BOOKS: A nearly forgotten masterpiece of a novel. Recently, Statesman books critic Joe Gross plopped a book on my desk: "Dreadful: The Short Life and Gay Times of John Horne Burns." In the biography, author David Margolick tracks the man behind "The Gallery," a World War II novelist admired by Edmund Wilson, Norman Mailer and Gore Vidal, among others. A dislikable New England snob, Burns managed to pull of one major masterpiece of fiction, then wrote three awful novels before drinking himself to death. Well, I had to read "The Gallery." Set mostly in and around the Galleria Umberto in Naples, it consists of a series of profiles and memories that leave indelible impressions. They gay themes, which affect almost every chapter, were virtually ignored by critics in the 1940s. ("The Gallery" now comes with my unreserved endorsement.)

MEDIA: Former newspaper answer lady dies. Reported by Helen Anders in the Statesman: "Long before Google and Siri had all the answers, Central Texans knew how to solve the mysteries of untangling necklaces and removing unfortunate substances from the rug: Ask Ellie Rucker. Rucker, the Austin American-Statesman’s consumer columnist for nearly 16 years ending in 1992, died Wednesday at age 77 in a San Antonio hospital of natural causes. A native of Albuquerque, N.M., Rucker joined the Statesman in 1977 from the Abilene Reporter-News, where she had talked her way into a job as a question-and-answer columnist seven years earlier." http://shar.es/iVkKT(Helen honors Ellie well. She was still at the paper when I started writing in 1989.)

CITY: What happened to the idea of pushing the ugly church to the back of the property? Reported by Shonda Novak in the Statesman: "A church’s plan to someday build a parking garage on its South Congress Avenue land is drawing opposition from nearby residents, who say doing so could set a precedent by allowing commercial uses to intrude into their Travis Heights neighborhood. Congress Avenue Baptist Church is seeking a zoning change for the eastern half of its property, a one-block site bounded by South Congress Avenue and Nickerson, West Monroe and West Elizabeth streets. The 122-year-old church is asking to have the back half zoned commercial, which would allow the congregation to legally continue renting parking spaces on its existing parking lot, which has about 90 spaces. http://shar.es/iVkLU(That metal tent structure is an eyesore.)

MUSIC: We witness the ceaseless economic activity up-close during SXSW. Reported by Gary Dinges in the Statesman: "This year’s South by Southwest events had a $218 million impact on Austin’s economy, according to a newly released study.That’s up from $190 million in 2012, an increase of 15 percent. Austin-based consulting firm Greyhill Advisors compiled the report, which was commissioned by SXSW organizers. Since Greyhill Advisors first began producing its annual report in 2007, SXSW’s economic impact has more than doubled from its initial $95 million. "South by Southwest continues to be a truly remarkable event for Austin," said Michael Rollins, president of the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce. "Every year, we see more quantitative and qualitative benefits from South by Southwest, and we’re thrilled to see what the future holds." http://shar.es/iVyQd(Still valid to ask whether the festival deserves city fee breaks.)

STYLE: Tribeza Style Week ready for its moment in the lights. Reported by Nancy Flores in the Statesman. "Fashionistas, prepare for days of stylish parties, pop-up shops, a fashion show and more during Tribeza Style Week, which starts Friday and ends Sept. 26. A gathering of men’s pop-up shops called Cycle Night at Revival Cycles kicks off the festivities 7-10 p.m. Friday. Some of the participating retailers at the popular shopping event will be Co-Star, Dandy Suits, Helm Boots and Revival Retail. A special art installation will be on display and guests will enjoy food by Easy Tiger and Stiles Switch BBQ. Tickets cost $15 and include food and drinks. Revival Cycles, 5305 Bolm Road." http://shar.es/iVzx1(Always glad to see menswear included.)