Early voting in Texas starts today (until Feb. 26th), and I was reminded ONCE AGAIN that the Texas Railroad Commissioner has nothing to do with actual railroads (he or she deals with oil and shit). These reminders always greatly disappoint me. I really want this job to be about trains. If it was, I would apply for it.
What I would do if I was Texas Railroad Commissioner:
I would do all of my speeches wearing a conductor hat and suspenders. If someone from the crowd became unruly, I would blow (or throw) a train whistle at them. Then I would say to everyone, “Hey, everyone! Let’s go for a train ride!” and then everyone would get on the train and there would be sandwiches waiting for them. And we’d all sit and eat sandwiches and point at America from the window.
Then I’d put passenger trains back on all rails across America, so people can actually take the train EVERYWHERE. And these trains would be super fast and on time and the staff would be super happy (more…)
Warning: There are some sad photos in here, but this is a happy story!
My friend Carrie works at the Austin Animal Center, and her Facebook feed is often filled with photos of Austin’s stray dogs and cats. Each animal has a back story, many times a sad one. The neglect, abuse and disease can be seen on their sweet faces.
One of these beautiful creatures was Wilbur, an 8-week-old, 2.75-pound chihuahua-Jack Russell puppy that came into the center at the end of 2015. Carrie named him Wilbur, after the pig in Charlott’es Web. His skin was pink and inflamed due to mange and neglect.
As Carrie tells it, “He caught my eye one day when I was walking by. I saw this sweet, sad little puppy curled up in the corner and had to meet him. Although he was very sick, he loved being held, and we became quick friends. He would just curl up in my arms and whimper, while also licking my face. On days when I worked, I would walk by his unit and look to make sure he was still there. We had many early (more…)
Yesterday I went to Monkey Town 6, the immersive experimental-film-slash-four-course-meal experience currently running at 2416 E. 6th Street.
If you haven’t bought tickets yet, you should before it sells out. (The event runs until February 7.)
I had no idea what I was in for at Monkey Town 6, but it exceeded any expectation I had. Imagine walking into a dim warehouse, a brightly-lit video cube hovers in the distance, sound thundering within. On the cube plays a mosaic of Central Park; below it, church pews and tables line the square. You mingle with other guests, vinho verde in hand, as you take in your surroundings. Upon sitting, plates by Hillside Farmacy and Eden East chef Sonya Cote make their way to your table as a rotation of experimental films from talent throughout the world plays above. Halfway through the evening, local opera singer Liz Cass sings to a silent French art film.
Monkey Town is as New York art world as you can get. In fact, recent guests (more…)
I received a message on Instagram to check out an upcoming bar in East Austin. Since I live in East Austin, I was curious and went to the bar’s Instagram account.
And I saw this:
There are so many things wrong with this photo:
-Why does this person think that what he perceives as “run down places” in East Austin are just screaming for a new bar or restaurant? Last I checked, East Austin has an assload of them.
-Why does this person think that the owner of this well-liked and well-utilized neighborhood grocery store is not an entrepreneur? (This is the neighborhood grocery store at Comal & 3rd.) Definition of entrepreneur: A person who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on greater than normal financial risks in order to do so.
-Why does this person think that East Austin “needs” entrepreneurs who could put a little elbow grease into all these “run down places”? East Austin needs saving by people with money, I guess. Forget all the folks who have (more…)
“See that blue cat over there?” Jacques Casimir, co-owner of Blue Cat Cafe in Austin, Texas, asks me with a hint of pride in his voice. “That’s Big Sexy.”
Big Sexy is indeed big and sexy. At eight years of age and almost 20 pounds, he carries his girth with ease and confidence. We watch as he plops himself onto a coffee table and backs his wide hips between smiling customers, akin to a tractor trailer going in reverse.
His eyes chase the younger cats, all waiting to be adopted just like Big Sexy, as they prance and dart through the brightly colored cafe. Is he laughing at their youthful ignorance, or is he mesmerized by the shiny ball three feet from the table? We may never know.
Casimir confides in me that he hopes Big Sexy will be a permanent fixture at the cafe, alongside Gollum, a sandy-colored, green-eyed fluffball with folded ears, and Balthazar, a soothing tabby who enjoys nesting on customers’ (more…)
We heard talks from GoldieBlox creator, Debbie Sterling, the CEO of the Malala Fund, Shiza Shahid, journalist, mom and overall bad-ass, Soledad O’Brien, and my personal favorite, swimmer Diana Nyad, whose tales are as grand as one thousand This American Life stories combined.
(If you have a minute, do yourself a favor and watching Diana Nyad’s inspiring and hysterical talk.)
Between speakers, our team bounced around to various breakout sessions, workshops and roundtables, and we left the conference feeling inspired and empowered.
If you’re a woman or a man who loves women, I highly recommend checking out this year’s event, and lucky enough, I might just have a ticket for you!
The 2015 Texas Conference for Women, located at the Austin Convention Center, features actress Patricia Arquette, journalist Robin Roberts and artist Candy Chang, (more…)
I’ve lived in Austin for seven years, and within those seven years my feelings toward the city have oscillated. I’ve fallen head over heels in love, I’ve been heartbroken over change and I’ve been inspired by a new kind of affection. I fall into one or all of these categories at any single time.
In 2012, I wrote the pro-growth article “Austin is Ch-Ch-Changing: Give up the Hate and Embrace the Non-Natives Who Make Our City Great,” but one year later I questioned Austin’s rapid growth with the article “Austin Changing: Why My Love for Austin is Being Challenged.” Sometimes I felt like a teenager girl, yo-yoing between her emotions. Do I love Austin? Do I hate Austin? How do I feel about this complex and complicated city?
I look back on these articles with both empathy and embarrassment. Look how silly that girl was, thinking she understood Austin! And I know I’ll one day look back on this article with equal sentiment.
It wasn’t until recently, when I was faced with the prospect (more…)
Update 10:45AM 5/19: The GM has written a response to the petition. You can read it here.
This past weekend, I spotted a petition going around from the “Wheatsville Staff Solidarity Collective Austin” asking that the beloved Austin co-op grocery begin paying their employees a livable wage. Employees at Wheatsville currently start at $9/hour, and the petition asks that their pay increase to the City of Austin’s living wage recommendation of $11.38/hour. As a person who has worked in the customer service industries, including clothing retail, tech retail and restaurants, the pay disappointed me but did not surprise me. What did surprise me was this paragraph in the petition: “We, the Wheatsville Staff Solidarity Collective, speak on behalf of all the Wheatsville employees who are routinely overstretched and undersupported by shoddy managerial practices and a corporate mentality that prioritizes sales-to-labor ratios far above employee well-being. There is much work to be done in this (more…)