. My love for the capital of Texas is accentuated by the vast number of iconic landmarks and venues that serve music and the arts, just like the Long Center. It is through partnerships and connections we all make that elevate the status and bond that is alive and strong in Austin. Thank you to my family and villages for allowing me to serve, and welcome fall! 

— Christine

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.

This week’s Mid-Week Intermission features The Deer’s own Grace Rowland. Read along and find out how Grace has gotten back to art, back to writing, and back to amplified sound. Catch The Deer’s mix of folk, psych, and dream-pop on tonight’s Good Vibes Only, streaming at 7pm.

Dear Readers,

Grace here, from The Deer! We had the pleasure of filming our Good Vibes Only session at the Long Center back in November — it was the first amplified show we had played in many months and it felt like a dream. Playing music is our lifeblood, something we do 300 days out of most years. Having it taken away was a feeling not many can sympathize with, but the folks a the Long Center knew exactly what we were going through and made the experience feel so smooth and so safe.

Fused glass artwork in green grass-like pattern
So, what’s Grace been up to?

In lieu of musical performances, I’ve devoted much of my time to my second passion: art. Before the pandemic, my graphic design “day job” consisted mostly of show flyers and other promotional material, and band merch like stickers and tee shirts.

Sleek new band tour van with door open

Since there’s not a lot of that going on either, I have been able to work more on my stained glass and cut paper gallery work. My partner and I have also begun building out a tour van, for the day when we can finally get on the road again. The bonus is that we have plenty of time to make it just right.

a cozy living room with Christmas tree, pet dog, and old piano

Pictured is my favorite spot to write and practice — on my great aunt Lucy’s upright piano, in my living room in South Austin. My quarantine puppy and co-writer Pippin is ready to help me create.

I just want to close with my deepest sympathies for all whose lives have been upended this year. You are not alone; don’t be afraid to reach out. We who thrive on the warmth of the stage lights and the roar of the crowd will have our day in the sun again. We need only bide our time until our culture blossoms once again, for after the great plague came the Renaissance.

Blessings to you and to your homes.
Grace

Tune In — You can catch Grace tonight on Good Vibes Only featuring The Deer. Click here at 7pm to see the show streaming free on Luck.Stream from our friends at Luck Reunion. See you there!

Rounding out our year is a Mid-Week Intermission from A.J. Bingham, Long Center Board Chair, with more about his work with the Long Center, what we see for the new year, and love & support for Austin’s creative community.

Hi, I’m A.J. Bingham, Chair of the Long Center Board of Trustees. I’m going on my sixth year on the board, having served in various committee capacities before I accepted the role of Chair this year.

Professionally I’m an entrepreneur and lobbyist, founding my firm, Bingham Group, nearly four years ago after seven years of municipal and state lobbying. I grew up in Austin by way of my father, an Air Force officer, who brought us back to the states (from Germany) when he got stationed at the then Bergstrom Air Force Base, now the airport.

A smiling Black man in maroon blazer, with Dell Hall stage in the background
A.J. Bingham in Dell Hall

2020 has been one of the most challenging years for the Long Center and Austin’s creative economy as a whole. But seeing firsthand the development of our staff and board over the last several years and understanding our organization’s dedication to the Austin creative community, there was zero hesitancy in assuming my new leadership role for the Long Center.

I’ve always been inspired by the Long Center’s earnest prioritization of community engagement in the arts. While we will always be the permanent performance home of Ballet Austin, Austin Opera, and Austin Symphony Orchestra, our staff and board understand the future is in making the Long Center a hub and home for Austin’s diverse creative community.

That’s why I am so excited that the Long Center is partnering with the City of Austin’s SAVES initiative to administer the Austin Live Music Venue Preservation Fund, distributing $5M in city-funded relief grants to music venues facing imminent closure.

Austin can’t be the “Live Music Capital of the World” without our live music venues. They are the foundation of our growing economy, cultural hubs and incubators for the creative industry, not to mention the thousands of jobs they provide for Austinites.

Our partnership with the City’s SAVES initiative is allowing the Long Center to extend our mission and serve Austin’s arts community beyond our own walls.

But this is just the start of the future we are building for Austin’s artists and performers. This grant program is the first of our long-term strategy to support the sector and create a stable foundation for our artistic community.

This COVID crisis has revealed the true fragility of Austin’s creative economy and this next year will continue to present challenges for our industry.

As we enter 2021, we hope you’ll join us on this journey and support the work we are doing for Austin’s creative community with a donation to the Long Center.
Couple enjoying outdoor concert on colored blanket
AJ wearing ATX sweatshirt overlooking skyline
A.J.’s Top 5 Favorites ⁠— Catch up with these Austin Venues & Artists

Check in with these Austin taplesa dn be the first to know what they’re up to in 2021.

TOP 5 FAVORITE AUSTIN VENUES

Stubbs
The Belmont
Elephant Room
Historic Scoot Inn
The Skylark Lounge

TOP 5 FAVORITE AUSTIN BANDS & ARTISTS

 
See you in the new year for more live music, Austin creativity, and togetherness!
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