Stillwater News Press

Arts & Entertainment

March 25, 2014

Backstage Pass: Friends of Music fundraiser opens Teubner's new hospitality venue in downtown Stillwater

STILLWATER, Okla. — The Oklahoma State University Friends of Music are planning a preview celebration with a “first look” to see what Russ Teubner has done to his place at 101 East Seventh Ave. in downtown Stillwater.

Teubner has named the new hospitality venue “Backstage” since the building housed the old Aggie Theater. He and his wife, Julie, are inviting the community to the venue opening from 6:30-8:30 p.m. April 5 to benefit the OSU Music Department.

The program, “Music . . . A State of Art,” will celebrate music, art, design and craftsmanship. Bank SNB is sponsoring the event which will feature food from Chef Ben Coffin and a canvas of musical performances by OSU music faculty and studio students throughout the evening. Performances will range from contemporary jazz to classical strings with vocals and woodwinds, too. Tickets are limited and can be reserved for $100 per person by Monday through the OSU Music Department, 132 Seretean Center, Stillwater OK 74078-4077. Checks should be made payable to the OSU Foundation Friends of Music.

“This is a premier event to raise funds for the OSU Music Department,” said Friends of Music President Betty Townsend. “We are grateful for Bank SNB’s sponsorship. You won’t want to miss seeing “Backstage” for the first time.”

“Backstage” is an event space that “invites you to wonder about the past, draw inspiration for the present and think creatively about the future,” Teubner said. “The building represents 120 years of shared history and creates a context to consider what’s next.”

He began his journey with downtown renovation when his first company, Teubner & Associates, needed additional office space in the early 1990s.  His business interests evolved later into HostBridge Technology, a company that integrates older, established computer systems to communicate with new and emerging technology.

“What better way to illustrate what we do, or how we do it, than by renovating a collection of vintage buildings for our own use?” Teubner said. “Our specialty is respecting both the old and the new — and making them work together for greater benefit. My vision was for the buildings to be a tangible expression of what we did in the intangible world of software — which is all about integration. Making them work in harmony is our goal.”

Beautiful harmonies will be the focus at “Music . . . a State of Art” showcasing the musical talents at the university among Teubner’s art collection including five screen prints from the Andy Warhol Cowboy and Indian Series.

“They are not only great pieces for the space, but I hope they remind everyone of Oklahoma’s rich history. If you look behind the Warhol’s, you’ll see restored bricks from another era,” Teubner said, emphasizing the harmonious efforts in blending the old and new.

The art was curated to convey history and capture the imagination. Antiques such as a British phone booth, barber chair and a restored Italian marble column that his son Jonathan helped clean with a toothbrush bring an international flair connecting Stillwater to the global marketplace. Among the history, the space boasts a large open mingling area with a virtual fireplace, modern furniture and programmable LED ceiling lighting which are a work of art by the electricians. The Seventh Avenue and Main Street entire renovation project delved into the bones of the structure from the city’s first post office to grocery store and music shop in one section. Other functions of the “Backstage” portion of the building have included delivery areas for vaudeville theater, movie screen, computer shipping and receiving and storage areas. While the exterior of the building has not changed for a while, developing the back of the first floor has been a creative process for Teubner to demonstrate his love of architecture, software and art in one facility. He wants “Backstage” to complement OSU President Burns Hargis’ leadership in renovating the Postal Plaza to become the OSU Museum of Art and envisions downtown art walks, along with other collaborative activities. Teubner said he hopes the new venue “helps people reimagine our city” and encourages the community to join him in opening “Backstage” with the Friends of Music fundraiser to benefit OSU’s music programs.

“Software folks are very creative, but the beauty or craft of what we do goes unnoticed if everything works. Many of us enjoy other ways to express our creativity,” Teubner said. “I admire visual and performing artists and enjoy supporting the next generation of great art makers.”


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