Beyond Tango

7/26/2011 Tuesday 9:56 pm

My book is on  Yay!  At long last.  Here’s the link!

Tango! was fabulous.  Bandini-Chiachiaretta was amazing – folks loved, loved, loved it!  Here’s great review in the Statesman.

And speaking of the Statesman – a lovely article came out last Sunday focusing on the growth, service, capacity and education program of ACGS.  Wow!

This week officially we’re gearing up for our final concert in our Latin Summer Series Viva Mexico! It’s going to be a great show.  Our major efforts, of course, are now going toward other things, though, since the work for that series is mostly over now.  Today was an amazing day – at one point we had about 10 people crammed into our little 3-4 room offices, all working feverishly on various projects.  Wow does that feel good!  The main work?  Launching our new series and, especially, Austin Pictures.  Stay tuned!

We have a wonderful intern, Jared Huff, in from Arizona.  An extremely talented intern in from Boston as well, Colin Thurmond.  The educators were in working today, along with a volunteer – Lloyd Pond, April Long (Operations Manager) and Chuck Lutke (Development Director).  Then we had guests: we had interviewees for a new educator space we’re filling, as well as teachers from AISD coming through for free lessons and training we’re giving all summer so that the new AISD programs go as smoothly as possible – did mention our programs in Austin are more than doubling this year?  So the wheels are really turning right now to prep in the best ways possible.

What has been fun lately…. let’s see, working backwards: Sunday Glenda and I went to Dripping Springs for an amazing country dinner at our friends Hester and Webb’s home – Webb built the place over the last 20 years or so, and it’s unbelievable.  Saturday night we had margarita’s with our friend, and Austin celebrity cookbook author, Lucinda Hutson at Fonda San Miguel, before scampering off to an ACGS party for our adult ensemble members.  Friday night we had a wonderful dinner with my friend (and ACGS board member) Ken Ferguson and his wife Elaine before heading over to Zach Scott Theater to see Hairspray – Ken and Elaine’s son is the male lead, Link, and he was awesome!  Friday I met KMFA’s new program director Keith Neisler, who is going to be a dynamic new force in Austin’s cultural landscape, before heading over to lunch at UT club with John Henry McDonald (owner/founder of Austin Asset Management Company) and our new friend Larry Walker.  Last Wednesday and Thursday I got the guitar out and gave back-to-back lecture/performances at the Austin Newcomers Club (for about 100) and the Austin Woman’s Club (for about 50).  I spoke mostly about service through ACGS – and sprinkled in some performance pieces throughout.  A Tuesday highlight was lunch at Hyde Park bar and Grill with the Austin Chronicle’s Art Editor Robert Faires, who told me all about his recent trip to Oregon and their visit to the Ashland Shakespeare Fest.  Monday began with a visit to Silicon Labs to sort out logistics for the dinner they are hosting for us on October 1st for Austin Pictures!  Tango! was two nights ealier – and was sold out – but I’d be remiss not to mention that on Sunday the 17th we went and saw the final installment of Harry Potter – and loved it!

Here I am with Cesare Chiachiaretta (left) and Giampaulo Bandini having crepes after being on TV, but before going over to KUT, the morning before their concert here!

Here's what a sold out tango show looks like at the Mexican American Cultural Center. They were amazing!

Here's a casual shot from the side of me playing at Austin Newcomers Club. They meet at Green Pastures - I had a simply wonderful time and felt that my talk there and the one at Austin Woman's Club the next day, was really well received.

I snapped this in the office today. That's Travis Marcum, ACGS' director of education on the left, Asst. Director jeremy Osborne through the door, and our new intern (and amazing doctoral-level New England Conservatory guitarist) Colin Thurmond standing and working at the file cabinet since we had just reached critical mass at the office!

Let’s Tango!

7/13/2011 Wednesday 9:17 pm

This Saturday we present Tango! at ACGS.  Two shows – and both are already sold out.  I’ve heard such incredible things about the Bandini-Chiachiaretta Tango Duo and I am so looking forward to meeting them, hearing them play – this will be their US debut!  We’ll be on Fox 7 at 9:50AM Friday, and live on KUT 90.5FM Friday at 2PM on Horizontes.

And speaking of radio!  I just finished listening to my interview with Dianne Donovan on KMFA a few minutes ago.  I was talking about this weekend’s show, of course, but also giving her a preview of our giant Austin Pictures Project for October 1st.  Then she played a few excerpts of Jorge Caballero playing (Jorge will be our guest artist, along with 150 student guitarists, the Miro Quartet, Peter Bay and more!) and all of a sudden the clouds parted and the sun started shining again.  My goodness, Caballero is a genius.

Our logo for Austin Pictures! I don't think I shared this yet... I totally love it. Our designer (Claudia) is awesome!

I can’t believe it’s July!  Since last post I went to GFA in Georgia.  It was a nice, warm event with lot’s of friends.  Very nice not to be running it this time around!  Some other recent highlights:

We secured major sponsorships, a combined $42,500 in all, plus in-kind and rental values, for Austin Pictures from Austin Asset Management Company, Michael Fields with Ameriprise Financial, The Kodosky Foundation, HEB, and Silicon Labs.  We also have received substantial media sponsorships from KMFA, KUT, YNN, KLRU, and The Austin Chronicle.  I feel like we can move forward with agility and freedom now as we try to create the greatest event we can on 10/1.

Lot’s of media meetings, both local and national… crossing fingers!

Yesterday I had an exhilarating meeting with Austin Chamber Music Center Director Michelle Schumann, and Conspirare Artistic Director Craig Hella Johnson and Exec Dir Ann Hume Wilson.  Wow!  It was fun, we’re talking about playing together – possibly in a very major way.  We’ll see where it leads…

Tomorrow we have our ACGS board meeting – Joey Ikner is flying in to present his thoughts on our education program.  Joey is a guitar in ed wizard from Loudoun County Virginia who we hope to have increasingly involved with us here at ACGS as continues to grow.

I went to the Davis Cup last Friday with my tennis partner Mike!  US lost, but it was awesome tennis.  Oh, and speaking of tennis… Jorge Caballero plays, and he’s agreed to let me auction a doubles match against he and I (followed by lunch) for the morning after Austin Pictures!

Oh, did I report yet that we’ll more than double service to 22 schools in AISD this fall?  That has the ed team working double time, and we’re trying to sort out how to support it!

Things are really moving in wonderful ways.  It feels like I’m at the very edge of my capacity, and sometimes that can be uncomfortable, especially when folks are waiting on me… but I am constantly aware of how fortunate I am to have the opportunities that I have to make things happen in our community through art.  This is a big week with the board, Joey, the Tangueros, a new intern who started yesterday (who’s fabulous!), and countless projects.. but hopefully with major events behind us for two weeks, Monday will bring some perspective!