The Civil Rights Summit wrapped up yesterday with many power players in attendance to spread the message of We Shall Overcome and to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The audience and speaker program, produced by Autumn Rich & Co., were made up with the who’s who of Austin and Washington D.C. to include the current and former presidents, athletes, social activists, marketers, politicians, among others. Here are a few behind the curtain moments you won’t find anywhere else.


 (CBS News’ Bob Schieffer and Luci Baines Johnson)

(Reverend Jesse Jackson)


(Translation Founder and CEO Steve Stoute and NBA Hall of Famer David Robinson)


 (Former President George W. Bush)

(Maria Shriver and David Robinson)

At a recent Austin Music People event, we ran into Black Fret Founders Matt Ott and Colin Kendrick and immediately wanted to know more.  

How would you describe Black Fret to someone on the street?

At our heart Black Fret is a social and connected community of music fans dedicated to good music, good times and the sustainable success of Austin’s local musicians. Together our members find great bands, gather to see them in intimate shows and award them grants to help them create and perform new music.(Erin Ivey at the Black Fret launch party, January 2013)

Why is Black Fret’s mission important?

In 2012 the Austin music industry was an almost $1.7 billion dollar economic engine.  It supports over 18,000 jobs**.  Austin is home to thousands of amazing musicians.  Yet many musicians struggle to create and distribute their art.  There is a misconception that the digital revolution has made creating music an inexpensive and easy thing to do.  While the technological advances have made recording music more accessible to more people, creating “professional” high-quality music and then spending the money to tour, manufacture, distribute and promote that music remains an amazingly expensive proposition.  Black Fret grants make a big difference in the success of our local artists and, hopefully, keeps Austin out of danger of losing the talent that makes our creative economy so unique. 

Where did the name come from?

Naming is always a fun challenge.  After starting the Austin Music Foundation over a decade ago, we were looking for something with a little more character.  We wanted a name that didn’t sound like a traditional charity because we aren’t one.  We wanted something that reflected our mission to support local music.  We wanted something younger, edgier and a bit secret society-ish that would align with our limited membership model.  So we started brainstorming and researching.  In the process discovered an obscure thread on the Internet about searching for a black metal that could serve as a fret on the neck of a guitar.  It turns out there is no metal that can sustain a metal to metal vibration and remain black.  So in effect a “black fret” doesn’t really exist.  In that way it is sort of the unicorn of the music world.  So we figured that was a good space for us to live.  “Black Fret” was born.

How do I get involved with Black Fret?

Our business plan is simple and proven: find 1,333 patrons to donate $1,500 annually… raising $2,000,000 each year.  After tax deduction this can cost you less than $100 per month ($50 if you have access to a corporate match).  This allows us to build an endowed non-profit institution capable of supporting more than 50 artists each year.  Those grants will flow to the best of the best of Austin’s internationally recognized musicians allowing us to build an internationally recognized brand around Black Fret Artists that will further enable those artists as they look to build their own brand outside Austin.

In return for their annual dues our members are guided through an annual process to learn, listen, see and share Austin’s best musicians ultimately resulting in a vote to select artists to receive grants.  During that process members will experience regular and amazingly intimate musical events while gaining personal insight into Austin’s music scene.  The member experience is equal parts arts patron, music industry insider, talent scout and connected Austinite.

If you don’t want to become a member or a sponsor, the easiest and most impactful thing one can do to help is spread the word to your friends, family, co-workers and favorite bands.  If you are invited to an event we would love for you to bring people that are interested and able to join.  Ultimately the sooner we get to 1,333 members the sooner we can achieve our full potential.  There is also a Supporter level (annual dues of $300) outlined on our website and any and all donations are welcome.  Lastly we need a few select volunteers at our events.  If you would like to help please email us at

For more information about Black Fret, membership and upcoming events, visit


In ACL Live’s latest roundup of its upcoming events, you might have seen a listing for the All ATX showcase at Moody Theater on September 24. What is special about this event is that Austin music legends Jimmie Vaughan, Eric Johnson, Ray Benson and Christopher Cross and many others are coming together for a one-night only concert, all in support of HAAM.

On top of that, an album featuring all the great artists from this event is being produced by Gary Keller and available for purchase at Waterloo Records and HAAM’s website, among other local hotspots.

The album design, created by music-crazed GSD&M creatives Ben Hodgin, Sean LaBounty, Hayden Gilbert, and Justin Miller, uses two tones to take the eye on a musical road map.

“HAAM came to us with the assignment of making a ‘best of’ album to promote their benefit and concert,” said Sean LaBounty, creative director at GSD&M. “They knew we wouldn’t be able to fit all the best from the ‘Live Music Capital of the World’ onto just one album. That would be a gigantic box set. Too many greats would be left off.”

“So we thought of a cool way to help the world get to know the epic Austin music scene a little better—an annual All-Star list if you will, ‘The ALL-ATX’ with a vintage design through a modern lens—clean, bold and powerful,” LaBounty added. “And we’re hoping to get a [ALL-ATX] baseball team going soon.”

The passion behind this album is no surprise. GSD&M started its relationship with HAAM over ten years ago and since then, will find any way to assist with marketing of the organization.

“There is no other organization that offers affordable healthcare to local musicians like HAAM. This is our hometown too, so contributing to the Austin music scene and its culture is critical to its survival,” said David Rockwood, VP/Community at GSD&M.

“So when we were approached of the idea of a benefit cd, our creative teams jumped at the chance to be part of such an important project,” Rockwood added.

Tickets for this event go on sale Friday, August 2.

As the news of the unbelievable and horrific Boston Marathon tragedy continues to unfold, it’s hard not to be glued to your laptop or TV. Follow #BostonMarathon or #PrayforBoston on Twitter and you’ll have a sudden urgency to want to help out. And as reported by Austin Women Magazine on Twitter, there were 187 runners from Austin so this news affects those near and far.

In the midst of browsing various social platforms, I came across a few brands that are using their services to help those in need.

A few are:


Airlines waiving cancellation and travel fees courtesy of American Airlines, AirTran, Delta, JetBlue, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, US Airways, Virgin America

Hotels waiving fees for last-minute re-bookings: Fairmont Hotels, Four Seasons, Hilton Hotels, Hyatt Hotels, InterContinental Hotels, Kimpton, Marriott, Preferred Hotels, Ritz-Carlton, Sheraton Hotels, W Hotels, Westin Hotels, Wyndham Hotels

Airbnb and HomeAway have both offered to waive fees for runners and families who need a place to stay.

Hundreds of people have come forward to offer their homes and rooms to anyone in need via Google Docs and #BostonHelp on Twitter.

Charities & Public Interest

On top of pushing out communication about blood donation needs, the Red Cross is touting its Safe and Well site where people can let loved ones know their status.


Google launches “Person Finder,” a tool that people can look up or supply information about their loved ones.

The New York Times suspended it’s digital paywall today so any reader could absorb the news.

Eat Love Savor magazine went “black” for the rest of the day in light of today’s events.


The IRS has offered to give those in Boston more time to file their taxes.


The Boston Celtics have cancelled and the Boston Bruins have postponed their games.

See the good, the bad and the ugly of this year’s Super Bowl spots.

Spoiler alert: You will need a tissue for the Budweiser spot.

Samsung Mobile USA

Go Daddy “Perfect Match”

Dunder Mifflin “Paper War with Cat”

E*TRADE “Save It”

Beck’s Sapphire

Kia “Space Babies”

Speedstick “Unattended Laundry”

Budweiser “Brotherhood”

Axe “Apollo”

Volkswagen “Get In. Get Happy”

Century 21 “Wedding”

Audi “Prom”

Taco Bell “Viva Young”

Toyota “Wish Granted”

Hyundai “Stuck” “Dramatized Focus Group”

Bud Light “Lucky Chair”

Calvin Klein teaser

Mercedes-Benz “Soul”

Tide Stain Save Infomercial

RIM Blackberry teaser

SodaStream International “Effect”

Skechers Man vs. Cheetah teaser

Coca-Cola “Coke Chase”

Best Buy Sneak Peak

Gildan Activewear “Getaway”

Mio “Whistle”

Pepsi NEXT “Party”

Doritos: 2 fan favorite spots will run

“Express Checkout”

“Fashionista Daddy”


“Goat for Sale”

“Road Chip”

It’s no surprise GSD&Mers quickly raised their hands when it came time to sign up for holiday charity efforts. This year, the agency made an even bigger impact and here’s how:

· Agency volunteers: 60+

· Time given: 125+ hours

· Food sorted at Capital Area Food Bank: 7,200 pounds of food/5,800 meals

· Children’s gifts purchased for the SuperHero Kids gala: 300

· Trees pruned at Tree Folks: 30

· Southwood Care Center gifts purchased: 89+

· Cash contribution to Blue Santa and Mobile Loaves & Fishes

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Election Day at the Office

Today’s the day. You’ve been putting off cobbling together a Halloween costume for weeks.

Fear not. Visit your local Walgreens store for any of these costume ideas:

1. Hall(s) & (Quaker) Oats: Grab both logos and pin to shirt.

2. Chip on the shoulder: Hit up the game aisle and secure one poker chip to a shoulder.

3. As Seen on TV guy: The merchandise you always avoid. Wear a Snuggie, carry the 11×17 TV remote and handout PedEggs.

4. Hallmark aisle: Pick out a handful of your top Hallmark cards and secure to clothing. Getting emotional just thinking about it.

5. All your eggs in one basket: Venture into Walgreens’ food section, purchase a dozen eggs and a basket. Easy.

Now, have fun.

The latest in our agency segment – “Getting to Know Ya.” Go poolside to meet our CEO Duff Stewart.

David Hughes – Interviewer
Colin Gray – Writer
Landon Peterson – Editor

Instead of a boring write up, we decided to entertain you with a video interview featuring our new ECD Jay Russell. Big thanks to Cut + Run for its editing skills and GSD&M’s David Hughes for his unwavering desire to make Jay’s life miserable.