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Life in the fast Austin social lane

Michael Barnes, Out & About

Staff Writer
Austin 360

Back to three dots ...

The penthouses at the W Austin are just as one might suspect: As sleek and swank as the lower condos, but with considerably more space and head room. My first visit to one came thanks to the People's Community Clinic's young leadership group, which mixed there merrily. Various social guides made short, impassioned speeches about the Austin charity that provides health care to the needy. Casey Chapman Ross seems particularly promising among the leaders ...

The same night, another furnished model unit opened in the Four Seasons Residences. Super-classy designer Fern Santini introduced the concept to me, among the guests speaking several languages (such is the cosmo club in the clouds). Complementing the Italian mod furniture were heady works of art by Central Texans, including the fascinating Karen Hawkins, about whom I plan to learn more ...

In just a few short years, Edible Austin has thoroughly colonized Austin. Thanks to Marla Camp, the publication has given succor to the locavore movement. During its popular Eat Drink Local Week, a festival that could not have occurred just a few years ago, Drink Local matched distilleries with mixologists competing to make the most potable cocktail with local ingredients. It attracted a massing, average age 30, to the AT&T Center that seemed as interested in the hot food as the cool drinks ...

Lunched with prosecutor Rick Cofer at Second Bar & Kitchen, which is becoming something of a see-and-be-seen spot there at Congress Avenue and Second Street. Our conversation was off the record, but we both love politics, history and Austin, so you can very well guess. Spied among the lunchers: Samantha Davidson, Dave Shaw, Elaine Garza, Kathy Blackwell and others ...

The Womack brothers — Brad, Chad and Wes — along with business partner Jason Carrier opened up their West Sixth Street clubs to a long conversation about Austin nightlife. We talked about the ebb and flow of revelers among the city's entertainment districts and the planned opening of an outpost for their Southern urbane Dogwood club concept in midtown Houston. Expect a longer report on our ramblings soon. ...

Absolutely riveting was a panel discussion of the park-keeper's cottage in Zilker Park at the Austin History Center. Three past inhabitants of the cottage recounted their days in the park since the early 1930s! Thanks to Kim McNight for assembling the research on floods, farms and phantom fires and for bringing together the park families. (The cottage will now serve as park ranger headquarters.) Again, expect a much longer report soon. ...

Jack and Carla McDonald's Pink Panther Party returned the city's top socials to their West Austin digs. If you are ever invited to this thematic holiday party — the theme changes each year — go, go, go. You'll make friends you never knew existed. The food, drink and entertainment are impossible to beat. I relaxed and enjoyed. No further report planned. ...

mbarnes@statesman.com