Bryan Azar lights up the night with Ilios Lighting Design.

NIGHTLIFE: Bryan Azar’s Ilios Lighting Design lights up the night. Taken from my story in the Statesman: “The walls of the Austin Convention Center banquet hall glowed with majestic woodland life. Like some latter-day Disney forest, the digital scenes altered with the progression of the seasons, then told storybook tales about enchanted children who overcame sickness and sadness. First-time visitors to the gala benefiting Dell Children’s Medical Center Foundation of Central Texas in 2014 came unprepared for such projected wizardry, the product of months of planning and execution by Austin’s Ilios Lighting Design. Yet regulars to the giant charity event — which returns tonight to the Convention Center — have been blown away for several years.”

FAME: Saluting Austin’s 2014 global celebrities. Taken from my story in the Statesman: “We lost one, gained one and regained one. During 2014, Austin mourned the sudden passing of a global celebrity in our midst, Ian McLagan. Open, kind and accessible, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer fit easily into Austin’s informal social sensibilities for decades. Last year, too, Charlie Strong muscled onto the social scene. The Longhorn Nation — which reaches from Austin to Alaska and back — cheered the new football coach for cleaning house. He won’t become a household name elsewhere, however, until he wins and wins big. Speaking of which, we fully regained Vince Young. After a roller-coaster career in the NFL, the charismatic quarterback took a position at the University of Texas — as an ambassador for the school’s inclusive culture — and socialized all over town, including frequent stints at his namesake steakhouse. Meanwhile, the Longhorn Network seems determined to make his Rose Bowl win the most telecast sporting event of all time.”

CITY: Second Street District develops a nightlife. Taken from my story in the Statesman: “Little Dallas. That is what Austin purists dubbed the Second Street District during its multistage rollout. They had a point: Several of the key retail and hospitality spots were filled by colonists from the Metroplex. That state of affairs, however, didn’t last long. In just a few years, the pedestrian-friendly district — which stretches from West Cesar Chavez Street to West Third Street and from Congress Avenue to San Antonio Street — has changed and changed again. That happens in cities.Austinites have naturalized Second Street. Its anchor entertainment venues, ACL Live and the Violet Crown Cinema, are, despite their modernity, deeply rooted in Austin culture. Homegrown Estilo is still the district’s fashion cornerstone, while Austin’s Milk + Honey Day Spa has not only thrived, but also expanded and moved its tempting treatments to roomier quarters on the other side of the district.”

MEDIA: Out & About blog and column not the only places to find out about Austin’s people, places, culture and history. Social media commands more and more of our time. It can be both pleasant and pleasurable. For instance, I resisted Instagram for a long time. Then, at the doctor’s office, I signed up and, a couple of weeks later, I had almost 1,000 followers. If you like a visual format, see my images @outandaboutatx. Now if you are more driven by words and news, then catch my tweets on Twitter @outandabout. (More than 17,000 followers!) On Facebook, you can follow me as Michael Barnes or as Out & About. Six of one … Anyway, they all work together and help introduce Old Austin to New Austin and vice versa.