July 7, 2013

2013-2014: A Tale of Two Seasons

It was the best of times, and... Always an annual celebration of storytelling, artistic expression and culture, The Paramount and State Theatres once again again ready themselves for the upcoming season. This year, however, it will be a tale of two seasons. A fall/winter and then a winter/spring. Two halves, but each still packed with all the amazing performances we've grown accustomed to over the years.

As always, you can come to them individually, or you can subscribe for the best selections.

Think of the fall/winter session as Chapter 1, where you will find: Think of the fall/winter session as Chapter 1, where you will find:

October 15, 2013

Branford Marsalis follows up last year's successful show with an appearance this year at The Long Center. And this year, he needs the larger stage because his aims are more ambitious. Branford blends the musical worlds of the sacred and the secular with Abyssinian. This gospel celebration features Marsalis' Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and adds a 70-voice gospel choir, Chorale Le Chateau, all conducted by Damien Sneed. The Long Center will overfloweth with joy on Tuesday, October 15, 2013 at 8pm.

October 17, 2013

ACS is a trio featuring three of the most significant female artists in contemporary jazz. Featuring Geri Allen on piano, Terri Lyne Carrington on drums and Esperanza Spalding on bass. Last year Esperanza set hearts afire with her solo show, and this year these ladies are sure to push boundaries with their acoustic creations and dazzle us like no other possibly could. Come listen to their sound reverberate throughout the Paramount's cozy confines on Thursday, October 17, 2013 at 8pm.

November 5, 2013

For the past few decades, these guys have remained one of rock's most engaging storytellers. As faces have changed and music cultures have evolved, these legends keep going like a long train runnin'. They're taking from the streets (if you will) and to The Paramount stage on  Tuesday, November 5, 2013 at 8pm.

November 6, 2013

Mary Chapin Carpenter & Shawn Colvin collaborate for an evening of musical enjoyment. Together, they revisit songs from their respective catalogues and also  cover some of their personal favorites. These two singer/songwriters bbring their charm and amazing voices for a special evening at The Paramount on Wednesday, November 6, 2013 at 8pm.

November 8, 2013

As if Election Day isn't entertaining enough, here are a few more reasons to smile in early November. The Daily Show Live brings a unique multimedia presentation to the theatre. Featuring the talents of Comedy Central's own The Daily Show correspondents Al Madrigal and John Hodgman and executive producer/writer, Rory Albanese, this trio will give  peek behind-the-scenes about the program. Showcasing their skill as natural comedians, this Q&A will be presented by some of the men behind the funniest newscast on television today. Or rather, I should say intentionally funny, because I get the impression that FOX News is actually serious in is presentation. Come laugh on Friday, November 8, 2013 at 8pm.

November 20, 2013

Sarah Vowell is, in many way, a modern historian who helps provides a context to our culture. She is New York Times' bestselling author of six nonfiction books on American history. Sarah offers personal and humorous accounts and musings about the tapestry of the great American quilt of our culture. Also a contributor to This American Life and The Daily Show, she now brings her wit and wisdom to us on Wednesday, November 20, 2013 @ 8pm.

November 20-23, 2013

The best in Improvised Comedy: That's really all you need to know. This tour cast is hand-picked from the best improv comedians in New York City and Los Angeles, and they're coming here for... well, who knows what. It'll be funny and likely to bust your gut. Be prepared to laugh and be ready for anything. Wednesday, November 20th, 2013 through Saturday, November 23rd, 2013 at various times.

December 6, 2013

Now what the heck could I possibly say to do Bob Newhart justice? The master of deadpan humor, he is a comedic genius who has appeared on television, film and is a best-selling standup comic recording artist. Bob Newhart's career is the very model of generating laughs for decades, and he continues to sell out venues all over the nation. Get into this show before it also sells out. Newhart appears at The Paramount on Friday, December 6, 2013 at 8pm.

December 11, 2013

Every year we get drawn back like a moth to a flame. It's storytelling. Pure and simple. Engaging, enlightening, and moving like no other, The Moth is back for another set of narratives to grab our attention. This raconteur delight happens again on Wednesday, December 11, 2013 at 8pm.

December 17, 2013

Alas, America's spirit of space exploration is on fumes. Weep not for the future, though. If the renown Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson has anything to do with it, we will continue to explore the meaning of the cosmos for decades to come and keep reaching for the stars. Neil is an academic beast, earning eighteen honorary doctorates and the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal, the highest award given by NASA to a non-government citizen. A fixture in scientific circles for his own-to-earth persona, he breaks astrophysics for the mass consumption with his signature humor. Live, listen and learn could well be his credo. One thing is certain, he is riveting to infinity and beyond. Come have a listen with Tyson at The Paramount on Tuesday, December 17, 2013 at 8pm.

December 19, 2013

American songwriter and pianist Jim Brickman hosts a holiday celebration warmer than your yule log. Join Brickman and his special guest performers presents a blend of music, entertainment and joy. Put down your egg nog, grab your loved ones, and come down to The Paramount on Thursday, December 19, 2013 at 8pm.

January 16, 2014

An entertainer in every sense of the word, Ann Hampton Callaway is an accomplished singer, pianist, composer, lyricist, arranger, actress, educator and producer. At home in concert halls and jazz cabarets, she can reinterpret classics in fresh new ways. Inside The Stateside at The Paramount, Callaway will celebrate Barbara Streisand's career. From Barbara's Broadway show tunes to her film works, to pop favorites and more, Callaway will perform Streisand like only she can on Thursday, January 16, 2014 at 7pm and 9:30 pm.

January 19, 2014

Two years ago, banjo maestro Béla Fleck and his Flecktones performed a raucous and amazing show at The Paramount. This season, Fleck returns and brings pianist Chick Corea. Both are gifted at musical improvisation, and this duet event will likely be the most impressive and adventurous musical journey you will experience in quite some time. Join them for a night of jazz, bluegrass, classical and any thing else that comes out of their heads on Sunday, January 19, 2014 at 8pm

January 22, 2014

Ray Price possesses one of the most signature baritone in country music, and has been crooning hits since the early 1950s. Now in his eighties, Price still is going strong and hits the road for a number of shows every year. This year, The Paramount hosts on of these special stops for this long-time staple of country music. Join us on Wednesday, January 22, 2014 at 8pm.

January 23, 2014

A former United States Poet Laureate, Billy Collins is an American icon. Critically acclaimed and popular in appeal, he has become the most accomplished poet in the U.S. since Robert Frost. Currently the Poetry Consultant for Smithsonian Magazine, his public readings are always an event to remember. Come share in a new memory at The Paramount on Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 8pm.

January 30, 2014

Hal Holbrook is another living legend of American theater. It should be no real surprise that someone of his stature portray this American literary giant Mark Twain. But what makes Holbrook even more remarkable is that he created this one-man show nearly six decades ago in a small off-Broadway theatre. Many years and venues later, Holbrook returns to The Paramount as Samuel Clemens' alter ego. The man portrayed by a legend appears on Thursday, January 30, 2014 at 8pm

It's going to be the best of times, and ... well... Yeah it's just pretty great. No bad times to be found here.
Don't miss a single show, or else it may well be the worst of times, indeed.

What are you waiting for? Get your tickets now! I'll see you there.

May 16, 2013

In Conversation: Leonard Maltin

"Film preservation should be of interest to everyone- from the average film fan to the most erudite scholar. We cannot allow such a significant part of our history to vanish."
-Leonard Maltin

It's been another great season at the Paramount, with performers, authors, raconteurs, singers, actors and comedians all bringing their immense talents to the audiences of Austin. It seems like just yesterday that  things kicked off with provocative film director Spike Lee, and now the season comes full circle with the affable film critic and historian Leonard Maltin. A staple of the American film critic society, Maltin will conclude the series. With the annual Paramount Summer Classic Film Series imminent, it's only appropriate the one of the most vocal advocates for film preservation be the guest for the evening.

For over 30 years, Leonard has been the film reviewer for television's "Entertainment Tonight," becoming one of the most visible film critics working today. While critics had previously been confined to print in the past, Maltin (along with Roger Ebert, Gene Siskel and Gene Shalit) was at the forefront of film critics who became household names by establishing themselves on TV. While some of his contemporaries could be acerbic or snarky in their reviews, Maltin always projected a warmth and friendliness that set him apart. In fact, he often comes across as just about the nicest film critic who ever reviewed movies.

But Maltin's efforts aren't just limited to film critique. He has been a tireless champion for film preservation and restoration. Repeatedly over the years, Leonard has considered himself blessed to have seen so many vintage films during his youth. Alas, the fragile medium of film means that great care must be taken to ensure that future generations get to experience the same stories that were told decades ago. Time and money must be invested into saving film of yesteryear, or we could lose early cinematic works just by doing nothing. Idle hands mean we lose more films as they dissolve into dust.

Leonard Maltin will bring with him a rescued film from an American master. Frank Capra is best known for directing IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE, MR SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON and IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT, but there was an early gem of his that was all but lost for six decades. After its recent recovery and restoration, The Paramount will host a screening of this classic: LADY FOR A DAY.

It's remarkable to think that a film like this was deliberately hidden away. But you know what? It's just best to let Leonard explain it himself.

After the film, Maltin will be available for a discussion about the film and his thoughts on other endangered works or art. It's a film lover's treat and a preamble to the summer series.

For all his hard work and advocacy for film restoration, Maltin gets the eternal gratitude of millions of movie goers.  And why wouldn't we? He's a charming and affable guy, and you'd have to be some kind of monster not to like this cinematic historian...

Ok, well, maybe not a monster. But certainly a Gremlin.

Leonard Maltin is a modern torchbearer, keeping the flame of classic cinema going for generations to come. In an era of disposable entertainment, let's all try and remember that there are better ways to introduce future generations to film than with Transformers movies. Come and behold a recovered Capra jewel, and be grateful that we haven't lost this treasure like dust in the wind. That would be the reel tragedy.

April 11, 2013

David Sedaris

"I've been keeping a diary for thirty-three years and write in it every morning. Most of it's just whining, but every so often there'll be something I can use later: a joke, a description, a quote. It's an invaluable aid when it comes to winning arguments. 'That's not what you said on February 3, 1996,' I'll say to someone."
-David Sedaris

I awoke a couple of days ago and felt an insufferable case of the Mondays; that malaise one feels at the end of March. Deep inside you know it's technically spring, and it's supposed to be infused with the feeling of rebirth and renewal and other marketing buzzwords from places like Bath & Body Works.

To be honest, I wasn't sure why I was blue. Perhaps I was merely run-down. I had, after all, just returned from an amazing Spring Break trip, and trying to get back into the routine of a working life after a prolonged absence is always difficult to readjust to. It's like when you're on a people mover at an airport, and you step off of the conveyer belt back onto stationary ground. Your momentum shifts to a halt, and no matter how hard you try to maintain a graceful stride you always step off and land with the grace of a newborn fawn. So this lingering sense of jet lag from international travel combined with fluctuating Texas weather had finally culminated into a generally foggy state of mind.

I was playing ridiculously bad pop music in my head in the shower that morning, when a thought flashed through like a bolt of lightning amidst my brain's cumulonimbus clouds. Is it...? Is it April already? I blinked and placed the bottle of aromatherapy shampoo in the shower caddy. It... it is April!

And like that, it was as if a sunbeam bore through the clouds. My focus shifted and, like a allergy medicine commercial, the veil lifted and life's viewfinder was suddenly crystalline clear. What does April historically mean to me? Well, among other things, the month brings April showers, schizophrenic weather patterns, clearance Easter candy at the local market, a run on allergy meds, and most importantly... Big laughs here in Austin. In what has become a bit of a annual rite, The Paramount welcomes David Sedaris back to the Long Center for what is sure to be another evening of anecdotes, diary entries, book recommendations, tears and exhausted facial muscles.

In what has become itself a rite of spring, the arrival of David Sedaris to town is more welcome than any weather-forecasting groundhog, velvet-clad leprechaun or chocolate-peddling bunny. When David is in Austin, it's always a treat. Sure, it's a peek into the mind of the single funniest man you will ever listen to, but it's also just so damn hilarious. He may not put the "fun" into "funny," but he certainly highlights it with his sardonic wit and clever cultural observations.

For those that don't already know, Sedaris is an author, playwright and a regular commentator on National Public Radio. I love how his descriptions are incredibly vivid. He uses words to paint scenarios and characters in your head as effortlessly as Bob Ross made happy little trees with a sponge and a dab of chartrueuse paint. In fact, this years visit has a greater significance because the day before he speaks, his latest book will be released in stores, Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls.

Yes, you read that right. David himself briefly explains the book's title below:

Needless to say, many of us are eagerly waiting this new collection. Maybe not like those Muggles- er, I mean crazies that camped out for Harry Potter, but certainly with great enthusiasm. And yet, no matter how many times you've read his works, there is nothing quite like hearing telling you a story orally.

There's a whole new level of vibrancy when you hear David tell a story or read a journal entry. His soothing yet nasally voice make the contrast between the nondescript details of his observations and the shocking aspects elevate a simple tale into high art. Imagine your high school Geometry teacher stopped his normal drone about acute angled. Then, without changing the inflection of his voice, continue into a calm rant about the obtuse behavior of a boorish and crass society. David's dry wit and delivery go down smoothly like a glass of red wine with top notes of sarcasm.

Not merely an advocate for his own observations, a bonus treat at his shows is when he personally recommends something he is currently reading. Last year, he raved about the darkly funny Deadly Kingdom: The Book of Dangerous Animals by Gordon Grice, a collection of anecdotes and facts about  some of nature's thugs, capable of wrecking havoc on humans. A quick read through this and you may proclaim, "The heck with the gun control debate, keep that marsupial away from me!"

In years past, David also takes questions from the audience and will stay afterwards to sign books for all who attend. It would be an ideal time to ask followup questions about his new book, although he may not be willing to explore the glucose levels of Hedwig. You're better off asking a Harry Potter fan about that one.

So with the fog lifted and my scalp smelling minty fresh, I stepped out of the shower and circled the date on the calendar to mark the annual visit of David Sedaris. Until then, I'll continue to wash my hair every morning with some of that Eucalyptus Spearmint shampoo. That aromatherapy always makes me feel better, according to Bath & Body Works. And while I'm not inclined to believe the marketing, I will heed last year's warnings about deadly animals. I now pray that a wild koala won't attack me because I lathered, rinsed and then repeated.

David Sedaris visits The Long Center as part of the season series on Wednesday, April 24 at 8:00 p.m.

March 1, 2013


After spring break and the ides of March, the summertime is on the fasttrack for arrival. And, per tradition, we can look forward to the regulars of the warmer months: sunglasses, sunny vacations and the oh so predictable high fuel prices. Like clockwork, we can expect to see the upward creep of dollars and cents at the gas pump after Memorial Day weekend. Heck, you can probably already see it happening now. We scrounge to save mere pennies while burning our dollars on the tried and true money pit that is our continued reliance on oil to fuel ourselves.

There's just got to be a better way, right?

April and Earth Day is a time for deliberation and activism to preserve our environment. What better way to usher in the month than by continuing The Beautiful World Series at The Paramount this season? This four film series this year is brought to you in conjunction with The Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation, and are designed to celebrate, preserve and protect our delicate planet.

Although not from the same filmmakers, FUEL is a spiritual sequel to the ideas raised in the acclaimed documentary AN INCONVIENENT TRUTH. Directed by Josh Tickell, FUEL looks at the topic of energy in America. Tickell makes the film a personal platform as he tries to reconcile his upbringing in Louisiana (an oil-rich state) with the debate towards alternative energy sources. FUEL examines a wide range of energy solutions, the faltering US auto and petroleum industries, and the American mindset toward alternative energy. Along his journey, Tickell advocates the use of biodiesel - a diesel alternative made from plant oils as a possible solution. FUEL presents its case for America to think outside the oil barrel while illustrating that, like Tickell, any one of us can make a difference.

A New York Times Critics' Pick and winner of the Sundance Film Festival Audience Award for Best Documentary, FUEL is significant film that can impact all who see it. After the screening, a Q&A session will be moderated by The Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation. A rousing and inspiration film hopefully yields some advocacy and advancement.

When one considers the expanse of our dependency on oil, it's clear that America has struggled with an addiction of Lindsey Lohan proportions. Alas, to help stave off our craving, the onus is on us to stage our own intervention. Although we got our first shock during the oil crisis of 1973, decades of geopolitical unrest and posturing has yielded little in our ability to break the habit.

Like George Santayana said, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." What more do we have to endure to initiate a real change and shift in our attitudes?

I mean, think about it. Have we so quickly forgotten this scene from the 70s?


Spooky what supply and demand hath wroth.

And if that's not disheartening, how about this scary image from what will likely be the near future?
(Parental guidance suggested for the image below. Please cover your wallet's eyes)


Yeah. It's not a pretty prospect unless we act now.

Often when prices spike, there's always some faction out there that believe boycotting is the answer, yet it's often merely just a misdirection. Our real greatest hope is to heed the cautionary signs and look for the next fuel solution. This film aims to help spark discussion and ignite that very action. A rousing and inspirational look at what keeps our country moving, FUEL hopes to get you moving in bold new directions long after the last reel ends.

Your brain is ripe for some fresh perspective on the energy dilemma. Fill 'er up.

FUEL will be syphoned into your mind on Wednesday, April 3rd 2013 at 7:30 pm.

February 17, 2013

The Second City: Laughing Matters

"I came out of the old Second City in Chicago. Chicago actors are more hard-nosed. They're tough on themselves and their fellow actors. They're self-demanding... you learned to make the other actor look good so you looked good."
 -Bill Murray

Is it me, or is it possible that the Mayans were onto something? Maybe they were off a couple of months on their calendar of doom, but things lately have been more in the realms clouds of doom and gloom. We've had North Korea testing nukes, meteors exploding over an impressively calm Russian populace, and the disaster that is the newest Die Hard movie. It bring to mind the end-of-the-world proclamations of Bill Murray in Ghostbusters, "dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria!"

Call me crazy, but I think we all could use a cold beer good chuckle. You know, something to serve as a friendly reminder that in these times, laughing matters.

Luckily for us, it's time to tap the keg of funny. The Paramount will be hosting The Second City, a Chicago-based improvisational team that has been providing laughs for over 50 years. Before The Groundlings, before The Upright Citizens Brigade, before Saturday Night Live, Second City was pioneering new comedy trails with its signature non-confomist spirit and satirical wit.

They have resident stages in Chicago and in Toronto, and in addition to their touring companies still entertain over one million people a year. If you're old enough, you may remember SCTV, a Canadian sketch comedy show like Saturday Night Live that served as a springboard for comedians the likes of John Candy, Martin Short, Eugene Levy, Catherine O'Hara and many others.

The Chicago company is also chock full of legendary alumni that has inspired awe by comedians young and old.

The first time I went to see a Second City show, I was in awe of everything. I just wanted to touch the same stage that Gilda Radner had walked on. It was sacred ground.
-Tina Fey 

The list of alumni is amazing, and their work has been the foundation for much of the comedy landscape we enjoy to this day. A great sense of humor is timeless, and the talents of these comedians will endure much longer than any Harlem Shake video or internet cat meme.

Amongst The Second City hall of fame are: Alan Arkin, Fred Willard, Joan Rivers, Robert Klein, John Belushi, Harold Ramis, Bill Murray, Gilda Radner, Dan Ackroyd, Bonnie Hunt, Mike Myers, Chris Farley, Amy Sedaris, Steve Carell, Steven Colbert and Tina Fey.

When they arrive for their performances at The Paramount, the touring Second City ensemble will be
featuring some of the best sketches, songs, and improvisations from the Chicago group from the past five decades. No matter if its an archival gem or contemporary satire, it promises to be more entertaining than dashboard videos of meteors blazing across the skies and scaring the bejeebus out of us. It also will be funnier than the concept of Bruce Willis or Ben Affleck saving us from those meteors.  Why? Because The Second City intends to be funny.

Gather around and laugh at the face of our pending armageddon with the next generation of Second City legends. Enjoy them today, just in case a raging asteroid of death dictates that tomorrow never arrives. If so, I'd rather die laughing. So come on, you don't wanna miss a thing.

Catch The Second City on:

Wednesday, February 20th at 8:00 pm
Thursday, February 21st at 8:00 pm
Friday, February 22nd at 7:00 pm and 9:30 pm
Saturday, February 23rd at 7:00 pm and 9:30 pm

February 2, 2013

Wynton Marsalis & Jazz at The Lincoln Center

Jazz again takes a turn on the showcase of the Paramount stage, and this time the featured artist is Wynton Marsalis, who is practically a member of musical royalty. Marsalis is coming, and he's bringing an orchestra with him. Jazz at the Lincoln Center is not the name of an event, but is a the name of the arts institute he co-founded in 1987. A big band of the same name travels with him, and now they will bring their big sound to the big state of Texas. Needless to say, this is no small event. Marsalis is not just any artist, but an ambassador of classical music and of the great American musical form of Jazz itself.

Wynton, an amazing jazz trumpeter, hails from (what many consider to be) the first family of modern American Jazz. The Marsalis patriarch, Ellis, was a jazz musician from New Orleans who broke the mold of dixieland musicians decades ago. Over the years, he worked with scores of other artists and was regarded as one of he most influential pianists on the scene. Wynton and three of his brothers all became musicians in their own right, keeping the momentum of jazz propelling forward into new generations. He began studying trumpet at age 12, and moved to New York at age 18 to attend the Juilliard School of Music. Less than a year later, he signed with Columbia Records. Wynton released his first album in 1982, and has since created numerous jazz and classical recordings that have sold millions across the globe.

Naturally for someone of his caliber, the accolades have flowed his way like a series of cool jazz riffs. Marsalis has won nine Grammy awards, and is the only person to ever win Grammys for jazz and classical records.  In 1997, he became the first jazz musician to win the Pulitzer Prize in music, for his epic oratorio, Blood on the Fields, about a couple moving from slavery towards freedom.

For the last quarter century, Marsalis and Jazz at the Lincoln Center have preformed around the globe. Wynton has performed in over 30 countries and on every continent, with the exception Antarctica. Penguins may be accustomed to cooler climates, but apparently they've missed out on some cool cool jazz.

When playing together, the big band is like a force of nature. Take, for instance, this performance of Marsalis and the Jazz at the Lincoln Center Orchestra a few years ago in San Diego. They perform a little John Coltrane, but it's just... simply... wow. It's hard for words to describe.

My goodness, just listen to that, will ya? Incredible. Now, just close your eyes and imagine this sound without the restraint of your computer, smartphone or tablet speakers that you probably just heard this on. Imagine this filling the auditorium of The Paramount... where the sound can envelope you, fill you mind, and make a cool little smile creep up the side of your face like a rising balloon.

This man with a limitless work ethic is also a advocate for the arts and an educator to boot at the institute, never tiring in his pursuit in bringing classical music and jazz to masses the owrld over. And now, Wynton brings his signature sound to The Paramount. Join the band in the vaulted venue, and let him teach you a thing or two on this upcoming night.

Horns up, Austin (brass horns, that is). Wynton Marsalis and Jazz at the Lincoln Center Orchestra bring it on Wednesday, February 6th. And that's truly something to get all jazzed up about.

January 24, 2013

An Evening with Cesar Millan: The Dog Whisperer

Discipline isn’t about showing a dog who’s boss; it’s about taking responsibility for a living creature you have brought into your world.”
- Cesar Millan

The Paamount hosts all varieties of acts (not just  performing artists), including some of the best communicators and storytellers around. Over the seasons, I have marveled at the relevance of these storytellers to my own life. On any given night, you may be moved by what you see or hear. Not only is it compelling to hear the journeys, but it's remarkable how universal their stories can be. You can come away with a renewed spirit, a warmer sense of empathy, or have your whole perspective altered about the world you live in. A good storyteller can fan the flames of your heart and mind, recalibrating you with the connection you feel with the story. Friends, it's the power of true connection.

It's moments like those when you know something has transcended and touched all audiences despite our cultural and societal differences. But what if a particular storyteller could rise above more than culture lines? What if communication could cross over different species also? Well, it appears at least one man can cross these barriers. His name is Cesar Millan: author, television personality and star of his own National Geographic TV show, "Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan."

At this time, some of you may be asking, "what the heck is a dog whisperer?"

In a nutshell, it's someone who can identify and speak to behaviors and the reasons they happen. Cesar is not just a trainer with a dog whistle and a bag of Milk Bones as rewards. If you've ever watched his show and seen a demonstration, you know his methods for dog training are direct and often nothing short of remarkable.

So how does he do it? Is he speaking at some frequency that only dogs can hear?

No. The key is to not rely merely on the verbiage of a command. After all, dogs do not technically know any human language. For instance, save yourself the trouble of speaking louder when canines can't understand or follow a command. That tactic will work just as well as the notion that speaking louder to a foreign national will somehow magically make them comprehend English. Instead, be mindful of attitude. Dogs can detect your vibe and smell your assertiveness (or fear). THAT is what they will respond to, not your booming voice. Remember it's Dog Whisperer, not Dog Shouter.

Millan emphasizes that one must bond with your dog. A pet should not simply be relegated to becoming a chore like washing dishes or taking out the trash. They are just as much a part of the family as a sibling, a parent or a child. Treat them as family, but remember that they have a dog's needs, not human needs. It's a bold new path to obidience than most of us are not used to. Cesar's methods are a mix of understanding the dog's nature, demonstrating assertiveness and exercising patience. Yes, it's a tall order for conventional pet owners, but no one said it was ever easy whispering with "man's best friend.

While it may not be a Jedi mind trick, it certainly requires a Yoda-like zen.

Millan's story itself is quite a remarkable tale of perseverance, determination and fortitude in the face of controversy over his methods.

Born in Mexico, Millan grew up working on a farm and found his aptitude for dog handling at an early age. He illegally immigrated into the U.S. as a young adult with no prospects, no family and no knowledge of English. However, years of toiling paid off as he set up his own dog facilities. This led to him being "discovered"and later to naturalization as a U.S. citizen. In the dog-eat-dog world of modern America, Cesar found his calling and made it work. That's an American success story to be sure, and that road is a struggle we can all identify with at some level.

More over, his attitudes about life balance can provide audiences with lessons that reach deeper than what the dogs will comprehend. Millan's philosophies can be applied to many other aspects of life, and can even be a guide to build or repair family dynamics.

Like dogs with bad habits, we also can sometimes stand to be reconditioned ourselves. Too often we can feel fenced in, stressed, and in the doghouse. Rather than merely barking and growling at everything we find bothersome, maybe we should just "unlearn what we have learned" and let those sleeping dogs lie.

So come listen to his stories, the highs and the lows, his approaches to life and learn more than just tips for four-legged friends. You never know. He may be able to teach all of us old dogs some new tricks.

Spend an evening with Millan on Sunday, January 27th at 7:30 pm at The Paramount. When selecting your seats, choose the "APA/AAC" ticket type and $5 of every ticket goes to Austin Pets Alive! and Friends of Austin Animal Center!

We assure you the dogs will make sure the funds are put to good use...

January 5, 2013

Shatner's World. We Just Live In It.

"We were basically one and the same, although Jim [Kirk] was just about perfect, and, of course, I am perfect."
-William Shatner 

 A new year, a new frontier for The Paramount.

They say history is performed nightly at The Paramount Theatre, and it's a vivid chronicle full of colorful acts and characters. Award-winning actors, directors, authors and recording artists grace the stage, but seldom all at the same time. Next will be a titan amongst pop culture icons, and a man that fits the title of every artisan listed above. Look, up on the stage! It's Captain James T. Kirk, it's T.J. Hooker, it's Denny Crane! It's the legendary William Shatner.

Let's go ahead and address the elephant in the room first. Yes, pretty much everyone on the planet knows him as Star Trek's own Captain Kirk. William portrayed Kirk as a cocky and often bullheaded hero, establishing himself as the centerpiece of a memorable ensemble cast that included DeForest Kelly, George Takei, James Doohan, Nichelle Nichols, Walter Koenig and Leonard Nimoy as a half-alien who is cooler than a cucumber.

Although Star Trek lasted only three seasons, Shatner's unique brand of bravado and dialogue delivery helped position the show as a pop culture phenomenon that has been rejuvenated time and again over the decades. Trek resurfaced as an animated series, various spin-off TV series, and a number of cinematic adventures. Heck, they've even rebooted the original series in a new anthology of big screen adventures directed by J.J. Abrams. Try as you might, Chris Pine. There's still only one James T. Kirk.

It's an iconic role, to be sure. And anyone in such a role would be in danger of typecasting. It didn't help that many considered Shatner and Kirk to be one and the same. And in the early 1970s, William struggled shedding the mantle of Star Trek. However, while other Trek alumni were running from their pop culture alter egos, Kirk decided to embrace the melodramatic icon of awesome that was Kirk. Do you remember that Leonard Nimoy autobiography he wrote called "I am not Spock?" Yeah, you better believe that if Shatner had written an autobiography around the same time it would've gone in a much different direction.

Not that "Trekkies" are the only ones to champion the persona of Shatner. He took a path that embraced the cultural persona and perception of William Shatner and parlayed it into years of continued television success. In the early 1980s, he reappeared on TV in the police drama T.J. Hooker, and later hosted the reality series Rescue 911. After portraying versions of himself as a commercial pitchman, he finally garnered critical acclaim (and two Emmy awards) for his role as Denny Crane in the legal dramas The Practice and Boston Legal.

Not content to reside only in film and television, Bill's career choices were often as varied as Star Trek adventures. One could safely say his ventures in the musical realm boldly went where no career had gone before. A hybrid of spoken word, performance art and "singing," his melodic riffs and covers are unlike anything you're likely to hear on this planet. Take, for instance, this cover of Elton John's "Rocket Man."

And, in case you're wondering... there are no Grammys on his mantle.

Did you know that Shat is a scribe also? I don't mean just captain's logs from the final frontier, but rather he has penned numerous works of fiction and non-fiction. He has directed television episodes and even a feature film (STAR TREK V: THE FINAL FRONTIER). Bill Shatner's a jack of many trades, and is nearly omni-present in the media. He continues acting on TV, does voiceover work in that signature stilted delivery of his, and continues to lampoon his own persona as a cultural icon. He's serious about not taking himself to seriously, yet remains a pop cult of personality.

Over the decades, William Shatner has crafted a world unto himself. After making a splash as the most famous star captain in history, he found a novel way to break away from one defining role: by running head on into it and making it work to his advantage. Now we can partake of his stories and experiences. With his depth of background and a fifty year career, I can easily seeing this show go in any one of a billion different directions. It's his world, after all, and it's one where one man can tackle and conquer anything he sets his phasers on. Where Shat happens.

Worry not, it will definitely be worth it. This performance will be unique, rewarding and most certainly will not be a con.

Oh, excuse me. I meant... not be a KHAAAAAN!

Come hear William shoot the Shat on Thursday, January 10, 2013 at 8:00 p.m.