Gritty soul outfit Southern Avenue, made up of powerful sisterly duo of Tierinii and Tikyra Jackson on vocals and drums, respectively, along with Israeli-born blues guitarist Ori Naftaly, bassist Daniel McKee, and keyboardist Jeremy Powell, have been earning their stripes out on the road for the last year. On Saturday night, April 1st, the group will return to New Orleans for a show at legendary venue Tipitina’s with special guests Wonderland.While Southern Avenue has only been together for a little over a year, they have already made their mark on the Beale Street crowd in Memphis and beyond. With appearances on their self-titled debut album from the likes of guitarist Luther Dickinson (North Mississippi Allstars) and trumpeter Mark Franklin (The Bo-Keys), Southern Avenue is making a clear case for their ascension in the rock world.The group came together when Israeli-born guitarist Ori Naftaly met singer Tierinii Jackson; the two had an instant musical connection. According to Ori, “When I saw Tierinii perform, I thought, ‘This is why I came to America.’ I met her and we clicked. At our first rehearsal, she told me that her sister was a drummer, and she thought it would be great to have her in the band. We had such a good vibe, and suddenly I didn’t care so much about my solo thing.” And the rest, as they say, is history.Purchase tickets for the show here. For additional show information, check out the Facebook Event page here.
Oscar-winning director, actor and filmmaker Ben Affleck joins Oscar–winning Pixar Animation Studios’ filmmakers Pete Docter and Jonas Rivera in receiving special honors at the 1st Annual AUTFEST International Film Festival presented by The Autism Society on April 22-23, 2017 at the AMC Orange 30 in Orange, CA.The announcement was made by Matthew Asner, VP of Development for The Autism Society.Said Scott Badesch, President of Autism Society of America: “The first Annual AutFest International Film Festival is a perfect opportunity for us to celebrate the role film is now playing in autism awareness. We are proud to honor outstanding filmmakers Ben Affleck, Pete Docter and Jonas Rivera, for their cinematic portrayals of the complexity of human emotions, as we can see with our two spotlighted films The Accountant and Inside Out.”Celebrating autism awareness “from spectrum to screen,” AutFest is the first film festival solely dedicated to an autism audience and filmmakers. Its mission is to further advance the well-being of all with an autism diagnosis, as well as to educate the nation about autism and the important need to fully respect and value each person with autism. AutFest wishes to celebrate films that promote autism awareness and support autistic filmmakers and artists that have chosen film as their profession.“For more than eight years we’ve been honored to partner with the Autism Society through our regular screenings of AMC Sensory Friendly Films, which allows families with special needs to see films in a welcoming environment,” said Nikkole Denson-Randolph, Vice President, Alternative & Special Content, AMC Theatres. “We’re thrilled to continue that partnership by serving as the host of this important, impactful event.”A number of special awards will be handed out at a special ceremony at the conclusion of AutFest including Best Film, Best Director, Best Documentary, Best Actor, Best Actress as well as an Audience Award. A Best Autistic Filmmaker Award will be presented to an autistic filmmaker.AutFest is also inviting student graphic designers to create a festival poster that depicts the festival’s theme “from spectrum to screen.” Winning posters will be used as the festival’s official poster as well as for official materials such as t-shirts and postcards. The contest is hosted by We Are Lions, a marketplace for products created and designed by individuals with disabilities. More details about the poster contest can be found hereAutFest Honorary Committee Members include seven-time Emmy winner and autism advocate Ed Asner, actress Kristen Bell (House of Lies), actor Dax Shepard (CHIPS), Emmy-winning actress comedian Sarah Silverman, Golden Globe-nominated actor Matthew Modine (Stranger Things), Emmy-nominated actor Gary Cole (Veep), Autism Speaks co-founder Bob Wright, The Suzanne Wright Foundation president Liz Feld, Warner Bros. president and CCO Peter Roth and Autism Society’s VP of Development Matt Asner.