SPORTS: It was, indeed, Sharon Chapman’s first rodeo. Despite the rain and cold on Sunday, Statesman’s entertainment editor had a blast. We were warmed by our four tour guides, who took us from the livestock barn, where muscular red-head Boer goats were judged, to various warmer indoor venues. Then at the casual Founder’s Lounge, we dined on hearty fare with our designated guides Joel Anderson, a lawyer for Stratus Properties who married into Rodeo Austin tradition, Steve Moore, former Longhorn offensive linesman, and two charming University of Texas Rodeo Club members, Gus Chestnut (Amarillo) and Danya Peterson (Los Angeles). We shook hands with several former and future rodeo presidents, including Jimmy and Verlin Callahan, part of the clan recently profiled in these pages. Then on to the horseback events. At the Travis County Expo Center, we sat right up front next to the entrance for the mounted athletes — naturally the coldest place in the house. That made the events all the more electrifying. Despite our long afternoon, we couldn’t leave before seeing the Coal Miner’s Daughter herself: Loretta Lynn, who had stalwartly braved the bad weather ("Oh, my hair!"). (At age 81, she looked and sounded splendid.)

SCHOOL: He rose to the stage with a linear dignity. Legendary educator and civil rights pioneer Charles Akins accepted the Tower of Light Award from Huston-Tillotson University with quiet, cheerful dignity. He thanked his alma mater and praised the progress at the East Austin school since the fateful merger of two ancient institutions that lent Huston-Tillotson its hyphenated name. "It’s a gem of a university," Akins said, nodding to his fraternal ties there, too. "A prince of a school." (Must get Akins on the record regarding the mood in Austin during the debate over the 1964 Civil Rights Act.) Elected officials worked the room at the President’s Masked Ball, this year staged at the Hyatt Regency Austin, before and after a video address from State Sen. Royce West. (Always booked for a busy weekend, the ball is nevertheless a required stop on the Austin social circuit.)

HEALTH: Every year, the Viva parties revise. Put on for AIDS Services of Austin, Viva has gone Vegas, or held raucous fashion shows, or hosted top musical talents. For Viva Red at the Shoal Crossing Event Center, theme color theme harked back to the red looped ribbons first adopted for AIDS causes in 1991 and much copied since then. This party attracts a bracingly miscellaneous following, emphatically present for a good time. After lingering in a tented lobby over red drinks, guests paraded to one of the city’s most tempting silent auction selections, then made pilgrimages to the various savory and sweet food vendors. The musical act this year was one of my faves — White Ghost Shivers — whose hot jazz and inherent theatricality got everyone in the mood. (Austin, you know a party when you see it.)

ARTS: Texas State gets state-of-the-art arts venue. From Jeanne Claire van Ryzin’s story in the Statesman: "The new $40.9 million Performing Arts Center at Texas State University already buzzed with activity last week. The university’s College of Fine Arts and Communication took occupancy in early January. We just couldn’t wait to get in here," said Timothy P. Mottet, the college’s dean, as he stood in the spacious lobby that’s fronted by a curtain wall of windows. Nearby workers readied for a host of gala events planned for this weekend, including a long sold-out pair of public shows Sunday. Three years in construction, four years in the planning before construction, the center now commands a prominent corner on the south end of the Texas State campus along University Drive. "We wanted this building to be a gateway to the community," Mottet said." http://shar.es/FSZLm(Can’t wait to see "Anything Goes.")

MOVIES: All in all, a good Oscar night. From Joe Gross’ story in the Statesman: "Austin’s Matthew McConaughey won the best actor Oscar on Sunday night for his portrayal of a heterosexual man with AIDS in "Dallas Buyers Club," while "Gravity" took home the most Oscars, 7, and "12 Years a Slave" won best picture honors. McConaughey gave an extremely McConaughey speech, shouting out his family, his director, his co-stars and himself, sort of, noting that his hero was "me in ten years." My hero is always ten years away," he said. "It keeps me with someone to keep on chasing." "12 Years A Slave," the extraordinary story of Solomon Northrup, a free man kidnapped into slavery, won three Oscars — for best picture, best supporting actress and best adapted screenplay. In accepting the best picture honor, producer Brad Pitt quickly handed over the microphone to "12 Years" director Steve McQueen. "Everyone deserves not just to survive, but to live," McQueen said. He dedicated the award to everyone who has ever suffered slavery and the "21 million people still in slavery today." But "Gravity," the eye-popping science-fiction story of an Earth-orbit disaster starring George Clooney and Sandra Bullock, was the big winner Sunday night at the Oscars. http://shar.es/FSxsP(Some things didn’t work, hey, but it wasn’t a disaster.)