Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Colorful Cottage

Back in March we spent the night at Hotel San Jose on South Congress. While taking a walk I took a picture of this house on one of the streets parallel and west of Congress. I wouldn't use these EXACT colors on my own house, but I appreciate the whimsy of it. The sign? "For Peace Now."

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Off the Set of 'Giant'

I was at the garden party the other night and encountered Damon Holditch in a straw cowboy hat. (Spring, garden party, you get it.) I had shown him here in a collage of fashion from a party. Well, I didn't get his picture at the garden party but at the dinner before the opera I saw him doing a formal version of his Texas look and looking every bit the part of J.R. on "Dallas" or Jett Rink or Bick Benedict in "Giant." He's with his wife, Becky I believe, and they are talking to, seated, Drs. Michele Berger and David Tobey. Damon has a trademark hat for every occasion. The Drs. are married and great supporters of the arts in Austin. Not everyone in Texas wears a hat (or even owns one) but it's good to keep the legends alive.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Almost a Year Ago in Hyde Park

I'm feeling a little lazy today about...City Daily Photo blogging anyway. So I'm showing you a picture from May 2007 of a little tour we took in Austin's Hyde Park. I'm never sure whether they were copying an English name or a New York one but many cities seem to have a Hyde Park area (or park for all I know). There are interesting old homes sprinkled throughout the neighborhood. Sadly, I'm not sure the exact name or location of this one at the moment.

Sunday, April 27, 2008


Austin likes all kinds of beer as this (old) shop of the beer aisle at Grapevine Market shows.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

What to Wear to a Garden Party

Colorful? Roaring Twenties? Cool brown shoes with blue socks? I didn't get a more current picture so I made a collage from the garden party Friday night. If you enlarge the picture you can check out some details of the sartorial splendor against a background of the Umlauf Garden party. The girl who was carrying the pink purse was missing so our friend Larry displayed it.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Shooting the Sculpture

We went to the Umlauf Sculpture Garden fund raiser last night. It was a garden party in the garden. It was a very well-run event and the weather was quite pleasant. There were wine tasting stations with a number of wines to try and everyone was given a Twin Liquors tasting glass to use for that. A lot of great restaurants provided little bites: Eddie V's, Starlite, Ranch 616, Sullivan's, Truluck's and Roy's were ones we tried. Roy's was handing out spoons of tuna tartar and Eddie V's had their stellar Crab Cake. They had a great band and the honorary chair (Marcia Ball) and featured artist (Gordon Fowler) were there and we hadn't caught up with them in a long time. In the picture you see Larry, a decorator for some friends of ours who are also moving to the 360, shooting a photo while FFP takes a photo of him. This sculpture seems more classical than most Umlaufs which tend to the frolicking children, prosaic animals and reclining nudes. But I wasn't really studying the art so much as visiting with friends.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Always a Taco

I took this in 2001 with my friend and her poodle making a cameo appearance in the corner. But Taco Shack is still there at the corner of Burnet and Medical Parkway just south of 45th. It closed briefly when a larger location opened on Lamar across from Central Market and then opened again. Taco Shack has several locations including one in the Frost Bank Tower. It's a little home-grown business and I like the fact that they have a location in a skyscraper as well as this little stand in our current neighborhood.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Look At Me!

It must be mating season because the peacocks (and peahens) from the park across from our club are all over the place and making these sounds they make (it sort of sounds like 'help' or 'oww' or 'no' at times and you'd think someone was in distress). They are an anathema to shiny cars because they see their reflection and have a prideful fight with the reflection.

I showed one interacting with a car early in our first embrace of City Daily Photo blogging. This one shows one perched on the club's wall where they tend to be frequently and is a good front view to go with that one.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Deco Decoration

This deco trim has appeared guessed it...the 360 Condo Tower where I will someday hopefully live. I like it myself.

Monday, April 21, 2008

A Special Couple

Joe and Tana Christie were at our table at the dinner before "Carmen" Friday night. I wish I could say I'd arranged it because I wanted to catch up with them, but it was just good luck. Aren't they beautiful? Joe is a former State Senator and businessman and Tana is a tireless community leader. She was using a cane, still recovering from being hit by a car while walking in front of the opera center. They are very kind and generous and I've never met people who had as many friends from as many walks of life. Tana said she was retiring from the opera board and they will definitely miss her.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Dancing Under the Stars

FFP took this, letting the dancers on the grass blur while exposing some of the skyline. The Long Center inspires dancing. This couple might have been able to hear the music from the tent nearby, but when we left there was a couple dancing here, well out of the earshot of the music.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Developing Skyline

Our future home on the left is lit at the whim of the construction workers and developer now. Last night part of the spine of windows was lit. Work in the hallway perhaps? Or just a nod to how it would look? Because those windows are the terminus of the hallway. The top of Frost Bank and the tiers of One American Center shine, too. We were on the lawn as part of the cocktail party after the opening of Austin Lyric Opera's "Carmen" at the New Long Center.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Book Worm

Yesterday we went to a lunch fund raiser given by the Literacy Coalition of Central Texas where there was much frivolity and an adult spelling bee. This is the Half Price Books book worm cheering on his team. The words spelled ranged from easy (gadfly) to harder (philippic and hibernaculum) to hardest (cnidarian). That last word was funny on many levels. Including the fact that Ron Oliveira of KEYE-TV who was the pronouncer gave the definition a couple of times and, each time, said it was a 'radically' symmetrical animal. This gave us all pause wondering was a radically symmetrical animal could be (a bookworn perhaps?) until a bright friend of mine said 'it is radially symmetrical!' Oh, yes. Like a squid. Ron otherwise did a great job in the acoustically difficult Austin Music Hall. So, yeah, good intellectual fun plus silliness. The Alamo Drafthouse team had pirate costumes and if their word had an 'R' they pronounced it 'errrrr.' I was cheering for their words to have an R!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

When you are...90

The lady in red is celebrating her 90th birthday, dancing with her son. We were privileged to share in the festivities. Her name is Ellen King and she is a citizen emeritus of Austin (I just made up the title but it fits) She is a tremendous supporter of arts in Austin (particularly Austin Lyric Opera). She was widowed two years ago. Her husband, Alfred, was legendary.

Someone asked me at the party how many 90th birthday parties I'd attended. I counted three. I was invited to another I couldn't make it to.

What is it about milestones like decade birthdays?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Skyline View

Having a view of the downtown skyline is a plus for homes off Stratford Drive on Lady Bird Lake. This magnificent view is from the bar area off a dining area with an equally stunning view in a private home. I left the window supports in the frame to emphasize the fact that is a view from a home. The tallest building so far, looking more so in this view because it is closer to us and reflecting the afternoon sun with a vengeance (we are looking east) is our future home which FFP now calls the '3-6-0.' The three six 'o' would be a good thing to call it because when you say three sixty in Austin a lot of people think of a loop that isn't a loop that is now called Capital of Texas Highway. That's the lake peeking out at the bottom.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Flower Arrangement of the Season(s)

There are large (dare I say monumental?) flower arrangements in the Four Seasons Hotel lobby in Austin all the time. (And probably in your city, too, if you have a Four Seasons. It's sort of a trademark of the chain.) This was the display a few weeks ago. They are now building a very fancy condo residence next to our hotel. During the last boom they proposed one but it (literally) never got off the ground. This time, even though the boom is probably over here as it is everywhere, the ground is being turned and the cranes are in place, anyway. To say it will be 'high end' is probably an understatement. Not in our price range.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Not the W Hotel

The copper building with the many forms is Austin's City Hall. The stone wall near the lower right has 'City of Austin' or something tastefully etched out of the native limestone. The W that seems to be in the Window? Why that's not there at all. It is projected from the white box of a building in the lower left corner. That isn't George the W's Austin office. No. It's the sales office for condos in the W Hotel/Condo/Austin City Limits Studio complex that is going on the block just north of it. Or is it? That block is scraped but there is no sign of ground-breaking or cranes yet. Unless it's emerged in the last few days. This was taken from my friends' apartment in the on the southeast side of the new AMLI.

Sunday, April 13, 2008


Something about fish in a pond that is tranquil, huh? This pond is in the courtyard at Hotel San Jose on South Congress.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Art is Music

Austin fancies itself a crucible of music. "Live Music Capital" is a rubric we claim. But we are very much for mixing our art forms and so Austin's embrace of Daniel Johnston when he landed here is no surprise. The cartoon on these tanks was on the side of a used record store on Guadalupe and I think it is still there, preserved by fans' efforts when the location became something else. [Note to self: check, photograph.] From what I have read Daniel is a cartoonist and a unique musician. So Austin preserves his art, puts it on stylish ladies' tanks and recently had a musical about him at Zach Scott Theater.

Speaking of music and art, this weekend is your last chance to see Cult of Color: Call to Color, a brilliant collaboration of Stephen Mills, Trenton Doyle Hancock and Graham Reynolds at the Ballet Austin Austin Ventures Studio in the Butler Dance Education Center. It is brilliant. I thought I was witnessing something historic and I was entranced. I understand fans of Trenton's art from all over the world came to see it. So make that art is music is dance is art.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Visionaries and Legends

Some simple plaques on the east side of the Long Center announce major donations. (No, you won't find our name among them, but if you look long and hard at all the plaques inside the center you might find us!) If you gave a certain amount you were a visionary, but if you gave a bit less you were a Texas Legend. (And by less we still mean seven figures.) It continued through designations like 'Texas Star' and 'Chairman's Forum' and 'President's Forum' and I think the bottom donors (I believe 50K was the price of entry for having your name outside the building) were 'Impresarios.' These folks have things inside with their name(s) on them, too. You know, like 'Dell Hall.' Anyway I don't know about all these designations but I think it is cool that two Sarahs who are friends of mine ended up next to each other on this sign.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Framed Skyscraper

I took this picture from Congress. Our future home, the 360 Condominiums, is framed looking west by cranes for the Austonian. One day, from that spot, you won't see it as the closer tower rises. I'm always fascinated by 'angles of vision' in and around tall buildings and Austin is getting more and more of them. The shorter, wider building in the mid-distance is the AMLI apartments between Colorado and Lavaca and Second and Third. The skinnier building on the left of the 360 is the new AMLI (called AMLI on Second although it seems to really face Third!). That AMLI is where we took this picture.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

It Might Rain

I took this photo in March of our current backyard in the rain. (Enlarge to search for the Sousaphone player.) I was casting about for a 'water' picture for theme day and then didn't use it so I thought I'd show it today when it might rain according to the weather. (And we think we've seen a bit of a sprinkle and my dad reports some rain from his part of town.) The picture was taken through the glass because it was raining hard and I didn't want to step out on the porch.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

I Am Austin

Walking on Second Street a week or two ago, my friend and I noticed that an empty shop (where some froufrou shop has flashed and failed) had been taking over by an art project. The window of the shop was full of Polaroids of people holding a little black board that said "I am ____" and they had been able to fill in the blank before the artists of the installation shot the Polaroids. The public is invited to come by during certain hours and participate, apparently. (It was closed when we were there.) I found this statement in a news release on the Internet:

"Jackie Young + Cybil Gustafson will present a collaborative installation titled I Am, an interactive photography exhibition that invites patrons to provide statements that describe themselves to accompany individual Polaroid portraits taken by Jackie Young. Performance artist Cybil Gustafson will hang the photos and statements. From the artist’s statement: “I am interactive. I am a large-scale installation. I am a representation of individuals. I am the story of a community. I am. We are.”
I may show you some details from this smaller format picture in the coming days. But if you are curious about what some of the statements say try to guess from the smaller format picture.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Tesoros on the Move

This montage shows, on top, the sign for Tesoros Trading Company, a shop selling imported stuff from all over the world. They have lots of things from Mexico and Latin America given the proximity but also deal in stuff from Africa, India, etc. They have moved into the old Rue's Antiques location on South Congress. (Which leaves a void in my knowledge about where to get inexpensive 30's and 40's wardrobes and dressers.)

On the bottom is the mural on the side of the old building Tesoros still occupies downtown between Second and Third on Congress. Eventually a hotel will go there, but I think Tesoros is keeping two locations until then.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Peaceful Downtown Feeling

This was taken through a window in an eighth floor corner suite at the Four Seasons Hotel. We had a great suite but it didn't have a balcony. I'm not complaining you understand. We bought the night's stay and a massage treatment in a charity auction. And management gave us a suite, to boot. Project Transitions, one of my favorite charities, got the money. We got a relaxing evening and this great view of Lady Bird Lake. (This used to be Town Lake and I'm having trouble adjusting. Same lake. New name.) So we woke up Saturday morning to this view of boats and the Congress Avenue Bridge.

Friday night, by the way, we saw Ballet Austin's original production: Cult of Color: Call to Color and if you are in Austin you should definitely see it. Unbelievable!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

One View

People are also asking us what our view will be like when we move downtown. This isn't it. This is one view from the south side of the 16th floor of the new AMLI across to the Palmer and Long Center. Enlarge to see the little people on the hike and bike. (By the way if you followed the AMLI link to the mystery structure is a light thing we think.)

Friday, April 4, 2008


What looks like someone's very cute old bike is really an ad campaign for a downtown condo project. They chained these antique-looking bikes around with baskets of brochures. Clearly it's something that some clever ad man thought's a bike, who is going to keep them from chaining it up even if it has ad brochures? Haven't noticed them since this was taken several weeks ago so maybe a guerrilla tactic? I intentionally shot it when the Segway tour was going by. Taken on Second Street in front of Jo's. The ads weren't for our future home (the 360) which is said to have a long waiting list of buyers. Rather, they were for a project called Spring which is at Third and Bowie, across Shoal Creek from our the area where we will live. This project hasn't topped yet but you can notice the red cranes if you are in the area.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Coffee? Or Something Stronger?

On Fourth Street at the northeast corner of Lavaca there is a Coffee/Bar (and /Lounge it would seem). Meaning they don't just have coffee, but a full bar. And you can lounge. They have free Internet, I think, though I've never used it there. They recently remodeled and shrank the inside dimension to give over space to another bar but I was assured that the panini plates wouldn't change and they are stellar. This stretch of Fourth Street between Lavaca and Colorado is a lively one with several bars (Cedar Street is an outdoor stage) and restaurants. This is definitely 'warehouse district' as the Halcyon and other businesses on that side of the street are ten feet above street level on old loading docks. The name Halcyon gives them lots to live up to, but I think they succeed!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Spring is Full Blown

We are pretty far south and by April spring is pretty full on here. This is a wisteria vine on an arbor at the Hotel San Jose on South Congress taken two weekends ago. The vines bloom according to size or the sun or some schedule in each plant but at the moment almost all are blooming or already have. The Redbuds have pushed away their colorful blossoms and are just adorned with heart-shaped leaves. The live oaks have pushed off old leaves for new and are throwing off their pollen to make green dust on everything. Looking across Lake Austin yesterday there was a green dust cloud on the west side. The pollen gets in my head and throws off my equilibrium but at least I'm not coughing and sneezing.

The thing about spring here is that it doesn't last long. Time to check out the air conditioning against the grueling heat to come.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Water Feature

Soon the water features in our lives will be: (1) a sliver of Lady Bird Lake glimpsed from our balcony; (2) the pool down one floor on the other side of the building; (3) walking down to the hike and bike for better Lady Bird Lake views; and (4) the gentle (we hope) sounds of the Austin chilled water plant on top of the garage across the street. Currently though we are like most home owners and have heard that 'water features' are selling points. The one bird is supposed to recirculate the water into the pond but we frequently have trouble keeping that mechanism unclogged and keeping the GFI from tripping. Another simpler bubbler in the center of a concrete ball in another pond works better but is less dramatic.

Water is the theme for today. (No fooling.) Here are some sites that are participating. Some may have forgotten, some may not have posted yet and some may be into tomorrow but sail around the world...looking for water.
theme day id=13

Adelaide, Australia by Gordon, Albuquerque (NM), USA by Helen, American Fork (UT), USA by Annie, Anderson (SC), USA by Lessie, Ararat, Australia by Digger, Arradon, France by Alice, Ashton under Lyne, UK by Pennine, Athens, Greece by Debbie, Auckland, New Zealand by Lachezar, Austin (TX), USA by LB, Bandung, Indonesia by Guntur Purwanto, Barton (VT), USA by Andree, Belgrade, Serbia & Montenegro by Bibi, Belgrade, Serbia & Montenegro by Paja, Bellefonte (PA), USA by Barb-n-PA, Bicheno, Australia by Greg, Bogor, Indonesia by Gagah, Boston (MA), USA by Sarah, Whit, & Leyre, Boston (MA), USA by Cluelessinboston, Boston (MA), USA by Fenix - Bostonscapes, Brighton, UK by Harvey, Brookville (OH), USA by Abraham, Budapest, Hungary by Zannnie and Zsolt, Budapest, Hungary by Isadora, Canterbury, UK by Rose, Cape Town, South Africa by Kerry-Anne, Chandler (AZ), USA by Melindaduff, Chateaubriant, France by Bergson, Cheltenham, UK by Marley, Chicago (IL), USA by b.c., Christchurch, New Zealand by Michelle, Clearwater (FL), USA by Smaridge01, Clearwater Beach (FL), USA by Smaridge01, Cleveland (OH), USA by iBlowfish, Coral Gables (FL), USA by Jnstropic, Cypress (TX), USA by Riniroo, Dallas/Fort Worth (TX), USA by A Wandering Soul, Dunedin (FL), USA by Smaridge01, Durban, South Africa by CrazyCow, East Gwillimbury, Canada by Your EG Tour Guide, Evry, France by Olivier, Glasgow, Scotland by Jackie, Greenville (SC), USA by Denton, Grenoble, France by Bleeding Orange, Guelph, Canada by Pat, Gun Barrel City (TX), USA by Lake Lady, Hamilton, New Zealand by Sakiwi, Hampton (VA), USA by ptowngirl, Haninge, Sweden by Steffe, Helsinki, Finland by Kaa, Hobart, Australia by Greg, Hyde, UK by Old Hyde, Inverness (IL), USA by Neva, Jackson (MS), USA by Halcyon, Jakarta, Indonesia by Santy, Jefferson City (MO), USA by Chinamom2005, Jogjakarta, Indonesia by Jogja Portrait, Joplin (MO), USA by Victoria, Juneau (AK), USA by Gwyn, Katonah (NY), USA by Inkster1, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia by Edwin, Kyoto, Japan by Tadamine, Lake Forest Park (WA), USA by Azure, Larchmont (NY), USA by Marie-Noyale, Las Vegas (NV), USA by Mo, Lisbon, Portugal by Sailor Girl, Lisbon, Portugal by Maria João, Lodz, Poland by ritalounge, London, UK by Ham, London, UK by Mo, Mainz, Germany by JB, Maple Ridge, Canada by Susan, Marseille, France by Alex, Mazatlan, Mexico by Kate, Melbourne, Australia by Mblamo, Melbourne, Australia by John, Memphis (TN), USA by SouthernHeart, Menton, France by Jilly, Mexico City, Mexico by Carraol, Mexico City, Mexico by Poly, Minneapolis (MN), USA by Greg, Minneapolis (MN), USA by Mitch, Minsk, Belarus by Olga, Monrovia (CA), USA by Keith, Monte Carlo, Monaco by Jilly, Montego Bay, Jamaica by Ann, Monterrey, Mexico by rafa, Moscow, Russia by Irina, Mumbai, India by Kunalbhatia, Mumbai, India by Magiceye, Mumbai, India by MumbaiiteAnu, Nancy, France by yoshi, Naples (FL), USA by Isabella, Nashville (TN), USA by Chris, Nelson, New Zealand by Meg and Ben, New Orleans (LA), USA by steve buser, New York City (NY), USA by Ming the Merciless, Niamey, Niger by Dinabee, Norfolk (VA), USA by ptowngirl, Norman (OK), USA by Chad & LaCresha, Norwich, UK by Goddess888, Nottingham, UK by Gail's Man, Odense, Denmark by ania odense, Omsk, Russia by Nataly, Orlando (FL), USA by OrlFla, Oslo, Norway by Lothiane, Paderborn, Germany by Soemchen, Paris, France by Eric, Paris, France by Gordio, Pasadena (CA), USA by Can8ianben, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia by Murphy_jay, Pilisvörösvár, Hungary by Elise, Pont-à-Mousson, France by Tintin-j, Port Angeles (WA), USA by Jelvistar, Port Elizabeth, South Africa by Sam, Port Townsend (WA), USA by raf, Port Vila, Vanuatu by Mblamo, Portland (OR), USA by NWgal, Portland (ME), USA by Corey, Portsmouth (VA), USA by ptowngirl, Prague, Czech Republic by Honza03, Quincy (MA), USA by Cluelessinboston, Riga, Latvia by Prokur, Rotterdam, Netherlands by Ineke, Saarbrücken, Germany by LadyDemeter, Saigon, Vietnam by Simon, Saint Louis (MO), USA by Strangetastes, Saint Paul (MN), USA by Kate, Salem (OR), USA by jill, Salt Lake City (UT), USA by Eric, Salt Lake City (UT), USA by atc, San Diego (CA), USA by Felicia, San Francisco (CA), USA by PFranson, Seattle (WA), USA by Kim, Seattle (WA), USA by Chuck, Seguin (TX), USA by Thien, Selma (AL), USA by RamblingRound, Sequim (WA), USA by Eponabri, Sesimbra, Portugal by Aldeia, Setúbal, Portugal by Maria Elisa, Shanghai, China by Jing, Sharon (CT), USA by Jenny, Singapore, Singapore by Keropok, Sofia, Bulgaria by Antonia, St Francis, South Africa by Sam, Stavanger, Norway by Tanty, Stayton (OR), USA by Celine, Stockholm, Sweden by Stromsjo, Stouffville, Canada by Ken, Subang Jaya, Malaysia by JC, Suffolk (VA), USA by ptowngirl, Sunshine Coast, Australia by bitingmidge, Sydney, Australia by Nathalie, Sydney, Australia by Sally, Székesfehérvár, Hungary by Teomo, Tacloban City, Philippines by agnesdv, Terrell (TX), USA by Jim K, Terrell (TX), USA by Bstexas, The Hague, Netherlands by Lezard, Tokyo, Japan by Tadamine, Toruń, Poland by Torun Observer, Toulouse, France by Julia, Turin, Italy by Livio, Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina by Jazzy, Twin Cities (MN), USA by Slinger, Victoria, Canada by Benjamin Madison, Vienna, Austria by G_mirage2, Virginia Beach (VA), USA by ptowngirl, Wailea (HI), USA by Kuanyin, Washington (DC), USA by Rachel, Wassenaar, Netherlands by Rich, Wellington, New Zealand by Jeremyb, West Paris (ME), USA by crittoria, West Sacramento (CA), USA by Barbara, Weston (FL), USA by WestonDailyPhoto, Williamsburg (VA), USA by ptowngirl, Willits (CA), USA by Elaine, Yardley (PA), USA by Mrlynn