Sauntering Spring around Austin and Rockport/Port Aransas
Saturday morning walking around the lake hoping for rain. I checked in on the occupation of Austin and wonder if this protest is the beginning of a social movement, as Dr. Michael Young suggests. If so, what are the chances that it will help create new interest in labor unions? Is the worker’s goose cooked or can we mobilize the community to respond creatively to egregious social inequality? We had a very interesting brownbag presentation at UT with 3 graduate researchers discussing worker led social movements in Argentina and Peru. Check UTAustinSOC for discussions on Wallstreet Spring, Durkheim’s anomie and more.
I walked a letter over to the Office of Graduate Studies in the Main Building at UT Austin on Friday and noticed the wonderful afternoon light on the grand staircase. Fortunately, I had my camera in my office so I returned and shot the photos shown below. Noticing the beauty in small, everyday places is to cultivate a sauntering eye. I highly recommend it as a remedy for ennui and as a springboard for loving appreciation.
There’s no place like home
Heading down to Ladybird Lake a little earlier, it was still surprisingly pleasant at 10:30. We were ready for a cool down and brunch by noon. Dottie and I checked out the Whip In Friday evening at 8:00, but it was too crowded so we left. Intrigued by the insightful selection of commodities and cuisine at this convenience store (and so much more) we returned for lunch on Saturday. Some background: Whip In boasted a substantial selection of specialty beer and wines since its inception. There was a humidor at the front and a knowledgeable wine steward manning the till in years past. These days, his son has carved out a unique cafe and beer bar with bands and a patio that should be most inhabitable in Fall and Spring. Stepping into the store is like entering a scene from the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Universe. The menu is healthy, a delightful blend of MexIndian. I had grilled egg nan with cilantro chutney that was very satisfying, a pleasant break in the endless parade of breakfast tacos. Local and organic foods are part of the appeal (shout out to Aurora); the Vital Farms eggs are nutritious and delicious. I must try the Mumbai migas plate soon and I’ve heard that the queso chutney is also out of this world. Funky, yes. Better than a food trailer? Yep. An unexpected treat? Most definitely; there is likely to be a happy hour update very soon.
Austin is known for its love of tattoos. In exploring the murals and street art around town I find that, like its people, Austin is full of tattoos – ambient art suited for sauntering. The gallery below shows murals around UT, some moving a little north on Guadalupe and two interior murals at Fonda San Miguel.
On my way to Ladybird Lake I couldn’t help noticing a smorgasbord of visual art dotting South Lamar. This photo essay is certainly an advertisement for the South Austin Museum of Popular Culture and bridges new and “classic” Austin. Next time I’ll look inside. I’m not sure West or North Austin can compete with South and East, but I’ll take my camera out someday and see.
Late to the party, I only recently heard about A is Red, drummer Don Harvey’s new collaboration with: Glenn Fukunaga–bass, Stefano Intelisano–Keyboards, Kullen Fuchs-Vibes, trumpet, Kevin Flatt–Trumpet, and Adam Sultan-Guitar. The Continental Club Gallery is the upstairs companion to the Continental Club with a nice wall of windows overlooking downtown Austin. It was a small space for a big sound, rolling over the audience in thunderous aural waves, courtesy of A is Red. Their music is described variously as jazz, fusion, world and soul but given its sensual impact and bouts of restrained cacophony, I’ll call it Kundalini jazz. Great mind/body sensations: serpentine textures created by unexpected pairings of trumpet, guitar, electric piano and vibes buoyed by melodic bass and drum syncopation energized and awakened attentive fans. I was held suspended like a bee in amber by music flowing around me like sweet, hard candy. In the end I moseyed home, uplifted and refreshed by a group of fine musicians who will continue to dazzle and surprise on Monday nights at the Continental Club Gallery. I’d like to see them at the Elephant Room in summer, underground in another cool cave on Congress and look forward in anticipation to new compositions from Harvey et al.
Art blooms on walls, in the river and in the streets of East Austin this Easter.
Back in my old neighborhood, enjoying the music with those who dared not venture downtown. I was certainly in my demographic, probably mostly locals out for a spin. Starting with a glass of white Bordeaux at Enoteca and stopping in at Perla’s helped keep us cool between stops. Alejandro Escovedo is always worth fighting the crowd to see. Forgive the shaky video, it’s worth hearing a snippet of Alejandro and the Orchestra.
Shown in the gallery of photos below, Sophia, a young violinist, stood in front of Vespaio playing for contributions to MS research. Her mother has MS and Sophia will ride from Houston to Austin to raise money with the hope of contributing to a cure. Please check Sofia’s website for information on how to contribute to efforts to combat Multiple Sclerosis.