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Out & About

Out & About

Michael Barnes is the Austin American-Statesman's social columnist. He lives in South Austin with his partner, Kip, two dogs and two cats.


Hill Country Nights, Imaginarium at the Thinkery, Zilker Ballroom and more

NATURE: "Delightful." That's what Cecil Ruby said about the deal with Hill Country Conservancy that will preserve his family's ranchland in Hays County.


ADL Torch of Liberty Awards, Tribeza Style Week, Scotland and more

LAW: Layer upon layer, the network grows. As a social columnist, one watches Austin relationships develop over time.

Mobile Loaves and Fishes’ big project starting, after quiet period

Well Aware, Community First, Austin History and more

CHARITY: One sign of a good get-together is the free flow of speech. For instance, at a Well Aware party that encouraged water philanthropy, Jean and Bob Warneke spoke about birding, travel and history.


Authentic Mexico, Human Capital Honors, Big Weekend and more

FOOD: Rarely does one encounter a perfect party. Venue, guests, music, food, drink, chat all exquisitely aligned.

6. Stiles Switch BBQ and Brew

Texas Monthly BBQ Fest, Stargayzer Fest, Galindo-Winters and more

FOOD: They lined up at 9:30 a.m. For a VIP entrance that did not open until noon. By which time, the line for the general public extended all the way to Butler Park for the Texas Monthly BBQ Fest at the Long Center.


Celebrando, Aliento a Tequila, Harvest Moon Festival and more

BUSINESS: “They haven’t invented it yet.” That’s what Amalia Rodriguez-Mendoza said in the second grade when asked what she wanted to be when she grew up.


Mod Lady Bird, Joe Lung, Bullet Train and more

STYLE: You could spend serious time with the apparel. Instead of a brisk runway show, the organizers of "Mod: A Modern Take of '60s Fashions" arranged seven outfits worn by Lady Bird Johnson on two raised platforms in the Great Hall of the LBJ Presidential Library.


DIFFA Urban Picnic, District 5, Austin History and more

STYLE: "It's scary being the first." So said Keith Kreeger, one of the participating designers during Austin's first DIFFA dinner, which raised money for AIDS Services of Austin.


Texas Book Fest Party, Mod Lady Bird, Latest 'Out' and more

BOOKS: They looked like discarded gift wrappings at a kid's party. Or maybe the sad remains of an art installation.


AGLIFF Reception, Kolaches, District 10 and more

MOVIES: He sat upright amid the roaming crowd. Tall, courtly John Kirkpatrick rose to greet me. Still funny and quick, the retired Ransom Center curator cannot remember names these days.

Barnes: End of August means the start of the Austin social season

Austin Social Week Ahead, Margo Dover, Council District 6 and more

CALENDAR: Mapping the third week of the Austin social season. Today: Interview Maria Hernandez of Growing Roots.


DKR Fund, Care Communities, Amanda Huras & Matt Randall and more

HEALTH: Loyal to the man, the team, the school, the cause. Few letters spell out loyalty like DRK. Coach Darrell K.


Food for Thought, Taste of Downtown, SXSW and more

SCHOOL: Matt Curtis had recently watched "The Wire." One sequence from the HBO series (2002-2008) about urban dysfunction was set in Baltimore's schools.


Social Plans, Local History, Return of 'Out' and more

CALENDAR: Getting back into the social swing. Today: Examine map room at Texas Land Office. Tonight: Taste of Downtown at Radisson Hotel.

Exploring a towering piece of Austin history

Mueller Tower, District 7 Candidates, Olympic Archive and more

Nothing shattering from me today. Why not sample one of these fine pieces? HISTORY: Exploring a towering piece of history.


Clint Black Benefit, Inventor Chip Thomson, Austin History and more

CHARITY: This his how networking unfolds at a charity event. The table, cluttered with food and drink, sat in the middle of the room, not far from the stage.


Gay Wedding, Tailgating at Hotel Ella, Oakwood Cemetery and more

WEDDINGS: The officiant kept a straight face. "Not long ago, Richard and Patrice could not have wed," he said.

September pride: New music fest joins AGLIFF and Splash

Pride Month, Austin History, Flood Respect and more

FESTIVALS: A month of pride. Taken from my story in the Austin360: "On June 1971 — just two years after the Stonewall riots — Austin held its first gay pride event.

Mansion at Judge’s Hill gets a makeover as Hotel Ella

The Long Weekend, Austin History, Burning Man and more

CALENDAR: Just because it's a holiday weekend, doesn't mean the socializing stops. Today: Interview Austin History Center archivist Mike Miller.


Jacoby's Opening, 'Vegas,' Austin History and more

FOOD: Jacoby's comforting spot above the Colorado River. The surprise view is sensational. The rushing Colorado River below Longhorn Dam.

Steven Gonzales wants to put you on the Camino Real de los Tejas

More Austin History, Emmy Awards, 'Intergalactic Nemesis' and more

HISTORY: You might have missed the more than 100 Austin history stories on this page. "Historians have often assumed that, in 1731, three Spanish missions were built — then quickly abandoned — near Barton Springs.

Tom and Penny Cedel: A team for all seasons

Concordia Gala, Highland, Shawn Cirkiel and more

SCHOOL: Three standing ovations were not nearly enough. Retiring Concordia University President Tom Cedel was greeted with tears and cheers during the Excellence in Leadership gala this week at the Four Seasons Hotel.


Reveille Call Party, Mobile Loaves and Fishes, Mellizoz Tacos and more

SPORTS: The Reveille Call launch party gathered a couple dozen casually dressed folks in the carpeted conference room of a science company on MoPac.


'Sin City 2' Premiere After-Party, Punch Bowl Social Opening, Nancy Coplin and more

MOVIES: Cool, roomy Rattle Inn beckoned to guests from the mild, muggy night. Most of those guests had attended the Austin Film Society premiere of "Sin City 2," Robert Rodriguez's stylized revisit to an indelible, neo-noir nightmare.

Clarksville and Wheatville were not Austin’s only freedmen towns

Austin History Page, Social Calendar, Lauren Bruno and more

HISTORY: Now, it's all in one place! More than 100 recent articles that I've written about Austin's past have been collected in one place online by Melissa Martinez.


Growing Roots at the Thinkery, Tax Incentives and more

EDUCATION: Learning another way. Quick on her feet, Katie Tackett crops her sandy hair closely around open, accessible features.

Sarah Bird looks at empire then and now in “Above the East China Sea”

Our dinner with Anne, Sarah and Phoebe, plus Rick Perry news and more

MEDIA: The stories flowed like wine. Three authors -- Anne Rodgers, Phoebe Fox and Sarah Bird -- presided over a lively Green Shores dinner party Friday night.

C-Boys Heart & Soul, 02.04.14

Paul Oscher at C-Boy's, Soco Nightlife and more

MUSIC: Much of the music in Austin can be traced back to the blues. So when you hear Paul Oscher play in a small club, his unadulterated blues come as something of shock to the system.

Hunter and Meredith Ellis a curiously matched pair

Clay Pit, Meredith & Hunter Ellis and more

NIGHTLIFE: We showed up for the wedding at 6 p.m. Us: "Party of Patrice Carrara and Richard Williams, please.


Laura McIngvale Brown, Vince Young Steakhouse and more

FOOD 1: Everybody stood up for Vince Young. But of course anyone from Austin would. A dozen media types were seated at Vince Young Steakhouse when the tall, sleek retired athlete sailed into the private dining room.

Muere Robin Williams, aparentemente por suicidio

Robin Williams, Boticelli's, SoCo at Night and more

COMEDY: The bartender looked stricken. Without concealing his grief, he said: "Robin Williams is dead.

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Readers' weather photos 02.03.11

Social Planner, Upcoming Stories and more

MEDIA 1: Let's revive an old Out & About custom. As the social season tentatively begins, we'll look at my social calendar for the coming week.


Tipsy Texan, Pay It Forward for Lone Star Paralysis and more

CHARITY AND DRINKS: Done right, cocktails are still the rage in Austin. Curly-topped, beaming and looking like a more handsome version of Derek Waters from "Drunk History," esteemed mixologist David Alan stalked the floor of the AT&T Center.


Lincoln Town Car, Cap Metro Travel Planner, Boston Great Streets and more

Back from New England and into the Austin groove. TRANSIT 1: The strangest thing happened yesterday.


Taking off for New England

My editors have always urged me not to write during vacation. They are right. Shouldn't work when I'm supposed to be unplugged.


Young African Leaders Initiative, 1,000,000,000,000,000 Watts and more

SCHOOL: President Obama's Young African Leaders Initiative reception. Let me first make it clear that this was not an event attended by the U.


Marbridge, Grace Kim, Carla McDonald, Austin Bar History and more

HEALTH: Marbridge promises work, life, friendship. From my story in the Statesman: "Barbara Jones didn’t make friends easily in high school.

Andréa Villarreal is no Ari Gold from ‘Entourage’

Andréa Villarreal, Mark & Charley Bowman, 1925 Austin street map and more

LAW: Andréa Villarreal is no Ari Gold from 'Entourage.' From my story in the Statesman: "Andréa Villarreal wants to set the record straight: Entertainment law is not as exciting as it sounds.

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'Henry V' benefit, Leo Ramirez, Jr., Austin freedmen communities and more

ARTS: Jill Blackwood sang. Robert Faires declaimed. What more could you want? A benefit at the Bouldin-area home of Robert and Barbara Faires raised several thousand dollars to restage his solo version of Shakespeare's "Henry V.


Listening to musicals in the car

Traveling to and from Houston frequently in the past month has allowed me to catch up on some relatively new musicals while driving Texas 71 and Interstate 10.

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ADL True Colors, YWCA Women of the Year and more

CITY: The Austin chapter of ADL stages two major social benefits each year. One season, the Anti-Defamation League presents the esteemed Torch of Liberty Awards at a formal dinner.


Back to the Boathouse, Pre-Juneteenth at Huston-Tillotson and more

NIGHTLIFE: Back to the Boathouse. Brilliant. Just brilliant. Scott Dinger of AIDS Services of Austin dreamed about gay nightlife from the mid-1980s.

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Phoebe Fox, Austin from the Air, Santiago Tafolla

MEDIA: We knew that Austinite Tiffany Yates Martin was an expert editor of fiction. We suspected she wrote under the pen name "Phoebe Fox" with the same amusing acuity that she displays in daily conversation.

Culinary World Cup

Scott Johnson, El Camino Real de los Tejas, Matthew Odam's culinary World Cup

ECOLOGY: Going flat-out green with Austin's Scott Johnson. From my story in the Statesman: "As a boy, Scott Johnson felt only a vague tug toward ecology.


X Games Downtown, 'Last Plane Out of Saigon,' Austin Ale House and more

SPORTS: X marks the spot for games on Congress Avenue. The main population that squeezed into the sweaty confines of the X Games demo corral on Austin's main stem seemed to be tough-looking kids and their tense-looking parents.


X Games, Pease Park, Walking in the Heat and more

SPORTS: A whole new crew descends on Austin. Our city is accustomed to masses of strangers streaming through our streets.


Molly Awards, East Avenue, Boardwalk and more

MEDIA: Texas Observer confers 2014 Molly Awards. "Isn't this event too political for you?" asked a concerned guest at the Molly Awards.

Trinity Locks

River Tracing No. 31: Trinity River

The Trinity River is a long one. It is often deemed the longest river entirely within Texas borders, but only if one considers the usually dry watersheds of the Colorado and Brazos rivers that spread into New Mexico as part of the geographical equation.

Waller Creek

Waller Creek, Joseph Choi, Barbecue, Nuptials and more

CITY: A promise for tomorrow: 'Austin's Waller Creek.' From my story in the Statesman: "It all started with a column published in this newspaper.

Ponzio: Austin’s future depends on the decisions of nonelected officials

A few memories of Austin

Please indulge me in some idle memories. Thirty years ago, I moved to Austin. Twenty-five years ago, I wrote my first story for this newspaper.

Michael Barnes

Michael Barnes writes about Austin's people, places, culture and history. He also writes the Out and About social column and blog.


Austin360 Videos

Editor's Picks

Cosby and other big name comics hit Austin in September

Sunday's pick: Oddball Comedy and Curiousity Festival

Do you like Louis C.K.? How about Sarah Silverman — big fan? What if they were performing with Hannibal Buress, Marc Maron, Reggie Watts, Whitney Cummings and DJ Trauma?

Latest A-List Photos

A-list: Pacific Island Roots & Culture Festival, 09.19.14

A-list: Pacific Island Roots & Culture Festival, 09.19.14

A-list photos Pacific Island Roots & Culture Festival on September 19, 2014.

A-list: Renegades of Rhythm at ACL Live, 09.18.14

A-list: Renegades of Rhythm at ACL Live, 09.18.14

A-list photos of Renegades of Rhythm at ACL Live on September 18, 2014.

A-list: Fantastic Fest Opening Party, 09.18.14

A-list: Fantastic Fest Opening Party, 09.18.14

A-list photos from the Fantastic Fest Opening Party on September 18, 2014.

A-list: Coheed and Cambria at Stubb's, 09.16.14

A-list: Coheed and Cambria at Stubb's, 09.16.14

A-list photos of Coheed and Cambria at Stubb's on September 16, 2014.

A-list: Tejano Fest TX 2014, 9.14.14

A-list: Tejano Fest TX 2014, 9.14.14

A-list photos of Tejano Fest TX 2014 on September 14, 2014.