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. This September alone, Austin will stage four major LGBTQ festivals. In addition, a cavernous new/old gay club, Highland, will open in a reconfigured downtown district whose main street is named after longtime gay rights activist Bettie Naylor. (See box.) Technically, the first festival, Splash Days, which includes vast indoor, ticketed parties Saturday and Sunday, along with free boating and swimming at Hippie Hollow on Sunday, is still in August. If tradition holds, however, the unofficial revelry will continue through Labor Day." http://shar.es/1120Hk
HISTORY: A digital resource that never grows old. Taken from the Austin History page at MyStatesman.com: "Volma Overton read aloud from "Black Like Me." The Rev. Wesley Sims selected books, including Lamentations, from the Bible. Other Austinites, black and white, joined the civil rights leaders inside and outside the City Council chambers, firmly insisting that they be heard. For six days in April 1964 — while the U.S. Congress debated what would become the 1964 Civil Rights Act — protesters from President Lyndon Johnson’s old home district held up city business by staging what was called a "read-in" or "speak-in." Almost 100 years after the Emancipation Proclamation, which ended slavery in the South, was first read in Texas, these demonstrators demanded an anti-discrimination ordinance with teeth. The mood in Austin that year was tense, sometimes hopeful, but not violent." www.mystatesman.com/s/life/austin-history
WEATHER: Take it from a relative oldtimer — respect the floods. Last night at 6:20 p.m., a light rain fell as I left the house. Within five minutes, as I turned onto South First Street, it came down in sheets. Traffic slowed to a stop as streets filled with fast-moving water. On the radio, a man announced a flash flood warning for parts of Travis County. My mind envisioned the terrain on the way to Driftwood, where I was to be a guest for a Trattoria Lisana dinner. If memory served, the route includes least two low-water crossings, including one on volatile Onion Creek. Nope. Not worth it. Even finding an open route back to our house in South Austin was no easy operation. To all newcomers: Respect the floods. Watch the required doc "Flash Flood Alley."
SPORTS: More advice for newcomers. Austin is the largest American city without a major-league professional sports team. Consider the reasons: While Austin ranks 11th in size, our metro-area market, a more appropriate measure, is pegged much lower, at 35th, near the recognized cut-off point for most pro markets. Another factor: We have the Longhorns, easily the most valuable brand in college sports. As you no doubt know, today the UT football team plays its opening game at Royal-Memorial Stadium against the much less potent, but improving University of North Texas. Stay alert. Late in the day, other activities will slow to a stop. Traffic around campus will melt into one big tailgater. Television screens in most public areas will flash the ESPN’s Longhorn Network. It might take a few months — or even years — to realize that the mood of the whole city often depends on the fate of the Horns. My advice: Relax and enjoy it.