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Tribeza People Party, Blue Genie Art Bazaar and more

Michael Barnes
mbarnes@statesman.com

HEALTH: Charity clinic gives a sneak peek at proposed facility. People’s Community Clinic has served a crucial role in Austin’s healthcare ecology for decades. It long ago outgrew its clinic east of the University of Texas campus. It now plans to move north and east above St. John’s Avenue. At a Tuesday evening party in Dr. Nona Noland’s classy, immaculate, streamlined home in the W Austin Hotel and Residences, clinic leaders unveiled drawings for a large, utilitarian structure. The Camino La Costa site is in or near low-income areas home to 25 percent of current clinic patients. Almost 50 percent of patients live within two miles. It would encompass 50,000 square feet as opposed to the current 17,000 square feet, helping the clinic double its patient load to 20,000 within a few years. (Backers are not confirming costs now, but the estimable Niland heads up the capital campaign. That tells you something.)

MEDIA: We’ll never run out of people to profile. In some ways, Tribeza is in the same business as Out & About. At least part of the time. We are always on the lookout for fascinating people to profile. The People Issue, launched Tuesday night, gathered together more than a dozen worthy subjects, grouped around various themes, including families. Some — such as fashion designer Gail Chovan, music promoters Graham Williams and James Moody, economic promoter Sue Edwards, newspaper publishers John and Jennifer Garrett, chef Sonya Coté, museum director Louis Grachos — are mighty familiar to regular readers of Austin media. And for good reason. Others, however, were a delight to discover for the first time. I was charmed, for instance, by a brief chat with profiled musician Aisha Burns and ‘zinester Hillary-Anne Crosby. (Also nipped some crisp Austin Eastsiders cider.)

BUSINESS: Everlasting twists on the holiday art sale. The most venerable Austin holiday bazaar is A Christmas Affair from the Junior League. Its post-hippie progeny is the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar. The gangly kid on the block is Blue Genie Art Bazaar, still growing in unexpected directions. All three marketplaces continue to draw scads of shoppers. Blue Genie occupies the former movie theaters now known as the Marchesa Hall and Theatre. As with the other sales, the visitor goes into instant sensation overload, given all the locally crafted jewelry, apparel, decor, dinnerware and everything else under the moon. After catching up with Bazaar guru Dana Younger — whose career I’ve followed for decades — and receiving a collectible drink token from the fabulous Sam Hurt, I purchased some clever dry-board list reminders and small, modish holiday cards. (You could really go crazy.)

FOOD 1: A sommelier who blows your mind with wine. From my story in Wednesday’s Statesman: “Wine expert Paul Ozbirn fields a question from customers all the time: How do I obtain the bounteous taste I desire without breaking the bank? “You want the profile without the price,” Ozbirn says. “Part of our job is to know the expensive stuff. Classic wines are classic for a reason. They are the wines that people buy on futures contracts around the world. The fun part is finding wines nobody knows about.” The beverage director for a group of Austin restaurants — Olive & June, Parkside, Backspace and the anticipated Chavez, all fronted by chef Shawn Cirkiel — does just that. What, for instance, if one’s tastes leaned toward a chewy but pricey red Borolo from the Piedmont region of Italy? Ozbirn smiles wryly and suggests Zweigelt, developed in 1992 by crossing St. Laurent and Blaufränkisch in eastern Austria. A Zwei-what? A red from Austria?” http://shar.es/DKy8y(Mighty fine wine.)

FOOD 2: Welcome the new face of potent potables in Austin. From Ari Auber’s column in Wednesday’s Statesman: “Some of them were wrapped neatly in holiday-themed paper; others, like mine, were simply in gift bags sans the tissue paper. We set them all under a tiny Christmas tree in a tiny apartment, helped ourselves to some beer and waited as numbers 1 to 7 were written down and cut into squares.It was our white elephant swap a week or so before Christmas — except that instead of tossing bows onto random, mostly useless items we’d found around the house or in a store, we had taken care to find each other either really rare, or just really tasty, craft beer. There was one four-pack, Sierra Nevada’s Narwhal Imperial Stout, in the mix. The rest of the beer was in bombers, 22 oz. bottles. All of it we wanted. In the end, I carried out Jester King’s Gotlandsdricka, which the Hill Country brewery modeled after the farmhouse ales the Vikings might have once brewed.” http://shar.es/DKzXW(A very good writer and reporter becomes a regular columnist.)

FOOD 3: A history of eating out in Austin. From Addie Broyles’ column in Wednesday’s Statesman: “No matter if you’re heading east or west, it’s easy to drive down Sixth Street and not notice the Hoffbrau as you’re en route to the Whole Foods Market flagship store, or to overlook Cisco’s Restaurant while craning your neck to catch a glimpse of Paul Qui inside his eponymous restaurant across the street. But Austin writer Melanie Haupt says it’s important to consider that the local food scene, since Austin’s founding in 1839, has been an interconnected patchwork of businesses whose mere existence have influenced the others that followed. “You can’t look at Austin restaurants in a vacuum,” says Haupt, who painted many of the branches of the Austin family restaurant tree in her new book, “Historic Austin Restaurants: Capital Cuisine Through the Generations” (History Press, $19.99).” http://shar.es/DKzGt(Must read soon. Very soon.)