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. Kreeger need not have worried. His elegant yet earthy table settings atop a portable walnut dining surface delighted everyone seated there. (Most photographed among the two dozen samples by Austin interior designers: A setting with a clever "Breaking Bad" theme that included loads of blue crystals in clear containers.) DIFFA organizer Kelly LaPlante, formerly of San Francisco and Los Angeles, explained that the Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS has been staging such creative events in places such as New York, San Francisco and Dallas for three decades. The group has raised more than $38 million nationally. The first Austin edition, moved to Trinity Hall at the last moment after the Textile Event Space was blocked by street construction, was an enormous hit. Royal Fig catering’s variations on fried chicken, pasta salad and corn on the cob hit the spot. Secure your seat on the picnic benches for next year.
POLITICS: Seven candidates running in South Austin’s District 5. Taken from the Statesman’s outstanding coverage of the City Council races: "Seven people have jumped into the race to represent District 5 — much of South Austin — on the City Council. The council is undergoing a major change as it transitions from a citywide system of electing six council candidates, plus one mayor, to a district-based system that elects members to represent 10 geographic areas, plus the mayor. District 5 is a diverse expanse of neighborhoods that runs from Auditorium Shores on the north, the neighborhoods to the west of rapidly commercializing Lamar Boulevard, over Ben White Boulevard and all the way to the Onion Creek subdivision, just grazing the Hays County line. It’s an overwhelmingly Democratic district, and two-thirds of its residents are white. Residents and candidates speak about District 5 like it’s really two districts: The northern end has older, established neighborhoods that have more in common with Central Austin and are well-organized and politically active." http://bit.ly/1qK8oSH
HISTORY: Taken from one digital page that stores more than 100 Austin history stories. "Third-generation furniture retailer Joel Sidelnik — who also designs the stuff — rarely encounters a building material he can’t somehow recycle. "My father used to say: ‘That looks like something we threw out years ago,’" says the Austinite of his rustic, multi-sourced work inside Primitives at 8201 Burnet Road. "I’d turn it into something else and say: ‘It’s a folk art piece, Dad!’" At his 31,000-square-feet shop, established in 1988, the casual browser stumbles on oversized beds, sofas, desks, tables, chairs and accents made from copper, iron, leather, ceramics, fabric and wood. Lots of glowing wood — live oak, mesquite, ironwood, teak, walnut, pecan, shisham — so whole they almost breathe. "That’s an old wall from India," he says. "That’s a screen from Mexico. I’m always looking for architectural pieces that I can incorporate and then build something from it." Considered as a whole, one might call the heavy Primitives look "Cattle Baron Baroque." www.mystatesman.com/s/life/austin-history