The Rocks Off 100: Cristina Acuna, Cactus Music's Twitter Fingers

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Welcome to the Rocks Off 100, our portrait gallery of the most compelling profiles and personalities in the far-flung Houston music community -- a lot more than just musicians, but of course they're in there too.

Who? Although Social Media Person is just one of the many hats Cactus Music Store Manager Cristina Acuna wears, it may be the one you best know her by. As the human behind the store's official Twitter account (@cactus_music), she's been making connections with music fans across the city.

"I've gotten to talk to a lot of cool customers," says Acuna. "It's nice when I see them come in to the store and I know that's [Twitter handle] and they like [band]."

Although Acuna will be the first to admit that these interactions help keep people coming through the doors, the store's Twitter presence isn't a Machiavellian plot to take all your money.

"We started the Twitter account and weren't updating it or doing anything with it," she says. "I was like, 'Screw this, I wanna get out there and see if people will talk to us or follow us.'"

With updates on in-store appearances and answers about what's in stock, Cactus' Twitter goes a long way to keep customers in the loop. And while that information is great, Acuna stresses that at the end of the day it really is about the relationships.

"We're very friendly," she says. "If you're following us on Twitter or Facebook, talk to us. I hate when people follow and never say anything."

Home Base: 2110 Portsmouth Street, naturally. Outside the store, Acuna spends her time at the movies, comic-book stores, and Murder By The Book.

Why Do You Stay In Houston?: "I genuinely love my city," she says. "I'm very proud of being from Houston. We've got just as good stuff as Austin and I can actually enjoy myself. I can comfortably live here and I'm fine with that. We've got music, we've got art, we've got movie theaters -- we've got everything here, and I think it's great."

Music Scene Pet Peeve: "The fact we complain about 'This band never comes here.' and then the band comes, you go to the show, and there's nobody there," says Acuna, making an excellent point. "Why are you bitching and moaning about how we never get anything good and when we do you don't go out and support it?

"We will bitch a game about never getting good music here and when we do we don't go out and support it. It's easy to support Radiohead but there are tons of good little bands that come through."

Good War Story: "We have free beverage service by St. Arnold's and there's a two drink limit per in-store," Acuna opens. "If we have two or three per day you could leave and come back and it starts all over. There was this one customer, we called him The Professor, and he came to all the in-stores. What we found out was that if anyone put a cup down he was drinking their beer and he got really wasted at one in-store.

He threw up in the Record Ranch -- all over the place, luckily on none of the LPs. Then he went in to the bathroom, [and] made another mess. Everybody was just gagging. It took every inch of my strength to go in there and just clean that mess up. It was the worst. It was like a river of vomit everywhere."

Five Desert Island Discs:

  • Radiohead, The Bends
  • Beatles, The White Album
  • Gorillaz, Gorillaz
  • Soundtrack, Walt Disney's Fantasia
  • Daft Punk, Discovery

Best Show Ever: "Radiohead, OK Computer tour, at Verizon," she says of the present-day Bayou Music Center. "That was amazing. Spiritualized opened for them. It was great."

First Song You Ever Fell In Love With: "Can I tell you my first concert instead? Run-DMC/Beastie Boys at the Summit," asks Acuna, rhetorically. "I was in 6th grade and it was my first real show and it was amazing. They had girls in cages on the stage. There was marijuana smoke everywhere, and I didn't know what that was. It was awesome."


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