10/30/2011 Sunday 9:38 pm

October flew by.  It seems like just yesterday that I was down at ACL Live prepping for Austin Pictures – and it was a month ago now!  Austin Pictures was an amazing experience.  I’m still getting incredible feedback from people who were there.  One thing I love is how different everyone’s perspective is.  The show was a dream, Im thrilled we did it, and I’m thrilled it’s behind us!

The pace has not slowed.  The week of October 3rd I had a Finance meeting where we determined we needed to move aggressively into fundraising mode (something we have since done with some success, thankfully).  I also had a marvelous lunch at Fino with Travis County Clerk Amalia Rodriguez Mendoza who introduced me to Lori Moreno of Texas Gas Service and the ONEOK Foundation.  We had a blast and I think there’s some synergy there!  I gave a lecture and performance for about 300 at the Thompson Conference Center that Thursday for UT Lamp, and had lunch Friday with my good friend, and director of Texas Choral Consort, Brent Baldwin.  The week after I had a wonderful lunch with Austin Asset Management Company’s founder John Henry McDonald.  John Henry is on my board, and was a presenting sponsor of Austin Pictures – we met basically to catch up and start thinking about the future.  We also finalized details that week with Mike Levy for the 5-year, $50,000 grant he is generously giving to ACGS through the Meyer-Levy Foundation!  We announce that this week.  It will be $10,000 per year offered as a matching opportunity to our patrons.  Mike is the founder, and was long-time publisher, of Texas Monthly Magazine.  Other highlights from that week were a meeting with my friend Kim Perlak at Concordia University with the Dean of their business school – I’ll be executive in residence for a day this coming spring to talk about nonprofs in the arts to their students!  I had a fantastic chat with Denis Azabagic about a Balkan-Indian music project he’s engaged in that might end up in Austin (!).  And I had a wonderful dinner meeting with a potential new board member.  The week of the 17th began with my Education Director, Travis Marcum, and I giving a talk as part of a panel at UT on arts and the Juvenile Justice System.  A nice review came out in the Daily Texan that begins by focusing on Travis’ presentation!  We had a wrap up meeting with Julie Stoakley who volunteered to be our event planner primarily for the dinner we held at Austin Pictures, and I had a marvelous lunch with my friend Steve Golab – owner of FG Squared, a web development firm here in town.  Other fun things that week were a coffee with Emily Marks – who has run the dynamic Girls Rock Camp in Austin for five years – and then lunch at Marc and Carolyn Seriff’s gorgeous 30th floor condo in the Austonian with a board member and the director of education for Zach Scott Theatre (Nat Miller).  Carolyn wanted to get me and Nat together to talk about education programming.  It was marvelous.  Carolyn is on Zach’s board, and she and Marc just gave an unbelievably generous gift of $500,000 to Zach Scott.  They are also great supporters of ACGS.  Marc was one of the founders or AOL.  We are very lucky to have such generous and artistically-minded people in Austin.  We produced two shows that week, too.  Classical Cactus was Thursday – over-sold, with 150 or so in the audience and a line out the door!  The Saturday we did an Austin Guitar Salon concert at the unbelievable home of prominent arts philanthropist Jane Sibley.  And that brings us to this past week!  Whew!  Highlights this week were a lunch with KUT’s Hawk Mendenhall and Rebecca McEnroy to talk about future plans (always good stuff).  We met at Vivo’s for lunch on Tuesday.  Thursday night I was a “celebrity judge” for something called, I think, the “Wildfire Start Up Slam”.  This is something where entrepreneurs have a few minutes to pitch their ideas before judges and an audience, we ask questions, and then determine a score – which we hold up over our heads ala Dancing with the Stars.  It was fun, and very interesting to hear about new ideas, and see the people behind them.  The event was downtown at the Tap Room.

As always, so much more is going on.  But those are, at least, some of the highlights from the past month!

November is an interesting shift for me. I’ll be playing a few concerts, and giving quite a few talks.  Our final major event of the year is Saturday the 5th at 8PM.  Then we don’t have another until January 28th!  (little events, but no really big ones).  We will mainly turn our presentation sites toward Guitars Under the Stars on February 11th with Eliot Fisk.  That’ll be our next major effort.