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the Long Center, from Inside the Ring

Monthly Archives: September 2012

When it comes to music, everyone has their guilty pleasures. I finished up a degree in classical music in May but somehow still spent all summer shamefully listening to the new singles from Nicki Minaj and Carly Rae Jepsen (okay, to be honest, I don’t feel that guilty about it). But whether you actually lived through the ‘80s or, like me, just found out about it later and still can’t figure out how anything in that decade could have possibly happened, there isn’t much better guilty pleasure listening than ‘80s rock.

Broadway hit Rock of Ages comes to the Long Center on their national tour today, and from what we can tell, they brought their hairspray. The Tony Award-nominated musical features almost everything that made the 1980s so retrospectively hilarious. Especially mullets, hair bands, and a complete disregard for what should be socially acceptable.

Like just about every musical, it’s silly yet sentimental, filled with love-triangles (I think even a love-square at one point), melodrama, and catchy show tunes. But unlike most musicals, this one has characters with names like “Stacee Jaxx” and the catchy show tunes are all ‘80s hits. If there were ever a time to pull out the signed t-shirt from Bon Jovi’s 1987 tour that you’ve been hiding from your wife for the last two decades, this would be it.

To celebrate, we’re counting down our top five guilty-pleasure hits from Rock of Ages. And every one of them is so hilariously bad, but oh-so-good.

5. Joan Jett & The Blackhearts – “I Hate Myself For Loving You”

While we mostly picked this one because the title pretty much describes how we feel about every song on this list, that’s not the only reason. “I Hate Myself For Loving You,” which reached #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 back in 1988, features Jett growling away about her love-hate relationship with her man. The music video is prototypical ‘80s – it depicts Jett performing live, surrounded by frenzied fans and with lighting just dark enough to make sure you know she’s edgy. We’re not sure what’s with the complete non sequitur 3-second long dreamy bike scene at 1:28, but we dig it.

4. Whitesnake – “Here I Go Again”

Coming in at #17 on VH1’s “100 Greatest Songs of the ‘80s” is Whitesnake’s glorious car ballad “Here I Go Again.” It reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 back in 1987, probably at least partially thanks to nearly drowning the listener with synthesizers and reverb. If there’s anyone who should represent the big hair era, it’s Whitesnake – those rockers don the leather pants and hairspray-soaked locks oh so well.

3. Bon Jovi – “Wanted Dead or Alive”

It’s no “Livin’ on a Prayer,” but Jon Bon Jovi’s 1986 hit “Wanted Dead or Alive” is pretty great. It’s shot in black and white, interspersing concert clips with some sort of story about American dreams and the hard life of the rock star. And I mean, who couldn’t love a song with lines like “I’m a cowboy / on a steel horse I ride / I’m wanted dead or alive”? That’s Shakespeare-caliber brilliance right there. Once the obligatory gratuitous guitar solo comes in around 2:27, it’s almost impossible to not air guitar along.

2. Europe – “The Final Countdown”

The Swedish band Europe had another top 10 hit in “Carrie,” but they’re almost exclusively known these days for the monolithic “Final Countdown.” ‘Epic’ hardly does the song justice – unlike Bon Jovi and Whitesnake, who sing about hard times on the road, Europe’s idea of a road trip involves outer space. Like all the others, the video does include gratuitous live concert clips, but the real story of the video is about the human race fleeing to Venus. With lyrics inspired by David Bowie’s “A Space Oddity,” a wicked harmonized guitar solo, and the iconic synth melody that even Europe’s own guitarist John Norum thought was too much, “The Final Countdown” is about as epic as it gets.

1. Journey – “Don’t Stop Believing”

While only reaching #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 back in 1981, “Don’t Stop Believing” has found life after the ‘80s in a way that few of the decade’s top hits have. It’s the top-selling song in iTunes history out of all songs not released in the 21st century, and it’s remained so popular that the song actually re-entered the UK charts in 2009, almost 30 years after its original release. From Glee to The Wedding Singer to Detroit Red Wings games, “Don’t Stop Believing” is still a fan favorite. From the instantly recognizable keyboard intro to the soaring guitar solo to the heartwarming-if-more-than-slightly-cheesy lyrics about midnight trains and small town girls, this one is a perfect rock anthem and a perfect song to close Rock of Ages.

-Nick Curry, Development Intern
The Long Center


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 The most commonly asked question I get in the box office is somewhere along the lines of: “in your opinion where are the best seats?” Although the Michael and Susan Dell hall is a state-of-the-art concert hall, seating 2400 people, picking a seat can be somewhat intimidating if you’ve never visited us before. To avoid the generalized, “every seat is great” answer, I’ve approached each of my box office coworkers and asked them the question and hopefully – after reading this you’ll be a lot more confident in finding seats for our upcoming season.
Eric Cardona, Box Office Manager, is partial to the Mezzanine Box East seats because “it feels like you’re right in the action, observing the artists at work whether it’s a musical, play or concert.” Especially, for the new and upcoming speaker series, National Geographic Live!, the box seats would definitely put you into the forefront of this exciting new storyteller series.
Susan Griffin, Box Office Manager, is looking forward to the return of The Five Browns, the quintet of talented Steinway piano players performing as the ultimate family act on October 11th. Preparing to bring her family to this show, she favors Orchestra Left, row E seats 101-103 because with the kids there is “plenty of leg room and discreet enough to make a swift exit.”
Daniel Cooper, Lead Box Office Representative, prefers the Mezzanine Center in row A (specifically seat 128) because of the “excellent sightline” and particularly for the unique Igudesman & Joo: A Little Nightmare Music performance set for January 19th, this seat is definitely going to put you at the center of a zany performance of classical music.
Loly Rosas, Box Office Representative and Receptionist, suggests the Parterre Center, row AA seats 126-127 as she is petite this row “allows enough space and height between the row in front of you, nobody tall can obstruct the view.” She plans on seeing Ballet Folklorico de Mexico, October 23rd to celebrate with the superb dance company the richness of Mexico’s history and culture in music, movement and color.
Brandon Strange, Box Office Representative, likes the Orchestra center, row S on either side of the aisle. At a mere, 6’6” there is “plenty of leg room and nobody sitting behind to block their view.” Expect to see him at the performance of Henson Alternative’s Stuffed and Unstrung featuring The Miskreant Puppets, where eighty Henson puppets and six comedians take the stage improvising songs and sketches based on audience suggestions. Recommended for mature audiences.
I, Becky Liendo, Group Sales Coordinator, would like to offer my suggestion as well. I enjoy sitting in the Balcony center, row A seat 116 (aisle seat) because you can definitely get a sense for the overall experience of all the shows. What better way to turn a Long Center event into an experience than with our inaugural Rock-a-LONG Wednesdays series with the internationally acclaimed Jeans ‘N’ Classics band recreating the legendary music of rock and roll legends: Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and Queen, as the Austin Symphony Orchestra adds a classical dimension?
What’s great about the Long Center are the many theater settings available outside of the Michael and Susan Dell Hall. There’s the small and intimate Rollins Theater, accommodating 200 people for a variety of shows ranging between Austin Shakespeare and the Austin Film Festival. The City Terrace is another location on site that can host up to 2200 people and this season, not only can you see the best view of downtown Austin but while you’re at it, pet a few dinosaurs at Erth’s Dinosaur Petting Zoo™ thanks to the wonders of some incredible puppetry children will have the opportunity to feed, water and care for these marvelous creatures in an unforgettable, interactive experience. The West Lawn next year will be covered by a circus tent as the Zoppe Italian Family Circus bring their 160-year-old tradition of acrobatics, equestrian showmanship, canine capers, and clowns! As a final point, I’d like to mention the free building tours available every Wednesday at noon, should you feel you’d like more information or to get a better feel of the Long Center. If you have immediate questions regarding accessible seating or other general questions please don’t hesitate to call the 3M Box Office Monday-Friday 10am to 6pm at 512-457-5664, option 1 and Saturday 10am to 4pm.

-Becky Liendo
Group Sales Coordinator
Long Center Box Office

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For the third year in a row it is our pleasure to invite you to the annual Mexican Independence Party, a cultural and culinary event which has now become an Austin tradition. This is where we recognize the strong family, friendship and business ties that join Texas and Mexico.

From one of Austin’s most picturesque locations, with the best view of the city, the City Terrace at the Long Center will turn into a true Mexican Party. We will have a traditional Mariachi “ Las Coronelas de Vanessa del Fierro” and a great band “Cienfuegos” so you can dance and of course some of the best traditional Mexican cuisine in Austin. On top of that, we will have special cocktails prepared by Patron, beer by Corona and Mexican wines by Twin Liquors. All included! In addition to enjoying a wonderful evening, your presence will support MexNet Alliance’s mission to foster the talent of less fortunate Hispanics to either start or grow their own businesses through our Entrepreneurial School in Spanish. Thanks to last year’s efforts, MexNet Alliance was able to provide business education to over 250 individuals through their 5 week seminar program where they teach marketing, operations, sales, taxes and financial classes. This upcoming year, MexNet Alliance plans to offer their seminars 4 times a year and franchise the model to other cities across the United States. We hope that you will not miss out on this opportunity to become part of an extraordinary experience while supporting the economic growth of our community.

– Monica Peraza
President, MexNet Alliance

Mexican Independence

Party at the City Terrace

When: Sunday, September 16th, 9:00 p.m.

Where: At The City Terrace of The Joe R. and

Teresa Lozano Long Center for the Performing Arts

Click here or tickets.

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I’m pretty new to Austin (and even newer to the Long Center staff), so it was something of a pleasant surprise to find out that, a) there’s a place like the Long Center, and b) there’s a lot of stuff going on here. But some of the Long Center’s productions are a little more self explanatory than others.

Rock of Ages? A rock-music Broadway musical. Makes sense. Tap Dogs? Unfortunately, not actually tap-dancing dogs (I would so go watch that), but still pretty obvious what’s up. Improvised Shakespeare? Now that one, I’m a little bit thrown.

Since I’m somebody who spent the last few years getting a degree in music theory, I’m really not an expert on Shakespearean drama. But I’ve still managed to glean through all my schooling that Shakespeare has been dead for something like a long time, and his plays are sort-of set in stone at this point. How exactly does Improvised Shakespeare actually, you know, improvise Shakespeare?

This guy probably would have been ALL over Improvised Shakespeare.

As it turns out: very carefully. The Chicago-based crew studies up on their Shakespeare so they can take a topic suggestion from the audience – they’ve had everything from “the corset of death” to “robots attack” in the past – and turn that prompt into an Elizabethan-era goldmine of hilarity. Basically, it’s long-form improv comedy with authentic Shakespearian language and themes, set in the Bard’s own time.

That’s one of the crazy things about improv comedy: despite the fact that it would seem like all the actors have to do is jump onstage and be funny, improv troupes actually have to practice being able to instantaneously become new characters in new places, all while interacting in hilarious ways. It just so happens that Improvised Shakespeare manages to do this all while being as Shakespearian in language, culture, setting, and philosophy as possible.

Forsooth, indeed.

-Nick Curry, Development Intern
The Long Center

The Improvised Shakespeare Company will be at the Long Center September 18-23. Click here for more information and tickets.

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Guest Blogger Matthew Hinsley, Executive Director of the Austin Classical Guitar Society:

Grisha is unbelievable.

Here he is playing for what looks like 1,000 people when he was too small for his feet to even touch the ground!  Watch to about the one-minute mark and you’ll get a glimpse of his monumental talent.

I am simply thrilled to be collaborating again with the Long Center to produce FlamencoAustin – opening night is Thursday, September 13th.  It’s perfect that Grisha is our debut artist for the series, because it was his Dell Hall performance in June 2010, that inspired us to move forward with the whole idea!

Grisha will perform in Dell Hall at 8.  But the party starts at 6:30!

Everyone with the ticket to the show is invited to arrive on the terrace at 6:30 to hear and see Pilar Andújar and her troupe perform live flamenco music and dance.  Chef Alejandro Duran of Málaga Tapas and Bar is making free Spanish tapas (so get there early!) and Twin Liquors is selecting Spanish wines that will be for sale.

If you want a full dinner, and air-conditioning, and a taste of authentic Spain, we are also offering a phenomenal Spanish dinner in the Kodosky Lounge prepared by chef Maria Fernanda CandilCheck out the menu here!

I love our collaborations with the Long Center.  Great things always seem to happen!  Whether it is Pepe Romero with the Austin Symphony, the Alamo Drafthouse’s Master Pancake heckling Ralph Macchio’s Crossroads, or the Miró Quartet with Jorge Caballero, the nights are always unforgettable.

I can’t wait to see you for FlamencoAustin on September 13th!

Matthew Hinsley, Executive Director
Austin Classical Guitar Society

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Even if you haven’t heard the name Blue Lapis Light, if you’ve been in Austin for a few years you’ve probably seen us.  Often when I describe BLL as a site-specific aerial dance company, I get a bit of a blank stare. But when I say we dance off of buildings, the most common response is, “Oh! Are you those crazy people who were on the Intel building downtown?” The answer is yes. Although the collaborators involved prefer to see themselves as inspired and determined, rather than crazy.

Blue Lapis Light’s mission is to create transcendent works of beauty that are offered,  without religious denomination, as prayers for the planet. We do this through transforming urban environments into inspired works of art, creating works that connect our audiences to a sense of wonder, possibility, and hope.  Founded by long time Austin-based artist Sally Jacques in 2005, our works are mostly large-scale productions, taking place in non-traditional public environments. You may have happened upon one of our past performances at the Seaholm Power Plant, J.J. Pickle and Homer Thornberry Federal Buildings, Hyatt Hotel, Radisson Hotel, Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum or on the shores of Lady Bird Lake.

Everyone in the company is excited to be back on the Long Center City Terrace with our new production, Heaven~Earth~One. There are few other spaces in Austin that beg to be dangled from as much as the ring on the City Terrace. This year we have a new apparatus to play with- ziplines! So don’t forget to look up when you’re in the crowd.

-Lauren Paterson, Managing Director
Blue Lapis Light

Editor’s Note: Blue Lapis Light’s Heaven~Earth~One runs Sept 9-19th on the Long Center City Terrace. For tickets, click here.

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I’ve only been fortunate enough to see Glen Campbell once in concert… and it was 40 years ago!  But it was a very big deal for me – one of the very first live concerts I ever attended.    I loved Glen’s  music and bought his albums (remember vinyl)?  By the time I found out he was coming to Houston, where I was living at the time, the tickets were almost sold out.   I managed to get a pair on the top row of the old Houston Coliseum, a dreadful, mini-arena (which housed the big concerts of the day, as well as wrestling matches and the Shrine Circus).   The sound where I was sitting was awful, bouncing off the wall behind me and creating an intolerable echo.   I moved down to the main floor and positioned myself by an exit door with a great view of the stage and where the music sounded good.  And what music…. Those beautiful hits like “Wichita Lineman” and “By the Time I Get to Phoenix.”   I stood through the entire concert.    Glen Campbell was a masterful showman… his voice strong and pure, his personality exuding warmth and friendliness.   What a pleasure now to be able to present him to Austin in his “goodbye” tour.   Thank you, Glen.

Paul Beutel, Managing Director
The Long Center for the Performing Arts

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