CITY: Austin and Texas history informed three encounters on Wednesday. First, University of Texas theater professor Charlotte Canning met at the UT Club inside Royal-Memorial Stadium and discussed her upcoming book on Texas theater history, old and new faculty members in the department where I earned my Ph.D. and just old-fashioned theater stories, which we agreed are in an anecdotal class by themselves. Next I caught up with Kyle Schlafer of State Preservation Board and Capitol Visitors Center. We talked about the multiple locations of the Texas capitol building, the granite quarry out in Burnet that supplied the current Capitol and a bucket list of downtown buildings we’ve never explored. Finally, I shuttled over to the Austin History Center, where image wrangler Nicole Smith helped me secure historical pictures of the St. John’s Orphan Home as well as its founder and the encampments that gathered on the land where Highland Mall sits. (My story on St. John’s comes out in a couple of weeks!)

CHARITY: During a day packed with meetings, I also shared thoughts with the marketing rep from OctoTea. The Octopus Club dance is scheduled for Nov. 3 at Brazos Hall. The popular party, which raises money for AIDS Services of Austin, comes after a Kickoff Party (Sept. 15) and a Happy Hour (Oct. 5). (You know a party has become an established tradition when it spawns pre-parties and after-parties.) The rep was none other than Austin Bingham, whom I’d met at the Concordia Gala. He’s a recent marketing and PR grad from UT who happens to be the only brother of A.J. Bingham, the lobbyist and sometime model. Both are about as socially poised as one can imagine. (In a run of unusual luck, it turns out I can make all three OctoTea events. Or so it seems.)

ARTS: Always good to know excatly who is giving our city more visual character: Reported by Nancy Flores in the Statesman: "She infuses Austin streets with color and dispenses style for all to see. Local street artist Eleanor Herasimchuk, better known as Niz, brings walls across the city to life: outside Sugar Mama’s Bakeshop in South Austin; across from East Austin’s Yellow Jacket Social Club; by Home Slice Pizza on South Congress Avenue. "Niz is the queen of Austin stencil art," says Nathan "Sloke One" Nordstrom, who is an accomplished muralist, graffiti artist and curator of street art gallery shows. "Her work adds a lot of beauty to the city, and you can recognize a Niz piece when you see it because of her portrait and layering techniques. If I was a stencil artist, I would look to her work to see what level I should progress to." http://shar.es/i04YO(Austin could use hundreds more murals. Bring ‘em on.)

LAW: Anti-gay forces make last stand in Alamo Land: Reported in the Texas Tribune: The gay rights debate engulfing San Antonio may soon hit a crescendo. The San Antonio City Council today is expected to vote on — and likely approve — an ordinance that would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the city’s nondiscrimination policy. Debate over the ordinance, which resembles policies in place in every other major Texas city, erupted last month after the San Antonio Express-News released a secret recording of Councilwoman Elisa Chan calling homosexuality "disgusting." The debate has since drawn hordes of protesters to City Hall — more than 700 people registered to speak for or against the ordinance on Wednesday — and has caught the attention of state leaders, including several Republicans running for statewide office. http://www.texastribune.org(This is still a thing?)

SPORTS: Stand in line, Circuit of the Americas, everybody else is doing it, too: Reported by John Maher in the Statesman: "Circuit of the Americas is balking at its tax bill. The track in Southeast Austin filed a lawsuit Friday in Travis County District Court, contesting the Travis Central Appraisal District’s assessment of its property. In May, the circuit was appraised at slightly more than $290 million. The Del Valle school district would receive $4.4 million out of the resulting $7.8 million tax bill while Travis County and Austin each could get about $1.5 million. Other entities to benefit from the circuit’s taxes include Austin Community College and the Travis County hospital district, Central Health. The cost to build the circuit has been reported as anywhere from $300 million to $450 million. The 3.4-mile track was designed to host a Formula One race, which it did last November, and the track is now in its first full racing season, attracting everything from the top international motorcycling series, MotoGP, to various sports car events." http://shar.es/i0edb(Best to just pay up, or you’ll find out your appraisal is actually too low.)