Answers for Austin Children’s Museum on why I am creative :)
Sara will be having a “Big Bird, Little Bird” DVD release party at the Austin Children’s Museum on Saturday, October 23 at 10:00 am for families of wee ones, so come on out, watch the dvd, meet
with Sara and pick up a copy of this fun and soothing DVD for your family!
AUSTIN CHILDRENS MUSEUM: I saw that you wrote and performed at the age of 8, what inspired you
at such a young age?
SARA: I had been taking piano lessons, but the teacher looked like Marge Simpson (without a sense of humor, though)
and I had to sit in a small, windowless concrete room. She was very stern. I told my mom I wasn’t too keen on the teacher (or the room), so she took me to a music store, and there, I saw guitars. I knew the minute I saw the guitars that one of them was going to be my best friend, so we bought a guitar (which I still have) and that was it! Every day after school, I’d run home up to my bedroom, and sit with a little tape recorder and make up songs, commercials, skits. It was so much fun to use my imagination in this way. I would have to say that I was inspired by several people—my paternal grandparents, both great jazz musicians and their stories of travel and fun; by John Denver, who, at that time in my life, was beloved around the world and wrote songs EVERYONE could sing to, and lastly, by the great Carol Burnett and George Burns. I wanted to be like all of those people because I thought they touched lives, made people laugh and think and feel, and it seemed very natural, to me, to follow in their footsteps.
ACM: Where are your favorite places to take your children in Austin to have
fun and inspire creativity?
SARA: Starting from inside our home, which is a giant den of never-ending ideas/spontaneity/
art and music supplies, we expand out into nature. For example, my youngest daughter, iolana, and I went around the neighborhood and found giant sticks, drug them home, and spray painted them an array of colors. Then, with twine, we built a giant stick sculpture, using other natural items (rocks and moss balls) that hung from within the sculpture. It was a ton of fun. We also like to go to the Blanton, or to Ft. Worth to the museums, and walk and talk about what we are seeing. Having gotten an art degree, and having two parents that were visual artists (my dad, a painter; my mom, a fiber artist/weaver), I enjoy it immensely that I can shre the art history knowledge I have attained from my upbringing and schooling. We also enjoy documentaries about art and music. Our latest favorite was “Exit Through The Gift Shop”, which has inspired my girls to learn how to stencil and create powerful images for us to leave around town. We’re also adding some of these stencils to the exterior of my van, so I can make it into an art car.
When the girls were younger, we were constantly at the Austin Children’s Museum. We loved the different activities, the kitchen area, hanging upside down like bats, watching the train upstairs, seeing the current exhibit, and the hands on creativity area upside down. We would meet there with our mom’s group, or go on our own, just to explore, learn and have family fun. Oh! And the tree slide….wow! We LOVED that slide!
Other places in Austin that inspire us are Momoko, Women In Their Art, Zachary Scott Theatre, Hyde Park Theatre, riding the Zilker Zephyr, going to Austin City Limits Festival, hanging out with the vast variety of photographers, artists and musicians we know.
ACM: What is your favorite song to perform? Why?
SARA: Hmm. That’s a tough one because I do so many different styles of music. I guess depending on the genre, I’d say “A Nightengale Sang in Berkley Square” for jazz; “Size Six Dress” for rock; in the folk category,”Joy”, a song about a homeless woman I befriended and created a short film about; and for pop, I love to sing “Give It Every Little Thing You’ve Got”. As far as my children’s music, right now I’m very excited about my new animate DVD, “Big Bird, Little Bird”, and my favorite song to sing on there is either “It’s Alright” or “Family Tree”. They are both very, very soothing and take me to a higher plane of love every time.
ACM: What is your favorite part of your new DVD?
SARA: I have to say, I was REALLY excited I drew out the frames for “Big Bird, Little Bird” and then Shiny Object used their magical skills to animate it. That was a dream come true for me! I think my favorite animated short, though, would have to be “Goops in It”. It’s just funny and has a definative 50’s sort of styling I really like. Overall, though, the entire process and the outcome of the DVD is beautiful and touching, and it was a blast to work with Shiny Object (Austin based animation group) and Xlantic (they shot the parenting tips segment of the DVD). I’m really happy it EXISTS and I can share it with the world. I have to thank Alan Luecke for supporting my dream and making the DVD real. It wouldn’t be here without his amazing ability to see the big picture and jump on board to help underwrite it, so a big round of applause here for his generousity!
ACM: Congratulations on being named the Texas State Musician for 2010-2011.
What are the responsibilities and perks of this Honor? What was your
reaction when you found out?
SARA: Thank you! When I found out, I started laughing! I couldn’t believe it, and I was elated. The perks were breakfast with the other winners (the poet laureate, the 2D and 3D artists), and getting up on the dais in front of the legislators, the ringing of a bell, the proclamation that we were the Official State artists, we are mentioned in history books, and a nice document to hang in our office.
There aren’t any responsibilities, but I created some for myself, anyway! After asking permission, I was given the green light to do whatever I wanted, so I decided to focus my year on bringing creativity to families. I’m doing that in two ways—-
first, through Family Time Rocks!, a band that consists of myself and two friends, Jason Molin and Gray Parsons, and we go to schools, festivals and libraries, and perform for families and promote interaction. I’ve produced a cd that will be coming out in November this year that is a FREE FREE FREE download at http://www.familytimerocks.com of songs, poems and ideas from people of different cultures/ethnicities speaking in their native tongues about creative things they like to do in their families. Very fun, and very FREE!!!!
Secondly, I have put together a compilation cd of my songs covered by other Texas musicians to benefit Theatre Action Project, which goes into schools to deliver art, music and theatre. Musicians on the recording include Willie Nelson, The Flatlanders, Marcia Ball, Edie Brickell & The New Bohemians, Matt the Electrician, Shawn Colvin, etc, and this will come out in Feb. 2011 with a big soiree at the Paramount Theatre on Saturday, Feb. 5.
So, it’s an exciting year, I’ve worked very hard on a variety of projects to try and bring joy and music to families far and wide.
A letter to me from Michael Hicks