Austin 101 Magazine


  • Blues on the Green Austin Music Fest w. Max Frost Photos

    photos by Paul Clark

  • Highlights From ATX TV Festival in Austin

    Tv lovers flocked to Austin for Season 8 of the grown-up camp festival. Tons of networks were there debuting their new seasons including: HBO, Showtime, NBC, Fox, and more. Despite a little bad weather the first night, the festival went off without a hitch. Every Austinite and tv lover needs to experience this cool annual event in town each summer.

    Opening Night: Opening night had HBO’s Euphoria cast and crew on the red carpet plus a fun screening and party at Austin’s iconic Paramount Theater and Stephen F. Austin hotel.

    (photos by ATX Festival)

    There were tons of important peeps at opening night including:

    Sam Levinson (Creator/EP)
    · Zendaya (cast)
    · Hunter Schafer (cast)
    · Barbie Ferreira (cast)
    · Eric Dane (cast)

    Into the Dark (HULU)
    · Gigi Saul Guerrero (Co-writer, Director)
    · Shawn Ashmore (cast)
    · Richard Cabral (cast)
    · Martha Higareda (cast)

    Prodigal Son (FOX)
    · Lou Diamond Phillips (cast)
    · Aurora Perrineau (cast)
    · Frank Harts (cast)
    · Halston Sage (cast)
    · Caitlin McFarland (Founder)
    · Emily Gipson (Founder)
    · Nick Wechsler; ATX Advisory Board Member
    · Arielle Kebbel; ATX Advisory Board Member
    · Michelle Lang; “Everyone is Doing Great”
    · Lincoln Younes “Grand Hotel”

    Tv Under the Stars: This was a really fun annual Outdoor Screening & Music Showcase, at the Hotel San Jose on Friday, June 7! There were fans, live music, amazing snacks and drinks, community organizations, and a sun-down screening of a trio of NBC comedies BROOKLYN NINE-NINE, THE GOOD PLACE, and SUPERSTORE. More info here and our photos on Austin 101.

    Closing Night

    Closing night red carpet at tons of star power including KEVIN BACON for the new Showtime series called ‘City On a Hill’. The series is a drama set in Boston in the 1970’s rife with racism, masogony, corruption and more. The new series premiers June 16th. See our red-carpet photos on Austin 101. More info on the show at

    Closing Night with the Cast of “City on a Hill” Presented by SHOWTIME and The Hollywood Reporter:
    · Kevin Bacon (co-EP/actor)
    · Tom Fontana (showrunner/EP)
    · Aldis Hodge (actor)
    · Jill Hennessy (actor)
    · Chuck MacLean (creator/EP)
    · Jennifer Todd (EP)

    97934110491516924(photo by ATX Fest)

    Other Highlights of the festival included an interesting panel and chat with a tv icon who received the ATX award – “Award in Television eXcellence” -to legendary actress Phylicia Rashad (David Makes Man, The Cosby Show), followed by conversation that is both a one-of-a-kind look back and forward at her ongoing and remarkable career.

    About Prodigal Son:

    From Emmy Award-nominated executive producers Greg Berlanti and Sarah Schechter (“Riverdale,” “The Flash”) and writers Chris Fedak (“Deception,” “Chuck”) and Sam Sklaver (“Deception,” “Bored to Death”), PRODIGAL SON is a fresh take on a crime franchise with a provocative and outrageous lead character and a darkly comedic tone.

    MALCOLM BRIGHT (Tom Payne, “The Walking Dead”) has a gift. He knows how killers think, how their minds work. Why? Back in the 1990s, his father was one of the best, a notorious serial killer called “The Surgeon.” That’s why Bright is the best criminal psychologist around; murder is the family business. He will use his twisted genius to help the NYPD solve crimes and stop killers, all while dealing with a manipulative mother, annoyingly normal sister, a homicidal father still looking to bond with his prodigal son and his own constantly evolving neuroses.

    Meet the happy family. DR. MARTIN WHITLY (Emmy Award and Golden Globe nominee Michael Sheen, “Masters of Sex,” “Frost/Nixon”) is intelligent, wealthy, charismatic and also happens to be a predatory sociopath who killed at least 23 people. Bright’s mother, JESSICA WHITLY (Bellamy Young, “Scandal,” “Criminal Minds”), an elegant and WASPy New Yorker, wields sarcasm like a samurai sword and has an opinion on every aspect of Bright’s life. Perhaps Bright’s only ally is his sister, AINSLEY WHITLY (Halston Sage, THE ORVILLE), a TV journalist who wishes her brother would “take a break from murder” and have a normal life.

    Unfortunately for his sister, the only way Bright feels normal is by solving cases with the help of his longtime mentor, NYPD Detective GIL ARROYO (Emmy Award and Golden Globe nominee Lou Diamond Phillips, “Longmire,” “Stand and Deliver”). Arroyo’s one of the best detectives around, and he expects no less from his team – Detective DANI POWELL (Aurora Perrineau, “The Carmichael Show,” “Jem and the Holograms”), a headstrong no-nonsense cop who quickly becomes impressed with Bright’s work; and Detective JT TARMEL (Frank Harts, “The Path,” “Billions”), a born-and-bred New Yorker who questions whether Bright is a psychopath himself.
    So much for normal.

    More about ATX Festival

    ATX Television Festival is a four-day event that celebrates the television medium: looking back at its history, where it is now, and where it is headed. The festival consists of panels, screenings, and events where attendees and leaders in the TV industry talk, watch, and experience television together as one community. More details at ATXFestival.

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  • ATX TV Festival Austin Closing Night Photos
  • Hamilton in Austin Is Worth the Wait- Playing Through June 16th

    Nik Walker - HAMILTON National Tour - (c) Joan Marcus 2018.jpg(Nik Walker, photo by Joan Marcus)

    The long wait is over- Austin fans can finally see Hamilton- one of the top musicals in history -some say the best of all time-winning countless awards around the world including Tony Awards and Pulitzer Prize. Lin-Manuel Miranda is now a household name for bringing modern pop culture into historical theater. It’s broken rules, boundaries and records. For the last few years, people outside of NYC and Broadway couldn’t fathom actually seeing the buzz-worthy show in person. Even in New York, tickets were scarce and often resale prices were in the thousands and out of reach for most. Yes it is worth the price and lives up to all the hype.

    Joseph Morales and Nik Walker - HAMILTON National Tour - (C) Joan Marcus 2018.jpg(Joseph Morales photo by Joan Marcus)

    The entire ensemble was brilliant in acting and choreography. Morales is flawless and feels like Miranda. Of importance is the fact that the all white founding fathers are played by non-white actors. Fans will be happy to know that many cast members on the touring show in Austin are from the original cast including lead (Alexander Hamilton) Joseph Morales (Chicago) who looks and appears like Lin-Manuel Miranda (creator/actor). The actors were so well cast and such a fit that one would assume Miranda hand picked each of them. The other lead characters are Burr (Nik Walker), then two sisters- Eliza (Erin Clemons) who eventually marries Alexander-and Angelica Schuyler (Ta’Rea Campbell). These actors were phenomenal and believable and worked cohesively to tell the story of Alexander. The actors in the great supporting, almost lead group were actually standouts and included John Laurens/Philip Hamilton (Elijah Malcomb), Lafayette/Jefferson (Kyle Scatliffe), James Madison (Fergie L. Philippe), George Washington (Marcus Choi).

    There were bits of comedy relief throughout and at times King George (Jon Patrick Walker) stole the show with appearance, facial expressions, and the mannerisms that accompanied the comedic lyrics. He exuded jealousy and anger like an obsessed lover (Great Britain) who is losing his grip on his woman (America) as she slips away from his power and control. He says “You’ll be back-Remember despite our estrangement, I’m your man, You’ll be back, Soon you’ll see, You’ll remember you belong to me, You’ll be back”.Jon Patrick Walker - HAMILTON National Tour - (c) Joan Marcus 2018.jpg(Jon Patrick Walker photo by Joan Marcus)

    The story dives deep into the mastermind of Hamilton who came from nothing as an immigrant from the Caribbean to going to Columbia University (then King’s College) and becoming a lawyer to becoming the president’s right hand man and then the first American Treasury Secretary after proving his worth on many occasions during the great war with Britain. He’s responsible for the financial systems and Wall Street today. The show covers all his flaws including his irrational decisions, stubbornness, and his indiscretions during his marriage and the tragic loss of his son Philip in a duel-perhaps giving him bad advice to attend. Hamilton had 8 kids but Miranda focused on Philip. Sadly the show ends with him losing his life too soon in a duel (repeating the exact tragic end his son went through) via a bullet from Burr. It didn’t have to happen which is what makes it so tragic. Stubborn competitiveness/ego is to blame. The show ends with Hamilton being rowed back to Manhattan lifeless and his wife looking into the light of heaven in despair.

    Joseph Morales and Company - HAMILTON National Tour - (c) Joan Marcus 2018.jpg(cast photo by Joan Marcus)

    The star of the show is of course the music- as it’s sung and rapped and seamlessly combines old with modern worlds. It’s a testament to Miranda that millions of young new theater fans have jumped into attending musicals because of him. The blend of hip hop and history has proven to get more people excited to learn and attend. The show has attracted all ages, races, and cultures because of the songs and the relatable lyrics-taking an old topic and making it new and interesting like a good teacher would. Highlights include:  ‘My Shot’, ‘Wait For It’, ‘The Room Where it Happens’, ‘Alexander Hamilton’, the hilarious ‘You’ll Be Back’, ‘Satisfied’, ‘The Schuyler Sisters’, ‘Yorktown’. There are 51 total numbers and it often feels like there’s only a split second between any two songs. The show runs at a quick pace so at times you feel you can’t keep up. It runs through 30 years of history and over 20,000 words so it has to be continuous.

    Part of what makes Hamilton so powerful and inspiring is the fact that it’s a political story that includes gun violence, hate, and racism that often mimics what our country is facing today.  Manuel is a genius in how he blends rhyme and wordplay. The lyrics are familiar and powerful. “If you stand for nothing, Burr, what’ll you fall for?”, “How does a ragtag volunteer army in need of a shower somehow defeat a global superpower?”, “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”, “We fought for these ideals; we shouldn’t settle for less” and “How you say, no sweat, we’re finally on the field. We’ve had quite a run”- Immigrants: “We get the job done”.  Other modern/relatable (often direct quotes) and often hilarious one liners in the show are highlights: “I’m just like my country, I’m young, scrappy, and hungry”. “Everyone give it up for America’s favorite fighting Frenchman!” “Why do you write like it’s going out of style?”.”When I meet Thomas Jefferson, I’m’a compel him to include women in the sequel!” “Wait for it”. “Being a self-starter”. “But my God, she looks so helpless, and her body’s saying, “hell, yes”.

    The choreography was also superb. Mixes of ballet and hip-hop dominated and often had the ensemble both singing and dancing. Andy Blankenbuehler, choreographer, has talked about the importance of bringing the lyrics to life and slowing down time by creating the appearance of slow-motion sequences throughout. He uses poses and movements from baseball to illustrate important lyrics and emotions. Stopping time to magnify Hamilton’s thoughts was evident while often including modern hip-hop moves with the modern lyrics. There are huge sequences that are repeated over the course of the show due to their importance; you’ll notice these for example during ‘My Shot’, ‘Right Hand Man’, and ‘Room Where it Happens’.

    The production is incredible and is the same production that’s on Broadway. It’s a simple set–or appears so at first– made of mostly wood (or faux)- with wood floors- with a rotating circular center-or turntable stage piece that the cast must artfully and carefully dance across and through- massively tall side brick walls and wood scaffolding staircases that move, long beams on the ceiling, second-level catwalk, and loose ropes used in a variety of scenes (apparently designed to resemble the inside of a boat). The lights were important and often single spotlights but many numbers included drop down candle lanterns that created a romantic ambience and are historically accurate due lack of electricity (was invented later).

    bronze metal texture with high details; Shutterstock ID 115354759(Joan Marcus)

    More about Hamilton: Creator, writer, actor Lin-Manuel Miranda, direction by Thomas Kail, choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler and musical supervision and orchestrations by Alex Lacamoire. Hamilton is based on Ron Chernow’s biography of Founding Father Alexander Hamilton.

    Hamilton runs through June 16th at Bass Concert Hall on the UT campus. The show runs about 3 hours total including one intermission. Tickets are available but limited. You can also try the Hamilton app to win $10 tickets.

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  • Rock and Roll Playhouse Brings Iconic Music to Many Cities

    Our Interview with Amy Striem, Co-Founder of Rock and Roll Playhouse

    by Gina Alligood


    Congratulations on the success of your Rock and Roll Playhouse and events! What went into building the national series, and what do you believe is behind the overwhelming response you’ve received?

    Thank you, we took our time building the program in our home venues, Brooklyn Bowl and The Capitol Theatre, which helped us figure out how to bring a successful program to other venues and cities. We love opening up in new communities and hearing the enthusiasm that comes from families. The Rock and Roll Playhouse is a unique program. It was created as an interactive music program for the whole family — kids and adults — there isn’t anything else out there quite like it.

    It’s fabulous to see you emphasizing creativity. As an educator you know research suggests kids are happier, better problem solvers, and overall more successful when they develop their creativity. Was the Playhouse a chance for parents to have their music fun with their kids, or was this about hosting a creative event for the children?

    The Rock and Roll Playhouse was created as a way to pass down music to a new generation through family concerts, giving parents an opportunity to share the music they love with their children. The flow of the concerts is created for children to explore and interact with music. For example, we always hand out rainbow streamers to kids during the show. The kids dance and twirl with them, some pretend the streamers are wings while others use the streamers to jump over.

    There are so many ways this program can impact parents and their kids. Do you see this primarily as a cultural experience to expose kids to their parents musical tastes, or is there more you hope is happening within the children themselves?

    One of our goals is create a shared musical experience for the whole family, but we know that creating a live music experience for children opens up many opportunities for learning from exploring sound, to dance, to lights, to sharing a physical space and watching music come alive on a stage.

    Amy, you bring an educator’s expertise to Peter’s music-promotion experience. How do the two of you use your unique talents to collaborate on events?

    Peter is a visionary and has a a true love for music. I listen to his ideas and filter everything through an educational lens. It has been a true pleasure to work together over the years, creating The Rock and Roll Playhouse.

    I imagine you hear great stories from parents about the fun and maybe the unexpected gifts of sharing this with their families. What are some of your favorite stories?

    I love hearing the stories from parents whose children, at a very young age, connect with a particular artist in a very real way. Seeing the music played on stage is beyond special for both parents and children. One of our families, whose child is non-verbal, always sings along to a particular song and reached out to us to play the song on stage during a show. One story I just heard from a venue manager, while at the Relix Live Music Conference this week, was that he now receives requests from staff to work shifts during our shows because they enjoy the family vibe.

    Along with all the fun to be had, whenever there are large groups of kids in one space there is potential for a bit of chaos. What sorts of strategies do you use to keep the kids engaged?

    The setlist and activities are planned in advance with our band leaders, teaching artists, and production staff so we know that the flow of the show will work for kids. We always share that information with the venue so they’re in the loop. The teaching artists are also on the floor and stage interacting with the families.

    Can you share a couple of tips that will ensure a good time and positive experience by families that are considering attending?

    The show is 60 minutes long and usually starts 30 – 60 minutes after doors, so think about how that schedule affects you child’s nap time. Bring headphones if your child is used to wearing them and/or you’re worried about your child’s ears. We keep the volume down for little ears but there are lots of lights, sounds, and people at a show. Many kids may feel comfortable having headphones. If your child can’t walk, bring a carrier so they can dance! Lastly, check out the FAQ section on our website! We try to answer as many questions as possible that parents have about our shows so you can plan the day in the most successful manner.

    What do you have planned for the future of Rock and Roll Playhouse?

    We keep getting requests for new cities so our plan is to continue growing in order to continue sharing music with new families.

    We love your band choices. How do you choose the bands, the classic music, and the event venues?

    We start with the classics in every new city. We then work with venues and listen to families to bring in new artists. It’s all about fostering a musical community. Each city has a local band leader who helps us find the incredible musicians who live and play locally to come join our shows. Our venues are incredible and we are so happy to partner with each one to create unique daytime family programming with The Rock and Roll Playhouse.

    FULLWEB-9249We are lucky in Austin to have events happening each month at the iconic Mohawk on Red River in downtown. For more info on RRPH and upcoming shows, including the special Father’s Day event, check out their site.


    About RRPH

    The Rock and Roll Playhouse is a multi-city event at iconic venues around the U.S. to expose children and families to the amazing classic music (and great icons) of Tom Petty, The Grateful Dead, Phish, The Beatles, and more. Created by entrepreneur and owner of The Capitol Theatre and co-owner of the Brooklyn Bowl, Peter Shapiro, and Amy Striem, a certified Early Childhood and Elementary teacher, The Rock and Roll Playhouse uses music to educate children and explore their creativity. The idea for The Playhouse came to Shapiro, a parent of two young children, after he discovered first-hand a lack of regular programming in New York City that combined his passion for live music and his family. He collaborated with Striem, then an administrator at his daughter’s nursery school, to help fill this void that they felt many other parents also shared.

    _images_uploads_gallery_Amy__Family_at_RRPH_ShowAmy Striem and family


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