Quantcast
Photo by Daniel Cavazos

In an effort to amp up the vibes in the Live Music Capital of the World, some longtime champions of Austin’s music scene are fine-tuning a cherished local venue and simultaneously launching a new bar and listening lounge that’s sure to strike the right note with Austinites.

Independent concert promoter Heard Presents and live-music booking agency Resound announced Thursday, February 10 that the businesses will collaborate to rebrand and relocate one of Austin’s most noteworthy music venues — The Parish — from its home in the historic Sixth Street District to the near east side, and open an adjoining concept dubbed My Oh My.

The Parish, which will now be known simply as Parish, will move from its 214 E. Sixth St. location to 501 Brushy St., in the space that formerly housed the North Door. The COVID-19 pandemic caused that music venue to close in the fall of 2020. (It has since reopened in a smaller space at 500 San Marcos St.)

The new Parish venue and accompanying My Oh My bar and listening lounge concept — which the project’s partners are creating in the attached back area of the complex — are set to open March 10, just in time for South By Southwest.

The idea to refresh and relocate the Parish venue came about when the partners heard the North Door was closing and saw an opportunity to boost their collective booking, promoting, and branding business while also reviving the Brushy Street complex and concurrently breathing new life into the Parish brand.

And considering their combined experience, they’re hardly just playing it by ear; indeed, both companies are jam-packed with experts who have a storied history in the Austin music industry.

Central Texas-focused Resound was founded in 2021 by Graham Williams and Ian Orth, whose Margin Walker Presents shuttered in 2020. And Williams was also previously a partner in Transmission Entertainment and Austin’s Fun Fun Fun Fest.

Likewise, Stephen Sternschein and Dave Machinist, the co-founders of and brains behind Heard — which has long operated Austin’s Empire Control Room & Garage and The Parish — have been producing live music for the Austin community since 2012.

While the partners comprise a powerhouse group of Austin music industry pros, this is the first time they have partnered as owners of a venue.

“I’ve been in love with the 501 Brushy space for well over a decade. Being a native Austinite, I can remember when it was all soundstages back in the ’80s,” says Resound’s Orth. “It’s such a unique and special place, both in its feel and location. From throwing countless shows and DJ events there over the years, I’ve always dreamed of being able to transform the space into its full potential. To be able to finally have that dream realized with this team we have behind it is beyond exciting. Fully rebranding Parish and building My Oh My have also been a dream come true. It’s become a project I’m deeply passionate about and we can’t wait to share our vision with everyone.”

The new Parish venue will feature a 350-person capacity, a modernized look, and a lighting setup that should make for excellent photographic moments. The goal, the partners say, is to “create a vibrant and welcoming place that provides the kinds of experiences that fans and artists continue to come back for.”

Joining Parish at its new home is My Oh My, which aims to be “a small bar for big hangs” and will evoke a modern lounge vibe, with wood finishes, smoky mirrors, LED and neon lights, and a slew of colorful fixtures. More tweaks will be made to the décor and structure this year and next, according to a release.

The bar’s menu will include classic and batch cocktails, beer, and wine. Food will also be available from the kitchen connecting the complex out front. My Oh My will be open daily, and programming will be planned for the complex most nights of the week.

Additionally, Resound and Heard are partnering with Eastside Music School to incorporate AV recording capabilities into the space so it can be used as a soundstage.

“For the last 10 years, we’ve established ourselves as passionate music entrepreneurs who, at the core, want to sustain and enrich the community around us,” says Heard’s Machinist. “The rebirth of Parish on Brushy Street is our phoenix rising. We have the opportunity to create a space from all of the wisdom earned promoting and producing thousands of events in Austin. Doing this with expert partners like Graham and Ian makes it easy to transcend from visions of an ideal to a reality, and we couldn’t be more excited.”

The venue and new bar will open on March 10, with the already listed show featuring TWRP and Rich Aucoin as the first performance at the new spot. That show will be followed by performances from Soft Kill with Alien Boy and Topographies on March 22, Lala Lala on March 30, Chori Boy on April 4, Naked Giants with Wombo on April 7, and Carl Craig on May 6. More scheduled spring shows will be announced soon.

Official SXSW shows start March 14 and will be announced in the coming weeks. Any shows booked at the former Parish location after March 10 will take place at the venue’s new home. Additional shows, along with specifics about grand opening events, will be announced at parishaustin.com.

Parish will settle into its new location on the east side next month.

Photo by Daniel Cavazos
Parish will settle into its new location on the east side next month.
Photo courtesy of Resound

Austin music scene champions reunite with resounding new venture

Walk it off

One of the unwelcome horsemen of the Austin music apocalypse was the permanent shuttering of ubiquitous independent concert promoter Margin Walker. Once the largest in Texas, it lost steam as concerts dried up.

Margin Walker isn’t coming back, but its three largest players — owner Graham Williams, creative director Ian Orth, and director of talent buying Rosa Madriz — are starting a grassroots venture in concert promoting and creative branding, aptly named Resound.

They’re joined by marketing manager Gab Soong, digital advertising administrator Zane Ruttenberg, and administrative bookkeeper Chanel Quinones. The new venture’s first booking is at the end of the summer, and in the meantime, the music maestros are taking their time rebuilding for sustainability.

“The world isn’t even open yet,” laughs Orth. “Let’s just pump the brakes.”

As the Austin music scene started getting its legs again, the former promoters began fielding requests from agents in their personal inboxes. Margin Walker left a void. Who could fill it better than the original team? It made most sense to start over, with a new mission informed by the catastrophe of the past year, and a better sense of how to prevent something similar from happening again.

“There’s a lot of lessons that we learned from Transmission [Events], and Fun Fun [Fun Fest], and Margin Walker,” Orth says. “We’re kind of approaching everything with a real new outlook towards not only the music industry, but creative society in general, how it can help our community.”

Orth, Williams, and Madriz have all been working in the music industry for more than 20 years, since they were in their teens. Orth was considering a pivot to graphic design, and the others were equally unsure of their futures. When lifelong agents started digging through long-past emails to reestablish communication, the solidarity motivated Orth and his partners.

They watched the community join together to help individual artists and service workers, and were especially inspired by Cody Cowan’s resilience as executive director of the Red River Cultural District. Photographers sent old photos to reminisce and express gratitude for past collaborations. Even Williams’ and Orth’s wives pushed them to start up again, if only just as an excuse to get out of the house.

Riding on the spirit of its organic origin, Resound is adopting a robust community outreach program that entails making conscious choices to work on social projects, and donating a percentage of ticket sales to a monthly cause. The team is preparing a more specific platform for accountability, but wants to remain responsive by keeping a relatively open process for selecting benefactors, from nonprofits to individual workers in the music and service industries.

Orth says the responsibility of a concert promoter, who makes a living drawing attention from the public, is to give that energy back. The role of the city, to him, is to protect this symbiotic exchange. He also points out that the health of the Austin music community rests on several small organizations, unlike the scenes on the East and West coasts that are littered with labels and massive opportunities.

Austin’s city-chosen tagline, Live Music Capital of the World, Orth says, “needs to be protected and defended, because ... it will evaporate and disappear quickly if it’s not. There’s a lot of things like HAAM and SIMS that so many other cities don’t have that I think need to be advertised more.”

Resound is an answer to these holes in the system, one Orth hopes can amplify artists to new levels of thriving. It has to be a tailored approach, he points out, as some bands and genres need more of a boost than others.

The company already has more than 40 shows booked, with sold-out dates for Arlo Parks, Beach Bunny, IDLES, and Bikini Kill. With fewer shows and venues than the late Margin Walker, Resound is assigning its expanded creative scope to tying the market to San Antonio. Hopefully, the “sister cities,” as he calls them, can work as allies and emerge together into a stronger, more unified cultural community.

Photo courtesy of Mardi Gras Galveston

Follow the beads to these Mardi Gras beats, bashes, and balcony parties in Galveston

Let the good times roll

It's that time of year when tourists descend upon Galveston — no, not for spring break — but to go crazy during the two weekends that make up Mardi Gras Galveston. While some gatherings are private, there are plenty of events where bead-bearing folk can respectfully get their party on.

If you'd rather forego the Mardi Gras crowds in New Orleans this year but still want to take part in parties and parades, point your car toward the popular Texas beach town. In a few hours, the good times will be rolling.

The parades
Expect myriad Mardi Gras parades, mostly going down in the Strand District. The weekend of February 22-24, there will be the George P. Mitchell Mardi Gras Award Parade (7 pm February 22), the 8th Annual Zaniest Golf Cart Parade (1 pm February 23), the Krewe D'iHeartMedia Art Car Parade (3 pm February 23), and the Fiesta Gras Parade (1 pm February 24).

The following weekend, there's the Danny Weber Memorial Fire Truck Parade (7 pm March 1), the Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler Parade (3:30 pm March 2), and the Krewe d'Esprit Rosaire Parade (11 am March 2) on Seawall Boulevard.

The entertainment
This weekend's Main Stage headliners are Texas country artist Pat Green (6 pm February 23) and Baton Rouge funk band Zaemon (10 pm February 23). Coming from Roma, Texas, Norteno band Duelo (2:30 pm February 24) will handle the music for Fiesta Gras.

Next weekend, Lone Star country stars Jason Cassidy (10:30 pm March 1) and Drew Womack (8:30 pm March 1) will headline a "Salute to Texas" show.

And, for the EDM-loving kids, there's also Electric Mardi Gras, where DJs will be keeping things loud on the Electric Stage at the intersection of 21st and Mechanic. The two big draws this year are Phoenix's Grey the Mute (9 pm February 23) and Austin's Buck Rodgers (11 pm February 23).

The balcony parties
Savvy locals know that half the fun is observing the events from the numerous balcony parties that'll also be going down. The Mardi Gras! Headquarters Balcony Party will be happening all through Mardi Gras at the Dargan & Tobyn Building. A Mardi Gras Mask-Making Party (5:30 pm February 21) will kick things off at the Galveston Arts Center.

The King's Court Balcony Party will be on both weekends at Trolley Station, while the Queen's Court Balcony Party will also be happening at the Trumpets Building. And fans of all things '80s might want to check out the 2019 Krewe of Thalasar '80s Mardi Gras Ball (5 pm February 22) at the Trumpets Building.

---

For more information on Mardi Gras Galveston parties, visit the official site.

Photo by Daniel Cavazos

Popular Austin music festival unexpectedly pulls the plug

SOS

Just as ACL Fest is getting underway, another anticipated Austin music festival has called it quits. On Friday, October 6, Sound on Sound Fest — the popular destination festival from the founder of Fun Fun Fun Fest — canceled its upcoming 2017 event.

"We are extremely saddened to announce today that Sound on Sound Fest 2017 is being canceled. This is one of the hardest decisions we have ever had to make. Due to several recent roadblocks outside of our control and in an effort to do right by our fans, the decision to cancel the event was our only real option," reads a statement released by the festival via email.

The second annual Sound on Sound was scheduled to take place November 10-12 at Sherwood Forest in McDade, Texas. Headliners included Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Iggy Pop, Grizzly Bear, and The Shins, along with Blood Orange, Pusha T, Washed Out, Kehlani, Vine Staples, Sleep, Taking Back Sunday, and more.

Festival organizers are working on rescheduling many of the acts slated to play the festival; in the meantime ticket holders will be refunded 100 percent of the ticket price.

"There are many acts who were touring through November 10-12 who are still performing, as well as a number of artists who will be flying back in for new dates this year. For all these rescheduled shows, fans who purchased Sound on Sound tickets will get the first chance to purchase single tickets to any makeup shows this fall," the statement says.

Those shows will go on sale to festival ticket holders October 16; they will be available to the public October 19.

The inaugural SOS Fest was held in November 2016. It was the first event of its kind at Sherwood Forest, a 23-acre, Renaissance-themed village located about an hour from Austin. The unique destination offered a well-rounded festival experience crafted by Graham Williams and his team at Margin Walker Presents.

"We truly love our fans," the statement concludes. "We appreciate you sticking by us while we work hard to make this right. Be on the lookout for new show announcements from Sound on Sound Fest artists and ticket links for these replacement shows."

Photo by Daniel Cavazos

The best music moments captured at Fun Fun Fun Fest

Song Stills

It almost seemed as though the 10th anniversary of Fun Fun Fun Fest was bound to be doomed. Arguably the most anticipated performer canceled due to illness. Then, a top comedian’s flight was canceled due to weather. Day two brought uncertainty as the festival awaited approval from the City of Austin to open the gates, unsure if rain would cause delays.

But in true music fashion, the show did go on, and Fun Fun Fun Fest did not disappoint in the slightest. Replacing the canceled D’Angelo show was the legendary Lauryn Hill; Tig Notaro’s standup show was rescheduled from day one to day two; and, eventually, music fans were let into the soggy festival grounds on the second day, causing almost no delays to the schedule.

We at CultureMap donned our best rainproof clothes and faced the fest head on to capture top music acts from around the world. From old school rock ‘n’ rollers to up-and-coming rappers and heavy metal wailers, FFF Fest managed to curate a unique — at times oddball — lineup of major music influencers and those just breaking into the game.

Grimes brings the energy to the blue stage during FFF Fest.

Photo by Daniel Cavazos
Grimes brings the energy to the blue stage during FFF Fest.
Ad Placement 300x100
Ad Placement 300x600

CultureMap Emails are Awesome

H-E-B unveils merch for super fans, plus more hot Austin headlines

Hot Headlines

Editor’s note: It’s that time again — time to check in with our top stories. Here are five articles that captured our collective attention over the past seven days.

1. H-E-B unveils merchandise for brand super fans, available exclusively at one store. Kerrville was chosen to launch the company's new line of H-E-B-branded merchandise in celebration of its 117th anniversary.

2. Austin bar transforms into a magical winter wonderland this holiday season. Don your favorite elf socks and meet the lovely citizens of “Tinseltown.”

3. Draft 'Vision Plan' for Zilker Park unveils land bridge and more possibilities. Austinites are invited to comment on a vision plan that will inform the future of Zilker Park.

4. Austin ranks among world’s 100 best cities in prestigious new report. Austin is the No. 43 best city in the world, according to a new study. (And yes, we beat Dallas.)

5. Austin airport launches new SkySquad travel assistants in time for the holiday rush. Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is keeping lines moving during a period of heavy travel with a new team of airport assistants.

Steven Spielberg opens up personal history in The Fabelmans

Movie Review

For over 40 years, director Steven Spielberg has been delivering some of the most popular blockbuster movies of all time as well as a bevy of Oscar-quality dramas, a combination that’s unique to him. For his latest, The Fabelmans, he’s decided to go more personal than ever, telling a thinly-veiled version of his own childhood.

Sammy (played mostly by Gabriel LaBelle) is one of four children – and the only son – of Mitzi (Michelle Williams), a concert pianist, and Burt Fabelman (Paul Dano), a computer engineer. From an early age, Sammy is enthralled by the art of filmmaking, first remaking a train crash sequence from The Greatest Show on Earth, and gradually moving on to more adventurous stories.

Burt’s advancing career, which moves the family from New Jersey to Arizona to California, causes stress for various members of the family, most notably Sammy and Mitzi. Sammy must deal with anti-Semitic bullies, while Mitzi falls deeper into a mental health crisis. Sammy’s movies continually offer a respite for the family, though, giving him a creative outlet and the rest of them a chance to forget their troubles for a while.

Written by Spielberg – his first writing effort since 2001’s A.I. Artificial Intelligence – and Tony Kushner, the film is heavy on emotions but presented in a way that those feelings don’t always translate. Spielberg is no stranger to depicting fraught family situations in his long career, but in showing ones from his own family, it feels like he pulled back, not wanting the scenes to be overwrought or schmaltzy.

The result is a story that isn’t as universal as some of his other films. As the film is told from Sammy’s perspective, it’s easy to get caught up in his pursuits and various discoveries as he gets older. The mindsets of the rest of the family are less clear, even though his parents and sisters are ever-present. Mitzi’s state of mind is a concern from the start, but it’s not always treated as such by other important characters.

Just as Sammy’s movies are an escape for his family, so too are they some of the best parts of the film. Sammy figuring out the process and secrets of filmmaking is informative and often thrilling, especially if you’re a cinephile. Spielberg has been considered a master for so long that watching him revisit the days when he was learning as he went is catnip for movie lovers.

In addition to being a dead ringer for a teenage Spielberg, LaBelle is a fantastic actor. It’s no easy feat to carry a movie on your shoulders, and LaBelle makes the assignment look easy. Williams’ performance will likely be more polarizing; she employs a very mannered speech pattern that works in some situations, but not all. The film also includes memorable short appearances by Seth Rogen, Judd Hirsch, and David Lynch.

Spielberg has provided the moviegoing public with such pleasure over the years that he deserves to have a movie that’s mostly for him. The initial viewing of The Fabelmans left this critic wanting, but perhaps it will gain more traction on a second screening.

---

The Fabelmans is now playing in theaters.

Photo by Merie Weismuller Wallace/Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment

Gabriel LaBelle in The Fabelmans

Texas billionaire Tilman Fertitta acquires award-winning California resort

tilman goes laguna

Fans of Tilman Fertitta's nationwide hospitality brands are in for a treat. The Billion Dollar Buyer has just secured an award-winning, 30-acre resort in sunny Southern California.

Fertitta has purchased the acclaimed Montage Laguna Beach Resort Hotel, a premier beachfront property in the sunny SoCal getaway destination. Notably, the Montage Laguna Beach Resort Hotel is one of only six hotels in the U.S. to score the Forbes Triple Five-Star hotel status. The Montage has also been included among Travel + Leisure’s Top Hotels in the World.

Image courtesy of Montage Laguna Beach

Fertitta's newest purchase overlooks the ocean in Laguna Beach.

“I am truly thrilled to acquire this world-renowned property and add one of America’s most iconic trophy resorts to our luxury hotel portfolio,” Fertitta noted in a statement. “I have been traveling to Laguna Beach for over 30 years. It is one of my favorite places to visit and one of the most beautiful areas in the world. The Montage is a stunning oceanfront property and one of the premier hotel brands in the world.”

Press materials didn't list the property purchase price, but Law360 reports that the deal is in excess of $660 million.

The Craftsman-style resort sits on a coastal bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Impressive amenities are highlighted by the 20,000-square-foot Spa Montage, which offers eucalyptus steam rooms, dry redwood saunas, ocean air whirlpools, fireplace lounges, a state-of-the-art fitness center, a movement studio, and a lap pool.

More outdoor fun includes two pools and direct beach access, a museum-quality fine art collection, and more than 20,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space, per press materials.

Every resident space — the 260 guestrooms, including 60 suites, beach bungalow-style rooms, and multi-bedroom villas — boast stunning views of the Pacific.

Dining destinations offer chef-driven interpretations of coastal California flavors inspired by region. The property is designated and included in the distinctive Legend Collection of Preferred Hotels & Resorts Worldwide.

“We are thrilled that Tilman is the new owner of this one-of-a-kind property and welcome him into the Montage family,” said Alan Fuerstman, founder, CEO, and chairman of Montage International. Mary Rogers, the Montage's GM added, “The staff is thrilled to be working with Tilman. Everyone here at the property is tremendously excited about his purchase and look forward to continuing to provide a world-class experience to all of our guests."

Aside from his palatial Post Oak Hotel in Houston, Fertitta also owns 14 other hotel properties around the country, including the award-winning San Luis Resort in Galveston, plus five popular Golden Nugget casino and hotel locations.

Another feather in Fertitta’s luxury portfolio cap is the iconic Huntting Inn, one of the most charming and historic locales in East Hampton, New York.

No stranger to California, Fertitta's presence there includes Catch Seafood and Catch Steak, Mastro’s Ocean Club and Mastro’s Steakhouse, Morton’s The Steakhouse, Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse, The Palm, and more — all part of his 60 brands and more than 600 concepts nationwide.