Karen Bernstein: The Five Question Interview

Karen Bernstein is producer/director with a long list of biographical documentaries of arts icons and cultural events to her name. Her work includes documentaries for American Masters and Independent Lens, and her latest film I’m Gonna Make You Love Me was included in SXSW2020 virtual festival earlier this year.

She lives in historic downtown Elgin with her son Joseph, five dogs, and takes care of nine cats.

The Open Room. Photo by Veronica Ortuño

1. Why did you move to Elgin? 

I moved to Elgin three years ago because of Margo Sawyer, the artist who has been in Elgin for close to twenty years.  She sold me what I know call The Open Room at 117 Central.  I had known Margo since moving to Austin from NYC in 2000.  A good friend had visited me in Austin and I had brought her to visit Margo since they’d both been at graduate school together in the 1980s. Margo mentioned that the space next to hers’ was up for rent with an eye to sell.  I had just ended a love relationship in Austin and had to move out, so Elgin seemed like the perfect distance from old memories.  That same day that my friend and I visited Margo Sawyer three (3) years ago, we went to the Depot Museum and met Anne.  She sealed the deal on moving to Elgin.  I found her to be so smart and the history of the area was compelling.  By the time we actually moved into The Open Room, she had passed away, and that’s continued to sadden me.

Guests at our film series at The Open Room during Elgin Art Studio Tour. Photo by Veronica Ortuño

2. What compels you to spend time creating?

I have no choice!  I wish there were a button to decrease the amount of creative impulses and increase the pragmatic ones.

Screengrab from Etsy.com: “No Place Like Here – Marfa, TX”

3. Tell me three things you’ve learned in the past five years.

  1. Stop eating so much bacon and slow down on salt 
  2. Drink coconut water every day and stay hydrated
  3. Adobe Creative Cloud

4. What are you currently making, reading, watching, or listening to?

Too much to list here in a coherent way but the top tier of creative projects is as follows:  finding a distributor for my documentary feature film, i’m gonna make you love me, finishing three (3) short videos on the history of Elgin, finishing the short film about my mother who died with Alzheimer’s disease (La vie en Rose), finishing all 16 seasons of Grey’s Anatomy, listen to opera more often, learn to play piano, figure out how to show films free of charge on the outside of my building.

Screengrab from “Ella Fitzgerald – Something to Live For

5. Cake or Pie?

Definitely pie — apple, please

Bernsteindocumentary.com
The Open Room


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Marla Jensen: The Five Question Interview

Marla Jensen is a singer/songwriter, and hairstylist. She recently opened Red Boutique Salon and Spa on Main Street in Elgin. Her first love may have been music but she has a real talent for making women look and feel beautiful.

Full disclosure, she my favorite hair stylist of all time.

1. Why did you move to Elgin? 

I moved to Elgin to be near my former husband’s family, and because we found a neighborhood and home we could afford.

2. What compels you to spend time creating?

I love creating music. It allows me to express my deepest feelings that are difficult to speak. I love writing music that others can identify with or feel moved by. Inspiring others moves me the most.

3. Tell me three things you’ve learned in the past five years.

1. I am much stronger and smarter than I ever thought and am putting those virtues to use.

2. I am in control of my life.

3. Love is alive and here by me. 

4. What are you currently making, reading, watching, or listening to?

I am currently studying the mysteries of promoting myself on social media, specifically regarding Instagram. I listen to podcasts by Rachel Hollis, who interviews entrepreneurs constantly, and Jasmine Star who is an Instagram genius.

5. Cake or Pie?

Lemon Meringue Pie (from Lucy’s) and Chocolate Cake… so both! Haha

Instagram @marla_kay_jensen
Website Red Boutique Salon & Spa


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Brooke Vega: The Five Question Interview

Brooke Vega is a stained glass artist and recently launched her brand Home Again Glassworks. Her colorful work includes the vibrant spectrum of the natural world, and also her penchant for music from the Seventies.

1. Why did you move to Elgin? 

Being from Taylor, TX, I never thought I’d be living near “home”. I grew up coming to Elgin all the time when I was a girl with my grandma ‘Cha-Cha’, who was a hairdresser at “Jerry’s Salon” which is where the Tattered Shutter is now. Over my summer breaks I would come with my grandma to work while she’d watch me. There wasn’t a lot going on in Elgin back then; I’d run around dollar general, paint my nails or find something to do in the salon. Well, here I am living in Elgin, my partner and I moved here a little over a year ago. We had friends living in town, and I also wanted to be closer to my family. Thinking back to when I was in college, if someone where to ask me where I’d picture myself living in my mid-twenties, Elgin probably wouldn’t have been on my list. Life is funny. I love being here and living the small town life. 

2. What compels you to spend time creating?

I work the typical 8-5 job, sitting at a desk all day makes me really antsy so I can’t wait to get home to resume my projects. But in general, creating really eases my mind and gives me something to look forward to. I have to keep my hands busy which is why I have a ton of projects I’m working on; if I think of something I’d like to do, I’ll usually start on it or at least put it on pen and paper so I don’t forget

3. Tell me three things you’ve learned in the past five years.

If it won’t matter in a week, a year, etc. is it worth being mad or upset over it? 

GO FOR IT! Nobody is stopping you from doing what you want. 

Being a Pisces I’ve always been pretty intuitive, I’ve learned to stick with my gut feelings and be more true to myself. 

4. What are you currently making, reading, watching, or listening to?

I have several stained glass projects I’m working on right now, to name a few: restoring an antique window, a big ol butterfly, an Allman Brothers suncatcher, a swag-light lantern and a mushroom series. I’ve been watching Seinfeld, The Brady Bunch and Anne with an E (which I am completely obsessed with and highly recommend). I listen to music from the 60s and 70s, I love finding out about bands that weren’t very well known. Lately I have been listening to a lot of Carole King, George Harrison and Jefferson Airplane. 

5. Cake or Pie?

Can I say neither? I am more of a gummy/sour candy kind of gal. Don’t take me to a candy shop…

@homeagain.glassworks
@analogkittyy


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