Ballet Austin Fete and Fete-ish; Austin Community Foundation; and more

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Ballet Austin Fete and Fete-ish; Austin Community Foundation; and more

Editor’s note: This article was originally published September 7, 2013

Editor’s note: This article was originally published September 7, 2013

ARTS: Even as the party grows, it’s still about the people. Ballet Austin’s paired parties, Fête and Fête-ish, long ago set the barre for handsome, stylish, well-populated and profitable events. Yet no matter how elaborate the floral inventions by Sofia Avila and Victoria Avila, no matter the colorful dash of eveningwear so early in the social season, no matter the friskiness of the Fête-ish dancing and drinking — it was frisky! — my memories are of the people. This time, I stuck for the longest time with Vivian and Russell Wilson. She’s an architect, he’s in product design and user experience at CA Technologies, which deals in management software. In the warm, overcrowded banquet room upstairs at the Driskill Hotel, we discussed everything under the sun, from health and child rearing to intuitive design and neighborhood news (Tarrytown and Bouldin). (They were just two of the many people who lit up my evening.)

CHARITY: You think you know a veteran of Austin giving, but then you don’t. Met with Robin Bradford of the Austin Community Foundation at Cenote on East Cesar Chavez. As you probably know — or maybe you don’t, since the foundation can be quiet at times — this group, since the 1970s has pulled together the charitable impulses of Central Texans for good causes. It’s like the old Community Chest in Monopoly. Bradford and I brainstormed on multiple stories about the group’s founder, Fannie Gray Leo, about profiles figures such as MariBen Ramsey, Jim Pendergast and the tedxaustin folks. The group’s Celebration of Giving, which honors Luci Baines Johnson and Ian Turpin as well as Austin Children’s Shelter, is Oct. 16 at the Circuit of the Americas. http://generositymultiplied.org (Wish everyone in nonprofits thought a bit more like Bradford.)

BUSINESS: Thought we were done with big Hill Country homes with million-dollar views: Reported by Shonda Novak in the Statesman: “After decades of its owner rebuffing would-be buyers, one of the most sought-after parcels of lakefront property in Travis County is now on the market. The land – 145 acres perched on a bluff near the Pennybacker Bridge on Loop 360 and Courtyard Drive – is one of the few large undeveloped tracts on Shepherd Mountain overlooking Lake Austin. Billed as an unprecedented offering of pristine land in West Austin, the property has been coveted for years by many a developer. But the answer from the owner has been the same time after time for the past two decades: the land isn’t for sale. Until now.” http://shar.es/igQ6B (Looks like there’s still lots of demand for cliff-top living.)

MEDIA: We published the first comprehensive story about the Ransom Center, long before The New Yorker did. Reported in Texas Monthly by Edward Nawotka. “In late July, the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin acquired the archives of McSweeney’s, the often cheeky journal and publisher founded in 1998 by the writer and editor Dave Eggers. It was an unusual acquisition for the Ransom Center , which has gained international renown as an institution by buying the archives of literary stalwarts like Isaac Bashevis Singer, Norman Mailer, and Don DeLillo, whose reputations had been established for decades. But in the twenty-first century, a shift to younger writers makes sense. “With the digital age, we’ll see relationships happening between the Ransom Center and writers earlier in their lives, before they’ve entered the canon in any fixed way,” said Stephen Enniss, who will became the center’s director on September 1, replacing Thomas F. Staley.” http://www.texasmonthly.com (Glad to see the archives evolving and evolving.)

LAW: Author details the shrinking white electorate and choices ahead for both parties. Reported in the Atlantic by Ronald Brownstein: “An influential set of conservatives argues changing demographics won’t doom the GOP, but the smart money — and the math — are not on their side. This much is undisputed: In 2012, President Obama lost white voters by a larger margin than any winning presidential candidate in U.S. history. In his reelection, Obama lost ground from 2008 with almost every conceivable segment of the white electorate. With several key groups of whites, he recorded the weakest national performance for any Democratic nominee since the Republican landslides of the 1980s.” http://www.theatlantic.com (Worth digging into this long statistical analysis.)

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