Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Vacant Lot

This vacant lot in Travis Heights has a forlorn tree, some pretty stone steps and a plant with some nice red blossoms for spring.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Start Your Engines, Babies

This racing team in the Capital 10K yesterday had a well-executed theme, huh? We caught them here near the starting line on the Congress Avenue Bridge.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Avenue and the Capital 10K

Thousands and thousands of people stream toward the Capitol at the beginning of the Capital 10K race. One of the oldest running events in Austin, it has been going on since I've been in Austin. (Picture from Congress Avenue at the bridge. See long view yesterday with hardly any traffic.) There were so many people on the bridge that you could feel it vibrate.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Avenue

This is a view of Congress Avenue looking north to the Capitol with FFP posing. (I should have credited him with the picture yesterday, by the way.) People are often inspired to take a picture here with the tall buildings marching down the street but required to set back from the street enough to preserve the view to the Capitol. It once loomed over the downtown, but no more. The building on the left side of the street with the crane is the Austonian. We will be tracking its progress to its eventual 55-story height. Click to enlarge.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Entertainment on the City Terrace

The Long Center for the Performing Arts opened a year ago. In fact, maybe you were around reading last year for the two night opening festivities that followed the public openings. When the fireworks capped the second night I was exuberant thinking that one day I could walk to this venue. Last night, with us in our fancier clothes, we walked to the Long Center for the anniversary party. During the cocktail party before dinner, folks entertained us will belly dancers and Middle Eastern music on the City Terrace which has the skyline, including our 'house', left above, as a backdrop. After dinner we went into Dell Hall for a concert with Marvin Hamlisch and Linda Eder and a large orchestra. After a backstage reception with the stars we listened to some tunes from Sharon Montgomery and Stuart Moulton (who had dashed over after a performance of Austin Cabaret Theater) on the City Terrace again before starting our walk back across the lake. Sharon broke into "At Last" as we made our way to Riverside and the last strains bounced along the lake as we made our way onto the ped bridge.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Capitol

We sometimes forget about the Capitol Building (although we are reminded every two years when the lege is in session) but it is always a presence downtown. This picture was taken a couple of weekends ago. The lone star in the foreground is one on the decorative iron fence around the grounds.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Puzzling Mural

This mural appeared recently. It might be a Power to the Women mural. But it is on the wall of Mellow Johnny's bike shop (owned by Lance Armstrong). Hmmm....

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Feeling Run Down?

During SXSW the Energizer bunny and some of his helpers did a promotion on Congress Avenue. You needed fresh batteries for the festival, that's for sure.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Muscians March for Peace

FFP took this photo Saturday from our balcony of musicians marching for peace on Nueces Street. Lots of interesting costumes and instruments. Enlarge and have a look.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Goodbye SXSW

I had to leave downtown yesterday and visit with some relatives I may not see for a while. When I returned to downtown on the last night of SXSW I was greeted by fireworks. These were shot from the north shore of Lady Bird Lake and visible from our balcony. Later we went out for a 1AM concert with Patrice Pike to say goodbye to 'South By' for another year.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

A Chili Institution

For over thirty years, this tiny spot, The Texas Chili Parlor, has dealt out 'bowls of red,' Texas chili in three heats (X, XX and XXX) with no beans! Oh, they have other items: burgers, enchiladas. Lots of cold beer. Steeped in tradition and easily accessible from the Capitol (it's between 14th and 15th on Lavaca) and the University, it has fueled political deals, students and UT football fans since 1976. I snapped this picture of the modest front one day as we headed from downtown to the University on a museum crawl. It opened shortly after I made Austin my hometown forever!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Creativity is All

"Creativity is All, All is Creativity" seems to be the theme for SXSW. What we see above are some creations from the Lego pit (inset) that SXSW sets up in a corner of the Convention Center for some play time.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Are We On Air?

At last night's Austin Music Awards at the Austin Music Hall the TV stations set up with reporters in the foreground and a seriously loud band of aging punksters playing in the background for a (loud) sound bite for the evening news. This event caps the first day of SXSW music. When we came out of the movie in the early afternoon yesterday on East Sixth the air was full of music (or what some may so interpret!).

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Vintage Shopping

Shop window of Let's Dish at South Lamar center where you will find the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema (South Lamar).

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Hippie Van

You don't see these every day, old VW vans decorated flower power style. This one was in the parking lot at the center where Alamo Theater South Lamar and some guitar and vintage shops and such are. Don't know if the occupants were shopping or seeing movies.

Monday, March 16, 2009

View to Downtown

From the portico of the new annex of the Blanton Museum at UT, looking toward downtown. People are often surprised that we would walk this far but it is about a mile and a half from our building. You can see the Bullock Texas History museum across the street with its flags, the Capitol and, beyond that, Frost Bank tower. A commentator on street photography once said that an easy way to compose is to choose the 'frame within the frame' as we did here. (FFP suggested this shot.)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Outdoor Sports in Fine Weather

Weather had been dreary the last couple of days (and cold) but on a nicer day (Saturday the 7th, I believe) we got these folks playing chess in Wooldridge Park. They are dressed in shorts and T-Shirts mostly and by Monday we should be seeing such clothing be appropriate again. So it looks like the weather for SWSX music will be fine.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Residential Tower

This is a picture of the 360 Condos taken from a balcony of the building at 300 West Sixth Street. It's a nice perspective, I think.

Friday, March 13, 2009


Larry Hagman, featured yesterday, was upstaged last night by his lovely wife of 55 years, Maj, left, and Linda Gray who was famously his on again/off again wife, Sue Ellen, on TV's "Dallas." In presenting the Texas Film Hall of Fame award to Larry, Linda told how during the filming of "Dallas" Larry showed all of them around to get them comfortable with all things Texas. He was the only Texan among the major players. Of course, Larry's mother was famous actress Mary Martin. Texans are often asked about the prime time soap opera "Dallas" which ran in syndication all over the world. The answer is that there is oil and cattle in Texas but it doesn't always look like a soap opera and plenty of people have neither.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Who Shot Whom?

(Left to right: Larry Hagman, actor who will be inducted into the Texas Film Hall of Fame by co-star Linda Gray tonight; Evan Smith, President and Editor-in-Chief of Texas Monthly; Julie Thornton, hostess and owner with her husband John of one of the most spectacular homes in town.)

My team member on this blog (husband FFP) shot this picture. He is often the one who gets a shot like this...because he is willing to ask! Not that he asked for the hostess of the party to pose like that or Larry Hagman (best know around the world as J.R. Ewing) to make a gun with his hand. (He put down the soda he was drinking to make a better picture. You can still see a linen cocktail napkin in his hand. You know it's a nice party when the cocktail napkins with the drinks and passed apps are all linen.) The party was a reception leading up to tomorrow night's Texas Film Hall of Fame awards gala.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Bar for the Pols

Near the Capitol building is a little bar below street level. Called the Cloak Room (after the ante chambers where 'deals' are supposed to hatched at the Capitol) this little bar has probably seen its share of political shenanigans.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

An Active Retirement

In the Independence Day Parade they had a lawn chair brigade. Maybe they sit sometimes but as they marched down Congress they were doing synchronized moves defined by some canon of lawn chair placement referred to by their leader.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Bar Mural

This mural is on the side of one of the bars that face the famous (infamous?) East Sixth strip between Congress and IH35. This area will be lively during SXSW and, this year, we'll have to brave it a bit to get to Alamo Ritz. We only do the movie portion of the entertainment, weaving our way between music venue lines to theaters when the festivals overlap.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Call the Cavalry!

Well you don't expect to see the cavalry on Congress Avenue. But we did yesterday. Turns out there was a (weekend-adjusted) Texas Independence Day Parade and we just caught part of it on our way to the Austin Museum of Art. This is a team from Ft. Hood's First Cavalry. Most of them probably don't ride horses anymore, rather Humvees.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Seaholm Power Plant

Last month I took this from the 44th floor of our building as the sun headed down (hence loonngg shadows). This old plant is no longer generating electricity. Before the downturn the site was scheduled to be repurposed as a hotel, condo, retail complex. At one time it was to be the site of a new library. It's hard to say when such new projects will actually begin so I think for some time it will sit idle with its big stacks and idle gauges inside. Hopefully one day it will add to the dense and vibrant downtown that is just across Shoal Creek from our home.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Why Up So Early?

Last night I noticed the giant flags erected on Auditorium Shores, across Lady Bird Lake near the Long Center. I found out that it was the set-up for the Star of Texas Fair and Rodeo Cowboy breakfast. For some reason, to promote this event, they have a tradition of a free 'cowboy breakfast' and entertainment on Auditorium Shores to kick off their even and it was held this morning. I'm not a cowboy or a breakfast person so I just shot the crowd from my balcony. I understand it is 'Dress Western' day in Austin, too, but I don't have hat nor boots. Jeans will have to do. I did see some genuine looking cowboys at the steak house where we had dinner last night, though. I wish I had time to go to the fairgrounds and get some pictures but I'm entirely tied up with the SXSW film festival and other events. There is always lots going on in Austin.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

All Aboard

In Zilker Park you can ride a miniature train called The Zephyr. Every time I see it go by the riders seem to be having a fine time.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

I am a dog, but....

I like to climb trees. This dog climbed the tree over and over, taking advise from her owner about branches to use and then coming down on command. Seen at the Zilker kite festival Sunday. Some kites had less comfortable relationships with the trees.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Independent Texas

Texans like to brag about having once been an Independent Nation apart from the United States (and not just when we seceded as part of the Confederacy). So March 2 (yesterday) is a celebration of Independence Day (from Mexico). The Republic of Texas existed for ten years so no big deal, right? But you'd never know it here. This banner promotes Independence Day events. We didn't attend any but we did walk over the Congress Avenue (Ann Richards) Bridge yesterday so I snapped this picture. The building with the red awnings is the Four Seasons Hotel and rising behind it, The Four Seasons Residences, a super-luxurious condo building which it appears will be finished in spite of the economic turmoil. Hopefully anyway.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Kite Festival

Yesterday couldn't have been more beautiful and there were thousands of kids, adults, dogs and kites soaking up the day in Zilker park. We got there kind of late in the festivities and I'm sure there were more organized parts of the festival. But random people trying to launch kites (many succeeding with almost no run space) and other oddities (a tree-climbing dog!) made it quite fun. That's our building in the background of the picture.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

What is That We See in the Glass?

Yep. It's a glass cowboy hat. A decorative thing, I guess. Available at a gift shop on West Sixth. Today is the first of the month and therefore City Daily Photo theme day. Click here to view thumbnails for all participants.