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September 2009

Your A-List: Best Place to Ride a Bike

Smooth or rough. Long or short. Easy or hard. All kinds of ways to roll in Austin. And the A-List poll for Best Place to Ride a Bike tenders fresh evidence.

The spaces between the first, second, third and fourth-place finishers were not that wide. The Circle C Veloway, a specialized experience, barely broke away with 18 percent of the vote. The Lady Bird hike-and-bike trail, shared with joggers, walkers, canines and cribs-on-wheels, was not far behind at 16 percent.

Mountain-biking Barton Creek Greenbelt, bumped up to 15 percent, while the Park road linking Bastrop and Buescher state parks” smoothed out to 13 percent. The Dam Loop and the Driveway (have to admit I don’t know that one) virtually tied at 9 percent.

Hitting 6 percent or less were Walnut Creek Park, Shoal Creek hike-and-bike trail, Muleshoe Recreation Area and Pace Bend Park.

Wish I biked.

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Your A-List: Best Beer & Wine Selection


Very rarely does an A-List nominee win more than half the vote. Yet in the category of Best Beer & Wine Selection, the winner with just over 50 percent of the huge vote was Twin Liquors. Operating from dozens of locations helps. So does the Austin chain’s high profile in the charity, entertainment and hospitality communities.

The second-place winner is not as well known, but it has attracted a fierce following. Davenport Wines & Spirits, with one location on North Capitol of Texas Highway, copped a full 38 percent of the ballots. Spec’s, the Houston-based chain that has made a full-scale assault on the Austin market, trailed with only 6 percent.

Whip In, the charmingly eccentric shop on South Interstate 35, led the also-rans — Central Market, Grape Vine Market, Whole Foods, Reuben’s, Wiggy’s and Austin Wine Merchant — with 2 percent or less.

A lot of people voted in this category, so even 2 percent earns my respect.

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Your A-List: Best Pizza

Pizza is one of those culinary imperatives that Austin once neglected. No longer. The round pies now fly out of the oven in countless varieties.

The race for first place in the A-List contest for Best Pizza pitted two South Congress eateries against each other. Southside Flying Pizza, located just outside the core SoCo strip, took 32 percent of the vote, while Home Slice, blessed at the red, hot center of the district, got 18 percent.

Austin’s Pizza, with locations north, south, east and west, came in third with 12 percent of the tally. Longtime Austin institution, Mangia, served up 8 percent. East Side Pies and Saccone’s almost tied at 6 percent.

Cooking up 4 percent or less were Brick Oven, Conan’s, Frank and Angie’s, Salvation Pizza, Rounders and Onion.

Anybody calling out?

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Your A-List: Best Hotel

It’s restful just thinking about the nominees for Your A-List Best Hotel. Clearly, they are cherished just as much for their local services — settings for food, drink, socializing — as for their attractions to tourists.

Winning the online contest this year was the Stephen F. Austin, one of downtown’s historical gems. Located at Congress Avenue and East Seventh Street, it houses a brilliant bar (Stephen F.) and a lively restaurant (Roaring Fork). It won 29 percent of the vote.

Coming in second was the Four Seasons, the classy localization of the high-quality chain. Perched above Lady Bird Lake, it adds a happy-hour-hit restaurant (Trio) to constant gala action and superb service. It counted 21 percent of the tally.

The Driskill Hotel, downtown’s ornate grande dame, also hosts countless galas and weddings. The Driskill Grill always rates high in restaurant guides, and the decor reminds one of the hotel’s grand place in Texas history. It earned 17 percent.

The fourth choice is not downtown, but rather on bustling SoCo. In fact, it can be credited with helping to shape South Congress Avenue’s commercial renaissance. Meticulously landscaped and effortlessly cool, the Hotel San Jose snagged 12 percent.

Hyatt Lost Pines is only one on the list located in a pine forest. Looking like a national-park resort, it’s a natural place to get away from it all. It won 7 percent.

Taking 5 percent or less — and restful all — Omni, South Austin Motel, Lakeway Resort & Spa, Hilton Austin and Renaissance Austin.

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Ask Out #ACL

Despite the chance of rain, the weather forecast for the Austin City Limits Music Festival this week is dreamy. Cloudy with highs in the mid-’80s. No dust storms in sight.

So Out & About just might survive the whole three days at Zilker Park. Instead of hanging around a particular area, or covering particular bands, we had a novel idea.

Ask Out #ACL

Any questions that come up about ACL, Ask Out. Use the hash mark (#) with ACL so other social media users can help if Out & About is not available.

Example, using the key phrase: “Ask Out #ACL: Where’s the best BBQ on the field?”

Wonder where the celebrities are hanging out? Want to know about food service on the north end of the park? Interested in how a particular band sounds? Out will either find out in person or ask the right person.

Questions can follow us over to the after-parties, especially the unprecedented fandango known as Live at Seaholm. Three ways to contact Ask Out #ACL:

A. E-mail “mbarnes@statesman.com”

B. Tweet “@outandabout”

C. DM at Facebook (Michael Barnes, Austin American-Statesman)

Your wish is my command.

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Austin Celebrity Roundup 9/29/09

Well, sometimes Perez Hilton’s sources are just too good to ignore. All I can do is quote him in full about the supposed Quaid family feud:

Randy Quaid’s significantly more famous (and more handsome) brother, Dennis Quaid, has remained silent throughout the entire recent ordeal with Randy and his wife Evi. Supposedly, Dennis and their mother do not speak to Randy because of Evi and her notoriously erratic behavior. Becky Altringer, Randy and Evi’s former private investigator, says that Randy ‘really misses his mother and his brother Dennis, but they are all afraid of Evi.”

Adam Abramson at Newday.com thinks Colt McCoy was the unacknowledged champ in college football this week: “And the one that nobody will be talking about right away is McCoy. He’s one of the biggest winners by default. The injury to Tim Tebow and the lack of production by Jahvid Best only strengthen the Texas QB’s chances to win a Heisman Trophy.”

Germany’s Paul Biedermann joins natural selections Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte among columnist John Lohn’s candidates for best male swimmer of the year, as recorded in Swimming World Magazine’s online addition. Also near the top: Austin’s Aaron Peirsol.

Have I said lately how happy I am Lindsay Lohan has left town? I wish the errant star no ill, but she’s all over the social map in a way that leaves me pretty cold.

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Out & About Apres Le Weekend Live Chat with Graydon Parrish

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Spice Boys reuinite in College Station around Julia Child

The Spice Boys (Phase 2) — Dale Rice, Antonio LaPastina, Nick Shumway, Robert Mayott, Kip and I — convened in College Station for a reunion, almost 10 years after the Spice Boys (Phase 1) began the gustatory tradition on monthly experimental meals.

The very first thing we did, gathered around a table at a fantastic Cajun restaurant in nearby Anderson for lunch, was to toast the missing Spice Boys — Sean Massey and Loren Couch — from the original grouping. We missed them in this uncertain time for our extended families.

Rice, former American-Statesman restaurant critic and current Texas A&M journalism professor, conceived the conceit for that evening’s dinner. We’d toast the “Summer of Julia Child” with an ambitious menu from “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.”

We started with her elaborate version of bouillabaisse. Here, the broth is cooked separately and poured over the seafood treasures on the plate. That was followed by a light salad smothered in Child’s vinaigrette dressing, using oil, salt, pepper, wine vinegar — “sugar is heresy.” The traditional cheese course (chosen by Kip) was dramatic: He read aloud descriptions of the six intense, mostly southern French delicacies. All was topped of with crepes enclosing a frangipane paste.

Dale and Kip did almost all the cooking. (I was coming down with some sort of pre-flu that I still haven’t shaken.) The rest of us cheered them on. In the past, the Spice Boys ritual split the tasks among the six core members, and guests were invited. Here, we just wanted to share a magical evening — and 10 years of memories — with each other.

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The Return of Out & About Live Chats

Our Live Chat guest for Apres Le Weekend at 3 p.m. today is Octo-Tea Dance Party’s Graydon Parrish.

Graydon is also an esteemed realist painter and socially active member of the gay community.

Live Chat for Avant Le Weekend at 3 p.m. Thursday is Ballet Austin’s Anne Marie Melendez.

Besides dancing, Anne Marie blogs diligently on her own and for the digital media site, The Winger, designed for the dance world.

Return to this space at those times to join the conversations about Austin’s unbroken social scene.

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What I missed at Arthouse Toga Party and the Jewell Ball

A full morning Saturday, then six hours at the Longhorns game, taking the Tour de Suites, left me without energy for a round of evening parties. Sweet readers, however, have filled me in on the Women’s Symphony League’s Jewel Ball and the Arthouse Toga Party.

Frequent social companion Kevin Smothers on the Jewell Ball: How do you pull off one of the longest-running social events in town and make it appeal to attendees aged 7-97? That’s not an answer I’ve figured out quite yet, but event chair Betsy Burgh D’Acierno and the Women’s Symphony League of Austin sure made it look easy during Saturday evening’s Jewel Ball at the Hilton. For its 55th incarnation, this annual debutante presentation took a cue from old Hollywood. Fur shrugs (real and faux … this is Austin, after all) seemed de rigueur for the ladies, and safety deposit boxes from across the city must have been visited last week if the brooches and baubles on display were any indication. Gentlemen kept it to the usual, yet imaginative and regal, black tie.

King Brio XLIV (Joe Young) held court over those assembled as 2009’s group of young ladies made their first bows to society. The Texas dip continues to be a mystery to me, both fascinating and bewildering at the same time! Among those sighted; symphony maven Jane Sibley, resplendent in a crimson sari and ruby tiara … but without her signature feather; current and incoming WSL heads Diane Falkenberg and Sherri Davis, Joe (a former King Brio himself) and Teresa Lozano Long; Marla Bommartio Crouch, Joanie and Ben Bentzin; and innumerable symphony patrons … all celebrating and raising funds for the children’s programs made possible by the Women’s Symphony League. “

Thanks, Kevin, very thorough.

Always amusing Kate Hersch on the Toga Party: “Whitney Langdon and Lora Reynolds raised the bar for “recession chic” galas while raising big money for Arthouse. The party took place in a tent across the street from the Stephen F. the decor was the lavish food by Fete Acompli, and, of course, the guests dressed in Roman finery. Evan Smith was a terrific auctioneer, and the live auction items sold high.”

Megan Bentzin, a junior at St. Andrews, at the same event: “Helping to build a model of Rome was such a great experience. It’s one thing to simply learn about ancient Rome from a textbook, but entirely another to build the structures with my own two hands. The project was also a great way to bond with fellow Rome enthusiasts creating an incredible one-of-a-kind model. Nothing can match the sense of accomplishment that comes from building the Baths of Darius from ancient Rome out of recycled materials.”

Music supporter Dave Dart, there too: “Bacchanalia was the order of the evening! Tables were set with overflowing platters of sumptuous fruits, meats, cheeses, and breads. Mediterranean flavors were shared across the tables with courses and wine service fit for true Roman Emperors. That, of course, was the perfect segue to ‘Building Rome in a Day’ across the street in the Arthouse. A cross-section of Austinites were on-hand building models of ancient Rome with cardboard versions of the the city chronicling it’s existence from the foundation by the mythical twins Romulus and Remus through the end of the Roman age. The best part of the end of Rome was during the second song by our Visigoth stand-ins, the Waco Girls, when everyone assembled did their best Godzilla impression and razed the entire exhibit. Art, food, history, drink, and fun!”

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Tour de Suites at Royal-Memorial Stadium

I had long suspected that experiencing a Longhorns football game from a private suite would diverge from my usual practice of scrounging up the least expensive bleacher spot in the sun …


Jonathan and Linda Traylor

I just needed a guide to the social scene. I found an ideal one in Mary Tally, who navigates the dozens of slotted suites on the north, east and west sides of Royal-Memorial stadium like a pro …


Lindsay Smith, Julie Crenshaw and Eva Late

First we met for snacks at Mary and Rusty Tally’s penthouse atop the Milago, the residences at the end of Rainey Street. The views — right in the path of the bridge bat colony at sunset during warm months — were thoroughly unexpected, set above a dramatic curve in the river …


Corrine and Lauree Moffett

The first clue to the alien aspect of the day’s experience: The game tickets were laminated and hung from lanyards (I was to discover why). The second clue: The Tallys’ reserved parking spot just a few yards from the stadium. No 3-mile walk for me this warm, but gorgeous Saturday (first time in 25 years) …


Tammi and Brett Buckman

We passed through several layers of security (thus the laminated tickets) to reach the suite, shared by several couples and located at the northeast corner of the arc. Only one general dress requirement throughout the building: burnt orange …


Debbie Cone, Alicia Cone, Chelsea Cone, Amy Mills and Ronda Gray

Each deep, narrow suite opens to a different scene. Decor is chosen by the suite-holders, although images of longhorns naturally dominate. Edibles, I found, vary from comfort food — corn dogs, burgers, wings — to fancy, catered concoctions and homemade sweets. Beverages — soft and hard — also vary from spot to spot. (Some suites are dry.) …


Michael Vivio and Harry Davis

In the home suite, I caught up with Long Center architect Stan Haas and chatted with new acquaintances like Bill Schneider, who grew up in San Saba County and now owns, with wife Ann, a home-health care tech company that could revolutionize rural medical testing. (We talked a lot about San Saba County, which I recently visited on the river tracings.) …


Mary Tally, Terri McClendon and Lucy Needham

So everyone stands for the National Anthem and cheers, just as they do outside. The Miners kept the game close for a few minutes, but after it became clear that this was going to be the expected rout, Mary grabbed my arm for our ‘Tour de Suites.’ This was complicated by the fact that the usual passages between the older and newer suites have been blocked this season — staff gave us various reasons: safety, security, etc. So instead of skimming along the hallway outside the suites, Mary and I ducked up and down stairs and elevators, through the broad, new club areas, back down to the general refreshments area (where people escaped the afternoon heat) …


Ann Schneider and Rusty Tally

We headed to Eric and Maria Groten’s suite on the far west side. With Maria in hand, we made the tortuous trip up, down and around back to the far east side, ending up in Ben Barnes’ suite. Barnes, graciously told us about Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s own Tour de Suites last week when she was in town for a Democratic National Committee meeting. Along the way, we dropped into at least a dozen suites and popped our heads into others. In the hall, we met APD Chief Art Acevedo. (He’s a super-hero! He’s everywhere!) Inside suites, we encountered the famous and not so famous. I even discovered that the American-Statesman holds a spot. There I made my apologies to publisher Michael Vivio and circulation manager Harry Davis for our brief stay and necessary departure — to see more suites …

Almost all these party rooms — including those owned by sports stars, business bigwigs and political powerhouses — were open and inviting. One of the only closed doors belongs to Matthew McConaughey’s posse. By the time we returned to our original location, I was exhausted, and so watched the rest of the game from a comfortable chair, while matching up super-secret Long Center stories with Mary (who had been development director) and architect Haas …

We stayed until the final boom of the cannon. Even though the car was in site of the stadium gates, the whole thing took a full six hours. Which meant I was not ready to hit any evening events. Luckily, readers provided their own accounts of the Jewell Ball and Arthouse Toga Party, so look forward to a future posting …

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The Smile Never Fades Dinner at the Long Center

The Austin hospitality industry embraces a large, but close community. The subset of wedding workers — event planners, florists, caterers, photographers, etc. — are even closer …


Vivian Smith (ED of Breast Cancer Resource Center of Austin) and Bill Bastas

So when gregarious wedding photographer Bill Bastas lost his wife to breast cancer, then later wrote about the experience, the wedding community closed ranks behind him …


Tom and Diane LeBleu

At first, they just threw a party/ That grew into an annual fundraiser for Breast Cancer Resource Center of Austin


Jill Butler and Phyllis Rose

The 2009 Smile Never Fades dinner fit snugly into the lower, front lobby of the Long Center, which has perhaps the most enrapturing view of the downtown skyline for any dinner spot in town …


Barbara Formichelli, Alice Wilson and Runi Limary

I heard from those wedding workers and how much they contributed their time and resources to the event, so that the Resource Center would deliver its crucial services …


Jo Human, Floyd Human and Maria Fish

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Austin Celebrity Roundup 9/25/09

Is she filming in town? Amy Adams, so winning in “Julie and Julia,” was spotted dining with a large group of women at La Condesa. Later, she was seen shopping on West Second Street. No, no locals bothered her, as far as we know. Enough with that anxiety.

What is up with Randy Quaid? Dennis Quaid’s “less famous brother” is a fine actor. (Matches an Oscar nomination to his younger sibling’s Golden Globe nod.) What were he and wife Evi thinking, stiffing a Califorinia hotel for a $10,000 bill? That’s what they were accused of doing before being arrested in Marfa. Hope this doesn’t hurt Richard Linklater’s plans for him.

Austin-linked actors, writers and directors are still raking in the cash from the summer movie season: Sanda Bullock (“All About Steve,” $26 million; “The Proposal,” $162 million); Julie Powell (“Julie and Julia, $88 million); Dennis Quaid (G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra,” $146 million); Mike Judge (“Extract,” $10 million); Robert Rodriguez (“Shorts,” $20 million); Quentin Tarantino (“Inglourious Basterds, $110 million).

If you were wondering, three are residents (Bullock, Judge, Rodriguez); one grew up here (Powell); another swears he plans to live here (Quaid); and Tarantino visits so often, he should register to vote here.

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Interview: Live at Seaholm’s Jason Hicks

Day-dreaming of a life in music, Jason Hicks waited a long time for a project this colossal.

The director of events for Rare magazine was drawn to the music industry as early as 10 years ago, while he studied advertising at the University of Texas. He’d help out his friends’ bands with posters, CDs covers, graphic design and handbills. Then he started an events promotion company, Bluefish Entertainment, that staged small festivals, even smaller shows and niche concerts.

“We never lost money,” Hicks says. “We rarely made much money, but in this business …”

Now he’s producing the biggest after-party in Austin City Limits Music Festival history. (For a full list of before-, during- and after-parites, go to my earlier post.)

Hicks, teaming up with WOXY Internet Radio and Voodoo Cowboy, has secured the iconic Seaholm Power Plant for a two-night bash. Friday, after ACL breaks up across Lady Bird Lake at Zilker Park, Broken Social Scene will headline a free, outdoor concert for up to 4,000 revelers on the Seaholm grounds Generationals and Corto Maltese will precede them. Another line-up, to be announced Monday, follows late-night Saturday.

Meanwhile, inside the vaulting post-war plant, fewer than 300 invited guests will mingle to the sounds of DJs and clinking glasses.

“I’ve been working 20 hour days,” Hicks, 33 and looking a bit like actor Paul Schneider on “Parks and Recreation,” says over iced tea at Cissi’s Market on South Congress Avenue. “So it better live up to its potential.”

For Hicks and his boss at Rare, publisher Taylor Perkins, this is the chance to break into the big-time Austin party scene. (Admission is gained through a complicated process that includes confirming an RSVP request at LiveatSeaholm.com, obtaining wristbands and tickets. People, mostly young, have learned how to navigate this process for major promotional events.)

“Just think of the site itself: Crowds watching Broken Social Scene, those famous smokestacks rising over their shoulders,” he says with transcendental gleam in his eye. “Everyone has always wanted to see some event at Seaholm. They finally have a chance to.”

Won’t the former industrial site — slated for mixed-use development when the economy heals — present insurmountable crowd-control problems?

“Nothing a little fence can’t handle,” Hicks jokes.

This is exactly what Hicks wished for while he was working day jobs and Dell, Inc. and other companies, and raising two sons.

“I didn’t think the music thing was going to happen,” he says. “But it became my obsession, my passion.”

Over the years, he learned a lot from giant Austin promoters, working with C3, for instance, on ACL and Lallapalooza. Joining Rare in June, as the magazine underwent a massive staff turnover, meant overseeing smaller events, such as monthly parties and the recent charity-geared Restaurant Week. The Seaholm project is his moonshot.

He says with a far-away look: “This is why I’m here.”

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CARY 10th Anniversary Party at the Hilton Austin

As they would say where I grew up, “CARY does the Lord’s work …”


Andrea Guengerich and Elizabeth Stephens

The Council on At-Risk Youth deals with the toughest cases among young people prone to violence, drug abuse and delinquency …


Tammie and Cliff Brown

As such, they are potent allies to law enforcers and educators… and both fields were prominently represented at CARY’s 10th anniversary party at the Hilton Austin on Thursday …


Julie Levy and Nadia Bererra

Of course, APD Chief Art Acevedo was there — he’s the most socially active person city employee much of the year — but so were many other upstanding citizens …


Shana Fox and Chris Hanson

It broke my heart to see empty tables with place settings on the ready. Wish I could have stayed to hear the inspirational speech by Gregory J. Boyle, S.J., who has battled the seemingly intractable gang problem in Los Angeles. Maybe some more Austinites could back this group that helps tens of thousands of troubled youths …

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Tribeza Style Week Street Party at the Domain

For the casual consumer like myself, Tribeza Style Week is a welcome way to sample the world of fashion …


Dale Dewey and Karen Landa

Now that Tribeza magazine is published by stylish power couple Karen Landa and Dale Dewey, along with George Elliman, Style Week is even more prominent on the social scene …


Bailey Blackmore and Gerald Shilow

Tuesday, a tiny portion of the spotlight at the Tribeza Style Week fashion show was snatched away by the Bravo TV crew test-shooting a proposed reality series. But it only brought the event more publicity …


Andrea McWilliams and Madison McWilliams

Thursday’s main event was a street party at the Domain, which included performances by the Zach Theatre crew (At Neiman Marcus, I caught part of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” which I really must see before it closes).


Laura Benedict and Rebecca Schoolar in “Beehive” gear

Just as importantly — and this is underestimated by those who doubt the efficacy of social reporting — I picked up tips that could easily turn into ever more news stories.


Graydon Parrish and Heath Riddles

There’s more than one way to peel that news onion.

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2009 Nonprofit Excellence Awards at the Austin Convention Center

“We didn’t know what we were doing,” admitted several leaders of Central Texas nonprofits, “Until … “


Dave Shaw (Chairman-elect of Greenlights) and Bryan Jones (founder and CEO, Collider Media)

These endearing admissions of previous cluelessness came during the 2009 Nonprofit Excellence Awards at the Austin Convention Center on Thursday …


Kevin Workman and Patricia Hayes (Vice Chancellor of Texas State University System)

The admission alone is what I waited to hear for years, covering the arts, when I’d ask simple questions and find out that the nonprofit leaders in the 1990s often had no idea about quantification, transparency or best business practices …


Matt and Julie Kouri (Matt’s ED of Greenlights)

Greenlights for Nonprofit Success, the group that staged the awards ceremony, as well as the conference connected with it, has helped to change that culture. Credit Executive Director and self-described “nonprofit nerd” Matt Kouri and his board, staff and volunteers for some of those changes in consciousness …


Toya Haley and Joan Yaffe

During the ceremony, we saw clips from the now-required videos for four nonprofits (not surprisingly, the two slickest came from the Lance Armstrong Foundation and United Way).


Kay Kirschner and Susan Eason

We also heard from the winners of four Excellence Awards: Austin Community Design and Development Center for its sustainable alley flats project in the Guadalupe neighborhood won the Dell Foundation Collaboration Award; The Arc of the Capital Area, which provides an art studio for the developmentally challenged took the Ausitn Ribbon & Computer Innovation Award; Explore Austin, which introduces youngsters to the outdoors, snagged the Learning in Action Award (with lots of quantification); while the amazing Mothers’ Milk Bank of Austin took the Wortham Insurance Service Excellence Award for helping to save 7,000 fragile babies (including my godson Alfie) during its 10-year-history.

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ACL Before, During and After-Parties

Not everybody can make it out to Zilker Park for the Austin City Limits Music Festival. In fact, a fair number of people don’t want to brave the elements for the massive, three-day fest, no matter the weather. That’s why promoters invented after-parties, before-parties and during-parties. Ask those folks who have been doing the same during South by Southwest, almost since its inception.

The biggest is a Rare/WOXY production at the defunct Seaholm Power Plant downtown. An outdoor stage will accommodate 4,000 who have gone through the RSVP/ticket process (free). A VIP area is reserved for inside the plant.

Here’s a selective list of ACL weekend parties, presenters and acts. Some are free. Others charge cover. Check with austin360.com for updates.

OCT. 1

Emo’s: The Walkmen, Blitzen Trapper, Wye Oak (oustide); School of Seven Bells, Phantogram (inside)

Beauty Bar: “Art Disaster No. 9” (8 p.m.) DJ Tweedy, the Lemurs, the Steps, Speak, Wallpaper (outside); DJ Orion, Bright Lights Social Hour, the White White Lights, Whitman (inside) Scoot Inn: Charlie Hurtin and the Hecklers, Rick Shea, Dave Insley and the Careless Smokers, Jamie Shuey


Seaholm Power Plant: “WOXY and Rare Live at Seaholm”: Broken Social Scene, Generationals, Corot Maltese

The Independent: “Imeem Live After-Party”: the Knux, Bird Peterson, Table Manners Crew, DJ Sober

The Parish: The Raveonettes, Here We Go Magic

Emo’s: Deer Tick, the Henry Clay People;(inside); Harlem, Neon Indian (outside)

La Zona Rosa: Devotchka, Los Amigos Invisibles

Stubb’s: STS9, Virtual Boy (outside); the Virgins (inside)

Scoot Inn: Sin City Social Club Presents Tim Easton and guests

Aces Lounge: Lotus, Evol Intent Live

Momo’s: Los Lonely Boys, Quiet Company, Whitman, Mechanical Boy, Stegosaur

Mohawk: The Intelligence, Dikes of Holland, When Dinosaurs Ruled The Earth, Woven Bones

Antone’s: Bob Schneider CD Release

Trophy’s: The Pursuits, OK Sweetheart, Audio Amore, the Beauvilles

Beauty Bar: Voxtrot, Ocote Soul Sounds

The Independent at 501 Studios: The Knux, Bird Peterson, Table Manners Crew, DJ Sober


Seaholm Power Plant: “WOXY and Rare Live at Seaholm”: acts TBA

Emo’s: Grizzy Bear, Beachouse

Antone’s: Der Auerbach, Rodriguez, White Dress

La Zona Rosa: Bassnectar

Stubb’s: Thievery Corporation, Federico Aubele (outside); Rebirth Brass Band (inside)

Back Alley Social: DJ Rich Medina, Martin Perna, Peligrosa All-Star DJs, DJ Chorizo Funk

Scoot Inn: “Localability”: Kevin Jack, Kid Slice & DJ Digg (Table Manners), Mixed Use Media, Kill City, Mutual Trust

Aces Lounge: Lotus, Evol Intent Live

Saxon Pub: Black Bone Child

Lamberts: Funky Batz

Beauty Bar: “Dancefloor” with DJ Mel (inside); L.A.X. Motel Aviv, The Laughing, ISHI (outside)


Paramount Theater: Iver, Megafaun

Stubb’s: Ghostland Observatory

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Is Bravo eyeing Austin for show? More signs point to yes

Bravo TV is filming test footage for a “Real Housewives”-style series in the Austin area, say multiple sources close to the shooting.

A camera crew roamed the Tribeza Style Week fashion show on Tuesday at the Long Center. Various sources name Estilo boutique’s Stephanie Coultress and real-estate agent Tosca Gruber as test-stars.

Following well-established reality TV custom, the named subjects would not comment on the record about the taping, but a Bravo spokesman said: “We are not casting a ‘Real Housewives of Austin.’”

A new version of the series is already on its way from Washington, D.C., after successful dips into Orange County, Calif., New York, New Jersey and Atlanta.

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Animal Trustees of Austin Luncheon at the AT&T Center

Austin teems with special charities …


Carol and Chris Adams

Animal Trustees of Austin flies under some radars, but has provided free or low-cost spay/neuter and veterinary services for tens of thousands of local pets since the mid-1990s …


April Downing and Scott Harmon

Wednesday, it staged its first-ever luncheon to kick off an annual fundraising campaign …


Zita Raymond, Jamie Barshop, Kim Stanford, Carol Davidson and Jan Davis

A perfect luncheon. Just the right length. Just the right crowd. Just the right venue. Even effective and live and video pitches …


Jess Jack and Mellie Price

Thank board president Carol Adams and her team, but also the crack crew at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center, relying on the inventive cuisine of dynamo chef Josh Watkins (formerly of the Driskill Grill).


Kevin W. Heady and Kelley Burrus

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Austin Celebrity Roundup 9/23/09

Variety breaks the news that Sony Pictures has acquired most of international distribution rights for Robert Rodriguez’s “Machete.” So no straight to DVD for the Austin-shot “Grindhouse” spin-off. No wonder, considering a cast like Danny Trejo, Robert De Niro, Jessica Alba, Cheech Marin, Michelle Rodriguez and Lindsay Lohan.

Frequent Austin visitors Luke and Andrew Wilson pair up for “Electric Avenue.” Andrew will direct; his brother will star, says MTV Movies. Look for Andrew in Drew Barrymore’s upcoming “Whip It,” based in Austin but mostly filmed in Michigan.

Twitter from Mindy Kaling (caps added): Andy Roddick came to set and I thought it was Seann William Scott. Naturally I thought, how can I monetize this misunderstanding? Biopic!!” Austinite played by oftentimes Austin overnighter?

Austin-to-Aspen’s Lance Armstrong is sharing more pictures of himself and the four kids on Twitter. They are a cute troop, you gotta admit.

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Your A-List: Best Campgrounds

Where’s the area’s best place to camp? Well, it depends on your fancy.

Want to snuggle up next to a huge basalt granite dome? Enchanted Rock State Park (winning 18 percent of the A-List vote for best campgrounds).

Prefer a vest-pocket lake with superior fishing and nearby tourist caverns? Inks Lake State Park (16 percent).

Like hiking a narrow canyon with a brief shock of fall foliage? Lost Maples State Natural Area (12 percent).

Swimming? Pace Bend Park (10 percent) or Krause Springs (10 percent).

Pine forests on gentle hills? Bastrop State Park (6 percent) or Buescher State Park (3 percent).

Water-side camping right in the city? McKinney Falls State Park (6 percent) or Emma Long Metropolitan park (3 percent).

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Your A-List: Best Singer-Songwriter

You knew this would grow into a long list. Ask Austinites their favorite singer-songwriter and they’ll shout out various rockers, folkies, country storytellers and Americana mavens. They are among Austin’s most common musical species.

Now in the third phase of his career with a new, inspired album is the winner of the A-List poll for Best Singer-Songwriter — Bob Schneider. It’s heartening to see Schneider evolve from celebrity heartthrob to mature artist. He strummed up 20 percent of the tally.

Roadhouse rouser and part-time Flatlander Joe Ely tamped down 11 percent. Revisionist Iron and Wine, otherwise known as Samuel Beam, took 10 percent. Hugely talented Patty Griffin followed with 8 percent. Musical family man Bruce Robison secured 7 percent, while still-young-sounding Ricky Trevino held strong at 6 percent.

Virtually tying at 4 to 5 percent were Alejandro Escovedo, Ray Wylie Hubbard, James McMurtry and Adam Carroll. Three percent or less: Eliza Gilkyso, David Garza, Ruthie Foster, Carolyn Wonderland, Slaid Cleaves, Matt the Electrician, Patrice Pike. Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Jon Dee Graham, Kevin Russell, Jimmy LaFave, Bill Callahan, Terri Hendrix, Jimmy Smith and Sam Baker.

Austin’s overwhelming riches.

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Your A-List: Best Dog Park

Located at the busy intersection of Riverside Drive and Interstate 35, Norwood Estate is Austin’s most visible dog park. The hilltop with the former swimming pool was adopted by a village of dog owners who believed their pets could form their own communities around a leash-free zone. It fenced in a full 41 percent of the A-List vote for Best Dog Park.

Red Bud Isle, an accidently perfect place for a dog park, hemmed in by the upper end of Lady Bird Lake, fell far behind with 18 percent. Auditorium Shores, where loose dogs compete with runners, loungers and occasional gamers, locked in 11 percent. Zilker Park, which includes several dog-friendly district within its varied urban range, earned 8 percent.

Rugged Bull Creek Park, recently put off limits because of the drought, commanded 7 percent. Sprawling Walnut Creek District Park pulled up with 4 percent. Taking 3 percent or less were Georgetown’s Bark Park, Shoal Creek Greenbelt, West Austin Park, Emma Long Metropolitan Park, Onion Creek District Park, Turkey Creek Trail and St. Edward’s Park.

Nick and Nora have frolicked in all but one.

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Your A-List: Best Mexican Food

Austinites like their Mexican food with a healthy dash of fun. Also mashed with local tradition. Just good food is not enough. It’s dining as entertainment. And as cultural comfort.

Perhaps that why 19 percent of the voters in the A-List poll pulled the lever for Chuy’s, the bejeweled haven on Barton Springs Road and other locations. Can’t get more convivial than that.

Holding the No. 2 spot — with intensely loyal followers — was Maudie’s at 14 percent. Fonda San Miguel, which practically introduced Austin to interior Mexican cuisine, cruised into third with 13 percent.

Polvo’s, another lively spot, snatched 10 percent, while Curra’s, no slouch on the interior Mexican front, served up 7 percent. Trudy’s, known for multiple attractions, shook up 6 percent, and that SoCo pioneer, Guero’s, was not far behind with 5 percent, just ahead of Neuvo Leon and El Chile.

Trailing with less than 4 percent were El Arroyo, Serranos, Baby Acapulco, Vivo and Flores.

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Austin is becoming Dallas. Really?

Let’s talk Dallas. Not the TV show. The city. Or at least the mythical city.

Whenever I write about parties staged in Austin’s downtown condos, I receive snarky, mostly anonymous comments containing words like: “pretentious,” “Dallas,” or “traitor.” When I update the news on local celebrities, it’s “pretentious,” “Dallas,” “traitor.” Earlier this week, I gently reminded readers that it’s unkind to hosts when you show up at a formal event in ill-fitting, overly dress-down or too-revealing clothes. Again the response was … well, you know.

Let’s look at the word “pretentious.” First definition according to the online Free Dictionary: “Claiming or demanding a position of distinction or merit, especially when unjustified.” Traditionally, Dallas would fall under that usage, since it often compares itself to New York City or other sophisticated centers.

Austin never does. It’s the original of its genre. It’s not pretending to be anything else, even when it builds condos, welcomes celebrities or dresses up a tad for evening events. Those are just different expressions of Austin.

What about the term “Dallas”? When I moved here in the 1980s, the most poisonous accusation was “Houstonization.” It fit well to the sprawling, untamed, indistinguishable freeway cultures spoking out from Austin’s center.

Now, the civic pejorative is more likely to be “Dallas.” And the reason is clear: People here do dress up a bit more on certain nights. Prices at restaurants, clubs and shops are higher. People come from more varied backgrounds.

But before you go crazy, think about Austin’s most-traveled and of-the-moment shopping and restaurant district — SoCo. Among more than 100 businesses, exactly one comes from out-of-town or national-chain: American Apparel.

These are expressions of Austin’s culture, not of Dallas’. So where are the cultural traitors? I’m not seeing them, at least not in the urban core.

Dallas is about money. Austin is about soul. No amount of Austin-generated fashion, celebrities or condos will change that

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‘Real Housewife’ rumors at re-energized Tribeza Fashion Show

My heart sank and my stomach churned when I heard the rumor …


Bill and Venus Strawn, Mary and Rusty Tally

At the Tribeza Fashion Show, we heard Bravo was poking around to shoot a “Real Housewives” edition here …


Sandy Kao, Gerald Tan and Mani Tyler

I’m sorry, the shows are entertaining and everything (ask comedian Kathy Griffin, who can re-enact entire episodes) …


Eric and Maria Groten

But Orange County, New Jersey and Atlanta look so tawdry on the series (or, depending on your point of view, more tawdry) …


Why not Dallas? Now there’s a rich, deep mine of crazy …

Bethany Boucher and Ethan Shropshire


John Koriot, Kristi Stotts and Jessica Duarte

The rumors distracted from the re-energized Tribeza Fashion Show on the Long Center Plaza, where the rain gods relented and a cool breeze brushed the hillside …


Lauren Smith Ford and Patty Hoffpauir

VIP tents offered short visits with clutches of pretty people and little delicacies …


My-Cherie Haley and George Elliman

Then the fashion show started on a long, long runway, interrupted at times by guests walking the runway themselves (including the equivalent of a fashion show streaker). Bad manners …


Of the collections, I was most attracted to those paraded by Keepers and By George, but there were many layered, fascinating clothes …

Josue Robles and Abraham Padilla


Thomas Urgento and Dagny Piasecki

The show might have been a second or two too long, but what a great kick-off for Tribeza Style Week. Salud!

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HAAM Benefit Wind-Up at Paggi House

Everybody loves HAAM, the group that brokers health insurance and clinical help for Austin musicians …


Jackie Campbell and Jory Hanus

That’s why HAAM Benefit Day spreads all over town like a good feeling to music venues and unconventional spots, all to raise money and awareness …


Paggi House owner Tori Tinnon with Emily Emmerich and Tyler Guthrie

When all is said and done, HAAM volunteers, staff, backers and guests gather for a happy hour, this year at Paggi House …


Ram Vela and Marissa Alemany

One could hardly pick a better place, as long as the weather holds out, and Tuesday evening, the rain had left behind the cool …


Chad Smith, Elizabeth Smith and Michael Bepko

A good chunk of the radio and TV music press were there, along with the usual do-gooders, event-planners and word-spreaders …


Ali Johnson, Taylore Cunningham and Erin Connolly

Also, these last three pictured ladies who were not there from HAAM, I discovered, but were celebrating a birthday. Congrats to you, too.

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How not to dress when you go out in Austin

Dismiss the following, if you will, as “periodic columnist rant syndrome.”

Recently, a fine local charity staged a benefit at a snazzy Austin hotel. The event started in the early evening, perhaps to let parents relieve babysitters at a decent hour, or so folks could arrive directly from work.

Given how guests were dressed, many Austin offices were built without mirrors.

I know, not the kindest remark. And this column is devoted to kindness. But oh my, the unflattering looks one encounters on this beat.

You see, as work-wear has become more casual in Austin, the same apparel doesn’t always translate past dusk.

The main crime, however, is ill-fitting clothes. We’re not referring to costliness, or quality, or rarity, or body types, or high fashion, but just clothes that compliment the individual figure.

For women, moving from the office to the ballroom, lounge or club starts with something as simple as visiting a salon within the last month or so. Then, once you arrive, check hair and make-up in the nearest women’s room.

Cover up what needs covering. (Ditto uncovering.) And embellish otherwise bland office-wear with a brilliant scarf or other accessories, the things everyone notice first.

For men, the fashion crimes intensify, because we are not expected to shine at these events. Is a pressed sports coat too much to ask for? And if you go without jackets during our six months of jungle heat, can the slacks at least match the belt, shirt and shoes? Khakis and other easy-fit clothes can look sharp, but what works on the golf course does not always adapt well over cocktails and cuisine.

I saved the worst for last: There was a man — not a boy — a man in shorts.

Now, I wear jeans, T-shirts and polos to the newsroom. And shorts are fine for the lake, backyard barbecues and certain errands.

But, over a certain age, they should be banned from nightlife. Nothing is more distressing, walking down Congress Avenue, or heading to one of Austin’s entertainment districts, than the sight of an over-40 man who really should know better, dressed as if he were still living in West Campus.

Wear what you want, of course. This is not Dallas.

But be considerate of your hosts. Wear nicer clothes to nicer events. And just glance in the mirror once before going out.

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Fortunate 500 Redux & Weekend Rewind Gallery

More than 100 of you show up in the Out & About Weekend Rewind Gallery. Look see.

Also, a second set of Fortunate 500 lists and galleries is up on the austin360.com main page. Check it out.

Hundreds are honored (actually more than 500, since there are slots for 500 social units, but many of them are couples).

Have a great rainy day, you big, beautiful city!

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Austin Celebrity Roundup 9/21/09

Austin Olympian Aaron Piersol, recently in Baton Rouge to encourage hundreds of young simmers to stay in the pool, was interviewed/videoed for TheAdvocated.com: “Even though we have gold medals, we were 10 years old at one point.” (No, not that Advocate. The newspaper in BR, La. Sheesh.)

MetroWeekly reports that Austin’s Patty Griffin will act as a producer on comedian Margaret Cho’s new “comedy music” album. It’s currently working under the predictably controversial title, “Guitarded.”

Jim Parsons didn’t win an Emmy Award last night for “The Big Bang Theory.” But he has revealed his favorite show — Austin-shot “Friday Night Lights.” TV Squad reports he’d like to guest on the football drama. “I don’t have a specific pitch for a role that I’ve had in mind, but that’s a damn fine show with some damn fine acting on it. Bravo,” he’s quoted as saying. “I am from Texas and think they’ve captured something about it perfectly.”

Oh, that explains the first half. Some news outlets are reporting Longhorns quarterback Colt McCoy was ill with the flu before the Texas Tech game on Saturday. “He didn’t practice Tuesday, very little on Wednesday and at halftime last night, he ate peanut butter-and-jelly sandwiches to try to get him through the dehydration, because it was a hot night,” Coach Mack Brown said.

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Quckie interview: Rue McClanahan

Forever Golden Girl and breast cancer survivor Rue McClanahan will speak at the Toast to Sisterhood, Support and Survivorship champagne brunch and auction for the Breast Cancer Resource Center. It’s at 10:30 a.m. Sunday at the Renaissance Austin Hotel. KEYE’s Michelle Valles will emcee and fashion designer/breast cancer survivor Gail Chovan is one of the honorary chairwomen.

Out & About: You have a fairly long history with Austin. Tell us about that.

Rue McClanahan: My son has lived in Austin since 1994. I visit him at least once a year. It’s my favorite city, along with Manhattan. I always look forward to visiting Austin. I even like the weather!

What would you like to say about your encounter with cancer?

I was fortunate to have Dr. Larry Norton as my oncologist at Sloane-Kettering Hospital, in 1997. I also had family members and friends supporting me, and people across the country praying for me.

Did you have fun with the TV series “Sordid Lives”?

We finished filming “Sordid Lives” in early 2008. It was a very good experience. Del Shores is a comic genius.

What about with “Wicked”? That was something of a switch.

Playing Madame Morrible was a marvelous challenge which I reveled in. However, I don’t want to perform in a huge Broadway musical again. Other stage work, yes.

Have you seen Betty White in “The Proposal”?

I thought Betty White stole “The Proposal.” And she was in high company.

It was tough losing Estelle Getty and Bea Arthur over the course of just a few months.

Yes, I would prefer to have both Estelle and Bea amongst us, but only in good health. They were treasured friends.

Any more mountains to climb?

I’m embarking on a mountain-climbing adventure in a few months, a stage musical of my book, “My First Five Husbands.” We plan to tour it across the Midwest next year. It’s essentially a one woman show with four dancers andan opera singer — and me.

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Holland Taylor on Ann Richards, Part 3

For Parts 1 & 2 of Holland Taylor on Ann Richards, scroll down to previous posts, or link here for Part 1 and here for Part 2.

Holland Taylor has grieved a bit about how much of Richards’ story won’t make it into the play.

“I came into the room where I mostly work, which was the guest room; now it’s Ann’s room,” she says. “All of her (stuff) is in there. Stacks and stacks and stacks of DVDs, papers, files, notes, reprints, references, books. I came in one night and I had just sent off a big chunk of the play out to my agent. Tears started to well in my eyes, and I became so sad. I realized: All the things I know. I know so many wonderful details. And God is in the details. I can’t put them in the play! I can’t get them in! It’s 100 minutes.

“Then I calmed down because I realized: ‘You had to get all those things in you. So you know her, so that what you do put in, is true.’ It’s not only true, it’s well chosen, in that I’m putting in things that don’t need some outside standard. It’s not a narrative or
history. It’s a play. She’s there. The things that I have her talk about are often homely details, the things that really interested me. If this is really interesting to me, the audience will be interested.”

A 100-minute play about Richards is not a comprehensive biography, which, after all, journalist Jan Reid is already writing.

“If I had to write a biography of her I’d be in the home by now,” Holland quips. “The scope is just too great. What amuses me, is in the play. What interests me, is in the play. And what adds up to a coherent impression.”

Taylor believes she has tapped into something bedrock about the late politician.

“I think of her so often,” she says. “I don’t have a profound belief in the spirit world or our connections after life. I think I’m sort of like Ann in that way. She was generally practical and so am I. But every so often, I’ve felt her presence. She has really altered my
life, lifted me up to a more meaningful plane.”

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Holland Taylor on Ann Richards, Part 2

For Part 1 of Holland Taylor on Ann Richards, scroll down to previous post, or link here.

Along with endless days in the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, mining banker-box files from the Richards archives that would fill four football fields, the project has placed her in a circle of Richards’ former intimates.

“A lot of the people that I’ve interviewed, I’ve gotten to know. And I count them — and I think they count me — among their friends,” she says. “These are her oldest friends, who were, often, also staff members: Mary Beth Rogers, who was her chief of staff, for instance, and Jane Hickie, her benign Karl Rove.”

Years ago, Texas-born gossip columnist Liz Smith had introduced Taylor to Richards at a New York fundraiser. Yet the actress wasn’t aware of the famed speaker’s private life. Long conversations with family and friends have altered that.

“I came to know her as a living breathing person who was a mother and a wife, then a divorced wife and a boss and a fun friend,” Taylor says. “I had no idea, for instance, how difficult she was, and what a temper she had. Every person I interviewed started out with some terrible story about some unbelievably difficult moment or some terrible time when they got dressed down, when they ran from her bawling and hid in a broom closet. Whenever they were telling this story about how she was mean as a snake to them, their faces beamed with beautiful smiles and their eyes were full of tears. Because they
just loved her so much.”

Taylor believes Richards could depend on personal loyalty in part because of her essential decency.

“She drove everyone, but they all knew she was working harder,” Taylor says. “They also knew that her core values were so central, her core sense of fair play. Her lifelong dream was of a fair and just society. When she was a young woman, she and her husband were
just impassioned about civil rights. It was the cause of their life. To right the great wrong.”

More to come …

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Holland Taylor on Ann Richards, Part 1

Emmy Award-winning actress Holland Taylor has been soaking up Ann Richards for more than a year now.

Taylor, regularly seen on “Two and a Half Men,” has been researching the late governor for a one-woman show, which she hopes will see first light in spring 2010.

Visiting Austin last week for an Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders fundraiser, Taylor took time out for a soft drink and unhurried ruminations about Richards inside the Hotel St. Cecilia courtyard.

“I started writing with a vengeance last March,” Holland says of the stage script. “It wasn’t that I felt ready. I’d been fitting the research into a fairly busy life already, and a job, and I’m not a kid. I could have gone on and on with the research, but I thought, with my years left, I better get this done. I’m going to be too old to remember anything.”

A classy, lively 66, Holland jokes about old age and end-of-life legacies. It’s hard to believe she’s serious. After all, she’s taking on an artistic challenge that would daunt the most eager, earnest greenhorn.

“It demands absolutely everything I’ve got,” she says. “Early on, I had an idea for the mis en scene (stage setting). I told it to a few people with real acumen. ‘That’s good,’ they said, ‘but don’t tell anybody.’ I kept it pretty close to my vest. Told a few of the Ann Richards bigwig people, who love the idea. I’m confident in it.”

A workshop production without full scenery or projections will be announced before Christmas, when the script is expected to be completed. If all goes well, a commercial production would follow. After all that study and writing, she’ll take weeks to memorize virtually every line (there are some offstage voices).

“It’s very exciting,” she says, “but then at moments I think: ‘What in the world have I done?’”

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Two kinds of plays on Longhorns game day

Austin streets fairly vibrate on big game days. As early 9 a.m., locals and visitors were out and about. They perked up sidewalks downtown and destination districts like SoCo. While burnt orange peeked out from here and there, it was a feeling not reserved exclusively for Longhorns fanatics.

Couples kissed at bus stops. Dogs greeted packs of other pets. Locals doled out helpful directions. Visitors looked in vain for free taxis. Orange-bloods actually walked the three miles from our South Austin neighborhood to Royal Memorial Stadium.

I was not headed to the sold-out game during any of my Sunday walks. I saw, instead, two bracing theatrical productions. Meanwhile, I TiVo-ed the game and, luckily, avoided any leaky news about the score. (No social media, for instance.)

Attendance was light at Penfold Theatre Company’s “Three Days of Rain” at the Hideout and St. Ed’s “bobrauschenbergamerica” at the Mary Moody Northen Theatre. Too bad. Both proved special treats. I’ve met both playwrights, Richard Greenberg and Chuck Mee, respectively. Interestingly, each piece deals with an iconic, creative and sometimes controversial American of the late 20th Century.

The first play is a witty psychological mystery/drama about a Philip Johnson-like architect, his business partner and his wife, and, in Act 1, their three offspring. Three superb actors play both generations.

The second production is an attempt to stage Bob Rauschenberg’s images and early life as a pastiche. It shouldn’t work, but it does, with dizzying joyfulness contributed by student and pro actors.

Regarding Penfold, its three founders hope to build a theater in the under-served northern sectors of our metropolis, perhaps in Round Rock. It would be Austin’s loss. Their three micro-productions so far, “Art,” “The Last Five Years” and now “Three Days of Rain” have demonstrated extraordinary skill. (I missed “Art,” but heard nothing but praise from some pretty tough customers.)

St. Ed’s artistic director, David M. Long, took a big risk with the associative, counter-narrative “bobrauschenbergamerica.” Long, his team and the audience were rewarded with a performance as big-hearted and imaginative as the Texas artist who inspired them.

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Austin Symphony Season Opener at the Long Center

The Austin Symphony Orchestra is now comfortably settled in the Long Center for the Performing Arts, an ideal setting for its musical strengths …


Michele and Seth Kraal

And, until recently, the organization enjoyed a period of unprecedented stability, harmony and growth, onstage and off …


Lisa Tsang and Kate Hartgrove

Then, as arts reporter Jeanne Claire van Ryzin has reported crisply and delicately, ASO’s players, admirers, staff and board members were riven by the sudden, unexplained departure of promising executive director Galen Wixson


Cassie and Dominic Bentley

With that social static in the background, the symphony opened its 99th season to an alert audience, pairing Mozart with Ravel, and at one point, Leon and Katherine Jacobson Fleisher playing on matched pianos …


Sharlene Strawbridge and Ruth Ann Eledge

My social/aesthetic complaint is far more mundane than questioning the orchestra’s erratic leadership — first Wixson is the Second Coming, then he leaves for “creative differences.”

What’s with the warehouse-style pallets used for risers in the cello section on Friday? A startlingly lighter color than anything else on stage, they distracted all through the filigreed Mozart and exotic Ravel.


Arius Holifield and Sally Strafford

Where are Wayne Bell, Stan Haas and Marla Bommarito-Crouch when you need a disciplined visual sensibility?

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Carla McDonald, TV star

Austin social superstar Carla McDonald already plays so many roles: Businesswoman, wife, mother, arts advocate, fashion icon. Not to mention mate to a U.S. Congressional candidate.

Now she’s hitting the tube with the News 8 “Arts Minute.” She’ll be the onscreen talent for NowPlayingAustin.com, a program of the Greater Austin Creative Alliance, formerly Austin Circle of Theaters. It premiered Sept. 9 and will run Wednesdays, once an hour between 5 a.m. and 4 p.m..

“I feel honored to have been asked to host the ‘Arts Minute’ because my involvement with the arts has always focused on making them more accessible,” McDonald says. “My hope is that the ‘Arts Minute’ will encourage more people to take advantage of the wide variety of events that Austin’s vibrant and diverse arts community has to offer.”

McDonald currently serves on the boards of Arthouse and the Long Center for the Performing Arts, but she and husband Jack McDonald have supported just about every worthy cause in town.

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Marcella Hazan 5: Polenta

Part of a planned multi-year series on the basic recipes of cookbooking founders Marcella Hazan, Claudia Roden, Diana Kennedy and Julia Child, who introduced four major cuisines to American home kitchens

In addition to several nourishing dishes, Marcella Hazan’s polenta recipes also edged our kitchen close to disaster. Entirely my own fault, of course.

I was frying cold polenta wedges and not only spattered vegetable oil all over kingdom come, when I tasted one of the slices, I promptly burned my esophagus badly enough that it still stings a week later.

Now what kid from the South doesn’t know how to fry course-ground corn meal? This one. Which is another reason for getting back to cookbook basics later in life. Those little things you never really learned so well …

Hazan’s basic polenta method is breathtakingly simple: Boil water, reduce to medium heat, salt, dribble the corn grains into the pot, then stir.

Now, she relates how Italian cooks will say it takes quite some time for the polenta to stick to the sides of a deep pot, but she reduces the time to 20 minutes with modern cookware. I dare say it takes even less time with our Calphalon stock pot.

Polenta is divine served just hot with butter and Parmesan. Or molded into a crater, then topped with a robust sausage and tomato sauce. To bake, fry or toast the cooked polenta, Hazan recommends also cooling it first on a platter or wood block.

Be patient. The polenta won’t reach the right solidity until it completely cools. Believe me, I know, having made that mistake several times. I’m also still learning how to cut the cold polenta horizontally. (She recommends using a thread.)

Hazan’s most satisfying polenta dish is baked with layers of Bolognese and Bechamel sauces. In fact, it’s almost exactly her recipe for Romagna-style lasagne, with cold polenta replacing the pasta.

Remember, her Bolognese takes four to five hours to simmer, so start early in the day if you work at home or just happen to be free. It’s really not a lot of work after you’ve accomplished it a few times.

For previous Hazan posts, head to the Food category link below.

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Austin Celebrity Roundup 9/18/09

It’s been a whole week since I’ve rounded up stray media items about Austin celebrities. Hope some of these are fresh to you …

Former first lady Laura Bush not only opened her Dallas home to hand-selected VIPs to preview the Texas Book Festival in Austin, she’s serving as the honorary chairwoman of Dallas Opera’s opening festivities for the new Dallas Center for the Performing Arts. All those parties ought to be packed with Texas bigwigs. (That’s her onstage in Dallas.)

The Canadian Press is reporting on former Longhorn Kevin Durant’s intensified celebrity: “There he is on TV, sporting a Jheri curl and doing his best ’70s rap impersonation. He spent three days in Hong Kong as an ambassador during the NBA Madness 2009 event. He’s back in (Austin) Texas taking college classes, trying out for the U.S. national basketball team in Vegas and shuttling back and forth between his childhood home near Washington, D.C., and his in-season home in Oklahoma City.”

What happens when you can’t land a Willie Nelson interview and the red-headed stranger is headed to your media market? You chat up his right-hand man, Mickey Raphael, which is exactly what the Toledo Blade did: “Darrell Royal, who was the coach of the University of Texas football team, was a big music fan, so he invited me over to hang out and play music with his friends,” says Raphael, who at the time was playing in the folk music scene in the Dallas area. “He had a little party after the ball game, and Willie was there. I met him and sat and listened to him play and jammed with him. I was so taken by him and was so impressed by his musical ability.”

Not that anyone is chasing her down, but we hear Lindsay Lohan is back in town, shooting more of Robert Rodriguez’s “Machete.” (The tabloids put her in a rubber room somwhere, but maybe they just meant Austin.) We’ll see if we can snag a spot on the wrap party guest list. As previously reported here, we understand it will be at Lustre Pearl.

Sandra Bullock, on the subject of fame again, talks about buying groceries in her hometown, Austin. “I like to do my own food shopping. I don’t have a staff to go out and get shopping for me. Occasionally I will ask someone to go out and pick me up some wine if they are by the store - but I always buy my own stuff. I don’t get hassled by people either when I go shopping. They are so over me here it’s fantastic. They actually roll their eyes at me as if to say, ‘Oh not her again.’ ” A New Zealand Web site called Stuff reported — or re-reported — this. Sounds a lot like something she’s said before.

I’ve gotta stay more current with these Roundups!

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AU40 Happy Hour at Cissi’s Wine Bar

The Austin Under 40 group is packed with high achievers …


Erin Geoffroy and Ryan Kelly

Bright, funny, sharply dressed, they perk up any establishment graced with their social gatherings. All that socializing leads up to the annual awards ceremony, this year at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center, when young leaders are recognized for their civic contributions to the city …


Amy Stanley, Christopher Clary and Gail Papermaster

If that sounds a bit like the Fortunate 500, so be it. AU40 winners are prime candidates for our annual list of most social citizens …


Keith Yawn and Andi Kelly

Two social trends were analyzed in small circles at the group’s Cissi’s Wine Bar happy hour: Austin is a welcoming town in part because almost everyone is a relative newcomer, and here by choice …


Gemsong Perry and Bard Haag

Also, people are dressing up a bit more these days to go out after work, meaning work is actually less formal, socially, than socializing. Discuss.

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Tastes of the Town for Busby Foundation at the Hyatt Regency

Whoever first thought of restaurant samplings disgorged at charity events deserves a gold star …


Josh Holden and Meredith Muecke

Yet it’s become such a commonplace practice, the idea of snacking from a variety of chef’s tables has worn a little thin …


Steely Dipuccio and Donald Park

Luckily, the Busby Foundation, which backs Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS) causes, had other fish to fry at the Hyatt Regency on Thursday …


Linda Okrent and Donna Snyder

Most charming for the crush of 500 guests was the snazzy jazz trio called the Eddy Hobizal Group, stationed on a platform above the noshing and auctioning action …


Lee Kennedy and Kathlene Crist

Also, these guests were among the most casual and easy to approach at any charity fundraiser (not really a formal gala) …


Lauren Uthe and Clint Clancy

Most touching: The tables set up with portraits of those stricken with ALS to reserve the spots for their relatives and friends. Can’t get more personal and real than that.

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The Red Dot Sale at Women & Their Work

Women & Their Work’s long-loved Red Dot Sale is a decorous analog to Arthouse’s Five by Seven event …


Chris Cowden and Deborah Green

Both exhibitions generate happy parties. Both raise money for their respective nonprofits …


Deanna Miesch, Kaci Borowski and Rebecca Wolf

Yet because of graduated access to the “red dot” purchasing of donated pieces, there’s no mad crush to beat other art-hungry patrons to the dotting, unlike the deliciously mad Arthouse event …


Lindsey and Mark Hanna

Respected art collector Deborah Green was among the first on the Women & Their Work scene (costs a little more for early access) on Thursday, and she purchased some tantalizing art …


Kimberly and Dan Renner

I was most impressed by some familiar artists — Virginia Fleck and Nine Francois, for instance — and others I knew less well — Marian Haigh, Jonathan Faber, Virginia Yount, Ann Chamberlin and Jon Lawrence.


Jason Urban and Leslie Mutchier

The exhibition stays up for a while, so don’t miss the melange.

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‘Water Sparks’ at Umlauf Sculpture Garden

It’s rare that an artist of Damian Priour’s stature is inspired by one place for so long …


Jane Sibley and Damian Priour

Guests at the opening of “Water Sparks,” a retrospective of Priour’s career at the Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum, were reminded of that on Wednesday …


Sheila Fox, Roger Colombik and Jerolyn Bahm-Colombik

The sculpture — abstract, conceptual and otherwise — spans so many decades, some of it very much of its time, other pieces timeless …


Andrew and Kim Penridge

All of them informed by Texas materials, especially limestone, but including the water of the title, mostly reflected in variants of glass, smooth or rough, and one of his preferred modes of expression …


Eric Cooper and Russell Martin

Appropriately, several decades of Austinites from several strata of society came out for the opening …


Lisa Wade, Jason Mellard and Andrea Mellard

Among the more familiar faces: Mike Levy, Jane Sibley, Jimmy Jalapeeno, Becky Beaver, Dr. Nona Niland, Nelie Plourde, Bob “Daddy-O” and Lisa Wade, Andrew Long, Dana Friis-Hansen and Brigid Shea.

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Corks for Cancer at Moonshine

I love grassroots charities …


Karen and Kim Brown

And because cancer touches almost everyone’s life, cancer causes attract a lot of grassroots efforts …


Jennifer LaTouf and John-Scott Horton

My sister, for instance, throws a Cocktails for the Cure party every year in memory of her late husband. Here in Austin, we have events like Corks for Cancer …


Duane and Emily Anderson

Raising money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, it was a fairly intimate wine-tasting in the courtyard of Moonshine …


Laurie Newton and Mindi Heit

The guests didn’t overdress, which is an Austin bonus, and the weather — breezy and cooler — cooperated.


Joy Volk, Daniel Novak

Didn’t try any of the wines on Tuesday, but I’ll remember the charity.

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Out & About Hit or Miss: Heart Gallery

Here’s a new social blog feature: Out & About Hit or Miss.

In other words, what events I can make, and, just as importantly, which ones I sadly will miss. Tonight (Sept. 17), I’ll drop by the Women & Their Work Red Dot Sale, then the Busby Foundation’s Flavors of the Town at the Hyatt Regency, then the AU40 Happy Hour at Cissi’s.

Which means I’ll miss the Heart Gallery at Spazio for the first time in years. It’s open to the public and only $25. Along with the usual party, one can view photographed portraits of children ready for adoption.

“It creates great awareness for putting a face and a name with a child,” says Michele Golden, who introduced me to the charity years ago. “We have over a 60 percent success rate in getting these kids adopted. And that is the best thing.”

If you’re not already committed to the competing events, go.

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Scholz Garten named Top 10 College Sports Bar

Location, location, location: Scholz Garten’s close and unparalleled physical proximity to University of Texas football and basketball home games means it’s a natural hangout for Longhorn fans.

That’s one reason Playboy.com named it one of the Top 10 College Sports Bars in the country. The 143-year-old watering hole is celebrated in the magazine’s familiar style: “Nubile and geriatric alike pack the sprawling space inside and out to eat jagerschnitzel, pound pitchers of Spaten Octoberfest and cheer on their beloved Longhorns.”

Other Playboy-recognized bars serve periodic Longhorn competitors: The Varsity Club in Columbus, Ohio; Eskimo Joe’s in Stillwater, Okla.; and 901 Bar & Grill in Los Angeles, Cal.

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A curtain call for a class act

Worth reading: Evan Smith’s farewell column in Texas Monthly. For those outside the media world, the editor/publisher is moving over to John Thornton’s nonprofit Texas Tribune.

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Your A-List: Best Brunch

Just as Austin has struggled, over the years, to support late-night restaurants, our town hasn’t always been kind to brunches. In some cities, the weekend meal that resembles a late breakfast is a sacred tradition. Here, it’s been more of an afterthought.

We salute the shining exceptions. Moonshine, which delights with its innovative, high-quality comfort food in a quiet downtown niche, won the A-List competition for Best Brunch with 20 percent of the tally.

Trudy’s has always served a lively and extremely popular brunch. No wonder it attracted 16 percent of the endorsements. Chez Zee, best known for its desserts, also fared well on the brunch menu with 13 percent, just ahead of jaunty Z’ Tejas.

Hyde Park Bar & Grill, Galaxy Cafe and Fonda San Miguel — the last probably Austin’s most famous brunch, beyond our borders — virtually tied at 8 percent. Tried and true Omelettry maintained 7 percent, while Taverna and Manuel’s swept up the rest with 5 and 3 percent.

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Your A-List: Best WiFi Hot Spot

Remember when all of downtown Austin was supposed to go wireless? For free? I don’t recall if the plan hit technical problems, or, more likely, it was just too expensive to create and operate. But we WiFi addicts kissed that dream goodbye.

Instead, we gather, like gazelles dipping into a Serengetti watering hole, at refreshing oases like Whole Foods, which won 25 percent of the A-List vote in the Best WiFi Hot Spot balloting.

Jo’s, always busy indoors and outdoors, generated 17 percent. The Austin Public Library took in 15 percent, the same amount as Freebirds, the burrito shop. Bookpeople attracted 10 percent.

Pulling 5 percent or less were Flipnotics, Round Rock Public Library, Austin Convention Center, Capital Metro buses/park-and-rides and Woolridge Square.

There are many more. Yet you’d think, if any city could have made free public WiFi work, it would have been Austin.

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Your A-List: Best Icehouse

The icehouse concept comes and goes.

Growing up in East Texas and Louisiana, I remember sweaty, open-to-the-elements beer joints. Located on rural highways or in dicier parts of town, they were informal, a bit grungy, and attracted a mostly male clientele. They resembled dives, but not as dark or insular. Definitely open during the afternoon.

During the late 1970s and early 1980s, icehouses made a comeback. Nostalgic, even ironic at times, these second-generation icehouses weren’t as authentically funky as the bait-shop-style joints of my youth. But they were fun and relaxed.

Waterloo, which spearheaded the ichouse revival in Austin, is still going strong, even as its Lamar-and-Sixth location evolves into a 24-hour diner. It won 34 percent of the vote in the A-List contest for Best Icehouse.

Doc’s Motorworks, which came in second place with 20 percent, represents a sort of third icehouse wave. Its founding incarnation, on South Congress Avenue, went so far as to keep the structural and stylistic elements of a former auto repair shop. It was, at once, more authentic, and yet more modern, since its clean, open service areas operate almost like a family sports bar.

Freddie’s Place and Phil’s virtually tied at 12 percent. They share casual atmospheres and firm Austin roots, the first coming from the owner of Hickory Street Cafe, the second from the owners of Amy’s Ice Cream.

Billy’s, which doubles as a micro-brewery, earned 8 percent, followed closely by C. Hunt’s. Taking 3 percent or less were Aussie’s, Junior’s, Chisholm Trail and Angel’s.

Would Posse East qualify as an icehouse? And what about Little Woodrow’s?

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Your A-List: Best Radio Morning Show

Funny that this category would come up this week. Recently, I appeared on J.B. and Sandy’s show. This morning on the KGSR Late Show with Andy Langer and Bryan Beck. And I hear Bob Fonseca was ticked at me on the air because he didn’t make the Fortunate 500 list. (He really shouldmake it. Hope to see him Out & About more this year.)

KASE 101logo.jpg
So the extremely competitive A-List category of Best Morning Radio Show comes with timely personal associations. The winner this year is the KASE Morning Crew, which drummed up 41 percent of the ballots. Congrats to Bama Brown, Rob Mason and Heather White.

Coming in second was Hot 93.3’s D-Train with 23 percent of the votes. Third went to KLBJ’s Dudley and Bob Morning Show with 9 percent. KVET’s Bucky and Bob and Mix 94.7’s J.B. and Sandy were not far behind with approximately 7 percent.

Taking less than 5 percent were 101X’s The Morning X, Kiss-FM’s Bobby Bones Show, KUT’s Morning Edition, KGSR in the Morning, NewsRadio 590’s Austin’s Morning News, BOB-FM, 1530 ESPN Austin’s The Morning Rush, River 102.3’s Family Friendly Mornings, Majic 95.5’s Majic in the Morning with Kim and Alex, Jammin’ 105.9’s Kidd Kraddick in the Morning, La Ley’s El Chulo y La Bola, The Zone’s Wake-Up Call, KAZI, KMFA and La Que Buena’s El Piolin.

Hard to keep up, isn’t it?

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Dagan Martinez-Vargas at Lustre Pearl

Sometimes we encounter a potential source who seems too good to be true. That would be the case with Dagan Martinez-Vargas. The former market promoter for Capitol Beverage Distributor and Austin market manager for Hive Strategic Marketing now works for adfirmative.com.

That means he knows a lot about social media, social events and nightlife. In some cases, much more than your social columnist, whose job it is to ferret out that information. Just before dusk, we met for drinks at the ultra-hip Lustre Pearl on Rainey Street. Within 90 minutes, the 32-year-old Martinez-Vargas had me absolutely spell-bound.

The University of Texas graduate and lifelong Austinite knew the story behind almost every club, bar and TABC-licensed establishment that I had covered on this beat. We shared analyses of different night spots — and I’m glad to say he voiced many of the same impressions I’d taken from first-hand observation.

He’s pretty good at social reporting as well. Before I arrived at the distressed and hollowed-out former residence that houses the vastly popular Lustre Pearl, he had determined that Jessica Alba had dropped by four times and that the “Machete” wrap party would be held there. (From another source, we learn that Malverde and La Condesa over in the Second Street District were regular haunts for La Alba.)

Martinez-Vargas doesn’t mind going on the record when the case calls for it, so you’ll see his name bandied about in this column. A lot.

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The Beauty of Life at Renaissance Austin Hotel

Charity and style share a long, entwined history. In Austin, that tradition has been extended annually — and gracefully — by the Beauty of Life luncheon to benefit Hospice Austin.


Lisa Jessup, Helen Watkins and Mackenzie Martin

Tuesday, almost all the guests were women. So much so, speakers addressed the crowd as “Ladies …” And these women were unquestionably self-selected for the fashion and shopping genes.


Jean Marie Dina and Susan Shaffer

In fact, bracketing the luncheon, speeches and demonstrations were opportunities — to shop! A good portion of the atrium of the Renaissance Austin Hotel was rearranged into a bazaar for high-end goods and services. There, one could also pose for fashion spread in media event sponsor Glossy magazine (photographed by the talented Annie Ray, hers entirely superior to my party snaps shown here).


Patti David and Justin Porter

Spirited Anne Elizabeth Wynn, dressed in a boldly geometric red-and-black suit, emceed the luncheon portion of the event. She introduced Hospice Austin staff, volunteers and board members. We were reminded of the essential care provided by the nonprofit that started out as Christopher House.


Tammy Hale, Eric Sheppard and Jill Skinner

Then Wynn brought to the stage New York fashion maven Charla Krupp, whose best-selling “How Not to Look Old” is packed with tips for women of a certain age. She endorsed energetic engagement with life, Madonna-like confidence and dressing neither too old or too young. (Skirts right at the knees, ladies!)


Lisa Miller, John Miller and Amy Hansen

Krupp came with Do Bee and Don’t Bee fashion slides and a suitcase full of clothes to unload: Mamma jeans, muffin-top jeans, sweatpants, oversize T-shirts, etc. While most of her advice followed basic common sense, her presentation was light, amusing and sprinkled with local references. Ideal for a light luncheon.


Marjorie Mulanax and Anne Elizabeth Wynn

Earlier, four Hospice Austin employees paraded across the stage after style makeovers. Sometimes I think makeovers are over-rated. But the visual transformations from the “before” images projected on screens to the “after” effects before our eyes was pretty startling.

Absolute truth: I thought Hospice Austin executive director Marjorie Mulanax, who sat across the table from me, was actually a model, dressed as she was in an exquisite silver-gray outfit and coiffed to perfection. Also, she didn’t touch her lunch. Until after her makeover spotlight moment.

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KGSR at 9:15 a.m.

Scheduled to appear on KGSR with Andy Langer at 9:15 a.m. this morning to chat about the Fortunate 500 list.

Update: Had a great time. Andy Langer and Bryan Beck are such pros on “The KGSR Late Show.” They shared some timely insights about the Fortunate 500 and the city in general. I especially liked Andy’s concept of the Armadillos vs. the Condos. I think we agree that’s often a false dichotomy. KLBJ sports jock Ed Clements dropped by to say “Hi.” Always great to see him. Sweet guy who does a lot of good in the community.

Will let you know if there’s a podcast version of the interview.

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Ann Richards Birthday Party at Enfield Home

Is it the name? Is it the memory? Is it the mission? Or is it the accomplishments? …


Meria Carstarphen and Chris Mattsson

Maybe for all those reasons, the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders attracts solid-gold backers from across the Austin social spectrum …


Becky Beaver and Jean Rather

The special guest for the second Ann Richards Birthday Party fundraiser was actress Holland Taylor, who is preparing a solo show about the late governor. (We had met for cool drinks on the breezy patio of the Hotel St. Cecilia before the party; more on that later) …


Sylvia Acevedo and Sally Wittliff

Over at the swank Enfield home of Chris Mattsson and John McHale, the big stars of Austin education, charity and politics were gathering …


Lance Avery Morgan and Amber Elliott

My first long-ish conversation was with Meria Carstarphen, the new Austin Independent School District superintendent, who besides being smart and sharp is astonishingly down-to-earth and direct. Refreshing …


Dani Willard, Jeanne Goka and Michael Willard

Dani and Michael Willard (Habitat for Humanity) were among my other sustained conversation partners. Gotta spend more time with them …


Bobbi and Mort Topfer

The crowd was almost double the size of the gathering at the late Lowell Lebermann’s last September. And the foundation that backs the school is raising hundreds of thousands to complement the AISD investment.

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2009 Fortunate 500: Style

2009 FORTUNATE 500


Top Pick: Zion Francis.

For a previously posted micro-profile of Zion Francis, go here.

Linda Asaf. Linda Asaf Design, Downtown Austin Alliance

Chris Cantoya. Mint Owl

Jamie Chioco. Chioco Design

Gail Chovan and Evan Voyles. Blackmail, Neon Jungle

Stephanie Coultress and Todd O’Neill. Estilo

Katy and Matthew Culmo. By George

Giacomo Forbes. Giacomo Forbes Hair Studio

Lauren Smith Ford and Bennett Ford. Tribeza

Alyson Fox. www.alysonfox.com

Roy Fredericks. Avant Salon

My-Cherie and Anthony Haley. Shimmer & Bliss Accessories, Webber Productions, HRWK Global, Seton Forum, Austin Black Lawyers Association, Digital Media Council, StrataTX

Jenny Hart. Sublime Stitching, Austin Fashion Awards

Patty Hoffpauir. Hospice Austin, Beauty of Life, School of Human Ecology

Evelyn Jackson. JR Salon Spa

Barbara Kelso. Ann Kelso Salon and CitySpa

Jeff Kirk. Kirk Gallery

Ron King. Bô Salon

Monica and Hank Korman. Russell Korman Fine Jewelry

Karen Landa and Dale Dewey. Tribeza, St David’s Foundation, Ballet Austin, Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum, Hospice Austin

Jane Vanisko McCan. Shiki

Sherry Matthews and Dick Clark. Sherry Matthews Advocacy Marketing, Dick Clark Architecture

Lance Avery Morgan. Brilliant

Joel Mozersky. One Eleven Design, La Condesa, Malverde

Nancy Nichols. Neiman Marcus

Shirley Pinkson. W3LL

Michael Portman. Birds Barbershop

Jayson Rapaport. Birds Barbershop

Talena Rasmussen and Lizelle Villapando. Parts & Labour, New Bohemia, New Brohemia, Little Bohemia

Vickie Roan. The Menagerie, Long Center

Allen Ruiz. Jackson Ruiz Salon

Fern and Jerre Santini. Abode, Austin Museum of Art, SnatchLatch

Amy Schalk. Soigne Boutique

Kendra Scott. Kendra Scott Design, LifeWorks, Dell Children’s Medical Center

Shaesby Scott. Shaesby Jewelry

Nina and Frank Seely. Ralph Lauren, Long Center, People’s Community Clinic of Austin, Austin Jazz Workshop

Elizabeth and Benjamin Serrato. Eliza Page, Zocalo Design & Advertising

Connie Strang. Avant Salon

Tracey Overbeck Stead. Tracey Overbeck Stead Interior Design

Megan Summerville. Sew Sister Fabrics, 2009 Texas’ Next Top Designer

Sue Webber. Sue Webber Productions


2009 Fortunate 500 All-Stars

2009 Fortunate 500 Arts

2009 Fortunate 500 Business

2009 Fortunate 500 Charity

2009 Fortunate 500 Education

2009 Fortunate 500 Food

2009 Fortunate 500 Heritage

2009 Fortunate 500 Law

2009 Fortunate 500 Media

2009 Fortunate 500 Movies

2009 Fortunate 500 Music

2009 Fortunate 500 Nightlife

2009 Fortunate 500 Sports

2009 Fortunate 500 Style

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2009 Fortunate 500: Sports

2009 FORTUNATE 500


Top Picks: Claire and Doug English

For a previously posted micro-profile of Claire and Doug English, go here.

Hill Abell. Bicycle Sports Shop, Hill Country Ride for AIDS, Real Ale Ride

Candy and Rick Barnes. University of Texas, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

Charles Breithaupt. University Interscholastic League

Earl Campbell. Earl Campbell Meat Products, University of Texas

Sheila and Paul Carrozza. RunTex, President’s Council on Physical Fitness

Marion Cimbala. Moving Through Cancer, Danskin Women’s Triathlon

Ed Clements. KLBJ-AM, Alzheimer’s Association of the Capital, ARC of the Capital Area, American Heart Association

John Conley. Austin Sports Commission, Conley Sports Inc., Austin Marathon

Jody Conradt. University of Texas, Giant Steps Award

Brenda and Tommy Cox. Austin Independent School District, Coaches Outreach

Julie and Ben Crenshaw. PGA, Coore & Crenshaw

Brooklyn Decker and Andy Roddick. Andy Roddick Foundation, Association of Tennis Professionals

Mary Ann and DeLoss Dodds. University of Texas

Bill and Rhonda Farney. University Interscholastic League, Georgetown High School, Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau

Gail Goestenkors. University of Texas

Augie Garrido and Jeannie Grass. University of Texas, Hospice Austin

Michele Golden. Rodeo Austin, Golden & Co., Heart Gallery of Central Texas, Polo for Puppies

Brendan Hansen. PureSport

Christy and Tom Kite. FedEx Kinko’s Classic, Kids Classic, Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas

Bart Knaggs. Capital Sports and Entertainment, Mellow Johnny’s

Donnie Little. University of Texas, Longhorn Foundation, Urban Life Group, Longhorn Legacy

Colt McCoy. University of Texas

Keith Moreland. University of Texas, Longhorn Sports Network

Kay Morris. Marathon Kids

Dan Neil. University of Texas, NFL Alumni, GOPAC-TX

Aaron Peirsol. Race for the Oceans, 2008 Summer Olympics, University of Texas

Christine Plonsky. University of Texas

Edith and Darrell Royal. University of Texas, Caritas of Austin

Nicole and Reid Ryan. Round Rock Express

Julie and Scott Sayers. Coore & Crenshaw, Austin High Alumni Association, Texas State Directory Press

Eric Shanteau. University of Texas, 2008 Summer Olympics, Lance Armstrong Foundation

Bill Stapleton. Capitol Sports and Entertainment

James Street. Rise School of Austin, James Street Group, University of Texas

Gilbert Tuhabonye. Gilbert’s Gazelles, Gazelle Foundation, Run for the Water

Gilbert Turrieta. Rodeo Austin


2009 Fortunate 500 All-Stars

2009 Fortunate 500 Arts

2009 Fortunate 500 Business

2009 Fortunate 500 Charity

2009 Fortunate 500 Education

2009 Fortunate 500 Food

2009 Fortunate 500 Heritage

2009 Fortunate 500 Law

2009 Fortunate 500 Media

2009 Fortunate 500 Movies

2009 Fortunate 500 Music

2009 Fortunate 500 Nightlife

2009 Fortunate 500 Sports

2009 Fortunate 500 Style

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Fall Fusion 2009 at Dell Jewish Community Center

Fall Fusion is part carnival, part theme party, part charity auction, part food fest, part serious ceremony …


“Adam and Eve” (the theme was famous couples)

Like a theatrical event, it snakes through the Dell Jewish Community Campus with costumes, snacks, live music and general hubub …


Dan O’Brien and John Halbur (“David Furnish and Elton John”)

Sunday, I encountered guests from 19 to 95, only a few of them in actual costume …


Gina and Amy Greenspan

Carol and Sandy Dochen received the LBJ Humanitarian Award, the serious part of the evening …

fusion4.JPGLeah Goldstein and Andrew Dochen

But given the fact that Mark Strama, Crystal Cotti, Kirk Rudy, Ken Herman, Elliott Naishtat and Marc Winkelman were present, some welcome and often humorous political conversation was inevitable …


Rep. Mark Strama and Crystal Cotti

Permalink | Comments (7) | Post your comment Categories: Charity

2009 Fortunate 500: Nightlife

2009 FORTUNATE 500


Top Picks: Brad and Chad Womack

For a previously posted micro-profile of Brad and Chad Womack, go here.

Paula and Paul Angerstein. Texacello Distillery, Paula’s Texas Orange and Lemon liquors

Mason and Mylie Arnold. Greenling.com, Go Dance

Conrad Bejarano. Spiderhouse, United States Art Authority, Ecoclean, I Luv Videos

Tito Beveridge. Fifth Generation Inc., Tito’s Handmade Vodka

C.K. Chin. Imperia

Margie Coyle. Cap City Comedy Club

Samantha and Ty Davidson. Uchi, Red Fez, Central Austin Management Group

DJ Chicken George. djchickengeorge.com, Move Something

Manuel ‘DJ Manny’ Muniz. DJ Dojo, RockIt

DJ Mel. Swoll, Rock the Casbah

Tre Dotson. Tre Dotson Productions & Talent, Maria Maria

Michael Girard. Speakeasy, Cuba Libre, Imperia

Thomas Gohring. Kick Butt Coffee

George Gutierrez Jr. The Phoenix

Becky and Damon Holditch. Marquee Tents

Donaji Lira. Wine & Food Foundation of Texas, Texas Heritage Songwriters Association

Gary Manley. Iron Cactus

Jette Momant. Manna Lifestyle Marketing, De’cor Jette’ Event Design, Cissi’s Wine Bar

Matt Luckie. Matt Luckie-Lucky Lounge, Lavaca St. Bar, Red Fez, District 301, Betsy¹s Bar & Star Bar

Kristin Owen. Do512.com

David Pantano. Rain, AIDS Services of Austin

Jen Shoemaker. The Phoenix

Denise Silverman. Clink

Kara and Matt Swinney. Launch 787, Austin Fashion Week

Danielle Thomas. Big Green House Presents, Red Bull

Mike Yassine. Vicci, Qua, Treasure Island, Pure, Kiss & Fly

Kevin Williamson. Ranch 616, Star Bar


2009 Fortunate 500 All-Stars

2009 Fortunate 500 Arts

2009 Fortunate 500 Business

2009 Fortunate 500 Charity

2009 Fortunate 500 Education

2009 Fortunate 500 Food

2009 Fortunate 500 Heritage

2009 Fortunate 500 Law

2009 Fortunate 500 Media

2009 Fortunate 500 Movies

2009 Fortunate 500 Music

2009 Fortunate 500 Nightlife

2009 Fortunate 500 Sports

2009 Fortunate 500 Style

Permalink | Comments (2) | Post your comment Categories: Nightlife, The 500

2009 Fortunate 500: Music

2009 FORTUNATE 500


Top Pick: Rose Reyes

For a previously posted micro-profile of Rose Reyes, go here.

Susan Antone. Antone’s, Help Clifford Help Kids

Ed Bailey. KLRU, ‘Austin City Limits,’ Texas Hill Country Wine & Food Festival

Marcia Ball. Health Alliance of Austin Musicians, Sweet Home New Orleans, Charity Partners of Austin, ‘Peace, Love & BBQ’

John Bernadoni. The John Bernardoni Production Group

Suzanna Choffel. suzannachoffel.com, Austin Music Foundation

Amy Corbin and Charles Attal. C3, Stubb’s BBQ, Austin City Limits Festival

Melissa and Kevin Connor. ME Television, KUT

David Cotton. Saxon Pub, CottonAustin, Threadgill’s

Dave Dart. Dart Music International

Cash Edwards. Cash Edwards Music Services

Ihor Gowda. Star Making Machinery

Sara Hickman. The Roots Agency

Charlie Jones. C3, Stubb’s BBQ, Austin City Limits Festival

Andy Langer. KGSR, Esquire

Terry Lickona. ‘Austin City Limits’

Dean and Jeff Lofton. I Buy Austin, jefflofton.com

Griff Lundberg. Cactus Cafe

Martie and Gareth Maguire. Dixie Chicks

Harold McMillan. DiverseArts

Kathy Marcus and John Kunz. Waterloo Records

Marsha Milam. Solar Power Concerts, Milam & Company

Casey Monahan. Texas Music Office

James Moody. Transmission Entertainment, Fun Fun Fun Fest, Mohawk, Club DeVille, Red 7

Nakia. ‘Water to Wine’

Tim Neece. UT Performing Arts Center

Tim O’Connor. Direct Events, Austin Music Hall, La Zona Roza

Paul Oveisi. Momo’s, Austin Music Commission

Bob Schneider. Bob Schneider Music, ‘Tarantula’

Shawn Sides and Graham Reynolds. Golden Arm Trio, Rude Mechanicals

Nada and Hartt Stearns. One World Theatre

Donya and Randall Stockton. Beerland, Rio Rita, The Good Knight, Shangri La

Roland Swenson. South by Southwest

Stephen Tatton. Launch787, Sea Change Records, SureFire Media + Promotion

Greg Vendetti. GV Evolutions, GV Music Enterprises, GregVendetti.com

Charlie Walker. C3, Stubb’s BBQ, Austin City Limits Festival

Steve Wertheimer. Continental Club

Annetta and James White. Broken Spoke

Graham Williams. Transmission Entertainment, Fun Fun Fun Fest, Mohawk, Club DeVille, Red 7, Lambert’s

Kelly Willis and Bruce Robison. kellywillis.com

Eddie Wilson. Threadgill’s


2009 Fortunate 500 All-Stars

2009 Fortunate 500 Arts

2009 Fortunate 500 Business

2009 Fortunate 500 Charity

2009 Fortunate 500 Education

2009 Fortunate 500 Food

2009 Fortunate 500 Heritage

2009 Fortunate 500 Law

2009 Fortunate 500 Media

2009 Fortunate 500 Movies

2009 Fortunate 500 Music

2009 Fortunate 500 Nightlife

2009 Fortunate 500 Sports

2009 Fortunate 500 Style

Permalink | Comments (1) | Post your comment Categories: Music, The 500

Ballet Fête+ at the Austonian

Every year, anticipation builds …


Stephen Mills and Becky Beaver

To see how Ballet Austin will top its previous Fête …


Matt Duncan and Ena Sharma

Some pretty amazing folks have organized the annual fundraiser in the past …


Mary Margaret Farabee and Nancy Scanlan

But this year, celebrity lawyer Becky Beaver and her team outdid them all …


Ben and Joanie Bentzin

First, dinner guests were ferried by construction elevators to the 33rd floor of the unfinished Austonian condo tower …


Brent Hasty, Maria Groten and Eric Groten

Where the views were stupefying. I mean, I couldn’t recognize certain parts of downtown Austin, so high up were we. And there were another 20 unfinished floors above us …


Suzanne Winkelman and Carmen Tawil

Then there were the floral arrangements — always a Fête eye-opener — this year from new florists Mandarin Flower Co. The couple used black and white calla lilies to suggest tutus for “Swan Lake” …


Lee Walker and Michelle Westling

When guests stopped ogling the view and the flowers and greeting one another — it was the highest concentration of Fortunate 500 All-Stars anywhere — we found our tables …


Michael Pungello, Oliver Everette and Kevin Smothers

These were arranged in a doughnut shape around the central structural well, so everyone had splendid views of the city, but nobody could see two-thirds of the other guests. So we were linked up via video screens …


Shannon and Tony Casati

This didn’t work that well for the auction, with poor Evan Smith wandering among the guests with a microphone. Smith didn’t give up, and even pumped up bids for an Italian vacation to $23,000 …


Becky and Damon Holditch

We munched on tiny steaks and crab cakes provided by chef Elmar Prambs — who had another function over at the Four Seasons going simultaneously …


Doug Kaminski and Judy Wenum

I spent the most time with Melanie and Ben Barnes, also with Stephen Mills and Brent Hasty. I enjoyed priceless stories from Ben, who knows more about realpolitik than anyone else in Texas. (He says we are losing out on big projects because of red-state leadership.) He also introduced an idea for a presidential ballet that merits close attention.


Jim Smith, Jare Smith and Cliff Redd

Also met up with Jack and Carla McDonald, Amy and Kirk Rudy, Steven Tomlinson and Eugene Sepulveda, Karen Landa and Dale Dewey, Nancy Scanlan and John Watson, Dave Shaw, Mary Margaret and Ray Farabee, Cookie Ruiz, Nina and Frank Seely, Stephen Moser (looking fantabulous!), John Riedie, Linda Ball and Forrest Preece, Sarah and Ernest Butler, Kathy Panoff, Charles Duggan, Dr. John Hogg and David Garza, David Wyatt, Lauren Tuttle, Kristen Chen, Taylor Perkins, Lance Avery Morgan, Kevin Smothers and Michael Pungello, Oliver Everette, Cliff Redd and Rick Johnson, Larry Connelly and James Armstrong, Shannon and Tony Casati, Joanie and Ben Bentzin … And those just off the top of my head. For others, see Eugene’s Community Matters blog …


Sofia Avila and Victoria Avila (in charge of the amazing decor)

We all shuttled downstairs for the after-parties — one on the 10th floor with cabaret singer Mandy Lauderdale, and another, the Fête-ish, on the ground floor, which included hundreds of additional guests already progressing to a party climax as the two forces met …


Berry Crowley and Melanie Barnes

I saw some sexy dancing, ate a few sexy chocolates and consumed a sexy sazerac before making my departure …


Carla and Jack McDonald

One last note: By attending the Fête and the earlier Night of the Child (could do so because they were a block apart), I completely missed the the Bob “Daddy-O” Wade career celebration at the Museum of Popular Culture and the Horton Foote tribute at the Public Library Foundation gala …


Odette Perez and Nichole Wright (I’m supposed to mention Neiman Marcus)

I’m fond of artist Wade. And those of you who know my deep affection for the late playwright Foote realize this was heart-wrenching. (In fact, I spent my very first gala ever sitting next to Mr. Foote, starstruck but, luckily, not tongue-tied.) …


And look who was out, in top form!

Somebody has got to set up a master social calendar. We go weeks without a major event, then pack three or four biggies into one night? And these were just three of the invitations I received for Saturday. Please, somebody …

Permalink | Comments (3) | Post your comment Categories: Nightlife

2009 Fortunate 500: Movies

2009 FORTUNATE 500


Top Picks: Janet and John Pierson

For a previous posted micro-profile of Janet and John Pierson, go here.

Paul Alvarado-Dykstra. Fantastic Fest, Texas Motion Picture Alliance

Connie Britton. ‘Friday Night Lights,’ ‘Women in Trouble,’ ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’

Elizabeth Avellan. ‘Shorts,’ ‘Santos,’ Troublemaker Studios, Texas Motion Picture Alliance

Louis Black. Austin Chronicle, South by Southwest

Gary Bond. Austin Film Office, Austin Film Commission

Sandra Bullock and Jesse James. Bess Bistro, Walton’s Fancy and Staple, South Austin Speed Shop, ‘The Proposal,’ ‘All About Steve’

Rebecca Campbell and Andrew Hinman. Austin Film Society, Austin Studios

Kat Candler. Candler Productions, University of Texas

Kathryn and Kyle Chandler. ‘Friday Night Lights,’ ‘Morning,’ Beyond the Lights Celebrity Golf Tournament

Ashley Chiles. Ladyflash

Cole Dabney. Austin Film Critics, Coleandbobby.com

Marc English. Austin Film Society, Marc English Design

Caroline Frick. Texas Film Archives

Hector Galan. ‘The Music of America,’ ‘The Big Squeeze,’ ‘The War’

Dana Glover. Median Films, ‘Jollenbach’

Kyle Henry and Carlos Treviño. ‘Beeswax,’ Rude Mechs, ‘University, Inc.’

Tamara and Bob Hudgins. Texas Film Commission, Chisholm Trail Community Foundation

Mike Judge. ‘The Goode Family,’ Austin Film Society

Taylor Kitsch. ‘Friday Night Lights,’ ‘Wolverine’

Harry Knowles. Ain’t It Cool News, Fantastic Fest, Butt-numb-a-thon

Tim and Karrie League. Alamo Drafthouse, Fantastic Fest, Rolling Roadshow

Richard Linklater. Austin Film Society, ‘Inning by Inning,’ ‘Me and Orson Welles’

Suzanne and Tim McCanlies. ‘The Two Bobs’

Henri Mazza. Alamo Drafthouse

Barbara Morgan. Austin Film Festival

Mark Mueller. Voodoo Cowboy, Mueller Law

Chale Nafus. Austin Film Society

Masashi Niwano. Austin Asian American Film Festival

Karen Olsson and Andrew Bujalski. ‘Beeswax,’ Texas Monthly, ‘Waterloo’

Jesse Plemons. ‘Friday Night Lights,’ Greater Austin Walk for Autism, Beyond the Lights Charity Golf Tournament

PJ Raval. ‘Trouble the Water,’ ‘Trinidad,’ ‘The Two Bobs’

Robert Rodriguez. ‘Shorts,’ Austin Film Society, Troublemaker Studios

Tom Schatz. UT Film Institute

Paul Stekler. Austin Film Society, University of Texas

David Sweeney. Austin Gay and Lesbian International Film Festival

Agnes Varnum. Austin Film Society, Doc It Out

Janell Vela-Smith. Fighting Stunts Association, Spiderwood Studios

Anne Walker-McBay. ‘The Two Bobs’

Tommy G. Warren. Spiderwood Studios

Tara Wood. Wood Entertainment, ‘Waco’

David and Nathan Zellner. ‘Goliath’


2009 Fortunate 500 All-Stars

2009 Fortunate 500 Arts

2009 Fortunate 500 Business

2009 Fortunate 500 Charity

2009 Fortunate 500 Education

2009 Fortunate 500 Food

2009 Fortunate 500 Heritage

2009 Fortunate 500 Law

2009 Fortunate 500 Media

2009 Fortunate 500 Movies

2009 Fortunate 500 Music

2009 Fortunate 500 Nightlife

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Permalink | Comments (4) | Post your comment Categories: Movies, The 500

Night of the Child Gala at the Four Seasons

There’s almost no way to have a bad time at the Four Seasons …


Amanda Dudley, Jessica Gerard and Ann Davis

Which is why it remains a top destination for Austin galas …


Daniel and Julia Mercado

On a night crammed with social options, I spent part of Sunday evening at Night of the Child …


Ashleigh and Greg Wilkes

It raises money for A World for Children. It’s a group — new to me — that provides services for children in foster care …


Lacie Ritchie and Ellen Troxclair

The gimmick of the gala were gowns from St. Thomas boutique, auctioned through sealed bids with minimums starting at $89 …


Sharon Willis, Monica Burcham and Haythem Dawlett

Considering that the priciest outfit — lace-like coat worn here by fave model Bobbie Ragsdale — whatever you bid would be a bargain …

While the silent auction in the lobby seemed normal — how many signed Longhorn footballs or jerseys can we bid on? — the gown display was a bit innovative …


Bobbie Ragsdale, Heather Shaw

Models circulated through all the corridors, wearing identifying numbers as well as the apparel …


Oscar Laimez and Monika Sunholz

Since many of the female guests were also suitably gussied up, it was sometimes hard telling the models from the would-be purchasers …


Andy and Alissa Hutton

I love charity events where I know almost no one. (It means the universe of social givers continues to expand.) …


Summer Burns and Nate Paul

And here, I just knew the pros — models, auctioneers, photographers, waiters — the usual Four Seasons gang.


Jim and Julie Lavender

Permalink | Comments (3) | Post your comment Categories: Charity, Style

2009 Fortunate 500: Media

2009 FORTUNATE 500


Top Picks: Elaine and Rich Garza.

For previously posted micro-profile of Elaine and Rich Garza, go here.

John Aielli. KUT

Lani Anglin-Rosales and Connie Reese. New Media Labs, Connect Every Dot, AgentGenius.com

Sarah Bird. Texas Monthly, ‘How Perfect Is That’

Bobby Bones. KISS-FM

Olga Campos and Kevin Benz. KVUE, News 8 Austin, CASA, Con Mi Madre, Lutheran Social Services, Make a Difference Banquet, Greenlights for Nonprofit Success, Carole Kneeland Project for Excellence in Journalism

Mike Chapman. Austin Social Media Club

Mary Anne Connolly. Austin Woman, Reel Women, Conspirare

Jody Denberg. KGSR

Dale Dudley. KLBJ

Raul Garza. TKO Advertising

J.B. Hager. Mix 94.7, Austin Monthly, Bikes for Kids

Kathy and Robert Hadlock. KXAN, CASA, Easter Seals

Jim Hightower. Texas Observer, Austin Chronicle

Kelly and Sally Jackson. Midlife Gals

Jill McGuckin. McGuckin Entertainment PR

Sandy McIlree. Bikes for Kids, Mix 94.7

John Erik Metcalf. John Erik Metcalf

Cile Montgomery. Giant Media

Tolly Moseley. Austin Eavesdropper

Robert Nash and Paul Simmons. Backstage Marketing Consultants

Kevin Newsum. Yelp Austin

Patricia Paredes. First Night Austin, Texas Campus Compact, Leadership Austin

Taylor Perkins. Rare

Jean and Dan Rather. ‘Dan Rather Reports,’ Austin Museum of Art, News and Guts Media

Heath Riddles and Graydon Parrish. KOOP, Hirschl & Adler

Alisha Ring. Texas Tribune

Paul Saucido. Saucido Slant, Mercury Mambo, Sonido Boombox

Steve Savage. KAZI

Emily and Dave Shaw. Russell-Shaw, I&O Communications, Art Alliance of Austin, Leadership Austin, Greenlights for Nonprofit Success, Catalyst 8

Rusty Shelton. Phenix & Phenix Literary Publicity, Texas Book Festival

Clay Smith. Texas Book Festival

Heidi Marquez Smith. Texas Book Festival

Kevin Smothers and Michael Pungello. Pulse, DMX, Catalyst 8, Leadership Austin

Susan and Bill Stotesbery. KLRU, Hart InterCivic

Kerry Tate and Susan Rieff. TateAustinHahn, Civic Interest, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Brenda Thompson. Brenda Thompson Communications, Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders, Zach Theatre

Helen Thompson. Austin Monthly Homes

Alisa Weldon and Lynn Yeldell. L Style G Style, Well+Done Design, UBS Financial Services Inc.

Michelle Castillo-West and Phil West. Luminaria Media & Public Relations

For images of the 2009 Fortunate 500 Media listees, go here.


2009 Fortunate 500 All-Stars

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AGLIFF Centerpiece Movie at Alamo South

The Austin Gay and Lesbian Film Festival remains the city’s preeminent gay cultural and social event.


Calvin Williams and John Livingston

Sure, Last Splash reels in thousands of intense partiers from across the U.S. twice a year.


Jake H. Gonzales, Lisa Whitaker, Asif Hassan

Galas for Equality Texas and Human Rights Campaign, as well as other health and political-themed organizations turn out the “A Gays.”


Glenn Doonan, Chris Oakleaf and Kristina Hager

Not to mention arts or sporting events, which, cliche or not, appeal to gay and lesbian sensibilities in droves.


Melanie Tiemann and Collin Acock

Yet AGLIFF ties all these fields together through its incredibly varied film selections. And now it’s snugly camped at Alamo South. From the sound of its board members and staff, the nonprofit festival is thriving, even in tough economic times.


Lori Barrett and Chris Trickey

The Centerpiece Movie? “Antique,” a complicated comedy from Korea about four men and a pastry shop. Only one of the four is gay-identified. Yet the various romantic, commercial, gustatory, criminal and psychological entanglements reflect a healthy inclusion of gay themes. I actually saw it twice, once on an inferior DVD screener, then, gloriously, on the big screen.

It’s one of the best films of the year — of any stripe. Grade: A.

Permalink | Comments (1) | Post your comment Categories: Movies

2009 Fortunate 500: Law

2009 FORTUNATE 500


Top Picks: Tanya and Art Acevedo

For a previously posted micro-profile of Law Top Picks Tanya and Art Acevedo, go here.

Kathy and Gaylord Armstrong. McGinnis, Lochridge & Kilgore, University of Texas, SafePlace

Valinda Bolton and Anthony Hathcock. Texas House of Representatives, Woman, Inc., Texas Council on Family Violence

Denise Brady and Chris Riley. Austin City Council, The Rusk Law Firm, Downtown Commission, Planning Commission, Downtown Austin Neighborhood Association, Susan G. Koman for the Cure

Andy Brown. Travis County Democratic Party, Munsch Hardt Kopf & Harr, 21st Century Democrats

Julie Byers and Lee Leffingwell. Mayor of Austin, Water Conservation Task Force, Seton Hospital Northwest

Perla Cavazos. City of Austin Planning Commission, City of Austin Commission on Women, National Women’s Political Caucus-Texas, Latinas Unidas Por El Arte, Teatro Vivo, the Austin Latino Theater Alliance, and Friends of the Mexican American Cultural Center

Sheryl and Kevin Cole. Austin City Council, Cole & Powell, Leadership Austin, Austin Area Urban League, Communities in Schools

Crystal Cotti and Mark Strama. Texas House of Representatives, FOX 7 News, Sylvan Learning Centers

Libby and Lloyd Doggett. U.S. Congress, Pre-K Now, ‘One Peace at a Time’

Dawnna Dukes. Texas House of Representatives, DM Dukes and Associates, Inc., Links, Inc.-Austin Chapter

Sarah Eckhardt and Kurt Sauer. Travis County Commissioners Court, Texas Folklife Resources, Daffer McDaniel, LLP

Shana and Dan Gattis. Texas House of Representatives, First Baptist Church of Georgetown, National Conference of State Legislatures

Clarke Heidrick. Travis County Hospital District, Graves Dougherty Hearon & Moody, Austin Area Research Organization, Shivers Cancer Foundation, Rebekah Baines Johnson Center, Foundation for Religious Studies in Texas

Donna Howard. Texas House of Representatives, Expanding Horizons Foundation, Texas Education Crisis Coalition, Austin Area Interreligious Ministries, Common Cause, Texas Freedom Network

Brian Jammer. Austin Black Lawyers Association, University of Texas System, National Bar Association

Rosemary Lehmberg. Travis County District Attorney, Center for Child Protection, CASA

Nelson Linder. Austin NAACP, African American Quality of Life Implementation Plan

Susan Longley. Molly Prize for Investigative Journalism, Texas Democracy Foundation, Atticus Circle, Texans for Stem Cell Research, Zach Theatre.

Diana Maldonado. Texas House of Representatives, Round Rock ISD Board of Trustees, Executive Women in State Government, Hispanic Women’s Network of Texas

Patsy and Jack Martin. Public Strategies, Blue Texas, Long Center, Lance Armstrong Foundation, Texas Cultural Trust, Planned Parenthood, the Austin Children’s Museum, Austin Film Society, Communities in Schools

Andrea and Dean McWilliams. McWilliams and Associates, Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, Long Center, KillCancer, Ballet Austin, Arthouse, Heritage Society of Austin

Linda and Michael McCaul. U.S. Congress, March of Dimes, St. David’s Hospital, Communities in Schools, CureSearch

Sarah and Brewster McCracken. Pecan Street Project, LBJ Library and Museum

Mark McKinnon. Public Strategies, Lance Armstrong Foundation, University of Texas

Laura and Phil Morrison. Austin City Council, University of Texas, Austin Neighborboods Council

Elliott Naishtat. Texas House of Representatives, St. Edward’s University

Pam and Pike Powers. The Seton Fund, Fulbright & Jaworski, Envision Central Texas, Texas Technology Initiative

Robin Rather. Liveable City, Hill Country Conservancy, Envision Central Texas

Eddie Rodriguez. Texas House of Representatives, Hispanic Institute for Technology Advancement, Sierra Club

Geronimo Rodriguez Jr. Seton Family of Hospitals, LBJ School of Public Affairs, Leonard Frost Levin Van Court & Marsh

Patrick Rose. Texas House of Representatives, Ratliff Law Firm, Susan G. Komen for the Cure


Randi Shade and Kayla Shell. Austin City Council, Dell Inc., Days of Service

Niyanta and Bill Spelman. Austin City Council, LBJ School of Public Affairs

Lara Wendler and Mike Martinez. Austin City Council, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas, National Coalition Building Institute, Texas Senate

Evelyn and Wyeth Wiedeman. Ben Barnes Group, Democratic Party, EntreCorp

Tomi and Pete Winstead. Winstead, Long Center for the Performing Arts, Economic Development Corp., Greater Austin-San Antonio Corridor Council

For images of the 2009 Fortunate 500 Law listees, go here.


2009 Fortunate 500 All-Stars

2009 Fortunate 500 Arts

2009 Fortunate 500 Business

2009 Fortunate 500 Charity

2009 Fortunate 500 Education

2009 Fortunate 500 Food

2009 Fortunate 500 Heritage

2009 Fortunate 500 Law

2009 Fortunate 500 Media

2009 Fortunate 500 Movies

2009 Fortunate 500 Music

2009 Fortunate 500 Nightlife

2009 Fortunate 500 Sports

2009 Fortunate 500 Style

Permalink | Comments (2) | Post your comment Categories: Law, The 500

2009 Fortunate 500: Heritage

2009 FORTUNATE 500


Top Pick: Jo Anne Christian

For a previously posted micro-profile of Heritage Top Pick Jo Anne Christian, go here.

M. Ann and George Attal. Austin Galleries, St. Stephen’s Episcopal School, Easter Seals, American Youthworks

Judy and John Avery. Ronald McDonald House, Austin Community College, Texas State University

Melanie and Ben Barnes. Ben Barnes Group, Lady Bird Johnson Wildlife Center, National Charity League, St. Francis School

Jan Bullock. Texas Governor’s Mansion Restoration Fund, Texas State History Museum Foundation

Ann and Roy Butler. Capitol Beverage Co., Austin Community Foundation, Austin Police Department

Elizabeth Christian and Bruce Todd. Elizabeth Christian Associates, Bruce Todd Public Affairs

Nicole Nugent Covert. University of Texas, Children’s Medical Center Foundation of Central Texas, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Joanne and Jack Crosby. The Rust Group, University of Texas

Carol and Tim Crowley. Greater Austin Chamber, Ronald McDonald House, Junior League

Charmaine and Frank Denius. University of Texas, Seton Fund

Dealey and David Herndon. Herndon, Stauch & Associates, Texas State History Museum Foundation, Texas Governor’s Mansion Restoration Fund, State Preservation Board

Luci Baines Johnson and Ian Turpin. LBJ Holding Co., Friends of the LBJ Library, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Melissa Jones. Houston Endowment, Annie’s List, Molly National Journalism Prize

Sue McBee. Austin History Center Association, Austin Community Foundation

Julie and Pat Oles. Barshop & Oles Co., Clayton Dabney Foundation, Texas State History Museum Foundation

Gay Ratliff. Gay Ratliff Interiors, Heritage Society of Austin, Texas Governor’s Mansion Restoration Fund, National Trust for Historic Preservation

Catherine Robb. Sedgwick, Detert, Moran & Arnold LLP, LBJ Library Future Forum, Austin Music Foundation

Nancy Scanlan and John Watson. St. Stephen’s Episcopal School, Save Our Springs Alliance, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, Molly National Journalism Prize

Gabrielle Sheshunoff. Sheshunoff Management Services, Sheshunoff Consulting + Solutions

Robin and Bud Shivers. Shivers Group Home, Shivers Cancer Center, Health Alliance for Austin Musicians, Headliners Foundation

Pam and Dr. George “Boots” Willeford. Pico Drilling, Texas Governor’s Mansion Restoration Fund, Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries, Texas Exes, Texas Cultural Trust

For images of the 2009 Fortunate 500 Heritage listees, go here.


2009 Fortunate 500 All-Stars

2009 Fortunate 500 Arts

2009 Fortunate 500 Business

2009 Fortunate 500 Charity

2009 Fortunate 500 Education

2009 Fortunate 500 Food

2009 Fortunate 500 Heritage

2009 Fortunate 500 Law

2009 Fortunate 500 Media

2009 Fortunate 500 Movies

2009 Fortunate 500 Music

2009 Fortunate 500 Nightlife

2009 Fortunate 500 Sports

2009 Fortunate 500 Style

Permalink | Comments (0) | Post your comment Categories: The 500

Game Days at Bikinis on Sixth, Part 2

For Part 1 of Game Days at Bikinis, scroll down for previous post, or go here.

Let’s get this straight: Guller is no leering, middle-aged businessman who left a good position selling software to the government to follow his boyish bliss.

OK, he doesn’t leer. The rest is true. The Cincinnati native, who survived a large, competitive Catholic family and graduated from Villanova University, was working in high-tech in Washington D.C. when he decided to hop from one recession-proof career to another.

“People are always going to drink, happy or sad,” he says. “And they’ll eat, if the price point is right.”

Guller scanned various potential markets for his Bikinis idea.

“I wanted a place where I could wear flip-flops every day,” he says.

Footwear aside, Guller is a fanatic about organization, hygiene and customer service. And he’s built a loyal workforce based on the concepts of teams, coaches and huddles.

When he purchased the former Roux, Guller inherited the Parish. The music club upstairs has attained sacred status for some music-lovers, its wood-lined spatial configuration and sound system creating an ideal listening post. As he did downstairs, Guller first improved the plumbing and fixtures, then he started working on the green room and fixes to the rustic hall. He plans to retain the same act-booker, but wants to make the experience for musicians and fans first-rate.

Let’s review. Guller can run a restaurant. He builds teams. And he respects music. What about the matter of basing a business on a key portion of the female anatomy? Isn’t that asking for trouble? Guller says verbal bad manners is almost always the worst of it.

“I don’t know how some men were raised to talk the way they do,” he says. “We take care of that.”

Permalink | Comments (3) | Post your comment Categories: Sports

Game Days at Bikinis on Sixth, Part 1

Sports-bar owners must pray for blackout games. And pay-per-view games. And away games.

How else are red-blooded fans going to share the mass social rituals of cheering the home team, throwing back brews and devouring comfort food?

Doug Guller adds another element: breasts (to be blunt). Given his target demographic, preferably female breasts.

“We’re making the world more beautiful one bikini at a time,” the Austin entrepreneur says without irony. He has quickly opened five editions of the Bikinis Sports Bar and Grill, including spots in San Antonio, San Marcos and Charlotte, N.C.

The first Bikinis transformed a freeway-side restaurant across Interstate 35 from Highland Mall in 2006. Guller’s most recent emporium, where female servers wear fairly modest bikini tops with Daisy Dukes below, opened just in time for football season in the former home of Roux and Jazz Louisiana Kitchen on East Sixth Street.

Judging from the crush on the first college football game day, Guller is filling a Sixth Street niche. Orange-jerseyed men — and a few women — occupied all the tables, upstairs and down, and spaces at the bar. This, four hours before kickoff.

The next Saturday, as the Longhorns played the University of Wyoming Cowboys in Laramie, torrential rain kept most Sixth Street spots empty. Not Bikinis.

Round Rock resident John Selvera was passing by and liked the roomy look. “It wasn’t so cramped and stuffy,” he said.

U.S. Marines Erick Rheinhart and Jon Buckland, based in Corpus Christi, had noted the plethora of big screens when they had walked by Bikinis’ open facade the previous night. Austin students Gerg McIvor and Mike Stobie said they liked the “good food at reasonable prices,” plus all the screens. “The waitresses are a bonus,” McIvor said.

“I love working here,” said veteran waitress Whitney Bell. “The girls are happy. The customers are happy. It’s a happy place.”

Of course, sports bars are proliferating like flat-panel, high-definition televisions in, well, sports bars. Besides locally based chains like Third Base and high-end experiments such as Cover 3, many of the approximately 900 Austin-area bars and restaurants licensed by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission link up their screens to game day.

Along with sports bars, accentuated breasts are not uncommon these days, as comic author Sarah Bird noted in the September issue of Texas Monthly: “We’re living in the most boob-o-centric time since Napoleon dated Josephine.”

In fact, it’s difficult for your social columnist to snap a party picture in Austin without accidentally preserving evidence of casual cleavage for history. Even at conservative charity galas.

Leaving aside the outright strip joints, you’ve got numerous establishments like the Tilted Kilt, Twin Peaks and Bone Daddy. Then there’s the one company Guller thinks of as Bikinis’ competition. His employees refer to it as “H-dash-S.”

More to come.

Permalink | Comments (0) | Post your comment Categories: Sports

2009 Fortunate 500: Food

2009 FORTUNATE 500


Top Picks: Marla Camp and Jeff Kessel

For a micro-profile of the Food Top Picks, go here.

Alma Alcocer-Thomas. Fonda San Miguel

David Alan and Joe Eflier. TipsyTexan.com, Annies

Susan and Ed Auler. Fall Creek Vineyards

Eddie Bernal. 34th Street Cafe, Santa Rita Cantina, Blue Star Cafeteria

Paula Biehler. Biehler & Associates

Jeff Blank. Hudson’s on the Bend, The Mighty Cone

Faith Chan. Cissi’s Market

Clayton Christopher. Sweet Leaf Tea

Rebeka and Tyson Cole. Uchi, Uchiko, Canteen

Jessica and Todd Duplechan. Trio, Dishalicious

Lisa and Emmett Fox. Asti, Fino

Quincy Adams Erickson and Stephen Nagle. Fete Accompli Inc., Stephen Nagle & Associates, Wine & Food Foundation of Texas, Texas Culinary Academy, Annie’s List

Margaret and David Jabour. Twin Liquors

Laura and Jamie Kelso. Dishola

Liz Lambert and Amy Cook. Hotel San José, Jo’s Hot Coffee, El Cosmico, Bunkhouse, Hotel Saint Cecilia, ‘The Sky Observer’s Guide’

Victoria Lynden and Piper Jones. Cissi’s Wine Bar

Larry McGuire. Lamberts Downtown Barbecue, La Condesa, Perla’s

Trina and Damian Mandola. Mandola’s Italian Market, Mandola’s Estate Winery, Austin Children’s Shelter, Marywood Foundation, St. Stephen’s Episcopal School

Lisa Matulis. Delish Cupcakes

Aimee Olson. Texas Culinary Academy, Les Dames D’Escoffier

Mark Paul. Wink, Zoot

Elmar Prambs. Trio, Caritas

Kerri Qunell. Capital Area Food Bank of Texas

Ixchel and Armando Rayo. TacoJournalism.com

Robert Rhoades. Hudson’s on the Bend, The Mighty Cone

Rebecca Robinson. Wine & Food Foundation of Texas

Bud Royer. Royer’s Round Top Cafe, Meals on Wheels, American YouthWorks

Suzanne Santos. Austin Farmers’ Market

Carol Ann Sayle and Larry Butler. Boggy Creek Farms, Green Corn Project

Stewart Scruggs. Zoot, Wink

Amy and Steve Simmons. Amy’s Ice Creams, Phil’s Ice House, Austinville

Scott Simons. Whole Foods

Chuck Smith. Moonshine

Karen Odom Spezia and Roy Spezia. Tribeza, Clark, Thomas & Winters, Les Dames D’Escoffier, Wine & Food Foundation of Texas

Lisa and Mark Spedale. Primizie

Foo Swasdee. Satay, Texas Asian Chamber of Commerce, Get Sum Dim Sum

Michael Vilim. Mirabelle, Wine & Food Foundation of Texas

Sharon Watkins. Chez Zee, Zach Theatre, Long Center, UT PAC

Peggy and Ron Weiss. Shoreline Grill, Jeffrey’s

For images of the 2009 Fortunate 500 Food listees, go here.


2009 Fortunate 500 All-Stars

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2009 Fortunate 500 Charity

2009 Fortunate 500 Education

2009 Fortunate 500 Food

2009 Fortunate 500 Heritage

2009 Fortunate 500 Law

2009 Fortunate 500 Media

2009 Fortunate 500 Movies

2009 Fortunate 500 Music

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Permalink | Comments (4) | Post your comment Categories: Food, The 500

2009 Fortunate 500: Education

2009 FORTUNATE 500


Top Picks: Kathryn Anderson and Doug Dempster
For a micro-profile of the Education Top Picks, go here.

Sandy Alcala. Junior League of Austin, UTLatinos, Texas Exes

Amy Averett. Austin Voices For Education and Youth

Alex Brown. Austin Community College Foundation, AMD

Meria Carstarphen. Austin Independent School District

Roxann Thomas Chargois. The Links Inc., St. Edward’s University

Penny and Thomas Cedel. Concordia University Texas

Larry Earvin. Austin Area Urban League, Huston-Tillotson University, Leadership Austin

Thomas E. Gallagher. Austin Community College Foundation, Seton Family of Hospitals

Katy Hackerman. UT College of Natural Sciences Janet Harman. KDK-Harman Foundation, St. Stephen’s School, Southwest Council of Foundations

Kim Heilbrun and William Powers. University of Texas, Austin Triathlon, St. Stephen’s Episcopal School

Nancy and Bobby Inman. University of Texas, Paramount Theatre, Texas Natural Science Center

Johnita and Bill Jones. Texas A&M System

Jill Kolasinski and Rip Esselstyn. KIPP Austin, Austin Fire Department, ‘The Engine 2 Diet’

Michael Lofton. African American Men and Boys/Women and Girls Conference

George E. Martin. St. Edward’s University

Leslie Powers. Rise School of Austin

Mary Ann Rankin. University of Texas

Laura Steinbach. Rawson-Saunders School

Lucia and Paul Woodruff. University of Texas

Jane Woodman Schrum and Jake Schrum. Southwestern University

Denise M. Trauth and John Huffman. Texas State University-San Marcos

Louise and Steven Weinberg. University of Texas, the Nobelity Project

Mary and Howard Yancy. University of Texas, People’s Community Clinic, Texas Book Festival

To see images of the Fortunate 500 Education listees, go here.


2009 Fortunate 500 All-Stars

2009 Fortunate 500 Arts

2009 Fortunate 500 Business

2009 Fortunate 500 Charity

2009 Fortunate 500 Education

2009 Fortunate 500 Food

2009 Fortunate 500 Heritage

2009 Fortunate 500 Law

2009 Fortunate 500 Media

2009 Fortunate 500 Movies

2009 Fortunate 500 Music

2009 Fortunate 500 Nightlife

2009 Fortunate 500 Sports

2009 Fortunate 500 Style

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Guest Blogger: Phillip Bradshaw

Last year I spent a great deal of my Thursday nights at Polvo’s on South First Street for four reasons. 1. I enjoy socializing. 2. I enjoy margaritas. 3. I live down the street and don’t have to drive home. 4. End of an Ear record store is almost right across the street.

Lack of funds and a more concrete schedule kept me away from Polvo’s and End of an Ear this summer, but I knew I’d be would be back to both places eventually.

So last week, my friends and I re-established our Thursday night margarita ritual. And today, I reinstituted my End of an Ear day, night, and pretty much anytime I have half an hour to spare.

Walking into End of an Ear is a little nerve-racking the first time. You cannot see into the store. The door is old and wooden and probably doesn’t lock completely. And you really can’t hear anything going on in the inside. You must be curious and willing to find out exactly what is inside.

Most of the time you are not disappointed. End of an Ear does not boast the largest selection of records, or even the most up to date. However, if you are in the mood for browsing in an easy-going, no-pressure environment, End of an Ear is the place.

As you browse the columns, make sure to flip through the records one by one, even if you know what you are looking for. The tangible aspect of record shopping is one thing that really appeals to me. I flip through each row and enjoy the artwork on each vinyl cover, many I’ve never seen or heard of, but I enjoy nonetheless.

Another aspect that I enjoy is the space you are given by the employees. To me, browsing records is not really a social thing. I am in the store to find music for myself. And if I feel like an employee is waiting for me to ask them a question, I become preoccupied with that thought.

The selection does not take long to browse, so I appreciate that I can probably look at every section in the store in a reasonable amount of time.

I almost always leave with something, whether it is a new record I had been waiting for, or a record I simply don’t have. I might be the only one who is attracted to this sort of shopping environment, but End of an Ear has a loyal customer in me.

For more of Phillip Bradshaw’s entertainment journalism, visit “The View from Austin.”

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Guest Blogger: Carly Hallman

The word “journalist” conjures up images of literary greatness — unshaven, unshowered men in cargo pants, furiously scribbling notes as bombs detonate around them … fat paychecks from the New York Times … an enviable intellect … respect.

But, what image does “entertainment journalist” bring to mind? Think about it for a second. Mario Lopez? Anti-social, obscure-Internet-slang-wielding bloggers? Those blonde bimbos on Extra? The coiffed dim-wits on “TMZ” (no offense, Harvey Levin)?

In the collective American mind, entertainment journalism has become synonymous with celebrity journalism, and even — ahem — sensationalism. And, really, with all of the Anna Nicole Smith hype and the Britney Spears hype and the Michael Jackson hype and the hype-hype-hype hype, is it any real surprise?

But, I think it’s time to reconsider.

Story: Once upon a time, entertainment lived in its own room. It was rare and special occasion for the average Joe to open entertainment’s door and attend a play or to get his hands on a new book. People were busy — working, caring for families, farming, sleeping, cooking, eating, doing it all again. Entertainment was a luxury.

And people are still busy, but entertainment no longer lives alone, behind a tightly closed door. It lives with us — not just those of us wealthy enough or successful enough or just plain lucky enough to have time and money to spare — but with all of us.

We brought TV into our homes. We installed radios in our cars. We spent our paychecks on records, eight-tracks, tapes, CDs, MP3s; video cassettes, DVDs. Women went to work so that the average family can now afford to regularly attend movies, to subscribe to magazines, to dine out approximately four times per week. With the Internet, we connected ourselves to the world via wires, and now waves.

Now, sometimes I write and I read fluffy stuff. Sometimes I watch “TMZ.” Sometimes I flip through tabloids while I’m standing in line at Wal-Mart.

But, honestly, I don’t care what flavor of Frappucino Mary-Kate Olsen orders from Starbucks. I don’t care about Sienna Miller’s jeans. I don’t care about how fat Kirstie Alley is this week.

I do care about my life.

I care about books and travel and music. I care about the Internet and how I can use the Internet to form connections with other human beings. I care about how and where I choose to spend my money- which restaurant, which nightclub, which comedy club, which art gallery. I care about my life, so I care about entertainment.

In this shaky political age, entertainment is our strongest democracy — and as a thinking, breathing, living human being, this is how I choose to participate.

For more of Carly Hallman’s entertainment journalism, visit Chairman Wow!

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Guest Blogger: Jules Ramirez

I really like the idea of eating out of airstream trailers. Yes, they are becoming obnoxiously trendy, popping up everywhere. Yet, as my dad was reminded me the other day, they’re a good idea for those looking to test an innovative business — and who don’t want to bother with contracts and rents.

My most recent find was Lulu B, the trailer that serves Vietnamese sandwiches, spring rolls, salads, smoothies, coffee and bubble teas.

The trailer sits conveniently in a shaded spot off of South Lamar Boulevard across from Bird’s Barbershop, and although the lunch crowd can cause a small wait, you can always phone in your orders.

For $7, I obtained two large sized avocado spring rolls, dressed with a spicy peanut sauce and an iced black, bubble tea. Not bad.

I will definitely the shrimp summer rolls try next time. My dad ordered a lemongrass pork sandwich. Everything tasted fresh and was complemented with the right sauce.

Next on my list: Crepes Mille on South Congress Avenue. Can it beat out Flip-Happy? Doubtful.

For more of Jules Ramirez’s entertainment journalism, visit Twenty Fresh.

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Your A-List: Best Gay Bar

Wouldn’t you know? The only Austin gay bar I didn’t visit on the 12-stop Last Splash edition of the Out & About Club Soda Club Crawl was ‘Bout Time. Not out of disrespect, but because my tour was on foot and the North Austin joint on Interstate 35 is out of my pedestrian range.

It has, however, loyal fans. Lots of them, judging by the margin of its win in the A-List vote for best gay bar. It served up an astounding 46 percent of the tally. Not bad for Austin’s lone suburban gay club.

Charlie’s, cheek-to-jowl by the State Capitol, powered 21 percent. Densely populated Rain lined up 13 percent. Long-ascendant Oilcan Harry’s managed 10 percent. Brand new Rusty Spurs lassoed 4 percent and equally country Rainbow Cattle Country trailed with 3 percent. Chain Drive and the CP took under 2 percent.

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Your A-List: Best Landmark

At one time, only two buildings rose above low skyline of Austin: The State Capitol and the University of Texas Tower. They remain among the city’s most beloved buildings. In fact, when we asked you about Austin’s Best Landmarks, you chose the Capitol as No. 1 with 37 percent and the UT Tower No. 2 with 28 percent.

Daniel Johnston’s froggy “Hi, how are you” mural proved Austin’s still as weird as it wants to be by winning 8 percent of the tally. (Kind of like voting for Leslie for mayor.) The ice-sculpture-like Frost Bank Tower rose to 6 percent, while all-encompassing Mount Bonnell was not far behind.

The Pennybacker Bridge — graceful, but an icon? — and the chummy Stevie Ray Vaughan statue virtually tied at 4 percent. Bringing up the rear were Enchanted Rock, Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge, 360 Tower and Austin City Hall with less than 3 percent.

Pretty good list, voters.

Update: Photo by LoneStarMike

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Your A-List: Best Evening Newscast

Sometimes the relative newcomers come out on top.

The A-List voters gave their overwhelming endorsement for Best Evening Newscast to KVUE’s fresh-faced Terri Gruca and Tyler Sieswerda (virtually an old-timer, since he’s been with the station since 2005).

The duo out-read the competition — some trailing decades of local exposure — with 28 percent of the tally.

Veterans Judy Maggio and Ron Oliveira over at KEYE cruised into a distant second with 21 percent.

Robert Hadlock and Leslie Rhode at KXAN followed closely with 19 percent.

KTBC’s Loriana Hernandez and Mike Warren earned a respectable 12 percent rating.

Crestina Chavez (New 8 Austin) and Gustavo Monsante (KAKW) wrapped with 8 and 2 percent respectively.

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Your A-List: Best Breakfast Taco

Don’t even mess with Austinites and their breakfast tacos. One year, reporting the results of the A-List vote on best break tacos, I misread the totals and the backers of the putative winner blew their collective stacks. You’d think its was a replay of the 2000 presidential election.

This year, Nueva Onda won with 22 percent of the vote. A reader offers an explantation: “Why would Nueva Unda, with a single location off South Congress, be the best taco in town one might ask?” writes Dan Vogler, aka Dan La Taconista. “It’s simple, they have whole wheat tortillias, and the eggs are … soft and fluffy and always perfect.”

Terrifically popular Taco Deli came in second with 18 percent, while the whimsically named Juan in a Million took third with 12 percent. Imaginative Maria’s Taco X-Press cooked up 8 percent. Almost right behind Maria’s were Torchy’s, Taco Shack and Tamale House.

Under 5 percent: Rudy’s, Maudie’s, Taqueria Arandas, El Chilito, El Arroyo, Polvo’s, Curra’s and (closed for now) Las Manitas.

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2009 Fortunate 500: Charity

2009 FORTUNATE 500


Top Picks: Maria and Eric Groten

For a previously posted micro-profile of the Charity Top Picks, go here.

Heidi Adams. Planet Cancer

Joanie and Ben Bentzin. Center for Child Protection, Long Center, University of Texas

Donna and Philip Berber. A Glimmer of Hope Foundation

Gary Cooper and Richard Hartgrove. Zach Theatre, Austin Lyric Opera, Austin Museum of Art, Out Youth, AIDS Services of Austin

Jennifer and Ashton Cumberbatch. Council for Community Reconciliation, Seton Healthcare Network, Agape Christian Ministries, Greater Austin Chamber

Wilhelmina Delco and Dr. Exalton Delco, Jr. North Austin Medical Center, Huston-Tillotson University, Greater Austin Crime Commission

Susan and Bobby Epstein. Long Center, Jewish Community Association of Austin, Austin Film Society, Children’s Medical Center Foundation of Central Texas

Mark Erwin and Stephen Rice. Octopus Club, Lone Star Legal Copy & Imaging, Standard Answer

Rob Faubion and JoeLane Schumann. AIDS Services of Austin, Wright House Wellness Center, Austin Onstage, Project Transitions

David Garza and Dr. John Hogg. Garza Design & Construction, Austin Radiological Association, People’s Community Clinic, Mexic-Arte Museum, Hispanic Scholarship Consortium, Human Rights Campaign Foundation, Ballet Austin, AIDS Services of Austin, American Gateways, Art House, Equality Texas Foundation, Project Transitions

Jesus Garza. Seton Family of Hospitals

Alan Graham. Mobile Loaves and Fishes

Kate and Robert Hersch. Heritage Society of Austin, Austin Film Society, Ballet Austin

Matt Kouri. Greenlights for Nonprofits

Brenda Kennedy. Jack & Jill of America, 403rd Judicial Criminal District Court of Travis

Cindy and Greg Kozmetsky. United Way, RGK Foundation, PeopleFund

Sterling Lands II. Greater Calvary Bible Church, Eastside Social Action Coalition

Susan and Craig Lubin. Austin Gastroenterology, Ballet Austin, Jewish Community Association of Austin

Patsy Woods Martin. I Live Here, I Give Here

Myra and Ruben McDaniel. St. James Episcopal Church, Bickerstaff Heath Delgado Acosta, Austin Public Education Foundation, St. Edward’s University, Bishop Quin Foundation

Susan McDowell. LifeWorks, Austin Under 40

Heather McKissick. Leadership Austin

Earl Maxwell. St. David’s Community Health Foundation, Maxwell Locke & Ritter, Austin Area Research Organization, Long Center, Austin Community College Foundation, Austin Partners in Education

Dick Moeller. St. David’s Community Health Foundation, Enovate Enterprises, Water to Thrive, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans

Dr. Nona Niland and David Braun. Ann Richards School, Long Center, People’s Community Clinic, Center For Public Policy Priorities, UT School of Nursing Advisory Council, Niland Foundation

Denise and Randy Phillips. Promiseland West

MariBen Ramsey and Karen Kahan. Association of Junior Leagues International, Austin Community Foundation, Seton Fund

Beverly Scarborough. Texas Commission on Mental Health and Mental Retardation, Ballet Austin, Girl Scouts, Congregation Beth Israel

Lily and Yigal Saad. Anti-Defamation League, Austin Lyric Opera, Jewish Community Center Association

Tom Spencer. Austin Area Interreligious Ministries

Amy Stanley. KeyStaff, Big Brothers Big Sisters

Venus and Bill Strawn. Center for Child Protection, Rise School of Austin, Women’s Fund of Central Texas

Margot and Grant Thomas. YouthLaunch, People’s Community Clinic, Town Lake Trail Foundation

Kelly and Richard Topfer. Topfer Family Foundation, Children’s Medical Center Foundation of Central

Doug Ulman. Lance Armstrong Foundation

Barbara Vackar. Austin Women’s Network, National Women’s History Museum, Leadership Austin

Isabel and Dave Welland. Miracle Foundation, Children’s Medical Center Foundation of Central Texas, Long Center

Alex Winkelman. Charity Bash

Amy and Al Wong Mok. Asian American Cultural Center

Armando Zambrano. Children’s Medical Center Foundation of Central Texas

For selected images Charity listees, go here.


2009 Fortunate 500 All-Stars

2009 Fortunate 500 Arts

2009 Fortunate 500 Business

2009 Fortunate 500 Charity

2009 Fortunate 500 Education

2009 Fortunate 500 Food

2009 Fortunate 500 Heritage

2009 Fortunate 500 Law

2009 Fortunate 500 Media

2009 Fortunate 500 Movies

2009 Fortunate 500 Music

2009 Fortunate 500 Nightlife

2009 Fortunate 500 Sports

2009 Fortunate 500 Style

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Inside Glamour with the Tejas Club

The Tejas Club has been shaping future Texas leaders for decades. Housed in a grand old West Campus home that once served as doctors’ offices for the former Seton Hospital, the independent fraternity averages 50 or 60 “braves.” Yet, since members invite friends and family to their traditional Thursday-night coffees, the first such meeting of the fall 2009 semester counted just as many young women, along with a few parents and alumni.

Recent coffee speakers have included former UT System Chancellor Mark Yudof, media star Liz Carpenter, ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, UT basketball coach Rick Barnes and UT football coach Mack Brown. So what was your social columnist doing there, addressing a standing-room-only crowd in the spacious public room at 26th and Rio Grande streets?

First, I shared a story about “open Austin” from 20 years ago, when we lived right across 26th Street in a broken-down bungalow. Mid-rise condos now rise on the site, but I recounted how welcoming the various fraternities, sororities and cooperatives were to the artsy inhabitants of that bungalow. I could offer the braves and guests some further historical perspective. My reporting beat encompasses Austin’s glamour scene, which bears some definition, since our local glamour — “attraction” or “allure” — is not like Hollywood’s, New York’s or Miami’s.

Austin’s first glam scene evolved from politics. Power attracted folks from far and wide to the capital, first of the republic, then the state of Texas. Along with the politicians came nightlife, primarily in the form of Guy Town, a collection of bars and bawdy houses located where the Warehouse District now offers slightly classier entertainment.

So infamous was Austin’s nightlife, the city’s competitors for the flagship university — Waco, Tyler, etc. — campaigned on the dangers of those distractions to college students. Yet Austin was pretty savvy at selling its own brand of glamour, even then, and the intellectual aura of the University of Texas — along with other institutions of higher education —contributed to the city’s allure.

Politics and education remained the only sustaining attractions until well after World War II. Why not business? The Central Texas drought and flood cycle meant the city’s dams could not produce reliable enough energy for manufacturing, while railroads converged on other distribution points. (Almost by accident, this situation also left the city greener than most.)

After the war, a former magnesium mine north of the city became UT’s research center, and high-tech followed. Technology generated the city’s first real wealth, and by the 1990s, a true philanthropy scene emerged. You’ve read about the glamorous rest in this space: Music in the 1970s. Movies in the 1980s. Arts and fine dining in the 1990s. Style, nightlife, media and celebrity sports in the 21st Century.

If all those scenes echo the categories in the annual Fortunate 500 lists — 2009’s edition now available at austin360.com/outandabout — it’s not by coincidence. As the sharp questions and comments from Tejas members demonstrated, everybody knows about Austin glamour. It’s helpful, however, to analyze its constituent elements and review its origins.

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2009 Fortunate 500: Business



Top picks: Mary Herr Tally and Rusty Tally

See previously posted micro-profile of Business Top Picks here.

Taylor Andrews. 360 Condos, Ballet Austin, Austin Music Hall, Austin Museum of Art

Sandra and Joe Aragona. Austin Ventures, Lance Armstrong Foundation, Dell Children’s Medical Center, Entrepreneur’s Foundation

Charles Barnett. Seton Family of Hospitals, Greater Austin Chamber, APIE

Gigi and Sam Bryant. Bryant Wealth Investment Group, United Way Capital Area, Boys and Girls Club of Austin, Austin Community Foundation, Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, Prom Princesses and Prom Dude

Suzanna Caballero. Wachovia Bank, Leadership Austin

Sue and John Cullen. Capstar Partners, Rise School of Austin

Fidel Estrada. Estrada Cleaners, United Negro College Fund

Gary Farmer. Heritage Title, Greater Austin Chamber

Carolyn Gallagher. Texwood Furniture Corp., Long Center

Regan and Billy Gammon William Gammon Insurance Agency Inc., Texas Book Festival

Jeff Garvey. Austin Ventures, Lance Armstrong Foundation

N. Rudy Garza. G-51 Capital LLC, Dell Children’s Medical Center

Chris Greta. Ad Ranch Inc., Herobracelets.org, Austin Lyric Opera

Karen Fabbio and Rick Hawkins. LabNow

Joe and Sandra Holt. Austin Chamber, Austin Symphony Orchestra, JPMorgan Chase

Brett Hurt. Bazaarvoice, Shop.org, Web Analytics Association

Robena Jackson. RJW Operations Inc., Dispute Resolution Center, Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce

Chris Long Realty Austin, El Buen Samaritano

Sheridan and Perry Lorenz. Constructive Ventures Inc., Spring

Tim McCabe. Trammell Crow, Fusebox, Atticus Circle, Fuse Box

Jimmy Mansour. Telephone Management, Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, Bible Study Fellowship

Bertha Means. Austin Cab Co., Capital City African American Chamber of Commerce, St. James Episcopal Church, Democratic Party

Rosie Mendoza. R. Mendoza & Co., SafePlace, Travis County Hospital District, Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Nancy Mims and Rodney Gibbs. Digital Media Council, Dorkbot, Skillpoint Alliance, Texas Motion Picture Alliance, Mod Green Pod

Terry Mitchell. Momark Development, Austin Works Housing, Real Estate Council of Austin

Mary Pat Mueller. Door Number 3 Inc., Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, New Milestones Foundation, People’s Community Clinic, Impact Austin

Deep Nasta. Deep in the Heart of Texas Realty, Young Men’s Business League, Symphony BATS


Laura and Jeff Sandefer. Acton MBA in Entrepreneurship, Paramount and State Theatres

Brian Sharples. Home Away, Austin Ventures

Nav Sooch. Sooch Foundation, Silicon Laboratories Inc., Miracle Foundation

Bertrand and Roy Sosa. NetSpend Corp., MPower Venture, Relationship and Information Series for Entrepreneurs

Jim Walker. Central Texas Sustainability Indicators, Mueller Neighborhood Coalition, Austin Under 40

Diana Zuniga. Investors Alliance Inc., Spring, Real Estate Council of Austin, Zach Theatre, Austin Area Research Organization, E3 Alliance, St. Mary’s Cathedral School, Austin Commercial Real Estate Society


2009 Fortunate 500 All-Stars

2009 Fortunate 500 Arts

2009 Fortunate 500 Business

2009 Fortunate 500 Charity

2009 Fortunate 500 Education

2009 Fortunate 500 Food

2009 Fortunate 500 Heritage

2009 Fortunate 500 Law

2009 Fortunate 500 Media

2009 Fortunate 500 Movies

2009 Fortunate 500 Music

2009 Fortunate 500 Nightlife

2009 Fortunate 500 Sports

2009 Fortunate 500 Style

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Out & About Club Soda Club Crawl: Tour A: Last Splash: 12

Don’t even think about touring 12 clubs in one evening while partaking of strong drink.

For this sort of nightlife madness, we invented the Out & About Club Soda Crawl. Visit 12 nightspots, on foot, in six hours, hydrated by club soda and limes.

The year-long plan: Tour 12 Austin club districts, 12 watering holes at a time.

Tour A: Last Splash Weekend: Stop 12

Kiss & Fly has flown somewhat below the mainstream radar. An immense, still-new gay bar with a potent straight following, it inherited one of the classic dance/performance arrangements from the high-tech 1980s. The only visible addition that I can determine under the new management is an upper-deck bar out back, which provides respite from the sometimes deafening music inside.

A pretty classy drag show — as those things go — hogged the stage and dance floor while I was there. Throngs pressed to the two-level borders of the central dance well, tossing out dollar bills to the performers. After 1 p.m., more than a few Last Splashers were pairing up, romantically, and the place took on an end-of-summer atmosphere. Gather ye rosebuds, while ye may, or something to that effect.

Pictured: Rush Kemp and Michael Stevenson

For more Out & About Club Soda Club Crawl, follow category link below.

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Out & About Club Soda Club Crawl: Tour A: Last Splash: 11

Don’t even think about touring 12 clubs in one evening while partaking of strong drink.

For this sort of nightlife madness, we invented the Out & About Club Soda Crawl. Visit 12 nightspots, on foot, in six hours, hydrated by club soda and limes.

The year-long plan: Tour 12 Austin club districts, 12 watering holes at a time.

Tour A: Last Splash Weekend: Stop 11

For almost two decades, Oilcan Harry’s ruled as Austin’s dominant gay bar. It was showered with national recognition and landed on magazine lists of best gay establishments anywhere. Oilcan’s — as it is known — has engendered a lot of competition these days, primarily from Rain and Kiss & Fly. But gay troops, like straight ones, like to bop from one club to another, so all three can buzz at the same time.

Last Splash Weekend was one of those times. Although Oilcan’s was the only club on our crawl that charged a cover ($5), the assembly inside was sizeable and grew while I was there. Most of the time, I chatted with people I recognized on the quieter patio. True to form, though, I spotted some of the same clubbers previously noted (and visually tagged) at Rain, Qua and, later, at Kiss & Fly. So the little gay circuit works.

Pictured: Clayton Defoe, Maria Garcia and Simon Haas

For more Out & About Club Soda Club Crawl, follow category link below.

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Out & About Club Soda Club Crawl: Tour A: Last Splash: 10

Don’t even think about touring 12 clubs in one evening while partaking of strong drink.

For this sort of nightlife madness, we invented the Out & About Club Soda Crawl. Visit 12 nightspots, on foot, in six hours, hydrated by club soda and limes.

The year-long plan: Tour 12 Austin club districts, 12 watering holes at a time.

Tour A: Last Splash Weekend: Stop 10

Qua tries harder.It must overcome a reluctance from the passerby to simply pass by. That’s because its bouncers tend what is reported to be the most intimidating velvet rope in town. Luckily, the highly decorated interior is completely open to sidewalk, so one can spy the tiers of partiers and decide if it’s worth rope test.

The choice wasn’t difficult on Last Splash Weekend, as gay and straight, older and younger tribes blended easily in the water-themed club. (It might have helped that two buff, shirtless men kept pulling people in off the sidewalk.) Anyway, my second stop at Qua was equally pleasing as the first, only populated with a lot more clubbers. And some of them seemed to be having an outstanding time.

Pictured: Abel Sanchez and Pedro Hernandez

For more Out & About Club Soda Club Crawl, follow category link below.

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Out & About Club Soda Club Crawl: Tour A: Last Splash: 9

Don’t even think about touring 12 clubs in one evening while partaking of strong drink.

For this sort of nightlife madness, we invented the Out & About Club Soda Crawl. Visit 12 nightspots, on foot, in six hours, hydrated by club soda and limes.

The year-long plan: Tour 12 Austin club districts, 12 watering holes at a time.

Tour A: Last Splash Weekend: Stop 9

The line outside Rain looked familiar. This gay club is so popular, its velvet rope ensures the only path pedestrians can take along the southern tier of West Fourth Street late weekend nights. Manager Dave Pantano, noticing I was out reporting, waved me in.

Hello, Austin Modeling Agency? All your talent is squeezed into Rain.

I’ve always admired how many people will dance on Rain’s itsy bitsy floor. Yet people like to be around other people. And Rain was the busiest of the clubs on this crawl. I snaked my way through the patio, greeting a few people, but truth be told, I suspect it was mostly out-of-towners in for Last Splash. If so, they are now talking about that move to Austin.

Pictured: Willow Witten and Brett Wilson

For more Out & About Club Soda Club Crawl, follow category link below.

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Out & About Club Soda Club Crawl: Tour A: Last Splash: Stop No. 8

Don’t even think about touring 12 clubs in one evening while partaking of strong drink.

For this sort of nightlife madness, we invented the Out & About Club Soda Crawl. Visit 12 nightspots, on foot, in six hours, hydrated by club soda and limes.

The year-long plan: Tour 12 Austin club districts, 12 watering holes at a time.

Tour A: Last Splash Weekend: Stop 8

You’d think that since Rusty Spurs was giving Rainbow Cattle Co. a run for its Country & Western money, that the older Rainbow would be a little short on gay cowboys and gals. Not so. Texas just keeps raising more of ‘em. And Rainbow on West Fifth Street thumpin’ on Sunday.

Inveterate entertainer and journalist Rob Faubion was one reason: He’d organized a short runway show of swimwear from Pistol Pete’s. Apt for Last Splash Weekend. Anyway, the women — straight or gay — may have outnumbered the men here, which, since Austin lacks a lesbian bar of its own, was heartening.

Pictured: Evelyn Martinez and Gracie Treviño

For more Out & About Club Soda Club Crawl, follow category link below.

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Out & About Club Soda Club Crawl: Tour A: Last Splash: 7

Don’t even think about touring 12 clubs in one evening while partaking of strong drink.

For this sort of nightlife madness, we invented the Out & About Club Soda Crawl. Visit 12 nightspots, on foot, in six hours, hydrated by club soda and limes.

The year-long plan: Tour 12 Austin club districts, 12 watering holes at a time.

Tour A: Last Splash Weekend: Stop 7

Charlie’s was my spot. Twenty-five years ago. When I first moved to Austin. Knew every inch of it. Remember as much as I can about that second Summer of Love: 1984. Now, it’s just a tad north of my evening pedestrian ramblings. But at 12th and Lavaca streets, Charlie’s is not that far a stretch of the legs.

It’s always pleased me that there’s a gay bar in the direct shadow of the Texas State Capitol. The crowd on Sunday was varied, but I could tell some were ready to dance to the fantastic DJ’s tunes, if only someone would start the chain reaction. That’s never me. At least, not any more. So I sipped my club soda and talked with some pleasant, interesting folks.

Pictured: Davia Mejia, Leo and Jorge Reyes

For more Out & About Club Soda Club Crawl, follow category link below.

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Out & About Club Soda Club Crawl: Tour A: Last Splash: Stop No. 6

Don’t even think about touring 12 clubs in one evening while partaking of strong drink.

For this sort of nightlife madness, we invented the Out & About Club Soda Crawl. Visit 12 nightspots, on foot, in six hours, hydrated by club soda and limes.

The year-long plan: Tour 12 Austin club districts, 12 watering holes at a time.

Tour A: Last Splash Weekend: Stop 6

You’re right. I’ve already rhapsodized about the Other Side/Emerald City to the point of exhausting the subject. But when you think about it, almost all of Austin’s downtown gay bars — Oilcan’s, Rain, Rainbow, Spurs, Charlie’s, CP, Kiss — are built around a dance floor. This place is built around a baby grand piano.

During our crawl, we encountered a double awareness-raiser at the Other Side on East Seventh Street. One table promoted the many wonders of the Austin Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, now underway. I met new AGLIFF executive director Skot Tulk and caught up with outgoing ED David Sweeney. Be sure to see the festival’s centerpiece film, “Antique,” a totally charming and inventive South Korean comedy set in a pastry shop.

The other table backed the Octopus Club, whose OctoTea event is on the horizon. In fact, I hear they’ve tripled ticket sales for the dance at the Long Center Plaza. Save the date for Oct. 11.

Pictured: Scot Tulk and David Sweeney

For more Out & About Club Soda Club Crawl, follow category link below.

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2009 Fortunate 500: Arts

2009 FORTUNATE 500


Top Picks: Annette DiMeo Carlozzi and Dan Bullock.

See previously posted micro-profile of Arts Top Picks here.

Amy Barbee. Texas Cultural Trust

Ellen Bartel. Spank Dance Company,

Ron Berry. Refraction Arts, Fuse Box Festival

Robert Brown and Dennis Karbach. Long Center, Austin Museum of Art, Austin Gay and Lesbian International Film Festival, Paramount Theatre

Sarah and Ernest Butler. Butler School of Music, Blanton Museum of Art, Austin Museum of Art, Austin Symphony Orchestra, Ballet Austin, Austin Lyric Opera

Lisa Byrd and Ana Ixchel Rosal. ProArts Collective, University of Texas

Joyce Christian and Rudy Green. Austin Museum of Art, ProArts Collective, Care Communities, St. Stephen’s School

Barbara Chisholm and Robert Faires. Zach Theatre, Austin Chronicle

Katie Hernandez Cowles. Women & Their Work, Austin Museum of Art, Mexic-Arte Museum

Mela Dailey and Peter Bay. Austin Symphony Orchestra

Charles Duggan. Long Center, Greater Tuna Presents, Austin Lyric Opera, Ballet Austin, Democratic National Committee Advisory Board

Sean Gaulager. Co-Lab, Cantanker

Dana Friis-Hansen and Mark Holzbach. Austin Museum of Art, Zebra Imaging, Rude Mechanicals

Sue Graze. Arthouse, Ballet Austin

Deborah Green. Austin Film Society, Austin Museum of Art, Arthouse, UT College of Fine Arts

Joan Plaster Haas and Stan Haas. Nelsen Architects, Long Center

Mary Ann and Andrew Heller. Heller Records, Austin Lyric Opera, Austin Symphony Orchestra, Long Center, UT College of Fine Arts

Sondra Lomax and Peter Lohman. UT Performing Arts Center, UT College of Fine Arts

Brent Hasty and Stephen Mills. Ballet Austin, University of Texas, Arthouse

Jeanne and Michael Klein. Blanton Museum of Art, Arthouse, University of Texas

Gail and Jeff Kodosky. National Instruments Corp., UT Austin, Texas State, ACC, KIPP, Austin Children’s Museum, Girlstart, Austin Lyric Opera, Austin Symphony, Ballet Austin, Conspirare, Long Center, Austin Chamber Music Center, Austin Classical Guitar Society, Zach Scott, KMFA, KLRU, Round Top Festival Institute, Austin Community Foundation

Rachel Koper. Austin Chronicle, Women & Their Work

Chris Mattsson and John McHale. Austin Museum of Art, Arthouse

Stuart Moulton and Brian Jenson. Austin Cabaret Theatre, Green Mango Real Estate

Anton Nel and Dr. Bill Jones. Long Center, University of Texas, Concierge Family Medicine

Bettye and Bill Nowlin. University of Texas, Austin Museum of Art, Austin Theatre Alliance, Austin Community Development Corp., UT College of Fine Arts

Arturo Palacios. Art Palace, Texas Biennial, Austin Museum of Art, Blanton Museum of Art

Sylvia Orozco. Mexic-Arte Museum

Candace Partridge. Long Center, Austin Lyric Opera

Paula and Damian Priour. Umlauf Sculpture Garden, Austin Museum of Art

Cliff Redd and Rick Johnson. Long Center

Lora Reynolds and Quincy Lee. Lora Reynolds Gallery, Arthouse, Blanton Museum of Art

Cookie and Phil Ruiz. Ballet Austin, Con Mi Madre, Girls Empowerment Network, Texans for the Arts, CreateAustin

Michelle Schumann and Matt Orem. Austin Chamber Music Center, Mary Hardin-Baylor University.

Jane Sibley. Austin Symphony Orchestra, Long Center, UT College of Fine Arts

Judith Sims. Austin Museum of Art, Art Divas

Dave Steakley and Tony Johnson. Zach Theatre

Ken Stein and Ken Lambrecht. Paramount Theatre, Planned Parenthood of Texas

Judy Willcott and Laurence Miller. Texas French Bread, Fluent~Collaborative, Arthouse, Blanton Museum of Art

Jennifer Wijangco. Texas Cultural Trust

Eva and Marvin Womack. Austin Lyric Opera, Proctor & Gamble, Long Center


2009 Fortunate 500 All-Stars

2009 Fortunate 500 Arts

2009 Fortunate 500 Business

2009 Fortunate 500 Charity

2009 Fortunate 500 Education

2009 Fortunate 500 Food

2009 Fortunate 500 Heritage

2009 Fortunate 500 Law

2009 Fortunate 500 Media

2009 Fortunate 500 Movies

2009 Fortunate 500 Music

2009 Fortunate 500 Nightlife

2009 Fortunate 500 Sports

2009 Fortunate 500 Style

Permalink | Comments (0) | Post your comment Categories: Arts, The 500

2009 Fortunate 500: All-Stars

2009 FORTUNATE 500


Are the Fortunate 500 an elite class? Not in the traditional sense. The annual list of Austin’s most social citizens is not defined by money, power or family status.

Anyone can be nominated by readers. We take each nomination seriously, looking carefully for social investment and general accessibility. Then we track the nominees at social events all year long.

It’s that simple. No mysterious midnight elections. No shoulder-tapping ceremonies.

As in years past, the 2009 Fortunate 500 come from a multitude of backgrounds and represent the defining social activities of Central Texas. Also, the list changes significantly each year. At least 20 percent of the 500 available slots — many occupied by couples — alter each year.

The big surprise this time: The rapid rise of fashion as a common social denominator. As the inaugural Austin Fashion Week demonstrated during the summer, style has joined Austin’s old power centers — law, education, business, charity — and its established cultural expressions — music, movies, media, arts — as a definitional part of our social environment. Combined with the city’s ever more sophisticated food and nightlife scenes, fashion also helps illustrate the emergence of a uniquely local brand of recognizable glamour.

Top Picks: Eloise and John Paul DeJoria

See previously posted micro-profile of the Top Picks here.

Carol and Chris Adams. Austin Film Society, Austin Music Foundation, St. Edward’s University, Animal Trustees of Austin, Zach Theatre, AIDS Services of Austin, Arthouse, Blue Lapis Light/Sally Jacques

James Armstrong and Larry Connelly. Austin Museum of Art, Austin Lyric Opera, Long Center, Zach Theatre, UT College of Fine Arts

Lance Armstrong. Lance Armstrong Foundation, Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop, Team Radio Shack

Suzanne and David Booth. Dimensional Fund Advisors, Booth Heritage Foundation, Friends of Heritage Preservation, the Centre Pompidou Foundation, Chicago Booth School of Business

Linda Ball and Forrest Preece. Ballet Austin, Badgerdog Literary Publishing, Austin Cabaret Theatre, Austin Film Festival, Zach Theatre

Becky Beaver and John Duncan. Law Office of Becky Beaver, Ballet Austin, Texas Family Law Foundation, Austin Children’s Museum, Planned Parenthood of Austin, People’s Community Clinic, Austin Museum of Art, University of Texas, Annie’s List, Long Center

Sally and Mack Brown. University of Texas, Helping Hand Society, Rise School of Austin, Austin Partners in Education

Tana and Joe Christie. AIDS Services of Austin, Austin Lyric Opera, Armstrong Community Music School, Out Youth, Ransom Center

Linda and Bob Cole. KVET, Boy Scouts, Dell Children’s Medical Center, Frisco Shop, the Tavern, Hill’s Cafe

Susan and Michael Dell. Dell Inc., Dell Family Foundation, Dell Children’s Medical Center, Long Center, Austin Children’s Shelter, Arthouse

Oliver Everette and Craig Rancourt. L Style G Style, Human Rights Campaign, Arthouse, Equality Texas, Aids Services of Austin, Zach Scott, Octopus Club

Mary Margaret and Ray Farabee. Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, People’s Community Clinic, Southwestern Writers Collection, Molly National Journalism Prize

Donna Stockton Hicks and Steve Hicks. Rise School of Austin, Austin Recovery, Safeplace, Family Eldercare, Center for Child Protection, The Women’s Fund of Central Texas, Capstar Partners, Women’s Fund for Central Texas

Marcy Hoen and Bijoy Goswami. Bootstrap Austin, ‘The Human Fabric,’ Leadership Austin, Salon Sovay, Austin Art Start, Liminicity Consulting

Maria Luisa ‘Lulu’ Flores and Scott Hendler. National Women’s Political Caucus, Hendler Law, Mexic-Arte Museum, Save Town Lake Association, Hispanic Bar Association of Austin

Karen Frost and Charles Levy. Frost Media Relations, Nobelity, Texas Cultural Trust, Leadership Austin, I Live Here I Give Here, Impact Austin

Patty and James Huffines. University of Texas System, TXU Energy, PlainsCapital Bank, Austin Community Foundation, Center for Child Protection, Austin Chamber of Commerce, Women’s Fund for Central Texas

Teresa and Joe Long. Long Center, University of Texas, Austin Museum of Art, Austin Symphony Orchestra, UT College of Fine Arts

Carla and Jack McDonald. Perficient, Dynabrand PR, American Youthworks, Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce, Austech Alliance, PeopleFund, People’s Community Clinic

Lynn and Tom Meredith. MFI Foundation, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, Austin Children’s Museum, University of Texas, Long Center

Stephen Moser. Austin Chronicle, Made in Heaven

Bettie Naylor and Libby Sykora. Bettie Naylor & Associates, Out Youth, Lesbian/Gay Rights Lobby of Texas, First Amendment Coalition Of Texas

Willie Nelson. ‘Two Men with the Blues,’ Club Luck, Farm Aid, National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, Nobelity Project, Carl’s Corner

Deborah and Larry Peel. KLRU, Larry Peel Co., Wine & Food Foundation of Texas, Thoughtful House Center for Autism, Electronic Privacy Information Center

Anita and Rick Perry. Governor of Texas, Texas Conference for Women, National Governors Association, March of Dimes, Main Street Program, Center for Child Protection

Christy and Turk Pipkin. Nobelity Project, Miracle Foundation, A Glimmer of Hope Foundation

Sara and Dick Rathgeber. Rathgeber Village, Austin Children’s Shelter, People’s Community Clinic, Salvation Army

Amy and Kirk Rudy. Endeavor Real Estate Group, Anti-Defamation League, Equality Texas, AIDS Services of Austin, Ballet Austin, St. Andrew’s Episcopal School

Eugene Sepulveda and Steven Tomlinson. ABPorter.org, Entrepreneurs Foundation, Acton School of Business, FuseBox Festival, Wheatsville Coop, DNC NFC/LGBT Leadership Council, KDK Harman Foundation, PeopleFund

Julia and Evan Smith. Texas Tribune, Blanton Museum of Art, Trinity Episcopal School, Austin Film Society, People’s Community Clinic, Planned Parenthood

Julie and John Thornton. Austin Ventures, Texas Tribune, Ballet Austin, Blanton Museum of Art, testperformancetest, Arthouse

Bobbi and Mort Topfer. Topfer Family Foundation, Castletop Capital, Seton Fund, Long Center, March of Dimes, Dell Children’s Medical Center

Michelle Valles and Ray Benson. KEYE, Asleep at the Wheel, Bismeaux Studio, Muscular Dystrophy Association, American Heart Association, American Diabetes Association, Aguila Awards, Human Rights Campaign, HAAM, St. Davids Foundation, SIMS

Liz McDaniel Watson and Kirk Watson. Texas Senate, Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, Lance Armstrong Foundation, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation

Alexa and Blaine Wesner. Austin Ventures, Blue Texas, Austin Film Society, Lifeworks, Downtown Austin Alliance, Artworks, Austin Museum of Art

Suzanne and Marc Winkelman. Calendar Club, Jewish Community Association of Austin, Democratic Party, Long Center, Elie Weisel Foundation for Humanity

Anne Elizabeth Wynn and Joaquin Avellán. Atticus Circle, ‘Deeper and Deeper,’ ‘Entre Líneas,’ Austin Poetry Slam, Arthouse, Austin Public Library Foundation, CASA

Will Wynn. Civitas Investments, LPB Energy Management, City of Austin

For selected images of the 2009 All-Stars, go here.


2009 Fortunate 500 All-Stars

2009 Fortunate 500 Arts

2009 Fortunate 500 Business

2009 Fortunate 500 Charity

2009 Fortunate 500 Education

2009 Fortunate 500 Food

2009 Fortunate 500 Heritage

2009 Fortunate 500 Law

2009 Fortunate 500 Media

2009 Fortunate 500 Movies

2009 Fortunate 500 Music

2009 Fortunate 500 Nightlife

2009 Fortunate 500 Sports

2009 Fortunate 500 Style

Permalink | Comments (4) | Post your comment Categories: The 500

Out & About Club Soda Club Crawl: Tour A: Last Splash: Stop No. 5

Don’t even think about touring 12 clubs in one evening while partaking of strong drink.

For this sort of nightlife madness, we invented the Out & About Club Soda Crawl. Visit 12 nightspots, on foot, in six hours, hydrated by club soda and limes.

The year-long plan: Tour 12 Austin club districts, 12 watering holes at a time.

Tour A: Last Splash Weekend: Stop 5

Not even I would have predicted that not one, not two, but three sizable new gay bars would open this year. And succeed. Swimmingly, at least by the additional evidence of Last Splash Weekend. Rusty Spurs, the first of these three to open, has perked up East Seventh Street. Sunday, a Bear Pool Party burbled out back on the patio, while loud country music enticed a mostly older gang onto the dance floor.

We’ll get to reporting on the Other Side, Rusty Spurs’ sister bar, in the next post. For those who complain that Austin’s gay club scene caters almost exclusively to the youngsters, they should tour the Chain Drive, Rusty Spurs, the Other Side and Rainbow Cattle Company, at the very least. Oldsters like myself are welcome at the other spots, but age goes before callowness at these five, and women are firmly part of the mix.

Pictured: Diana Arnold and Cyndi Eglinger

For more Out & About Club Soda Club Crawl, follow category link below.

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Out & About Club Soda Club Crawl: Tour A: Last Splash: Stop No. 4

Don’t even think about touring 12 clubs in one evening while partaking of strong drink.

For this sort of nightlife madness, we invented the Out & About Club Soda Crawl. Visit 12 nightspots, on foot, in six hours, hydrated by club soda and limes.

The year-long plan: Tour 12 Austin club districts, 12 watering holes at a time.

Tour A: Last Splash Weekend: Stop 4

The economic logic of the CP escapes me. It’s a huge gay bar in an old building just north of the Four Seasons complex. Service is good, super-friendly. Dance floor capacious. Patio a bonus. Empty. Almost every time I visit. The bartender on Sunday said Saturdays are big nights, but I’ve never witnessed it. How does this decades-old bar hang on?

It feels like the whole city block is in a holding pattern, waiting for future development. Three restaurants and bars have closed. Another has changed hands, but sits empty. I’ve never seen anyone go in or out of the Christian Science Reading Room during my 25 years in Austin. The only spot with a steady trickle of business is the ancient Mongolian BBQ.

Pictured: David Merrell and Felipe Mendoza

For more Out & About Club Soda Club Crawl, follow category link below.

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Fortunate 500 Top Picks: Style

The Top Picks for the 2009 Fortunate 500 list of socially active area citizens were published in Glossy on Friday. In Out & About, we’ll mete out those Top Picks over the next few days. Then, beginning Tuesday, we’ll release the full lists and galleries.


Top Pick: Zion Francis.

She’s more than a top Austin model, actress, civil engineer and soon-to-be sustainability consultant. Often, Zion Francis — known simply as Zion —is the light of random Austin social gatherings. One’s eye can’t get enough of her — slender, poised, always styled a bit differently for each occasion. After graduating from the University of Texas, Zion worked as a model for clients such as Neiman Marcus, Macy’s, Sak’s, Lake Austin Spa and Resort, NIKE, Tribeza’s Style Week and Rare Magazine. She’s also served as a runway instructor and a guest host on the Food Network’s “Rescue Chef.” She plays a character in an educational cartoon series and has been featured in Essence Magazine. She won the first-ever critics choice prize for Best Female Fashion Model at the Austin Fashion Awards. When she’s not working? “I enjoy outdoor adventure sports, international eco-traveling, and all things healthy and socially conscious,” she says. Hard to beat that.

For more 2009 Fortunate 500 updates, follow the category link below.

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Out & About Club Soda Club Crawl: Tour A: Last Splash: Stop No. 3

Don’t even think about touring 12 clubs in one evening while partaking of strong drink.

For this sort of nightlife madness, we invented the Out & About Club Soda Crawl. Visit 12 nightspots, on foot, in six hours, hydrated by club soda and limes.

The year-long plan: Tour 12 Austin club districts, 12 watering holes at a time.

The Chain Drive is dark. So dark, even after half an hour, I could barely make out the gentlemen next to me. This is as close as Austin comes to having a leather bar. Though it’s never been one, more place where men — almost all men — of all shapes, sizes and ages can mingle in the shadows.

That said, during our Club Crawl, customers and staff were as friendly as ever. And you never know what scoops you’ll unearth in unlikely places. Like early reports of a certain modernist house architect Dick Clark is erecting on Stratford Drive, one of Austin’s most exclusive addresses. Can’t wait for an invitation to that housewarming.

Pictured: Ted Smith and Skip Hoagg

For more Out & About Club Soda Club Crawl, follow category link below.

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Fortunate 500 Top Picks: Sports

The Top Picks for the 2009 Fortunate 500 list of socially active area citizens were published in Glossy on Friday. In Out & About, we’ll mete out those Top Picks over the next few days. Then, beginning Tuesday, we’ll release the full lists and galleries.


Top Picks: Claire and Doug English

Almost anyone who has played for a winning team at the University of Texas Longhorns has itched to return to Austin. Few have done so with as much social aplomb and charitable effectiveness as Doug English and his wife Claire. After contributing to three Southwest Conference championships, English joined the Detroit Lions defensive line, peaking in 1983 with 13 sacks and recording a pro career total of 59. He was named All-Pro three times and went to four Pro Bowls. Since returning to Austin, he helped found the Lone Star Paralysis Foundation, which helps people with spinal cord injuries, and he remains its leader. Claire, who volunteers in the Eanes school district, and their daughter, Rachel, got involved with the National Charities league, a mother/daughter philanthropy group. (Their son, Blake, is still in middle school.) They spend time at their ranch on the shores of Lake Travis, but also help out with the Center for Child Protection, Longhorn Foundation, CASA, Any Baby Can and NFL alumni charities. Would that all former Longhorns did a fraction as much for the community.

For more 2009 Fortunate 500 updates, follow the category link below.

Permalink | Comments (2) | Post your comment Categories: Sports, The 500

Out & About Club Soda Club Crawl: Tour A: Last Splash: Stop No. 2

Don’t even think about touring 12 clubs in one evening while partaking of strong drink.

For this sort of nightlife madness, we invented the Out & About Club Soda Crawl. Visit 12 nightspots, on foot, in six hours, hydrated by club soda and limes.

The year-long plan: Tour 12 Austin club districts, 12 watering holes at a time.

Tour A: Last Splash Weekend: Stop 2

Like the former Pangaea, Qua seemed to polarize when it opened two years ago. Here, a dress code is enforced. And, at least in the past, a higher age limit, too. Common practices in other cities. Not cool to many Austin clubbers.

For Last Splash Weekend, the “shark-tank” lounge, located between two enormously popular gay clubs, went gay. Or, rather, mixed. Which I find very Austin. House music blasted past the front-lounge water elements early in the evening, luring passersby. Staff welcomed the mixture. Excellent club soda, BTW. And a definite feeling that the club would crackle later this night. So I put it on the return list. Ten clubs to go.

Pictured: James Pancamo and Lance Posey

For more Out & About Club Soda Club Crawl, follow category link below.

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Fortunate 500 Top Picks: Nightlife

The Top Picks for the 2009 Fortunate 500 list of socially active area citizens were published in Glossy on Friday. In Out & About, we’ll mete out those Top Picks over the next few days. Then, beginning Tuesday, we’ll release the full lists and galleries.


Top Picks: Brad and Chad Womack.

Natives of Georgia, identical twins Brad and Chad Womack — along with brother Wes and business partner Jason Carrier — worked a lot of tough jobs before launching their Austin nightlife empire. They kept the humility those jobs engendered. Their Sixth Street bars - now including Thirsty Nickel, Chuggin’ Monkey and Dizzy Rooster — first made headlines as “Real World Austin” haunts. Then Brad grabbed international fame with his appearance on “The Bachelor,” ending the series without proposing to any of the candidates.

The hard-working Womack-Carrier team branched out into the Warehouse District with The Marq, then West Sixth Street with Molotov. In 2010, they take over the lease at Mother Egan’s, which they will completely transform, as they have each previous watering hole. While applying their management wisdom to these clubs, they also made them available for fundraising events, such as the youth-oriented Charity Bash. “We had always envisioned a career in which we could socialize with people while using our business as a creative outlet,” Brad says. “Treat people like they are in our living room and they will come back; it’s not that hard to be nice.”

For more 2009 Fortunate 500 updates, follow the category link below.

Permalink | Comments (2) | Post your comment Categories: Nightlife, The 500

Out & About Club Soda Club Crawl: Tour A: Last Splash: Stop No. 1

Don’t even think about touring 12 clubs in one evening while partaking of strong drink.

For this sort of nightlife madness, we invented the Out & About Club Soda Crawl. Visit 12 nightspots, on foot, in six hours, hydrated by club soda and limes.

The year-long plan: Tour 12 Austin club districts, 12 watering holes at a time.

Tour A: Last Splash Weekend: Stop 1

One needs fuel for six hours of clubbing. Ideal for our gay-themed evening was convenient, cool Saba Blue Water Cafe. Located on West Fourth Street within in block of several dance bars, it attracts a substantial gay clientele. I tried — and loved — the spicy calamari. Caught up with owner (and actor) Joe Reynolds, who returned to Austin from Los Angeles after opening a buzzy nightspot out there.

Pictured: Dani Way and Joe Reynolds

For more Out & About Club Soda Club Crawl, follow category link below.

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Fortunate 500 Top Picks: Music

The Top Picks for the 2009 Fortunate 500 list of socially active area citizens were published in Glossy on Friday. In Out & About, we’ll mete out those Top Picks over the next few days. Then, beginning Tuesday, we’ll release the full lists and galleries.


Top Pick: Rose Reyes

This Edinburg native threw down deep roots when she moved to Austin in 1984. Some of those roots related to business (Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Texas Department of Commerce); others dealt with music and the arts (Texas Folklife Resources, Tish Hinojosa). These tendrils sprouted four years ago into an ideal job for the busy promoter when she was named director of music marketing for the Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau. Meanwhile, she has served on boards for La Peña, National Academy of Recorded Arts Texas Chapter, Cine Las Americas and the Live Music Task Force. She’s consulted for Americans for the Arts, Library of Congress, Lainto USA, the Alejandro Fund, Ballet Austin, ALLGO and the International Accordian Festival, serving on deliberative bodies for Fund for Folk Culture, National Endowment for the Arts and Texas Commission on the Arts. And, oh, she’s out hearing music all the time. All kinds. Wave when you see her.

For more 2009 Fortunate 500 updates, follow the category link below.

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Fortunate 500 Top Picks: Movies

The Top Picks for the 2009 Fortunate 500 list of socially active area citizens were published in Glossy on Friday. In Out & About, we’ll mete out those Top Picks over the next few days. Then, beginning Tuesday, we’ll release the full lists and galleries.


Top Picks: Janet and John Pierson

The movie industry is not kind to couples. Yet, together and apart, Janet and John Pierson have devoted three decades to pushing independent films and filmmakers. They’ve served as distributors, exhibitors, producer’s representatives, investors, workshop producers and executive producers. They co-created the Independent Film Channel’s series, “Split Screen,” and both serve on boards for the linchpin resource for local movies and fans, Austin Film Society. John wrote the seminal bestseller about the indie industry, “Spike, Mike, Slackers and Dykes,” and teaches at the University of Texas. Janet is the producer of the South by Southwest Conference and Festival. Yet it’s their relentlessly social — and sometimes contradictory — enthusiasms for movies that make them the city’s first film couple. Even their children, Georgia and Wyatt, caught the movie bug. All four appear in the documentary “Reel Paradise.”

For more 2009 Fortunate 500 updates, follow the category link below.

Permalink | Comments (1) | Post your comment Categories: Movies, The 500

Fortunate 500 Top Picks: Media

The Top Picks for the 2009 Fortunate 500 list of socially active area citizens were published in Glossy on Friday. In Out & About, we’ll mete out those Top Picks over the next few days. Then, beginning Tuesday, we’ll release the full lists and galleries.


Top Picks: Elaine and Rich Garza.

Who does not adore Elaine Garza? And, when he’s out in the public eye, her husband Rich? She’s the University of Texas graduate and bigwig behind Giant Noise, the national and local media firm she started in New York City with two partners. He’s the Austin native who founded the Pachanga Festival and launched GiantCookman with Latin music veteran Thomas Cookman. The couple met on a beautiful summer’s day in New York in 1997 and are raising two children. You can find investing time and treasure in the Austin Music Foundation, Austin Music Commission, Latino Music Month, ALMA, Futuro Fund and Austin Children’s Museum Open Access Fund. Also at parties. If you see them, make a beeline. It will be the most entertaining conversation of the evening.

For more 2009 Fortunate 500 updates, follow the category link below.

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Fortunate 500 Top Picks: Law

The Top Picks for the 2009 Fortunate 500 list of socially active area citizens were published in Glossy on Friday. In Out & About, we’ll mete out those Top Picks over the next few days. Then, beginning Tuesday, we’ll release the full lists and galleries.


Top Picks: Tanya and Art Acevedo

Rarely has a city official made such a social splash, so suddenly. And a peace officer at that! Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo and his wife Tanya have been married for several years and have three children, but in just there first year here, they found time to make major social appearances for the American Heart Association, Special Olympics Texas, Child Protection Center, Humane Society, American Youthworks, Goodwill Industries, Boy Scouts of America, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, United Way, MDA, YMCA, Blood Center for Central Texas, Central Texas Alzheimer’s Association, Junior League of Austin, Marathon Kids, Junior League of Austin, 100 Club, Americorps and Hospice Austin, among others. (This includes dancing the cha-cha for for a Dancing with the Stars Austin gala and playing Ricky Ricardo for the Heart Ball.) Art migrated from Cuba to the United States in 1968 and grew up in California where he began his law enforcement career with the California Highway Patrol. Tanya is a native of California but spent much of her childhood in Michigan and currently works as an information technology project manager. Even social columnists are impressed with this couple’s social energy.

For more 2009 Fortunate 500 updates, follow the category link below.

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Guest Blogger: Kaitlyn Meilert

Today I finally gave in and bought a new DVD player after the one I’ve had for three or four years decided to believe that no DVDs exist. (It’s actually been acting up for about half a year now —sometimes it thinks there’s no disc, sometimes it thinks it’s open and stops in the middle of a movie — but I will keep anything for as long as I can until there’s absolutely no way I can use it.) And I got it just in time for Netflix day.

I’ve been re-watching “The Gilmore Girls,” disc-by-disc, for the past few months through Netflix (after spending the months before that re-watching “One Tree Hill”), and I’m in the final season with one more disc to go. What ever will I do with my free time after that? Oh, right, there’s that whole school/work thing — what free time?

Some people may think “The Gilmore Girls?” Really?

You mean, that WB chick thing that aired with all the other primetime teen soap operas?” Call it what you will, but how many CW shows do you see today that are about a successful single mother — who owns and runs an inn despite having been pregnant and on her own at 16 — and her above 4.0 average daughter — who would rather read than get wasted, ended up at Yale and, eventually, writing for some newspaper that I won’t remember the name of until I watch that last disc.

Unlike today’s other “teen” shows, which focus on rich kids’ social and sex lives, “Girls” is brilliantly witty, smart, and as much for adults as it is for teens.

The show follows the lives of sarcastic, “cool” mom Lorelai Gilmore and her daughter, sweet, booksmart, big-blue-eyed, Rory (short for Lorelai) in their adorable small town of Stars Hollow, Conn. Lorelai goes from running an inn to buying her own while trying to find “the one,” while Rory goes from small-town public school to expensive and competitive private school (paid for by Lorelai’s estranged parents who force themselves back into her life by making her return the favor with “friday night dinners”) to Yale.

The show is full of “coffee coffee coffee” (as Lorelai would say) and a plethora of pop culture references. (My favorite: “Hey, did anyone ever think that maybe Sylvia Plath wasn’t crazy, she was just cold?” as said by Lorelai while she and Rory are huddled by their open stove for warmth while waiting for Luke — of Luke’s Diner, and secretly in love with Lorelai — to fix their broken window.)

So, say what you want about “Girls,” but having been a bookworm-alcohol free-almost straight-A teenager, it was nice watching a show with a character my age that I could actually relate to. And now it’s both fitting and interesting (and scary, at times) to have gotten to the final season during my “Gilmore Girls through Netflix” phase as Rory prepares for and freaks out about the real world as she finishes up her last year of college — just like me!

For more of Kaitlyn Meilert’s entertainment journalism, go to Kaitlyn’s Entertainment Blog.

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Fortunate 500 Top Picks: Heritage

The Top Picks for the 2009 Fortunate 500 list of socially active area citizens were published in Glossy on Friday. In Out & About, we’ll mete out those Top Picks over the next few days. Then, beginning Tuesday, we’ll release the full lists and galleries.


Top Pick: Jo Anne Christian

A) She’s a highly respected lawyer and a life member of the Texas Bar Foundation. B) Her late husband, George, was a top aide to President Lyndon Johnson. C) One daughter, Elizabeth, heads a prominent policy and public relations firm, and is married to former mayor Bruce Todd. (Besides Elizabeth, she has five children and 12 grandchildren.) D) Jo Anne Christian is best known to Austin readers, however, as one of the “Three J’s,” along with Jane Sibley and Jare Smith, the original thinkers behind the the Long Center for the Performing Arts. Since her husband’s death in 2002, Christian has, if anything, engaged Austin’s social and artistic community even more thoroughly. A founding member of the Austin Lyric Opera board of directors, she’s been an Austin Symphony Orchestra supporter since 1969. She’s actively backed the Conspirare, Blanton Museum of Art, Ransom Center, St. David’s Foundation, All Saint’s Episcopal Church and the University of Texas School of Fine Arts for decades. That’s not all. She’s making smart, funny remarks at social events all year long.

For more 2009 Fortunate 500 updates, follow the category link below.

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Guest Blogger: Ryan Lester

I retain a fond affection for the MP3 format and the economic model that it advances. Stores like iTunes, Amazon, and streaming services like Napster, Rhapsody, and Lala have made discovering and obtaining new music easier than ever.

You can listen to a full album on Lala, then open the iTunes store and have it on your machine within mere minutes. Of course, the more exciting way to get your music fix is to find someone with a massive music library, connect a portable hard drive to his or her computer and proceed to transfer what you want, a la carte, to your computer. Not only can this help you bolster your collection, it can turn into a social activity that allows you to learn about the other person and form lasting friendships. At least, that has been my experience.

Despite the MP3’s varied uses and strengths, I still buy at least two to three CD’s a month from record stores if I have the money. I am one of the few people that I know who still prefers albums over singles, and I don’t mind paying a few extra dollars to more thoroughly support a band. Although I do admit that buying music online and getting albums from my friends is extremely convenient and easy, there are several reasons why a trip to the record store still has its place in a digitally dominated society.

First, buying a CD requires a certain commitment that downloading a single will never have. When you buy a song off of iTunes, you can do it from almost anywhere. Whether it is on your laptop at a coffee shop, at home on your television, or on an iPhone in a busy airport, if you have a connection to the internet you can have your music. Going to a record store requires planning to make a special outing, the time to escape from the house or the office, and the desire to want a full album rather than a single song that had a catchy synth line. This makes the trip itself a sort of special occasion, something that can be looked forward to at the end of a long week. When the music is delivered to you through fiber optics, that sort of magic is taken away, and buying music becomes more of a habit than a cherished moment in time.

Secondly, record stores are unique in the sense that you are in the presence of a physical catalog. Being surrounded by thousands upon thousands of albums can give one a sense of omnipotence as he or she chooses the one or two that will be taken home. I can spend hours at a time looking through the racks at a store. This is especially true of the used sections, where the selection is completely random. Thumbing through the CD’s in these sections can yield some great finds, which oftentimes cost less than an album on iTunes. It is a great way to get music on the cheap, and a great way to try out albums that you are unsure about.

Perhaps the most important arguments for independent record stores come from the feelings going to one. There is something about the thrill of going to a place like Waterloo Records the morning an album comes out and holding the physical product in your hand. It is almost as if you holding a piece of art.

Additionally, these stores have their own unique qualities. Whether it’s the knowledgeable staff, the funky atmosphere, or the plethora of in-store performances, there are many endearing qualities that can be had at a record store. Then, there’s the epic struggle to break the shrink wrap off of a jewel case, which only amplifies the amount of anticipation to hear the packages’ contents. One feels a great a sense of triumph when at last the case can be opened. None of these feelings can be replicated when music is bought on a computer.

At the end of the day, even though I will continue to download music online and establish friendships via a portable hard drive, I will always have a soft spot for my local record stores. They are places that you can spend hours by yourself, or with good friends, browsing through their collections, taking in the overall aesthetic of the place, or see an up and coming artist. Until the online stores and services come up with a way to accurately replicate the qualities that are unique to brick and mortar establishments, I will continue to make my trips to Waterloo, Chaeapo, End of An Ear, or any other of Austin’s many record stores at least twice a month.

For more of Ryan Lester’s entertainment journalism, go to Musings on Music.

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Fortunate 500 Top Picks: Food

The Top Picks for the 2009 Fortunate 500 list of socially active area citizens were published in Glossy on Friday. In Out & About, we’ll mete out those Top Picks over the next few days. Then, beginning Tuesday, we’ll release the full lists and galleries.


Top Picks: Marla Camp and Jeff Kessel

If the locavore revolution has an Austin face, it’s Marla Camp, owner/publisher of Edible Austin magazine. Launched in 2007 as part of the Edible Communities publication group, EA promotes local products inexhaustibly. Camp is chairwoman of the City of Austin/Travis County Sustainable Food Policy board of directors, a recent inductee into Les Dames d’ Escoffier, and host of the Edible Communities show on Heritage Radio Network. Her community involvement doesn’t end with edibles. She’s vice president of the Rude Mechanicals board and the owner of Impact Productions, a graphic design firm that was awarded an Art in Public Places commission in 1994. Jeff Kessel is a senior project manager at PBS&J, an environmental engineering firm. Kessel, who is a musician, serves on the board of Public Research Works and remains active in his neighborhood association. Together, the couple has also contributed time and treasure to Save Our Springs and Project Transitions. Hungry for their life? Try some appetizers …

For more 2009 Fortunate 500 updates, follow the category link below.

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Fortunate 500 Top Picks: Education

The Top Picks for the 2009 Fortunate 500 list of socially active area citizens were published in Glossy on Friday. In Out & About, we’ll mete out those Top Picks over the next few days. Then, beginning Tuesday, we’ll release the full lists and galleries.


Top Picks: Kathryn Anderson and Doug Dempster

If the Austin social event paired arts and education, Doug Dempster was there. The dean of the University of Texas College of Fine Arts is the among the most socially connected academics in Austin. He’s often accompanied at galas and openings by crack assistant dean Sondra Lomax, also sometimes by wife, poet Kathryn Anderson. (The couple has two daughters.) Formerly with the Eastman School of Music, Dempster’s educational background actually revolved around philosophy and political science. Able, accessible, soft-spoken and common-sensical, Dempster is making that all-important town-gown connection often missing from massive UT and even bigger Austin. How does he keep up with all the socializing? One possible secret: He’s also a dedicated long-distance runner.

For more 2009 Fortunate 500 updates, follow the category link below.

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Fortunate 500 Top Picks: Charity

The Top Picks for the 2009 Fortunate 500 list of socially active area citizens were published in Glossy on Friday. In Out & About, we’ll mete out those Top Picks over the next few days. Then, beginning Tuesday, we’ll release the full lists and galleries.


Top Picks: Maria and Eric Groten

You always notice when Maria and Eric Groten sweep into a room. She’s the one with the soft, blonde mane, the unfurled eyes and the tennis-star features. He’s the sharpie with the clean pate, the quick smile and the unbridled passion for everything Austin. Actually, that’s something the couple shares. Eric, a partner and environmental lawyer at Vinson and Elkins, has headed the Zach Theatre board and served on the Ballet Austin board as well. Maria has chaired fundraising events for those to organizations, as well as the Long Center and the Center for Child Protection. They’ve already introduced their four children to the arts and to philanthropy (Maria likes to call herself the managing partner of the Groten family). This is a high-achieving brood who are sure to make several generations of positive impact on Austin.

For more 2009 Fortunate 500 updates, follow the category link below.

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Guest Blogger: Mary Fisher

Late-night coffee shops are something Austin students can’t get enough of, so here are my top picks for wee-hour hangouts or study-time oases.

1. Bennu — If you need a great place to study or just want to get out of the house at 2 a.m., Bennu (open 24-hours) is the ideal spot. It offers strong coffee; great loose-leaf tea; fun, eclectic, literary-themed mochas, such as the Moby Dick or The Great Gatsby; and personable workers.

2. Epoch — Another 24-hour coffee shop that’s a cool place hang out but doesn’t usually double as a great study place. The coffee is good, but the tea is just OK. Also, the place can get really loud, between the people chattering and the music burbling. But, it is a fair alternative if you live in Hyde Park and are not close to MLK (which is where Bennu is located.)

3. Spider House Although it closes at 2 a.m., this is another ideal hangout spot. Usually Spidey host events, such as episodes of “Saved by the Bell.” Their big outdoor porch is a great place to relax on a clement evening. However, since most of their seating is outside, if it rains (which may seem impossible in Austin) you’re out of luck. The indoor seating is minimal, cramped. Also, it’s not a great study place because of the noise from the crowd and music and the low lighting.

4. Halcyon — Located on West Fourth Street, Halcyon is a heady, exciting place to spend weekend nights. Since it doubles as a coffee shop and bar, you can decide between ordering a strong drink, or a caffeine fix, or both. (Yes, this is something Spider House offers as well.) However, if you want to come here late a night to study, I wouldn’t. The place is always loud, louder than Spider House and Epoch. But, it’s a great place to observe the weekend night crowd if clubbing and bar hopping is something you don’t enjoy doing.

For more entertainment journalism from Mary Fisher, go to Redmusi’s Blog, alternately called An Entertainment Hodge-Podge.

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Marcella Hazan 4: Risotto

Part of a planned multi-year series on the basic recipes of cookbooking founders Marcella Hazan, Claudia Roden, Diana Kennedy and Julia Child.

Years ago, American-Statesman food writer Kitty Crider asked me: “Where do you find the best risotto in town?”

“Our house,” I replied, only half-joking.

Just 10 years ago, risotto was still pretty exotic for Austin menus. And some restaurants just could not perfect the thick, creamy arborio rice dish, which requires considerable attention over the course of 30 minutes. (Vespaio comes closest to the Platonic ideal for risotto, which we discovered at a tiny, backstreet trattoria in Florence.)

Hazan’s method is flawless: Over a lively flame, saute the chopped onion or scallions in butter and olive oil; briefly saute the rice; stir almost constantly throughout the process; add hot broth one ladle at a time, allowing the previous liquid to boil off; salt and pepper cautiously; and, near the end of the cooking, add the Parmesan and more butter.

Sounds simple. But you’d be surprised how many American cooks mess it up.

For this series, I made the basic risotto, as well as dishes with asparagus, wild mushrooms and chicken liver (in the final experiment, the risotto is formed in a ring mold, then the liver sauce is mounded in the center). I also made risotto Milanese, which includes pancetta or prociutto and saffron.

I won’t repeat the risotto alla parmigiana con il ragu di fegatini anello di (the liver one), just because I’m not a fan of liver prepared that way. The risotto con gli apsaragi is divine, as is the Mianese, if you’re careful with the saffron and don’t generate that iodine taste (add mere grains at a time, then taste). Getting the mushrooms to the right texture for risotto funghi secchi is tough. Must try again. Then Hazan suggests five more risotto variations.

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Guest Blogger: James Bingham

I first heard about “The Incident” from a message posted on the Porcupine Tree Web site. Along with some stand-alone tracks, their new album would include a “35-minute song cycle” written by band frontman Steven Wilson.

My first thought was, “What the hell is a song cycle?”

I first got into Porcupine Tree back in 2003, after they had done a stint with Dream Theater, playing opening sets on the World Tourbulence Tour. All I had really heard about them was that they had opened for Dream Theater. Other than that, their album “In Absentia” was a complete blind buy. I had no idea what I was going to get. With my money, I’m stupid like that.

My impulsiveness paid off. The album was great, and Porcupine Tree has since become one of my favorite bands EVAR. But I digress … What is The Incident? In an interview with Roadrunner Records, Wilson explained the concept behind the album…

“There was a sign saying ‘POLICE - INCIDENT’ and everyone was slowing down to rubber neck to see what had happened … Afterwards, it struck me that ‘incident’ is a very detached word for something so destructive and traumatic for the people involved. And then I had the sensation that the spirit of someone that had died in the accident entered into my car and was sitting next to me. The irony of such a cold expression for such seismic events appealed to me, and I began to pick out other ‘incidents’ reported in the media and news. I wrote about the evacuation of teenage girls from a religious cult in Texas, a family terrorizing its neighbors, a body found floating in a river by some people on a fishing trip, and more. Each song is written in the first person and tries to humanize the detached media reportage.”

That description really sets the mood for the album. It’s deep and complex. I have to liken it to Dream Theater’s “Octavarium.” It took a few spins before I could appreciate everything the band had done, and how each individual track contributed to the larger whole. It’s the same here. Fans of Wilson (and Porcupine Tree by extension) will know that for the most part, they don’t really release records-they release concepts. A group of songs that, when taken together, will convey a certain meaning. In this way, The Incident marks a departure from albums like “In Absentia” and “Deadwing,” and a return to some of their earlier work, like “Voyage 34.”

There’s going to be a large group of casual fans who probably won’t dig this album, but the hardcore folks will definitely have fun with it. Aside from a few missteps, Porcupine Tree has brought together a great mix of both the hard and the soft, heavy rhythms and soaring melodies-another worthy addition to their catalog.

You can preorder “The Incident” at amazon.com. The album will be released on Sept. 15.

For more on “The Incident,” and other entertainment journalism by James Bingham, go to Working Title.

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Austin Celebrity Roundup 9/08/09

Splat! Austin actress Sandra Bullock’s latest RomCom, “All about Steve,” bombed with the critics. Review aggregating site Rotten Tomatoes gave it a dismal “5 percent” positive score. Out of 100. One of the year’s lowest. (She shown here with co-star Bradley Cooper, so good in “The Hangover.”)

Meanwhile, AP is reporting that Bullock has purchased a home in New Orleans’ Garden District. It’s near houses owned by John Goodman and Nicolas Cage and “Vampire” novelist Anne Rice’s former residence.

In town filming Robert Rodriguez’s “Machete,” actor’s actor Robert DeNiro has kept a suitably low profile. Yet he was spotted dining at Aquerelle, Austin’s upscale French eatery. Rest easy. Nobody bothered him.

This from American-Statesman reporter Claudia Grisales: TMZ did a little segment on (Austin actor Mehcad Brooks) and wanted to know if he has a girlfriend. He gave a shout out to being a UT football, not a USC, fan (to which the camera men sounded disappointed). And when he didn’t answer the girlfriend question, the women on TMZ expressed disappointment “he won’t answer, so he’s probably got a lady friend.”

Kevin Durant’s Twitter page is strange. Most of his tweets are extremely short, just a time or a one-word response. But you know it’s the right Durant, because 64,560 readers are following KevinDurant35.

Austin bar owner Brad Womack still holds the attention of “Bachelor” fans. He’s out front and center in the US Magazine gallery: “Bachelor: Where Are They Now?”

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Guest Blogger: Trisha Corona

Today, I sat in another class watching a documentary about India. Yet I can’t recall learning anything about India. What I do remember is a voice with a deep English accent, and a painting that had two half-nude women, one representing India and one representing Britannia.

Since the fall semester began, I have enduring four classes of watching this type of documentary. After watching them, I am assigned to write a paper. But when I sit down to writer, all I can think about are the images and the voice of the historian — who always seems to be from England — in the documentary.

Today, I specifically remember a reenactment scene in which an English couple is lying in bed at night. The wife held a knife and the husband held a gun because they were scared of being attacked by Indian soldiers. But I don’t remember how this is specifically associated to Indian history.

These documentaries are intended to be educational, or why else would we watch them in class? They’re full of facts. They act out parts of history. They refer to books and letters,. Yet they seem too much like film. Therefore, I think documentaries are (slightly) a stronger form of entertainment than they are an educational tool.

In books, we are able to go back and read a line, check the spelling of new terms, and look at images separately from words. With documentaries, it just seems like our visual experience of it is more potent than what we hear and comprehend.

Here’s an example from the “Planet Earth” series: The viewers are less blown away by what Sigourney Weaver says than what they see. Blame Blu-ray.

For more entertainment journalism from Trisha Corona, go to Trisha’s Blog.

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2009 Fortunate 500 Top Picks: Business

The Top Picks for the 2009 Fortunate 500 list of socially active area citizens were published in Glossy today. In Out & About, we’ll mete out those Top Picks over the next four days. Then, beginning Tuesday, we’ll release the full lists and galleries.

Mary Herr Tally Rusty Tally.jpg

Top picks: Mary Herr Tally and Rusty Tally

Finance has trumped headlines for a year or so. So why not choose a financial expert — reputation intact — to represent the Fortunate 500 Business category? Besides thriving, the USB Financial Services wealth advisor (Rusty Tally), along with the nonprofit fundraiser (Mary Herr Tally), have thrown themselves into countless causes. They don’t just write checks. They serve on boards and organize some of the city’s most scintillating events. Along the way, Rusty also helps the financially illiterate understand the economic crisis facing the nation. A partial list of their causes: American Lung Association, Zach Theatre, MHMR New Milestones Capital Campaign, Austin Symphony Orchestra, Austin Lyric Opera, Sunshine Camp, Center for Child Protection, Texas Heritage Songwriters Association, St. David’s Healthcare and Pets Alive, Rise School of Austin.

For more 2009 Fortunate 500 updates, follow the category link below.

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Guest Blogger: Chris Saad

A couple of months ago, I received an e-mail from Marty, the director of a teen cancer organization called “The Sunshine Kids”. He asked me if my theatrical percussion group DrumJam would be available to perform for the 19th annual “Teen Lake Escape” in Lago Vista on July 10.

He further explained that there would be 32 kids under the age of 18 who had all been diagnosed with cancer. Unfortunately, I had to decline as my brother, the drummer of the group, was still traveling overseas. But several days later, I remembered an article I had read about the therapeutic benefits for young cancer victims who were engaged in the act of drumming and rhythmic beat, and came up with an idea. I could go to “Teen Lake Escape” solo, and lead the kids to participate in their very own drum jam! I e-mailed Marty a second time, and he thought it was an excellent idea.

July 10, I gathered 40 different types of percussion instruments that we use in my band, including djembes, dirbekis, a concert bass drum, cowbells, cymbals, snare drums, trashcan lids, wood blocks and various kitchen utensils. I drove almost an hour and a half to the other side of the lake, where the event was being held at an incredible mansion. The kids had been enjoying themselves on the lake all day, taking part in activities such as jet skiing, para sailing, tubing, water skiing and swimming. I was a bit nervous about meeting all these children with a terminal illness.

I knew I had to be careful about what I would say, but I also felt that I was on a mission to inspire these kids to not give up, and to keep fighting against their sickness. Apprehensively, I rounded up chairs and put them in a circle on the patio, then placed the bass drum on a stand in the very center.

Shortly, all the kids migrated towards the patio, sat down, and waited quietly to see what was in store for them. I stood at the center of the circle and introduced myself. I proceeded by saying, “you may not have known this previously, but all of you are drummers. Since you all have hearts beating inside of you, you all have natural rhythm, and all you need to do is figure out how to communicate that rhythm to the outside world.”

For more of Chris Saad’s story about his time with the Sunshine Kids — and to read more of his entertainment journalism, visit “Got Entertainment?”

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2009 Fortunate 500 Top Picks: Arts

The Top Picks for the 2009 Fortunate 500 list of socially active area citizens were published in Glossy today. In Out & About, we’ll mete out those Top Picks over the next four days. Then, beginning Tuesday, we’ll release the full lists and galleries.

Annette Carlozzi and Dan Bu.jpg

Top Picks: Annette DiMeo Carlozzi and Dan Bullock.

At first, they didn’t seem to match. She’s the urbane, contempo arts curator, as at home in New York or Miami as Austin. He’s down-home West Texas, with a background in business and communications, as well as folksy public speaking and singing. Annette and Dan recently married, blended their art collections and instantly tripled their social exposure.

A nationally recognized art consultant, Annette is curator of American and contemporary art at the Blanton Museum of Art. Dan manages family interests in West Texas, has assumed leadership roles with the Headliners Club, Wittliff Collections at Texas State University-San Marcos and Zach Theatre. During the past year, they’ve also socialized around — and supported — Arthouse, Austin Circle of Theaters, Austin Museum of Art, Communities In Schools, Conspirare, Deborah Hay Dance Co., Greenlights, Leadership Austin, Okay Mountain, Planned Parenthood, Seton Cove, Umlauf Sculpture Garden, and Women And Their Work.

For more 2009 Fortunate 500 updates, follow the category link below.

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Soap Nut: Austin’s David Nguyen

Scanning the distant horizons of the global economy, who conjures up the words: “soap nuts”? Without giggling?

David Nguyen, that’s who. The biochemist, teacher and marketer researched the fruits of the soapberry tree while helping out his parents at their North Austin laundromat.

“I was looking for the greenest soap possible,” Nguyen says. “It grows on trees in India, Indonesia and Nepal.”

They also thrive in Texas, although the Western Soapberry — sapindus drummondii — is mostly known for its bright fall colors. Otherwise, it’s something of a nuisance: “Sucker growth; fleshy fruits can be messy,” says a Texas A&M tree-planting Web site.

I met Nguyen — descended from the Vietnamese emperors, according to his refugee parents, although, by some estimates, more than a third of Vietnamese families bear the name — at a party. That’s not unusual. I meet lots of people at Austin parties.

Yet his networking skills seemed, at first, off balance. He ducked my camera for while. Said something about the rough crowd he hung with in San Jose, Calif. As always, I didn’t press. There were plenty of other fascinating people to photograph and chat up at Eddy V’s to toast Michele Golden, former rodeo queen, crack publicist and all-star social connector.

Eventually, Nguyen came around. Partly, I think, because he was consumed. Not with Eddy V’s refined refreshments or the conversation. With soap nuts. And his start-up: Nature’s Wash.

“Soap nuts are the most natural cleaning agent in the world and clean just as effectively as chemical detergents, ” Nguyen says. “They also support the environment and the developing villages where they are harvested.” He’s repeated that pitch at three separate social occasions. It’s also found on his LinkedIn home page. Nguyen’s message is nothing if not disciplined.

He’s not the only potential entrepreneur to discover — or rediscover — the value of the berries, or nuts. He’s not even the only Austinite in the natural soap business. He just contemplates them the most thoroughly, night and day. I meet people like Nguyen all the time. Captivated people. Dreamers. They drive the Austin economy. They’ve made some investors at capital firms like Austin Ventures wealthy on a Roman imperial scale.

Along the way, I discovered that Nguyen reserves a weakness for jazz (we met up last week for a Kat Edmonson gig at Vino Vino); he prefers reds over whites in the wine department; and he’s funny in a sneaky, quiet sort of way.

My limited experience convinces me that, were “The Graduate” filmed in Austin today, the character of Mr. McGuire might corner Benjamin (originally played by a very young Dustin Hoffman), pressing on him, not plastics, but rather, with Nguyen’s firmly excited voice: “I want to say one word to you. Just one word. Well, two.

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2009 Fortunate 500 Top Picks: All-Stars

The Top Picks for the 2009 Fortunate 500 list of socially active area citizens were published in Glossy today. In Out & About, we’ll mete out those Top Picks over the next four days. Then, beginning Tuesday, we’ll release the full lists and galleries.


Top Picks: Eloise and John Paul DeJoria

Sociability and social giving are not second nature to billionaires. These qualities are virtually instinctual, however, to Eloise and John Paul DeJoria. Not only do they support almost every worthy cause in Austin, they show up at events, big and small, and crank up the fundraising bandwagon with a jolt of star power. Often, John Paul will make a dramatic gesture, pledging an instant five figures to goose the giving. Then he’ll rise to the stage to hasten the live auction bids.

The pony-tailed entrepreneur is best known of his Paul Mitchell hair products, but he also co-founded Patron Spirits Company and was founding partner in the House of Blues chain. His holdings including energy, utility, audio and automotive interests. Equally gracious is his exquisitely attire wife, Eloise, a former model with whom he has six children (they often appear in the family’s wistful advertisements). The DeJorias split their time between Las Vegas, Nev. and Austin. But it would be hard to find a more socially visible billionaire in Texas.

For more 2009 Fortunate 500 updates, follow the category link below.

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Out & About iCal Sept. 3-7


6 p.m. Dress Shop Opening at 315 Congress Ave.

7 p.m. Nerdnite at Buffalo Billiards Upstairs

9 p.m. Texas Club Coffee at 2600 Rio Grande St.


11 a.m. Interview Rue McClanahan

6:30 p.m. Marques Happy Birthday Hour at III Forks

7:30 p.m. B Scene at the Blanton Museum of Art

10:30 pm. Licksamba Music at Lanai


2 p.m. Longhorns vs. Warhawks pre-game at Bikinis Sports Bar on Sixth Street, then the game at various sports bars along Sixth


8 p.m. Club Soda Club Crawl (Last Splash Edition) on foot, and in this order: Saba, Qua, Chain Drive, CP, Rusty Spurs, Other Side, Charlie’s, Rainbow Cattle Co., Rain, Oilcan Harry’s, Kiss & Fly


5 p.m. Double bill of “Up” and “Public Enemies” at Metropolitan Theater

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Avant Le Weekend Live Chat with Paul Oveisi

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Guest Blogger: Sara Ortiz

“It’s sad, really,” I was telling Chris, a friend who lives in Dubai, “I’m studying English at school, and essentially, I’m studying it to be a writer. But everything is online now. I have a feeling my resume will include works published online, rather than offline (books, magazines, journals, etc.). And it makes my soon-to-be profession feel … cheap, disregarded even.”

Last week, John Freeman of The Wall Street Journal shared my exact sentiments in his recent article, “A Manifesto for Slow Communication.” Freeman explains that words like “speed” and “urgency” are not synonyms for “effectiveness” and “accuracy.”

“Making decisions in this communication brownout, though without complete infor­mation, we go to war hastily, go to meetings unprepared, and build relationships on the slippery gravel of false impressions.”

As a writer, I feel this speaks to me on a deeper level: As in, my career. There is something great about admiring, holding, smelling, and caressing a book or magazine or newspaper with one’s own text printed on it. Personally, the romance behind it is greater in comparison to seeing text on a monitor. But more importantly, literacy standards continue to fall. Everything else seems to be improving but … our literacy skills? Freeman illustrates the following:

“It [the Industrial Age] has made it more difficult to read slowly and enjoy it, hastening the already declining rates of literacy. It has made it harder to listen and mean it, to be idle and not fidget.”

This manifesto runs parallel to the ongoing multi-tasking and the frying attention-span debates. In the blink of an eye we can read headlines without being fully informed. In the next blink we can be briefed about the latest celebrity gossip. Next we are glancing through our e-mail, then we are skimming through a Google Book just to make it quickly to the next eye’s blink. Are any of these things ever done carefully? Or effectively? Or with our full attention? Is it fair to the authors who have worked on what you’re reading? Another question: Did I lose you?

My stance is not to be confused with a stance against fast communication, rather to know when to opt for slow communication. Like Freeman states in his manifesto,

“We need to uncouple our idea of progress from speed, separate the idea of speed from efficiency, pause and step back enough to realize that efficiency may be good for business and governments but does not always lead to mindfulness and sustainable, rewarding relationships.”

Well said! Now, if I could only get this in print…

For more from St. Ed’s entertainment journalist Sara Ortiz, visit “A Little Bite of This, A Little Bit of That.”

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Guest Blogger: Proctor Anderson

Things are expensive. I know, pretty obvious statement. But true. I do my best not to buy expensive things. Most of the time that means I just don’t buy anything. Yet other times it means I find ways to spend less on normally expensive things. Today I offer two examples of buying under sticker price.

First: “Planet Earth” on Blu-Ray. On BestBuy.com the collection is priced at $79.99, but thanks to a special one day deal on WalMart’s Web site I was able to get it for $37.99. Walmart.com had run out of copies by the time I found out, but my girlfriend and I printed the screen and took it to Best Buy. I don’t generally like the way they do business and I see price matching as my opportunity to take a little bit of their money. After searching the store for 45 minutes, we finally found one of two remaining copies. Took it to the customer service and after a little convincing we got it for $40. Very happy with our purchase. Looks incredible on my roomate’s TV.

Second: “Guitar Hero World Tour Bundle” for Playstation 3. For the past 3 years, I have avoided buying plastic video game instruments. “Rock Band” and “Guitar Hero” games have always seemed fun, but I could never get over the price points. The “Guitar Hero World Tour” bundle costs around a hundred dollars no matter where you look. On Sunday I was at Target and I checked out the electronics section out of habit. There weren’t any good markdowns in the game section and nothing good in DVDs so I started to walk to the register. Then tucked away in an end-cap where two copies of the game and one guitar for only $22. So I snatched one up and took it to the register. On my way home I stopped by a Hollywood Video and — lucky me — they had “Guitar Hero” drums on sale for only $10. So I got the whole bundle for a third of the list price. I’m pretty excited about it.

Feels good buying $180 worth of stuff for $70.

Read more of St. Ed’s Proctor Anderson entertainment journalism at Things that Entertain Proctor.

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Charity Bartending at Ruth’s Chris

Neat idea that should be copied: celebrity charity bartending …


Donaji Lira behind the counter

On Wednesday, it was apparel buyer Donaji Lira’s turn to take orders at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse …


Brenda Thompson and Ron Ramelli

A shiny crowd gathered among the overstuffed chairs and wood accents to machine-gun the orders at the former El Rey rep …


Robin Campbell and Joanie Reed

She earned $1,200 for the Texas Heritage Songwriters Association through the cash tips …


Mary Herr Tally and Linda Parker Traylor

I spent most of my time with clear-eyed publicist Brenda Thompson, whose reflections on life are even more acute than her observations on the Austin social scene.


Margie Hook and Mike Carr

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As I write, Austin marketer Jason Stoddard is conducting an “unsummit” on “unmarketing.” All day, a gathering at the Shoreline Grill will follow the usual conference program: Speakers, videos, PowerPoint presentations, questions, conversations. Only the theme is to undo what marketing has always done.

By using social media — like the sample you are reading — Stoddard’s group hopes to use “the Web to build influence, improve reputation and earn trust.” That’s the subtitle, by the way, of “Trust Agents” by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith. Brogan will speak at the unsummit later today. I like his blog and his plain, jargon-free, practical advise.

Why am I using terms like “unsummit” on “unmarketing”? Because it seems the rise of social media and the decline of traditional advertising has left marketers without their tried-and-true means of communicating with the public. They have to “undo” what they’ve done before. Kind of like journalists, huh?

I checked in with the unsummit this morning and picked up a copy of “Trust Agents.” Will report what Stoddard stirs up later. Also, I understand there may be some social news out of the all-day event.

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Your A-List: Best Park

Ever wonder who lent Zilker Park its name? This is from the Handbook of Texas online:

Another early worker in the development of ice-making machinery was Charles A. Zilker of San Antonio and Austin. After coming to Austin from Indiana in 1880, he worked in an ice plant that had been using a Carre machine brought from San Antonio. In 1882 King asked Zilker and his brother Andrew J. to go to Brownsville and operate a Boyle ammonia-compression machine at an ice plant that King had bought in 1876. Zilker returned to Austin in 1884, built his own plant, and continued improving and designing compressor-type ice-making machinery. In business with George W. Brackenridge, a San Antonio banker, Zilker established ice plants in Austin and San Antonio. After that he built plants in any city where he could find enough prosperous people and sufficient cooling water for compressors. In 1928 he sold his ice plants (which ranged from Texas eastward to Atlanta and northward to Pittsburgh) to the Samuel Insull interests, Chicago, for $1 million.

Huh. Anyway, Zilker Park, cooled by ice or not, won the A-List vote for Best Park by a wide margin, beating “nudity may be happening” Hippie Hollow 51 percent to 10 percent. Barton Creek Greenbelt — to some an extension of Zilker Park — zipped into third with 8 percent.

Pine-studded Bastrop State Park followed with 7 percent, then Auditorium Shores and Pace Bend tied with just under 5 percent. Voters gave 4 percent or less to McKinney Falls State Park, Bull Creek Park, Umlauf Sculpture Garden, Waterloo Park, Republic Square and Rollingwood Park.

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Your A-List: Best Country Singer or Group

You thought this would be competitive? Austin’s best country singer or group? Really? Really?

There’s only one Willie Nelson. And he won the A-List race. Again. And probably forever. This time with 41 percent of the ballots.

Western Swing vets Asleep at the Wheel boogied into second place with 12 percent, while hard-working Kevin Fowler took third with 10 percent. Jack Ingram and Dale Watson stayed pretty close with 8 and 6 percent respectively.

It drops off rather steeply after that: Pulling 4 percent or less were Derailers, Mother Truckers, Dale Watson, Heybale!, Kelly Willis, Alvin Crow, Pauline Reese and High Country, Jon Emery, Sunny Sweeney, James Hand, Wes Hayden, Cornell Hurd Band, Jesse Dayton and Roger Wallace.

Sounds like a music scene all to itself.

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Your A-List: Best Athlete

Who can really argue with these results? Seven-time winner of the Tour de France, one of sports’ most demanding tests? After cancer? Later, he rejoins the tour, looking pretty resurgent for a 37-year-old, also balancing two households, and spearheading a huge anti-cancer organization.

Yes, Lance Armstrong won the A-List vote for Best Athlete. He triumphed fairly convincingly with 27 percent of the tally. Even though football is the national sport of Texas, the greatest cyclist ever trumps Friday (or Saturday or Sunday) night lights.

Speaking of football, long-retired but still beloved Heisman winner Earl Campbell ran up 21 percent, while Heisman hopeful and current UT quarterback Colt McCoy was not far behind with 17 percent. Other football greats: Vince Young (8 percent); Major Applewhite (4 percent); Drew Brees (4 percent) and Ricky Williams (3 percent).

That leaves a position each for tennis (Andy Roddick, 10 percent); softball (Cat Osterman, 5 percent) and basketball (Kevin Durant, 3 percent).

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Your A-List: Best Barbecue

Last year, when Texas Monthly crowned a tiny smokehouse in Lexington as serving the best barbecue in a barbecue-crazy state, the pilgrimages from Austin and elsewhere clogged the highways. It settled nothing. Every Central Texas town, it seems, is a battleground for barbecue, with competing smokers facing off like gunfighters.

With 21 percent of the vote, the winner of this year’s A-List vote for Best Barbecue also comes with vast views and scads of sides: County Line. Besides “On the Hill” and “On the Lake,” the restaurant group operates in San Antonio, Oklahoma City, Albuquerque, Houston and elsewhere.

It barely beat out The Salt Lick, which has served as a rural mecca in Driftwood for years. The addition of locations in Round Rock and at the Austin-Bergstrom Airport — and for a while on Loop 360 — only increased its popularity. It smoked out 20 percent of the vote.

Cooper’s in Llano and New Braunfels, Rudy’s at multiple Texas-area locations and Kreuz Market in Lockhart virtually tied at 9 to 10 percent.

Grouping around 4 to 5 percent of the vote were Smitty’s, Luling City Market, Artz Rib House and Black’s. Taking 3 percent or less were Iron Works, Green Mesquite, Snow’s, Chisholm Trail, Stubb’s and Buster’s.

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Tapping into my inner musical queen

“Never forget: The first three letters in “news” are “N-E-W”!

I’ve repeated that truism hundreds of times, teaching entertainment journalism, or conducting workshops for publicists, artists or business leaders. The necessary point: Readers don’t want last week’s stories.

For that reason, Out & About is forever flitting about to the latest nightclub or restaurant, the most current entertainment, the buzziest personality, the latest scene, trend or fashion.

On the other hand, approaching the mid-point in middle life (age 55) earns me the right to luxuriate in the old as well.

Recently, I’ve rediscovered the indefinable pleasures of slow reading, cooking, travel and spectator sports. These subjects turn up more regularly on the austin360.com version of Out & About. Some readers wonder how they relate to social reporting.

Think about it. How can one tell Austin’s story if you leave out books, food, travel or sports altogether.

Another old friend has pranced back into my life: Broadway.

Musicals absorbed inordinate amounts of my energy during teen years. I collected original-cast albums. I took lessons in dancing, singing, acting, etc. That juvenile infatuation faded through drama school, teaching, graduate school, more teaching, reviewing, reporting, editing and so forth. Yet, for some reason, along with the aforementioned luxuries, I now reserve mental time for musicals. No explanations, no excuses.

That’s why I dropped other plans to catch “Star,” the flawed Julie Andrews movie about Gerturde Lawrence, at the Paramount Theatre last week. Too bad technical difficulties prevented use of the 70 mm print. The DVD projection just didn’t do the lavish production numbers justice.

It’s also why I’m re-cataloguing our CD collection and noting the omissions. Film critic Chris Garcia recommended a tremendous tool for this task: Amazon Wish List. The giant online retailer now organizes items that might someday complete the “Shows” section of our CD shelves, even as the format dies as surely as vinyl. (Under no circumstances are you to use this list for gifting. It’s a cataloguing tool, pure and simple.)

My inner musical queen quivers in anticipation for nights at Emerald City. That’s the cabaret/piano bar attached to Rusty Spurs, the still-new gay bar on East Seventh Street. I peeked in the other day to see the baby grand piano, curved stage and thicket of cocktail tables. Professional pepper-upper Bob Hemby has already booked some of the city’s best cabaret singers to tackle the American Songbook.

To my knowledge, Austin has never supported exactly this kind of piano bar. Kenny Luna’s former Ivory Cat Tavern specialized in other musical genres; Pete’s Dueling Piano Bar hosts a sweet, group-participation novelty game. Chicago House was a funky coffee house and the short-lived Bremond basement parlour was suitable only because Karen Kuykendall and Sterling Price-McKinney made it so.

Zach Theatre has periodically revived theatrical cabaret, and, of course, Austin Cabaret Theatre brings in the biggest names in the business, this season to the Long Center’s Kodosky Lounge.

But a piano bar where one can go and hear the American classics any day of the week? For me, that’s deliciously “O-L-D.”

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KEYE-TV to cancel morning news, air radio’s “JB & Sandy in the Morning”

Giving up on conventional morning news from 6 a.m. to 7 a..m, CBS affiliate KEYE-TV will broadcast the “JB & Sandy in the Morning” radio program already carried by Entercom Communications Corp.’s KAMX-FM Mix 94.7. Beginning Oct. 5, television cameras will join the regulars — JB Hager, Sandy McIlree, producer Alex Franco (“Digitz”) and others — from the 13-year-old show.

“As most of our viewers are aware, Austin has four great television news morning shows that are all essentially the same,” said Amy Villarreal, President and General Manager of KEYE. “Through KEYE’s unique partnership with Entercom, KAMX, and the JB and Sandy radio morning show, we will offer our early morning Central Texas viewers and advertisers an innovative, entertaining approach to morning television.”

Twitter reports confirm that morning anchor Fred Cantu will continue in some capacity at KEYE-TV. Michelle Valles had previously announced via Twitter that she’ll be hosting an entertainment news show.

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Kat Edmonson at Vino Vino

I had heard Kat Edmonson in passing …


Kat Edmonson and Alice Banks

Usually on MP3s, or at loud locations, which don’t match her soft, distinctive voice …


Joe Gavin and Devyn Marzuola

But no mistaking it: Edmonson possesses one of those offbeat instruments that, combined with jazzy phrasing and expert arrangements, produces a sound like no other …


Nicole Willis and Jeanne Jordan

I caught her working through the American Songbook at Vino Vino, an ideal spot for wine, food and an intimate chat …


Laurie Viault and Heather Leahy

But not exactly right for listening carefully to a softer grade of jazz …


Dan and Kimberly Renner

That didn’t stop the full house from appreciating Edmonson when they could hear her. For a sense of what she can accomplish, sample this video taken at the Elephant Room …

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Marcella Hazan 3: Lasagne

Part of a planned multi-year series on the basic recipes of cookbooking founders Marcella Hazan, Claudia Roden, Diana Kennedy and Julia Child.

“Lasagne is never, but simply never, made with anything but homemade pasta dough.”

Sorry, Marcella. The Bolognese sauce took five hours to prepare and simmer. The salsa balsamella (Béchemel sauce) ate up an additional hour in order to really approximate the texture of sour cream. I wasn’t going to make fresh pasta, too. Not this time. I have a life.

Hazan’s lasagne al forno only remotely resembles the meaty, fennel-flecked baked dishes I regularly made for the masses of hungry artists and students 20 years ago. Hers is a product of Romagna. Only a hint of ground beef and tomato. Plenty of Parmesan and Béchemel, though, and a dash of nutmeg.

The result is more delicate than Southern Italian or Italian-American varieties most of us relish. And yet it’s worth the trouble. If one prepares masses of Bolognese sauce (hers includes a happy confluence of vegetable, spice, butter and meat) in advance for use in various dishes over the course of several days. Which is what will happen next time, when I make the pasta fresh.

Next: variations on risotto.

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Prick up your ears for symphony news at Austin Arts

Galens Photo.jpg
Arts reporter Jeanne Claire van Ryzin is following a red-hot story on her Austin Arts blog as well as in the American-Statesman (see today’s story in the Metro section).

Keep watching and listening for developments on the departure of Austin Symphony Orchestra executive director Galen Wixson.

Inevitably, all the symphony principals — Jane Sibley, Joe Long, Peter Bay — will be affected by Wixson’s sudden departure, along with musicians, support staff and music lovers. Bookmark that blog!

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Confirmed: Rare to throw ACL after-parties at Seaholm Power Plant

The massive Seaholm Power Plant, with its art deco flourishes on West Cesar Chavez Street, has always invited big plans. Especially since the City of Austin decommissioned it in anticipation of an urban development project. Rare Magazine is the first, however, to stage Austin City Limits after-parties at the industrial site. “Acts to be named” will play late-night parties Oct. 2-3 and possibly Oct. 4.

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Apres Le Weekend Live Chat with Alex Winkelman

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The Jason Bateman Interview: Part 3

For more Jason Bateman, scroll down to previous posts, or link here to Part 1 and Part 2.

You’ve been in the business for quite some time.

I started when I was 10. I’m 40 now.

And you seem sane.

Got you fooled. If you’re question is “why” or “how,” I’ll say what I’ve said before: “It’s really not an instinct in me to be nuts.” I don’t have to fight that pull into craziness. I wake up every day, probably like you do, and we’re just normal people. Sometimes my job and the people around can be eccentric and can pull you in directions that are not very healthy, but I’m sure you’ve got that across the river (at the American-Statesman newsroom), too. It’s not difficult.

So you weren’t scarred when Sandy Duncan replaced Valerie Harper on “Valerie” (in 1987)?

No, I wasn’t scarred at all, though I was sorry to see Valerie go. We got along very well. But Sandy turned out to be — and remains — one of my favorite people. It went from good to great.

You were already directing at that age?

I was 18 on that show and I did an episode. I like it. Just like anybody in any profession you want to use what you’ve learned. The job of director allows you to exercise things you’ve soaked in, besides just the acting. I’d rather, frankly, to be doing that. I know it’s a cliche: “I’d rather be directing.” It would be nice, after all these years, to do a job that’s more challenging than just the one thing — acting.

Speaking of cliches: Is it a myth that child stars end up with crazy, wrecked lives?

It’s certainly not a myth. There are plenty of examples. I don’t know if you can fill a hand with those who are left from when I started. I’m not saying that as a braggart. These people either screwed their lives up or they were cast aside. Which is unfortunate, because, if you were talented then, why can’t you be talented later? Just because you grew out of the age that made you famous, you should be relegated to irrelevance.

I don’t know. First of all, the job itself demands that you learn how to be someone you are not. And if you are child, you are learning how to do that while you are trying to figure out who you are. You are allowed to misbehave at a time when you like to behave. It can be as challenging as you want it to be, or as you could ask for. I feel pretty lucky to make it through.

“Extract” opens on Friday.

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The Jason Bateman Interview: Part 2

For Part 1 of “The Jason Bateman Interview,” scroll down to previous post, or link here.

In “Extract,” you relate to each of the supporting characters equally. You could have pumped up your relationship with Ben Affleck, for instance, but you seem to relate to every actor on the set. Is it just a matter of listening?

It’s an interesting question. It probably has a lot to do with just me — I have a tendency to want to be liked by everybody. So I tried to teach myself at an early age how to get along with most different kinds of people. And not alienate those I don’t like or understand. Maybe it’s that: Knowing how to get along. It’s this deep-seated, pathetic desire to be liked.

Were there any actors whom you connected with particularly, developed a particular rhythm with?

Each one of us seemed to find that black-and-white, yin-and-yang, twosome dynamic. That’s something out there you don’t establish until you are on the set with the other actors. Obviously the writer has in mind what one needs to do, and there’s a back-and-forth about who’s going to be the antagonist, who is going to be the protagonist, who is going to be the straight man, who is going to be the funny man, and so on. And that switches multiple times in the scene. It’s a matter of watching what the other actor is doing and hopefully being malleable, being the other side of coin when need be. That’s one of the reasons I don’t really learn my lines until I’m on the set. If I learn my lines (in advance), it usually means I’ve hammered myself into one way of doing it.

More to come …

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The Jason Bateman Interview: Part 1

Don’t expect shocking revelations. Jason Bateman didn’t crack under the pressure of serial interviews meted out in an enormous suite at the Four Seasons Hotel. He didn’t lash out at Austin director Mike Judge, or whine about his child stardom, starting in the early 1980s with “Little House on the Prairie.” He was as ingratiating in person as he appears on screen, playing a factory owner in Judge’s “Extract” — which opens Friday — or real-estate developer on the much-lauded — and thematically similar — TV series, “Arrested Development.”

Out & About: You seem to take ordinary, decent characters and make them interesting.

Jason Bateman: Ninety-five percent of that is usually what’s there before I get there. Mike certainly is no stranger to writing interesting characters and his “middle men,” his “center men,” his protagonists, or whatever you want to call them, are no exceptions. I think he understands that somebody bullet-proof is not interesting and certainly not funny. He’s pretty good at putting flaws in there.

And then the degree of subtly by which you show those flaws correlates to whether it’s good writing or great writing. He doesn’t hammer you with things and doesn’t lean in too much. He never begs for a laugh. He trusts that the characters will suffice. He doesn’t write, really, any jokes. He creates these situations and makes sure he doesn’t write the characters too far from reality, so the absurd situation or the conflict can be relatable, tangible. If it’s too far from reality, it’s lost on the audience.

You were able to do a similar thing with a fictional situation that was very unreal, “Arrested Development.” How would you compare those two experiences? In both casese, your character is right in the middle of the flakes and the felons, and yet is able to preserve his decency.

It’s just a sense of wanting to be a good proxy for the audience. The
character is the audience. He’s supposed to be your tour guide and to
experience for the audience.

More to come …

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