Listen to Austin 360 Radio

An Austin take on the A-Gay scene

Michael Barnes, Out & About

Staff Writer
Austin 360

If Austin harbored an A-Gay set and I'm not arguing our city does it was out in force during the wedding bash of Gary Cooper and Richard Hartgrove at a West Austin home on Saturday.

The pair — fixtures on the charity and social scenes — formalized their decades-old partnership in front of more than 100 accomplished friends.

Gay singles, couples and allies intermingled atop Bull Mountain, shifting from the pool deck to the interior spaces in light summer linens and cottons. It was easier to name who wasn't there than who was.

Hartgrove and Cooper generously shared the sunset blowout with two other just-marrieds, Kate Payne and JoAnn Santangelo, who had staged a flash-mob wedding in New York City.

Back to the question of A Gays — and I think this is socially revealing — nobody at this affair flaunted their trophy houses, cars, trips or spouses. They didn't gossip or complain. Nobody competed to land the most poisonous witticism.

Those were the earmarks of the A-Gay scenes in Houston and Dallas during my youth. This Austin group, instead, is known for being open, kind, smart, funny and fit. Nobody more so than our hosts.

Last week Joe Long told an elegant, little story about the Sybil B. Harrington Lobby at the Long Center.

Harrington was a wealthy Amarillo woman who left her money in a trust. The Long Center staff applied to the trust for a grant. Twice. No word for more than a year. Then former director Cliff Redd received a call. The Amarillo trustee wanted to see the Austin performing arts center. She toured it top to bottom. That was on a Thursday.

On the following Monday, Redd received word that the center would receive a check for $5 million. It arrived on a Tuesday.

If only fundraising were always that graceful.