SXSW at Kenny Dorham's Backyard....culture and commerce can mix

got some stuff to say. please read me.
we are tired. we need a couple of days to rest. will be difficult to contact us by phone, but here and email works.

The marriage of culture and commerce is possible. But, you gotta want to find out how it can work. You have to want to do it.

Proud of our work!
As community members (East Austin), a parent (Harold McMillan), as a CULTURAL ARTS producer/venue ( Kenny Dorham's Back Yard, and DiverseArts), as the most prolific and diverse producing/presenting organization in the East Austin Cultural Heritage District/East End IBIZ District, this weekend we proved that the annual onslaught of BIG MUSIC BUSINESS chaos into our community does not mean that successful, socially/culturally conscious, community-based events cannot be well-produced and attended for the benefit of like-minded tourist folks and neighbors.

I am proud because this SXSW-season DiverseArts/ Kenny Dorham's Backyard came closest to what I envision we want to do amongst and in the middle of SXSW week in Austin.

Our partnerships with and created the kinds of events that speak most directly to the mission of DiverseArts and what I envision as our responsibility to our local and global community. and filled our venue with World Groove, dance, live painting, garden planting, Native American, Jazz, Soul, Funk, Rock, American Roots/folk, Hip-hop, CRAZY, Caribbean music and appreciative and respectful FAMILIES. This is who we are, this is what we do.

Our shows on Friday and Sunday were attended by a multi-ethnic/multicultural community of FAMILIES—old folks, toddlers, teens, t'weens, and parents. Our stage featured high-school musicians, old masters, mid-career pros, and successful touring stars. And, the kids in the audience had run of the Backyard, had toys to play with, and free books to take home with them.

Sol CollectiveOur patrons did not pee in anyone's front yard, they didn't get drunk in public, they didn't throw trash on East 11th Street and Juniper St. As customers, they said "please and thank you." And they didn't park in front of my neighbors houses and sleep in their cars.

Believe it our not, even in the midst of all of the craziness of big-business SXSW-week activities in Austin, it is possible to do socially/culturally/artistically conscious events, respect your neighborhood, and connect with the local music community and folks who actually live here....and folks from all over the world who share your world view.

This, I believe, is possible (and I think we've proved it). It is/can be commercially viable.

You just gotta WANT to address these goals in such a way that you still can pay your bills for the show.

And, for this, I commend Sol Collective and Chicken Ranch Records/Peelander-Z for having shared vision and commitment. DiverseArts is proud to be in such good company.