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Andy Roddick Foundation Gala, Texas Exes Distinguished Alumni Awards, Pop Austin and more

Michael Barnes

SPORTS: Tennis great Andy Roddick borrowed a jean jacket for the occasion. That’s because his wife, Brooklyn Decker, and her gala co-chairwoman, Whitney Casey, chose a down-home theme for this year’s big Andy Roddick Foundation benefit. “This is the first year that we have our own programming on the ground,” Decker says of the group that teaches character through sports. “So we thought we’d make the party down to Earth.” Denim predominated in a crowd that included Roddick admirers from near and far. Country musician Darius Rucker entertained. Among the novel items auctioned by Heath Hale and his winning crew of bid spotters this $1 million night was a reserved parking space at Whole Foods Market. You can dress ‘em up in denim, but you can’t subtract from the decidedly Austin glamour of this group.

SCHOOL: “Everything I have in the world, I owe to the Good Lord, my mamma and this school.” Sitting behind a podium, football legend Earl Campbell, his body cruelly humbled, recalled that, when Longhorns mega-fan Joe Jamail first met the talented player from rural East Texas, he exclaimed “What a body!” That left the unworldly young man to wonder if the man might be, well, you know. Campbell spoke of these things at the Texas Exes Distinguished Alumni Awards, held at the Lady Bird Johnson Auditorium. Competing with Campbell for audience reverence was Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey, who revealed that he almost became an SMU Mustang. His brother tried to tell McConaughey, who wanted to be a lawyer, that Austin was more his style. “You’ll be at a bar between a cowboy, an Indian and a lesbian.” It all worked out for the future movie star. Alumna Dealy Herndon, the project manager for the State Capitol and Governor’s Mansion re-dos, said: “My first memory was my father putting to me sleep singing ‘The Eyes of Texas.” Also honored were investor JohnMassey, Atlantic Trust’s Scott Caven and astronaut Karen Nyberg. Several honorees lavishly praised UT President Bill Powers — dubbed the “$3 Billion Man” for his recently completed fundraising campaign. Winning former basketball coach JodyConradt, who received the Distinguished Service Award,told of the cultural evolution from a time when women’s sports were ignored to a point when she heard a little girl ask: “Boys play basketball, too?”

NIGHTLIFE: The Pop Austin International Art Show is fresh, fun and smart, bringing in hundreds of stylish, mindful people. “We need more of this,” says Asa Hursh, director of Art Alliance Austin. The music made the pristine Fair Market, a former industrial site on East Fifth Street, sound like a nightclub. The cosmic crowd made the party and art show seem more like a high fashion event. The luscious art made one feel as if the whole building had been transported from Chelsea or Miami or some such contempo spot. Only the air conditioning failed to cooperate. I kept hearing remarks among even skeptics like: “Breathtaking.” “Sensational.” Some in the crowd, many of them newcomers to Austin’s art scene, could actually afford the immaculately hung samples, which will remain on display through Sunday. Despite all the top names in this show organized by New Yorkers-turned-Austinites Amanda Huras and Matt Randall, my favorite set were gilded pieces by Bale Creek Allen that recalled the beautiful bleakness of the open road.