How long have you lived in Austin & why did you move here?
I moved here in 2001 to attend graduate school at UT. During that initial two-year stint, I was stuck on campus all day and night, and I rarely experienced the joys of this city. (I think I went to the Alamo Drafthouse twice in as many years.)
When I needed a new start on life in 2008, I looked back at Austin because my closest friends from across the country had all gravitated here. I wanted to give the city another shot since I was such a lame Austinite before. Within two weeks of moving back, I decided I was never leaving again.
What do you like to do with your spare time?
When I’m not at work, I am a theatre producer and a community organizer. I love live performance more than anything in the world, so I’m currently involved in three ongoing performance series (The Encyclopedia Show, Mortified!, and the East Side Performance Network). I also like to see as much live theatre, improv, comedy and film as possible; and that’s a LOT in this city.
Do you have any secret talents?
I’m incredibly limber for my height, which makes me quite good at dancing and yoga. I’m an armchair psychologist. I can get just about any animal to like me. I’m a great interior decorator. Oh, and I’ve been told I’m the “perfect first date” — which is actually an incredibly backhanded compliment, I realize as I type this…
Working at CultureMap, you must be gearing up for South By Southwest?
Yes! And that’s why we’ve partnered with Google Places to do a SXSW music badge giveaway for one of our readers. The contest just launched today, and is open to Austinites only–we want to give our locals the real VIP experience! Click here to enter.
Speaking of SXSW, what are your favorite places around town that you’d recommend to people coming in for the fest this March?
The 501 Studios – 501 Studios is home to the up and coming ND. This is my favorite place to catch live bands, dance parties and weird variety shows like The Encyclopedia Show. The staff is incredibly friendly, the drinks cheap, the crowd eclectic, and the food from Tamale Molly’s incredible.
The Paramount Theater – Besides offering one of the best stages in town for awesome touring shows the rest of the year, The Paramount Theatre is my favorite place to watch films during SXSW. The historically ornate decor makes every show there feel like a real event. I don’t even mind sitting in the highest balcony because the accompanying view is so amazing.
Rio Rita – Rio Rita is my favorite any-time-of-the-day bar. Whether it’s food, coffee or cocktails you’re looking for, the good folks at Rio Rita will happily meet your needs. The crowd is hipster and happy, slinking in all day and night, to post up in the numerous couches, benches and bar stools that fill the indoor and outdoor sections of this East Sixth hangout. Favorite local bar, hands down.
Posted by Whitney Francis, Austin community manager
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