Saturday, June 6, 2015

Couples Salon - May 30

(left to right) Becky & Rob McEwen - Becky, a warm and genuine Austin gal with deep Texas roots and five generations of family living in Central Texas, happened upon Rob the tall and lanky kiwi on his global walkabout in 1978. Using his consummate marketing skills and charming New Zealand accent, Rob lured Becky back to New Zealand with him when he returned there in 1979. Marriage, 5 years working for Pan American World Airways (Pan Am) and a baby followed, until Austin seduced the couple to return in 1983. Becky pursued a career in the mortgage industry and gave birth to a second child in 1988, while Rob gave birth to a child of his own - a high tech marketing agency. Nineteen years on and mutually burned out with their respective careers, Rob & Becky sought a simpler life back in New Zealand, built a 5-star boutique lodgeoverlooking the majestic Lake Taupo and began hosting travelers from around the globe. Becky runs the lodge and offers massage therapy, while Rob has founded and currently runs a charitable organization focused on electric vehicle education. Rob & Becky have promoted small concerts in Taupo for 8 years, and Rob is enjoying a lifelong dream of playing in a band, and sneaks off to local rivers with a fly rod at every opportunity. Becky frequents the golf course whenever possible, enjoys the walks and hikes of NZ, and is doting on their new granddaughter Emma in San Marcos, where Rob and Becky’s two sons and daughters-in-law live. Rob and Becky are two of our closest (and yet far off) friends. When they traitorously moved back to New Zealand, we gave them the Texas flag that flew over the Texas State Capitol the day Crouse and I were married, and told them to bring it home some day. Since their sons are starting families, I suspect that day is getting closer and closer, but not too soon for us. We’ve shared some epic times together (what we can remember anyway), and we look forward to many more. 

Dean & Jeff Lofton - Dean began freelance writing covering women’s issues in South Carolina in the late 80s.  For 18 years in the southeast and Texas Dean has led Write Your Life as a Woman - a community writing class where they write with pen on paper and share in class. Her new weekly radio segment, Write Now with Dean Lofton, which debuts in May on “Writing on the Air” Wednesdays 6pm on KOOP 91.7FM, features writing prompts and inspiration. In addition, she has recently performed spokesperson and other on-camera / acting work.  Dean also has a PR/media company, The Lofton Agency, at Soma Vida, a co-working space for wellness and creative entrepreneurs on E. Cesar Chavez. In her spare time, Dean is on the Austin steering committee for Annie’s List, and she blogs, where she shares smart ideas, many from her major health recovery made by changing her diet. Jeff is a jazz trumpeter, composer and producer who leads several groups and is known for his Miles Davis tributes. He has a new album coming out later this year called Jericho and will launch a fundraising campaign in May to finish it. His 2009 album “Jazz to the People” made the top albums of the year lists by KUTX and the Austin Chronicle. He has weekly residencies in Austin on Thursdays, 5:30 - 8:30 pm in the lounge at Ruth’s Chris Steak House, and Sundays, 12-4pm, at Zed’s (Jeff Lofton’s Sunday Jazz Brunch). You can stream music and enjoy a few free downloads at Jeff was voted “Best Jazz Band” at the 2010-2011 Austin Music Awards during SXSW, and was inducted into the Texas Music Museum. He also won "Best Horn Player" in the 2013-14 Austin Music Awards. Dean and Jeff met in their home state of South Carolina 11 years ago, and soon figured out they’d been in the University of South Carolina marching band together 19 years earlier. They moved to Austin in 2007 to be near Jeff’s daughter, who is now 13 and lives with them full time. Dean is super sharp and Jeff is super talented, and their both just too cool for school.

Kelvin Phillips & Carla Jackson - Kelvin has fifteen years experience as a senior creative manager in some of the world’s largest financial services companies, including Credit Suisse, Morgan Stanley, and Dimensional Fund Advisors.  A certified project management professional (PMP), Kelvin teaches others how to use the time-honored methodology of the Project Management Body of Knowledge to give shape to ideas and find the best means to make them into reality. As an award-winning screenwriter, Kelvin has written feature and short screenplays for many clients, and his work has screened at numerous film festivals, on HBO/Cinemax, and is available online. Kelvin also writes short stories, essays, and poems and is currently writing the biography of his late mother. Kelvin received his Bachelor of Arts in Film Directing from Howard University and Master of Fine Arts in Dramatic Writing from New York University. Check out this brief from one of Kelvin and Carla’s award-winning films, A Swinging Trio (which you can actually rent on Netflix.) A seasoned marketing and public relations professional with over fifteen years of experience, Carla’s expertise lies with her ability to create favorable business-to-consumer relationships for clients who have included Austin’s Pro Arts Collective, Paradigm Shift, the Austin Community College Center for Public Policy, Nike, the California Wellness Foundation, the California African American Museum, On Your Feet: International Music and Dance Festival, and the Hip Hop International Dance Championship. Carla currently is on staff at Fordham University, where she is Administrator of the Theatre Program. Previously, she served as Director of Marketing on award-winning Broadway and off-Broadway productions, including August Wilson’s Jitney and King Hedley. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre Summa Cum Laude from Fordham University in New York; and her Master of Fine Arts degree in Theatre Management from Yale University. I met Carla when I invested in one of her and Kelvin’s films, the wonderful documentary, Black Sun.

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