Saturday, May 31, 2008

It's Batty! It's Opera!

Austin Lyric Opera (and Esther's Follies) reimagined Die Fledermaus as "The Bat." With Strauss' beautiful music came hilarious English lyrics full of inside jokes and costumes and sets evoking our fair city at its most, um, outrageous. At the after party, Katherine Shileds (who wore a silver wig as a member of the chorus) sported these bat wings. She said the costume came with a black 'halo' but it looked silly. Bat wings, though, perfectly elegant. You can still run out and buy tickets to see this at the Long Center. Couldn't be more Austin.

Friday, May 30, 2008

A Little More Mascara

Last night at Austin Cabaret Theater, the theater's producer, Stuart Moulton, did a show himself. He's a great producer and brings a lot of cool acts to us. Last night, though, he took the stage with a band and a couple of helpers and put on quite a show himself. He did a finale of the transvestite lament (or celebration?) "A Little More Mascara." It was a good show and the dinner before in the dining room of The Mansion at Judge's Hill and the show made a nice birthday for one of the friends we'd invited. If only he'd told us it was his birthday before!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Art on Burnet

On Burnet, a bit north of 45th Street this old stone house has turned into the Art Pad. A place to send the kids for projects this summer? Or a spot to get your inner creative mojo going?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Unnatural World

I understand the choice of palm trees for this plaza on the south of the 360 building and even I guess on the pool deck. What else has the scale to instantly compete with a tall building. And maybe this one, sheltered by the building will survive. Sometimes palm trees in Austin meet a cruel fate. Anyway, I like this photo looking up at the building and catching the top of the palm and the deco decoration on the garage.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Wet Land

The little park behind Central Market on Lamar, extending to Guadalupe, has a wet land with a pond promoting these aquatic plants, ducks and fish apparently. When my visiting little ones threw pizza crusts into the pond for the ducks, hundreds of little minnows would attack them, propelling them across the water like little boats.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Looking Out Into Space!

Those are my shoes in the foreground. Just beyond is an area of the pool marked "four inches" and '"NO DIVING." Well, no. Those recliners are in the water. Across the pool are people enjoying the 360 Condo Grand Opening and beyond that a drop of nine stories to the ground. That's a bit of the Monarch apartments to the right and soon I think the Spring Condos will loom into view. (That project seems to be going at a snail's pace. But their marketing is good because people ask me if I'm moving there all the time.)

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Chocolate Bacon

There's no other way to say it. Chocolate bacon. While my older great nephews shopped for candy using a bucket to choose from hundreds of old-fashioned confections this lady coated bacon with chocolate at the fine confection counter. Big Top Candy Shop also sells traditional shop fountain drinks. I thought it would be a disaster for the nephews, but my niece unwrapped a lollipop for the little one and gave the clerk the wrapper and he sat by me happily while the older boys where given free rein to pick some confections with a little help from mom in deciding the limits of decency. To balance we stopped by Farm to Market Grocery and got organic milk for them. I didn't taste the chocolate bacon, but I think it goes on the list of things I have to try before I die. We've shown Big Top's candies before but we thought they deserved another feature for chocolate bacon!

I see on the WEB that the Big Top folks also own Monkey See, Monkey Do featured here once before. Amusing.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Lady Bug, Lady Bug

This giant lady bug is on a mural strewn with shadows. The mural overlooks the playground at a grocery store here that is a part of the HEB chain. It's full of organic and fancy stuff and is meant to compete with Whole Foods. (Whole Foods actually started in Austin.) Besides the big store there is a large cafe, an outdoor deck and a large play area. An it's all adjacent to a little park with a wetland area with ducks and lily pads and a bridge. It was a great place to let little kids run off some steam. Normally not something I have to worry about, but my nieces and their kids have been visiting.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Sculpture for the Pickers

The big party was very crowded at the 360. They'd invited all the residents, most of whom had not had a chance to get inside. And it seems they'd invited every vendor imaginable and friends of the developer, etc. I think we had the most fun at the plaza on 3rd (which is not a through street currently but dead ends into a foot bridge. The guy who did this sculpture in the little plaza was onhand. He said his name was La Paso and the sculpture had a plaque that said 'Killer Riffs' by La Paso In any case, the guitars in the wind looked smart with our building and the AMLI building. A few close friends were also hanging out here, avoiding overcrowded elevators, long food lines and a brisk wind that didn't cool off this late May day on the pool deck.

Soon we will be residents here and I figure they will never have or allow this large a party again. Must have been a thousand people??

Thursday, May 22, 2008

It's Your Day, Big Guy

The big guy has his grand opening today. Yep, it's Grand Opening day for the 360. This photo was taken a couple of weeks ago from the north. No one has closed on a unit yet (I believe the first are next week and ours is soon after that), but the party is today. We hope the star is ready for his closeup. There is still a bunch of blather about whether downtown is being overbuilt (see Statesman here) but I think it boils down to this: there is a demand for X condos that are more expensive than out of the central core but affordable to the middle to lower reaches of upper class. There is a demand for Y luxury condos. Y is less than X and yet it seems that the building is skewed the other way. The 360 claims a huge waiting list, running to almost half of the actual units. And the developers who built it claim they are going to start shortly building more high rises downtown. I'll be watching for that from my balcony.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Old Boots?

From the sign (top of the collage) and the window (bottom with FFP window shopping) you would think this boot shop downtown was an old fixture, there for years. You'd be wrong. It is brand new. I figure they selected the name because they want to reflect the old-time custom bookmakers.

This shop is on 8th Street next to a newish cafe called Amsterdam Cafe. I don't know why the cafe is called that either, but I'm sure it's not for the reason many of you are thinking. You can't even smoke cigarettes in a bar here! (Here is a You Tube trip to the Amsterdam.)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Purple House

On our walk the other day we snapped Lucinda Hutson's house. The front yard has lots of herbs and flowers and she isn't afraid of color! (She's even influenced neighbors to use bright colors on their houses.) She is an author of books on herbs and tequila and someone who adds a lot of color to our current neighborhood and the whole community.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Airstream Dreams

In our neighborhood, this constitutes a spare room! Just kidding. Well, sort of. This shiny 'Bambi' Airstream trailer is really cute. We stuck pretty close to our neighborhood this weekend. (For old times since we are moving? No, to pack stuff up!) We were on a walk to the Upper Crust coffee shop on Saturday when I shot this. (Can't work all the time.) The wheels had blocks and the electricity was plugged in so maybe someone was spending a bit of time in it!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Freedom's Just Another Word...

...for nothing left to do. But we had plenty to do last night at the Paramount Gala. Drinks and a performance by Idgy Vaughn followed by the a live auction and the 'really does he need an introduction' Kris Kristofferson. (He wandered on stage during the live auction to sign a guitar then were auctioning off.) After Kris sang for an hour there was food and a band and an auction and more drinks, of course, and we talked to a ton of friends and acquaintances.

Of course, the line "Freedom's just another word" is from 'Me and Bobby Mcgee' made famous by Janis Joplin but written by Kris.

Well, now "there's something in a Sunday that makes a body feel alone" so I'm going to look for some companionship or get something done. Just coffee, not beer for breakfast. Points to readers who get all the KK allusions.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Ta-Da! Austin Daily Photo is One Year Old

Yep. We started this blog on May 17, 2007. FFP had seen Eric's PDP and some others and decided we should do one for our fair city. Someone had run a blog for Austin (here) and then given up the prior November. We settled on using blogger and the URL to distinguish us from those quitters. (Just kidding. I don't know why anyone does this for no remuneration. Don't know why I do it!) Of course, the Texas distinguishes us from Austin, Minnesota, too but, really when most people hear 'Austin' do they think of other states? I'm just saying. And digressing.

Anyway, we have now posted 366 times (it was a leap year) and today's birthday post is 367. It shows our backyard trumpeter blowing a fanfare accompanied by the rest of the backyard band. (You can see the French horn player in the background.)

Friday, May 16, 2008

Need Big Shoes?

This 'specialty' shop popped up on West Sixth Street and I guess it fulfills a community need. Not for our household since FFP wears an average size. Just in case you don't get that the store has BIG shoes and that they are for men, it says underneath "Large Shoes for Men."

I should have had a picture of an uprooted tree on something for today as Austin had lots of storm damage on Wednesday night. But my neighborhood was sort of spared and I forgot my camera when we went to Zoot Restaurant. There was a tree uprooted nearby and the restaurant guys had been on their roof with a chain saw. Magnolia Cafe nearby was closed for repairs. One of our guests walked over from the apartments in the next block. She said a hail stone had broken her window in the night. These wind and hail storms always do seemingly random damage.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Before the Stormy Weather

We've had some scary weather in the last week. A friend shot this picture of us at a garden party on Saturday night. A while later it started to sprinkle and we moved to the covered porch and the party moved inside as it rained harder. Then there was a round of pea-sized hail. Then there was a pause. I was standing on the back porch talking to someone when a substantial hail stone fell on the patio like a shot. Maybe the size of a golf ball. We foolishly thought it a 'stray' from the hail we just had but then a bunch of them fell. They were apparently mushy because they didn't break the guy' greenhouse windows or reflecting balls or dent the cars. (Ours was in the gargage as this house is near our current abode and we'd walked.) Last night we had hail again. Pea-size or small marble I'd say. Again no substantial damage so we were lucky. Lots of tornado alerts, too. Who knew that they could take over your TV and amp the volume even if you were playing something off your DVR???

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

More 360

A lot of people we talk to don't know where the 360 Condos are located. Either they must not go downtown (or anywhere in view of a skyline) or maybe they aren't so 'invested' in it! I took this shot from the AMLI deck on Saturday the 3rd, going to a spot where I could see most of the building. In this shot and this shot and this one I didn't let the 360 be the star as I have often done in the past (see below) so I thought you'd indulge if I showed it again today.

Other 360 views: the deco grills on the garage, framed by Austonian cranes , reflecting fireworks, reflected in Front Bank, towering over the Long Center ring, just starting to rise behind the demolished Intel shell, dark in the night sky with crane still attached, with the Long Center bridge as a frame, reflected in Long Center glass, before it was topped, with Ballet Austin in the foreground, the architect's model, rising behind its sales center sign, and when it was barely a pip on the skyline.

Of course, at the moment the sales site has a WEB cam that shows a new view every hour or so but I wouldn't steal their photos for display here. For my desktop, yes.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Doors to the Future

These doors were painted back in some other era when this run down building on West Sixth was used for a club or something. The building looks like it is awaiting a buyer to be turned into something different for the future. Currently, though, the doors make me smile. I believe this is on the side of the same building.

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Face of Retirment

We went to this man's retirement party yesterday. A casual get-together at Mother Egan's. Most of us don't look this good when we finish a career. Tony Casati retired from Ballet Austin after "Don Quixote" (he'd only had his make-up off from Sunday's performance for about an hour). He spent fourteen years dancing for Ballet Austin and has truly been an amazing force for dance in Austin. He said he will spend a week fixing up his boat before deciding on what new careers to undertake. I told him I spent a few weeks doing yard work and chores before deciding to do not much in retirement (including yard work and chores!). With his good looks, one wonders why he doesn't embark on a career in acting!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Lights, Action, Digital Camera

Friday after the ballet at the Long Center and I put the point and shoot camera on the setting for 'Night Landscape' and tried to hold the camera very still to get the lights of the little round stage and the ones on in the 360 Condos and other downtown buildings in focus. The young ladies were moving and creating these nice dancing swirls.

Saturday, May 10, 2008


Michele Thompson is beaming in her beautiful green dress after a triumphant performance as Kitri in "Don Quixote." Ballet Austin used an expansive set to celebrate their first performance in the Long Center and Michele did a wonderful job in this leading role. (She'll do it again Sunday and trade the Dulcinea role with Ashley Lynn tomorrow night.)

Friday, May 9, 2008

Let them eat pie!

Last Sunday, we went to the "Mildred Pierce Pie Social" -- a "No Place But Austin" kind of event held at Alamo Draft House on South Lamar.

Lots of our friends were involved. Virginia Wood, the food editor of the Austin Chronicle, put together a benefit for the continuing medical care needed by Stephen Moser, the Chron's Fashion Editor (above left).

The benefit cost a mere $30 and you got all the pie you could eat, chosen from an array prepared by some of the finest bakers in town-- including a scrumptious Jalapeño Apple--my fave, Cherry, Country Blueberry, Strawberry/Rhubarb, Lemon Meringue and on and on. If you were really brave and off your diet, you could get scoops of Amy's ice cream on top.

And while you were eating your six-slice selection of pies, (there were over twenty) you got to see a screening of the classic film "Mildred Pierce." Of course, it starred Austin's own Zachary Scott and the inimitable Joan Crawford. The Veda character (Mildred's eldest daughter) is an iconic depiction of the ungrateful child.

How can you not love lines like:

: With this money I can get away from you. From you and your chickens and your pies and your kitchens and everything that smells of grease. I can get away from this shack with its cheap furniture. And this town and its dollar days, and its women that wear uniforms and its men that wear overalls.


Monte: Oh, I wish I could get that interested in work.
Ida: You were probably frightened by a callus at an early age!


Ida: Personally, Veda's convinced me that alligators have the right idea. They eat their young.

Oh-- the person to the right? That's local entertainer Saffire Trinity as Joan Crawford!

If any of you in Austin are reading this, there will be another fantastic benefit party for Stephen next Wednesday at Antone'

Thursday, May 8, 2008


We were at that party Saturday night on the AMLI deck when the sun went down. Our new home (we fervently hope) is the bluish building at mid distance (it's the 360 Condominiums) beyond the shadowy AMLI balconies.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Something a Bit Different

Monday we went to a benefit roast at the Four Seasons for a guy who was having a 75th Birthday, developer Larry Peel. His wife was wearing these shoes. She is a down-to-earth psychiatrist (Dr. Deborah Peel) who has devoted herself to protecting patient privacy. But everyone has to have something a little different, huh? A sparkling smile and sparkling shoes.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Butterfly Bench

This is another example of the decoration currently at the Domain. The butterfly bench seems perfect for posing people for photos, huh?

Monday, May 5, 2008

Jennifer's Show

Saturday night we stopped by an art opening at Wally Workman gallery on West Sixth. Jennifer Balkan has appeared in this space before as part of E.A.S.T. (East Austin Studio Tour). This is the window of the gallery with one of her paintings inside.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Downtown Neighbors

As we have mentioned in this space, there is a new downtown apartment building that is close to the spot where we will one day be living. AMLI on 2nd hosted a fundraiser last night on their pool deck for Planet Cancer, an organization to provide services for young adults with cancer. This shot across the pool deck shows our future home in the background. We duly noted that we will be able to see this deck from our balcony since we could see the balcony from here. The pink theme was well-executed by the party goers.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

FFP Contributes Some Style

FFP is usually involved in more important things than blogging, but he did pose in front of this shop window at the Domain Thursday night to show us some style. I didn't notice until later that the sign said: "Petites Now Available." Which seems odd (1) in a shop showing men's shirts (aren't they?); and (2) in a shop at the domain where, I'd assume, all the clothes are skewed toward thin! He does look stylish, though. He's holding my takeout from Jasper's.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Not The Real Thing

I have shown you real peacocks around our club and the other day FFP saw a real armadillo near the club (sadly we didn't have a camera at hand) but this stylized peacock sculpture and the armadillo behind it are at the Domain. Everything there is a little unreal!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

By the Numbers

We went to a party for our future home (the 360 Condominiums at 360 Nueces) a couple of weeks ago. Someone was promoting a vodka called 42 below so they made drinks called True 42, 42nd Floor (yes there will be one in the building and no we won't be living on it) and 360tini. Today is the first of the month and it's theme day at City Daily Photo. These sites allege to be participating so accounting for time differences and forgetting go around the world by the numbers:

Click here to view thumbnails for all participants
Albuquerque (NM), USA by Helen, American Fork (UT), USA by Annie, Arradon, France by Alice, Aspen (CO), USA by IamMBB, Athens, Greece by Debbie, Auckland, New Zealand by Lachezar, Austin (TX), USA by LB, Avignon, France by Nathalie, Barrow-in-Furness, UK by Enitharmon, Barton (VT), USA by Andree, Belgrade, Serbia by Bibi, 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, Bucharest, Romania by Malpraxis, Budapest, Hungary by agrajag, Buenos Aires, Argentina by Karine, Busan, Korea South by iamnbinb, Canterbury, UK by Rose, Chandler (AZ), USA by Melindaduff, Chateaubriant, France by Bergson, Cheltenham, UK by Marley, Chesapeake Daily Photo (VA), USA by ptowngirl, Chicago (IL), USA by Focused Light, Christchurch, New Zealand by Michelle, Clearwater (FL), USA by Smaridge01, Clearwater Beach (FL), USA by Smaridge01, Cleveland (OH), USA by iBlowfish, Cologne, Germany by April11, Concordia Sagittaria, Italy by Patrizia, Coral Gables (FL), USA by Jnstropic, Corsicana (TX), USA by Lake Lady, Dallas (TX), USA by turtle, Darmstadt, Germany by Elsch, Dunedin (FL), USA by Smaridge01, Durban, South Africa by CrazyCow, East Gwillimbury, Canada by Your EG Tour Guide, Evry, France by Olivier, Forks (WA), USA by Mary, Geneva (IL), USA by Kelly, Glasgow, Scotland by Jackie, Greenville (SC), USA by Denton, Gun Barrel City (TX), USA by Lake Lady, Hamilton, New Zealand by Sakiwi, Hampton (VA), USA by ptowngirl, Helsinki, Finland by Kaa, Hobart, Australia by Greg, Hong Kong, Hong Kong by Rachel A., Hyde, UK by Gerald, Inverness (IL), USA by Neva, Ioannina, Greece by Christos-Ioanna, Jackson (MS), USA by Halcyon, Jefferson City (MO), USA by Chinamom2005, Jogjakarta, Indonesia by Jogja Portrait, Joplin (MO), USA by Victoria, Katonah (NY), USA by Inkster1, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia by Edwin, Kyoto, Japan by Tadamine, Larchmont (NY), USA by Marie-Noyale, Las Vegas (NV), USA by Mo, Le Guilvinec, France by ds2944, Lisbon, Portugal by Sailor Girl, Lisbon, Portugal by Maria João, Lodz, Poland by ritalounge, London, UK by Mo, London, UK by Ham, Mainz, Germany by JB, Malaga, Spain by Paula, Manila, Philippines by Heyokity, Maple Ridge, Canada by Susan, Marseille, France by Alex, Medan, Indonesia by KT, Melbourne, Australia by Mblamo, Melbourne, Australia by John, Memphis (TN), USA by SouthernHeart, Menton, France by Jilly, Mexico City, Mexico by Poly, Mexico City, Mexico by Carraol, Minneapolis (MN), USA by Mitch, Minneapolis (MN), USA by Greg, Minsk, Belarus by Olga, Misawa, Japan by misawa mama, Monrovia (CA), USA by Keith, Monte Carlo, Monaco by Jilly, Monterrey, Mexico by rafa, Montpellier, France by Marie, Moscow, Russia by Irina, Mumbai, India by Kunalbhatia, Mumbai, India by Magiceye, Nancy, France by yoshi, 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 • Eliane •, New York City (NY), USA by Ming the Merciless, Newport News (VA), USA by ptowngirl, Norfolk (VA), USA by ptowngirl, North Hampton (NH), USA by Amy, Norwich, UK by Goddess888, Nottingham, UK by Gail's Man, Ocean Township (NJ), USA by Josy, Omsk, Russia by Nataly, Orlando (FL), USA by OrlFla, Oslo, Norway by Lothiane, Owasso (OK), USA by Jennifer, Paderborn, Germany by Soemchen, Paris, France by Eric, Pasadena (CA), USA by Petrea, Pasadena (CA), USA by Can8ianben, Penang, Malaysia by Maltelda, Perth, Australia by Elevation7, Phoenix (AZ), USA by Cheryl, Pilisvörösvár, Hungary by Elise, Port Angeles (WA), USA by Jelvistar, Port Elizabeth, South Africa by Sam, Port Townsend (WA), USA by raf, Port Vila, Vanuatu by Mblamo, Portsmouth (VA), USA by ptowngirl, Prague, Czech Republic by Honza03, Quincy (MA), USA by Cluelessinboston, Rabaul, Papua New Guinea by Jules, Ramsey, Isle of Man by babooshka, Riga, Latvia by Riga Images, Rollag, Norway by Stormel, Rotterdam, Netherlands by Ineke, Saarbrücken, Germany by LadyDemeter, Saigon, Vietnam by Simon, Saint Paul (MN), USA by Kate, Salem (OR), USA by jill, Salt Lake City (UT), USA by atc, Salt Lake City (UT), USA by Eric, San Diego (CA), USA by Felicia, San Diego (CA), USA by Zentmrs, San Francisco (CA), USA by PFranson, San Francisco (CA), USA by Louis la Vache, Seattle (WA), USA by Chuck, Seattle (WA), USA by Kim, Selma (AL), USA by RamblingRound, Seoul, South Korea by Phil, Sesimbra, Portugal by Aldeia, Setúbal, Portugal by Maria Elisa, Sharon (CT), USA by Jenny, Singapore, Singapore by Keropok, Sofia, Bulgaria by Antonia, St Francis, South Africa by Sam, Stanwood (WA), USA by MaryBeth, 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 Julie, Székesfehérvár, Hungary by Teomo, Tacloban City, Philippines by agnesdv, Tel-Aviv, Israel by Olga, Terrell (TX), USA by Jim K, Terrell (TX), USA by Bstexas, Tokyo, Japan by Tadamine, Torun, Poland by Glenn, Torun, Poland by Torun Observer, Toulouse, France by Julia, Turin, Italy by Livio, Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina by Jazzy, Twin Cities (MN), USA by Slinger, Vichy, France by Delphsnl, 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, 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,