Miss A Columnist

Amanda Ivarra is a graduate of Texas A&M University. After graduating with a degree in Health, she moved to Austin and started working for a national non-profit organization. She spent 5 years coordinating community events and programs. After leaving the organization, she started to focus on her creative pursuits. Currently, she is working on developing her own jewelry line. Writing has always been a hobby for Amanda. For most of her life, she’s kept journals. It wasn’t until recently that she decided to take her writing public and began blogging and guest blogging. The one thing this girl can’t live without is music. Not really one to sing or play an instrument, she just loves music. Perhaps, it’s the songwriting that she admires so much or a good beat that she can dance to. Whether she’s attending a concert with friends, hanging out with the guys watching sports, volunteering in the community, hiking or visiting the newest places in town, Amanda lives to enjoy life. But, nothing brings more joy to her than being able to make someone smile or laugh!

Merch Girl: A Coming Of Age Documentary About Austin’s Abbie Evans

At 18, Abbie Evans possesses a fearless attitude–one that originated from a life of rock and roll.  As the daughter of Texas musician John Evans, she was raised on honky tonk music and life on the road.  Full of confidence, she insisted that she go on the road with her father’s band at age 15 and eventually came into her own as the band’s sweet and sassy merch girl.  The music helped Evans create her identity, but the rigorous life of a musician taught her how to overcome obstacles in life.

(Photo Credit: Merch Girl)

(Photo Credit: Merch Girl)

Evans was born with a rare and incurable genetic disease, Epidermolysis Bullosa.  She was only given weeks to live but defied those odds.  She’s grown up spending just as much time in hospitals as she has honky tonk bars, but living with the skin disease is just another hurdle for Evans to cross if she wants to discover her true desires in life.

Produced by Cary Bell, Jessica Miller and Susan Grossman, Merch Girl is a coming of age documentary that focuses on Evans’ life on the road while grappling with Epidermolysis Bullosa.  She believes she’s capable of living a normal life, but complications from her illness make that reality a struggle.  The film documents her passion for life, the strength and identity she finds from touring with her father’s band and the constant care she receives from her mother, Stacie Boylard.

Bell also directs the documentary and says that it would be easy to feel sorry for yourself when you have a disease or try and curb your natural desire to be a normal teenager, but Evans moves forward with life in a manner that is extremely inspiring.  Bell went on to say that an audience can look at this story as a metaphor for their own struggles, whatever they might be.

For every film, there’s a soundtrack that helps tell the story.  Music plays a huge role in this film.  The documentary includes studio tracks and live recordings from Abbie’s father’s band, John Evans Band, his colleague and girlfriend, Emily Bell, and his best friend, Hayes Carll.

(Photo Credit: Merch Girl)

(Photo Credit: Merch Girl)

The producers say, “Merch Girl is a personal case study infused with music.  The lyrics of John Evans’ songs lend to the narrative, weaving together stories of Abbie’s past with the uncertainties of her future.”

Over the weekend, the filmmakers will host a private preview cut and social gathering for supporters who pledged a certain amount to their Kickstarter project.  After the screening, guests will be treated to a private concert featuring Evans, Bell and Carll.  This is just one of the many rewards they’re offering supporters.  If you’d like to learn more about Merch Girl and how you can help fund this project, please visit the film crew’s Kickstarter page.

At this time, a release date has not been set for the film.  So far, the filmmakers have received incredible and positive responses and requests for more filming to be done.  Bell says they will not be premiering this year like they originally thought because now they need to keep filming.  They’re excited to keep documenting  Evans’ life and want to give the audience as much of her story as possible.

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