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the Long Center, from Inside the Ring

Category Archives: People


The Long Center is taking part in Amplify Austina community-wide 24-hour giving festival. The goal was to raise $1,000,000 in 24 hours, and as of press time, the total stood at over $1.7 million, with more than 4 hours left to go. The money raised will  benefit over 300 Central Texas nonprofits.

We live in an incredible city. Very few places can boast of all that Austin offers its residents each day through culture, arts, entertainment, festivals, and that special brand of weird that can’t be found anywhere else. And yet, it wouldn’t be the place we love without the strong sense of community fostered in our city by the hundreds of non-profit organizations that call Austin home.

During this giving campaign, donations will be accepted through Amplify Austin’s secure website, Donors are allowed to choose whichever organization they wish to support, and may submit donations from $25 and up.


Who knew that the Long Center is a non-profit organization?

The Long Center is one of a handful of non-profit live entertainment venues in Austin. Contrary to popular belief, the Long Center is funded by private citizens and corporations in Austin and receives limited city funding.  Community donations are the life-blood of our organization, illustrated by the $1 million in small donations the Long Center receives each year.

Thanks to the support received from the community, the Long Center has the opportunity to give back in many exciting ways. The Long Center not only sponsors community initiatives and educational programs to support local artists, local children, and charitable organizations, but also serves as a home for Austin community members to nurture and inspire creativity.

Donations received from Amplify Austin will allow the Long Center to go even further in sustaining and supporting our Austin community. A donation of only $25 makes it possible for another child to experience the wonder and magic of live performing arts in a state-of-the-art facility.

It is truly the community’s generosity and commitment to the arts that fuels the Long Center’s continued success. Check out the Amplify Austin website, and help us keep Central Texas the best place to live as we raise $1 million to support our community!

Donate to the Long Center through Amplify Austin.

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title les enfants terrible

Long Center Marketing Intern Mari Stoner plays the character “Elisabeth” in the upcoming University of Texas  opera production, LES ENFANTS TERRIBLES by Philip Glass.

Opera, like most things, has its stigmas in modern culture. Although some say opera is a dying art form, perhaps it is simply in the process of evolving to reflect the times. As opera continues to search for its place in our fast-paced, technology-based culture, it becomes necessary to make it accessible to future audiences.  For me, a masters student in opera at the University of Texas Butler Opera Center, one of my goals is to promote opera through my performing.

I have received a fantastic opportunity to do this via my portrayal of the character “Elisabeth” in UT’s winter opera opening this Friday – Les enfants terribles by Philip Glass. This opera is in no way your traditional Mozart or Puccini opera. It is a bit more avant-garde, a bit more bizarre, and has incredible potential to attract a diverse audience.

Les enfants terribles or “The Terrible Children” is adapted from a novel written in 1929 by Jean Cocteau. The story centers on Paul and Elisabeth, a brother and sister living essentially unsupervised in Paris in the early 20th century. Abandoned by their alcoholic father and uncared for by their invalid mother, they spend their time living in their shared bedroom and engaging in a game of hypnotism to escape their mundane reality. Two other characters enter the picture as the show goes on: Gerard, Paul’s school friend, and Agathe, an orphan that Elisabeth meets when she secures a job with a seamstress. Before the children realize what is happening, desire and jealousy creep in among them, and suddenly the harmless game becomes a reality from which there is no escape. Consumed by hate in her struggle for power, Elisabeth must find a way to maintain control, even if that means she and her brother must die.

Both the music and staging for Les enfants terribles are unconventional with regard to standard opera. Composer Philip Glass conceived of the piece to be a dance-opera, in which a singer and a dancer portray the emotions of each character on stage simultaneously. Stage Director David Toro manages this hybrid art form by establishing the dancer characters as manifestations of the singers’ subconscious thoughts. From a musical perspective, the work presents challenges not found in standard opera repertoire. Glass’ music tends to incorporate repetition and a level of unpredictability that make it surprisingly complicated despite fairly simple musical textures.  According to Maestro Kelly Kuo, each of the twenty scenes in the opera present a “tableau of emotion” musically and dramatically rather than driving forward an actual progression in time. This assessment seems to match Philip Glass’ own perspective on Les enfants terribles:

“Here, time stands still. There is only music, and the movement of children through space.”

Opera buff or not, expect the unexpected with the Butler School of Music production Les enfants terribles, playing this weekend at the University of Texas McCullough Theater on Friday, February 22nd and Sunday, February 24th at 7:30 pm.

-Mari Stoner
Long Center Marketing Intern

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Cliff Ernst is the Chair of the Long Center’s Board of Trustees. In celebration of the Holiday Season, Cliff and his family donated and decorated a beautiful purple themed holiday tree, which is now on display in our Kodosky Lounge. We recently chatted with Cliff about this gift to the Long Center and to Austin:


Cliff, can you talk about the significance of the tree…what motivated you to make this gift?

I knew the Long Center budget was tight and I wanted our patrons to experience a little holiday cheer so I decided to offer a tree and draft my family and some friends to help with the project.

Did your whole family take part in the selection/decoration?

Yes.  My concept started as a simple little tree with inexpensive lights and maybe paper ornaments.  Then I spotted that nice tall tree on sale.  My wife Martha suggested the purple lights to be true to the Long Center “purple” brand and I found purple LED lights at Home Depot.  From then on it was a slippery slope.  I spotted “designer” Martha Stewart ornaments at Home Depot.  Then Martha thought we need more “bling” so we made a trip to Hobby Lobby for more glitz and glitter.  We drafted our friends, the Garza family, to erect the tree.  The biggest surprise came when we plugged in the lights.  Who knew that 800 purple LED lights would make such a powerful purple glow!

The Long Center is Austin’s Creative Home ™, and around the holidays, it becomes even more like a home to so many Austinites…why do you think the Long Center figures so prominently into the holidays for so many Austin families?

Each year since the Long Center first opened its doors almost five years ago, more and more Central Texans have had an opportunity to come to the Long Center to experience the joy that the performing arts bring to our lives.  Our executive director, Jamie Grant, likes to remind us that one of the most powerful aspects of the performing arts is the life long memories they create.  Our mission is to be the place in Austin where all types of performing artists can share their creativity and talent with the community.  What better way to create wonderful holiday memories than to experience a great show together at the Long Center?

What do you hope people get out of this gift….what will they take away from seeing this beautiful tree?

I hope our tree reminds people of how fortunate we are to live in Austin, where even a “weird” purple holiday tree can be at home in Austin’s Creative Home.

Have you started thinking about any New Year’s resolutions…?

Eat less and see more shows at the Long Center.  Happy holidays!

Thank you, Cliff.

Again, the Ernst/Garza family Holiday Tree is on display at the Long Center in our Kodosky Lounge. We invite you to stop in and see it for yourself..feel free to take photos, and we encourage you to post them on your (and our!) Facebook and other social media pages.

Thank you, and Happy Holidays Austin!

Our sincere hope for each of you on this day is that you are able to set aside the stress of traveling, cooking, entertaining the in-laws, or seeing your favorite football team let you down on primetime television once again (sorry, Cowboys fans!) and take some time to think about just how good we all have it. We asked our coworkers and directors at the Long Center what they were thankful for this year, and here’s some of what they told us –

“When your family is far away, the people you work with become your defacto family…I am thankful that I get to work with some incredible people at the Long Center who care about this community and work so very hard to make it a better place to work, live and play…”

– Jamie Grant, CEO/Executive Director

“I’m grateful and thankful this time of year (and all year round) for the love, support and health of my family and friends.  I’m grateful that my parents raised me to be respectful and kind to others, and to myself.  I’m grateful I’m able to feel the fall sun of my face while a gentle breeze tickles my hair.  I’m grateful for the laughter of my nieces and nephews, and for the purring of my kitten.
I’m grateful for my health and for being able to pay the bills. I’m grateful for the amazing creativity and energy of my co-workers – and of this entire city.  I’m grateful for memories, both happy and sad, because of the comfort they bring.  And finally, I’m grateful that I have more things to be grateful for than I realized.  How lucky is that?!?!”

– Kiran Dix, Finance

“I am thankful for the health of my family and my wonderful dog and cat, all of whom are the center of my universe.”

– Angie Horejsi, Executive Office

“I’m grateful for being able to enjoy family, friends and the happiness that God has given us. How fortunate we are to have what we have!”

– Orlando Martinez, Building Operations

“I’m thankful for an inclusive city where I can grow both personally and professionally.
I’m thankful for family and friends near and far who are supportive, generous, and always put others before themselves.
I’m thankful for the diversity of our events throughout the city and that we continue to be a big blue dot on the political spectrum.”

– Jonathan Martinez, Marketing

“I am grateful for my amazing and charming family and my wonderful friends.”

– Becky Liendo, Box Office

“What I am thankful for this holiday is a great Board of Directors and a great Staff at the Long Center helping make Austin a more creative place.”

– Cliff Ernst, Chair, Board of Trustees

“I’m grateful for a community full of people so ready to participate, experience, and wonder. This past year I was gifted with your willingness to try new things many times over—and not just try, but embrace. It makes the work of a programmer that much more rewarding to have an audience that is so present. At the holidays and all year round, it is an honor to serve you.”

– Karen Jantsch, Programming

“I’m grateful for the love that your friends and Chihuahuas give you.”

– Annabel Guevara, Programming

“This season I am grateful that my family and I are all in good health.  I am also grateful for my awesome internship at the Long Center, especially the steady supply of red vines and Starbursts.”

– Meredith McCay, Development Intern

“This year I am most thankful for the challenges that I have faced – if it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be able to grow as a person. Of course, I am thankful for my family and friends who, despite long distances, are always there for me. And as always I am thankful for good food, great wine, and even better friends!”

– Bryana Marrero, Programming Intern

“I’m thankful for my family, my friends, my health and the opportunity to work in the arts, doing something I love.”

– Heath Riddles, Marketing

“I am thankful for all the many blessings in my life- but most importantly is that my parents are healthy – especially when I need them to run after my kids!  Second on the list would be Eric Cardona’s baking skills.”

– Susan Griffin, Box Office

“This year I am grateful for little things—like waking up each morning. I’m grateful for the swallows that nest on my balcony in the Spring—I still have reminders of their presence, event today. And I’m grateful for family, as scattered as we are, and for friends who keep in touch—and give me reason to wake up each morning.”

– Ken Shepardson, Guest Services

“I am thankful for this new position with the Long Center, the opportunity to work with such a special bunch of folks and the possibilities of all the fabulous events and performances we will bring to the Austin community.”

– Tiffany Neece, Sales

We all have an awful lot to be thankful for – both during the holiday season, and through the rest of the year. As a recent transplant to Austin, I’m pretty thankful that it still hasn’t approached anything near cold weather yet (despite what the locals bundled up in wool coats and scarves seem to think), that it only took me a few days to learn to avoid I-35 at any time even remotely near rush hour, and for the warm welcome and new friends I’ve made in my few months here. But most of all, I’m more thankful than ever for the people and places I left behind. After five years in Lawrence Kansas and something like eighteen years total in the sunflower state, I’m thankful for the scenic sunset drive from Lawrence to Kansas City, for close friendships built over many years that just can’t be replaced in a few months (but fortunately don’t have to be), and for parents, three brothers, two nephews, and one collie. I’m incredibly thankful for the opportunities and people and places here in Austin, but there’s nothing like leaving so much behind to remind me just how much I have to be thankful for.

– Nick Curry, Marketing & Development Intern

A wise man said there are three things in life that are eternal, that make it worth living: “love, music, and poetry. In that order.” Given what we do here at the Long Center, we’re all pretty thankful for all three. We all are– and should be– thankful for the food on the table, for the roofs over our heads, and for our jobs in these still trying economic times, but it’s things like these that truly sustain us. And we are ever-so-thankful for that.

From all of us here at the Long Center, happy Thanksgiving.

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Editor’s note: we don’t just do performance arts here at the Long Center. This winter, we’ve teamed up with Texas Gas Service and Caritas of Austin for a campaign called Share the Warmth. This program helps senior citizens, individuals with disabilities, and those having trouble covering their home heating expenses to pay for home heating costs and stay warm throughout the winter. It helps Texans in 33 counties, and as the weather turns colder, can literally be a lifesaver for those with financial hardship. We’re happy to be able to be a part of this campaign, and we’re also happy to share with you this guest blog post from a case manager at Caritas of Austin, a nonprofit organization that helps men, women, and children in Travis County who are experiencing homelessness and poverty meet their needs and achieve self-sufficiency.

At 7:30 a.m., I arrive at my office, located in the apartment complex where my clients live and prepare to start the day. As a Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) Case Manager I meet with clients daily to offer support and guidance.

My first clients of the morning normally come in on time – it’s rare for me to need to remind them to meet their appointments. Most of them have adopted the habit of being early birds. Even better – some have developed a morning routine. It could start with a morning walk, with a stop by my office on their way to breakfast or a shower, or it could be that our case management meeting helps them start the day. Developing a routine is a big step for our clients who are living in Permanent Supportive Housing. Many of these clients lived in very unstable situations for years and being able to create a daily routine can help them move towards achieving a safer, more reliable lifestyle.

Of course, the routine and good habits do not form in one day, month, or sometimes even one year. After all, these clients’ stories are not fairy tales. After the experience of homelessness it’s not surprising that some of our clients need to relearn skills for daily living as well as the meaning of being “ at home” rather than “homeless.”

Being onsite with the client allows me to address their needs and provide them with consultations. Regular case management meetings provide them with a place to share and discuss ways to achieve their goals. My job as a Caritas of Austin PSH Case Manager is to support and assist my clients to reach and maintain these goals. It all takes time, effort and commitment to rebuild the “home” in our clients’ hearts.

A client might have a need they want to talk about, and sometimes even a crisis. Calming their anxiety and normalizing the situation may be the first step. Sometimes a client might have a question about daily skills that most people who have never been homeless would take for granted. Sharing daily living skills and providing daily living supplies are often a part of case management support, in addition to providing housing financial assistance.

Helping my clients to reach and maintain their housing goals goes beyond providing material assistance. Sometimes the support I offer might be teaching a client how to do laundry, how to use a dishwasher, or how to use a vacuum cleaner. It could also mean teaching a client about the responsibilities of being a tenant and importance of making regular on-time rental payments.

Much care, support, and resources can be shared by a Case Manager. The beauty of PSH case management is to witness the little achievements clients make for themselves.

At 5:30p.m., I prepare to end my day. Walking by clients’ units and seeing them sitting on their front porches enjoying the sunset, I know it took them a while to get to where they are now. We are proud of their achievements and are glad we are able to support and witness their accomplishments.

-A Caritas of Austin Permanent Supportive Housing Case Manager

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I applied for an internship position at the Long Center in early August. The blog entry you’re reading now should give away that yes, I did get one of the positions. I opened an email and found that I would be working in…

Guest Services?

To be honest, my first thought was something along the lines of “What in the world is Guest Services?”

Guest Services seems like this mystery corner of the building. Not because we are in a mystery corner of the building, but because a lot of people don’t realize a) that we are here, or b) what we do exactly. If you’ve attended a show at the Long Center, chances are that you’ve seen us.

So, the burning question: what exactly do we do?

We help you, the guest , and make your visit as hassle-free as possible. How?
Let’s speak in hypotheticals for a moment: you and a friend/significant other/someone (whom we shall dub Ticket Buddy) have tickets to see Capitol Steps. Last week, Ticket Buddy took a skydiving expedition. While they had a blast doing so, they did not come out unscathed. Whoops. Ticket Buddy swears the ground came out of nowhere and is now using a wheelchair while some legs (and pride) heal. While you feel bad for Ticket Buddy, you have been looking forward to the show. Do you miss it or scramble to find someone else to go with?
Go with option C and call Guest Services. We’ll help you find the easiest way to get to your seats and accommodate Ticket Buddy in whatever way possible.
Let’s get hypothetical again: you and Ticket Buddy attend the show after all. Awesome! During intermission, you grab a snack at one of the bars on your level. Great! The show is over, and you drive on home to find that Ticket Buddy’s bad luck is rubbing off on you. Your wallet is missing, probably lost near your seat.

Don’t go cancelling all of your credit cards yet! The amount of lost items (keys, wallets, credit cards) found here is shocking, but the amount of items that don’t get claimed is even more mind-boggling. There’s a good chance an usher picked up your missing item and turned it in post-show. If so, it’ll be waiting for you to claim it here.

The ushers wearing the black vests and purple ties are volunteers who give their time to make sure that every guest is kept safe and enjoys the show. They also help locate seats, read tickets, help with handicap accommodations, and enforce safety rules. Ushers show up beforehand to prepare for the show, and stay late to make sure everything is back to normal for the next performance.

So the next time you attend a show and have questions about anything, Guest Services is the place that would answer most of those questions.

“Can I bring a camera into the hall?” Usually not, but it could depend on the show.

“Can I take drinks inside the hall?” Again, depending on the show, maybe.

“Can you help stop Ticket Buddy from his next skydiving trip?” Um, probably not. Let’s just hope that the string of bad luck has stopped by then. But if it hasn’t, we will be happy to help sort out Ticket Buddy’s seat again for your next visit.

– Stefanie Martinez, Guest Services Intern
The Long Center

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Four of the five Brown siblings wait in the green room at KUT’s studios before their on-air interview with Eklektikos host John Aielli.

Two of the most important lessons to learn in life seem to be to do what you love and to put family first. The Five Browns can check the boxes for both.

We sat with the group in the Green Room at KUT studios this morning before their interview with Eklektikos host John Aielli. They talked about everything from the program tonight (Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring to Saint Saen’s Dance Macabre to Star Wars) to what they wish Juilliard would have taught them (the practical stuff, like how to build a website, instead of just how to practice more hours than you sleep), from music theory love/hate to how if they had known that the Austin City Limits Festival were this weekend, they would have found an excuse to stay an extra few days. When music majors get together, they generally lapse into shop talk within about thirty seconds. Being musician siblings seems to shave even a few more seconds off that average time.

What they didn’t really say was just how great it was to be able to work and tour and perform with the family they grew up with: all five brothers and sisters on the road and stage together, sometimes even all five playing at once. But they didn’t have to – you could tell.

The world is full of mixed messages: family over everything, but take care of yourself first. Don’t sacrifice your dreams, but you better be practical. Do what you love, but be realistic even if that means doing something else. It’s enough to give just about everyone a pretty confused sense of priorities.

The Brown siblings somehow lucked out. I’m sure that they’ve all made plenty of sacrifices in their lives, but they get to do what they love, to play music for a living with the people they love the most. There’s a special joy to that.

They don’t have to say it – you can tell.

– Nick Curry, Development Intern
The Long Center

The Five Browns will be at the Long Center on October 11. Click here for more information and tickets.

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