Sunday, January 31, 2010

One big dog

This shot is from the first of the month when Linda and I took a walk around the lake. This gigantic dog was being cool and calm, just surveying the water and hoping his masters would toss a ball for him to catch.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Bevo Neon

There is a cool Men's Clothing store on South Congress called Luther's. They are decorated with old signs, an engine and such. On the side is this Longhorn proclaiming a National Championship. Well, the football team had one a few years back but I don't know if this sign is new or old as there is no year on it.

[Shop is now Heritage Boots and sign is gone. 9/16/2012.]

Friday, January 29, 2010

Ten piece jazz band

Wednesday night, we went by The Elephant Room to hear this fine ten-piece group called John Mills X 10 at our local underground jazz club. (Well, it's under Congress Ave!) John Mills, the leader, is the tenor sax player at the right side of the photo.

I'm always amazed at the dedication of players like these guys who don't make beans off these gigs, put together their own charts, and produce such stunningly good performances night after night.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Indoor fireworks

Linda and I went to a dinner at the Headliners Club recently to hear former Presidential advisor Karen Hughes give a talk. The club is atop one of the taller downtown buildings.

We had seats by one of the windows and I took this shot of the Frost Tower. The lights inside the club room reflected in the glass, creating a fireworks effect.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

New outdoor stage in our hood

For a couple of months now, city crews have been constructing this sweet-looking outdoor stage in Republic Park, which is about a block from where we live. They were careful to build it around this magnificent tree without harming it. I was walking back from an appointment yesterday morning around 9:30 just as some workers were clearing away the protective fences around the job site. This guy was checking it out, like I was.

I have no doubt that we'll be hearing band concerts and maybe public speeches over here.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Cozy House?

When we were out walking they other day in Old West Austin, I realized I'd never noticed this pink house with its wrap of hedges. It looks like a cozy hideaway.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Sunset on the Seaholm

Anyone who has lived in Austin for a while will recognize this structure as the Seaholm Power Plant. Linda and I were having dinner at Garrido's, one of the restaurants in our building, the other night and we noticed this sweet-looking sunset out the window. I grabbed my iPhone, went out onto their deck, and took a shot of it.

The Seaholm has been decommissioned and someday in the future, this site will be the location of a fine hotel and multi-use development. To an old Austin guy like me, this photo was symbolic of the sun going down on another icon of my younger days.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

W Unfinished

The building under construction on the left is the W Hotel, Condominiums and Austin City Limits Studio. This is the perspective from the east pedestrian walk on the First Street Bridge. The Chase Building is to the right. This perspective has a sort of space age look to me for some reason.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Arthouse getting straight

I am doing weekly posts on the construction progress of The Arthouse at Jones Center, a modern art museum which is located at 7th and Congress. A few weeks ago, I took this shot of the south wall which is being shimmed up to get it in true for further construction. All the vertical shapes make for an interesting visual effect. When done, those vertical rectangular openings in the wall (a couple of them show up here -- there will be about a hundred) will hold lighted green glass inserts which will make the visual signature of the building. It's fun to watch the transformation of downtown Austin. When I was a kid, this building was Lerners Dress Shop.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Significant Contribution to Texas History

Strolled over to the Texas State Cemetery with a friend yesterday. (It was a fine almost summery day here and the cemetery is less than two miles from our downtown condo.) I'd never been inside although I shot this picture of the large Texas flag at the entrance for you one day while driving by. Primarily used to bury state officials, there is an avenue for the non-politician to be buried here by the governor or the legislature's proclamation or by the cemetery committee determining that you made a significant contribution to the state in one of a number of areas including sports. So I shouldn't have been surprised to find a headstone for Tom Landry who was a legendary coach of the Dallas Cowboys. Note the signature hat and the star logo. And, of course, anyone who watched the Texas-based cartoon "King of the Hill" knows that in it there is a Tom Landry Middle School in it. In Texas, you can go far as a football coach!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here

This house in South Austin seems like an ordinary residence except...for the fantasy sea creatures.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

These headlines keep me in stitches

This vet clinic has had clever advertising for many years. Here's their latest sign. I shot this one on a recent walk we took around West Austin. Actually, this place is just south of an apartment house I lived in almost forty years ago.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Soda Fountain

Sunday we snapped a picture of the new window sign painting at Nau's Enfield Drug store. Nau's is a venerable store at the edge between Old West Austin and Clarksville. We'd featured their worn sign here but they decided to dress up the windows with fresh advertising of the lunch counter.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The King in Town

Ten days ago (January 8th) was Elvis' seventy-fifth birthday or, if you are someone who realistically figures he isn't still alive, the 75th anniversary of his birth. However, yesterday this car was parked on W. Fifth Street as we took a walk in the morning and was still there, though moved a few parking spots down, in the evening as we headed to 24 Diner with a friend. There was an eight-track tape in the front seat when we first saw it so they must have an 'age appropriate' music machine in it!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Butterflies aren't free

Linda and I took a jaunt to Austin's tony Domain shopping center yesterday. One of the fancy stores had this incredible butterfly swarm dangling over their escalators. I whipped my iPhone out and took a photo of it.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Capital Pets

One of our new downtown businesses is the Austin Urban Pet Center with this fantastic logo that makes a paw print out of the Capitol dome. They are only a couple of blocks from us. We do have lots of dog neighbors. You might say we have a high dog density. Notice, too, that kids get Daycare but dogs get Playcare. Not to mention a resort.

Friday, January 15, 2010

2009 Picture of the Year

It was hard selecting a single picture to represent 2009. But we decided to select this photo of the top of the Frost Bank Tower with the moon (shot from the 21st story of the Chase Building). With other buildings rising (even above it) it no longer dominates our skyline. It is fitting, since 2009 may be the end of its dominance of our idea of Austin's cityscape, that we honor it with picture of the year. Even given that, many views of it were available and that made the choice dizzying.

Other pictures that made my short list were a puzzling angel; various sunrises such as this and this; pictures taken from very high up like this and this; outstanding construction pictures taken by our friend Jackie like this and this; and, oh, there were so many others like this fantastic painterly iPhone picture by FFP and this one of players in the Elephant Room. It added up to quite a year for Austin, Texas Daily Photo. I'm sure our compatriots on the City Daily Photo portal found the selection difficult, too. Click here to view thumbnails for all participants

Thursday, January 14, 2010

So Ready to Sew

Last night we stepped across the street from our building to Ballet Austin's Butler Dance Education Center for a reception held 'behind the scenes' in the area behind the company's main studio. We were toasting Martha and Cliff Ernst in the space they endowed with their donation to the capital campaign for the building: the costume shop. Alexey Korygin, Wardrobe Master, welcomed us but no one was tempted to challenge the order of things. This picture of thread at the ready for the sewing of costumes was taken with an iPhone. There is lighting in this area that lit the picture perfectly. The lighting was designed to allow Alexey to see the true colors while fitting and working on costumes. Alexey is a former dancer who immigrated from Russia. When he retired from dance, he used skills learned in a theater family to become the Wardrobe Master for Ballet Austin.

Forrest and I endowed an area backstage, too. However, we never had a reception there because it is the locker room and dressing room for the ballerinas in the main company! Before this fabulous building was built, the principal dancers shared restroom and dressing space with everyone, including small kids in ballet school. We are so proud of Ballet Austin and this building has really let it blossom completely into the great organization it is for professionals and community members in the school.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Say What You're Thinking, On Wheels

In the sixties, old school buses and VW vans were decorated, flower-power style, with some declarations of peace and love and out-sized flowers and peace signs. This SUV must belong to a modern-day revolutionary but one in love with words! Click on the picture or here to enlarge it for readability.

Spotted yesterday, where else? South Congress.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Rag Top

This is the interior of an old Ford convertible that has been left 'topless' too long in the elements. We were walking in Old West Austin when we found this.

Monday, January 11, 2010

No National Championship but still Ape about UT

On W. Lynn (which was part of our walk route yesterday) is a concrete ape who dresses for various occasions. (I think I have a picture somewhere of the ape as Lance Armstrong in a yellow jersey.) The ape is still dressed for the fan-dom of the BCS title run in football or, perhaps, just geared up for supporting other sports. The Men's basketball has yet to lose this season. Women's Volleyball lost in the last game of the final series to Nebraska. In a little over a month, Men's Baseball will kick off. They are perennial contenders. There always seems to be something for UT sports fans to support by getting on their orange. I'm not an alum, but FFP is.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Some Lanes Closed Due to Cold

We've been having unusually cold weather for Austin. It was around twenty degrees Fahrenheit when I started playing tennis yesterday. Lanes of the (heated) pool had been opened for some stalwart swimmers, though, when I finished. It was probably above freezing then. Just. The rest of the pool was still covered to preserve heat...the other blue on the left.

This is an iPhone photo.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Street Sculpture

Austin prides itself on weirdness. Here you see a peace advocate all gloved up and ready to work for a better world. He looks like he might be ready to accept donations in that slot on his front side!

Friday, January 8, 2010

A Girl and Her Dog

One of the favorite activities for people who take their dogs to the "no leash" area of Audtiorium Shores is to throw tennis balls into the lake and let their canine pals swim out and retrieve them. I shot this photo of a young lady giving a mighty heave and her dog taking off after the ball.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Cars To Go!

Austin is Idea City and now it's the first US test site for the Car2Go concept. The deal is, you get a chip on a card and when you need a car, you get in one of these, start it up, finish your trip, and leave it. Linda and I were out walking the other day and saw this line of four cars in front of a condo building not far from ours. The cost is 19 cents a minute to use one if you are enrolled in the program. Here is an article about the idea.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Bold Graffiti Artists

Linda and I were walking home over the Pfluger Pedestrian Bridge Monday and I snapped this shot of the skyline with a northbound train in the foreground. You have to wonder what compels people to risk their lives painting bad graffiti on the side of a railroad bridge.

(It's still hard for me to believe that we are living in that tall building on the left side of the photo.)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Canine Soccer

Linda and I went for a walk around the lake yesterday, since it's probably going to be the last day we can stand to be outside for a week or so.

Part of Auditorium Shores is a "No Leash" zone. I took this photo of a British guy who had brought an old soccer ball and seemed to be getting a game up with some dogs.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Sending Our Egrets

Here's another great shot from our friend Jackie. This egret was resting on the shore of Lady Bird Lake a few days ago and she got a photo of it. That's one good thing about living in downtown Austin -- it's not all concrete and asphalt. You can walk to the lake in a matter of minutes and see natural beauty.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

A Beautiful Day Number Two

New Year's Day was a nice day and 2010, Day Two, dawned as a beautiful if chilly one, too. (Today it's kind of cloudy and damp.) That's steam from the Austin Chilled Water plant obscuring the top of the W Hotel complex which now almost completely blocks our view of the Austonian. AMLI on Second in the foreground with lights in the parking structure and balconies poking out to the south.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

FirstNight Austin

Our good friend Jackie went to FirstNight Austin across the lake on Auditorium Shores and sent us some photos she took of the assemblages, construction, and crowds. Here is a stunning work of metal and lights which looks like either a cupcake on stilts or a flying saucer that starts walking when it lands. Jackie says it was "an alien space vehicle – or a transporter." A beautiful piece of artistry, whatever it is!

Friday, January 1, 2010


Change abounds in Austin's downtown even if the downturn quieted some projects. A large crane in use at the Federal Courthouse project next to our building frames the dome of the Capitol, which was completed before the end of the 19th century.

Today is a theme day (first of the month) for City Daily Photo blogs. The theme is 'changes.' Click here to view thumbnails for all participants.

There will be a special theme day on the 15th of January with blogs reprising their 'best photo of 2009.' If you have a favorite, let us know.