Da’Shade – Spoken Word Artist, Cinematographer, Action Coreographer

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What’s your Name?
My given name is Jeffery Johnson, but the majority of those that traverse the surface of mother earth know me by my earned name, “Da’Shade Moonbeam.”

What decade you were born in?
The 1970’s

Where is your Hometown?
Austin, Texas (The ATX)

How long have you Been in Austin?
All my life, Born and Raised!

Current Austin Neighborhood: why?
78723, it’s where I spent my formative years. Even though it’s currently infested with fixed gear bike riding hipsters, and is slowly succumbing to the gentrification, I still love this area. Good memories, good people.

What do you do to pay the bills?
I am a Youth Care Worker II at a local Non-Profit that provides housing, and counseling services to At-Risk-Youth. What I want to do to pay the bills?! Live off of my many artistic abilities!

What’s do you do for fun / as a side gig?
I love going to the Movies! I am a Southern Hip-Hop/Spoken Word Artist… AND a DSLR Cinematographer… AND a Film/Stage/Action Choreographer, that is also a Stage and Film actor… AND a Martial Arts Instructor, poet, and motivational speaker!.. AND… You get the point, I do a slew of artistic things on the side.

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What’s your story – How and when did you end up in Austin?
My story is long. Long enough to be recognized by Google! Hint, Hint. I am a Street Nerd. I was raised with positivity in an utterly calamitous environment, filled with gangs, drugs, death, and violence. I was able to see the light in the darkness so to speak, and with help I was able to walk my own path. I am not a saint, I am a wolf that has lost interest in eating sheep.

What’s a memorable experience or story about you and Austin?
Let’s see… I was a Featured extra on Friday Night Lights (Episode 305 or Every Rose has its Thorn.) and I was joking around with cast member Kevin Rankin about comic books. Long story short, Kevin points to cast member Taylor Kitsch and says that “Taylor is plays Gambit in the new Wolverine movie!” I thought to myself, “I have to get out of this city lol.” Kevin says “With your talent, you may want to do that sooner than later Shade.”

Do you see yourself in Austin in 3 years? 10 years?
I see myself being based in Austin. I have recently acquired the Travel bug and I am opening my mind to the opportunities this planet has to offer.

What are 3 great things about Austin?
1. Food
2. Film
3. People

Any favorite Austin restaurants? Food trucks?
Daisies Cafe on Hancock Drive!

Favorite local bar or coffee shop?
Bennu Coffee on MLK, and Summer Moon on S. 1st for coffee hands down!!! As far as Bars go The North Door and The ND are my Favs to grab a drink!

Favorite Austin event / festival?
Frontera Fest, and Zell Miller III Hip Hop Theatre Explosion!

What do you think Austin will be like in 5 years?
Bigger! Hopefully we can retain our identity.

What do you do to deal with the Austin summers?
I am tempered in the fire! There’s not much you can do beside Deal with the heat, or it will Deal with you!

Fill in the blank:
Austin is a great place for out of town musicians, and performers to get local support, but if you’re local and want support from Austin Locals, get famous somewhere else first! Then Austin will LOVE you!

Any final words of wisdom for our readers?
Support your local performers, and artists!


Jenna – Born in Austin, True Texan

What’s your Name?
Jenna Lynn Monroe (Bostick)

What decade you were born in?
70’s

Where is your Hometown?
AUSTIN

How long have you Been in Austin?
For the most part I have been here my entire life though as most young people I HAD to get away. I moved to San Francisco then later to Los Angeles where I attended college and spent 10 years of my life before moving back to Texas.

Current Austin Neighborhood: why?
South Park Meadows: Everything is within walking distance and it’s a very family oriented area which is great for busy moms like me.

What do you do to pay the bills?
Concert Photography & Youth Acting Seminars for Self Esteem awareness

What’s do you do for fun / as a side gig?
I love trying to see a concert without a camera in my hands, though, mentally I make that impossible. I also love to read, see movies by MYSELF, hike and discover new types of foods.

What’s your story – How and when did you end up in Austin?
I was born and raised in Austin, in fact my family for the most part has always been in this area. I am from a family of some of the first settlers here in Texas known as the Old 300 and our family was given it’s land (which was sold off to the highest bidder a long time ago) by Stephen F. Austin himself. We knew what was good for us and once we came we stayed!

What’s a memorable experience or story about you and Austin?
Some of my fondest memories are of when I was a kid and would go out with my dad. Most of the time we would go ride the train at Zilker park but on very special occasions we would head over to Peter Pan mini golf then over to Sandy’s for a burger.

Do you see yourself in Austin in 3 years? 10 years?
I see myself in Austin for the rest of my life because with my travels I have found it to be better than any city I have ever been to. The people are friendly and eclectic, you can’t find a better supply of music anywhere in the world and the food is off the wall.

What are 3 great things about Austin?
1. THE MUSIC: Austin hands down has the best music scene with music from every single Genre you can think of from Punk to rap to good old fashioned rock.

2. THE FAMILY SCENE: There is so much to do for families here in Austin these days. Much more than when I was growing up. You can find free family friendly movies in the park, all kinds of park with very adaptable equipment on every corner (including a full on special needs park in Round Rock), free family events almost every weekend and a drug store on every corner. You can’t beat that!

3. THE FOOD: Although I hate the word I very much consider myself a foodie and in Austin with the help of all the food trucks there is NO cuisine you cannot find here.

Any favorite Austin restaurants? Food trucks?
My favorite Austin restaurant will always be SANDY’S burger on Barton Springs. They are simple, no frills classic burgers made the exact same way they were made 20 years ago. I have paid a visit to Sandy’s at least once a month since I can remember with the exception of my absent years. As far as food trucks, my favorite will always be Gourdoughs. Fresh out of the fryer donuts, covered in anything you can ever dream of? Sign me up! My favorite is the Porkeys’s, Canadian Bacon with cream cheese and Jalapeno jelly, yum!

Favorite local bar or coffee shop?
Jo’s SOCO is hands down my favorite coffee shop and for as Bars Casino El Camino has the best burgers in this city and a good burger with a good beer can’t be beat!
Favorite Austin event / festival? SXSW of course!

What do you think Austin will be like in 5 years?
Simply put Austin will have exploded at the seams. I still see the awesome eclectic atmosphere it has always been but I see it being a lot more chaotic as it is having problems keeping up with the growth.

What do you do to deal with the Austin summers?
I spend my entire summer in a pool or lake and eating snow cones with cream from one of the million snow cone stands throughout the city. What else is there to do in 115 degree heat?

Fill in the blank: Austin is a __mosh pit of rainbow filled goodness__.
Any final words of wisdom for our readers?Austin is as weird as they say it is. With that said, there is no place I would rather be because once you go weird there ain’t no going back!


Les – 32 Years in Austin

What’s your Name?
Les Sherman

What decade you were born in?
50’s a classic 1955 model

Where is your Hometown?
100 miles west of Austin… oh, that would be Kerrville, TX

How long have you Been in Austin?
32 years

Current Austin Neighborhood: why?
Allandale. Best, most affordable, central Austin neighborhood because of schools, proximity to everything, small town feel

What do you do to pay the bills?
Help people buy and sell homes and optimize their positions in real estate

What’s do you do for fun / as a side gig?
Run around Town Lake ( I refuse to call it Lady Bird Lake), Country Western Dance, Music events, Make Friends, barbeque things

What’s your story – How and when did you end up in Austin?
In 1981 residential interest rates went to 18% so to keep from starving in Kerrville, I moved to the big city

What’s a memorable experience or story about you and Austin?
8” of snow in 1985, Watching “The Police” at a concert at SouthPark Meadows, having two beautiful daughters here

Do you see yourself in Austin in 3 years? 10 years?
30 more years and then I move to whatever country one of my daughters is the President of at the time…

What are 3 great things about Austin?
The “young, and young at heart” diverse environment, the hill country, the four other conservative Christians that live here

Any favorite Austin restaurants? Food trucks?
Threadgills, HopDotty’s, Hut’s, Holy Cacao’s cake on a stick, Mother’s, Chuy’s

Favorite local bar or coffee shop?
Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf on 38th, still looking for the best Manhattan in town

Favorite Austin event / festival?
Warrior Dash (really in Cedar Creek), Capital 10K, Paramount Theater, UT Football, wherever Lyle Lovett is playing

What do you think Austin will be like in 5 years?
Bigger, more expensive, part of north San Antonio

What do you do to deal with the Austin summers?
Embrace the heat, sweat a lot, drink lots of water, pray the A/C works

Fill in the blank:
Austin is _the best place in the country to live.

Any final words of wisdom for our readers?
“Dance with who brought you.” “Progressive” and “growth” do not equate with eliminating the culture and the history that made Austin and Central Texas what Texans ARE. Yankees can be Texans if they pay attention and follow instructions.