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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.

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.


Boys and Girls Clubs, Freeway History Mystery, Stephen Doster and more

CHARITY: The statistic is miraculous. This year, once again, 100 percent of Boys and Girls Clubs members in Greater Austin graduated or moved up to the next grade level in school.


Lavender Graduation, Gateway Guesthouse, Micky Hoogendijk, Tony Trungale and more

SCHOOL: In 2008, the University of Texas staged its first Lavender Graduation ceremony for its LGBTQ students.


District Days at Historic Downs Field and 'Play Ball'

The place radiates history. Downs Field on East 12th Street was home to Negro league teams such as the Austin Black Senators, Austin Black Pioneers and Austin Greyhounds, among others.


Piper Kerman at CARY, Palazzo Lavaca, Zandan Austin Survey and more

LAW: Number of women in American prisons up 800 percent since 1980. That's just one statistic brandished by "Orange Is the New Black" author Piper Kerman at the Council for At-Risk Youth benefit.


Livestrong Kentucky Derby Party, Austin Fashion Awards, Zach Theatre's Red Hot and Soul

CHARITY: Didn't know what to expect from a Kentucky Derby party. Seriously. All these years, never been to one.


Man & Woman of the Year, Wildflower Gala, Austin Fashion Week and White Party

HEALTH: Contest to raise the most to help the most. "The Man and the Woman of the Year" is not a remake of a Spencer Tracy-Katharine Hepburn movie.

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Austin Clubhouse, Kids in a New Groove, Lone Star Court and more

CITY: A refuge for recovery on Red River Street. The Austin Clubhouse allows members with mental illness to gather, eat healthy lunches, tend the gardens, and head out for walks and other adventures.


Barbara Jordan Celebration, Great Grown-Up Spelling Bee and more

CHARITY: People of good will gather to toast the Trinity Center. The Barbara Jordan Celebration elicited the evident faith, hope and charity from a hundred or so guests to benefit St.


Austin Food & Wine Festival, Moontower Comedy Festival, Cirque du Trace and more

FOOD: Two worlds apart at food fair. In its third year, the Austin Food and Wine Festival attracted two populations.


Que Maravilla, Taste of Texas, Mack, Jack & McConaughey Night 2

CHARITY 1: A trip to South America. Wonders and Worries, a charity that serves children ages 2 to 18 with a significant caregiver battling a serious illness, has changed up its annual benefit called Que Maravilla.


Mack, Jack & McConaughey, Umlauf Garden Party and more

CHARITY. Still can't get used to it. The man who gently bumped me was Colt McCoy. On either side of him were fellow Longhorn and NFL players Vince Young and Jordan Shipley.


Ann Richards, Moontower Comedy, Jovita's and more

POLITICS: They gathered for the memories. Most laughed. Some cried. The premiere of the HBO documentary "All About Ann: Governor Richards of the Lone Star State" attracted a mixed lot to the Lady Bird Johnson Auditorium and, later, the Great Hall of the LBJ Presidential Library for a post-party.


People's Community Clinic, Living Springs, Austin City Limits Festival and more

HEALTH: Sometimes you hit the social jackpot. At People's Community Clinic's annual benefit lunch -- always one of the best of the season -- I not only landed at a table that included skilled raconteurs Becky Beaver, Robert Brown, Nina Seely, Linda Ball, Forrest Preece, Susan Wittliff and Jenneane Mashburn, right next to me was a tall blond woman with a thick Australian accent.

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Seton Future of Care, Junior League, UT Presidential Citations and more

HEALTH: New medical center campaign gains leader, cash. First, the news: The Lola Wright Foundation has made the first million-dollar gift to the new Seton teaching hospital, paired with the Dell University of Texas Medical School.

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Austin Recovery, Toast of the Town, Easter Quiches and more

HEALTH: Why are we drawn to these traumatic tales? The Austin Recovery speaker series often features a celebrity who has thrown off the shackles of addiction.


Purple Party, Josh Frank, Internet Trolls and more

ARTS: The Long Center opened seven years ago with the most lavish party of that season. In fact, Austin has witnessed few affairs like it.


Texas Burlesque Festival, Toast of the Town and more

NIGHTLIFE: Royalty visits Austin. During the Texas Burlesque Festival at Marchesa Hall & Theatre, 85-year-old Toni Elling emerged radiantly from a dressing room to greet one of her newest fans, an Austin journalist.


Civil Rights Summit Day 3, Arianna Huffington and more

SCHOOL: Strange being yards away from three presidents in three days. As much as anything else, the Civil Rights Summit at the LBJ Presidential Library is good theater.

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Michael Barnes

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


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