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. The dinner tent alone was a feat of physical and social engineering. The six subsequent Purple Parties to mark the performing arts center’s anniversaries have proved more modest. This year, one found no tall tent, no grand entrances, no marquee musical act. Still, no complaints will be heard from this quarter. Steered by genial attorney Toya Haley, a longtime Long Center volunteer, this party started with mingling in the lobby and continued into the house for a short, sharp video about the center. We learned, for instance, that more than 1.5 million people have visited so far. Then a little theater magic: The curtain rose to reveal a dazzling dinner display, then another set of tables appeared from the orchestra pit. After a lovely meal, the horn-happy Wasabi Big Band provided an excuse for dancing, as if dancing ever needs an excuse. (That same day, SafePlace, Seton Fund, Austin Symphony Orchestra and others held social events. I’ll say it again: We need a social mediator.)

MEDIA: The creative arc of Josh Frank. From Joe Gross’ column in the Statesman: "Some people just grind away until something sticks. Josh Frank is one of those people. I first met Frank and his work in 2003, when I covered, well, it wasn’t quite a musical as much as a band-playing-with-theatrical-bits called "The Man Who Was Too Loud." It’s a piece Frank wrote and produced about Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers that he has likely longed to forget: Good idea, dicey execution. In the next few years, Frank would pop up around town with various ventures. I recall him owning and running a food truck at one point. These days, Frank might be best known in town as the impresario behind the Blue Starlite Urban Mini Drive-In over on East 51st Street. This venture seems to have found an audience. Frank also produced a few books. … Now he has collaborated with Pixies frontman and solo act Charles Thompson, a.k.a. Black Francis, a.k.a. Frank Black and wonderful British cartoonist Steven Appleby on a new illustrated novel called "The Good Inn."" http://shar.es/TgQre(Nailed it, Joe.)

MEDIA 2: No surprise here, Internet trolls are sadists. From Eric Adler’s story in the Kansas City Star. "Anyone who’s encountered Internet trolls — those vile, racist, sexist and often profane people who gorge themselves on others’ misery — might have concluded they are psychologically disturbed. That would be correct, new research suggests. According to a recent paper by a team of Canadian researchers that has looked into the psychological underpinnings of trolls, they might also be sadists. Yes, sadists. But not the psychopathic sadists who turn to actual physical torture or serial killing. "We use the term ‘everyday sadist’ to emphasize that we are referring to sub-clinical levels of sadism, and not the more extreme forms that are seen in serial killers and criminals," said psychologist Erin Buckels of the University of Manitoba and the first of three authors of the paper on troll personality in the journal Personality and Individual Differences. "The essential aspect of sadism," Buckels said in an email, "is enjoyment of cruelty. Persons high in sadism gain some emotional benefit from causing or simply observing others’ suffering." http://shar.es/TgFmY(Still, nice to see a reasoned study on the bewidlering subject.)

LAW: Keeping beaches open for all. From Mikeala Rodriguez’s story in the Texas Observer: "The majority of Texans live in landlocked areas, but those of us who visit the state’s beaches have advocates like Ellis Pickett to thank for fighting to keep the coast open to the public. Texas has upheld the public’s "birthright" to play on state shores since the passage of the Open Beaches Act of 1959. It’s one of the most progressive laws the Texas Legislature has ever enacted, enshrining in statute the idea that the coastline is a treasure for all Texans to share. In a state in which more than 90 percent of the land is privately owned, that’s a rare sentiment. Specifically, the Open Beaches Act protects the public’s right to access and use the state’s beaches. But developers and homeowners have lately challenged that right of access, seeking to turn stretches of the coast into private lands. A landowner named Carol Severance took on the Open Beaches Act in court. Severance, a Californian of all things, sought to maintain control of her coastal properties after a tropical storm pushed back the Galveston Island coastline, placing her homes on public land. In a September 2012 ruling in the case—Severance v. Patterson—the Texas Supreme Court sided with Severance. The court ruled that portions of the coastline were exempt from the Open Beaches Act, a decision that some feared would gut the statute. Private owners have since challenged the public’s access to beaches in several cases, including Brannan v. State of Texas, which challenges the public’s access to Surfside Beach in Brazoria County and other popular recreation spots." http://bit.ly/1ifgCxi (What? My beloved Brannan on the wrong side. Must look into that.)