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Stories to Tell Exhibit: Gives Inside Look at Harry Ransom Center

23 Feb

The Harry Ransom Center, the world renown cultural museum, research library and archive located on the University of Texas is giving the world a rare glimpse of its vast eclectic collection with its Stories to Tell exhibit. And did we mention it’s FREE?


The exhibit has something for everyone: art lover, literary major, history buff,  film fanatic, and paranormal fans. The diverse exhibit showcases work from authors, artists, actors, a film producer, a photographer as well as a brilliant mind and their creative process.

Browse a beautiful wall of art by Matisse, get inside look at James Joyce’s thought process in composing, literary class, Ulysses; and Einstein’s discovery of the  theory of gravitational waves at the unique exhibit.

The new exhibition even features a case of selected pieces from it’s Mad Men collection. Visitors get a peek at the extreme detail producers went to make the AMC TV classic authentic from scripts to detailed ad proposals. Film fanatics can also see a special exhibit within Stories to Tell  featuring Robert De Niro’s personal collection donated to the Center.

Not only do we get insight into the creative process, but we are able to learn about history with a the Woodward & Bernstein Watergate papers and artifacts like the Gutenberg Bible.

The exhibit opened earlier this month and will run through July 16, 2017. Check it out to see all the Harry Ransom Center has to offer!

Part 2 of a 2 part series.




Ransom Center Preserves Cinematic History

6 Feb

The University of Texas at Austin’s Harry Ransom Center, a world renown cultural museum, research library and archive has made considerable strides in the preservation of cinematic history. The Center hosts over 10,000 scripts and 15,000 other items from TV & film and its contributors.

Most recently, AMC’ Mad Men creator, Matthew Weiner donated 150 boxes from the iconic cable drama to the center. It will take over a year for Ransom Center curators to go through the collection, but as part of the Stories to Tell exhibit that runs February 6 – July 16, 2017, the Center has selected a few pieces as a preview of the Mad Men collection.

img_5814The selected pieces like their clever ad campaigns from Mad Men tell a story of the in depth nature that show creators and writers went into devise an authentic depiction of that period. The ad proposal is just not a shell prop, but details full ad concepts for Mad Men’s clients like Hershey’s and Philip Morris. The display is a mere snapshot of the historical archive, which includes costume, props, and other pieces from the hit drama that ended in 2015.

The Center also has an extensive archive from Woody Allen, Sunset Boulevard actress, Gloria Swanson as well as Robert Deniro and others.

img_5821Robert Deniro has contributed his life’s work to the center and they receive a box from the actor about every 2 years. His personal collection is a way he can share with his creative process with others. This year actually marks the 40th Anniversary of the Martin Scorsese film, Taxi Driver, a Best Picture nominee. As part of that celebration, the Ransom Center is showcasing a collection from the film that stars Deniro.  

img_5820While the cinematic collection is just a facet of the spectrum of works preserved by the Center, many pieces have a common underlying theme. Whether it’s James Joyce’s notes on formulating the infamous novel, Ulysses or Deniro’s notes on character development for his Oscar nominated performance in Taxi Driver or even Einstein formulas developing the gravitational wave theory, the pieces give insight into the creative processes of these brilliant cultural icons.

This is part 1 of 2 part series.


TV Hits Big Screen for ATX Fest

13 Jun

As an avid TV watcher and Netflix binger, I highly anticipated Season 2 of the ATX Television Festival this past weekend, June 6-9, 2013. The previous year, I worked behind the scenes as a volunteer of the inaugural festival seeing a small, but memorable glimpse of fest. This year, I decided to spring for a weekend badge. Why not?

It was well worth it! Stepping into the State Theatre Opening Night, I was surrounded by some my favorite TV stars from shows past and current.  Devon Gummersall of My So-Called Life, Rider Strong, Matthew Lawrence, and Ben Savage of Boy Meets World, Lacey Chabert of Party of Five; and Scott Porter and Wilson Bethel of Hart of Dixie were just a few who strutted their stuff on the Red Carpet for opening night.

Season 2 of the ATX Television Festival kicked off with a screening and a panel of one of my favorite comedies, Arrested Development. The Netflix Opening Night celebrated the re-launch of the critically acclaimed show. The fest screened the new episodes that featured the night’s two special guests, Alia Shawkat, who plays Maeby Fünke and seasoned, young actress, Mae Whitman, who plays George Michael’s often overlooked ex-girlfriend, Ann. The besties shared what it was like working with the cast after such a lengthy hiatus and their longtime friendship. As a somewhat latecomer to the series which I just discovered only a few years ago, I felt like the show took up right where it left off. Strong, poignant, and awkwardly funny!

Attendees, including myself were immersed in a world of TV culture as the fest continued through the weekend, celebrating all aspects of television: writing, directing, casting, acting, and screenings galore for fans.

Some of the screenings on the State Theatre’s and Alamo Ritz’s big screens included: AMC’s Hell on Wheels and AMC’s new drama, Low Winter Sun; Fox Comedies like New Girl, The Mindy Project and Raising Hope; My So-Called Life, Boys Meets World; Party of Five; American Dreams; Scandal; and Falling Skies.

The most memorable moment for me was the Friday Night Lights (FNL) panel; which brought tears to my eyes as Executive Producer; David Hudgins played his favorite clips from the four seasons. Hudgins was joined by Kyle Chandler (Coach Taylor ) , Connie Britton (Tami Taylor), Brad Leland (Buddy Garrity), Scott Porter (Jason Street) and other FNL cast members.

I think Friday Night Lights will always hold a special place in my heart, not just because it was an excellent series, but because of its ties to Austin. I was there the day the pilot was first shot. I witnessed the series from its beginning. A fresh-faced cast just beginning its journey, and I lived the journey with them for four years through my television set. Clear Eyes. Full Hearts. Can’t Lose.

This Texas girl will always have a place within her heart for Friday Night Lights and the ATX Television Festival.

Striking Matches Lights Up the Stage at SXSW

9 Apr

This past SXSW 2013, I sat down via Skype Chat with Nashville duo, Striking Matches for the Skype Events Live Nation segment 2 Things.
Check it out now.

Post Skype chat the Country twosome lit up the stage at The Belmont where they showcased their talent. The venue was fitting, because the pair met at Belmont University.

Striking Matches music was also recently covered on the ABC hit show, Nashville. They are definitely a band to watch.

Reveling in Austin’s First Oyster Fest

10 Nov

When I heard Austin was having its first Oyster Fest, I knew we had to go. There is never a time when oysters are on the menu that my husband does not order. I knew he would love it!  Once squeamish at the thought of the raw delicacy, I too now enjoy this brackish delight.

The inaugural Oyster feast was held at the new beautiful Shoal Crossing event center nestled at the bend where Mopac and 183 meet. We were greeted by warm, friendly, and hospitable organizers. Music filled the air with the harmonious melodies of talented songstress, Nikki Jensen.  It was a party, bustling with Austin foodies! Sure there were lines, but what food festival does not bare them? Tell me and I’m there.

Chalkboards lined the ceilings offering up an assortment of oysters, adult beverages, and wit.

It wouldn’t be an oyster festival without the all too popular Oysters Rockefeller, grilled to order topped with panko, parmesan, spinach, and yes, bacon. But my favorite of the grilled dishes had to be the au gratin oyster, savory!

The oysters were fresh. Shuckers shucked away to try to keep up with the pouring in hungry crowd. A variety of raw samplings were offered up on the half shell from the East Coast: Cape Cod, Maine, and Rhode Island as well as closer to home, the Gulf Coast.

Each oyster has its distinct flavor like a fine wine representative of the region. Some people can’t taste it, topping the oyster with condiment after condiment to mask the taste instead of embracing it. Don’t get me wrong when I have tray of the oysters all from the same place like the Gulf Coast I am going to revel in the traditional way of eating oysters, cracker in hand and horseradish and cocktail sauce to boot, but when you have an array from different regions far from home – I am purist. My husband is a traditionalist.

He enjoys the complexity of the customary way. The salty, the bitter, the sweet, and the cut of citrus, all served on a saltine. He describes it as a full spectrum of flavors and textures, which, I too enjoy from time to time. And I did a little last night, as the fest offered a variation of flavorful sauces.

However you look at it, it is something someone should not miss.

This tribute to sea’s tastiest mollusk is sure to be an on-going tradition in Austin.

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