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Civil Rights Summit Day 3, Arianna Huffington and more

Michael Barnes
mbarnes@statesman.com

SCHOOL: Strange being yards away from three presidents in three days. As much as anything else, the Civil Rights Summit at the LBJ Presidential Library is good theater. The tall, white spaces, darken before each act. The vintage music and black-and-white images set the historical scene. One booming voice announces a legendary figure, who then introduces another. Live music from Mavis Staples and Graham Nash helps rouse emotions. Documentary snippets, heavy on a few key civil rights speeches, ring with the protest songs of the era. It was odd, though, hearing those songs that were later turned against LBJ during Vietnam War protests. The dignitaries dress their parts. And how often have so many practiced thinkers and speakers gathered in one place? Every time you turn around, another inspiring voice expands on the past, present and future of our society. I spotted veteran director Rod Caspers at the Lady Bird Johnson Auditorium. Is his is the hand on the theatrical tiller? http://bit.ly/1givnyP (Very proud of our paper’s wall-to-wall coverage of this historic event.)

MEDIA: Arianna Huffington wants you to sleep. It’s among the things modern people tend to skip. The leader of the 24-7 Huffington Post has now written a book about untangling our lives for days at a time from the digital web. “Thrive” urges focus on heath, well-being, awe, wonder, wisdom and intuition rather than just power and money. Sensible, but did we need another book on this? If Huffington’s appearance at a Headliners Club dinner on Thursday is any indication, the book’s success is at least partly due to her singular charisma in person and on the screen. At an up-front table that included Eugene Sepulveda, Beth Broderick, Diane Land, Steve Adler, Marc Winkelman, Suzanne Winkelman, Kevin Keim, Suzanne Booth and Chandler Booth, then up at a podium, Huffington effortlessly charmed a crowd of more 100. (Most impressive: Her poise during a long question session.)

FOOD: Hightower makes some noise with big flavors in East Austin. From Matthew Odam’s story in the Statesman: “One of Chad Dolezal’s favorite meals growing up was a fried egg sandwich made by his friend’s dad. It combined bacon, Sriracha and avocado between slices of toasted bread. The memory of it lingers, and the chef buzzes with youthful exuberance when he talks about it. After recreating the sandwich at home for years, Dolezal reimagined the dish at the Hightower, the East Austin restaurant that he and partner GM Victor Farnsworth opened in January. The bread is gone, replaced by a dark ceramic bowl with a bed of fluffy white rice. Tender roasted pork jowl with crispy edges and mellowed fat lined the dish laced with shaved cucumbers, pickled shallots and feathered avocado slices. A jiggling glow of egg yolk sat atop, zagged with a sunburned streak of homemade Sriracha. I burst the yolk with my fork, allowing its iron flush to weave through the rice, and stirred all of the ingredients into a maelstrom of flavors and textures — fat, acid, salt and crunch coming in almost every bite. The $14 dish is my favorite at the restaurant, and it’s indicative of what seems to be Dolezal’s mission – delivering bold flavors at modest prices. The approach is different in scale and form from his last Austin restaurant gig.” http://shar.es/THbfn(Can we go there now?)