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. Indeed, there were very few Latina role models in positions of power back then. She became one of the first in Travis County when, in 1990, she was elected District Clerk, an office she still retains. The Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce honored her with a Lifetime Achievement Award during its Celebrando gala at the Four Seasons. She was joined at her table by U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett and education maven Libby Doggett, business leader Rosie Mendoza, former Mayor Gus Garcia and his wife, Marina Garcia, as well as Con Mi Madre captain Teresa Granillo. The evening resounded with thumping speeches, including those by Chamber CEO Mark Madrid and outgoing Chamber Chairman Geronimo Rodriguez, Jr. Yet the most heartrending moments belonged to German and Delmy Ustariz, who took home the Hispanic Business of the Year honor. They own and operate several McDonald’s restaurants in Austin and spoke, via video, of their humble pasts, enduring love and hopes for their children.
DRINKS: It started with simple food and drink. One day, Joel Salcido was sampling tacos and tequila with Mando Rayo, Austin taco expert, and Enrique de Colsa, master distiller for Don Julio tequila. The discussion warmed up, as it does when tequila is involved. Salcido and de Colsa shared a respect for bulls — the fighting kind — and the Jalisco region where tequila is made. A distinguished photographer, Salcido then journeyed there to, not just document, but bring to full visual life the geometric fields of agave, ancient buildings and clear-eyed, weather-worn folks who live in Jalisco. Months later, Salcido, Rayo and de Colsa were among those gathered in the Sam Coronado Gallery of the Emma Barrientos Mexican American Community Center for the formal yet fun opening of an exhibition curated by photography authority Roy Flukinger. "Aliento a Tequila" runs through Nov. 29.
CULTURE: During one set of dances, the performers’ feet kept close to the stage, while curved arms swayed in elegant arcs and, at times, fans fluttered. In another set, bodies stayed stiff and ceremonial, their movement gravely slow. In a third, charismatic drummers thumped and marched close enough to the crowd that vibrations shook the watchers. The final performances at the Harvest Moon Festival reflected the cultures of Japan and Okinawa. Earlier at the Asian American Cultural Center, dances and music inspired by India, China, Korea and other lands kept rain-soaked guests hypnotized. Much of activity was planned for the grounds of the center on Jollyville Road, which resembles an old elementary school, but the steady rain smothered those plans. Still, there was food and fun for guests from tiny tots to those of us with lots of milage on the meter.
MUSIC: The return of Tish Hinojosa. Taken from Nancy Flores’ beautifully told story in the Statesman: "On a weekday evening in the summer of 2013, singer/songwriter Tish Hinojosa strummed her guitar and watched as tourists and stray pedestrians trickled into her show at El Sol y La Luna on Sixth Street. They didn’t all come to see her perform, but she was grateful for the opportunity to play for them anyway. Austin once belonged to Hinojosa. As local music royalty in the 1990s, she recorded several Austin City Limits performances and packed venues like the Paramount Theatre and Gruene Hall before conquering stages around the world. "Back then you couldn’t shake a stick without hitting someone who knew who I was," Hinojosa, 58, says. In the whirlwind of her stardom, she performed at the White House and on another occasion found herself sitting as a guest among First Lady Hillary Clinton and Robert Redford at a White House celebration. "It was something out of Hollywood," she says." http://shar.es/11LJsY
HISTORY: Take your pick from more than 100 Austin history stories. Here’s one: "Historian Tom Wancho knows how to handle a weapon. Especially a flintlock pistol from around 1786. "The Spanish military was well-armed during its years of colonizing Texas," says Wancho, brandishing the unwieldy thing in a museum artifact room. "This pistol could fire a .72-caliber lead ball through its smoothbore barrel. Though loading two pinches of gunpowder into two different areas and then ram-rodding the ball deep into the barrel took precious time, this type of pistol was popular enough to be used for the better part of two centuries." Wancho is familiar with these ballistic niceties because he is an exhibit planner at the Bullock Texas State History Museum. The pistol doesn’t belong to the museum — by design, the historical treasury has no permanent collection — but rather to the small Texas Museum of Military History in San Antonio." www.mystatesman.com/s/life/austin-history