One World Theater (Photo by John Anderson)
After a year full of rumors about changes at One World Theatera new landowner has emerged. Gary Kellerco-founder of Keller Williams Realtyhas purchased the West Austin venue known for bookings for renowned world, jazz, folk and legacy music. Nick ShuleyPresident of Kellers Austin music movement organization, confirmed the real estate magnate’s involvement in the sale to the timeline last week.
Shuley said the team isn’t ready to comment on specific plans for One World, but indicated it will continue to be used as a venue. A key player in Austin’s music defense, Keller directs a far-reaching network of philanthropic efforts under the Austin Music Movement heading, which supports over a dozen charitable organizations, including HAAMthe SIMS Foundationand Red River Cultural District. Keller is known to be a regular visitor and supporter of One World, often sitting in the front row.
This isn’t Keller’s first purchase of a troubled music venue. In 2016, when songwriter hub the Saxon pub was to move from his original home, Keller stepped in to preserve the 1320 property of S. Lamar. The billionaire funded renovations and allowed the company to continue operating indefinitely.
Music fan Gary Keller’s guitar collection in the office, as featured on Keller Williams’ March 4 TikTok. (via Tiktok)
According to Travis County records, One World Theater at 7701 Bee Cave Rd. was sold to a incorporated entity last September Valerie Vogler-Stipe, Managing Director at Keller Williams Realty International. The property was bought by BCAC Acquisition LLCregistered to the co-founder and CEO of One World Hart Stearnswho had owned the property since 2007. Stearns and Mrs Nada opened the One World Theater in 1999.
Stearns declined to comment on venue changes during a phone call in early March.
Currently closed, the last show to be held at One World Pat Metheny in February. The venue’s website said: “We’re making changes. There are currently no shows or private events planned. Please come back later.”
Last April, inaccurate reports exposed this famous podcaster and new Austin resident Joe Rogan had bought the West Austin music venue. (Rogan has since opted to open his comedy club in the former Alamo Drafthouse Ritz Location at 320 E. Sixth.) At the time “Faster than sound‘ confirmed that no agreement had been reached. However, multiple sources said the Stearns are in talks with new investment partners following financial difficulties due to COVID-19.
The Stearns founded One World in 1993 as a youth education program and expanded to the theater facility in 1999. In addition to booking world-class acts like SeRegion of Mendes, Herbie Hancockand Miriam Makbaher 501(c)(3) nonprofit structure supported various music education programs and scholarships.
The Tuscan-style building is steeped in juicy Austin history. The 300-seat theater was built by members of the spiritual cult buddha fieldunder the direction of their charismatic leader known as Michael. No longer affiliated with the One World in any way, the Hollywood-founded group relocated locally in the ’90s, as seen in the 2016 documentary holy hell.
One World last shared a Jan. 24 website update announcing dozens of cancellations “due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.” The post also shared, “We thank you for your patience and understanding while we strive to answer all questions. We’re extremely grateful for your patronage and support as we work together to secure the future of the live music scene in a city where we all live.” Love so much.”
Waterloo Records in August 2020 (Photo by John Anderson)
Waterloo Records celebrates its 40th anniversary with two in-store performances
The return of South of Southwest wasn’t quite complete without Waterloo Records‘ popular parking lot parties. The non-badge lineups for all ages provided an accessible entry point during my own early trips to the festival as a San Antonio high school student. Owners of Waterloo during the pandemic John Kunz played it safe – from the roadside to appointment purchases to the reopening with book and record signatures last year.
Finally, to mark the 40th anniversary of the legendary Vinyl (and more) Emporium, Waterloo is reintroducing live music for the first time in over two years. No joke, the shop opened on April 1st, 1982. To celebrate, Waterloo is hosting two in-store performances by Ray Wylie Hubbard (3 p.m.) and Heartless bastards (5 p.m.) this Friday, April 1.
“We used to be in the stores a few times a week and an average of 75 to 100 a year,” says Kunz. “I always say, ‘These are artists from around the corner from all over the world.’ It’s a big part of us to be a cog in the local music community.”
Masks are compulsory for performances with limited capacity on the inside stage of the shop. Fans can receive a wristband with guaranteed admission to Hubbard’s performance with the purchase of an LP or CD of the Texan songwriter’s new album, Also co-stars. For the separate set of Heartless Bastard, the same rules apply as when purchasing the band’s 2021 album, A nice life.
Suppose you have already bought one of the above products? Just bring your receipt or record as proof to receive a bracelet in store. After priority entry via the wristband, others will be admitted, subject to capacity. Austin’s largest and oldest music retailer is offering today through Wednesday, April 6th.
Over four decades, Kunz’s kingdom has changed through cassette signings, the advent of CDs, the decline in record pressings and our current vinyl revival. Since 1989, from its original location to Waterloo’s current cornerstone, the store has hosted performances by the likes of Willy Nelson, Jimmy Cliff, Gary Clark Jr., St Vincent, and so many more. Read more in-store stories from Kunz on our Daily Music Blog.
Post-SXSW COVID concerns
Everyone in music circles seems to know of a handful of people who contracted COVID during the SXSW celebrations. As we’ve covered in recent years’ coverage of live music and the virus, it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly where anyone has fallen ill while enjoying the joyful return from official and unofficial Megafest events – and all the house shows and travel and out-of-towner-inclusive hangouts that happen in between. While some people asked to cover it, surprisingly so did the author Damian Krukowski from Galaxy 500understandably few bands have expressed interest in confirming virus status for print.
It’s safe to say the cases among musicians were enough to spark conversations about the potential of COVID to disrupt the national tours that artists have been waiting for, and rescheduling, for so long. California’s sasamiwho headlined five frenzied festival sets under her current metal concept, shortly afterwards posted: “I PLEASE FUCKING PLEASE please wear your masks to my shows. I’m not a big band if we get covid and have to cancel shows I’m FUCKED if you love me at all please wear a mask and buy some merch so we can keep on touring,” she referenced her fantastic new LP.
Based in Toronto Charlotte Kornfeldwhose restless storytelling I enjoyed in the middle of the ballroom fest updated last week on Twitter: “Yes sxsw was a superspreader event and yes my entire band got covid as did many others. We obviously knew there was a risk, but really felt for anyone whose touring/life has been derailed by this thing.”