Akwasi Evans was an East Austin activist, publisher, warrior of the beloved community and an original voice for KAZI’s Breakfast Club. He launched a community newspaper, NOKOA, in 1987 to shine a light on progressive political action in Central Texas. Known for speaking truth to power, he advocated for people of color in the rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods of East Austin. I attended his tribute yesterday and found a heartwarming vestige of Austin’s Beloved Community at Kenny Dorham’s Back Yard, a venue for DiverseArts productions. While the condos are creeping, music is flowing and food trucks are circling this small fortress of cool on East 11th.
For those of us who remember Austin in the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and 2000’s, seeing an alley or a field that hasn’t been destroyed or a venue that has stood the test of time brings a rush of nostalgia. Yearning for the freedom of youth, good old days of cheap rents and eats is a way of life. Those were the daze my friends, we thought they’d never end. Glad to see a little left.
I took my new camera out for a spin along the boardwalk trail on the southeastern part of the Hike and Bike trail. Recharged at the Radio Coffee and Beer for an altogether Austintatious Sunday morning.
Perused several art complexes in East Austin: on Smith Road, Bolm Rd and Shady Ln then back to the Eastside Showroom for good food but alas, poor service. Off to the Davis Gallery for an opening, and the Saxon Pub to see a classic performance by Miss Lavelle White. Be forewarned, at the Saxon the headliner plays at 8:00 (WTF) so we missed seeing Malford Milligan. Live and learn, even a well-worn path holds surprises.
Seeing life as art finds beauty in odd places. I include a few random objects in the gallery below. Makes for fun sauntering.
A classic outing, beginning with breakfast at Sazon on South Lamar. Aside from the red bordello patterned wallpaper, the migas tacos were good and the coffee decent. After a walk at Ladybird Lake, where a rowing regatta took center stage, we headed to the Mexican American Cultural Center for their day of the dead celebration. Since we arrived early, we wandered down to Rainy street for a beer and a trailer taco that had more flavor than substance. Enjoyed the Icenhauer patio, shown above. I’m sorry for the inconvenience to the denizens of Rainy street but I like the new development there. It’s fun and somehow reminiscent of old Austin. There are some who will disagree but playing ping pong over cocktails . . . .
Dia de los Muertos was just beginning at MAAC when we arrived; parking was already at a premium. The altars, uniquely appointed with memorabilia and favorite foods of the dearly departed, reminded me of my own loved ones. I would like to make an altar next year. The harvest cycle, death and rebirth, threads through every generation, Honoring the past, acknowledging death as a part of life is more restoring of sanity than yesterday’s parade I’m guessing.