Hello, what's up, and welcome to the Lite + Brite newsletter.
All those Austin events that we list in more carefree days—you know, the backyard variety shows and science experiment-themed dance parties and pirate parades—they only exist thanks to our local event producers. So during this time when the events are on hiatus, we're going to be introducing you to some of our favorite event creators. The more creative, DIY, and community-oriented they are, the more we want to know about them.
We're kicking off this series below with our Q&A with Erica Lies, a writer and comedian who produces bizarre and hilarious Austin shows including Mortified and Worded Funny. Idk, for some reason it just seemed like it might be nice to laugh right now, know what I mean?
This newsletter will also still have plenty of music, especially our weekly streaming-only dance party No Lights No Lycra, and new DJ-curated playlists every week.
If you're not already a subscriber, click here. Also, please support us by forwarding this email to your friends who enjoy things like listening to music and thinking about leaving the house (but definitely not doing it).
No Lights No Lycra, our weekly dance party in the dark, has moved to an online home for the duration of the Covid-19 crisis. DJ Brian Blackout will be on Twitch, broadcasting his signature mix of indie, electropop, synthpop, disco, dusty rock + R&B records, regular funk, future funk, synthwave, new wave, many other waves, and much more live from his living room. Turn off the lights in your home (or don't), stop checking Twitter for one hour, and dance like no one's watching, because truly, no one can see you.
Join us here tonight and every upcoming Monday from 8pm-9:30pm CT. Put it as a recurring event on your calendar or RSVP to the facebook event to get reminders, because we have all lost any sense of time and it's hard to remember when it's a Monday at 8pm CT versus when it is literally any other time or day at all.
If you can't make it to the party live, you can always listen to the playlist we post here each week. Sometimes it's missing a few songs that are hard to find and it's not mixed by a DJ, but it's still got all the music. You can listen to last week's playlist on YouTube Here.
What is No Lights No Lycra?
Austin's weekly judgment-free, substance-free, high-impact dance thing in the dark. It's a DJ night that's not at the club, a workout that's not at the gym, a personal meditation that's anything but silent. Read more about us in the Austin Chronicle.
Want to hear what No Lights No Lycra sounds like? We've got a ton of recordings of our resident DJ Brian Blackout's sets up on Mixcloud you can listen to, and we're regularly adding more.
The Austinites Behind the Curtain
In this series, we'll be getting to know some of the Austinites who produce our favorite local events. This week, a Q&A with writer and comedian Erica Lies, a producer on Mortified (a storytelling show based on awkward artifacts from adolescence and childhood) and Worded Funny (a night of short-form humorous writings—think 'Shouts and Murmurs,' only live).
L+B: Tell us a little about the Austin events that you produce.
Erica Lies: Most people know Mortified through the Netflix show and the podcast, but it's been a live show for 18 years in cities all over the country and now even the globe. The Austin chapter has been running since 2007, and I've been working on it since then. I'm a story producer for the show, which means I work with the performers to create a story about their adolescent self, constructed entirely from their adolescent writings. It's playing part writer, part excavator, part therapist.
Worded Funny is an Austin night of literary humor that I put on with my humor writing mafia, Alex Baia and Shruti Saran. We started it because our satire and humor writing exists online, where you don't exactly get immediate feedback. Alex and I are both performers in Austin's comedy scene, so we thought doing a show would be a fun way to bring our writing into the performance world and let us create some community amongst the other humor writers here.
L+B: What’s the most memorable thing that’s ever happened at an event you produced?
Erica Lies: Back in 2013, in the middle of a Mortified show, all the lights went out at The North Door. We didn't know it immediately, but an entire portion of the East Side had lost power. The show had barely started—we were like one piece in. And there was this moment of not knowing what to do, because we'd completely lost all light as well as all of our audio. So the production staff conferred about whether to keep going or send the audience home.
It's probably worth saying that the vast majority of us are grown-up theater kids who find canceling a show (well, canceling for less than a worldwide pandemic) utterly incomprehensible. Our professional lives are all marked by problem-solving on the fly, so losing electricity wasn't a deterrent. It felt like an opportunity. We were like, "The performers can still talk. We can still do this." So we continued the show, with the audience lighting the stage using their cell phones. It was magical. The performers, producers, and audience all came together to make the best of it and make the show happen.
L+B: Tell us about an event you’ve produced that you're particularly proud of.
Erica Lies: In 2017, I did a two-woman sketch show with Katie Stone called "Menenists," which we not only wrote and performed, but also produced ourselves. The idea came together in the disappointment of the 2016 election and all the ugliness. Katie had floated the idea of writing something together, and then I just texted her, "This might be insane, but what if we did a sort of 'Matt & Ben' show where we play alt-right dickheads?" I figured it was too out-there and risky and that she would say no, but she was into it and we did it. The end result was a 40-minute sketch show where we satirized men's rights activists and racists by playing them ourselves.
L+B: Who are some local event producers you admire?
Erica Lies: My friend Devon Coleman comes up with some insane comedy ideas, like a late night show hosted by the Grim Reaper called "Dead of Night." I'll watch basically anything Devon creates. That man's mind is unreal.
L+B: How can people support you during this time when we can’t go to your events?
Erica Lies: Thanks for asking—I lost a majority of my work to the coronavirus. If folks want to support, they can sign up for my "Writing a Web Series" class at ColdTowne Theater, which will be entirely online. They can also hire me to write their marketing copy or content in any format (Social media! Newsletters! Websites! Even executive bios!). I can also edit words and give people curly hair tips (but that I'll do for free). [Editor's note: I have spent many years trying to emulate Erica's curls. If this were a newsletter of curly hair care and not of Austin events, Erica would still be the first person we interviewed.]
L+B: While we’re all stuck at home, are there any streaming events that you’d recommend?
Erica Lies:ColdTowne Theater, where I teach sketch comedy writing, has a Twitch channel going, where they're broadcasting live shows from isolation. It's totally possible to get some cheap laughs from quarantine, and you'd be supporting a small local institution that could really use the community push right now.
NLNL 054 Playlist
Here's what we played at last week's living room edition of No Lights No Lycra. If you missed our streaming session last Monday, you can listen to the playlist on YouTube here and join us for this week's party here.
Feather by Feather - New Jackson
Cheap Sunglasses (Flying Mojito Bros Refrito) - ZZ Top
Time to Get It Together (Super Value Edit) - Marvin Gaye
If I Had You (Ladycreme Edit) - Karen Carpenter
Islands in the Stream (Tony Jacalone Edit) - Kenny Rogers & Dolly Parton
Strangers - Juveniles
Tennis Fan - Banoffee
Love Hangover (DJ Apt One Edit) - Diana Ross
Designer Drug - Mayer Hawthorne
Just My Love (Bell Towers Edit) - Umo Vogue
Milkshake / Stop - Kelis / BWH
Ice Ice Arnie (Cool Party) - Luke Million
Shampoo - MA.GI.C
Running Up That Hill (12” Mix) - Kate Bush
Everything She Wants (She Said Disco Remix) - Wham!
U & Me - Venice Beach
Deep Inside - Hardrive
Emerald City Sequence (Gay Marvine Edit) - the Wiz Cast
Let’s Have a Kiki - Scissor Sisters
Music Sounds Better with You - Stardust
Be My Lady (Discorockets Remix) - Kool & the Gang
Kelly (Lifelike Remix) - the Van She
Head On - the Jesus & Mary Chain
Dancing in the Dark - Hot Chip
All at Once - Home
Who are we?
We make this newsletter. We put on No Lights No Lycra each week. We do some other stuff here and there. We love going out to creative events in Austin, and we want you to join us. Visit us at http://liteandbriteatx.com/